SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers from the first season of Cursed.
Cursed is Netflix's newest fantasy series, and if you're waiting for shows like The Witcher or The Umbrella Academy to return, this reimagining of Arthurian folklore is a perfect binge.
While the show centers around Nimue, a powerful witch on a quest to bring a magical sword to Merlin, the destined Lady of the Lake also comes into contact with other characters (including a young, charismatic man named Arthur) in order to stop the Red Paladins from killing humans and magical groups alike.
The show, laced with magic, war, and romance, ends its first season on a cliffhanger (quite literally) that changes the course of the story for its characters. And while the story leaves much to be explored, it also leaves a whole lot of confusion as to what exactly happened and what could be the next steps for all the players, should Netflix greenlight the show for a second season.
Here's what all that at the end of Cursed really meant.
It's unclear whether Nimue is dead or alive.
As you watch the final moments, one big question remains: Is Nimue still alive? Honestly, no one knows for sure. But things aren’t looking so hot for the female lead. As she tries to escape Uther’s camp alongside an injured Merlin, she ends up being shot multiple times (once in the shoulder and twice in the stomach) by Sister Iris, who can only become a member of the Red Paladins if she takes out the Wolf-Blood Witch. Nimue, now gravely wounded, falls from the rock bridge they are standing on and ends up in a whirlpool at the bottom of a waterfall, leaving viewers to not see her again.
Sure, this might look like some sort of bad fate, given that we last see Nimue floating in the water mixed with blood. But she’s not exactly dead either, and given her magical powers, the heroine might just show up out of nowhere and continue trying to save humanity. And she hasn’t exactly achieved the pivotal parts of the Lady of the Lake legend, given that the sword isn’t bequeathed to Arthur just yet. Realistically, her fate should be a 50-50 chance at this point. But you also have to consider that Katherine Langford is the star of the show, and at the center of the very concept of Cursed. It might not look promising, but chances are she'll find a way to recover.
Merlin regains his magical powers.
Throughout the series, viewers were waiting for Merlin to be the sorcerer he’s meant to be in Arthurian folklore. And it’s the final moments of the show when Merlin regains his powers, which comes with taking back possession of the Sword of Power just moments after Nimue falls into the whirlpool. After taking out some Red Paladins with the sword, coupled with the grief he has for his daughter (a different relationship than what the legend dictates), it's unclear what he will do now that he has the ability to perform magic once again. It could be as simple as destroying the weapon or as complicated as becoming a mentor to a young Arthur. No matter the case, if the show gets a second season, there’s a lot to be explored.
"I really wanted to get under his skin, with his connection to Nimue as his daughter," Wheeler told the Hollywood Reporter about Merlin. "He's lived for so long. He's seen so much loss. To see him care for this young woman, to care about his daughter, it really interested me... He's been trying to hand his power off to others because he obviously has a sort of addiction problem within him — but in this final moment, it's the only thing that's going to save him."
Morgana harnesses some sort of magic.
Morgana’s story has many twists and turns throughout the season. By killing off the Widow character, coupled with visions of her dead girlfriend and the prophecy of the Cailleach, Morgana seems to take on the role the Widow left for her.
What is the magic exactly? No one’s really sure. But Morgana has now entered the world of those with powers, and her story looks headed in a new direction should the show get a season 2. Like the legends, Morgana has the ability to straddle different agendas, whether it be loyalty for Nimue’s cause or her own. And given her relationship with her brother Arthur, there’s no way of knowing whether she’ll eventually become an ally or foe to her family’s cause.
Arthur starts becoming the leader he’s destined to be.
Throughout the series, Arthur is essentially a side piece to the story, trying to run away from his problems. Come the final episode, he’s become a man worthy of leading an army into battle, as he is the one to get the Tusks and Fey groups to become one battalion. And in a true moment of bravery (or maybe love), he offers himself instead of Nimue to try and save her… although she doesn’t take him up on his offer.
Just as the Lady of the Lake's destiny isn't fully realized, neither is Arthur's, which was intentional from Wheeler's perspective. "We knew we were going to be presenting them in very new ways," he revealed to THR. "It really is to just kind of pull the lens out and see the story starting further back then when we're used to starting and seeing how this one young woman acted as mentor, leader, really held the sword before King Arthur."
Two key identities in the Arthurian legend are revealed.
In the last few minutes of the season, viewers see the Weeping Monk and Squirrel riding in the woods. In a surprising twist, it turns out the duo are none other than Lancelot and Percival—two eventual, prominent members of the Knights of the Round Table.
Sir Lancelot, traditionally seen as King Arthur’s greatest knight, is known in the legend to be very religious and go on adventures that could potentially tread into Christian-like storytelling. This would make sense as to why the Weeping Monk is on the same side as the Red Paladins, patrons of the Roman Catholic Church. But given how he’s willing to risk his life to save Squirrel, it’s clear that there’s some good in him that hasn’t been tapped into just yet. Sir Percival, on the other hand, has a lot going for him in Arthurian folklore. Known as the Grail Knight, he’s the one associated with meeting the Fisher King and eventually finding the Grail castle, a coveted piece in the Camelot legends.
Wheeler revealed in the Hollywood Reporter interview that Lancelot's tortured story in the legend became the perfect foil for the Weeping Monk, already conflicted between the forces of good and evil. "He's a tortured character," he said. "He's one of my favorite characters, but he's so innately conflicted... He's almost a prequel in some cases to the origin story."
Sister Iris Becomes a Red Paladin.
As the story plays out onscreen, a young nun named Sister Iris is desperate to become a Red Paladin and serve the order of God, only to be ridiculed and told that she would have to kill the Wolf-Blood Witch in order to achieve that goal… which she does, effectively shooting arrows at Nimue and seemingly causing her death.
The series’ final minute ends with Sister Iris not only becoming a member of the brotherhood, but she goes one step further, being anointed by the Pope to be a part of his Trinity Guard, gold face mask and all. The final shot sees Iris walking towards the camera, with the Pope in tow and vowing for the miracles they’ll perform. It’s terrifyingly creepy… but also alluring, with promise for an eventual second season—if and when it ever does come.
You Might Also Like