So, Merida is getting a lot of hate for bullying a fan favourite character. The question is, how much is it her doing and how much is it Emma's control? So far we've seen some different ways an enchanted heart has been used.
Undead peasants: Cora ripped out their hearts, possibly told them to lay dead, then to rise and fight. They were totally stripped of their own free will and it only took them one (possibly two) orders to go on and fight to the death.
Aurora, the Lost Boy and Belle: Cora and Regina, respectively, literally used their hearts as a speak-box to put words directly into their mouth and puppet-master their actions by the second.
Graham (in Welcome to Storybrooke): Regina gave him an order to arrest Kurt for drunk-driving, he showed up and actually arrested him for drunk-driving. It was clearly not true (Kurt wasn't driving at all), yet he seemed to act on it as if his perception of what was going on were clouded.
So, how much is Merida herself responsible for the chipped cup number she played on Gold? Emma was very specific about the goal, but not about her means. She said, "Now take him to the woods and make me a hero". Merida must go from point A to point B, the trip is up to her. Do you guys think her research on Rumple and threats to smash the cup were born out of the compulsion to get to point B (i.e.: getting Rumple to fight) no matter what, or she is responsible for bullying him that way?
Merida was given the knowledge probably by Emma....I assume.
Emma controlled her in the sense that she had to fulfill the goal, but Emma never said how and Emma was clearly distracted for much of that day. I think Merida wouldn't stop until she fulfilled her goal, like Will showed in Wonderland when even after Alice stole his heart back, he still felt like he needed to kill her until Alice said to stop.
Now, she'll feel the need to train him, but how will she determine when "he's a hero"? Merida and Emma could have totally different definitions. I scoured the web adn some think that the only thing Merida was doing in this episode was making him angry. Good, get that darkness riled up.......oh wait, that's a bad idea for a pure hearted hero.
Merida isn't pure of Heart as Merida said herself, then that should disqualify her in part for trying to make someone brave.
Now, outside of her harsh methods, this is the thing that made Rumple give into his darkness/ anger and become the Dark One in the first place. Rumple was bullied and became the bully, now he's being "bullied" again.
Hook said that he bullied Rumple in that time years ago. Hordor and his men bullied the villagefolk and Rumple. Rumple took that rage, incited by Zoso, to become a bigger bully than the rest of them. Rumple used that power because he didn't want to be bullied and wanted the power to never have that happen again. Now, I bet he's going to crave power again because once again he's crippled and weak and lacks the power to actually save and be with the ones he love.
I don't think Emma had anything to do with the means Merida used to make Rumple a hero, simply because she doesn't care. She's the Dark One, which means she doesn't care about the process, she just wants the finished product.
I still don't understand why people are so upset. I don't think there's any other way to motivate Rumple to defend himself other that threating him with something he really cares for. He have nothing else to motivate him, his own life it's not enough so they had to go after Belle. Although, I think that in the next episode we will find another one of Rumples fears, so that might actually do the trick.
And besides, I understand Merida. She is desperate, she wants to save her life and her brothers, but she can't because she is stuck with someone elses bussiness so I think she wants to get over this whole "brave" thing as fast as possible so she can continue on with her life and more important goals.