The curse of the pre-Arthurian legend, Cursed, is that it takes you on a wonderful journey to nowhere. This colorful story imagines that the Sword of Power first chooses Nimue, The Fey Queen. As they prefer not to be called fairies, Nimue believes her powers to be a curse and she is unable to control them. She is unwelcome with the man-blood and her own kind. Along her travails, we meet a very different Merlin, Arthur, Gawain, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Percival than in Disney’s 1963 The Sword in the Stone.
In struggles for power, the Red Spear hates the Ice King. The Ice King despises Uther Pendragon. The Red Paladin and the Catholic Church demand the demise of The Fey. The sheer number of characters make this a complex tale. Sadly, Season 1 of Cursed offers little in resolution of the battle for The Devil’s Tooth. I give the ten-part Netflix series 3.5 Gavels and it receives a 74% Rotten Tomatoes rating with a 48% Audience score.
Given the Sword by her dying mother, Nimue is told she must deliver it to Merlin. But, for 700 years, Merlin has abandoned his kind to work as an advisor to kings and popes. As Carden, The Weeping Monk, and his Red Paladin kill The Fey, King Uther fails to protect his subjects. Every king wants the Sword of Power as it will make them the one true king. Using the Sword to protect herself and seek revenge, Nimue is called The Wolf Blood Witch. But, is she strong enough to protect The Fey?
Recently seen in Knives Out, Katherine Langford is Nimue, apparently to be The Lady of the Lake in Season 2. Devon Terrell, as Arthur, now has a love triangle with Nimue and Guinevere. As bad guys go, Peter Mullan makes a nicely-deranged Father Carden. Way too many to mention, this is a nice ensemble cast.
Cursed seems like a poor name choice for a series Netflix hopes is anything but. The series suggests that the Sword of Power has a dark side to it. If so, why does The Lady of The Lake eventually give it to Arthur? “With production values that are more HBO than BBC1 and action that skips along at pace, it’s all very watchable,” says The London Evening Standard. Empire Magazine adds “Langford exudes an air of natural leadership as she storms the visceral and violent, if not wholly original, landscape.” The Fey slogan, “born in the dawn, to pass in the twilight,” lends an air of murk, haze, and maybe doom to Cursed. Overall, a little more sunshine, Camelot if you will, would help.