With her new series Cursed, about the Lady of the Lake, Katherine Langford is back on Netflix, but this time she’s facing some very different battles that would never see the light of day at Liberty High.
Cursed explores the Arthurian legend of the Lady of the Lake with a twist. Traditionally, Merlin uses magic to seal a sword in stone and Arthur proves his worth by pulling it out. The sword is eventually damaged in a battle with Lancelot, but the Lady of the Lake restores the sword to its former glory, paving the way for Arthur to become king.
King Arthur isn’t the focus of Cursed, however. Langford plays Nimue, a Fey (or fairy) who is destined to become the Lady of the Lake. However, when we meet her, she’s seen as an outcast by both her peers and Elders thanks to an incident she experienced as a child. After her mother’s death, she meets Arthur (Devon Terrell), an unexpected partner as she undergoes a quest to deliver a powerful sword to Merlin (Gustaf Skarsgård). Along her journey Nimue must take on the Red Paladins, a group trying to rid the world of magic, as she tries to figure out her own destiny, protecting herself and other outcasts like her.
“It’s telling a story of a true heroine that is capable and strong and not just altering a story because she’s a woman,” Langford told Refinery29 ahead of Cursed’s release. “[It’s] something I wish I’d had growing up.”
Ready for some magic, fairies, and mystical sword battles? Let’s dive in.
Episode 1, “Nimue”
We meet Nimue as she rides her horse along an idyllic grassy hill, but something is afoot — the wind is howling and the birds are flying in a spiral. She makes her way to an open market of sorts, where a young boy named Squirrel (Billy Jenkins) is walking through where people are picking vegetables… and Squirrel is surreptitiously picking everyone’s pockets.
As they chat, a woman walks by and calls Nimue a witch, disgusted. Nimue takes the remark in stride, but she’s forgotten an offering before heading to the pyre. As she assembles her bouquet of wild flowers we see just how magical — and sinister — the land truly is. A nearly cartoonish flower floats in the air as sapphire-colored fly buzzes by, giving Disney-movie-come-to-life vibes (or a very weird dream), but then the wind starts howling again, whispering, “Save them” over and over again. We meet our first talking animal as a deer with a raspy voice approaches Nimue to deliver a message: “Death is not the end, Fey queen. Save them.” Then, suddenly, someone shoots the deer with an arrow (guess no one could save the deer).
“What did you do?!” Nimue asks, aghast, as a few men come over to collect their supper. They warn each other not to get too close to “this witch” or they’ll “get the worms” (what exactly do these people think witches do?). “Even her dad left her,” one remarks, sparking a flashback of a young Nimue pleading with her Papa to come back. “You’re cursed, Nimue,” we see a slightly older Nimue told in a flashback as the men heckle her. Nimue shouts at Benue to get out of her forest as the bow in his hand turns into a snake, tightening its grip around his arm. Green veins begin to appear on the sides of Nimue’s face and neck until she finally lets him go. During a flashback we get a sense of why her Papa left. “She brings a darkness, a curse,” he says. Nimue’s mother Lenore (Catherine Walker) arrives and finally snaps her out of it. Nimue lets him go, but not without a scolding from dear mom of course.
Nimue is understandably upset over the entire encounter. Her mother tells her not to be ashamed, but Nimue points out a major difference: she’s the one called “demon” and “witch.” “Are you the high priestess now or my mother?” Nimue snaps.
It’s ceremony time and everything looks eerily out of Midsommar, only slightly moodier. The Elders’ robes are dark, the sky is gray and cloudy as people circle a large fire, unlit torches in hand. Nimue reluctantly makes her offering. “As Sky Folk we are born in the dawn to pass in the twilight,” Nimue’s mother says, arms outstretched. It’s nightfall before we know it and the flames dance and sparkle, ready to choose a new Summoner. “The Hidden are with us,” Nimue’s mother notes. (Who are these Hidden?) They swarm Nimue, much to everyone’s dismay — she’s marked by dark gods, the others complain.
Nimue gives all the angsty 13 Reasons Why energy as she refuses to be Summoner and storms away. Her mother isn’t having it, though. The will of the Hidden is clear, she explains, and the power is a gift. It should be used to guide and serve Nimue’s “kind.” Nimue marches away, ready to get on a ship and leave. Nimue’s friend Pym (Lily Newmark) catches up to her, ready to talk her out of it. “Who cares what those shriveled onions think?” she asks. (A fair question!) Nimue has made a decision and isn’t changing it. “Oh my Gods,” Pym says — a subtle yet brilliant adjustment of the phrase for an Arthurian universe — as she insists on tagging along.
We meet Father Cardin (Peter Mullan), an evangelist and leader of the Red Paladins who wants to rid the world of magic, and his red robe. He’s explaining to a young boy that they must expel the weeds — the demons — from God’s garden, regardless of just how scary the weeds are. The boy, apparently an unsuspecting “demon,” is grabbed and taken away as Father Cardin sits up and we see just what his world looks like. There is chaos and destruction all over the hill as crosses and fires burn, people dash around on horseback.
Meanwhile, a Moon Wing has appeared and tells her story to Nimue’s mom. She talks of the men in red robes who burned the trees and killed people in their sleep with smoke. She looks exactly like her name, pale and almost as if she’s wearing clouds for clothes and hair. A man in a hooded robe sporting some serious guyliner (with tears, of course!) walks away from the flames as the Moon Wing tells her story: the Weeping Monk (Daniel Sharman), a crusader who hunts the Fey for the Red Paladins. The Red Paladins are moving north and they’re in their path.
Merlin (Gustaf Skarsgård) is far from any magician you pictured in your mind. There’s no white beard and flowing purple robes here — instead, we meet Merlin as he sulks in the corner of a tavern, hood drawn over his face so you can’t see his eyes… because he’s asleep. It turns out to be a ruse, though, as he grabs Hook, who’s trying to search his robes, and holds a knife to his eye. He threatens to turn them into mole rats but doesn’t actually commit. Did Merlin lose his magic?
Over at the castle, King Uther Pendragon (Sebastian Armesto) is getting some unpleasant news as Merlin is brought in, bare-chested and apparently drunk. Turns out most blame the king for the drought (in addition to the Fey’s witchcraft). Merlin, meanwhile, had promised them rain, but he claims weather is too fickle. The king is facing problems and Merlin might have the answer no one wants. The Shadow Lords could slow Carden’s march — but it’s not rain, so it’s not good enough.
Nimue and Pym are riding Nimue’s horse as they discuss the mission. Gawain (Matt Stokoe) took the Brass Shield, the only ship that crosses the sea to the desert kingdoms, but Nimue wants to get on it. She’ll cut her hair so no one knows she’s a girl and she’s got 20 silver — she’s got this, folks. They arrive at the dock and the ship isn’t there, however, and won’t be back for six months. Nimue and Pym make their way through the village to a man who’s singing to a small crowd. He spots Nimue and serenades her. Nimue walks away so he chases her, turning his flirt and exchanging names so they aren’t strangers — ladies and gentlemen, meet Arthur. The trio grab drinks as they learn about each other. Arthur may be young and scruffy (and, apparently, has a history of thieving), but turns out he’s a knight. A man interrupts to wage a dice bet: if he wins, he gets a kiss. If Nimue wins, she gets 10 silver. Arthur warns Nimue the dice are weighted but she presses on anyway, knowing she can use her powers. Nimue and Pym try to make a quick escape once her secret is revealed, but several of the Red Paladins chase them through the crowd.
Merlin, meanwhile, is speaking to a shopkeeper and looking for a mysterious Number Three item. The keeper opens a drawer and pulls back a cloth to reveal an infant with three faces on its head. This doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere good.
Arthur finds Nimue and Pym hiding from the Red Paladins in the woods and offers them good company and terrible wine. At his place, Arthur is teaching Nimue to fight, which of course means very close contact and a near-kiss by the fire… until Nimue catches him off-guard and headbutts him. (She’s definitely someone you’d want on your side in a tavern fight.)
Merlin is thumbing through a book of magic, where we see some familiar imagery, including the Number Three baby and a sword.
Nimue and Pym leave Arthur behind as they discuss the almost-kiss. It turns out Nimue had a vision, but she won’t budge. They’re interrupted by a horse galloping past them, its saddle on fire. They ride in the direction the horse came from only to see a chaotic, fiery battle with the Red Paladins, where Pym is taken. Nimue hides on the sidelines until she spots Squirrel and pulls him out of the fight. As he escapes, Nimue is captured by one of the men in red robes and is dragged by her hair to Carden. As Carden instructs the man to throw Nimue into the fire everyone in a red robe is shot with an arrow, allowing Nimue to narrowly escape.
Nimue finds her mother laying on the ground, bloody, a sword by her side. She gives Nimue a mission: Take the sword to Merlin. Nimue’s mother sacrifices herself to one of the Red Paladins so Nimue can escape.
Over at Merlin’s, things are completely casual. It’s finally raining, but not without a dose of danger. Merlin is standing on a ledge as a terrified knight stands behind him. The clouds and rain turn red — the gods, it seems?
The king and his people, meanwhile, are celebrating the end of the drought with a large meal and a tankard of rain. As he takes a sip, however, something is terribly wrong: The rain that fell on the castle seems to be blood.
As Nimue finds herself trapped on a rock, surrounded by angry (and honestly, kind of animatronic-looking) wolves, Merlin is struck by electricity and catches fire. Nimue pulls the sword out and slays the wolves. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that she’s got this sword fighting thing down.
Burning questions: Who are the Hidden, and why did they select Nimue to be the Summoner? Why did the ship leave early? What did Merlin do with the Number Three to make it “rain”?
Episode 2, “Cursed”
A young Nimue wakes up as both her parents are fast asleep on either side of her in bed. Nimue and Pym begin an early-morning game of hide and seek, Pym hiding in the shadows as Nimue makes her way through the forest and down a dark path. Meanwhile, adult Nimue is making her way through the forest looking for Squirrel, who’s hiding out from the Red Paladins — but one of them spots Nimue first.
Back in time, young Nimue makes her way into a cave and trips over a rock on the ground. Pym’s voice apologizes, a childlike “sorry,” but the voice then distorts, becoming deeper and demonic, similar to the deer last episode. “I was just so hungry,” it says. A large bear with red eyes approaches Nimue from behind, growling and pawing at her — it’s one of the dark gods. Her mother senses something is wrong and instructs Nimue from afar to call to the Hidden with her thoughts to help her. Adult Nimue finds herself in a similar scenario as she struggles with the Red Paladin. The bear collapses into a disgusting splat as adult Nimue wakes up on the ground, bloodied with the sword by her side.
The king is banging on Merlin’s door, commanding him to answer. He’s furious about the blood rain, claiming it makes them look bad, but a drunk Merlin just wants a little more time to study the omens.
Carden is walking through the woods with the Weeping Monk, surveying the pulpy corpse Nimue left behind. They know the Fey sword is still out there, and the Weeping Monk notes Nimue’s tracks. A group of Paladins pray on the ground nearby as one of their own is caught in a twisted web of snake-like tree roots. Carden berates them, pointing at the trapped man — he’s the enemy.
As adult Nimue cleans her sword in the water we see flashbacks of her mother carrying young Nimue from the cave to inspect her injuries from the bear. Lenore pleads with Jonah, Nimue’s father, to help her. Even though Nimue survived, the others think the demon will come back for them.
Squirrel runs out of the bushes only to come face-to-face with the Weeping Monk, who wants information on how many people survived. Squirrel spits at Monk, calling him scum (a very bold move given their size difference).
Nimue continues her search for Squirrel but runs into trouble with one of the Paladins. She asks a man operating a horse-drawn carriage to give her a ride, claiming she has an ailing tooth, but the Paladin is suspicious and asks him to pull her tooth in front of them. They both comply and he pulls Nimue’s tooth out before proceeding.
Squirrel, meanwhile, is travelling with the Weeping Monk, chattering away about horses just like any child would. Nimue makes it into town, where the crier is warning everyone about her existence. So much for a quiet getaway.
In another flashback, Jonah is returning a pre-teen Nimue, who tried to run away. Lenore is grateful while Jonah is angry, claiming Lenore spoils her. Nimue feels unwelcome by her father and everyone around her, including the other children, because of her scars.
Squirrel is laying down as a group of men come for the Weeping Monk. They want to know why the Monk took Squirrel, but it turns out Squirrel is just the bait — the men were his true targets. He quickly vanquishes them all as Squirrel watches, horrified. The Monk unties Squirrel and instructs him to tell the other Fey what went down.
Nimue runs into Arthur in the town and explains that everyone is gone. Right away they are approached by onlookers, including Bors, the man she swindled in the tavern, who recognize her as the witch. He demands Nimue give him her sword as two men restrain Arthur, but Nimue has other ideas. She slices the man’s hand off and Arthur breaks free. The two jump on a horse and ride away, narrowly making it under the gates. Once they’re safe, Arthur berates Nimue for her actions. He’s complicit in this now, too, and there’s going to be a price on his head. Nimue explains that they killed her mother, but blames herself for everything that has happened. Arthur finally softens and tries to warm her up, kneeling by the fire.
In another flashback, a slightly younger, seemingly more carefree Nimue walks through the forest in a light blue dress, holding hands with a young blonde boy. Just when she thinks he’s about to kiss her he declares, “Witch!” and other teens come out from hiding, tying her to a tree. The back of her dress slips, revealing the mark of the dark gods. One of the teens is sucked into the roots of a nearby tree as the other two plead with Nimue to let her go. They cut the roots free and run away. Later, Nimue sits by the water as Lenore reminds her daughter that she is a warrior and will survive anything — even a bully.
Arthur is marveling over Nimue’s sword as they take refuge in an abbey. He cuts through the air as the sword makes a tinkling noise. He suggests Nimue sell it, but she explains her mother’s dying wish to give it to Merlin. “You can’t change her fate, only your own,” Arthur tells Nimue, but she vows to keep her mother’s dying promise.
Merlin arrives at the scene of Lenore’s death. He closes her eyes, picks her up, and places her on the raised pedestal, reciting a spell about passing in the twilight. There appears to be a deep connection between the two. Merlin is then walking along a road, kicking crosses down while a ghostly person in black robes passes him. He asks if the Widow has come for him. “Not just yet,” they respond, a demonic tinge to the voice. He lied about the sword and the Shadow Lords will see it as the final betrayal. No one wants the Church to obtain the sword, the Widow explains, because then they will control who wears the crown. It turns out Merlin created the words that set everything in motion — “Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true king” — but he doesn’t believe there’s one true king; the sword is cursed. The Widow demands Merlin finish the war as Merlin, not the “piteous creature” he is.
“I have no magic, that’s what the sword took from me,” Merlin explains.
“Even more reason to reclaim it,” the Widow responds.
Merlin refuses to allow that to happen though, leaving the world “lost.” He asks the Widow where the sword is. She senses both fear and great power around it, as Arthur gently takes the sword from a sleeping Nimue’s arms. Merlin’s got a plan, however, to melt the sword, regardless of how difficult it might be — and with the Widow’s help.
Arthur is walking through a hallway with the sword on his back, Sister Igraine (Shalom Brune-Franklin) on his heels. He’s off to fulfill a dying wish, he tells her before leaving with the sword — alone.
Burning questions: How did Lenore and Merlin know each other, and what does Nimue have to do with it? Who is Sister Igraine, and how is connected to Arthur?
Episode 3, “Alone”
A young Arthur’s wooden sword fight is interrupted. His father, a knight, had been injured in a fight. Arthur kneels by his side as he tells him his dying wish: to bring back the knights’ honor.
Adult Arthur rides on his horse through a village, the sword strapped to his back, as passersby speculate he’s there for a tournament. Nimue, meanwhile, wakes up in the abbey to a young sister, Iris, watching her, the sword nowhere to be found. Iris claims to have an unusual talent: if she stares at someone long enough she can see the demon in them. Sister Igraine enters and ushers Iris out before slapping Nimue. Sister Igraine wants to hide Nimue in the abbey, but Nimue shoves her aside and steps out, Red Paladins including Carden swarming the area. Nimue returns to the abbey, she encounters Abbes Nora. Nora suspects something is up but believes Nimue’s lie that she’s a pregnant woman named Alice, leaving her in Igraine’s care since there are injured Paladins in the building as well.
Igraine and a well-disguised Nimue enter the room where the Paladins are being kept. The injured one is bloody, with bits of branches and roots coming out of places they most definitely should not be. The other Paladins blame “the Fey girl” for his fate. Igraine pulls a root out of the man’s throat. Nimue leaves to get dressings but overhears Carden talking about the sword and takes a jug from an unsuspecting nun to give herself a reason to enter the room. Carden knows a Fey witch escaped with the sword — the symbol is marked on Nimue’s victim. The Weeping Monk enters with lists of the Fey Elders who are still alive. Carden wants the Paladins to make the Fey extinct so they can possess the sword. “Then, and only then, the heavenly fires will come for Merlin,” he says. Nimue pauses as she exits the room, but the Weeping Monk senses something different about her presence as he subtly looks behind him. He searches her room, finding her clothes and giving them a deep sniff. Someone’s been found out.
Meanwhile in the room with Nimue’s victim, Nimue and Igraine are examining his unusual burn from the sword. Igraine figures out the burn is inside him, its power drawn from the four elements, water, earth, air, and fire. The Monk, meanwhile, informs Carden the enemy is in the building.
Arthur, still holding onto the sword, meets up with his Aunt Marion. He wants Sir Ector’s sponsorship for the tournament, he explains. Nimue is tending to her patient with Fey remedies — a major risk given the sheer number of Paladins in the building. Nora comes into the room to check his status and tries to hide the Fey treatment just as Carden enters, asking if any new girls have joined the abbey. Nora puts the pieces together and covers for Nimue, leading Carden to demand he question all the sisters one by one.
Over at the castle, King Uther is bringing his mother warmed milk with honey, but as the two bicker, he has an ulterior motive. Merlin has gone missing, he explains, but it turns out his mother can see everything that goes on from her perch — including Merlin’s blood rain-filled ritual during the lightning storm — and she suspects Merlin is up to something.
Nimue is hiding from the Paladins as she spots Igraine with another sister. Crying and upset, the two kiss before spotting Nimue. She won’t tell anyone what she saw, she tells Igraine, because what they did isn’t wrong. The Paladins round up everyone in the abbey as Nimue stumbles upon sheets detailing their plans and maps. She rolls them up and stuffs them in her sleeve but is nearly caught by a Paladin who tells her to go to the barn. Nimue takes a turn and burns the Paladins’ plans in the fire.
Arthur, carrying his head high and with the sword intended for Merlin, visits his uncle, Sir Ector, to ask for his sponsorship. Arthur agrees Sir Ector might have knights worthier than him, but insists he can best them. Arthur wants the opportunity to earn his uncle’s respect. Sir Ector seizes him up, seeing the potential in Arthur, especially if he wears his father’s armor. Does he have a worthy weapon, though? Arthur pulls out the sword and tells Sir Ector an extremely fabricated tale of how he ended up with the sword: He saved a girl’s life in Hawksbridge, and she gave him the sword in return. Sir Ector buys the story and doesn’t seem to recognize the sword.
The Widow joins Merlin in the tavern, who is — what else? — drinking. We get a glimpse as to why Merlin is this way. He’s lived “too long,” he says, and has seen so much over his years that he begins to forget what wonder feels like… but wine can almost taste like wonder. The Widow has had a vision and will not let Merlin destroy the sword in the Fey fire. Merlin won’t die if it is destroyed, but will suffer so much that he will beg for the end.
Arthur and Sir Ector take a seat in a tavern, but up walks Bors, and he is unsurprisingly still seething about having his hand cut off and being out so much silver. He asks Arthur if he’s explained how he came to possess the sword. Bors reveals Arthur has been with a Fey girl and Sir Ector demands the sword’s truth. Arthur admits he stole the sword and Sir Ector says he is worse than an embarrassment.
Over at the abbey, everyone is gathered in the barn so the Paladins can question them and the Weeping Monk can try to suss out the Fey in their midst. Nimue and Igraine are with the injured Paladin, who is healing thanks to the Fey treatment they gave him. He suddenly takes a turn for the worse and more Paladins come in to pray over him, but Nimue and Igraine depart just as the Weeping Monk enters the room.
Igraine gives Nimue directions to get to Arthur, revealing she’s his sister. That isn’t the biggest surprise, though: Igraine isn’t even her name. There was a mix-up when she arrived at the abbey and Igraine is actually her grandmother’s name — she’s Morgana. She gives Nimue a hug and promises her she isn’t alone. Nimue departs on a boat.
Merlin asks to be taken to the king as a group of men pounce on him. He sinks into the dirt. That’s, uh, one way to travel?
Burning questions: Which king is Merlin visiting? Who is the Widow, and what has she seen?
Episode 4, “The Red Lake”
Igraine, er, Morgana is hitting her face to make herself look like she’s been beaten up. She’s “found” by two Paladins and tells Carden that the witch ran towards Hawksbridge, trying to throw everyone off Nimue’s scent. The Paladins are taking a woman out of the abbey as Carden gives a grand speech about everyone entering war and asks Morgana to be his soldier. “Yes, Father,” she replies (as if she’s got any other choice).
Nimue docks her tiny boat and comes across Dizier and his wife, Clothilde. In the wagon are two members of the Snake Clan, a father and child. They are immediately wary of Nimue, but she promises she won’t hurt them. Dizier knows Nimue is Fey, and that Morgana sent her — turns out Morgana has been operating a Fey Underground at the abbey and is a key figure in the Resistance (well, that certainly sounds familiar!). Survivors are leaving signs for others in the trees and rocks called Nemos. Nimue needs to head to Gramaire, but the others warn her it’s too dangerous and risky. She refuses to tell them about the sword’s existence but tells them she’s after an item key to everyone’s survival. Dizier accepts this and changes course to Gramaire.
Pym, meanwhile, has turned up after hiding in the traps but is wide-eyed, covered in dirt and speechless. A young man finds her but his mother won’t have it since she’s of Fey kind, so he drops a bomb on everyone (including Pym): They’re going to be married, so of course she has to stay. Once his mother leaves it turns out it wasn’t just a cover. He really wants to get married, and fate has swept her to his door. Uh-oh.
Arthur is on a wagon with several Paladins. The road to Gramaire is blocked off by other Paladins, as everyone has figured out Morgana-slash-the Wolf-Blood Witch is at the abbey and they’re after the sword. The Paladins in the wagon are gleeful, as they have the sword and, to put it in their words, “the bloke who nicked it.” The Paladins in the wagon insist on bringing the sword to Carden themselves.
Merlin, meanwhile, is being carried by a group of Afflicted, a rag covering his eyes, towards what looks like extremely wet, swampy ruins. They’re all hissing as they lead Merlin to their king, Lord Rugen. Rugen’s look is a far cry from King Uther — his crown isn’t gleaming, but the ruby in his right eye certainly is. Merlin wants to know what Rugen has heard about Carden. The Red Paladins have forced everyone off the road, including merchants, and Merlin won’t do anything about it — Rugen is pissed. Merlin wants the Shadow Lords, including Rugen, to possess the Sword of Power before Uther finds out it still exists. Merlin claims he doesn’t want it for himself, but for Rugen. (Anyone else not buying this?) Merlin gifts Rugen an ancient torque to prove his good faith.
Over at the abbey, Iris is suspicious of why the witch didn’t kill Morgana. The wagon Nimue is on, meanwhile, has been stopped by the Weeping Monk. Dizier lies and says Nimue is his niece, Johanna, and they are in the leather goods business. It fools the guard and they’re allowed to head to the gates of Gramaire. The Weeping Monk sees right through it, however, and informs the Paladins and Carden. Around them in the trees and on the ground are the symbols Dizier was talking about — Nemos.
Over in another wagon, Arthur is taunting a Paladin, telling him a story about a former cell mate as he surreptitiously picks the lock on his handcuffs. He manages to escape from the wagon, but the Paladins quickly stop so they can chase him.
Rugen brings Merlin to his treasure haul. He’s got every sort of gem and valuable one would normally expect to see — pigeon-blood rubies, the Chalice of of Ceridwen, and in the middle, a decaying skeleton of a woman with carefully-stacked rocks for wings and emeralds for eyes, the green Fey fire that forged the Sword of Power burning in front of her. Rugen places the torque on the neck of the skeleton, Boudicca, making her complete.
Nimue’s wagon reaches Gramaire and she departs, leaving Dizier and the others behind. Over at the abbey, Iris is praying intensely and asking for a sign from God so she can do his well (I guess when Carden says “no,” you go to the top?). She throws a Bible at a pot, knocking it over and revealing a necklace inside. Iris marches to Morgana with the necklace, but she’s gone. Morgana is leaving the abbey from the same exit Nimue did, but not without a goodbye (and kiss) from Celia first.
Nimue approaches Ector’s castle, but the knights standing guard won’t let her in. Arthur spots her, relieved to see her safe, but she draws a knife on him, demanding her sword. Arthur informs her the Paladins have it and that he just escaped them, but Nimue wants to know just where he ditched them. As they make their way through the woods they find the wagon Nimue had just been on, Dizier and everyone else dead at the hands of the Paladins. Nimue makes her way through the woods, whispers and a mystical twinkling leading her to the sword.
The Paladins are bathing in the water, having left the sword behind in their wagon (smart move, guys). Nimue asks the sword to give her its power as it glows. One of the bathing Paladins pauses as he looks in the water — they aren’t alone. Nimue stands up from under the water in all her future Lady of the Lake glory and stabs him with the sword before turning to the other bathing Paladin and slicing his neck. Other Paladins join the sword fight and Nimue slays most of them except for one, who puts her in a chokehold, bringing her underwater. She can hear Lenore’s voice telling her, “Take this to Merlin” as Arthur slays the last of the Paladins and pulls Nimue out of the bloody water.
Nimue and Arthur find the little girl from the wagon, who is still alive. They need to get her somewhere safe, an impossible task — but the old Fey symbols in the woods offer directions that Nimue understands. Meanwhile, Iris is walking away from the abbey as it burns behind her, screams piercing into the night. Pym heads down to the docks where she saw an attractive trader earlier that day, likely seeking him out, while Merlin wakes up and grabs his torch, going after the Fey fire with the keys he stole from Ruger. He manages to fill a thermos with the emerald flame, but he isn’t alone in the cave. Ruger’s Afflicted descend from all sides, snarling and chasing Merlin. He jumps on his horse just in time to escape them. Nimue, Arthur, and the child make it to Nemos. “We’re home,” Nimue says.
Burning questions: Who is Boudicca, and what does her completion mean? What will Merlin do with the Fey fire? Are Nimue and Arthur truly safe in Nemos?
Episode 5, “The Joining”
The episode opens with a grisly scene: Cumber the Ice King (Johannes Haukur Johannesson) swiftly chops a knight’s head off with an axe as onlookers donning heavy furs watch. Cumber addresses another man kneeling on the ground, terrified. He wants him to pass on a message to Uther, the “king of lies,” that the true blood heir to House Pendragon has arrived.
Nimue wakes up in a cave, where Arthur has been guarding her sword. He’s already feeling out-of-place in Nemos since he’s got too much “man blood.” Morgana enters and Nimue tells her the news about Dizier before they go on a walk through the woods. In Nemos, the scenery is ethereal, the lush green trees and grass bathed in a golden sunlight — no clouds here. They gossip about Merlin and Arthur as they walk. Morgana is skeptical of Lenore’s dying wish and doesn’t want Nimue to get distracted with a silly crush (seems some problems are universal, even in mythical universes).
Merlin’s escape from Ruger’s isn’t going so well. He’s made it quite far on horseback but he’s stopped by a group of knights in the woods who charges them with treason. He sends his horse away to the Widow as he’s surrounded by the knights. Carden enters a tent surrounded by people with gold faces, but they won’t allow the Weeping Monk inside. Inside is a man bathing who Carden addresses as “Your Holiness” — seems there’s someone above him. Carden is instructed to get the sword and deal with her, or the Trinity will assume command of the Red Paladin army… and they don’t have mercy. Carden exits, furious with the Weeping Monk, blaming him for their failure to capture the sword.
Iris, wrapped in a red cloth, approaches a group of Red Paladins sitting around a fire in the woods. She wants to be a Red Paladin, but they mock her since she’s a woman and tell her to bring them the Wolf-Blood Witch’s head, laughing.
Pym has managed to sneak onto the ship with the Red Spear and her crush, Dof. The other vikings want to drown her after seeing her long hair and piecing together that she’s Fey, but he convinces the others to keep her around for her healing talents.
Morgana and Nimue are heading to visit Yeva (Olwen Fouéré), a Moon Wing elder and sorceress who is their best chance at finding Merlin. Morgana abandons Nimue at the entrance — no man blood permitted. Inside the cave, Yeva is crouching on the ground, wearing a dirty white fur of some kind. Nimue smells “wrong,” Yeva says, not like Sky Folk, and that Nimue’s father was right to fear his blood. Yeva eventually agrees to pass a message to Merlin using her bird, Marguerite, even though he’s a traitor.
Over at the castle, King Uther’s mother has harsh demands for her son: Kill Merlin, ally with the Red Paladins against the Ice King, and throw him into the sea. Once there are no kings to resist it will be easy for him to reclaim the sword. Simple…
Arthur and Nimue exit a cave into an idyllic, paradise-like setting. The rocks are shining, the sun is setting, and there’s a hot spring nearby. Arthur quickly strips down and hops in the water (oh, hello), coaxing Nimue to join him. He turns his back as she removes her clothes, self-conscious about her scars, and joins him. The two have a deep conversation where Arthur tells Nimue about his father. (That’s one way to get to know someone.) Nimue thanks him for telling her about his story and inches closer to him, angling for a kiss. Arthur clearly wants it but pulls away at the last second. “You deserve someone good,” he tells her. He’s afraid of messing their potential relationship up and doesn’t want to hurt her. Nimue turns around and gets out of the water, frustrated as she reveals her scars to him.
Over on the ship, Pym is turning to the bottle as the vikings come to her one by one with their ailments. Some are bloody gashes and arrows stuck in places they should not be while others demand of a different kind of healing; “I’ve been having dark thoughts as of late,” one viking tells her. Dof approaches her one night but she’s pretty much over being on the ship. He takes her hand and pinches her ear, trying to make her feel better.
Uther visits Merlin, who’s chained up in a cell. He’s decided the blood that fell on the castle isn’t theirs but Merlin’s because of his drunkenness and loyalty, and the only solution is an execution. Merlin has until the morning to deliver the sword or the mob will have his head. (No pressure!)
Over in the woods, Iris is sitting by a fire keeping warm as a group of Fey approach her, offering to keep her safe. At the castle, it’s morning and Merlin is being brought to the guillotine as Uther’s mother looks on from her tower. As Uther sentences Merlin to death, Marguerite the bird arrives with the message from Nimue. The letter offers to bring the sword to Merlin, saving him from execution this time.
Arthur approaches Nimue, who’s glammed up with lipstick and a new dress for a Joining — a wedding-like event — that night. He wants to tell her he’s leaving, but she insists he comes, if only to forget about everything plaguing them for an hour. The chemistry between the two is insurmountable as Nimue asks him to stay and they finally kiss. It’s interrupted, however, by the Green Knight’s arrival, and in the excitement Nimue and Squirrel reunite. The Green Knight, it turns out, saved him. The knight takes off his helmet to reveal the one person Nimue was least expecting: Gawain (Matt Stokoe), one of her oldest friends. The two embrace (much to Arthur’s dismay), shocked to see the other alive. (Does anyone else sense a love triangle forming here?) Iris, meanwhile, is ushered into the Joining, where the other Fey console her and tell her they’ll be safe from the Red Paladins since the Wolf-Blood Witch is there. You can practically see the cogs spinning in Iris’ mind.
Merlin visits the queen regent in her tower, wanting to tell her the story about the midwife. It had been a cold night in May but people stood beneath the stars holding candles because a king was being born that night. The child struggled inside the queen regent, a stillborn boy. The queen regent huddled with the midwife and created a plot. The midwife paid a family for its baby boy, but days later that mother was found dead, likely poisoned. Merlin insinuates the midwife is alive and well, under his protection, to the queen regent’s dismay.
Nimue shows Gawain the sword. He informs her the weapon, known as the Sword of the First Kings, is their history, their hope. Gawain thinks Lenore’s dying wish to give it to Merlin is wrong. He thinks it’s a bargaining chip so Merlin will protect Nimue, but Gawain insists he will protect her (not that she needs it, as we all know by now).
As they return, Morgana is crying because the abbey has been burned to the ground, no survivors — including Celia. Iris stands on the sidelines, expressionless over the pain and suffering she caused.
Nimue visits Yeva, who has an answer from Merlin. The Hidden will take Nimue to Merlin, it’s too unsafe on the road. Memories will come to Nimue — possibly good, possibly bad — as the voice of the Hidden. Merlin awaits Nimue on the road to the Between. Nimue experiences a series of memories, most prominently her father leaving because there’s a curse in her blood, riding away as a young Nimue pleads for him to stay. Nimue awakens in the temple where her mother died, Merlin standing on the other side of the platform. Nimue explains Lenore is her mother and what her dying wish was. Nimue pieces together why Lenore asked her to bring the sword to Merlin: He’s her father. They both gasp and Nimue awakens.
Burning questions: What kind of havoc is Iris going to wreck with the Fey? If Merlin is Nimue’s real father, then who is Jonah?
Episode 6, “Festa and Moreii”
The Weeping Monk shoots a flaming arrow into the Fey’s fields. Carden has a new plan to get rid of the Fey kind: Starve them out, burn their fields, scourge their farms until they panic.
Nimue is insistent on bringing Merlin the sword, but Gawain is incredulous. He believes the sword could help them win the war against Carden and the Weeping Monk as their fields burn. A grinning Arthur interrupts the conversation, an unwelcome third wheel to Gawain. Gawain insists on accompanying Nimue, but Arthur was already planning to tag along. Nimue is aghast — she doesn’t need an escort, she tells the rivals. The men are determined to make her choose, so she selects Kaze (Adaku Ononogbo), a woman who has been standing nearby watching over the entire discussion. Morgana wants to tag along as well, still upset about what happened to Celia. She doesn’t live for the Fey clans anymore, Morgana says, but she isn’t sure who she lives for now.
The three set off on horseback as Merlin packs his belongings, stumbling upon a small wooden jewelry box with a tiny dried flower inside it. We see a flashback of Lenore rolling the fresh flower between her fingers, an intimate memory for Merlin. Uther enters the room, curious to see where Merlin is heading to get the sword.
Merlin sets off on his journey, but the queen regent is watching over his moves. The Fey, meanwhile, are struggling: There’s only one mill left and one route to it. Arthur is suspicious that the open road is a trap set by the Red Paladins and offers to tag along as protection. Gawain is clearly not thrilled by the prospect of having to travel with his love triangle rival.
Nimue, Morgana, and Kaze arrive at the castle. Kaze urges Nimue to convince Uther to work against the Paladins and Weeping Monk, while Morgana reminds her to listen to the Hidden. Merlin and Nimue come face-to-face. Nimue kicks off with the heavy questions: Did he love her mother? Merlin confirms he did. He believes she once loved him. The two engage in a terse conversation as Nimue appears to change her mind, feeling pressured to give him the sword. Suddenly there are voices surrounding the pair, prompting Nimue to draw the sword. The voices belong to Festa and Moreii, born of rival clans, he explains. They hid in the castle and drank hemlock so they would never be separated. Nimue isn’t here for storytime, though — she wants answers as to how she came to be, why Merlin left her. Merlin believes he will just disappoint her. He chose the location, he explains, because Festa and Moreii will allow Nimue to see the past with her own eyes.
Squirrel approaches Gawain, asking if he should carry a sword or spear to accompany them on the journey, but Gawain won’t allow him to tag along. Squirrel returns to the children’s room, where Iris approaches him, asking about his bow.
Merlin brings Nimue to the bench where Festa and Moreii died with a promise that he will never deceive her. She sits across from him, the sword on her lap, as Merlin pulls out a necklace that will draw the lovers. She’s transported to a pair of Merlin’s memories of Lenore. In the first, Nimue and Merlin stands on the sidelines while Merlin makes his way to the temple where her mother died. He lays on the ground as a sweeping Lenore comes to his rescue, refusing to allow him to die in the house of the Hidden. In the second memory, Lenore and Merlin are walking through the woods, Lenore casually flirting with him as she asks Merlin about himself. She informs him the Fey hate him and if they found him they would kill him. “I would die happy,” he tells her.
While Gawain and Arthur try to one-up their battle stories en route to the mill, Squirrel is teaching Iris how to use a bow and arrow. Squirrel tries to pretend the target is a Paladin, but Iris is struggling. Once she begins talking about how her family abandoned her, however, she makes her target, spooking Squirrel.
Merlin and Nimue have departed his memories. He’s trying to teach her how to control the Hidden — it typically comes to Nimue with anger, but she can create an intention and surrender it to the hidden. Nimue faces a tree with bare branches. Leaves and fruit begin sprouting from it. The key to getting it to work turned out to be thinking about someone Nimue loved — her mother? Or perhaps Gawain or Arthur? Hmm.
As Merlin and Nimue eat, he reveals the sword used to be his but that he no longer wants it. Merlin grew dependent on the sword with time and it overcame him. Nimue is confident she won’t run into his issues because every enemy of hers is certain to be defeated with it. Spoken like a true warrior.
“Sword or no sword, those enemies will find you and kill you,” he warns Nimue. He refuses to share his plans for peace but wants Nimue’s trust. Nimue just wants to see the past, and she’s stubborn about it. Merlin brings Nimue to a memory that no child should ever see of their parents as Merlin and Lenora hook up. Nimue turns away and next we see the aftermath as the two lay down — the full memory of the purple flower he found earlier. He asks her about marriage, but it turns out she’s already been promised to Jonah, though she doesn’t love him.
In the next memory, Lenora is cleaning the temple as Jonah and his father arrive. Jonah seems disinterested while his father views Lenora as worthless since she has no dowry and there are no offerings in the temple (even though that’s uh, not something she controls — that’s on the worshippers, buddy). Merlin stands near an entrance to the temple and casts a spell. In the next memory, Lenora and Merlin are having a fierce fight. They’ve destroyed each other, they conclude, as Merlin stalks away. Lenora discovers the sword under the platform in the temple and drops it as if it’s burned her. In the last memory, she asks Merlin to leave her if he truly loves her so she can marry Jonah. He departs as Lenora sits down, shock and grief overcoming her. Nimue snaps out of the memories as Merlin lays on the ground, drunk yet again, repeating, “No more.”
Nimue takes the necklace from Merlin and asks it a dangerous question: “Show me what he doesn’t want me to see.” Nimue is taken to a town engulfed in chaos: There are fires burning everywhere, bloodied bodies on the ground as shirtless, growling men and Red Paladins fight each other. Wielding the sword, Merlin swiftly slices two people cowering in fear. Nimue snaps out of it and turns the sword on Merlin, horrified at what she saw. “I’ve lived many lives,” he tells her. “Some contained terrible mistakes.” How many have died by Nimue’s hands, though? Nimue is certain her cause is just, the same way Merlin was certain of his cause. Revenge took over him and it will do the same thing to her, he warns.
Merlin reveals his true intention to melt the sword in the Fey fire and destroy it. He swears he will do everything to protect the Fey, but he doesn’t want Nimue — or himself — to have the burden of the sword.
Meanwhile, a group of Pendragon soldiers are approaching the castle while Morgana and Kaze stand guard. Merlin swears he didn’t send them, but Nimue doesn’t believe him and repeats her mother’s words back at him: “Let this be the last time I see your face.” The three make a swift exit, leaving Merlin with Pendragon’s soldiers.
Gawain and Arthur are nearly at the mill and still bickering. Gawain wants everyone to dismount and head over on foot, while Arthur disagrees. The men listen to Gawain while Arthur confronts him. Arthur and a boy who has been following him around, clearly idolizing him, hang back. Arthur intends to teach him a few tricks but the boy is shot by an arrow from the Weeping Monk at a distance. A second arrow pierces through the air, directly aimed at Arthur… and we cut away.
Burning questions: Uh, did Arthur survive that arrow attack?
Episode 7, “Bring Us In Good Ale”
We pick up right where we left off, with the arrow flying towards Arthur — and narrowly missing him for a tree instead. Arthur grabs his sword as the Weeping Monk charges at him and the two engage in a sword fight. Arthur spends most of the fight being tossed on the ground by the Weeping Monk and we cut away just as the Monk draws his sword on Arthur.
Gawain and the other men approach the mill, where things appear to be normal — until one of his men is hit with an arrow. Paladins charge at them from every direction in the trees as Gawain and his men run for the mill. Arthur and the Weeping Monk are still fighting in the clearing. Arthur takes a nasty slice to the chest and falls again. Just as the Weeping Monk is about to drive the sword into his heart Gawain bounds through and pushes him aside. “Come on, Man Blood,” he commands Arthur, managing to get an insult in despite the whole, you know, life-or-death situation. The pair expertly take down a group of Paladins as they head to the mill. Gawain and Arthur make it inside the mill but lose Bergerum (Miles Yekinni), one of the men on their side, to an arrow.
Nimue, Morgana, and Kaze decide to send their horses off and hide in a cave in the hopes of throwing Pendragon’s soldiers off their scent. Keza isn’t a fan of the plan and seems skeptical. Merlin, meanwhile, breaks free of his chains, grabs his belongings and rides away from Pendragon’s soldiers.
The trio enter the dark cave and survey the artwork painted on the walls, torches lighting the way. The first depicts the Celts who defied Caesar. The next shows the Cailleach offering the people help, then turning the blades to protect the innocent. She demanded payment, however: children to be consumed by the spider god. The people undefended find themselves at the mercy of demons, Kaze notes. Nimue sees it slightly differently (maybe drawing on her own experience here?) — the Cailleach might have not known her true nature when she first met the Celts. As they make their way through the cave they find themselves on a ledge, surrounded by a series of bones. Nimue has flashbacks of Merlin wielding the sword, death and destruction around him. Keza senses her worry and points out the Devil’s Tooth chose her for a reason. Nimue’s character is stronger than Merlin’s, Keza tells her. Nimue doesn’t buy it — all the sword wants is death. “I’m sick of honor bought with blood!” she exclaims as she kicks bones away. Keza chastises her to stop whining and lead with the sword. Morgana watches on as Nimue tosses the sword into the abyss. Nimue is immediately horrified by what she just did. Morgana tells the other two to retrace their steps as she insists she will retrieve the sword.
Over on the ship, the Red Spear captain comes over to Pym, demanding she stitch up her arm, which was sliced with an axe. She wants to depart for Black Chain but Pym points out that the places they’ve been stealing from have already been twice robbed — why not try the Red Paladins instead?
Over in the bottom of the mill where people are hiding Squirrel bounds in, eager to kill Paladins, much to Gawain’s dismay. Bergerum is on the ground in front of the mill, still alive. The Weeping Monk approaches him on his horse and tosses a helmet with antlers over. Gawain attempts to shoot the Monk from the top of the mill but he swiftly punts the arrow aside with his sword. The Weeping Monk grabs Bergerum and announces a demand: surrender the Green Knight — Gawain — and the others will live. Arthur doesn’t buy it. The Monk twists the bow in Bergerum’s back, making him flinch in pain. Gawain and Arthur pick now of all times to argue as Bergerum screams below them. Arthur finally concedes and opens the door for Gawain. As the Monk instructs several Paladins to take Bergerum away, Arthur shoots another bow, ending his misery. “Honor Bergerum by saving lives, not wasting them,” he tells Gawain.
Merlin visits a woman who is spending time with her family, grandchildren playing in the yard. He doesn’t acknowledge her by name during the visit but the two have some sort of history and she hints at previously being a peasant. Merlin needs her keep her promise to him and leave right away — the fates of two kings and thousands of lives hinge on their actions.
Over on the ship, the captain is joyful as the raiders bask in the riches they stole from the Paladins. Back in the cave, Morgana manages to make her way through the endless tunnels to the sword, but as she picks it up she hears a ghostly voice. Kaze is anxious as she and Nimue wait in a gilded chamber for Morgana. Nimue reveals Merlin is her father, but Kaze warns her to keep the secret to herself — the Fey don’t trust Merlin, and their faith in Nimue can’t be shaken. After all, Kaze points out, her people were led by queens, not kings. Morgana is still making her way through the tunnels with the sword, only to come across Celia. The two embrace as Morgana surveys the burns on her hands. Turns out a few managed to escape the fire and remembered playing here when they were young. “Maybe the gods are merciful,” Morgana says.
Over at the mill, the Weeping Monk and Paladins are trying to burn the building down by sending flaming arrows at it. Arthur and Gawain try to put them out but know they won’t be able to keep up with it. Meanwhile, Celia and Morgana are catching up in the cave. Celia explains the Cailleach was the one who helped reunite them. Celia was afraid of her too, but she saved her life and brought her to Morgana to pass on a message: “Your destiny is much greater than you believe.” The Cailleach believes Morgana will be the greatest sorceress in Britannia, not the Wolf-Blood Witch. Morgana is curious how Celia knows the Cailleach. Celia finally reveals her secret to Morgana: she’s actually dead. The Cailleach, via Celia, wants Morgana to find the man outside the bell tower. He will help Morgana become more powerful than Nimue and the Shadow Lords. A spider crawls on a horrified Morgana’s lips and into her mouth.
Kaze calls out to Morgana as the flames in the chamber where Nimue is waiting suddenly go out. As she tries to light a fire, the Weeping Monk watches the mill burn and Arthur falls to the ground, trapped inside. He’s thinking of Nimue and the time they spent together at the Joining, the kiss they shared. Nimue stares into the flame, seeing what Arthur sees.
Gawain and Arthur finally agree that while the Paladins are gathered at both entrances to the mill they simply cannot wait inside while it burns to the ground. Gawain suggests he will be a distraction but Arthur insists he go out with Gawain as cover. It’s at this moment, as everything burns around them, that Arthur decides to ask Gawain if he’s in love with Nimue. Gawain points out the obvious — they’ll all be dead very soon. Arthur presses on, more focused on if he’ll be fighting alongside a rival or brother rather than all the lives he’s risking with this conversation. Gawain concedes that Nimue was a little girl when she left and that she’s like a sister to him. Arthur gives Gawain his hand and they agree to die as brothers.
The two exit and draw their swords as the Paladins come charging at them. The others leave the mill as it burns to the ground, a massive sword battle commencing with the Paladins. The wind howls unusually as the mill burns, turning it into a tornado of smoke and fire, causing everyone — Fey, Red Paladin, and the Weeping Monk — to stop in their tracks and watch it twist into the sky. The cloud of dark smoke and wind takes a turn towards the ground, headed for Gawain, but Kaze pulls him away just in time. The others shout that the witch has come for them while the Weeping Monk turns around and grabs his sword, stabbing the person who was coming after him…only it was a Paladin. Kaze, Gawain, and Arthur run away from the smoke and towards Nimue, who’s leaning over the sword in deep concentration. The Weeping Monk shouts, “No!”
The man Rueger recruited to help him seize power is sitting at a table, smoking a pipe and drinking a glass of red wine. As he gets up and walks through a yard we discover he has killed the entire family of the woman who Merlin visited earlier.
Over on the ship, Pym is recruited to join the fighters after her suggestion they raid the Red Paladins proves fruitful. Pym is horrified about the prospect of joining them but Dof gives her his necklace for protection, promising he doesn’t need it because his minnow will sew him up after.
Merlin and the woman visit Cumber, who is now hiding out in a tent in the middle of the forest. He reveals to Cumber he has the one key to bringing down Uther: the midwife who witnessed the queen regent giving birth to the stillborn. She opens a bag and provides Cumber with a cloth containing the blood of his cousin. Merlin has a favor to ask Cumber in return, who seemingly acquiesces without hearing it. The man who killed the midwife’s family, meanwhile, is listening in via a tree.
Pym is holding an axe larger than she is as the raiders carefully make their approach in the forest. Dof taps her on the shoulder to tell her the raid will be quick, causing Pym to shriek — and Paladins to advance on them, a chaotic mess of swords and limbs as Pym lays on the ground, covered in the blood of others.
Nimue, Gawain, and Arthur return to the other Fey with the news about their losses. Arthur is in bad shape, gasping for breath as Nimue props him up. He’s still stubborn when injured, though, telling Nimue, “I don’t like being saved by you. I want to do the saving.”
“Maybe you’re doing that,” Nimue responds and the two share a kiss out in the open, steps away from Gawain.
Gawain pulls Nimue aside to let her know the others are losing hope and he has nothing to offer him — all they have now is Nimue. She accepts this and walks over to a bridge so she can overlook the other Fey people, who recognize the smoke and fire stunt she pulled at the mill. Nimue points out that she, too, has experienced great loss at the hands of the Red Paladins. The Fey watch as she pulls out the sword and explains its origins and significance to their people, the fact that it wields the power of their ancestors. “This is our courage, our light in all of this darkness, our hope in all of this despair,” she tells them as the sword twinkles. She vows to be their sword, shield, and that the Fey will live free again. Nimue gives the sword a fitting name for the new role she’s given herself: the Sword of the First Queen. Gawain raises his fist in solidarity to the Fey Queen and the others follow him. Iris looks on in anger while Morgana stands at the tail end of the crowd, repeating Nimue’s new title in a monotone voice, touching her lips as a spider crawls across her eye.
Burning questions: Did Morgana really just turn on Nimue? Was Gawain telling the truth that he isn’t interested in Nimue romantically? Whose side is Merlin really on?
Episode 8, “The Fey Queen”
The Weeping Monk pulls a dried purple flower off a tree resembling the one Lenore gave Merlin as he feels the leaves. He wants Carden to know he’s figured out where the Fey camp is. A Fey girl is hiding behind a tree, having seen the entire exchange.
Gawain and Nimue meet up with Arthur, who has brought Druna (TK), a smuggler, over to their camp. Druna could move the Fey to Byzantium on three ships. Gawain immediately shoots the idea down, pointing out there are Fey hiding in other villages. Arthur is concerned that they are already unable to feed the Fey. This could offer them the chance to preserve their language and culture. Nimue tells Druna she’s unable to pay her, but Druna is happy to hurt the Paladins however she can. Nimue seriously considers the offer, but some of the other Fey are skeptical they can trust Arthur. The meeting is interrupted by the Fey girl, who informs everyone the Weeping Monk and Red Paladins are about a day’s hike away from their home. The ships aren’t arriving for six days, so the Fey need to find shelter. Gramaire is the closest city, but the Paladins already control it. Nimue asserts her new status with a slightly unconventional plan: take Gramiare back from the Paladins, if only for six days. Morgana even agrees that the Paladins wouldn’t suspect the plan. The only way to pull it off, though, would be to “give” them what they want: the Wolf-Blood Witch.
Merlin is with Cumber while the midwife spreads her story through the lands. Cumber brings Merlin to a tent and draws the flap open, revealing Carden. “So, let us feast,” he says.
Everyone knows about the midwife’s story, and Uther is furious with the queen regent. She’s fed up with Uther’s mere existence, however. She was meant to rule, a queen mother to her subjects, she explains — but thanks to antiquated rules and the mere fact that she’s a woman it wasn’t meant to be. She was relegated to make Uther king, and she failed in that one simple task.
“Mother!” Uther says.
“But I’m not, you see,” she responds. Ouch. She reminds Uther she’s still technically the Queen Mother and he needs to listen to what she says, forge the alliances she says to.
Over in the tent, Carden hands Cumber a map telling him which lands the king owns. As Carden speaks, Merlin places his accent and that his father worked for the mines. Merlin sees right through Carden — he didn’t see God in the church, he saw an exit out of a dead-end town. Carden departs with a warning: the Lord’s fire will burn the last remaining Fey from existence.
The Weeping Monk and some Paladins are at the Fey home, where of course there is no one to be found. The Monk doesn’t care and instructs them to burn it all down anyway.
Meanwhile, over at Gramaire, Nimue sits atop her horse near the entrance, holding the sword above her head. One of the Paladins standing guard spots her and everyone jumps into action to take her down. Arthur and Gawain sit on the sidelines, hiding from the Paladins’ view. Nimue turns and heads into the woods, a stream of Paladins on horseback following her.
Nimue is kneeling on the ground, the tip of the sword submerged in the earth as the Paladins catch up to her. One by one branches mutilate their faces and pull them into the trees. The Paladins in Gramaire look towards the woods, frozen as the screams travel through the air. The Fey, meanwhile, make their way out of wagons and into Gramaire. Nimue approaches the square and demands the Paladins surrender or meet the same fate as their brothers. One Paladin, Vallus, has another idea as he draws his sword. Nimue gets off her horse and the two engage in a sword fight. Vallus claims there’s nothing to fear and that she’s a child, slicing her with his sword and kicking her in her face. He picks her up by her hair, claiming she’s nothing special. Nimue headbutts him and falls to the ground, crawling towards the sword and begs for its power. She slices Vallus in half at his waist — a gruesome sight — as the Fey stand atop one of the buildings, bows at the ready. The Paladins run away, leaving Gramaire for the Fey.
Nimue lays atop the back of a wagon, injured, as Arthur and Gawain tend to her. As soon as they step away, Iris approaches Nimue with a knife, ready to take her out, but Gawain stops her. Once Nimue awakens, Pym is holding her hand — the raiders were coming after the Paladins in the same area. Nimue picks up her hand, but it is bloody, the sword’s handle seared onto it.
Arthur visits his aunt and uncle to let them know Gramaire is free, but his uncle doesn’t take it well. He doesn’t think Nimue is much more than a peasant with a target on her back.
Morgana stares at the bell tower, where she sees a vision of a bloodied dead man, part of his face missing — the same one Celia told her to seek. Inside the bell tower, she sees Yeva looking over some of the injured Paladins who were left behind. Yeva asks Morgana to help them pass peacefully despite who they are.
Pym brings Nimue to Dof, who’s on the ground, severely wounded. Nimue takes his hand and concentrates, trying to heal him. The vines appear and disappear on her face — she’s not strong enough to heal him. He’s beyond her help. The other raiders thank Nimue for trying, signaling they’re on her side.
Morgana briefly steps out of the room with the dying Paladins to wash their hands. An eerie wooshing sound comes from behind her as the Widow steps in, ready to take them away. She leans over one of the Paladins and we finally see her face: it’s a bloodied skull, the jaw clenched tight and teeth missing. The widow approaches Morgana, her veil still off, and looks closely at her before sucking the life out of the Paladins.
The queen regent forces Uther and several of their guards to meet up with Carden to strike a deal with the Paladins for protection. The two groups have a mutual problem, Carden points out, as he pulls out a tiny voodoo-like doll that appears to resemble Nimue — the symbol of the Wolf-Blood Witch. Cumbers daughter brings an identical doll back to him, warning him about what happened in Gramaire, but it turns out Merlin’s payment for the midwife is keeping Nimue alive.
Nimue approaches Arthur’s uncle with a ballsy demand: since she has taken Gramaire for six days, he’s in her seat. To say Ector doesn’t take it well is an understatement. He says he has nothing against her kind, but that they were safer in their previous home. “Enjoy your brief reign,” he spits at her as he departs.
Arthur and Kaze brief Nimue: About a dozen Fey are missing. Squirrel wants to tag along on the hunt, but Nimue will only let him go if Gawain allows it. The others depart, leaving Arthur alone with Nimue. She approaches Arthur but collapses as she descends the stairs, visibly not okay. Arthur is concerned for her; he thinks the sword is making her sick. He wants to get the families on ships since everyone now knows the Fey are in Gramaire, but Nimue disagrees. The two argue. “Is it the title that bothers you, or the fact that I took the throne and you did not?” she asks teasingly. He storms out.
Merlin and the Widow meet in the woods. “A name has been given,” she says. Merlin asks who. The Widow turns around and pulls her veil off, revealing Nimue. Merlin is horrified. The Widow reminds him she cannot refuse a summons, just as Nimue’s fate is now fixed — and she doesn’t have much time left.
Merlin heads to Cumber, demanding he keep Nimue safe. Cumber’s only plans are to keep her in his dungeons because of the sword. He’s not threatened by Nimue, but furious that her followers answer to her as the Fey Queen, not him as king.
Over in the woods, Gawain finds the missing Fey: they have all been slain. The Weeping Monk comes from behind and challenges Gawain. The two engage in a fierce sword fight. The Monk falls to the ground, his hand turning into the leaves it rests on top of. A shocked Gawain asks, “How could you?” as the Monk seizes the moment to stab him in the stomach. The only reason he hasn’t killed Gawain is because he’s wanted alive. Squirrel watches the entire confrontation from behind a tree.
Nimue is pondering over her sword as Arthur enters. She’s troubled — she hears screams in the sword, and believes it’s the Paladins she’s killed. What scares her most, however, is that the screams comfort her. The two argue as Arthur presses the ships again while a stubborn Nimue wants to keep fighting. As she talks she grows animated and points the sword at Arthur. He asks if it’s Nimue talking or the sword. She puts it down and apologizes to him, finally admitting what we all knew: she’s not feeling herself. A man comes in the room at that moment to inform them there are no ships. He unwraps the cloth he’s holding, only to reveal the smuggler’s head. Looks like they’re stuck in Gramiare after all.
Kaze returns, injured, and informs everyone Gawain has been taken as armies of Pendragon’s guards and Red Paladins approach.
Burning questions: Is Nimue turning into a younger Merlin, or will she snap out of it? Who seized the ships? When will Nimue die?
Episode 9, “Poisons”
Merlin is on his horse, riding down an empty road as fast as possible. The horse enters a thicket of trees, where a white dove flies away. Merlin is immediately shot in the chest with a bow, flying off the animal and onto the ground. The fisherman approaches him, singing his song. “Bring us in good ale / For our blessed lady’s sins.” The fisherman grabs his net and loads Merlin in it as he gasps for air, still alive. He vows to feed Merlin to the fish in revenge for turning his father into a monster. As the fisherman messes with the net Merlin sits up, grabs the bow out of his chest and slams it into the fisherman’s head. The two writhe and elbow each other on the ground as Merlin tries to strangle him with the net, eventually stabbing the poisoned bow in the fisherman’s heart.
In Gramaire, a knight informs Nimue they’re about to run out of food yet again. There have been a few fights between the Fey and the townsfolk, but Arthur is worried it could get ugly once they’re low on food. Squirrel, meanwhile, hasn’t been found. The two share a tender moment as Nimue blames herself for trapping them in Gramaire.
Uther has decided to lead a siege against Gramaire. Amused, the queen regent tells him it’s a bad idea. The church was the one who lost Gramaire, so they should be the ones fighting for it — and it’s already been decided.
Abbott Wicklow of the Trinity has arrived to visit Carden. The two have a tense conversation, as Carden has tried to hide the debacle in Gramaire from His Holiness and Rome. It turns out Abbott already found out — “men talk.” The visit is essentially a warning not to screw up again, and his men will be keeping an eye on the Paladins.
Back in Gramaire, Morgana has a different view about the sword than Arthur. She wants Nimue to lean into the sword and its power, become the monster she fears she will turn into. Iris is sitting in a room hitting her head, calling herself a coward. Behind her on the wall are dozens of crosses drawn in what appears to be blood. She wants to kill Nimue but is frustrated she hasn’t done the deed yet and burns her arm in punishment.
Merlin enters Gramaire and visits Nimue on her throne. She introduces him to Arthur and Pym as her father, but Pym hysterically chokes on an almond, not believing it at first. Merlin explains the deal he has bargained with Cumber to keep Nimue alive in exchange for the sword. Nimue wants to fight, but to fight is to die, Merlin says. Nimue is worried about the Fey’s survival, but Merlin believes since the raiders are close to the Fey they can change Cumber’s mind together. Arthur reminds Nimue that if she follows through with this, Nimue will become Cumber’s bargaining chip.
The Weeping Monk returns to Carden with Gawain strapped to his horse’s back, barely alive. Abbott finds Gawain fascinating, since he almost passes for human. Carden threatens Gawain, wanting to know more about Nimue. Gawain tells Carden he knows many secrets as he throws the Weeping Monk a meaningful look. Do these two have some sort of backstory?
Uther has gone over the queen regent’s head and had a conversation with Carden. Uther offered to lead the siege of Gramaire if the Paladins get Nimue and most of the occupied territories while he keeps the sword. The queen regent is furious, believing Uther is a terrible negotiator. She takes a sip of a wine but begins coughing up blood and collapses on the floor. Uther keeps talking as if nothing has happened, saying he hired someone to look into the details of his birth. He found a single record detailing how his true mother, Sylvia, died after drinking a cup of spiced wine. “I am now an forever your son,” he tells her before sobbing as she dies.
Uther sends Borley (Jasper Jacob) to Gramaire to negotiate with Nimue. His terms are nearly identical to Cumber’s: Nimue can live in his dungeons provided she relinquishes the sword. Nimue wants to know where the Fey will go but Borley doesn’t have an answer for her. She points out the viking king gave her an offer of protection and urges him to tell Uther to be a king to all, men and Fey alike.
Gawain is being held in a Paladin tent. A blind paradin with seemingly burned eyelids holds a red-hot brand, threatening him. When we see him again, he’s tied to a chair, bloodied and with the branding of Michael on his chest. The Weeping Monk enters the tent. “Don’t be afraid, Ash Man,” Gawain tells him. The monk’s eyes are the mark of the Ash Folk, who haven’t been around these lands for centuries. The Weeping Monk is curious why Gawain didn’t out him as a Fey. “All Fey are brothers, even the lost ones,” he explains. The Monk tells Gawain the suffering will cleanse him, but Gawain believes there’s a part of the Monk that believes the Paladins’ words are lies. The Monk can’t figure out the difference between kindness and hate, Gawain says. “Your people need you,” he pleads. The Monk says he will pray for him as he departs.
Merlin surveys his wounds in a mirror. He has a gaping hole in his chest where the poisoned arrow struck him. Nimue enters and he closes his robes to hide the injury. Nimue is upset and crying over an earlier incident where she punished a Fey by cutting both his hands off with a sword. “Is this what it felt like?” she asks him. “Yes,” Merlin replies.
She explains that Uther has sent a messenger, but she’s afraid to give up the sword. If she does, will it end the suffering? “I wish I knew,” Merlin replies. He delivers a harsh truth: the Age of Men is upon them, and they can’t save the Fey. He urges her to consider Cumber’s proposal.
Iris approaches Pym as she walks through Gramaire’s square. She offers cleaning services for Pym since she lives in the castle with food for payment. Pym declines but Iris presses on, eventually asking to be brought into the castle anyway. Pym is immediately suspicious of her. Iris lets her guard down, figuring out Pym is a Fey. “You’re not human,” Iris spits at her as she walks away.
Squirrel cuts his way into the tent where the Paladins are keeping Gawain. He’s horrified to see the boy, calling him Percival. (By legend, Percival is one of King Arthur’s knights of the round table.) Gawain urges Squirrel/Percival to leave, but the boy refuses and tries to cut his ties off until the blind Paladin enters the tent and grabs the boy.
Carden, the Weeping Monk, and Abbott ride to the Pendragon tents, where Uther is feasting in the open. They heard Uther’s people had communicated with Nimue, but the agreement was the church would coordinate any communication. Abbott proposes a swap: they get the sword while the Pendragons get Nimue — burning her would have the same demoralizing effect to the Fey, he says. Uther rejects this idea, believing that burning her would arouse the mob further. He wants to keep her as a prize until the people settle down.
Carden returns to his camp while the blind Paladin brings Percival to Carden, explaining he caught him trying to free Gawain. Carden instructs the Paladin to punish him but the Weeping Monk disagrees and points out he’s just a boy, no threat to them. Carden slaps the Monk for embarrassing him.
Arthur enters the chamber where Nimue is sitting, crying over a letter. Uther has offered ships for the Fey in exchange for her surrender. She’s already accepted, but Arthur refuses to let her go. She believes the Fey will be safe in Arthur’s hands. The two embrace and begin hooking up in earnest for the first time the entire journey (at least that we’ve seen, it’s about time, guys!).
Over at the Paladin camp, Carden receives an unexpected proposition from Cumber’s daughter: they will help the Paladins kill Nimue.
Burning questions: Who was the Weeping Monk in his past life? Will Gawain survive and escape the Paladin’s clutches? What does his new name for Squirrel mean? Is Uther sincere in his promise to protect the Fey?
Episode 10, “Sacrifice”
Someone with a dark hood covering their face walks into a room full of weapons to collect a bow and arrows. They sprinkle oil over a dead Faun on the ground and burn them. It almost seems like the Weeping Monk until the person turns around: it’s Iris.
Nimue and Arthur wake up in bed together. He tenderly touches her face before growing self-conscious, asking if “it was alright.” (Have some confidence, Arthur!) Nimue tells him it was different, but he’s still nervous. “It was lovely,” she tells him.
The pair are taken to the dead Faun. Cora, one of the other Fauns, thinks it’s Wroth and his blood vow, while a knight informs them Wroth has claimed a key road and threatened to kill any Fey that agree to the Pendragon offer. Arthur insists the Fey are getting on the ships today and that he will go see Wroth. Iris, meanwhile, takes out another unsuspecting Fey with a pickaxe — someone’s becoming quite the little killer.
Nimue runs into Merlin. He wants to persuade her to change her mind, but he’s clutching his chest and unable to stand upright, visibly unwell. He lies to her, claiming it’s a fever, but Nimue sees right through it. He’s afraid his presence endangers her agreement with Uther. Merlin sees another option: if they can sate Uther’s thirst for revenge — and give him Merlin — they might be able to change his mind. Nimue refuses, not wanting anyone else to be hurt because of her. The two share a somber moment as Merlin tells her, “To know me is to know yourself.”
Arthur visits Wroth to urge him to stop defying Nimue and tell his people to cooperate. The Tusks disagree with Arthur — “Blood pays for blood,” Wroth says. Arthur tries to call their bluff in an extremely risky way, holding his arms up and offering his own blood. One of the Tusks goes to chop his arms off but Wroth calls him off at the last minute. “A brave fool is still a fool,” he tells Arthur as he departs, a biting insult.
Morgana enters Nimue’s chamber and approaches the sword, but sees the Widow’s reflection in a mirror. The Widow knows Morgana has been touched by the Cailleach and given Morgana an “unnatural sight.” The Widow offers to help Morgana, but only if she tells the truth. Morgana admits she saw the Widow’s face before wondering why she’s in Nimue’s chamber. The Widow warns her not to interfere or she’ll see her face again.
Nimue enters just after the Widow departs and is concerned over Morgana’s state. Morgana says she’s leaving, that she doesn’t fit in. Morgana still wants to fight for the Fey, however. Nimue takes her to a hidden cellar door and hands her the sword so she can safely escape.
Arthur then finds Nimue in an empty tavern by herself, looking worn out. He’s happy to tell her the Tusks will ride with them. He sits down next to Nimue and begs her to let him stay. Teary-eyed, she asks him to promise to fight for them. She tells him about how the day they met she had missed her ship. “I knew you were a bit treacherous,” she says. “I didn’t mind that.”
Arthur ups the ante. “I lost my breath when I saw you,” he says, then starts singing to her. Nimue seems to like the singing, though, as they kiss.
Over at Carden’s camp, the Weeping Monk is kneeling in a tent, his hood removed for the first time. His back is a web of scars and deep wounds from a whip (or multiple whips even) and there is a bald spot on the top of his head just like the other Paladins, the scar of the cross in the center. The Weeping Monk admits he has been trying to reach out to God but he cannot — it is only darkness. “The beast does not tear the flesh, it tears the soul,” Carden says (ah, he’s onto the Monk!). The Monk asks Carden if he loves him. Carden looks at him for a long minute before saying he does. Carden tells him he’s helped the Monk but he cannot save him from the flames — the Monk must have the will. Shivering, the Monk says he does.
Nimue and Pym embrace each other as they say goodbye in Gramaire. Pym is heartbroken and upset that Nimue is leaving just as they reunited. Some of the Fey wish Nimue well until she reaches Arthur. They kiss before he gets on his horse and departs alongside Wroth.
Merlin shows up at Uther’s camp, wanting to know if the king is lying to Nimue. Uther thinks Merlin is drunk, but then Merlin falls to the ground, grabbing his chest. (Did he seriously not get that wound checked out?) He pulls his hand away to reveal blood. “Guess my wine has spilled,” he tells Uther. (Apparently he didn’t bother to bandage it up either. Uther wants to know who harmed Merlin. He says it was “no one,” just a fisherman and that he “got caught on the wrong hook.” (That’s… one way to put it.)
Merlin changes the subject and asks Uther how his mother is. “Dead,” he says with a smirk. He tells Uther he’s proud of him because the midwife was his mother’s crime, not his. Uther can still earn his way to being recognized with the one true king — by ending the business with the sword today. Uther is furious that Merlin knew all along about the midwife. His guards stab Merlin several times, apparently killing him. They bring Merlin into another tent and toss his lifeless body on a pile of sacks.
Arthur, Wroth and the Fey approach the coast, where they see ships in the distance. Everyone begins cheering, thrilled they are saved. Nimue, meanwhile, is sitting in her castle. She can sense someone is there — it’s Iris, who has managed to find her way in and is lurking in the shadows. A knight interrupts with a message from a raven from Arthur informing her the Pendragon ships have arrived. Nimue gets on her horse and rides out of Gramaire.
Morgana is making her way through the woods with the sword. She pauses and pulls the sword out of its sheath as Celia’s ghost appears behind her. Celia admits Morgana’s destiny frightened her. Morgana says she feels she’s not ready. Celia agrees, calling her a “silly bird” — Morgana has only just begun her journey. Celia tells her to bring the sword to the temple of the Cailleachs so she can save the Fey. Morgana refuses, saying Nimue trusted her to keep it. “This is where Nimue’s journey ends,” Celia says, informing Morgana the Widow stalks her. Horrified, Morgana backs away, wanting to warn Nimue. Celia tells her the Widow isn’t of this world.
Nimue arrives at Uther’s camp without the sword. Uther is furious she doesn’t have it for him. Carden appears, saying she mocks Uther’s kindness and that his Paladins can wrangle the sword’s location out of her. Abbott has a proposition: give the Paladins Nimue and they will have the sword by sundown. Uther asks her plainly where the sword is. Nimue has an offer, however: she will get him the sword when Gawain and Squirrel are returned to her, alive. Carden refuses, saying they’re prisoners and not up for trade. Uther is caught between the two, as Carden stands firm while Nimue insists the king won’t see the sword unless they’re returned. Uther has his guards take her away while he considers the demands.
Morgana approaches the camp just as the Widow stops her in her tracks. “Did I not warn you?” she asks.
Over at the boats on the Beggar’s Coast, things aren’t going too well. (Did anyone really expect them to get away safely?) The raiders, Cumber’s army, are hurling arrows at the Fey from atop cliffs. The Fey dash across the shore but more raiders run down, axes at the ready for a slaughter. The two sides fight fiercely as a group including Pym dashes into a cave. Cumber, meanwhile, is sitting back in his tent as he’s informed the convoy is being halted because he kept his promise to the Paladins. Back at the shore, more ships arrive and Pym recognizes them immediately: the Red Spear. Wroth is severely injured in battle and gives Arthur his dying wish to protect the others.
Cumber’s daughter approaches Carden, having heard that Nimue arrived without the sword. Carden assures her they will get the location out of her, but she seems skeptical. Carden departs and asks his Paladins to get Nimue from Uther’s clutches.
The Red Spear and her raiders join the fight on the Fey’s side, furious. Arthur and a raider twice his side are in a fierce battle but Arthur finally takes him down, bashing his head in a little too intensely. The Red Spear, meanwhile, manages to kill one of Cumber’s daughters with the help of an arrow from Arthur.
Squirrel is taunting the blind Paladin, telling him it’s okay to kill him because “you’ll still be you forever.” The Paladin isn’t fazed by his words, ready to take his tongue first. They’re interrupted by the Weeping Monk, however. The Weeping Monk slices the Paladin’s head off — seems someone’s had a change of heart.
Over in her tent, Uther’s guards bring her Gawain, but he’s covered in wounds and scars, lifeless. Crying over his body, Nimue places her hands on his chest and begins concentrating. The green veins crawl along the sides of her face as a shock wave makes its way across the camp, causing fires. Nimue collapses at Gawain’s side.
The Weeping Monk has freed Squirrel and is trying to sneak him out of the camp, but Abbott and the Trinity Guard stop them — he’s onto what the Weeping Monk is. Back in the tent, several Paladins take Nimue’s exhausted body away as a patch of grass grows around Gawain and he sinks into the earth. The Weeping Monk, meanwhile, single-handedly takes on the Trinity guard while Abbott looks on. The Monk starts off strong, slaying a few, but more approach, knocking his sword out of his hands and slashing him with brutal force. Squirrel pops up from behind the shadows with a sword of his own, demanding, “Who’s first?” The Monk catches a second wind and kills the Trinity Guard. Abbott runs away while a weak Monk collapses to the ground. Squirrel manages to get the Monk onto a horse and they leave the camp.
The Paladins bring Nimue to Carden, who’s awake now and furious. Carden doesn’t care about the sword by this point — he just wants to send her “back to Hell.” As he tries to draw his sword down on her the wind whooshes and a force stops him. The Widow comes over and hands Nimue her sword, which is glowing a fiery orange and hissing, before turning to Carden. “Who are you?” he asks. She removes her veil to reveal Morgana’s face, but it crumbles into the Widow’s skull. Her spirit passes through Carden as Nimue goes to town on him, slicing his head off and then his hands in a bloody scene worthy of a Quentin Tarantino movie.
The Paladins and knights begin fighting each other as Nimue dashes between tents, finding Morgana. Morgana has no idea what’s happened to her — she killed the Widow, and then she became the Widow. She knows when people are about to die, and Merlin is next. The pair dash to Merlin’s tent and grab him. “Why can’t I die?” he asks, exhausted.
Arthur and the Red Spear find each other on the coast. She thanks him for helping her kill Cumber’s daughter and says she owes him a debt. There’s a frisson of tension between them as he says to consider it even. She finally explains who she is: the Red Spear, exile of the court of Cumber, now under siege by traitors. (No wonder she wanted to kill his daughter.) Arthur says they will do everything to help their people if she helps save Nimue.
Nimue and Morgana bring Merlin to a cliff to rest. Nimue instructs Morgana to watch over Merlin while she goes back to get Squirrel but they have an unexpected guest: Iris. (Seriously, how did she track them down?) Iris shoots Nimue with two arrows, causing her to collapse on the ground and drop the sword. She tumbles off the narrow rock bridge they’re standing on, one hand grasping the side. Merlin jumps up to save her from falling in the waterfall, but he’s too weak to keep her hand in his grip. Nimue falls into the water and Merlin cries. Iris looks on, trying to hide a grin while Morgana stares at her, crying.
Iris picks up her bow and arrow again as Merlin crawls over to the sword and grasps its handle, drawing power from it to stand up. It begins to pour as Merlin gains his strength and his eyes are filled with blue electricity. Iris finally gets enough sense to abandon her bow and arrow and run away. A stream of Red Paladins run across the bridge but Merlin stops them in their tracks one by one, killing them effortlessly with the sword, avenging his daughter’s death. Iris, meanwhile, goes to hide in a dark corner of the cliffs but lightning keeps striking around her, trying to hit her.
Merlin, meanwhile, has become an entire different sort of creature. He’s drawn some sort of electricity from the sky to him using the sword and is able to project it by simply raising his hand — there’s no need for the sword at this point. A group of Paladins try to attack him, but he simply holds his palm up and electrocutes them all, as if we’re in an Avengers movie. He turns to Morgana, who’s been standing behind him the entire time, and offers his hand. She grabs onto him as he waves the sword above their heads, using the electricity to teleport them somewhere.
Squirrel and the Weeping Monk are still riding the horse. Squirrel looks exhausted as the Monk slumps over him, seemingly in better shape. He asks Squirrel what his name is but refuses to accept it, asking what name he’s been given. “I don’t like that name,” Squirrel says indignantly.
“It’s still your name,” the Weeping Monk reminds him.
“Fine, it’s Percival,” he says. “Do you have a real name?” he asks the Monk.
“Lancelot,” he replies. “A long time ago my name was Lancelot.” Wait, what?! (For those who can’t remember, Lancelot is traditionally considered King Arthur’s greatest companion He’s the orphaned son of King Ban, was raised by the Lady of the Lake, and becomes the greatest swordsman until an affair with Queen Guinevere sparks a civil war and the end to Arthur’s kingdom. There’s, uh, a lot to unpack here.)
We appear to be in a church, where His Holiness is sitting on a throne, surrounded by the Trinity Guard and Abbott standing just to his left. There’s a small hooded figure kneeling at His Holiness’ feet. He explains this mysterious person is going to be added to the ranks of the Trinity to smite Nimue, “a new warrior of God.” Iris rises and he places a gold mask on her. She walks down the aisle as we see images of Nimue in the water, arrows still piercing her as the water turns red.
Burning questions: Oh, where do we even begin? Is Nimue still alive? Has the Weeping Monk finally decided to return to being Lancelot — and will he help the Fey? Does Arthur have any clue what’s gone down with Nimue? Who are Iris and the Trinity Guard going to go after next?
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?