Tonight we learn how Merlin became the all-seeing sorcerer and the great love he lost to the original Dark One! Get a sneak peek of tonight’s Once Upon a Time, airing at 8:00pm ET|PT on ABC.
In last week’s Once Upon a Time, both the Camelot and Storybrooke storylines focussed in Merida. In the past, she was on a mission to save her brothers from the DunBroch clan leaders, while in the present, Emma continued to coerce Merida into making Rumple a hero.
“The Bear and the Bow” began with Merlin (finally free after 1,000 years trapped in the tree), Charming, Killian, and Belle storming Arthur’s dungeons to free Lancelot. After realizing Merida had been imprisoned all this time as well, Merlin released her from the cell and insisted she leave with them, despite the fact that Arthur still had the wisps. As the group walked through the woods to meet with the others, Merida knocked Belle over the head with a rock and kidnapped her. Merida highjacked a boat and sailed the two of them to DunBroch. She needed Belle to use her knowledge of magic to help free her brothers. Here, we learned the full story. After Merida’s father (King Fergus) died, the clan leaders didn’t believe Merida could rule without marrying one of them. When she refused, they exiled Queen Elinor (Merida’s mother) and kidnapped her brothers for ransom. If Merida didn’t agree to relinquish the throne, the clan leaders would kill the three young men. Belle agreed to help.
Merida took them to a witch’s house to use her cauldron (Interestingly, this was the same witch who made the tonic that turned Elinor into a bear!). Belle was able to create a vision that showed MacIntosh, MacGuffin, and Dingwall sentencing Merida’s brothers to death by the end of the day. There wasn’t any time—Merida needed Belle to create a potion from the spell of Mor’du…(we know that it would change her fate by turning her into a bear). Belle tried to encourage Merida to use rely on her own cunning and strength, but Merida refused. To save her brothers, she would need the magic (especially since her skill hadn’t been enough to save her father from being killed in battle).
Merida confronted the clan leaders, took the potion…and nothing happened. Belle had switched it with water: she wanted Merida to face the soldiers as their Queen. Merida rose to the occassion! When MacIntosh, MacGuffin, and Dingwall fired the arrows to execute her brothers, she was able to break the three arrows with one of her own. The soldiers were so impressed that they dropped their swords and knelt before their Queen. Merida was reunited with her brothers, and she and Belle parted as friends.
In Storybrooke, Regina told Charming, Snow, Killian, and Belle that Emma slipped and told her that they’d found Merlin in Storybrooke. Yet, they were all confused. If that was the case, why was Emma 100% Dark One? Regina planned to use the toadstool to communicate with Merlin, but there was a complication. The Sorcerer would only appear to someone who has been chosen by him. Initially Charming suggested Arthur, since he had received all of Merlin’s prophecies.
Belle was frustrated that the others weren’t concerned with saving Rumple and went her own way. She got back to town library just in time to meet Rumple (he’d escaped Merida by breaking the chipped tea cup and using a shard to cut the ropes that bound him). (*SIDENOTE* This Rumbelle moment was so wonderful: “Belle, if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t even be alive. Thank you.”) They didn’t have much time because Emma was sending Merida to kill Belle. Dark Emma believed that the effort Rumple would make to protect Belle would in turn, make him a hero. Rumple and Belle went to Mr. Gold’s Shop to find magic that could help them. Once Belle and Rumple got to the shop, Merida was right there, raining down arrows.
Belle and Rumple were able to escape and he planned to drive them out of town (anti-transformation powder would protect them from the ill-effects of crossing the border). But Belle wouldn’t run away…she wasn’t a coward and Rumple wasn’t either…right? Rumple believed he could never be a hero. Even during the First Ogres War, he wounded himself so he wouldn’t have to fight and die. As Belle walked away, she was met by Merida, who was compelled by Emma to take the Mor’du potion…Bearida! Belle ran into the woods, but before Bearida could kill her, Rumple saved the day. He used the anti-transformation powder to turn the giant bear back to Merida.
Elsewhere, Emma met with Zelena for help using the Apprentice’s wand. In exchange Emma would free Zelena and protect her from Regina. However, Zelena didn’t want to play ball. She was trying to turn over a new leaf for her baby. Zelena was also pretty harsh about Emma’s manipulation of Henry/Violet. As someone who knew all about a mother’s betrayal, Zelena didn’t believe Emma had any hope of Henry’s forgiveness.
Dark Emma returned to the caves and was joined by Merida, Rumple, and Belle. He was able to remove Excalibur from the stone and turned it over in exchange for Merida’s heart. But Rumple wasn’t finished: now that he was a hero, he intended to stop Emma.
Meanwhile, by the time Regina had made the spell to call Merlin, Arthur arrived to “help”. He asked for privacy (Merlin only interacted with Arthur when he was alone). But instead of using the toadstool, he tossed int in the fire. Arthur then told the Heroes that the spell just fizzled out (LIAR!). Later, the Heroes found the toadstool in the fire and realized Arthur lied. If Arthur wouldn’t help them, the Author could. Henry was chosen by Merlin too! They were able to access a message from the Sorcerer…he seemed to be in danger from the Dark One and quickly shared that only one person could help them was someone called Nimue.
In tonight’s episode “Nimue”, written by Jane Espenson, directed by Romeo Tirone, and guest-starring Elliot Knight (Merlin), Liam Garrigan (King Arthur), Joana Metrass (Guinevere), and Caroline Ford (Nimue):
EMMA AND MERLIN EMBARK ON A PERILOUS QUEST TO RETRIEVE PROMETHEUS’ FIRE FROM THE BIRTHPLACE OF DARK MAGIC—In Camelot, Merlin spearheads a mission to reunite the dagger with Excalibur so he can use the weapon to save Emma from the darkness threatening her soul. With Zelena in tow, Hook, Mary Margaret, David, Regina and Robin steal into Arthur’s castle to take the broken sword from the maniacal king. Meanwhile, Merlin brings Emma along on a journey to confront his ancient nemesis and retrieve the sacred spark he’ll need to reforge Excalibur. Both parties are tested, but one suffers a blow that could derail the entire operation. In a flashback to long before the Age of Arthur, young Merlin finds purpose after he is blessed with magic and immortality, but when he falls in love with a young refugee named Nimue, everything changes for Merlin, as their romance starts a chain of events that touches every one of our present day heroes. (via ABC)
Can we talk about how EPIC this official synopsis is?! The upcoming show is definitely going to be a game changer—I can’t wait to learn more about how Merlin becomes the all-powerful sorcerer and the great love he loses. It also seems like we’ll be meeting the first Dark One who actually turned Merlin into the tree. And we might finally learn what in the world happened to cause Emma to embrace her dark side and wipe the memories of her family and friends!
Check out these two sneak peeks from “Nimue”. In the first, Merlin and the Heroes split up to gather the materials needed to merge Excalibur and the dagger. However, Killian gets frustrated because he doesn’t think enough is being done to help Emma. In the second video, before Emma and Killian part ways, they share a heartfelt moment (with I LOVE YOUs):
— Once Upon A Time (@OnceABC) November 5, 2015
I’m actually NOT OK. If you ask me, I don’t know that Emma would have minded a proposal just then! But Killian and Emma saying that they love one another is so beautiful! Of course, this makes me even more emotional because in the present, Dark Emma and Killian seem to have broken up 🙁
Also, it’s very interesting that Merlin mentions how he knows what it’s like to lose someone to the Dark One…might this have anything to do with Nimue…? Any theories, Oncers?
Take a look at 12+ images from “Nimue”, which give us a glimpse of young Merlin meeting and falling in love with his lady, as well as the Heroes’ attempts to reforge Excalibur:
The new Once Upon a Time airs at 8:00pm ET|PT on ABC, so tune in and remember to come live tweet with us (@WeSoNerdy) while we watch!