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There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

Seriously I wish Elliot Knight could stay on the show for awhile, but Merlin is probably too powerful of a character to keep around. Not to mention this show has proven a few times that too much of a good thing can turn it into something infuriating. See: Rumplestiltskin, who thankfully is not even in this. I did raise an eyebrow at a few moments of this episode because we know it was supposed to be happening around the same time as Belle and Merida’s plot last week. So no one at all noticed that Belle was kidnapped? Jeez. You guys kinda suck. Previously on Once Upon a Time, Merlin’s the boss and they finally got him out of the tree. He agrees to help Emma, but they have to put Excalibur together in order to do anything with the power. Arthur’s kind of evil, having been obsessed all this time with Merlin’s tree and the destiny he thought he deserved. The Dark One was responsible for Merlin losing the love of his life many years before, which led to him being in the tree. Also Emma’s the Dark One, something happened in Camelot that turned her that way, and she’s cursed everyone in Storybrooke to be stuck there.

The Storybrooke storyline is barely around this episode, and that’s fine by me since I was still fuming from Rumple and Belle’s plot last week. The end result this week is that Emma manages to finally put the sword back together and now has unlimited power at her beck and call. Apparently. She does hesitate before doing it because she remembered Merlin telling her not to. Last week Merlin told them that the only person who could help stop it was Nimue, who we see in the flashbacks as Merlin’s true love. Merlin drank from the Holy Grail a long time ago and was granted eternal life. He used his magic to help people and follow a righteous, peaceful path. He meets a beautiful young woman named Nimue who survived a horrible attack on her village. They were all killed. He helps her grow a plant that is only known in that area, and they fall in love. Merlin tells her that he wants to use the Grail to take his immortality away so he can live an ordinary life with her. For some reason that means he has to turn it into a sword to “cut” it away, which seems like a contrivance but I’ll let it go. As expected this eventually turns Nimue into the Lady in the Lake sort of figure, with a twist.

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Nimue is in fact the first Dark One. There were signs pretty early on that she had a darkness, a thirst for power and vengeance, and she drinks the Grail when Merlin isn’t paying attention. Did the Grail think she was worthy? Like Arthur was worthy? Maybe it only sees potential in people. She had the potential for greatness just like Arthur does, but she uses it in the wrong way. Faced with the murderer of her people, and a man who attempted to kill her to, Nimue snuffs out his heart and embraces the darkness. She gets scales all over her face. Why is Emma the only one without scales? In Camelot, Merlin tells Emma she’ll have to face the Dark One and fight off the evil or she would murder Merlin right then and there. Nimue does try to persuade her, but she pushes it too far. Emma says the line above when Nimue says she can’t go back to being nothing without the power. Jennifer Morrison did a great job, this was a heart wrenching moment, and a really important moment for Emma Swan as a character. So kudos. She chooses the light and she feels good about it. She gets Prometheus’ light from Nimue, apparently the only way to forge the sword back together. This is definitely a lead in to the eventual Greek mythology we’ll have. YAAAAAAY.

Unfortunately the group has been betrayed by – SHOCK – Zelena. Seriously you’re all so stupid sometimes I can’t even. She’s partnered with Arthur, who took off her bracelet, and she helps him change the sword to call on Merlin. Merlin tries to persuade Arthur that they can still fulfill their great destiny and that Emma will help them. Arthur’s like nawwwww because he’s a self-righteous prick, and I’m glad they aren’t trying to redeem him or anything. He’s a bad dude. Poor Guinevere. I hope she and Lancelot sail off into the sunset together after this is all said and done. I think it’s interesting that Arthur, Nimue, and Emma all have a lot in common. They are people who might have had good intentions at some point, but are straying from their path. Only Emma’s holding onto the light, whereas the other two have been corrupted by the darkness. Only we see now in Storybrooke she has been corrupted, so go figure. The point is that now the sword is forged. In Camelot, Arthur has Merlin at his beck and call. WHY DIDN’T HE JUST KILL THEM? Probably because Plot, I get that, but jeez come on. Kill all your enemies now that you have Merlin with you. Otherwise they’re definitely going to beat you in the end. You’re a mediocre bad guy too, Arthur. Tsk tsk. Anyway next week is a two hour episode so we’ll probably get some final answers on why she hates everyone and cursed them.

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