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?
This episode pretty much wrapped up all hanging story lines, so that in the finale they can upturn everything on us. For about a minute everyone was happy. Emma finally forgave her parents and realized how important they are to her. Maleficent met Lily and they are going to try to get to know each other and build a relationship. And Regina finally figured out that the only one standing in the way of her happy ending is herself. Rumple is just about the only one who ended this episode more miserable then he started it. And of course this means he is going to destroy everything for everyone else.
This episode mainly revolved around Regina. The group returns to Storybrooke from New York. Regina is devastated by the news from Zelena and she can’t see a way to work around it. Robin tries to tell her they can find a way to live happy together but Regina can’t see what he sees. When they return she locks Zelena away. Regina then goes looking for the author in order to erase Zelena’s existence from their lives. She is intent on removing yet another obstacle to her happy ending.
What Regina learned in this episode is a lesson everyone can take away . Your happiness and thus your happy ending is in your hands and your hands alone. The path to true happiness is full of twists, turns and dead ends. The path is never going to be easy, simple and smooth. If it was, how would you ever be able to appreciate what you have? If you don’t work and struggle for what makes you happy you are going to take it all for granted. We savor the good we have because we know what it took to get to that point. If Regina changed the story so she never had to go through all her issues then she would never be able to fully appreciate what she has and could easily lose it.
Regina has had to struggle more than most people. But all the obstacles have gotten her to this point in her life. If Regina continued to blame the universe and think she needed a new story in order to be happy she would never get to that ending. Even the most perfect, “happy ending,” has its dark moments and struggles. That is just life, even in a fairytale.
I love Regina’s character because she is so strong. In the flashback portion of the episode we saw her mother, Cora, trying to set her up with the Sheriff of Nottingham. Her motives seem to be for Regina to get pregnant. She says it is to see Regina happy but it is unclear how true any of that is. For a moment Regina buys that the Sheriff is supposed to be her soulmate. But then he tells her that he will be the strong one so she can be weak. Instantly Regina knows that something is wrong with the situation.
She doesn’t stand there and wonder if he has a point. She doesn’t try to make herself okay with what he said in order to keep him as her soulmate. She fights back and tells him off and ultimately puts him in her dungeon. When her mother questions her she tells her that she knew it wasn’t true because that is not how a soulmate would act. Her soulmate would never tell her to become someone she isn’t. That person would never tell her to be a weaker person then they are. Never tell her that because she is a woman she can’t be strong. She knows what it means to have someone truly love you. They accept you as you are and compliment you as a person not try to change who you are.
Zelena quips about how of course Regina found her happy ending now that she has a man. Bur Regina quickly steps on that accusation. She tells Zelena that Robin is not her happy ending alone, he is only part of it. Her happy ending is learning to feel at home in her world and with who she is as a person; trusting herself, and knowing that she has come so far and changed so much from the person she once was. Regina finally sees that her happy ending has been around her this whole time. She has Robin who loves and accepts her. She has Henry who does the same. She has friends in Emma, Charming and Snow who have looked past the past and see who she truly is now. And most importantly she loves herself.
Whereas Regina finally sees that her happy ending is in her hands not the author’s, Rumple cannot see or understand that idea. Rumple did not get any type of happy ending in this episode. Rumple said before that once his heart is completely consumed by darkness his ability to love will be gone forever. The Dark One will take over and Rumpelstiltskin as we know him will be dead. There will be nothing left but evil, hate and darkness.
Rumple has done a lot of bad through out his life, which is why he is in this situation to start with. Yet for all that he has done he is not welcoming this change with open arms. With the last bit of humanity left in him he is trying to find a way to save himself. Rumple doesn’t want to be a purely evil man but he knows that he can’t save himself in this life and story. He is too far down a dark path to be able to do enough good to save his heart. The only solution he sees is the change his story completely.
Rumple could just change his story. Instead he gives the author a new storybook called “Heroes and Villains,” and tells him it is time the villains win. He doesn’t just change his story but everyones.
Though at this point it is interesting to note that Rumple is the only one who truly still sees himself as a villain. (Zelena may see herself that way as well). Maleficent has her daughter and no longer cares about revenge or hurting anyone. Regina gave up the role of villain ages ago. Rumple views himself as a villain and that is influencing his decisions. It all comes down how they see themselves and that is influencing the choices and decisions that are being made.
“We can be happy in the future or angry in the past,”- Maleficent – She realizes that holding onto grudges and pain makes being happy nearly impossible. You have to let the past be the past and stay where it belongs.
“The only one standing in the way of your happiness is you?”- Cora – Words the every character should always remember in this story, especially Rumple.
Now that there is a new story book how will everything change?
Are we going to have an alternate storyline type deal?
What does Rumple truly want out of his life?
In the new story will Rumple still be the dark one with that power? Could he ever give up that much power?
Are we ever going to see Maleficent and Lily again?
Is Emma now safe from turning dark or is that always going to be a possibility for her life?
Will someone die?
Can Regina reverse the potion she took so she can get pregnant if she wanted to?
What will the alternate universe idea do to Henry? Will he just cease to exist?
This episode was very much to set up the next episode or two. The Snow Queen has cast The Spell of Shattered Sight and the town only has until sundown to do something to save themselves. Belle finds a spell that would make basically an antidote to the spell but they need something from someone who has already had the spell cast on them.
Elsa goes in search of Ana and through the use of the necklace, actually a Wishing Star, they were reunited but not in time. Rumple had Hook use the hat in a room full of fairies, allowing it to collect enough power to activate itself. The episode ended with everyone locking themselves away from all loved ones and hoping to ride out the spell. Judging by the previews for next week no one stays where they planned on staying and all hell breaks loose.
While everyone is running around trying to save themselves, Rumple is thinking only about getting the hat charged so he can be free of the dagger and be all powerful. He does ask The Snow Queen to allow him to leave with Belle and Henry which she agrees to. Unfortunately for Belle and Henry they do not get out of town in time and are forced to be locked away just like everyone else.
Rumple does want to save the only two people he cares about in this world. He appears to want to save loved ones but we have learned, especially in the last few episodes, that any good in Rumple is barely a whisper now. After this episode in particular I have very little hope left for any type of redemption for this man.
Last season he seemed so much on the path of good and turning his life around, he seemed to actually want to change. But the death of Neil really shook him and he stopped moving in that positive direction. The problem with Rumple is that he cannot give up any type of power. He loves power and control more than he loves anything and anyone else.
He says, “If I have to choose between everyone else and me, me wins every time.” Rumple is selfish. No gets to defeat him or break him down. He lived that life once and he will never return to it no matter what it may cost those around him. As long as Rumple is the Dark One he cannot ever think beyond the scope of power. His vision will alway have that dagger hanging on the edge. His mind and his actions will alway come down to choosing that power and that control. Always.
The only way Rumple will ever be able to begin on a path to real redemption is if he is no longer The Dark One. Somehow, someway he needs to lose his status as The Dark One. He can’t think clearly when he has this power hanging over and tempting him. With that dagger he can be controlled and no one controls Rumple outside of Rumple.
Rumple will be found out sooner or later. When everyone learns what he has done, purely for selfish reasons, he is going to lose everything. Belle will leave him. Emma and Regina will not allow Henry to be anywhere near him. He will become enemy number one of Storybrooke. And when he realizes that he is alone and hated he is going fully embrace the darkness that flats in his soul and he is going to fight until his death. I don’t see Rumple surviving much longer.
While Rumple is destroying himself he is also destroying Hook. Hook has no heart currently. Rumple has completely control over his actions. Whatever he says Hook has to do. In this episode we watched as Hook is forced to attack and kill all the fairies.
Unlike Rumple, Hook has come a very long way. Hook went from a man who only cared about himself and his ship to a man who gave that ship up in order to save the woman he loves with all his heart. Emma is his world now. He adores her. He will do anything to be better for her. And now he is standing without a heart and as an accomplice to atrocities.
If Emma breaks down and pushes Hook away, telling him that he can’t be trusted and that she only sees him as a bad person who makes bad decisions, it will utterly destroy Hook. While Rumple will be consumed by darkness and implode. Hook will drown in grief and guilt and ultimately cause his own demise.
My hope is that everyone else will be able to stand and up tell Emma that Hook is not to blame for what he has done over the last few episodes. Regina will be especially powerful for this purpose because she has done what Rumple is doing. She has taken someone’s heart (Graham’s) and controlled them, until death. She can explain how it works, and tell Emma that the individual has no power or control, no matter what they do. Hopefully Emma will see that. This is one case where words are going to have to speak louder than actions.
“You’re talking like a hero,” – Snow – She is talking to Emma. Emma is immune to the curse so she is going to have to find that inner strength and power in order to save everyone she loves.
“I let my heart pull me elsewhere,” – Regina – Regina spent much of her life ignoring her heart, scared to death to let it be put in a vulnerable position ever again. Now her heart is out and laying where it can be hurt or destroyed and she is terrified.
What will everyone reveal?
How will what they say and do affect them later on?
Can they realize it is the curse talking?
Will anyone be killed?
How are Emma, Elsa and Ana going to save everyone?
What will Rumple do?
When will they all learn what Rumple has done with the hat and to Hook?
What will Belle and Henry do when they find out what Rumple has done?
When will he use that hat?
Can Hook survive his actions?
Will Emma understand?
Will Hook survive this incident?
What was in the bottle that Elsa and Ana’s parents put in the ocean?
Will it change everything?
What will The Snow Queen do during this time?