By Curt Wagner, @ShowPatrol
7:20 PM CDT, May 30, 2013
"Merlin" comes to an end this Friday after five seasons, and if fans are to believe star Colin Morgan, five has been the show's magical number.
"I really believe the show progressed quite naturally through its five years and really grew to a point where the fifth season was our best," Morgan, who plays the warlock Merlin, said in a release. "It's a very strong ending: powerful, emotional, fulfilling. I think fans will be very satisfied."
Syfy airs the international hit's final episode, "The Diamond of the Day, Part 2," at 9 p.m. CT May 31. (Just to clear things up, the series was not canceled as some fans have said, but producers/creators Johnny Capps and Julian Jones always planned it to be a five-season affair.)
As "The Diamond of the Day" begins, the battle at Camlann rages on as Merlin faces his destiny: Can he save King Arthur (Bradley James) and the kingdom of Camelot from the forces of Morgana (Katie McGrath)?
Just as Merlin has come a long way since the first of the series' 65 episodes—from a naive apprentice striving to understand and master his powers to the greatest warlock to ever live—Morgan has grown with the character.
"It's been a great adventure, and I've learned so much," Morgan said. "When we started, everything was new. It was my first real role, so everything seemed like a new experience: new lessons, new friends, new adventures. It wasn't just Merlin coming into his own; I was growing up in front of the camera, too."
The show's success partly can be attributed to Morgan, according to his co-star Rupert Young, who played Sir Leon. In a separate interview, Young told me that Morgan was "one of the most hardworking, welcoming people" he's met. He's also a terrific actor.
"If you had a scene with Colin you would be better, I think," Young said. "He's genuinely one of the nicest people. He loves acting so much and is so committed. ... He's someone I am in awe of."
As both Morgan and Merlin matured, so did the storylines in the series. The darker, more adult stories went hand-in-hand with Merlin's life lessons. But no matter the peril, Merlin was the optimistic compass for the series.
"Merlin is hope," Morgan said. "He's the optimist in the story, the believer that there is a positive destiny for Arthur and Camelot. He knows it in his heart, and nothing will change that belief. He knows they can overcome the impossible, and Merlin faces a lot of impossible situations. That stays true to the very end."
American viewers, like their counterparts in Britain already have, will be discussing the final scene in Friday's episode. The scene is a surprise, but stays faithful to the show's tradition of tweaking the legend of the "once and future king."
"Our producers took a well-known, loved legend and told the story as they wanted to tell it, right down to the final shot of the final episode," Morgan said. "They surprised me with that script--in a good way. It's exactly the way it should be. I think the fans will treasure the ending."
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