Nimue’s personality was finally revealed in last Sunday’s episode of “Once Upon A Time.” But if fans thought Nimue’s appearance will finally answer their many questions, tsk, tsk, they were oh-so-wrong. If any, the latest episodes only raised more questions that might or might not be answered in next Sunday’s two-hour special.
Before we list down the top five questions we think should be addressed in the upcoming two-parter episode, let us walk you down last Sunday’s episode.
Titled “Nimue,” the episode started in present-day Storybrooke. The Dark Swan (Jennifer Morrison) gets another visit from Dark Rumplestiltskin’s vision, egging her on about the beauty of the Excalibur. He explains, “Its much more than power, dearie. It’s history. Excalibur’s promise was born eons ago. And now, it’s time for that promise to be fulfilled.”
Then everything cuts to a deserted place (which everyone later finds out was some 500 years ago), with Merlin (Elliot Knight) and an unknown companion running towards what was initially thought of as a mirage. They come closer and find that it’s a “gift from the gods.” A water-filled chalice, the unnamed companion tries to drink from it. He turns into ashes, which should have scared Merlin but it didn’t. He approaches the chalice, whispering, “To drink or die.”
He decides to drink but not before looking up to heavens and asking for permission. He successfully lifts the chalice and, after a series of thank yous, he gets to drink some water. He sets down his hand on the desert and it turns into greenland. That’s when he realises, “I got magic.”
Then the show cuts to the characters’ time in Camelot. Merlin, Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming (Josh Dallas), Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Robin Hood (Sean Maguire), plus an understandably angry Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) discusses a way to bring together the Dark One’s dagger and Arthur’s (Liam Garrigan) broken sword to take out the darkness. Merlin and Emma will seek out the magic needed to reunite the two blades and the rest of the gang needs to secure Arthur’s blade.
And we go back 200 years earlier, where Merlin demonstrates his magic. We also get a glimpse of his young apprentice. This is also when we first meet Nimue (Caroline Ford) and it’s obvious from the start, the legendary wizard has a thing for her. Nimue wants revenge against Vortigan (Darren Moore), who ransacked and wiped out her village. But it’s not the kind of revenge everyone would have thought of at first. All she wants is to make sure the middlemist flowers of her village survives despite the destruction by Vortigan.
Then the show goes back to Camelot. Merlin finally tells Emma, still busy weaving dreamcatchers, what the entire plan is. He says they need to get the “spark from mankind’s original fire, the flame of Prometheus,” which was used to forge the original Excalibur. It sounds easy but it’s really not. To get the fire, Emma will have to face the original Dark One. They may either succeed or Merlin might die…in Emma’s hands. If she fully succumbs to the Darkness, Merlin dies and she becomes the most powerful Dark One ever. It was a nice touch having Merlin conclude the plan with, “No pressure.”
Emma obviously agreed, with the next scene seeing her prepare for the journey. Captain Swan fans get treated to a sweet moment between Hook and Emma, with the former entrusting her with the ring that he says kept him safe hitherto. It’s not a proposal, he says; just a reminder that there’s a “smoldering knight” waiting for Emma to come home.
But before we see Merlin and Emma on their quest to secure the flame of Prometheus, we go back to Nimue and Merlin’s love story. He finally tells Nimue how he got his magic and how it also gave him eternal life. He says he’d rather be mortal than watch Nimue leave him behind. She, however, has another bright idea: why don’t she just drink from the Holy Grail instead? But Merlin explains the cons of immortality: life’s precious diamonds become “as common as sand.”
That’s when the idea of Excalibur was born. Merlin thought of turning the Holy Grail into a sword that can cut away his magic and immortality so he can live a normal life with the love of his life. Sounds like a plan, until Nimue ruins everything. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
Let’s go back to Camelot first, where the rest of the Storybrooke residents are plotting on getting back Arthur’s half of the Excalibur. Pregnant Zelena (Rebecca Mader) offers help, so long as she gets her magic back. She leads the way but Regina says her magic stays curbed until they safely get the sword back.
Of course, Arthur is made aware of intruders. He prepares some potion that can turn his enemies into teeth and bones. He gives the potion to his guards and instructs them to pour it on any intruder that they meet.
Finally, everyone gets to follow Emma and Merlin’s journey. But not for long. Emma admits to Merlin about hurting her own child and that maybe her darkness is winning.
Then get back to Merlin and Nimue. They visit her broken down village and she realises how much magic could have helped her people. And how much it could still help out others. They finally realise that Vortigan is after the Holy Grail. Merlin detects him and he tells Nimue to run away. She tells him he could easily take the evil one down but he says using magic to kill darkness is not worth the consequences.
Back to Camelot and Charming, Regina, Hood, and Hook successfully navigate through Arthur’s castle. Regina drops a foreboding, “Zelena hasn’t screwed us. Yet.” That’s when it happens. Zelena dupes Snow White into taking pity on her and she finally gets her freedom.
But things are only getting more exciting. Back to Merlin and Nimue, the legendary wizard and his lady love arrive in front of the flame of Prometheus. It successfully transforms the Holy Grail into Excalibur. but just when the couple thinks things are safe, Vortigan appears. The evil character captures Nimue and she fights back, bravely declaring, “I can do this!” After she strips Vortigan of his mask, he stabs her. So we think she’s dead, right? Nope. But again, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Let us now follow Emma and Merlin. Stick to this because this is pretty interesting. They arrive at the same place shown earlier, where the flame of Prometheus is, only this time it’s in ruins. Merlin says it’s the place where the first Dark One killed the woman he loves, the very same Dark One that also took the last ember of mankind’s original fire.
So Emma starts summoning the first Dark One. The dagger then shows a jumble of letters until the first Dark One appears. And the name on the dagger? It read, “Nimue.” The very same Nimue that Merlin loved. Only now, as she unmasks, she no longer looks “normal” but instead has that greenish-goldish tint that Rumplestiltskin also had when he was also Dark.
Confused? The episode goes back to Merlin and Nimue of years ago to explain. As Merlin confronts Vortigan, Nimue is shown taking the latter’s heart. She explains that she drank from the Holy Grail and is now also immortal. Merlin then tries to explain to her how not to use her newfound magic to kill someone else the magic turns dark. It was an emotional speech about fighting for her, fighting for their love, and how if she succumbs to the darkness, “[they’ve] lost everything.” By now, viewers may have deduced that Merlin’s speech did not work and Nimue crushed Vortigan’s heart. She turns into that gold-green creature and ruins Excalibur. Along with it, she took the flame of Prometheus.
What happens now with the confrontation between Nimue and Dark Swan? The original Dark One urges the newest one into killing Merlin, of course, for trying to stop them from being them. For a few minutes, Nimue seems to be winning over Emma. That’s until Nimue tells her, “Don’t go back to being nothing!”
Emma releases Merlin and explodes with her winning line of the episode, “I’m not nothing. I was never nothing. The power you have, I don’t need!” And so she successfully gets the ember from Prometheus’ flame inside Nimue.
Merlin explains to Emma how he got trapped in the tree. How the Excalibur (at least the other half of it) got stuck in the stone. How he forged the Dark One dagger. And how it got away from him. Emma says she now understands.
Happily ever after…not.
Back to the rest of the Storybrooke characters, Zelena is shown in cahoots with Arthur and they summon Merlin back to the castle, leaving Emma in the forest all alone. Merlin tries to reason with Arthur, declaring that Emma passed her test. But Arthur refuses to give up the Excalibur, which he calls his glory. Then he orders the wizard to get rid of Regina, Hood, Snow, Charming, and Hook, to which Merlin obeys.
In the last few minutes of the episode, we go back to present-day Storybrooke, which was unseen since the first scene. The Dark Swan still has two parts of the historical sword. Dark Rumple eggs her, “Go on. It’s time!” Nimue is also shown to be present in the room. And the episode finally ends with Emma successfully forging the broken Excalibur and the Dark One dagger together.
No! Not really! It may have been the end of the episode, but it’s hardly the end of the “Once Upon A Time” season five questions!
Also Read: ‘ONCE UPON A TIME’ LANDS MORE SURPRISES
Why did Merlin warn Emma as a kid not to mess with Excalibur? What other use will the Dark One have with the Excalibur aside from taking away the power? How does good Rumple factor into this story now? Will he be the hero of the story? How about Regina? And how come Emma is not that greenish-goldish tint that Rumple and Nimue are???
Check out answers to these questions when “Once Upon A Time” returns to ABC this Sunday, November 15, with the two-parter “Birth” and “The Bear King.”