Sunday, November 8, 2015

Once Upon a Time 5.07: "Nimue"

“It’s easier to live with the darkness when you dress it up as vengeance.”
- Merlin

This week is kind of make or break it for Emma. The gang is going to try to put Excalibur back together in Camelot (and also in Storybrooke) but it is going to take a dangerous journey. Merlin says he and Emma need to make a trip to get the fire from Prometheus and it will require confronting the original Dark One (who I am still convinced is Merlin’s lover). Either they will succeed or Emma goes dark and kills Merlin. No pressure (and Hook needs to just calm down already). We had endure Hook getting all lovey dovey on Emma before she goes. He gifts her a ring.

We are also getting some interesting backstory on Merlin. We first meet him as a runaway slave 1,000 years before Arthur even comes along. He and another slave are running through the desert when they spot a chalice in the distance. Merlin asks permission to drink and he isn’t destroyed like his friend (it seems it is similar to how Excalibur chooses people to pull it out). He also discovers he has magic. We then catch up with him 200 years later and he meets young Nimue. For some reason he can’t see her future. A few years later, Merlin wants to propose but he sees an obstacle. His magic is from the Holy Grail and he can’t see a way to let Nimue drink from it. But he’s got another option. They forge the grail into a sword that can cut away his magic and they can be married and live normal lives. And it looks like I might wrong that she is the original Dark One (since we see the masked being watching them run off). They get to Nimue’s village and they find that the street is full of cups. Merlin realizes that the bad guy was looking for the grail. Nimue gets angry about the whole loss of her village and she rants a bit about what she would do with magic but Merlin reminds her they already made their decision and they need to get going. They finally reach the fire and Merlin forges the sword but the bad guy shows up and ultimately kills Nimue. Or so we think. She drank from the grail while Merlin was casting the detection spell. She ends up ripping out the guy’s heart and despite Merlin begging, she crushes the guy’s heart and became the first Dark One. We see the flame go out and she breaks the sword to keep Merlin from cutting away either of their magic away. Poor Merlin.

While Merlin and Emma head off to find the spark, the rest of the Charmings are trying to plot their infiltration of the castle to secure Excalibur. It’s Zelena who has a plan that won’t get them caught. It’s a little used tunnel. Unfortunately, Arthur’s paranoia is gotten to the point he’s willing to use crazy magic to melt our heroes! Hook, Regina, Robin and Charming sneak into the castle and avoid getting caught, at first. Outside, Zelena bests Snow (she is seriously turned into an idiot!).

Out in the forest, Emma admits that she’s done some bad things including hurting Henry, just in time for them to go climb a really big hill to find the spark. Now all Merlin has to worry about is whether he comes down or not. Emma has to use the Dark One dagger to call forth the spirit of the first Dark One. Apparently the fire went out when the Dark One took it and keeps it in an ember. Emma gives herself a little pep talk as she summons the spirit. And it turns out I was right after all! Nimue is the original Dark One! Things look pretty tense for a bit there when Emma uses her magic (although it looks like Nimue is forcing her to do it) to take out Merlin. She even chokes him out while Nimue taunts her about taking in the darkness to avoid going back to being nothing. Emma rails against this and declares quite violently that she was never nothing and doesn’t need the power. She retrieves the ember from Nimue but the old Dark One promises that the sword that will be forged doesn’t have just one purpose and one day Emma will need Nimue again and she will be there.

As Emma and Merlin head back to Camelot to reunite the sword and the dagger, Zelena betrays the group and allows Arthur to bind Merlin’s soul to the rest of Excalibur. At least Arthur doesn’t force Merlin to kill anyone. That’s good at least. But Arthur is still power mad and a lunatic. He and Zelena are quite well made for each other. I still don’t know how Emma is going to go all the way dark but I guess we will find out soon (we are rapidly running out of episodes on this arc of the season).

Back in Storybrooke, we find Emma in her cave with the two pieces of the sword. She’s ready to do what she’s been planning but first she gets to be joined not only by Rumple and Nimue but every other Dark One ever. I guess she can’t really ever be alone with her thoughts as the Dark One, eh? Anyway, she uses the spark, succeeding in re-forging the sword. She hesitates and remembers Merlin’s warning to her as a girl in the movie theater but Nimue and Rumple convince her to take up the power it represents so they can cut away the light forever. Oh Emma, you really should have listened to Merlin. This is not going to end well. Although I have a feeling by the end of this arc she won’t be the Dark One anymore. At least that’s my guess. I could be completely wrong since the last three seasons have had fairly distinct arcs that don’t entirely tie in to one another.

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