Morgana captures the iron-willed Alator (Gary Lewis) and threatens to torture him until he reveals the location - and identity - of her nemesis, Emrys.
In the meantime Alator's servant Finna (Sorcha Cusack) has sought out Merlin (aka Emrys) and asked him to meet up with her - however, Gaius believes she's working for Morgana and so tips Arthur off that there is a practitioner of The Old Ways within the lands Of Camelot.
Unfortunately for both Finna and Merlin, Morgana also discovers the existence of the brave old servant and sets out with her troops to track her down - and get the truth about Emrys from her instead.
Although no mention is made of Gwen's recent extended spell under Morgana's control, The Kindness Of Strangers is a strong and dark return to form for the season.
There's a definite sense that a major confrontation is just around the corner - brought home by Morgana's rather Fringe-like declaration of war in the episode's final moments.
As well as a prophecy about this upcoming battle - at Camlann - the episode also featured an ominous appearance by The Great Dragon, rather suggesting that his days are numbered. What will this mean for Merlin and Morgana's dragon, Aithusa? There are now only three episodes to wrap up this and all the other plot threads, as well as deliver a grand, mythic finale to the series.