Warning: Spoilers for Cursed season 1 finale “The Sacrifice” are ahead.
Netflix's new fantasy series Cursed didn’t waste any of the 59 minutes and 42 seconds in its season 1 finale. The show began with Nimue (Katherine Langford) being gifted the Sword of Power by her mother, Lenore (Catherine Walker). Before she died, Lenore told Nimue to deliver the sword to Merlin (Gustaf Skarsgård). By the end of the season, Merlin finally reunites with the sword, but everything leading up to that is a mad dash of twists and turns.
A lot happened in this final episode. Characters who had never interacted in person before finally met and battled. It was gore galore as many were killed, including Father Carden (Peter Mullan), who was beheaded by Nimue. Plus, we witnessed the most powerful magic (so far) in the series and multiple characters unveiled their true, hidden identities. It’s a lot to unpack, and easy to miss a beat or two, so here's what just happened and how it will impact the potential second season of Cursed.
Is Nimue Really Dead?
Out of all the bloodshed in this episode, Nimue’s “death” was probably the most anticlimactic. If you rewind to the beginning, the first shot in the premiere is of Nimue sinking in bloody water with an arrow lodged in her chest. And this is where we leave Nimue before the episode ends. While it makes for a dramatic finale, it's pretty unlikely this injury will kill the series' main character — the one who's Cursed, if you will. Besides, no one hires Katherine Langford to lead a series and then just casts her out.
But as far as the story goes, in mythology, Nimue is the Lady of the Lake of Arthurian legend. She had to end up in the water somehow! The first season is all about Nimue’s origin story; there's not even a single mention of her being the Lady of the Lake. This seemingly fatal injury of this chosen, magical woman is less about her death and more about the birth of her true identity. If the series gets a second season, this watery finale makes it clear we'll explore how Nimue’s powers change and turn her from the Wolf-Blood Witch to the water-bound enchantress we know from literary history.
What Happened To Merlin?
Merlin, who's spent the whole series thus far as a historically magical character with no powers, finally has his magic restored when Nimue dies and he takes the Sword of Power from her. He is also dying — his previous injuries didn't disappear — but manages to regain his powers and channel multiple lightning bolts into his body to attack the Red Paladins and Iris (Emily Coates). After he defeats them (well, most of them), he embraces Morgana and they teleport from the bridge.
Merlin doesn’t say where he is going, but we can probably guess. He just saw his daughter, Nimue and Queen of the Fey, supposedly die. He needs to warn the Fey and Arthur (Devon Terrell) that Nimue is gone. Merlin is also shown to be a vengeful man early on, so he will want to avenge his daughter’s death and destroy the Red Paladins. Season 2 will almost certainly find Merlin seeking out the Fey and Arthur to share what happened and who their next target is.
What's Going On With Morgana?
After entering ancient tunnels with drawings about The Cailleach, Morgana (Shalom Brune-Franklin) becomes possessed by the mystical being and acts as her servant. By the end of episode 10, Morgana kills the Widow and then becomes her. The Widow is a harbinger of death. So what does that mean for Morgana?
Well, it is possible that Morgana is also now dead because the audience isn’t shown how exactly she became the Widow. The Cailleach isn’t mentioned, but Morgana could still be working for the spidery figure. There was a darkness growing inside of Morgana toward the end of the season and it will undoubtedly be amplified now that Morgana is connected to the Underworld as the Widow.
What Does That Lancelot Reveal Mean?
In “The Fey Queen,” Gawain discovers that The Weeping Monk (Daniel Sharman) is actually a member of the Fey who has been brainwashed by Father Carden into thinking that the only way to save his soul is to eliminate the Fey race. The final scenes of “The Sacrifice” reveal The Weeping Monk’s biggest secret: His real name is Lancelot. In Arthurian legends, Lancelot is Arthur’s friend and one of the Knights of the Round Table, which means he is one of the good guys. Some stories even find Lancelot being adopted by the Lady of the Lake, or as we know her, Nimue.
That last part may become part of the story of Cursed: For The Weeping Monk to eventually become this honorable knight, he has to team up with the Fey. He switched sides after defending Squirrel (Billy Jenkins) and killing his Red Paladin brothers before escaping with the young boy, so that's a start. The Fey also need a new warrior to replace The Green Knight, so if Lancelot knows what's good for him, he'll spend season 2 working to be accepted by the Fey.
What Is Sister Iris Doing With The Gold Masks?
In case you ever doubted, the finale confirms that Sister Iris is pure evil. Somehow, she survives Merlin’s wrath and is able to escape to Pope Abel. He welcomes her into his religious sect and she becomes one of the Gold Masks. He calls her an “avenging angel” sent by God to “smite the Wolf-Blood witch.”
Pope Abel threatened to take over the Red Paladins from Father Carden earlier in the season. Now, that threat seems to be quite real: Pope Abel, Sister Iris, The Gold Masks, and the Red Paladins are united, which means they can work together to continue their “cleansing” of the Fey people.
Is Gawain The Green Knight Really Dead?
During episode 9, Gawain (Matt Stokoe) is tortured by the Red Paladins at their camp. In the finale, Nimue and the audience learn that Gawain succumbed to his injuries. The Red Paladins toss his lifeless body next to Nimue and she uses her powers to bury him. There aren’t any signs that he could be alive. Unfortunately for Gawain fans, earlier in Cursed season 1, Nimue confirms that she can’t heal someone when their injuries are too extreme. It’s probably safe to say this is the end of Gawain’s story on Cursed.
Who Is Percival In King Arthur Legend?
By season's end, Squirrel tells Lancelot that he is actually named Percival. Like Lancelot, in Arthurian legend, Percival becomes one of the Knights of the Round Table. Suddenly, it becomes clear why Squirrel constantly pleaded to the Fey leaders to let him join them their fighting expeditions. He won’t become a knight until he is much older, but his future storylines will undoubtedly show Percival training to become the knight he's destined to be.
Who Is The Red Spear, aka Guinevere?
Another person who shares their real identity in the final moments is the Red Spear. She introduces herself to Arthur as Guinevere, so it's clear the character will have a more pivotal role next season. As we all know, Guinevere is a queen and wife to King Arthur in Arthurian tales. Her introduction is likely a set-up for a love triangle in season 2 between Nimue, Arthur, and Guinevere. But as for what her alter ego The Red Spear means, the possibilities are wide open.
Arthur's tales include some mentions of a Red Knight, but the fighter's identity changes from story to story. Generally speaking though, warriors with the word "red" in their titles have been cast more often an enemies than allies in several King Arthur stories.