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?
Once Upon a Time is back! At the end of last season Emma took in the darkness of The Dark One. This season we get to watch as Emma attempts to fight this new force that lives inside of her. But as we saw in this premiere it appears that her battle is going to be a futile one.
The episode opened with a young Emma seeing a movie and stealing a chocolate bar. Out of nowhere a man appears and instructs her that bad things happen when you do things you shouldn’t. He gives her a warning to not pull out Excalibur when she is given the opportunity in the future then he disappears.
This is in an interesting scene because it again shows us that Emma’s life has always had some element of the fairytale world involved in it. She may have been sent away but these characters keep following her around. The Snow Queen knew her as a teenager and now this man shows up to talk to a younger version of her. This makes me wonder how many other things Emma is supposed to take part in, in some fashion.
We then jump to Camelot to the point where Arthur takes the sword from the stone. When he pulls it out he discovers that it is broken and the broken portion is missing. He decides to hide this from the people of his kingdom.
A quick side note about this scene. When Sir Kay tried to remove the sword he was turned to dust because he was not destined to take the sword. From what I remember of the original story those who tried to take the sword but were unworthy were just unable to remove the sword. In true Once Upon a Time twist if you try to take what is not yours you cause your own demise.
This makes me wonder about Emma and her destiny in connection to Excalibur . We know that The Dark One cannot die. So if she tries to steal or take the sword it can’t turn her to dust like it did to Kay. But can it still give out a punishment to her? Does it somehow take out the light inside of her, making her have to embrace the darkness? Is this part of the reason that she ends up embracing the darkness instead of fighting it?
When Arthur pulls out the broken sword we quickly learn that the broken portion is actually the dagger of the The Dark One. Excalibur is generally seen as a tool or weapon for good. Arthur is a human king but he is still considered a pretty decent guy. Excalibur’s magic is considered light magic. So what does it mean that part of this light magic item now houses and controls the darkest magic there is?
What can it mean for those who wield it? Do their power rely on each other? Who broke it in the first place and why take a portion and house pure darkness inside of it? Does this have any effect on those who use either portion? Can one turn the other dark and vice versa?
I do not have many theories right now but I am sure that this is going to play a major role in Emma’s fate this season. Maybe bringing them back together will somehow help Emma be able to fight and win her battle with the darkness.
After this revelation we are taken back to the moment right after Emma has disappeared. Hook attempts to use the dagger to bring Emma back to them but he is unable to do so. Regina tells him that is because Emma is no longer in their world. Which means they will need a portal to find Emma.
Hook goes into desperation mode. Everyone is upset but Hook is the most upset out of the whole group. He starts running to idea after idea. They go to the apprentice who gives them a wand that will help but needs dark magic to balance the light magic to wield it. While they all are trying to figure out a way to get Zelena to help them Hook approaches Henry. He asks Henry to rewrite the story with the quill but is dismayed to learn that Henry broke the quill. He then recruits Henry to break out Zelena which of course completely backfires.
Hook is going to have to settle down and get his head on straight. He is not thinking right and doing things that are dangerous and have zero chance of working as they should work. He should have known that going after Zelena would not work out. But he is in a haze and that is going to cloud his judgement throughout this season.
They do end up getting to Emma and helping her to not hurt Merida but it is quickly clear that Emma can’t do this alone. When Emma hugs Hook and finds comfort in his arms the phantom voice of darkness disappears. Emma needs someone strong to lean on and help her stand up for what she believes in right now. Hook has to tamper down his emotions a bit or else he is going to be no help to Emma. He can’t be making desperate decisions and running around without thinking. That is only going to make things worse.
Emma ends up in The Enchanted Forest where she meets the voice of the darkness inside of her. The voice takes the form of Rumple when talking to her. It tells her that fighting the darkness inside of her is a waste of time. It tries to give her a tutorial of what she is required to do now. She refuses to listen at first
I like that this voice is personified. We have watched many characters in this show struggle with the darker side of themselves. But it is always from the outside. We don’t see or hear the voice that is tempting them. This side of Emma is going to be a big deal and I like that the darkness has now has its own character. It will be interesting to watch as the two become intertwined and become less of separate entities throughout the season.
Emma is determined that she will not let the darkness consume her. She refuses to use the powers saying she will not hurt anyone. But we quickly see that this struggle is going to take more then her resolve to win. She has no control over her powers. She accidentally chokes a man who refuses to help her without payment.
Emma has never been one who has had complete control over her emotions. She can’t tamper her anger and her fear. Her power is so great that it takes barely a nudge for her to lash out and use it. Emma is going to need her family and friends to lean on.
It is interesting that the voice disappears when she is hugging Hook and Henry. For a moment when she is wrapped up in the love of those who love her she is safe and can’t hear the voice. But as soon as they part the voice is back. Emma is an independent woman who hates needing others. She is going to have to learn to accept this help. Though we do see at the end of the episode that they do fail in keeping Emma from accepting this dark side of herself.
The last scene is everyone waking up in the diner back in The Enchanted Forest. And in true Once Upon a Time fashion they have no memories of their time in Camelot. This shows thing is telling one story in present and filling in blanks through flashbacks. We are going to get to see how Emma loses her battle with her dark side. The juxtaposition of seeing how far she has fallen and watching her fight at the same time will be interesting.
I am excited for this season to watch as our characters take on completely different roles then we are used to seeing them play.
“I want you to start behaving like The Dark One!”- Darkness’s voice- The darkness is not happy that Emma is unwilling to play her new role. Can anyone actually fight and win against this darkness? Or is this a role that has to be filled no matter what?
“Use your anger,”- Darkness’s voice- As I stated before Emma has little control over her emotions. Her magic is connected to these emotions. Does anger play a part in her losing her battle with the darkness?
Where is Merlin?
Why is he missing?
Why is the dagger part of Excalibur?
Who broke it?
Why did they make part of it something so dark?
What role will this play in helping or hurting Emma? Who was it that came to Emma when she was younger? One of the knights of the roundtable?
Why isn’t she supposed to take Excalibur?
Does this play a role in her losing herself to the darkness?
How long does Emma fight the dark inside of her before losing?
Why did she come back with everyone?
What is her plan now?
Will Rumple wake up?
If he does can he help Emma?
Can there ever not be a Dark One?
Is there a counterpart to this Dark One idea? Someone who is pure light?
Was this somehow Emma at one point?
What role will Zelena be playing in all of this?
Will the baby change Zelena at all?
Will we see Merida again?
Will Maleficent and Lily be bak and if so will they help Emma?