Having ended on a bit of a downer, the execution breaks up, and Merlin strides up to a couple of guards asking where he can find Gaius the court physician. He gets an awesome grunt and thumb-jerk in response, and he enters the door they're guarding, which apparently doesn't really need to be guarded very well, or else they would have asked for his identification, or maybe searched his backpack. He enters, follows the sign with the arrow that says "Court Physician" (could have used one of those outside, huh?) and enters a barn-like office with a lot of bubbling potions on the main table. Seeing a man on a very narrow balcony browsing a bookshelf, he asks, "Gaius?" Gaius promptly turns to see who it is and goes straight through the flimsy railing. As he falls, Merlin panics, and we close up on his eye as he slows Gaius' fall to "end of Die Hard" speed, then magically drags Gaius' not-terribly-impressive bed over to break his fall. (Seriously, shouldn't the king's doctor have a nicer bed, maybe one that's not in his office? And maybe some magazines?)
Gaius lands with a gasp, and promptly asks how Merlin did that. Merlin tries to deny he had anything to do with it, but Gaius asks him where he learned it, and Merlin finally says he was born this way. Voila! Instant confidant! Thanks, Show, for making that so quick and painless. Gaius says that's impossible, and asks who he is. Merlin whips out his letter of reference, and Gaius realizes he's the son of a friend, but he isn't sure what day it is. As Merlin looks over the city, and then sleeps, Gaius reads the letter, which is Merlin's mom asking for his help in training Merlin. We see Merlin's mom writing it in flashback, and she doesn't look like the stupidest person on Earth. But how else would you explain her sending her magical son to a kingdom that's punished magic with death for 20 years?
King Giles approaches the girl from the window, and asks why she's not coming to the feast. She says killing somebody is no cause for a celebration, and he tells her she doesn't know what it was like 20 years ago, and the law is necessary. As her legal guardian, he orders her to greet Lady Helen, the kingdom's finest singer, who must have just been invited, since the festivities were announced that day.
In the woods, a party of the king's men mills around a tent containing Lady Helen, who's played by Eve Myles, a.k.a. Gwen Cooper from Torchwood! Her casting, plus King Giles, plus the freaky-deaky weirdness the opening credits promise equals win. Sadly, she's just a guest star, as she hears noises outside while she's humming. Her guard reassures her, but then goes to investigate something in the woods, and the Collins mother calmly strolls into her tent and kills Helen by stabbing a pigeon a few times. She then uses her pendant to take on Lady Helen's appearance, and that's when I realize that Eve Myles is playing old lady Collins, too. That's why they went with the old-lady makeup instead of an actual old woman! Not sure why they felt that was necessary, but hey, more Eve Myles (not that I knew it was her or anything). "Helen" looks in her hand mirror, and sees old Mrs. Collins. Gah!