MERLIN THE MAGICIAN
Music--some by Bernard Herrman for GARDEN OF EVIL & KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES).
The tunnel crew watch on the screen as the image of Tony and Doug flying through time suddenly freezes stiff (there is no opening narration). The staff are getting bad feedback which will burn the boys to death if they don't fix it soon. Kirk orders them to send the pair back to where they were, reverse them. Ann and Ray think they can but a voice calls, "No," a voice they don't hear. They too are suddenly frozen. An odd man with grayish-white beard and moustache is holding onto one of the towers. We see down from his viewpoint before we even see him. This look down at the tunnel complex is rare and it is hardly ever seen from another vantage point such as this one. The man jumps down from the tower, his black cape flowing...or was he flying down (this short jump was filmed in slow motion and is very effective). The being looks at the tunnel computers and machinery, "Such ado about a common place bit of magic." He commands that the time travellers Tony and Doug appear before him and after several blasts the two appear, standing stiff, in the tunnel mouth! The tunnel never looked better and it seems very big and imposing, impressive. The complex is well lit in this story and during the last few episodes it was not as dark a place, allowing us to see more of its wonderful design. The man, calling himself Merlin, smiles, "Welcome gentlemen. Welcome home." End of cliffhanger. The teaser goes on to have the being, Merlin, claim he is soon to be the court magician to one Arthur Pendragon and he presses Tony and Doug into service--they are needed to help Arthur shape Camelot. He tells them they will do whatever he asks and that they must rely on their own wits and future intellect to help the far past...they may not succeed but he will do what he can to make sure they do. He bids them goodbye and sends them back into the vortex; then tells Ann, Ray, and Kirk he will meet them again and he vanishes. Ann, Ray, Kirk, and the others in the complex can now move again. Ray finishes his statement which was stopped by Merlin. They reverse polarity and when they do they think it was that which made Tony and Doug unfreeze in the vortex, the pair landing near rocks, almost hitting them. Tony points to a castle near the coast. Doug figures they are a long way back, Tony--the Middle Ages of earlier. Two Vikings rush into the glade, one with a spear, the other with a torch and shield.
As Act one opens, the two men fight the two Vikings and we see a rare long shot from overhead, one of many well filmed fight sequences in this episode, much better than those in THE KIDNAPPERS. Next, after this brief interlude, a freeze frame image holds on the Viking raising his torch at Doug and we see the titles. Tony gets the spear from the Viking he is fighting and wards him off, as Doug does the same to his Viking. Next, a younger man with long dark hair comes out of the forest to them, holding them at sword point. Tony warns him that he will run him through with the spear if the man doesn't put away his sword. He tells the man they come from America which Arthur wonders if it exists in his terms. Doug answers, "We're beginning to wonder." Doug goes on to tell him he and Tony want no part of his fight against these raiding Vikings when Arthur tells them they are good warriors. Arthur calls them cowards and rushes them but Merlin appears from thin air and makes Tony and Doug pledge to Arthur. Tony feels as if he knows who this magician is. Merlin is gone when they turn back to ask him something. They move through the forest.
The tunnel staff watch on the image screen. They need 15 minutes for power build up. Ann gets the coast of Cornwall, England, the 6th Century, 544 AD. Arthur tells them his castle, his father's castle once before Wogan killed him, is held by Vikings. They need to get it back. Two Vikings attack them! More run into the forest area where they have stopped for the moment. Five or six more Vikings rush in. One with a hugely big hat with over large horns, watches the battle with glee. One Viking uses a knife to try to stab Arthur from behind as he beats another Viking down but Tony stabs the Viking down. Doug gets a sword from one Viking, fighting one after another. He doesn't get time to use the sword...another Viking stabs him in the area of the heart and he falls. This scene is shocking as it is unexpected and Doug appears to fall and die.
Two sidenotes here: Vikings did not wear horns or horned helmets so the episode is not correct on this. Not all Vikings were blond, blue eyed, muscular giants but most of them were fair complexioned. On this count the episode is correct. Vikings wore round or pointed caps of leather or heavy cloth. Later, these would be metal. Standard equipment: the helmet, shield, and some type of hand weapon. While the axe was most prominent among the Vikings, the sword was his favorite and this shows in the episode. Vikings used longbows from 1400 BC so the episode will score high for that. They also used throwing spears. Most Vikings wore no armor other than their everyday clothes. Viking helmets never had horns, wings, or any other projecting decoration. The Celts of the Iron Age did use horned, winged, and crested helmets. Vikings sometimes wore nasals. Most Viking sources claim the raids of Vikings on Europe began in the year 793 and went on to 1347. It is not impossible other attacks and raids occurred before this recorded history but in the episode, Kirk seems to say that in the history research he's found that Viking raiders were very common in 544! Wogan's name does not appear in any historical references I've checked but that doesn't mean he didn't exist. His name suggests the names of Odin--Voden, Woden, Wotan, and Wuotan. At least one source mentions they are similar, Odin and Wotan but that Wotan is only interested in war and death, killing and having killed. Odin had other interests so they may have not been the same.
The other note is the existence of King Arthur and when. Perhaps it is easier to start with Guinevere, the daughter of King Leodegrance of Cameliard in the mythic saga derived from the literature version of Arthur. Her marriage to Arthur was said to be one of political convenience and she first arrived at Arthur's court at 16. For some reason in the episode, Guinevere has not yet met Arthur or known who he is. It seems Merlin and Doug are the reason she becomes involved with Arthur. The other version of Guinevere and Arthur comes from what historians figure may be the real King Arthur. In any event, the historic Arthur appears to have died in the Battle of Camlann in 537 BC. The literary, mythic Arthur was proposed to ahve died in 463 AD. Either way, the timeline in MERLIN THE MAGICIAN is off; however the timelines of historians, literary scholars studying the poems and stories of Arthur are admittedly off and are at best, only best estimates. Thus, the episode can be forgiven for this. Galahad joined the Round Table, supposedly in 454 AD and that made the round table complete. Arthur's father is supposedly named Uther Pendragon but was raised by Merlin and Sir Ector of the Forest Sauvage, raised as the son of Ector. More on all of this later.
It is difficult to hear what is said but it sounds like Arthur and Wogan discuss Uther or Ector (sounds more like Uther) when speaking of how Wogan killed his father in cold blood and took over the castle. Wogan laughs at Arthur calling him the young man who roars like a lion. Wogan's hat is really ridiculous and it is a testimony to the actor Vincent Beck that he makes Wogan so menacing even with such a silly hat (the boys on MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER would have a field day with this hat).
Ray and Ann lead a stunned silence in the tunnel complex in 1968. Technicians, other scientists (at least one or two are females), and engineers gather round, all quiet at what they have just seen--what they tell a returning Kirk---Doug is dead. They saw him run through by a Viking sword and his body was dragged away. The fix is lost now that Tony and Doug are separated. Ann just stands there wondering what difference it makes now that Doug is dead. Kirk puts his arm on her and orders her to snap out of it and do a probe for Tony--Tony is still alive! She nods and walks out of the tunnel. Kirk tells Ray about his report--in the 6th Century in England there were feudal kings and constant Viking raids and they have landed Tony and Doug right in the middle of it. Ray murmurs it probably cost them their lives. Kirk tries to steady Ray, "Ray, I know how you feel, I feel the same way myself. Don't write off either Tony or Doug just yet. We still might be able to save them."
Ray comments it would take a miracle. Kirk replies, "It's something of a miracle that they're back there in the first place." Ray forces a smile, "I suppose it is." Ann gets a signal and they see Tony chained to a stone wall by one wrist. He tries to reach a torch and sweating and pulling on the chain, he gets it, burning the chain holding him. He uses the hay laying around in the chamber to start a small fire. He calls the guard in and hides. Why didn't the guard look in at where Tony was supposed to be chained up? Didn't he wonder who started the fire? Tony wraps the chain around his hand (I think it is still around his wrist). He readies it to attack the guard from behind.
Act Two opens with Tony fighting the man, ultimately pushing the face of the man into a barrel of water or some other liquid. Arthur is unconscious, hanging by both his wrists in another cell, his shirt and overcoat tunic off. Kirk, Ann, Ray, and the others watch as they see him. Kirk mentions the once and future king. Ray reminds him that there never was a real King Arthur (some modern day historians disagree) and that Arthur was just a myth, a fairy tale. Kirk once again mentions a miracle. Ray scoffs, "We've no time for romantic nonsense." Despite Ann and Ray's misgivings over Doug, the want to switch Tony away now. Kirk wants to be sure about Doug before they do that. Ann and Ray claim they saw him killed. Ann would like nothing more than to start the ordered probe for Doug but knows better--he is dead. Kirk orders her to do it. Ray tells her, "Better follow orders," as she looks at them both. Ann says, "Yes sir," to Ray. A note on the tunnel--it looks better than ever and it activates, the sensor sounds singing out (the sound effect which is used as the radiation belts seen in LOST IN SPACE's HUNTER'S MOON, THE GHOST PLANET, and THE FLAMING PLANET among others). Shocked, the others react with excitement, it can only mean Doug is still alive somehow.
Doug awakens in another castle or fort. He sees a girl in a light blue dress and headpiece--Guinevere. Merlin is there also and he explains he found Doug's body where they put it and brought him here. Doug wonders how--Merlin left the forest before the fight. Merlin tells him it is one of his trade secrets--how he found Doug. Merlin orders Guinevere to get him some new clothes and when she refuses--he must rest--she claims the wound was nearly mortal--Merlin shows her he is well. He stares deeply into Doug's eyes and orders him to sit up. Doug does and finds out his wound is gone and there is no pain at all. Merlin orders the girl, "Well, go, girl, go." Doug is indebted to Merlin--who explains he knows all about the future. Merlin tells Doug his name as he vanishes in front of Doug...from the feet up and slowly. Doug, who has seen vanishings, is stunned as this vanishing is slower and Merlin's body vanishes from bottom up...his neck and head the last thing to vanish. This makes for a nice change from the usual pop ins and outs common to this series and to this episode in particular (as well as PIRATES OF DEADMAN'S ISLAND). The vanishing reminds me of a few used sometimes on BEWITCHED (especially the episode with her leprechaun cousin Edgar and almost any time Esmerelda gets nervous and vanishes slowly).
Tony, quite the Conan the barbarian in this episode, chokes a Viking guard from behind with the chain, dunking his face into another barrel of water (quite handy these barrels, eh?), forcing him to tell him where Arthur's cell is--it is on the right hand side. Tony lets the man drop and then takes his clothes. Using the ever ready chain, Tony hits the other guard down and opens the door, getting Arthur down, waking him, and getting his overcoat. Arthur tells of a secret room and Tony brings him to it--it is behind a piece of the wall that moved open. Another Viking watched them go inside. In this episode, it seems there are very many Vikings about---which is as it should be.
At Guinevere's father's castle, knights practice sword fighting and it seems to be daytime again...although almost all the 544 scenes seem to be very dark, making this past age seem all the more remote. It is one of the furthest times Tony and Doug have gone to. Actually this time they were sent by Merlin, not the tunnel. The girl tells Doug of Tony and Arthur's capture. Her father doesn't have enough knights to rescue them and the castle is several (seven ?) leagues south. Doug tells Guinevere to stay. The fix on Doug is perfect. Ann and Ray talk of miracles over Doug's reviving. For the record, I suspect he was dead...Merlin used his power to revive...resurrect him. I could have sworn I actually saw this scene at one time..perhaps on the TV movie version...I just thought I recalled Merlin in the forest reviving Doug and then moving him via magic but I guess this is not so. I have checked two versions of the aired episode version and have not found such a scene. Kirk, Ann, and Ray discuss holding a fix on Doug while trying to establish one on Tony--they've never done this before but they try it. Ann tries to stabilize the fix on Tony. Tony and Arthur rest and talk, Arthur revealing he is Arthur Pendragon. They get a good fix on Tony and prepare to switch him and Doug at the same time. When Kirk order the transfer, Merlin's voice says, "No!" Merlin appears and orders them not to. Kirk orders Ann to do it and she tries but a blast from the console knocks her out of her seat. Kirk questions Merlin as Ray helps Ann up. Merlin doesn't want to quibble...he hasn't time for it...the longer he spends here debating, the chances Tony and Doug will die increase. The techs (again a few are female) in the background watch in astonishment. Merlin gets Kirk to answer who the General is and almost what he is in charge of but Kirk, in a semi humorous fashion, stops himself, realizing Merlin almost made him talk. Merlin seems to wait for Kirk to finish.
A word on Chris Cary. He makes a splendid Merlin and is so many things: mysterious, humorous, sarcastic, menacing, magical, commanding, almost friendly (calling Ann young lady at one point), and utterly charming. It is difficult, even to this day, to think of anyone who would make a better Merlin--and many have tried in films like EXCALIBER and others and many of these actors have come close and put their own interpretation on Merlin but none have come close to Cary's performance and presence..a delightful mix. He makes this episode, not bad in acts one through three, much better than it should have been. It is also a very talky episode. Despite being a proponent of the tunnel complex scenes, the ones here are a bit overlong and talky. Cary saves these scenes and for once, Ray gets a bit more to do.
Kirk asks Merlin more questions. The black caped magician says, "I deal in history before the fact. Certain things are written down in the pages of prophecy--it's my job to give them a little nudge towards fulfillment." This sounds a bit like the VOYAGERS! opening line of character time traveller Phineaus Bogg. VOYAGERS! is another excellent time travel series, a bit like THE TIME TUNNEL but different in as many ways as it is similar. Kirk responds, more friendly now, "We're very much in the same business. Certain things are written down in the pages of history. It's my job to see that they're not changed." Ann challenges Merlin to stop them from switching Tony and Doug. He points at her and moves at her, telling her with magic and that he is a powerful wizard. Ray moves in front of Ann, protectively, telling Merlin that he and Ann don't believe in magic. Merlin laughs, telling him that the 20th Century is the very heyday of magic. To convince Ray of his power in magic, Merlin waves his hand and makes Ray vanish!
Act Three starts as Ann wanders around the room, calling for "Dr. Swain." Music from the pilot is heard. Merlin tells Kirk that the man is still with them. He makes Ray visible again--Ray is standing on one of the consoles. Ann asks Ray if he is hurt as she and another tech (in a blue Seaview uniform) help him down. Ray seems to take this with a temper, answering her, "Of course not!" Merlin sits down in the console chair as the three talk with him, they are standing. He tells them he needs Tony and Doug. Magic can only accomplish so much, after that it takes the energies of ordinary mortals dedicated to a cause. Ray tells Merlin, "We'll shift them in spite of you." Merlin utters a friendly warning, "Don't." With that he vanishes and the tech talk and react.
The spying guard leads Wogan and other Vikings to the secret wall hideout. They rush in and six swords soon face Arthur and Tony. Guinevere has followed Doug into the woods. She wants to warn him of the many raiding parties in the forests, seemingly unaware he planned to leave the castle at all. She wants to show him a better way to get to the castle where Tony and Arthur are being held. As they talk, Doug planning to get her back to her father's castle, they hear a Viking horn blowing. A Viking holds Guinevere as another attacks Doug. Another arrives. Doug kicks both down but more arrive and capture him, surrounding him. The tunnel personnel watch as they are taken away. Kirk tells Ray and Ann to switch Tony and Doug now. Ann doesn't want to, she tells Ray, "Ray, I'm just not sure." Ray tells them Merlin was just a fake magician using mass hypnosis. Kirk isn't so certain but Ray is, telling them it is the only scientific explanation. Well, now. Where did Ray think this fake magician came from, how he knew about the tunnel, made him invisible, moved him, and vanished several times himself? And for what purpose would a fake magician attack the tunnel with mass hypnosis...a foreign spy? Ray wasn't having a good day here. He tries to switch them but a major blast knocks him flat on his face. Ann yells, "Oh, Ray," and Kirk checks him. Ann asks, "He's not..." Kirk tells her no but she must get help for him. Ann runs for help as two female technicians watch.
Tony and Arthur each have both their wrists held up by wooden shackles hanging from the ceiling. Doug is brought in, punches, and also shackled in the same way. Guinevere is brought to Wogan and she calls him, "The Viking butcher." He smiles at her, "I'm honored." They talk and he is sly and cunning, slimy in his words and looks. He has other plans for her as he explains while taking a knife and sticking it in a table and then pulling it out again, fingering it. When he is king of England, he will barter her off to some powerful young nobleman to ally that man with himself. Why should a Viking care about that? He seems to just take what he wants by force with his army or is it crew? He must first crush all resistance in England. She claims he will never be king. He cuts her ropes and warns her not to try to escape--she can't. He tells her to make herself comfortable.
Tony awakens and sees Doug, "It is you. I thought I was dreaming." They talk. Tony doesn't feel the time tunnel will be able to switch them...they would have already done that if they could. Doug feels Merlin is their only hope. Tony is more doubtful, more negative, taking on the role Doug usually supplied in the earlier episodes, "Merlin's no friend of ours, he's the one who got us into this." Doug ponders out loud, "Is he good or is he evil?" This silly statement nevertheless gives us another reason to like this interpretation of Merlin: we don't know if he is good or evil. He certainly isn't totally evil or totally good. He seems to be working for himself...using everyone involved and isn't very nice to Guinevere. Wogan comes in with a bowman and another Viking. The later throws water on Arthur to wake him up. Arthur and Doug tell Wogan their is resistance--Guinevere's father. Wogan just laughs this off, "A handful of pretty knights. I hope they come soon." He orders the bowman to kill all three of them. This is what villains should always do. The BATMAN villains constantly capture their enemies Batman and Robin (and sometimes Batgirl in the 3rd season) and never just straightforward shoot them or kill them. The Bond villains also had this problem. Not Wogan--he orders them killed here and now, or is it then and there? But what does the oaf do? He walks out and takes the Viking with him! As the bowman aims at Arthur, Tony asks Doug, "Where's your Merlin now?" Doug was sure he'd appear to help. The bowman shoots Arthur in the lower chest and Arthur's head lowers as he dies! Another shocking scene, not just for its violence (a lot of that in this episode), but for its unexpected value. It is a wake up call.
The less interesting act four follows as Tony is aimed at next. He looks right at the bowman. Merlin appears, frightening the bowman. Tony tells Merlin, "You're a little late." Merlin puts time in reverse, pointing at Arthur, making lightning occur. The arrow comes out of Arthur and goes back out and onto the floor. The bowman runs out. Merlin bemoans the fact, "I didn't want to put time into reverse--I've already violated every rule in the book." He makes their shackles vanish, telling them he's used up almost all his magic and can only perform one more feat for some time to come. Somethings, he goes on, must be done by men (well, then, what is he?). He mentions the future, prompting Arthur to ask what they know about the future after Merlin once more vanishes. Tony and Doug avoid this and find thumb screws (used for torture) and a metal barrel of water (?) or some other liquid. They attach the lid of the some barrel using the thumb screws and then placing it against the door, light it with the torch. As they discuss what they will do next, the pot heats up and acts like a pressure cooker with no release valve--blowing the door outward. Doug wants to rescue Guinevere but Arthur wants to stay with the castle and retake it. Tony wonders how with only three of them. Tony tells Doug to go get Guinevere's father's men--calling him something like Artigan or something like that...Darren seems to be murmuring, mumbling, or whispering his way through this episode. Arthur knows a way Doug can get out.
At complex, Kirk comes back from behind the tunnel and the infirmary, telling Ann Ray has had a severe electrical shock but is better. The doctor gave him a sedative and he will keep him resting there in the infirmary. Ann laments it is her fault she feels, "I should never have let him touch those controls." Ann wonders what they will do now that they've lost the image. Kirk has ordered emergency electronics experts to go over all the controls.
We see the darker castle as Tony hides waiting for Arthur's return. Eight or more Vikings run by and he ducks behind a wall. In this episode it does seem as if there are hundreds of Vikings about...to its credit. Arthur returns to Tony who wasn't sure it was him and not another Viking. He's found Guinevere's room, it is heavily guarded but he knows yet another secret way! Considering what the last few have gotten them into...anyhow, Doug leads the prim and pretty (by Wogan's standards I mean) knights (all three or four of them) toward the castle and he gives them orders! Merlin is suddenly there (no appearance this time and it is refreshing to just have him standing there instead). He calls the men of Guinevere's father--the men of King Vulacan or something...no one can say this man's name clearly or correctly. Vikings only fear other Vikings, Merlin gets what he calls an inspired thought from this and makes Doug and the man next to him into Vikings. He also makes the other two men Vikings. This was the last miracle he had saved up: storm the castle with Vikings. We hear more JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH music as he does this. Does Doug feel his face because its suppose to be grizzled or was that just in the script or what? The other men, the knights, also get beards and new Viking clothes...or from the raggy look of them...old Viking clothes. Merlin is out of miracles...now it is up to Doug.
We don't see from where or how, but Tony and Arthur sneak up to the rafters of the tower top. They have a brief fight with the two Vikings guarding the top of the tower. Arthur takes one's sword, Tony knocks the sword out of the other's hand and punches him. Arthur stabs the man he is fighting through the belly; Tony kicks his man and as the man runs at him, he and Arthur work together to toss him over the top of the protective wall. In stock footage fashion, the Viking flies off the tower and falls down to his death, screaming. No one heard? Arthur climbs down a rope which Tony holds and he goes into window that is Guinevere. The fall of the Viking and the far shots of climbing down the tower come from stock footage (most likely PRINCE VALIANT). Guinevere asks who Arthur is. Why she doesn't know him is not explained, yet she knew of the way to the castle. Arthur, curtesy of more stock footage, climbs back up to Tony. Tony was watching the hundreds of torches heading their way, held by Doug and Vikings...guess they wanted to be seen as they made their way to the secret attack. Hmmmmm. The parade of torches is more stock from VALIANT. While the first three acts only used brief establishing shots of stock footage--mostly exteriors of the castles, act four more than makes up for it by the extreme use of stock footage. Arthur tells Tony that Guinevere is beautiful and frightened and he should like to get to know her better. Tony comments, "You will." He gives the signal using the torch he has (no one else saw?). He and Arthur leave. The stabbed Viking is apparently only wounded and he crawls over to the horn and blows it, alerting the other Vikings to arms. Tony, in the halls, hides as the other Vikings run past. Many Vikings prepare (more stock) and the other Vikings outside begin to batter the gates down. The gates closing, the attack on the castle, the reprisals from the walls of the castle, and other shots are all stock. No sign of Doug as the Vikings from Prince Valiant prepare a battering ram, are burned when hot oil is dropped on them, etc.
A call to arms distract Wogan, who confronts Tony and Guinevere in the hallway near an arch. Tony uses the torch to knock Wogan's shield down from his hand and Tony grabs it up when Wogan attacks him with his sword. Wogan takes the shield away but Tony uses the fallen torch. Tony gets the fallen sword just as Wogan rushes him (with a knife upraised) and Tony holds the sword up and runs Wogan through the chest. This episode must rank as one of the most violent and Tony commits most of the violence! We hear more LAST WAGON music as the dates closed, the battering ram is used, and there is also music from PRINCE VALIANT. Vikings from Merlin break through the wall despite hot oil being dropped on them, igniting many of them to death.
Kirk runs into the complex and tells Ann the circuits are safe now. She hesitantly tries the controls and gets a fix on the boys (as General Kirk calls them). Tony and Doug wave to Arthur who is in the courtyard with Guinevere in a nice set. Old King Luigan is giving Arthur the hand of Guinevere in marriage to Arthur and as part of the dowry he is giving them a large round table. Merlin says, "Things do have a way of sort of working themselves out." What a hoot! He worked them out mostly and then when he couldn't--he used Doug and Tony to! He tells the pair of time travellers that Arthur will make them the first knights of the Round Table. The vanish and Merlin tilts his head in thought as we hear a brief bit of goofy LOST IN SPACE music (circa the second year--?). He says, "The age of miracles has just begun."
CLIFFHANGER: Ann, Ray, and Kirk watch a lot of static on the screen. They are getting interference but from channels they never use--one hundred to infinity. Another tech is sitting at the console to Ann's left. We also see another female technician working in the background. As Ray wants a check run, calling for it, a blast of light and smoke occurs, after which a silver suited man with a glass dome over his head appears! He points to Ann, "I have come for you." Music used during this sequence is chock full of the great JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH music by Bernard Herrman. The being moves at Ann; Kirk touches him and falls from an electric shock field and the being then shoots some type of laser from his medallion which is worn around his neck and makes a guard who attacked him fall (dead?). Later, Kirk asks the other guards to take him to the infirmary just after the being vanishes with Ann in his arms---after touching her and electrifying her, also after tossing Ray aside--who was trying to protect Ann. Kirk recovers and Ray tells him Ann is gone, calling him General as he usually does. Ray also makes himself useful by finding a metal object OTT dropped when Ann grabbed at him to try to free herself. They looks it over, thinking it reminds them of their computer data processing cards (and for 1968 this is correct---computers were all on cards with punch holes in them and tied together with rubber bands and run through computers separately!) only this one is alien as it is metal. Kirk figures if they put it into their computer it might give them the coordinates to where the creature took Ann---and Kirk figures they can send Tony and Doug there to help get her back! As Ray puts it into the machine he says, "I hope this doesn't jam the machine." This is the least exciting cliffhanger.
Riothamus is from Rigotamos, the name meaning Supreme King, roughly. It is the name which a British Commander of the 5th Century is known to European historians of the Middle Ages. There is no doubt of his reality as documented by three historians and a poet. This man whose real name may have been Artorius was preceded by Vortigern as king. This Vortigern was also the same one who preceded Arthur in the mythic Arthurian legends. Vortigern hired Saxon mercenaries to help Briton repel other Saxons and Pictish invasion. The king then defaulted on his payment to them and the Saxons attacked England somewhere in the year 454. Evidence suggests Artorius Riothamus married the daughter of Vortigern in 454 and succeeded his father in law to the throne and within years, organized the Britons into a full army and navy. Medraut, A deputy betrayed Riothamus to the Visigoths and he and his men fled to Burgundy--heading for the French city of Avallon. Somewhere between the battlefield and the French city of Avallon, Riothamus vanished from history. The hill fort at South Cadbury is now considered to the prime candidate for the real Camelot. Simple leather jerkins and scale mail using bronze scales over a leather coat were the only available forms of armor in England in the 5th Century. Some may have had Roman mail or chain; also bronze or iron helms were also used. Cornwall, Cadbury, and Camelot all seem to be within the same area in all sources so the episode's use of Cornwall is appropriate. However this Arthur lived in the 400s not the 500s as the episode Arthur lived in the year 544 and was only just beginning his career and adventures! By 537 both Arthur of the literature and Arthur of the history (Riothamus) appear to have been killed. The nearest real life history has for Guinevere has to be Guenhumara who paid lip service to Christianity but respected the old gods, modeled as a warrior woman, not unlike the classic Celtic Queen Boudicca. By Celtic custom she could take any lover at will; writers of the Middle Ages distorted this into an adulterous queen who betrayed the King. She was Artorius Riothamus's only legitimate way to the throne. Arthur of the movies seems to have been transplanted to a much later date, usually the 10th Century, say 500 years after events were really supposed to have happened. The mythic Arthur of the literature did succeed Vortigern and also as the real Arthur--Riothamus had, had a general named Aurelius Ambrosius but Aurelius was the enemy of Vortigern. Vortigern died when Aurelius's troops set fire to the castle he was held up in with his troops. Aurelius was poisoned by a surviving son of Vortigern. Uther, Arthur's father, succeeds Aurelius as king. Under false cover, Uther poses as husband of Igraine, lays with her, and conceives Arthur--who is promised to Merlin who takes him to raise him with Sir Ector of Sauvage. Guinevere is born in 397, daughter to someone named Leodegrance. On the same day, her twin half sister is born to the wife of Leodegrance's seneschal (an official in the household of a Medieval prince or noble, having charge of feasts or a steward or major domo or a religious minister). From there the saga goes on and on and is quite exciting. To be fair to the TIME TUNNEL version, it would take a maxi series to do full justice to the Arthur legend (EXCALIBER came close to perfection but it was still too short and left a lot out). Arthur in this episode is played flat and is quite boring--even when next to Tony and Doug! Jim McMullen had to wear a wig and getup to look like Prince Valiant at times and this didn't hinder anything, it was just that his portrayal is boring. Merlin was handled much better. Also, Vikings as the enemy seems a bit off--see Viking notes above. Again, it is not impossible Vikings did land in England as early as 544 or even in the 400s but historical records don't show this. When all is said and done, this episode is a lot more enjoyable than THE REVENGE OF ROBIN HOOD with less emphasis in the first three acts on stock footage, a bit more logical (well, it is) if a bit talky in the tunnel scenes--not to mention the scenes of Tony and Arthur talking, Guinevere and Wogan talking, Guin and Doug talking, Tony-Arthur-and Doug talking while waiting for the door to blow up, etc. In any event, it could have been far worse. For worse results, check out DOCTOR WHO-BATTLEFIELD and other DOCTOR WHOs which dabble with but never confront the Arthur legend.