Yeah. Why not? At it’s very heart, Once Upon a Time is an almost offensive melange of every story that’s ever existed. Why not have Merlin casually toting the Holy Grail around?

Spoilers. . .

It’s all Merlin all the time this week, Which means we open 2000 years ago, with Merlin wandering a desert, when he comes upon the Holy Grail, drinks from it, and becomes immortal. And then he just sort of stores the thing in his tower for a few centuries. Until he makes it into Excalibur. Because sure, I guess. Why the fuck not.


Of course, Merlin falls in love because, well, this is Once Upon a Time. Nimue really wants vengeance against the evil that destroyed her village, ANd once she goes with Merlin to make Excalibur out of the Holy Grail, she is stabbed and dies. Because, again, why not?

In the six-weeks-ago present, Merlin tells the team how to reforge the dagger and Excalibur into one. He tasks Emma and himself with the magical quest of confronting the first Dark One and getting the materials to put the sword together and save her. The rest of the Storybrooke crew has to get Excalibur so it can be matched.

Merlin and Emma make it to the forge where Merlin created Excalibur. It’s Prometheus’ forge where the fire he stole from the gods hung out. Because, that’s a thing in this show, I guess. Sure. Why not.

And if you didn’t get that the first Dark One was also Nimue, well you have not watched enough Once Upon a Time. The whole “evil that killed my love” thing he spouts is very “Darth Vader betrayed and murdered your father,” only less subtle.


So, yeah. Nimue is the origin of all dark magic. And the one who broke the sword. (The show seems to say that magic is the result of drinking from the Holy Grail, by the way, which doesn’t explain where everyone else’s comes from. But, sure. Whatever.)

Merlin has Emma summon Nimue with the dagger because they need the magic spark from the forge that she carries. Which is epically stupid. Nimue tells Emma that “Even when you love someone, you have to say ‘No, this is mine. You can’t take it away from me.’ And if they don’t listen, if they try to stop you from being you. Then you have no choice. You have to kill them.”


Sure, whatever. No intermediate steps between them being mean and you killing them? Fine, Once Upon a Time. You do you.

Emma manages to not kill Merlin and gets the spark from Nimue.

Of course, team Storybrooke is displaying its usual competence. So Zelena betrays them before they can get the Excalibur half of Excalibur. And Zelena enchants his half of the sword so that it acts like the dagger does on Emma. Excellent. Great. Fucking Charmings.


Nothing is more suggestive than Arthur’s “Look at this half-man with his half-sword solving riddles from a tree,” by the way. Dude’s penis has to be so small for him to be this obsessed with his sword. Arthur is one of those people for whom “There is no ‘I’ in team” is more of an insult than a platitude. He’s so pissed that he has to share the Excalibur glory with anyone. God, is King Arthur even more than the usual amount of asshole in this show.

After all that, Emma reforges the sword after all. So glad we spent all this time on her journey. I hope she murders her family and then skips town, leaving Regina in charge.


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