TV Time: Once Upon a Time 5.07

Source: tvfanatic.com

Source: tvfanatic.com

Title Nimue

Two-Sentence Summary While most of the Storybrooke crew attempts to get Excalibur from Arthur in Camelot with Zelena’s help, Merlin takes Emma on a quest to face the original Dark One in order to get what’s needed to make Excalibur whole again. In flashbacks to Merlin’s past, we discover the identity of that original Dark One and her connection to Merlin.

Favorite Line “I am not nothing! I was never nothing!” (Emma)

My Thoughts Belief is everything in the world of Once Upon a Time. And most of the time, that belief is rooted in the same idea: that love is strength and that love can be enough. Those who choose a dark path don’t believe that love can be enough. They want power, too. They always want to be more powerful because they don’t love themselves for who they are—with their weaknesses, flaws, and human vulnerabilities. They believe they’re nothing without an outside source of power because they never believed they could be enough exactly as they are.

The beauty of Once Upon a Time is the way that damaging belief has been proven wrong time and time again. Love is strength. Love is power. And yes, the love of those around you can help you find that strength, but the real power comes from loving yourself and choosing to believe that you’re good enough and strong enough as you are.

“Nimue” was the best episode so far in this fifth season of Once Upon a Time (and that’s saying something because I’ve really enjoyed this season), and so much of its beauty and emotional power came from the way it wove the theme of choosing to believe you’re enough as you are through the episode’s three main stories. It came as no surprise to me that an episode as tightly written as this one was came from Jane Espenson. If you’re looking for episodes that capture the true spirit of Once Upon a Time, just pull up every episode she’s written for this show.

The B-plot of “Nimue” wasn’t exactly the high point of the episode, but it moved the plot along, added another wrinkle in the conflict with Arthur, and still managed to connect to the episode’s main theme. I think anyone watching knew that the heroes teaming up with Zelena was pretty much destined for disaster, but it allowed Rebecca Mader to gleefully steal scenes once again. I feel like the writers have finally found a way to use Zelena that highlights how much fun Mader makes the character, while not putting all the focus on her. Small doses are best; she works better as a snarky side character rather than a main villain. I think the writers have finally realized that, and the show is better for it.

Zelena is a prime example of a character whose darkness is driven by the fact that she never learned to believe she could be enough as she is. Everything she does is driven by envy and spite. She doesn’t love herself—especially not independent of her dark magic. And by teaming up with Arthur, she teamed up with another character who craves power because he never learned to accept that he could be enough without a united Excalibur and the glory it brought.

Liam Garrigan was incredible in the scene in which Arthur confronted Merlin. He plays Arthur’s desperation so well. Having someone by your side as you struggle with prophecies and power has been an important part of this arc for Emma, and that scene allowed us to see just how lost Arthur was without Merlin’s help and how much Merlin regretted not being able to help him.

Despite loving both Mader and Garrigan’s work in this episode, I had some issues with just how easy it was for their characters to control the greatest sorcerer to ever live. I just don’t like seeing Arthur continue to win so easily by controlling others (his go-to method of villainy), but this was another instance of obviously needing to advance the plot at a relatively quick pace. However, I do have to give the show credit for surprising me with that twist. I didn’t see the tethering spell on Excalibur coming at all. The lack of Merlin’s name on it in Storybrooke seems to once again hint that he didn’t made it out of Camelot alive. I also have to wonder if Emma wanted to align with Zelena in the present not to put Excalibur back together (She obviously could do that herself.) but to tether it to someone else. The question becomes: Who and for what purpose? (I know there are some spoilers out there about this, so make sure you warn about mentioning spoilers in the comments if you want to make a guess—and remember that very little on this show turns out exactly as we predict.)

Whatever Emma’s purpose with Excalibur is, I’m more convinced than ever that it’s not as simple as losing herself to the darkness and wanting to snuff out all the light. That would be too repetitive. This episode was all about bringing Emma to the brink of total darkness and having her choose to be stronger than its power. So I don’t think she fully embraced the darkness because she can’t fight it any longer and grows to love the power; that would just be a repeat of this exact conflict with a different ending. I think “Nimue” gave us some very clear hints about Emma’s motivations, but her ultimate endgame is still a fascinating (if not slightly frustrating—which it’s meant to be) mystery.

What’s no longer a mystery is the identity of the first Dark One. While I’d been anticipating the reveal of Nimue as the original Dark One, her story was still compelling, and that was because it was a perfect encapsulation of some of Once Upon a Time’s most important themes told through two actors who were excellent scene partners. The story of Merlin and Nimue reminded me of some of my favorite flashback stories from the early days of Once Upon a Time in the way it condensed an entire arc into a short span of time while never feeling like it was cheating the audience or cutting corners. It made both characters feel three-dimensional, it connected their story to the show’s ethos in an organic way, and it managed to make me care about a relationship I’d never seen onscreen before this episode.

I have to give a lot of credit to both Elliot Knight and Caroline Ford for their work in those flashbacks. Their chemistry was palpable from their first scene, and that was the key to making me feel invested in this story. Because this story was the original story of love being enough for one person but not being enough for another. It’s the story from which all other love stories between those lost to darkness and those who want them to choose the light were born. It had to feel like something special and important, and it did.

I have to admit a personal bias here: I’m a sucker for stories in which an immortal person wants to give up their immortality to live a human life with the person they love. (Arwen and Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings owned my heart in high school.) So Merlin made me swoon multiple times during this episode (and not just because of how handsome Knight is—although that certainly helped the swooning).

Merlin is basically the polar opposite of the Dark One. He drank from the Holy Grail not with lust for power in his heart but with gratitude and humility. And that goodness was reflected in his magic, which was always used to help and never to kill. And, at first, it seemed he’d found a kindred spirit in Nimue, a woman whose idea of getting back at those who’d caused her pain was to spread beauty (Middlemist flowers) and to prove that life goes on after destruction.

It was hard for me to completely lose myself in the romance of Merlin’s proposal to Nimue because I knew tragedy had to be coming, but that scene further proved why Merlin is the complete opposite of the Dark One. He was willing to give up everything—his power and his immortality—to live a mortal life with the woman he loved. Love was more than enough for him. It was easy for him to choose love over power. Knight was quite the romantic leading man in those flashbacks, easily convincing me that it was no contest for Merlin: Nimue was enough for him; he didn’t need to be a sorcerer if he could be a man who could love and be loved by this woman.

Sadly, love wasn’t enough for Nimue. The pull of immortality and power was too seductive to walk away from. While a normal life filled with lovely little moments was enough to make Merlin happy, Nimue wanted it all; she wanted to share Merlin’s power, his immortality, and his love. She thought she was doing the right thing by drinking from the Grail; she was keeping Merlin immortal and allowing them to be together. But if Once Upon a Time has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t unlimited power and true love.

Once Nimue drank from the Grail, the power began to corrupt her, and we saw the first signs of what would become hallmarks of Dark One behavior. She tried to manipulate Merlin by pretending to die in order for him to see the cost of mortality. And then she used her new power to kill. Nimue killing Vortigan was the entire realm of dark acts committed on Once Upon a Time in microcosm: It came from a place of loss (We saw her ruined village and felt the pain of her grief beforehand.), and that loss made her feel justified in causing pain and death. As Merlin said, “It’s easy to live with darkness when you dress it up as vengeance.”

Watching Merlin try to talk Nimue out of crushing Vortigan’s heart was even more painful because it so perfectly mirrored Killian trying to talk Emma out of crushing Merida’s heart in this season’s premiere. And while Emma chose to listen to the words of the man who loves her and wanted to her to make the right choice, Nimue didn’t listen to Merlin. Merlin’s first act with magic was to create (by touching the desert ground and making grass), but Nimue’s was to destroy. She chose vengeance and power over love, and thus the Dark One was born.

In Nimue’s eyes, she and Emma are sisters in darkness. All Dark Ones are the same and want the same things, right? But Nimue underestimated how the power of love and belief could work through Emma, which is a classic downfall of Dark Ones (and villains in general): mistaking love for weakness when it’s really the greatest strength anyone can possess.

Emma was facing the biggest test of her life in this episode, and Merlin didn’t make it any easier with all his talk about her potentially killing him. (I was genuinely nervous throughout most of the episode, since I still strongly believe he’s going to die.) It broke my heart to hear her talking to him in the clipped sentences and deeper tones that betray her inner battle with the darkness, and it broke my heart even more to hear her admit that it’s a battle she’s not sure she can win, especially after what she did to Violet and Henry.

However, Emma still wasn’t about to give up on herself; she wasn’t about to lose hope. And while Merlin told her that the hope she was clinging to was at the top of the hill where they’d find the ember needed to re-forge Excalibur, it was really in the ring hanging from her neck.

That ring was given to Emma by Killian as protection for her journey with Merlin. It was his way of trying to keep Emma safe since he couldn’t stand by her side as she faced this test. Colin O’Donoghue did an excellent job of showing Killian’s desperation at the start of the episode when he confronted Merlin about helping Emma. You could hear the pain in his voice when he described how Emma makes dream catchers because she’s not sleeping. Around Emma, Killian is the picture of steadfast belief that things are going to be okay, but it was interesting to see panic starting to set in during moments when he doesn’t have to be strong for her. It’s not easy to be someone’s rock when they’re dealing with their inner demons, and I loved the small moment in which Knight showed that Merlin saw a reflection of himself in Killian—another man who’d lived a long and lonely life watching as the woman he loves stands on the precipice of being lost to him forever.

I loved that Killian took Merlin’s advice to heart: Love can be of great help to Emma. So Killian did all he could to help Emma continue to choose the right path by reminding her that she’s loved for who she is. He loves Emma with all her vulnerabilities, not the Dark One with all the “strengths” it wants Emma to embrace. And to help keep the woman he loves safe, he gave her the ring he believes helped him stay alive for hundreds of years. While the mythology of this ring is still a mystery (Why does he think this? Who gave it to him?), the important thing is the connection between the ring and Merlin’s desire to give up his immortality for Nimue. Both men were willing to give up what kept them alive for so long in order to experience the possibility of one happy life with the women they love.

And while Emma might not need the ring’s protection as the Dark One, she did need it for the other reason he gave it to her: the reminder that she has a piercing-eyed, smoldering pirate who loves her. The real power of that ring wasn’t its ability to keep her from dying; it was its ability to remind her that she has someone who loves her, and that’s enough for her to be happy. One look at her face as he confessed his love said exactly that: His love is enough for her. Morrison’s smile was radiant in that moment; it’s as if you could feel Emma’s joy coming through the television screen. And it was all because she was finally able to believe someone could see all of her and still choose to love her—and openly tell her that without any fear. When Emma whispered “Thank you” after one heck of a kiss, it was for so much more than the ring and its protection. It was for his love, which was once again a light in the darkness for her. Their whole scene before her journey exuded light and warmth—from their banter about her pop culture quotes to their smiles as they kissed. And that happiness—that love—was something that made Emma stronger when she needed it the most.

I found it incredibly beautiful that Emma noticeably held Killian’s ring right before summoning Nimue. She knew she was going to need all her strength, and the love that ring represents was a huge source of strength for her. Killian gave Emma the ring to bring her home to him, and it did exactly that. It served as a reminder that she has someone who loves her for the woman she is now and not the woman she could be with all the Dark One’s power. The love it represents gave her the strength to stay true to herself—to stay Emma—when Nimue’s voice in her head wanted her to lose herself to the darkness.

There’s nothing wrong with drawing strength from those who love you. There’s nothing wrong with needing a reminder that someone else thinks you’re worth fighting for when it’s hard to fight for yourself against your own demons. That’s why Killian’s love was so important in this episode; it gave Emma the strength to love herself with enough power to turn away from the darkness.

Because in the end, the only person who could save Emma from the darkness in that moment was herself. The voices in her head were her own demons to face, and the only love that could quiet them was the love has for herself. Nimue wanted Emma to believe she needs the darkness, that she’s nothing without it. She wanted Emma to believe she wasn’t enough as she was, which is the temptation all Dark Ones fall prey to—the belief that they’re weak and need the darkness to be their strongest self.

But Emma is finally at a place in her life in which she knows her worth. She’s not a lost little girl anymore who doesn’t think she matters. She knows she matters. She knows she’s loved for who she is—not just by Killian but by her whole family. She knows she’s strong. She knows she’s a person of value not because of the power she has but because of the person she is. And her sense of self allowed her to finally use her own philosophy to fight back against the darkness:

People are going to tell you who you are your whole life. You’ve just gotta punch back and say, ‘No, this is who I am.’

When Nimue told Emma that she would go back to being nothing without the darkness and Emma told her, “I am not nothing! I was never nothing! The power you have I don’t need,” I immediately got goose bumps and tears in my eyes. Morrison’s performance in that moment was some of her best work on the show in five seasons. She made you feel the power behind every word and what they meant for Emma in that definitive moment. This was the culmination of a huge part of Emma’s character arc—because not only does she know that she’s not nothing now, she knows that even when she was a lonely kid in foster homes and a pregnant teen in jail, she was never nothing. She was always someone worth fighting for, even when she was the only one fighting for herself. And she doesn’t need the power of the Dark One; she’s strong enough without it.

Emma was done listening to those voices in that moment, because she was furious that they were trying to define her when she’s the only one who should define herself. That moment was so important, and Morrison made it resonate with a raw honesty and fierce anger that has me still struggling to find words to describe her brilliance.

The best fairytales—and the best pieces of media in general—contain lessons we can use in our lives long after we finish the story. And that’s exactly how I felt watching Emma fight back against the voice in her head that wanted her to believe she was worthless without the power of darkness. I think many of us know what it’s like to have a voice in our head that tells us we’re nothing. Not to get too personal here, but I’ve been hearing that voice a lot lately—the voice that says you’re worthless without whatever it wants you to have (success, popularity, love, or powerful dark magic in Emma’s case). So that moment really hit home for me in a way no moment on television has in years. Because I now have a moment to look back on when those voices feel overwhelming. I can tell myself that if Emma could fight back and say she’s not nothing, then I can, too. That message—of telling the negative voices in your head that you’re not nothing, that you’re enough exactly as you are—is so important. I feel profoundly grateful that I got to watch one of my favorite characters on television have that moment, because I know I’m going to be a better, stronger person because of it.

Emma loved herself enough to choose the right path in that moment, and she was rewarded with what she needed. And I loved the way Morrison played Emma’s reaction to getting the ember. She was proud of herself and a little bit in awe of what she did, and she had every right to be. Because she achieved something special—not through dark magic, but through belief in and love for herself.

After that moment of victory, I’m having a hard time believing Emma just gave in to the darkness like she almost did in this scene. But then how did she go from the woman who fought off Nimue’s voice to the woman who summoned all the past Dark Ones as she re-forged Excalibur? I think Emma’s line to Merlin about wondering if someone could wield all that power to protect others is going to be incredibly important. I think Emma fully embraced the darkness because she felt like she had no other choice; she needed it in a way she didn’t when she faced Nimue’s influence in this episode. And I think it’s all going to come down to wanting to use the dark magic for protection. My best guess is that Killian is involved somehow, since it’s clear that him giving up his ring is going to come back to haunt both of them. But it could just as likely be Henry or the entire Storybrooke group.

That’s what made me less interested in the final scene with Excalibur than I wanted to be: I still have no idea what Emma plans to do with it. Her motivations are still unknown, and that’s making it harder for me to invest in the Storybrooke stuff with each passing episode. However, I have a feeling answers will start coming fast and furious on that front soon. And I think it’s all going to boil down to the fact that Emma stopped believing she was enough as she was; she started to believe she needed the darkness in order to protect whoever needed protecting. And that’s such a tragedy because it directly contrasts the beautiful growth we saw in this episode. But no one ever said this story was going to be all rainbows and unicorn stickers…

Extra Thoughts:
• I found the timeline to be a little weird once again in this episode’s flashbacks. I think when it said “200 Years Ago” with Merlin and Nimue, it should have said “200 Years Later (or After)” to indicate that Merlin and Nimue met 200 years after he got his powers. Otherwise, Nimue and Rumplestiltskin were both the Dark One at the same time.
• Don’t think I didn’t notice the fact that Killian giving his ring to Emma was followed by Merlin proposing to Nimue. I also definitely caught Emma’s slightly disappointed (or “Not right now but someday…”) look when it turned out Killian wasn’t actually proposing. There’s been a lot of wedding/engagement foreshadowing with those two characters this season, so it’ll be interesting to see if anything comes of it.
Regina’s cape was to die for. She looked stunning.
• I suppose you can just add Zelena to the list of people who’ve taken advantage of Snow’s kindness and compassion over the years. (If you didn’t already add her to the list during Season 3B.)
• The Apprentice as a little boy was adorable, and did anyone else notice that his robe looked just like Mickey Mouse’s in Fantasia?

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39 thoughts on “TV Time: Once Upon a Time 5.07

  1. I cried while watching the episode, I cried about five more times while writing my review, and I cried just now reading yours. I love that we were on the same page with this one so much because Emma’s fight is something that resonates deeply with everyone. It’s anything but easy to ignore those voices in our head, but it’s possible. You’ve done such a remarkable episode justice. I’m in awe. This is one of the best reviews you’ve written and you’ve captured the episode’s theme beautifully. Plus, I love that you make it very clear that it’s okay to let love inspire because it’s so important right now that we acknowledge nothing’s wrong with strong people letting love fuel them. Kudos. A+ work!

    • Words are failing me to tell you how much this means to me. I admire and adore your writing so much, so to read that you thought so highly of this post is a lot for me to process—in the best possible way. I think this episode brought out a lot of strong emotions in many of us because Emma’s fight is both deeply personal and universal in the way the best dramatic conflicts are. I’m sure when I get a chance to read your review (Darn work/life for getting in the way!), I’ll be a crying mess again.

  2. THIS!!!! .”The story of Merlin and Nimue reminded me of some of my favorite flashback stories from the early days of Once Upon a Time in the way it condensed an entire arc into a short span of time while never feeling like it was cheating the audience or cutting corners.”

  3. As usual, thank you. I too am only frustrated by the Storybrook scenes and not understanding what the “plan” is for Dark Swan. It seems like she is somewhat successful at fighting the darkness in Camelot. Of course, there was the bad decision with Henry and Violet but as we discussed, it was for the right reason. Did you notice when she told Merlin before they left that she had finally stopped hearing the Dark One/Rumple’s voice and that is because she was putting her trust in Killian and it was nice to see that her lack of bad voices continued after the garden of flowers scene. Then of course, she fought back again FORCEFULLY in this episode against the Darkness. I can only assume that in order for to take on the Darkness “fully” (more about that to follow), something must have been threatening the safety of her loved ones…Hook, Henry, or the rest of them or all? She must have thought it was her only choice. HOWEVER, even though she still accepted the Darkness fully, she is still the Savior…which none of the other Dark Ones ever were. She may have assumed, she would be the best one to take it on because she DOES believe in herself so much. That same strength she used to punch back and tell Nimue that she was not nothing, is the same strength she thinks she’ll need to control the Darkness. And honestly, she has sort of been successful…even in SB. The worse she’s done is turn a dwarf into stone which he was released from in the second episode. NO one is dead or really hurt and the one thing she did do to Henry, she tried to make up for. Remember, JMo has said many times that she is still the Savior and has the same motives. It’s just the Darkness makes her “means” to that “end” sort of warped.

    I do have to admit I really going to try and NOT speculate or worry about what she will do to Killian or Henry or anyone else that may cause angst. I just need to keep telling myself to enjoy the journey and don’t worry so much about the short term anxiety I get when watching sometimes.

    • I think your last paragraph is excellent advice for all of us watching—enjoying the journey with this show is so important. It’s always fun to speculate, but things rarely turn out exactly as anyone believes they will. And this season, I’ve really enjoyed the twists, turns, and unexpected moments along the way. And no matter what happens, I always take comfort in the fact that this is a show about hope and finding a happy ending—it’s Emma’s fairytale. Things will be okay. They’ll be dramatic up until the end, but I have no reason to doubt that I’ll feel incredibly satisfied when all is said and done.

      I also think you’re right about Emma’s Savior status coming into play here. She has both light and dark magic in her rather than just dark magic, so that has to count for something. And I think most of us now are of the same mind that Emma’s “Dark Swan” actions are motivated strongly by her need to save and protect. Who exactly she thinks she’s saving is still the question, but I have a feeling we don’t have to wait too much longer to find the answer.

  4. Thank you for writing another beautiful review. I look forward to reading them every week.

    Like you, this episode is my favourite one of the season so far (closely followed by “Siege Perilous”). I think Jane Espenson is a genius; I truly admire the way in which she is able to subtly remind the viewer of past events in a characters life whilst moving the story forward (hope that makes sense!) Most of my favourite episodes have been written by Jane (not just OUAT but also Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

    I thought the whole Arthur/Zelena controlling Merlin was an easy plot device but one I didn’t see coming. I mean, when did Arthur and Zelena meet up and devise this whole plan? Hopefully this will be explained soon. But, seeing Merlin become tethered to Excalibur and being controlled by Arthur has made me re-think the whole spoiler pic that is floating around the internet at the moment (you know the one I mean right?!) I don’t want to go into it too much, in case anyone hasn’t seen the pic but I’d be interested to see if my theory turns out to be right (I hope not though!)

    After Emma’s scene where she tells Nimue “I am not nothing! I was never nothing! The power you have I don’t need,” is somehow proof that, in Storybrooke, she hasn’t fully embraced the darkness but is trying to make it (along with everyone else) think she has so she can execute her plan to rid herself of the darkness without anyone she loves getting hurt. I am really enjoying where the writers are going with this arc and can’t wait for it’s conclusion. Credit to Jennifer Morrison for her portrayal of Emma; the raw emotion she showed in this episode – from her joyous smile in the scene where Killian gave her his ring, to the heart wrenching moment she told Nimue she’s not nothing and everything in between. And when she attacked Merlin, I was whispering no repeatedly until she stopped.

    Your comment about having that negative voice in your head, bought tears to my eyes as it really hit a nerve. I can totally relate to that as for years (especially now as I am currently going through a major upheaval in my life and wondering if I have made the right decision) I have had that voice in my head. And seeing Emma fight back against that voice and win made me relate to her as a character in a way that I haven’t done before. And now, after watching this episode, if I do hear it, I shall fight back the way Emma did.

    Extra thoughts:

    Timeline: I think I read somewhere that for every 1 year in Camelot is equal to 5/6 years in our world (or it could be the other way round). This could explain how come there have been so many Dark Ones and Rumplestiltskin being the Dark One for 200 years

    Any scene with Killian and Emma makes my heart burst with joy. It is a real privilege to be able to see their love story unfold before our eyes every week. Colin and Jennifer are a joy to watch and their off-screen friendship shines through.

    That’s all I have to say – sorry if I have rambled on and make no sense!! Thank you again for your reviews and I look forward to reading what you have to say about next week’s 2 hour episode.

    • Thank you both for your kind words about these posts and for sharing your thoughts with us. You didn’t ramble on at all; everything you said made perfect sense to me and was beautifully stated. Welcome to NGN, and I hope to see you back here to discuss future episodes, because you made some great points!

      I hope that things in your life sort themselves out soon, and I hope that this moment from Emma will continue to inspire you to remember you’re not nothing, that you have value and you’re important just because you’re you. I’m so happy this moment happened because I know it’s something that will give so many people strength to fight back against their own negative perceptions of themselves.

      I’m so intrigued to see how this will all play out in the final few weeks of the season. There’s got to be so much to Emma’s plan than meets the eye, and watching all the pieces come together will be amazing to watch. And I can’t wait to keep writing about all of it!

  5. Great job on this, Katie. Love your discussion of Emma. Like you, I think her question about embracing the dark in order to do good is foreshadowing. I keep thinking, too, that the fact that she became the Dark One as an act of sacrifice should come into play.

    It’s lovely to see Emma being able to easily embrace (literally and metaphorically) Killian’s love and support. I am always blown away by their scenes together and all the small expressions that flash across their faces. (You know what I’m talking about: the stuff you catch after the 15th time watching their scenes . . .) Killian’s always acted passionately when the people he cares about are hurt. He turned pirate after his brother’s death and went on a vendetta after Milah’s, so it makes sense that he’d be in anger mode about Emma. Character consistency is always nice.

    I love all the Merlin/Nimue and Emma/Killian parallels. The look of pain in Merlin’s eyes when he talks to Killian. That flicker of acknowledgement from Killian. They understand each other’s pain. (Can Merlin, Killian, and Belle all just take a moment for drinks together and commiserate?) For me, one of the most telling comments was Merlin’s “life is made up of small moments.” This echoes Killian’s plea to take the “quiet moments” as well as Charming’s insistence that they take a honeymoon. Snow stops for snowbells. Emma’s learning to take the quiet moments (even as she wonders if the horizon is going to do something); however, Nimue didn’t learn to value those little moments.

    We saw the seeds of Nimue’s move toward darkness in her first scene. Yes, she wanted to the flowers to live, but even at that point, she couched it as vengeance. That desire for vengeance has taken down a lot of characters in OUAT . . . and some of them have had to fight long and hard to dig themselves out — and it’s been love that’s pulled them out. (Think Regina and Hook.) Is it too much to hope that somehow Nimue’s twisted love can be untwisted? That even now the first Dark One can come back to the light?

    Oh, Arthur (who is still dead to me). Glory? That’s what you think this is about? I think Merlin’s prophecies were meant to give Arthur hope . . . to believe that he could be something better and part of something greater. Those prophecies were supposed to give Arthur something to work toward. Arthur is the one who twisted them.

    Random thoughts:

    — It’s hard not to try and fit the Buffyverse in with Jane Espenson writing and references to the First Dark One . . .

    — Katie, I’d offer to catch you when you swoon, but it would more realistic to tell you that I’ll cushion your fall because I’m already down.

    — How sweet were Robin and Regina with the comforting touches in Granny’s?

    — Why didn’t the Grail kill Nimue? Shouldn’t she have been dusted when she drank because of her motives?

    — I understand the need for secrecy in breaking in the castle, but the shallow part of me thinks they missed a truly great opportunity to have Robin, Charming, and Killian fighting together.

    Maybe they’ll get to fight their way out . . with Merlin.

    • I thought the same thing about the Grail. I am surprised that Nimue was worthy of eternal life and magic.

      I can’t help but think of Season 4 Spike when I see how much fun the writers are having with Zelena. ‘Pangs’ is my all time favorite piece that Jane has done, and Spike tied to a chair harassing everyone while they are trying to deal with their current threat (and Thanksgiving dinner) totally reminds me of Zelena’s situation in Camelot.

      • I cannot tell you how much I love the Spike and Zelena comparison. I can completely hear Zelena give the “I came, I saw, I felt really bad about it” speech.

    • Thanks, friend! 🙂

      I loved everything you had to say here, but I especially enjoyed your thoughts on Arthur. I think you’re right; Merlin wanted to give Arthur something to believe in within himself—that he could be someone worthy of doing something remarkable with his life. Instead of seeing it as a chance to do something and become someone truly good, Arthur only saw the potential glory in it. Like Emma, Arthur had a lot of people in his early life tell him he was nothing. But instead of fighting back like Emma did in this episode, Arthur kept believing he was nothing without the power and glory of a reunited Excalibur. Merlin wanted Arthur to believe he was enough as he was, but Arthur thought he needed something outside of himself to become someone of value. It’s a very tragic take on Arthurian legend, and I really liked the twist the writers went with instead of just letting it all play out in the familiar way.

      Also, I’m with you on wondering how Nimue could drink from the Grail with her intentions being what they were. It seemed like she should have turned to dust, too, but maybe the love between her and Merlin (the only person worthy to drink from it) allowed her to drink without dying? I’m reaching here, I know…

      I’m so happy you pointed out Regina and Robin being adorable at Granny’s. I love subtle little moments of affection, and it was clear that Killian’s desperation to help the woman he loves reminded them to hold onto the one they love a little more tightly. I also thought the blocking in that scene was great: Charming/Snow, Robin/Regina, and then Killian and Merlin alone facing each other—two couples and then the two men who know what it’s like to lose a loved one to the darkness. It’s a little thing, but the staging and blocking of scenes this season has been perfect—saying so much with just the placement of the actors within the scene.

  6. This episode was amazing, and could also be summarized as “A giant sledgehammer to the face of foreshadowing”! I thought it was especially prophetic when Merlin said that perhaps, one day, there would be someone who would bear the burden of both light and darkness and use them to protect other people. I really believe that’s Emma’s endgame–whether it works out that way or not remains to be seen.

    I am NOT prepared to watch merlin die 😦 he’s such a wonderful addition to the show (and good looking to boot!) and I just know that his farewell is going to be tragic.

    Unrelated: where the HECK is Lancelot????

    • I would also like to know where Lancelot is—for plot purposes and for purely shallow purposes. 😉

      I’m so glad I’m not alone in being completely unprepared to watch Merlin die. I feel like it’s going to induce the same kind of crying that happened when Ingrid died last year. I’m also really feeling the theory that Merlin willing sacrifices himself now that he’s being controlled by Arthur, and that would just make it a billion times more painful.

  7. This was such a good episode. Like top 10 good. Not counting Season 1, I think Camelot has to be my favorite arc of the series (although Neverland is up there). I have enjoyed pretty much the entire story in Camelot. Everything (timeline aside) has just fit so well with every theme this show has explored before, and this episode was such an earned and satisfying moment for not only Emma, but the mythology surrounding the dark one as well.

    I think I have decided that this is a “now and later” type of season. The Camelot stuff is for us to enjoy and experience now, and the current Storybrooke story is something for us to hopefully enjoy later, once we figure out what the heck is going on, because I still have no freaking clue. Surprisingly, this is the first episode that really made me question whether Dark Swan has been playing everyone in Storybrooke. That definitely wasn’t a fake Excalibur Rumple pulled from the stone like I thought might be the case last week. And with the clear intention to use Zelena to tether someone to that sword, I am getting even more nervous about what Dark Swan is going to do next. I am hoping next week will help us out cause I am ready to know. Although I will give the show credit, they are doing a dang good job at keeping us all guessing.

    You did such a great job with this review I just want to point out some of my favorite parts.

    “Merlin is basically the polar opposite of the Dark One. He drank from the Holy Grail not with lust for power in his heart but with gratitude and humility. And that goodness was reflected in his magic, which was always used to help and never to kill.”

    I love Merlin. I feel like at the beginning of the season a lot of us were thinking Merlin might be the villain here, but I love how perfectly he contrasts with the Dark One. The scene at the beginning of the episode where Camelot is transformed from a barren wasteland to a living forest through his magic was really spectacular. I am not sure why that moment touched me as much as it did, but I thought it was perfectly done. And I liked that they used that clever camera angle to achieve the effect rather than CGI. When the camera panned back to reveal that forest my breath hitched. That scene was perfectly done. And I love that after Merlin was given the gift of life, his first act of magic was sharing that life.

    That said, I am curious if we are ever going to learn the distinction between light and dark magic on the show. It didn’t appear that Merlin was having to pay a price for the magic he was using to heal those in the village.

    I also loved that even after Merlin lost Nimue, he had no regrets. This has always been one of my favorite themes throughout fiction. Life is made up of moments, and they aren’t always going to be happy ones, but they all make us who we are. This is one of the reasons why I have such a hard time with the memory loss on this show (cough. grand pappy. cough). People cant learn and grow if they don’t remember their previous experiences. And they cant move on to enjoy new happy moments if they dwell in the past and focus on revenge either.

    “Nimue killing Vortigan was the entire realm of dark acts committed on Once Upon a Time in microcosm: It came from a place of loss (We saw her ruined village and felt the pain of her grief beforehand.), and that loss made her feel justified in causing pain and death. As Merlin said, ‘It’s easy to live with darkness when you dress it up as vengeance.’”

    As I mentioned before, I felt this Dark One origin story really felt right and fit well with the journey we have watched all of these characters go through over 4+ seasons, for exactly this reason.

    “But Nimue underestimated how the power of love and belief could work through Emma, which is a classic downfall of Dark Ones (and villains in general): mistaking love for weakness when it’s really the greatest strength anyone can possess.”

    “She wanted Emma to believe she wasn’t enough as she was, which is the temptation all Dark Ones fall prey to—the belief that they’re weak and need the darkness to be their strongest self.”

    I like to think that the previous Dark Ones in Emma’s head just cant understand the idea that love can defeat them. After all, there is a long line of people who have failed to reject the temptation over power. After all those years of winning, I think they feel invincible at this point, and I am hoping that is their downfall. While this episode did make me question whether Emma has been playing our heroes this whole time, a part of me is still hoping she has just been letting the darkness think its winning, only to surprise it with a major reality check at the end.

    “She was always someone worth fighting for, even when she was the only one fighting for herself.”

    I am so proud of our Emma. I loved that this moment wasn’t just about the present, it was about her whole journey. The unhappy parts as well as the happy ones. She was an orphan, but she was also a survivor. Her journey through this show hasn’t been so much about learning to love herself, its been about allowing herself to be loved and love others. She didn’t get where she is today because of magic. She has gotten here through the pain and tears and letting go of the fear of letting others in. Emma knows first hand its not about having magic to make you invulnerable. It’s embracing your own vulnerability that helps you grow and love and not take the little moments for granted. I mentioned before that I don’t think the Dark Ones can understand the true power of love, but I also think its significant that Emma is someone that grew up in a land without magic. She never waited around or relied on a magical solution to her problem, because they didn’t exist. The Dark One may be batting 1000, but they have never faced team “real world” before either. In the real world, hope is our magic. “The power you have, I don’t need.”

    The scene with Killian giving Emma his ring was all kinds of perfect for all the reasons you mention. It showed perfectly how happy and comfortable and perfect they are with each other. I think its worth mentioning again how Killian has never really seen Emma as the savior, and I think that is a large portion of why Emma was able to pull so much strength from that ring. In Emma’s head, I think she is thinking of how the power she has can help her as the savior. “How can I use this power to help others?” “Will this power make me a better savior?”. The town wants a savior, Killian just wants Emma. Also, as someone who has been in a relationship for over 7 years and loves her partner dearly, I would still absolutely panic if he proposed, so I loved and completely related to Emma’s little freak out. Call me crazy, but I am kinda hoping that when the time comes, Emma is the one to propose to Killian. 🙂

    And one final note, I love Zelena. I am a total sucker for characters that hang around with the good guys but have absolutely zero loyalty. Season 4 Spike from Buffy. Jayne from Firefly. They provide such a fun foil for everyone else to play off of. Like you said, she works much better in this capacity than she did as the main villain. And in Snow’s defense, I am pretty sure the faking of physical pain would trick me too, no matter how untrustworthy the person was.

    • I enjoyed your post almost as much as Kaite’s! But what was funny was just as I was reading the part about Merlin having no regrets and why that is important to overall growth, my 8 year old son came and climbed on my lap. We talked about a mistake/accident he had at school and he said “I’ll learn from my mistakes”. That was almost freaky. LOL

      I really do believe that Dark Swan’s endgame is honorable and good…but I just hope that the Darkness that sort of warps her decision making to achieve those goals, doesn’t do too much damage and that she ultimately will come out on top. I’m not looking forward to pain for Killian as I feel like he’s been through enough to prove he’s a survivor. How many more times do we have to worry about him keeping that promise to Emma. But I do agree that Emma is still the Savior…even as Dark Swan. I just hope “the Savior” is really more in control in Storybrook than has been apparent up to now.

      Finally, I agree that Emma needs to propose to Killian. That would be so fitting and make their story unique from all the other fairy tales.

      • Aw thank you! And as someone who loves Killian almost as much as Emma, I am definitely not looking forward to the pain that is coming. He should be the Dark One’s enemy #1 after Emma’s triumph in this ep. But regardless of what happens, I am so proud of how far both of them have come. Killian was able to let go of his revenge and love again, and Emma was able to let go of her past and trust again. No matter what losses they may face in the future, they have been blessed with these (not so) little moments because they found and took a chance on each other, and I think that is beautiful.

    • Now and later — nicely put. I’ve been thinking,too, that this arc will bear re-watching.

      I’m so glad you brought up Merlin’s first act of magic. I loved the way it was done — as something that just naturally flowed out of him. Merlin himself seemed surprised, but later we see him deliberately choosing that path as well.

      I’m with you on Emma’s momentary panic. (And then once she’s had a moment to process, the look of “oh, wait . ..”) One of the things I’ve adored about their relationship is that Killian doesn’t push her. I am still seriously in love with the line, “I liked your walls.”

      Oh and how I am lovin’ the Spike comparisons that you and the other Shauna brought up. And now you bring in Jayne?? Be still my heart.

      • Haha, that other Shauna is me by the way, I just happen to be logged in differently depending on what device I am using.

        And yes, I love that the magic was a surprise to him! Just another reason to love Merlin, all that life bursting out of his soul without even trying.

    • Two things right off the bat: I’m also in the “I want Emma to propose to Killian” camp. We know the day is coming, and I just think it would fit so well with so many themes on the show to have the princess propose to her love instead of the other way around. Also, I really want that to be his third “As you wish.” 😉 Also, you are definitely not the only one who would get tricked by someone faking physical pain. I’d be right there with you and Snow.

      I love how much you loved this episode. Like you, I think this is Top 10 material for me. And I think you’re right about the two story lines being viewed as “now and later” for analysis purposes. It seems we’ll be getting at least a few answers this week, which will, of course, make me want to go back and re-watch every episode of this arc that’s aired so far. And it’s a rare thing for a TV series to do that—to play the long game like that. It happens in books and book series (I’m thinking especially of Snape’s motivations in Harry Potter), but I think it’s rare for a TV show to withhold character motivations like this for longer than an episode or two. It’s risky, but I think it’s going to pay off. And it’s going to make all of us that much more excited to re-watch things over the hiatus.

      I loved your thoughts on Emma, her journey, and her relationship with Killian. I especially liked the distinction between Emma thinking about what she could do with this power as the savior and then having Killian love her just for being Emma and not for what she can do as the savior. That’s really become one of my favorite things about their relationship; it was never affected by her role as Savior. Anything that’s happened between them was because they love each other as Emma and Killian rather than the Savior and Captain Hook, which is special on a show with such a strong running theme of self-definition.

      As far as Emma’s endgame is concerned, I think she’s got a completely different one than the darkness thinks she has. I think the dark voices are all talking to her and watching her with the belief that she’s going to snuff out the light, but have we ever seen her actually agree with them about that plan? She’s usually just silent while they’re talking to her (as far as I can recall). Embracing the darkness caused her to achieve whatever that endgame is by less than honorable means, but I do still think her intentions are rooted in a desire to save and protect.

  8. I loved this episode. Jane has written for so many of my favorite shows and I’ll always be partial to her episodes but this one was particularly great.

    I’ve had a hard time warming up to the Camelot side of things that don’t relate to the original characters because I already have a reimagining of Arthurian legend that I love so much and while I’m enjoying OUaT’s take, my combo of dislike and apathy toward Arthur was making me struggle for the emotional engagement I need. Then came this episode full of Merlin. I adore Elliott Knight as Merlin so much. For the first time this season, I was fully on board with this story.

    While we saw it coming, I love that Nimue was the first Dark One and watching her transition into the role. Her need for vengeance was louder than her love for Merlin and as OUaT has shown time and time again, that never leads to anything good. I’ve really enjoyed seeing how seductive the darkness has been for each of the characters it has touched. It takes a different shape for each person but the end result is always the same. It always comes down to the idea that you’re not enough on your own and need to take extraordinary measures in order to be so.

    Currently, no one exemplifies that more than Zelena. She may blame everything else for her current situation and may even delight in the terrible things she does to others but for her entire life, she has been told both directly and indirectly, that she’s not good enough. That she’ll never be worth as much as someone else. And rather than fight it, she’s internalized that message and as a result, is constantly after the things that she feels will give her an advantage over others. She may not be enough on her own but she’ll do whatever it takes to become enough. Bex is so wonderful to watch as she gets to be gleefully evil and conniving but I wouldn’t be at all opposed to seeing her go down a redemption path and learn that she is enough and her choices have had a part in creating her current situation not just the terrible people around her as a girl. It probably wouldn’t be great storytelling since we’ve seen it play out before with other characters but I love the message it sends so much.

    Which brings me to Emma. My heart shattered as Nimue was telling her every negative thought Emma has ever had about herself. There was a time when Emma could have believed that and could have given in. But that’s not where Emma is any more. The thing she used to shield herself from has now become a weapon to defeat the darkness and doubts within herself. I’m often proud of my favorite characters overcoming obstacles and having their triumphant moments but this one was a particularly special case. For my own viewing pleasure, I would have loved Emma to go full-on Dark One and do some terrible things out of selfishness and disregard for others and need to find her way back to herself again afterward. But from a character perspective, this is so much better. This was Emma knowing her own worth and fighting for herself. No matter what we’re facing, those voices in our head are seductive and persuasive. They can lead us down terrible paths and even when we can logically recognize that they aren’t true, that doesn’t make their effects go away. It’s HARD to silence them because there is often a part of us that believes them. But Emma did it. She quieted that voice in one very impressive display of strength. She fought back and she won and it was beautiful.

    Emma holding on to Killian’s ring was a perfect moment. Sam and I have no actual plans to get married but I’m still so glad he proposed anyway because I use my ring the same way Emma used Killian’s. It’s something I can physically hold on to and get strength from when my own isn’t enough at that moment. While it’s the only physical reminder I carry around with me, it’s not the only one I have close by. Back in my LJ days, I saved every nice reply to a love post or a picture post so I could look back on them and remind myself that I had friends and people who liked me because that’s what I needed most at the time. These days, I’m much more likely to look back through your tag for me on tumblr when I need that extra shot of confidence because I know you believe in me so much. While the love of other people can never substitute for our own love and belief in ourselves, it can be such a powerful supplement and I will always be glad that this show promotes that idea.

    • I love most of this discussion about the power of negative voices, but I disagree with the applicability to Zelena. Zelena had a horrible father, but her mother seemed to have loved her up to her death. Afterwards, Glinda and the sisterhood of witches embraced Zelena and accepted her. They never rejected her. Zelena’s own insecurities caused her to reject them instead. Regina also showed Zelena mercy and compassion at the end of 3B, which only caused Zelena to double down on her irrational vendetta against Regina. Even with Rumple–which is the closest in canon to anyone directly telling Zelena that she wasn’t good enough compared to Regina–Rumple didn’t tell Zelena that she wasn’t powerful enough or skilled enough or even interesting enough; he told her that Zelena loved him too much and therefore he couldn’t use her. (although I always thought the way Rumple rejected Zelena is one of those gratuitously cruel actions that fandom does not judge him negatively enough for)

      That’s part of why I wish Zelena hadn’t been brought back. Of all the villains we’ve had on the show, her motivations are the least sympathetic to me (and I’m actually including Cora and Arthur in that). I would have welcomed a redemption arc for her that came from Regina’s mercy in 3B, but now I just don’t know what the show can do with her character. Since she’s been compared to Spike, I had that problem with Spike in s4, too. The unrepentant bad guy hanging with the good guys and snarking at them works for a bit, but then there’s a point where there are too many betrayals and the scenario doesn’t make sense for any of them.

      • This is a really great analysis of Zelena’s character. I agree that Zelena seemed to have a loving mother, but I think her father’s mistreatment of her stuck with her far more than her mother’s love did—because we often cling to the bad things said about us and ignore the good when we’re feeling insecure, and Zelena is as painfully insecure as it gets.

        I also think more than anything, that Rumple’s rejection made her feel like there was something about her—not her magic but her as a person—that would never be good enough. She knows she’s powerful, so she clings to that. What she doesn’t believe is that she has value outside of her magical abilities.

        I spent so long feeling the same way you do about Zelena being unsympathetic, so I totally get where you’re coming from. And I really don’t think she’ll ever get a redemption arc—mainly because they seem to love letting Rebecca Mader be as wicked as possible. But for some reason this arc is making me look at her a little differently—not so much in a way that makes me feel bad for her but in a way that makes me at least finally understand why she is the way she is.

    • Your last paragraph made me incredibly emotional. It’s so important to have reminders of the people who love us just for being us, because that often helps us find the strength to fight back against our own negative voices. And I’m so happy you know you have so many people who love you for the beautiful tropical fish that you are.

      I often quote Pretty Woman and say, “The bad stuff is easier to believe.” And yes, that may be true, but it’s not the right stuff to believe. And OUAT has always been about choosing what’s right over what’s easy, which came through beautifully in that moment. It’s hard to tell the negative voices that they’re wrong, but it often feels easier to do when you know you have someone by your side—even if they’re not physically by your side in that moment. So much of Killian and Emma’s story this season has been about sharing burdens and how that makes things easier to handle, and I love the message that sends. It’s not a sign of weakness to be inspired by love; it’s a sign of courage and strength.

      I also really liked what you had to say about Zelena. She’s never found that inner strength to stop looking for validation and power in order to love herself just as Zelena and not as the Wicked Witch. And now she wants validation from her baby, which is such a twisted view of motherhood, but it’s all wrapped up in the idea of always feeling like she was never good enough as she was.

    • I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. You’re just the absolute sweetest. I’ve had quite the week, so I appreciated these gifs more than words can say. It’s never a bad time for some Big Hero 6 love at NGN!

  9. Ok this was a great episode! As an Emma Swan fan this episode probably had my favourite Emma moment ever – when she stood up and shouted that she’s never been nothing – that there showed us all how much Emma has grown over the last 4 seasons. And as usual Jennifer Morrison totally nailed it. A little Zelena goes a long way and I’ve really enjoyed her scenes in the last few episodes. Also after the heroes defeat Arthur I really want Charming to punch him in the face! And as usual great review Katie!

  10. I loved everything dealing with Emma, the Dark One, and Merlin/Nimue. I’ve always believed this show does the quiet moments of character interaction far better than action and logical plot, and I think this episode demonstrated that. Emma/Merlin’s conversations, the Merlin/Nimue conversations, and of course the Emma/Nimue exchange were so powerful as you captured in your beautiful review. I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Jennifer Morrison’s acting choices, but I got chills (like everyone else!) at her delivery of “I am not nothing”.

    I also am less impatient with the Storybrooke side of the story than seems to be the general fandom consensus. It’s given us great Emma/Hook and Emma/Regina/Henry. I certainly think it could be better, but I liked seeing Emma reforge the sword and I still trust that it’s leading somewhere satisfying.

    But then there was the quest to get Camelot and the Zelena betrayal, which was just so poorly plotted and written that it’s frustrating. I know this blog is intended to be positive, so I won’t let myself rant too much about it, but I was particularly peeved at the unexplained absence of Lancelot, Belle, Granny, and the Dwarves (especially since Lancelot, per canon, knows how to sneak into Arthur’s castle!) and the way Regina et al stood around doing nothing at the confrontation at the end. Regina’s magic isn’t just fireballs! Fine, don’t throw a fireball at Zelena but poof Merlin’s spellbook away from her, unbind Snow, freeze Arthur, poof away Excalibur, or poof everyone away to a different location, or something. We’ve seen all of these heroes at moments like that before. They don’t just stand around gaping.

    • I think we can all agree with you about this show being better at character moments than plot, lol. I see Zelena as more a plot device at this point than a character we are supposed to be invested in, so I definitely understand why not everyone is enjoying her presence as much as I am.

      Don’t feel too discouraged about being critical now and then. There is a big difference between people who love the show dearly and know that it has flaws and those that just have fun hating everything and disrespecting others opinions. All of us try to keep an open mind towards those that see the show differently and keep things as respectful as possible. The hardest thing for me is the fact that I love the huge cast and all of their stories and there just isn’t the ability to feature them all the time!

    • I would also add that sometimes bringing up these points is good because someone else has an answer or theory or different perspective . . . or at least shares a similar frustration. (I may have yelled at the TV, “Don’t just STAND there!!!” No one listened to me. They just stood there. TV characters do that a lot. I could save them SOOOO much pain, but no. No one listens. Well, except one time, and it actually freaked me out . . . ) I don’t really have a good theory — I’m just going with they were all too dumbfounded at Merlin’s capture that their brains froze. Maybe we’ll get some additional insight in the next episodes.

      But yes, so many “poofing” opportunities missed. I love “poofing.” That would be the first thing I would demand to know if I had magic: teach me “poofing.”

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us! And don’t worry about ranting about parts of an episode you didn’t like; that’s what being a fan is all about—acknowledging that even the things we love aren’t perfect and have weak spots, and that plot was definitely a weak spot. The only time I ever take issue with commenters ranting about things is when it seems they only watch the show to hate it or when they treat their fellow commenters rudely because they didn’t like something another commenter did. Since you don’t seem like that type, rant away. 😉

      I also totally agree with you about all of them standing around looking useless. Why was there no poofing?! It reminded me of the moment in the 4A finale when Emma and Snow stood and watched as Rumple tried to enact his evil plan with the hat before he froze them. At least put up a fight, guys! Also, I was wondering about Lancelot, too. Belle might have still been with Merida or on her way back from her adventure, but the Lancelot thing bugged me, too. (I’m not ashamed to say I missed his lovely face on my TV.)

      And you’re so right about the show doing much better at character beats than plot. It’s always been that way. That’s why I write about the show the way I do—I often don’t care too much about what they do to move the plot forward, so I tend to focus more on the more intimate moments between characters and within individual characters.

  11. When Nimue told Emma that she would go back to being nothing without the darkness and Emma told her, “I am not nothing! I was never nothing! The power you have I don’t need,” I immediately got goosebumps and tears in my eyes.

    It was also a nice contrast to what Dark One Emma said to Killian in Storybrooke, aboard his ship. That Dark One Emma believes that she is stronger, better because of the Darkness. I love to how Killian’s ring gave Emma the strength she needed to summon Nimue and also fight back against her. Length is strength.

    I kind of liked Merlin’s scenes with Nimue. It would have been nicer to see more of their relationship. How long were they together before he thought of proposing to her? A few months? A year or years? What made him really fall in love with her? But yeah, the purpose of their scenes was to really to provide answers most of us have been asking since season one when it comes to the Dark One. But there’s also other questions the episode did not answer too. One I thought of today, we saw many Dark One’s on the dagger and in Emma’s cave– does that mean Belle was the first to really try true love’s kiss on a Dark One?

    • Belle might have been the first to try True Love’s kiss on a Dark One (and Rumple may have been the first to almost let the curse break), but I don’t think we can know for sure. There might have been many who tried to give True Love’s kiss to a Dark One, but the Dark One always chooses power; it’s kind of their thing. 😉

      I loved that you pointed out the contrast between Emma believing she doesn’t need the Dark One’s power in Camelot and later telling Killian she’s better off now that she has it. It’s going to be so interesting to see what brought her from one mindset to another.

  12. Pingback: TV Time: Once Upon a Time 5.08/5.09 | Nerdy Girl Notes

  13. Pingback: TV Time: Once Upon a Time 6.02 | Nerdy Girl Notes

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