“Nimue” | Once Upon A Time
Jennifer Morrison’s work in Once Upon A Time this season pretty much leaves very little room to be topped thereby, since we’re continuously floored by her riveting performances, it’s no surprise that she’ll end up taking the crown this week as well. We know we do this a lot on here, but honestly how could you blame us? That said, “Nimue” gave Morrison the opportunity to shine in a way she’s never done before, which essentially means we’re more speechless than we’ve ever been.
Because we review the series episode by episode, here’s what we had to say about Morrison’s performance in “Nimue”.
Emma’s struggles this week were perhaps what required the most work from Jennifer Morrison. Morrison was at her best, but at this point we should probably stop staying this because it’s no longer a surprise that she will constantly outdo herself with exceptional performances. When Merlin tells Emma that they’ll need to summon the first dark one on their journey, the heartbreak Morrison wears on her face as she realizes she’ll once again have to see figures she’s tried so desperately to remove from her head was brilliantly done. These are the precise hints the audience needs to understand that embracing the darkness isn’t something Emma wants. No matter how much she grows fond of the power, deep down, her heart is in a stronger place. She’s somebody special without the powers. It’s also what allows us to believe she didn’t choose the darkness but was rather forced to embrace it for the greater good?! Fundamentally, the fears and uncertainties Morrison conveys on their journey makes Emma’s confrontation with Nimue so phenomenal.
There’s no justifiable way to properly describe Jennifer Morrison’s groundbreaking performance during Emma’s confrontation with Nimue. Unfortunately, ‘dkfajlsfjasdfadakjsdf’ won’t do because that’s not an actual word so here’s a proposal: someone invent a new word to use strictly for Morrison’s outstanding performances. And now that we’ve done our gushing — Morrison does an excellent job of revealing Emma’s innermost struggles in that moment of ‘dark one possession’, but the moment Nimue says “don’t go back to being nothing”, the look in her eyes changes most evocatively. Emma’s fought so hard to create a life for herself where she was happy and honorable; thereby, having someone say she’s nothing when she herself knows she’s so much more was the trigger that’d ignite all the light within her to strike. As human beings we’re susceptible to every emotion, it isn’t feeling them that’s wrong, it’s what we do with them that determines our strength and nobility. It’s okay to feel anger, in fact sometimes it’s exactly what’s needed to stand up and fight for yourself. It isn’t okay however, to let anger perpetually take control of your being. The anger in Emma as Nimue says she’s nothing is exactly what Emma needed in order to remember who she is. She’s fought so hard to come this far, and if there’s one thing she won’t do, it’s allow another person to take away her agency. This is a moment that required baring it all, it called for conclusive rage and Morrison delivered it with the right amount of vehemence that’d reveal the inmost battle Emma’s having within. She’s at a war unlike anything she’s experienced before and sometimes, situations like this require pouring everything out. This wasn’t Emma’s war against Nimue, this was Emma’s war against the darkness that’s tethered itself onto her. This was Emma reminding viewers that the woman we know isn’t just a mere body that can serve as a puppet to some force attempting to seize her being. This was Emma Swan taking back her agency. After succeeding, Emma’s poise and cataclysmic anger is then exchanged with a wearied vulnerability that showcases immense strength and goodness. Emma states that it feels “damn good” to take the right path, and Morrison delivers the scene with a poignancy in her expression complimented with both exhaustion and relief in her posture.
In order for such a moment to leave a last impression on viewers, Morrison had to embody Emma in a way she’s never before. She had to deliver the right amount of emotions that’d not only bring out Emma’s pain and relief, but it’d feel so real, it’d inspire viewers worldwide to stand up for themselves as well. The message brought to life in “Nimue” was gold and we’re so thankful Morrison plays Emma. For further on the episode’s theme — check out This Week’s Most Exquisite TV Moment.