Usually I don't make episode reviews, but this episode was too good to pass by.
First of all, to get the lolz out of the way: HAHA I really hope the Beeb increases Merlin's budget next year so their CG can be a better. They're not awful now, but they could definitely improve.
Actually, to be fair, the magical bits were wicked, it was just the Questing Beast that looked a bit ridiculous, IMO.
Okay, onto the juicy bits: Uther's angst. I almost cried. When he said that he didn't believe in miracles, my heart really went out to him. And from what we know of his story, I can understand where he's coming from. I think the biggest draw to me about Uther is how much he's lost, and how much he keeps losing (or almost losing) and yet... Magical prejudice aside, I think we'd find him quite fair in most other aspects. *sigh*
Morgana! Okay, now I hop the Morgana bandwagon. I'll admit that I wasn't sold on Katie's acting as Morgana, or on the character herself. I felt Katie's acting sometimes lacking, or at least, I didn't always believe her. And Morgana, for all her good intentions, kept carrying herself like a brat. But today- Morgana you poor, haunted seer, you. There's no way she doubts what she is now, I won't believe it if they say she doesn't know. Particularly in her warning to Merlin: I think they reached a silent understanding. SQUEE! Next season is going to blow my mind, I can feel it.
Oh my lord I cannot express how much glee I have that Merlin and the Dragon are now enemies. That. was. bloody. fantastic. I'm in the midst of writing a meta and mention that Merlin is so often hoodwinked by the Dragon (and Gaius, sometimes) that I feel bad for him. No longer! He finally, finally sees what the Dragon has been after all along. If only Merlin could have traded the Dragon's life for Arthur's, my life would be complete. As it is, I think that particular breaking will act as a catalyst and we're probably in for a much more solemn Merlin.
Gwen! Oh, she's so sweet and faithful, I love her to bits. Arthur is such a jackass (in that cute, boyish way, ya know?) and I love how they're progressing the relationship between those two: slow as it is. I think it works for them. I just hope that with the next season, Gwen will get an episode to herself to develop her character a bit more.
Arthur didn't do much LOL so I won't say much more than I really liked his scene with Merlin. I like that Arthur is so frank with Merlin: he admits to his uncertainty about knowing his servant. But I believe he also understands that something changed, quite dramatically, in that conversation between them.
Nimueh nooooooooooo. She was a fantastic antagonist! I can't believe they wiped her this season. Not to mention o_O this wiki article says that the Lady of the Lake is also known as Nimueh. They need the Lady of the Lake later to give Arthur the sword and a bunch of other stuff don't they? Heh. I guess, like all else, they'll do something different.
Her battle with Merlin was pretty awesome. I adore Merlin's line about not serving a magic to dark and selfish. YOU GO, MERLIN! ♥ It really will be up to the four of them to maintain the goodness within themselves, and I think Merlin will have the hardest time of it. Actually, no, legend puts Morgana in the weakest position but yeah.
ETA: I meant to mention, I think it's great they bookend the season with Merlin & Gaius interactions. It's how they started it and it's how it should be finished. And I totally admit to crying when Merlin was telling Gaius all the things he'd learned from him. T_T! He's got such a good heart. *flails* I love all these characters so much! /ETA
I think the word "epic" can apply to this episode. Considering how much it could have just been all about Merlin, I think they did a pretty good job at giving each character significant moments on screen, even if the scenes were short. Out of 10, I'd definitely give it a 50.