Sunday, November 8, 2015

Once Upon a Time - Nimue

5.7 "Nimue"

Tonight we get to spend some quality time with Merlin, meet the very first Dark One, and see more of Emma's journey both in the flashback and in present time. Meanwhile the hero squad is stupid enough to trust Zelena. Again. Also, there are so many inconsistencies in the plot that I was left scratching my head.

First, I was so excited to get a Merlin episode and to see the incarnation of the Dark One. It was pretty interesting to get a peek into his past and travel back to the start of so much that has affected the characters from the beginning. After all, almost everything goes back to the Dark One. Dark Rumple was the one who taught Regina what she knew, which led her to put everyone under a curse in the first place.

BUT I can't help but feel there is something Merlin is holding back. He's a little too perfect - it's a little hard to believe that he was never tempted to use his power for anything but altruistic ends, and yet not believe that there is anyone else in the worlds who could do the same.

Both he and Nimue drank from the same Holy Grail and were given power from the same source. So often on this show it has been drilled into our heads that how magic is used and the choices people make are the most important things. It's duplicated here. Nimue and Merlin receive their power from the same source, but one remains pure of heart and the other does it for revenge and christens her new powers with blood shed, so turning into the Dark One. It wasn't the magic that was at fault, but the motivations behind the use of that magic.

Yet, since the advent of the dark magic, it has somehow now become an entity in and of itself that corrupts absolutely no matter what the intent or purpose of the wielder? Even Regina's magic is no longer damaging to her, because she is now using it in the right ways. Emma saves a life, but because she's using "dark" magic, she's damaging her soul? It hadn't been sitting right, but this episode helped me articulate why this has been bothering me so much.

Another question I have is how Nimue was able to drink from the Grail without poofing into dust. The assumption I made when Merlin's companion went poof was that he wasn't worthy of the power (and was I the only one who was waiting for an old knight to step out from behind the rock and say, "He chose...poorly"?), but if that was the criteria, then Nimue should have been poofed too. What's the rhyme or reason there?

And speaking of rhyme or reason, how on earth did that goopy stuff Arthur was mixing up not eat through the table. He said the ladle and the cauldron were enchanted, but the table seemed to be intact. And how on earth would it eat through metal, but not the teeth and bones he claimed would be left? Or, for that matter, the floors or walls of the castle? And I would really have second thoughts about carrying that thing around.

Though perhaps the guards' nervousness accounts for how they walked past the hero squad without even noticing they were standing right there.

Pretty much as soon as Nimue started craving magic for revenge I knew where it was going - that she would become the first Dark One, but it didn't make her betrayal any easier. Poor Merlin.

I kept expecting Emma to grab for her ring when she was fighting against Nimue's influence. BUT I was so so so excited to see her flip out when Nimue tried to say she had been nothing. Because Emma of not too long ago would have bought that lie and would have believed that she had nothing worth going back too.

Which made me wonder if this is all part of her lack of glittery skin and panache as the Dark One. When Nimue's skin went all scaly I started to think about it. Both Nimue and Rumple became the Dark One because of their desires for power and control. They embraced it willingly and wholeheartedly. Emma took it only to protect others and, even as the Dark One, is still fighting against its influence. Her actions in the presence, though tinged with darkness, are not the deeds of someone sold out to the dark powers. She still cares for Henry and Killian. She's still fighting to hold onto certain parts of her character.

So her appearance echoes this, and her attitude reflects the conflict still raging inside her.

I'm still not a big fan of the way the actress is playing it, but I do feel like that could be a good enough explanation to get me over my frustration.

The question is whether she'll be able to continue to resist, now that she has the whole sword, and what on earth happened before fetching the spark and the moment where she turned against everyone.

Killian is so frickin' adorable. That is all.

Okay. Now onto my least favorite subject, which I will ease into by admitting that Zelena had the best quip of the episode when she said about Charming, "If Sir Castic would let me speak..." Okay, so at least she and Regina are related in their quips.

But really. How many times are these people going to fall for her nonsense? This is far beyond mercy and compassion and into reckless endangerment.

And I hate when they play the women stupid. Mary Margaret is way too intelligent to fall for that nonsense.

And now Arthur also chooses power over love or kindness and has Merlin on a leash. Good job guys. You know, when someone wants to claim power as their "right" it's never a good thing.

Here's hoping we get some Swan answers as the preview teased. Will Emma's love be enough to help her to fight against the darkness, even now that it's gotten a hold on her?

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