Entertainment Television

'Merlin' finale preview, part 1: It's a slugfest!

Morgana slugs it out with Merlin in the opening of the two-part "Merlin" series finale, stripping the young sorcerer of his magic and thus removing her final obstacle for the throne of Camelot.

In "The Diamond of the Day, Part 1," airing Friday on Syfy, Morgana discovers a method of eliminating Merlin's abilities—an ancient slug-thingie that drains sorcerers of their magic. With Merlin (Colin Morgan) finally out of the way and Mordred (Alexander Vlahos) at her side, Morgana (Katie McGrath) leads her thousands-strong army against King Arthur (Bradley James) and the Knights of the Roundtable.

She not only wants to take Camelot and kill Arthur, but destroy Emrys (Merlin’s Druid name).

The two-part finale aptly ends the five-year, 65-episode series, mixing action, humor, and emotional moments as it focuses on the bond between many characters, most especially Merlin and Arthur.

"It's such a privilege to tell the ending of a story," McGrath said in a release. "A lot of times a series gets cancelled before it can finish, or it keeps going beyond where it should. Our producers/creators, Johnny (Capps) and Julian (Jones), always had a five-year plan, and we're grateful to have been allowed them to tell the full story.

"It's been such a pleasure playing Morgana from the beginning to end--it's rare that you get to put a proper full stop on a character. Such great characters, such good stories. I know the fans will miss 'Merlin'--I shall miss it, too."

James said his best memories of production were from the final two episodes.

"I think my best week on 'Merlin' was filming the big battle for the finale," he said. "We knew it had to be huge and great, and everyone stepped up their game. The attention to detail was a little bit higher in the way it was shot, and we got to spend an entire week concentrating on the battle."

It was also a last chance for glory with the Knights of the Round Table, he added. "It was fun to fight alongside the guys one last time--a lot of it was myself and Rupert (Young) fighting side-by-side, and that was great. It was important to put an emphasis on such an important, prominent part of this story within the series."

Although the final moments of the series raised eyebrows among some fans when it aired in Britain, James says "Merlin" always has been an unexpected retelling of the legend of a "once and future king."

"I'm happy with the way it ends," James said. "And I think it will live in people’s memories. Things haven’t fallen the way things you'd expect them to, and that applies to the end of the series, as well."

"The Diamond of the Day, Part 1" airs at 9 p.m. CT May 24. "Part 2" debuts at the same time May 31 on Syfy.

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Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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