Click for to embiggen trollery
Undoubtedly due to my glowing recommendation of the series (or the fact that we were already on their mailing list), we have received promotional material for the latest episode of Merlin, part two of "Beauty and the Beast," airing this Friday at 10 on SyFy. Mostly, I'm just amused by trolls, and the fact that Anthony Stewart Head, who will always be Giles (or the guy from the coffee commercials) to me, is in love with a particularly ugly one. Honestly, part one wasn't that great, probably due to minimal Arthur, but I think this week should have more of him and an appearance by the dragon with John Hurt's voice, the one unequivocally cool thing about the series, not to mention Giles staring lovingly at a troll. (It just makes me giggle.)
After the jump is what the PR material had to say.
Move Over, Shrek!
The True King is in Love with a Troll
As Two-Part ‘Merlin’ Concludes Friday on Syfy
A beautiful noblewoman who enchants King Uther is not at all what she appears – and her deceit puts the kingdom of Camelot in jeopardy – in the second half of the two-part “Beauty and the Beast,” an all-new episode of the popular Syfy series MERLIN premiering at 10 p.m. Friday, May 7.
Though Uther (played by Anthony Head) is unaware, Lady Catrina is an evil troll bent on destroying the king and controlling Camelot herself. Only Merlin sees the truth behind the beauty, but her spell over Uther leads him to marry her and turn against his most trusted allies – including his own son Arthur (Bradley James) and Arthur’s young wizard aide.
Guest starring as Catrina is Sarah Parish, who appeared alongside David Tennant as the Empress of Racnoss in Doctor Who. Before she was forced to devour revolting troll cuisine on set, Parish had to endure a lengthy stay in the make-up chair each day while her head-and-shoulders hideous appearance was created for the two episodes. “Hopefully I’m totally unrecognizable,” Parish said. “And if anybody does say they know it’s me, I’ll kill them.”
Head adds, “I have to say Sarah Parish deserves a medal for the mulch that she ate. It was black goo – I think it was bananas and chocolate and stuff. In that particular instance, I think it was quite difficult for her to keep it down.”
While the themes of treachery and deceit are obvious throughout, the episode is decidedly lighthearted and played for laughs – many revolving around the troll’s disgusting eating and sanitary habits, and Uther’s inability to see what repulses everyone else. In this case, love truly is blind.
“When I first read the script, I was just laughing because it’s so, so different to any episode so far,” said Colin Morgan, who plays the title character, Merlin. “It’s purely comic, and it’s out there and it’s bizarre, with very broad humor.”
The episode is also a huge departure for the powerful, commanding Uther, who normally doesn’t venture into the humorous veins of the series.
“It’s a tricky part for Tony, because it’d be very easy to play Uther on one note – he is sort of the Queen of Hearts, he’s the threat of the series,” producer Johnny Capps explained. “The great thing about Tony is he understands the world of high-concept acting, which is not about just being naturalistic, it’s about finding the reality and truth of this fantasy world, and also at the same time slightly tipping a wink to that and enjoying that performance and not taking it too seriously sometimes.”
The success that Merlin has enjoyed worldwide – it airs in more than 170 countries – is what drove the series’ producers to explore a slightly lighter, even romantic side of Camelot … while keeping magic, intrigue and adventure at the forefront.
Says executive producer Johnny Capps: “The great thing about coming back to a second (season) is that because the audience knows the characters, we can explore them in more detail. We wanted to see a more tender side of Uther – we thought, why not give him a love interest? And when we thought, ‘Well, why not make his future wife a troll?’” It may not have been an obvious choice – but it led to fascinating implications.”
Part 2 of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ an all-new episode of MERLIN, debuts at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) Friday, May 7, only on Syfy. Follow the latest news on MERLIN at the Official Merlin page on Facebook.