“Once Upon a Time” recap (5.7): The Darkest One

Previously on Once Upon A Time, a masked Dark One turned Merlin into a tree, Emma became the Dark Swan and set out to restore Excalibur with her imaginary Dark One friend, and Merlin tells Team Charming an important name: Nimue.

In present-day Storybrooke, Emma has Excalibur and the Dark One Dagger in her possession, which makes RumpleVoice a happy hallucination. He tells her that it’s more than power, it’s history, and that Excalibur will finally fulfill its destiny. Yes, we’re still talking about a sword.  

OUAT 507-1 “Does it fix broken plotlines?”

Let’s go back to the very beginning. 1000 years before “The Age of Arthur” (whatever that means on this show), Merlin and his buddy trek along a desert, literally dying of thirst. Just when they need it most, a chalice appears. Merlin’s friend doesn’t think this is weird so he dives for it, only to turn to dust. Merlin takes a knee, asks the gods for permission, and picks up the cup. When he doesn’t immediately explode, he happily drinks from the cup. He touches the ground and the sand turns to grass and he realizes that the chalice gave him magic.

In Camelot, Emma is dreamweaving while everyone else makes plans inside. Merlin says they need something magical to join the blades but he thinks he knows what. Hook is mad he’s not more helpful than he is, and since Merlin is a better man than me, he doesn’t point out that Hook’s latest attempts to “help” involved a useless horseback ride. Merlin tells them all that what Emma needs from them above all is patience and love. And also Excalibur, which is still in Arthur’s possession.

Flashback to about 500 years after the chalice incident, I think, where Merlin is set up like Jesus in a leper community, healing them using his magic. His apprentice says there’s only one woman left, so Merlin sends him off to make sure the brooms aren’t reenacting Fantasia and goes to see what the woman wants.

OUAT 507-2With freckles like those, she can have literally anything she wants.

What she wants is revenge for her village. It was destroyed by an angry man, and all that’s left is her and a handful of seeds from the middlemist flower. He plants them for her, and makes them bloom immediately. He can’t see her future, for some reason, but he hopes she’ll come back again soon. Her name, she tells him, is Nimue.

Camelot Merlin tells Team Charming that they need something called The Spark and instead of just nudging Emma and Regina closer together, he goes outside to Crafting Hour with Emma Swan to invite the Dark Savior on this quest with him. She asks him why he looks like the sky is falling, and he warns her that they’ll have to take on the first Dark One, and it won’t be as easy as saving someone’s soul from Nanda Parbat. Emma asks if they’ll win, and Merlin says he sees two options. One where they win, and one where Emma succumbs to the darkness. So basically they’re not all going to turn into butterflies and fly away is all he knows for sure. It’s up to her to fight the darkness or everything is doomed, basically.


Flashback to a time a little later than the last time we flashed back, and Merlin and Nimue are together now. Merlin confesses that he wants to propose but he can’t because he’s immortal thanks to the Holy Grail. Nimue asks him what IS the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow, but he shrugs and says the cup has been in their house this whole time. Nimue is ready to drink from the cup too so they can be immortal, together for literally ever, but he says it will ruin what they have. But he says they can turn the cup into a sword and carve out his immortality like a tumor. Nimue thinks that’s the most random plan in the history of plans, but she’s in.

He weaves a ring out of a flower vine and slips it over her finger, turning it to gold.

OUAT 507-4 Phew, I thought I was going to have to keep the thorns…

Nearby, a figure in a gold mask lurks and leers.