Once Upon a Time “Nimue” Review (Season 5 Episode 7)

Once Upon a Time Nimue

This week’s Once Upon a Time focused on the backstory of Merlin. We learn that his magic and immortality stems from a sip from the Holy Grail. Like all Storybrooke characters, he has a tragic love story that continues to haunt him. We meet Nimue—Merlin’s true love. When she finds out he has the Grail, she wants to drink from it. Merlin would prefer to melt down the Grail (medievalists gasp) into a sword. It’s an interesting mix of pagan and Christian myth and a lot more interesting than the King Arthur story.

In Camelot time, Merlin tries to convince the group to help him reunite the Dark One’s dagger with Excalibur. He says that he’ll be able to help Emma, but he needs her help to retrieve the spark of Prometheus. He explains that if Emma succumbs to her darkness, she’ll become the most powerful Dark One ever. Before they take off on their journey, we have a super sweet moment between Emma and Hook. Hook gives her a ring on a chain and tells her, “The Dark One is immortal, Emma isn’t.” It was exactly the kind of Emma/Hook moment we need more of. This is a fairy tale after all! I am a little worried based on the previews for next week—I don’t want Emma to sabotage their relationship.

Zelena is wonderful, yet again. She offers to help the group sneak into Arthur’s castle so long as they return her magic. This should have sent up red flags all around the group. There was no way that Zelena was actually going to want to help them. Unsurprisingly, she turns on them. Zelena helps Arthur change Excalibur so he can control Merlin. It’s a sad bit of irony for Merlin that he’s now tethered like Nimue to the blade. I strongly dislike the Arthur character, which I guess makes him an effective bad guy. Considering his role in literary history, I hope that he finds some sort of redemption.

Poor Nimue is killed by the first Dark One while helping to defend Merlin and the sword. This makes the Merlin/Nimue relationship one of the shortest ever on the show. But of course, there’s still a twist…Nimue is the Dark One that Emma conjures up on Camelot times. How did she get that way? She drank from the Grail, gained immortality, and killed the Dark One. She chooses revenge over love and the consequences are grave.

Just one look at Nimue’s scaly skin should have been enough to convince Emma that she needs to eschew the path of darkness. Well, that and the army of creepy Jawas that Emma will presumably join if she makes the wrong choice: “All of us. All of us.” Nimue has to be one of the scariest villains they’ve had so far. Most of the time, the baddies are a little campy and over the top. Nimue is legit scary. I think she’d even put the fear in Rumple.

One good thing about this week’s episode is that it created some suspense about what’s going to happen next week. You almost think that Emma is going to refuse the power of the Excalibur, but then she takes the sword. We know she eventually has to come back to the side of the light, but how many relationships will she doom before that happens?