Part 1: The Anti-Lucas
After watching the first of my three tapes in fast-forward, stopping at any Merlyn scenes, here's part one (Pilot - SAOTL). The rest will come tomorrow (I've only got up to PS on tape, as a friend of mine has borrowed the last tape so I'll do the rest from memory). I've done general musings at the top and then specific questions from the episodes at the bottom.
There's no doubting that Merlyn had a miserable life, and when you stop and think why, there's a simple answer - Lucas Buck. As far as we can tell, Merlyn was a perfectly normal child with a happy life prior to Lucas's 'interventions'. As a direct result of his actions, she loses her mother, the ability to speak and express herself (due to the trauma), and parental love (note how Gage treats her as an inconvenience and note also the state of Chez Temple during the rape flashback scene compared with Caleb's birthday scene). Oh, and her life as well. (Almost forgot that minor point).
Merlyn is probably the most frustrating character to analyse in there are a couple of episodes and events which seem to contradict much of what we know about her. I'll get into this more in part 2, but why does she act completely out of character in PS, showing a mean streak which gains her nothing and lacking her judgement, which normally is so good.? (What I mean by that last part is that if you observe, she always manages to vary her approach to stir people into action - Ben needs a shock and a half to get off his arse and do anything, hence her actions in EOYLG, Lucas needs to realise her increasing powers in ROF and taking Gail seems to make him feel vulnerable (note she is not so mean as not to return her AGain) and in DIYD she doesn't moan on at Caleb over the tornado chamber, she simply mentions her disappointment then leaves to let him consider his actions) Injuring people and making Harvard go nuts achieves nothing. This just doesn't fit with the Merlyn we know (and in some cases, love) The other great out-of-character bit relates to her powers. From the very start onwards, she grows more and more of a threat to Lucas. Her ability to borrow a body and become 'human' increases her powers massively, as she can now be seen by everyone (used in Rebirth, Inhumanitas, EOYLG to name a few). In ROF and particularly Inhumanitas, we see her gain abilities which are seemingly on a par with Lucas's and for the first times we see him rattled and worried. After this, she seems to lose abilities rather than building on the advantage she's got. AGain in EOYLG she seems to be increasing in power, only to dwindle straight afterwards.
Pilot - Can't feel anything.
In many senses, Merlyn is the anti-Lucas. Whereas he is the personification of everything wrong with Trinity (great on the surface, but something evil lurking), she is the personification of simple small town values and treats family and truth as being of great importance.
I know many of you disagree, but I consider Lucas and Merlyn to be the same 'type' of entity. It would have been interesting as the show went on to see how powerful she became relative to Lucas. If Lucas is essentially the same (they can both appear and vanish, and can 'morph'), the majority of his advantage over her is due to experience and knowledge. As her experience increased, how powerful could she be? The mortals of Trinity always seem doomed to fail in their attempts to bring him down. Maybe they need a ghost come from the grave to stop him. (NB all the above could be negated depending on how you interpret the final scene of Requiem - more tomorrow)
She denies being either an angel or a ghost. 'I'm your family'. What does she mean by this?
Why of all the people in Trinity does she lead Caleb to Loris? Probably the anyone but Lucas theory
Why does she kill PB, or at least allow him to die? (same applies to Sol) She keeps bemoaning her lack of life and missing the little joys it gave her, even in her disabled state. Given this, why does she then say of PB's death 'there are worse things that could happen'? Was she hoping he'd become an ally? She surely wasn't just trying to ease his misery as he actually seemed quite happy.
Caleb thanks Merlyn for her help with the scream, but did she really help him? It seems to be a similar outburst to the Albert-killer in Strangler, which she is fearful of (for the sake of Caleb's soul)