After last week's blockbuster season opener, Arthur's Bane (Part Two) kept up the momentum with so many plots and sub-plots unfolding that there almost wasn't time to squeeze in the important denouement back at Camelot.
The episode opened with Arthur and Merlin as captives of the bandit Ragnor (Stephen McCole) and the grown-up Morded (Alexander Vlahos), being led to Ismere, Morgana's keep in the snowy north of Albion.
Arthur and Merlin escape, but Arthur refuses to kill Mordred when he has the chance as the young man had been kind to them while they were prisoners.
Back in Camelot, Gwen sticks to her guns about sentencing her maid to hang - but only because she knows she's the daughter of Ruadan and hopes to lure him into a trap when he, inevitably, comes to rescue her. Unfortunately, this doesn't go quite according to the plan.
Once they've snuck into the mines under Ismere, Arthur and Merlin set about freeing the imprisoned knights of Camelot - but in the process discover that Morgana has acquired a pet dragon, Aithusa. Merlin manages to wangle some alone time with the young dragon and realises it cannot talk or fly - this, the audience gathers, is almost certainly connected to its imprisoned with Morgana during the three year gap between the events of Season Four and those of this season.
Morgana ambushes Arthur and is about to finish him off when events take an unexpected turn. However, this is where the episode's only real plot hole popped up in that during the ensuing action no-ones checked to see if a certain person was dead, or mortally wounded, or even made mention of the (rather important) issue.
Merlin did, however, learn that "Arthur's Bane" wasn't who we were all led to believe (ie Morded), but I have to say I'm very satisfied with the answer that Euchdag gave him. It certainly makes sense given the events of the following - back at Camelot - scene.
A rollicking episode, packed with everything that makes this show great - action, monsters, magic, stunning scenery and great character interaction.
Let's hope the season can keep up the pace and quality it has set with these first two episodes.