Episode 7 puts a new spin on the origin story of Merlin. Once blends together multiple myths. In a Indiana Jones moment, Merlin gains immortality from the Holy Grail. During his travels with his new powers, he meets Nimue, a mysterious woman who steals his heart. His love for Nimue is so grand; Merlin is willing to give immortality for just a lifetime with her. With her help, Merlin decides to forge the powerful Excalibur out the Holy Grail, to cut out his immortality. Staying true to Arthurian legend, Merlin and Nimue’s are ill-fated lovers. She has his heart and has the power to become his demise.
On Merlin’s journey towards a lifetime of happiness, Nimue betrays his trust and drinks from the Holy Grail. It is here her story becomes an exact parallel to Emma’s. Nimue becomes the very first Dark One. Magic becomes split. Merlin holds all that is light; refusing to act in anyway that will allow the darkness to take root in his soul. Nimue, like Emma, had important choices to make. She could show mercy and keep her heart light, or choose vengeance to justify all the evil she will create. While Emma seems to struggle with her choices, Nimue does not flinch and crushes a man’s heart and breaking Merlin’s- the Dark One is born.
Some questions are answered in episode seven, but so many more are created. Nimue, who may be the key to saving Emma, also has some responsibility in helping Emma descend into darkness. King Arthur, with the help of the Zelena, helps bind Merlin to Excalibur. He then uses this new power to betray Merlin to gain all the glory of Excalibur for himself.
Back in Storybrooke, Emma has forged Excalibur back to its whole state. She hesistates, remembering Merlin’s warning when she was a child. But Nimue reminds her that with Excalibur she will be the most powerful Dark One in all of history.
We are still missing a few events connecting the Emma of Camelot to the Dark Swan of Storybrooke. Her transformation may not be due to her inner weakness but rather the greed of others like Arthur and Zelena. Was Emma manipulated and controlled? Did she make the decision herself to betray the ones she loves, thinking she was saving them? What is Emma’s master plan? The next few episodes will definitely turn the plot even farther.