Power Corrupts All – Once Upon a Time – (5×7) (Spoilers)
We have now met the first Dark One and I was not prepared for who it ended up being. We also learned that power can corrupt anyone, even someone who seems completely good. Emma is deep into the battle of her soul and the battle is starting to look futile.
We started the episode by learning how Merlin got his power. He was an escaped prisoner running through the desert. He came upon the Holy Grail, not knowing what it was at the time, and after asking for permission, took a sip. That one sip gave him magic abilities and immortality. We learn throughout this episode that power is a gift as well as a curse.
Merlin from the very start uses his power for good. He helps those around him and one of those people is Nimue. She is a refuge from her village that was burned to the ground. Merlin is attracted to her right away.
One of the big reasons he is attracted to her is her gentle seeming nature. She tells Merlin that the way she wants to get revenge for her village is by planting the seeds of a certain flower that only grew near her home. She tells him that at least something else will survive, proving to the man who hurt them that he did not win in the end.
That seems like a great way to look at the situation. We believe that she is a great match for Merlin because of her worldview. She is not like Regina or Zelena, centering her life on revenge and only revenge. But that all turns out to be an illusion, because in the end Nimue is human, just like anyone else.
Nimue lost her entire village and all those she loved that lived in that village. Anyone would have trouble getting through that. It is not easy to just forget and forgive as we are told to do all the time. At the time when Nimue met Merlin, she did not have the means to get her revenge. She was lost and sad. She had no idea how to do what she really wanted to do. So she told Merlin that her revenge was to plant those flower. At that time, I think she really meant what she said.
But as soon as a new opportunity presented itself to her, she took it without much thought. Merlin explained to her what the grail did for him and she could not pass up the opportunity for immortality and unlimited power. Again we see what power can do to someone.
Nimue meets the man who destroyed her life and she kills him despite Merlin begging her not to do it. He knows what will happen. As soon as she lets that darkness in, it destroys who she once had been. Killing is one of the greatest evils there is and Nimue does it without too much thought. She lets the darkness in and she becomes the first Dark One.
Power is dangerous, something we have heard many times throughout this series. Nimue uses it for revenge and it becomes all that she is focused on. Same thing happened with Rumple. He got a taste for what the power could do for him and he could not walk away from it, not for his son or for Belle. Power becomes all these Dark Ones can think about.
Emma fights with Nimue in this episode and wins. She does not kill Merlin, but we see how difficult it was for her to win that fight. She screams that she is not, nothing. Nimue tries to convince her that power will give her everything she has ever wanted. But Emma is able to see through her words this time. The problem is that the draw of power does not go away just because you say no once.
Power is enticing to people for many different reasons. Whether it is to change what you want about yourself or the world. Or to help those around you. But if you do it all because you enjoy the feel the power gives you, you are going to be doomed. Merlin used his power to help those around him, he did not use it because he enjoyed the feel of it. He was willing to give it up to be with Nimue. That is the key I think to all of this. You have to be willing to let it go and everything it could do for you.
Emma is not at this point. She has used her power a few times already. She keeps using it thinking that she is using it to save herself because it is necessary. The problem is that she is using it for selfish reasons. You can’t use the power for yourself.
I do not know if Emma can ever be completely selfless using her power. I think Emma’s downfall is going to be that she is going to use her power to hurt someone who hurts her family. Emma is able to think straight most of the time, but we saw last season that she is willing to go to great lengths to save the people she loves. She killed Cruella to protect Henry. I think her downfall will come because of something similar.
Someone is going to be threatened, either Hook or Henry most likely, and she is going to do whatever she can to save them. In the end, she is going to give into the temptation of power to save someone she loves. She won’t be able to walk away from it. Power corrupts her, just like it does for everyone else that comes into contact with it.
We do see though that Emma has some doubt left in her. We have seen a few times this season that our old Emma is still inside the Dark Swan. They have to bring out that person and break her connection to the power. They have to give her something more important than power.
“Life is made of little moments,”- Merlin – He says this twice throughout this episode. Once when he is explaining to Nimue why he is willing to give up immortality of her. And the second time when his apprentice asks if he would have prevented all of what happened if he could have. Merlin understands that all the moments of our lives, good and bad, is what life is all about. You have to have both to have a full life. This may end up being one of the keys to saving Emma.
“Easier to live with darkness when you dress it up as vengeance,” – Merlin – You can call your use of darkness a lot of different things. You can pretend that you are only getting revenge or that you are only using it to protect those around you. But when it all comes down to it, darkness is darkness. It is easier to just live with your actions when you can put a reason to it, even if that reason is threadbare and flimsy.
Why did Merlin tell them to find Nimue in his message?
What can Nimue do for Emma now?
Can she help in anyway or do they have to defeat her in some manner?
How are they supposed to even find her? Is she alive in some way, somewhere? Is Merlin dead?
Is that how Emma turned dark? Did she kill Merlin for some reason?
Why is Arthur controlling Merlin? What does Arthur want? Does he just want to protect the illusion he has created?
What will they have to do with Arthur? How can they stop Emma now that the sword is reformed?
Who is that one person that can have the darkness in them and use it for good? Do we know them? Will we ever meet them?
Can they take the darkness from Emma and give it to that one person?
How can the group bring out the good that still lives in Emma?
Where is Zelena? What does she ultimately want? Just to run away with the baby?
Does Emma still have Hook’s ring? Is that her tether to her old life?
Posted on November 9, 2015, in Once Upon a Time, Tv Shows and tagged Dark One, Dark Swan, darkness, Emma, fiction, First Dark One, Merlin, Nimue, Once Upon a time, tv show review. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.