This discussion may contain spoilers!
My argument: Faith
This is long, but I guarantee I will show you evidence that you have never seen before
We all know they are the same person, but we seem to be split about 50/50 (there was even a poll) as to whom Bigby spoke with in the final scene. Nerissa makes sense because it fits the best with the plot, and with her kind nature, it makes total sense she would put the whole thing in motion to help Bigby. Faith seems like a good choice because TTG is tricky. I was wrong about many things, but I made a thread a while back about Faith being a villain who kills Lily and remains alive. I know it is rude to post your own old threads, but this post is so long (and most of it is all new analysis), so I want to give people something to refer back to for some evidence. See below.
I say that Faith is opposite Nerissa and has a manipulative nature; she put the whole thing in motion to help herself (by using Bigby), and there is a lot of evidence for this. I cannot totally prove it, but nobody can totally prove Nerissa’s case, but I am about 99% sure Faith is the person to whom we last spoke due to some correct predictions/good evidence of my old thread and the following:
The first odd thing is something Faith says to Bigby the first time they meet. “I’m not going to be doing this [hooking] for much longer.” Well how would she know that? She’s not going to become rich anytime soon, and unless she intentionally walked into her own death, she knew something we didn’t – her plan to escape The Crooked Man
Through powerful magic, her whereabouts concealed, unfortunately for you, these lips are sealed – Mirror referring to Faith after she’s supposedly dead already. The mirror can show dead people (he shows Faith’s father). Furthermore, when he says this, he isn’t decapitated. This shows that the silence spell and the decapitation spell are NOT INSEPARABLE, as the mirror wears no ribbon. This will become important further below.
In the next episode, we see Dee looking for Faith’s stolen picture at many places (though we don’t find out what he was looking for until episode three. We also see that Dee isn’t charging Faith money (a total anomaly). Why would he do a job for free for a supposedly dead girl? Also, when Toad offers up the coat to Dee, he rejects it. Only if he knew she were alive and didn’t want the coat (so as to appear dead and gone) would he not take it, for if she were dead it would be evidence. If alive and said nothing, he’d give it back. This suggests some subtle subversion of CM, as we find out later that all his other employees were angry at his ruthless business tactics.
I posited (still do) Faith’s head was not her. This is why Swineheart never releases the body and Bigby’s question to Snow (originally in ep. 2), “Did Dr. Swineheart ever get back to you about Faith?” “No. He said he still wanted to run some more tests” Comes up in the very last scene. As well.
Then whose head was it? It turns out, it is a mysterious, unmentioned character named, update: A user pointed out Kay is a Male character in the comics. Still, there is another glamour set just like Faith uses (not that she needs one -- see next paragraph) and (less likely, because not really needed) it's possible she stole it. She stole a photo from the previously main villain in the game, I don't see how stealing from an unnamed character who conveniently shows up at the end to have the same glamour be any harder Refer back the episode four for the discussion about how the ingredients were used to make glamours. If you look at the Chalkboard in the Butcher’s shop, only Faith and Kay have the same order – J/DD. See Chalkboard 1.
http://oi57.tinypic.com/k54hhx.jpg chalkboard 1
http://oi62.tinypic.com/2natnrr.jpg chalkboard 2
http://oi57.tinypic.com/2e2fes9.jpg secret ingredient
Two things here: First, Faith doesn’t need a glamour (she’s flawlessly beautiful without her coat). Second, Nerissa doesn’t need a glamour either! If you ask her about the legs in episode two she responds that they’re real but cost a lot of money. See chalkboard 2. What is Nerissa’s glamour order? It's: H/J/DD, the exact same as Faith’s but with an H. What is ingredient H? Dew of the Sea. See secret ingredient above. So what we’ve got here is Faith (who doesn’t need a glamour) with two glamours that make one look like Faith. We’ve also got Nerissa (Faith) with a third glamour identical to Faith’s, but with a touch of The little Mermaid added (which yields Nerissa).
So let’s run with this idea that Faith was disguising herself as Nerissa. If I haven’t convinced you yet, there is more.
If you look a“t Nerissa’s bag in episode four, it is the EXACT SAME bag as Faith’s from episode one. Purple with gold stones. This Bag is different than the one we see in Nerissa’s cubby in Episode two (a plain green bag). Why would Nerissa (a kind-hearted fable steal a dead friend’s bag?) If it was sentimentality (which it isn’t), she’d have taken her clothes and everything else. See pictures below.
http://oi62.tinypic.com/dxk0pk.jpg Faith’s bag (ep. 1)
http://oi57.tinypic.com/iduph3.jpg Nerissa’s bag (ep. 4)
In episode two, we see that some sort of struggle had taken place in the girls’ changing room (hastily broken Jewelry box and makeup kit – though it doesn’t even have a lock). I first thought it was a fight between Lily and Faith, but it was actually Faith coming back from her encounter with Bigby. She put on the Nerissa glamour (but as we know – Glamours are not perfect), so she scrambled to put on Nerissa-like makeup and Jewelry so as to make it seem like Faith never came back.
Now here is where things get really tricky. I want to post this part just to tie off any loose ends. After that, I will go over some weird things in the last episode that really seal the deal for Faith being alive and being Nerissa. If you look at the girls’ appointment book, we see th“at Neri”ssa had an appointment in 204 the night of Lily’s murder. Very few people probably noticed this, but see the photo below.
http://oi62.tinypic.com/30bmzj6.jpg appointment book
Now, if you actually examine 204 at the Open Arms, it appears pretty dirty, but there were no signs of a struggle or of anyone trying to run away or run for help (broken desk or broken lock would have been examples). 204 actually refers to the Woodsman’s apartment room. He is a tenant in Toad’s building. There is a letter on Crane’s desk from Toad complaining about the mess in 204. See below.
http://oi60.tinypic.com/4pv5i1.jpg Apartment 204
Now, recall what the Woodsman said about where he was the night of Lily’s murder. He said he was at the Trip Trap, “you can ask anybody”, he says. You only get to see this if you interrogate him and not Dee. However, we know Holly and Gren are readily willing to lie about where Woody is (remember the end of episode one). I posit that Faith, disguised as Nerissa, went to 204, with 204 being Woody’s apartment not the room at the Open Arms. There, she (or Kay – see below) told Woody her falsified version of what happened, and her version is exactly what The Crooked Man states in episode five at his lair, and again at his trial: that Georgie misinterpreted directions and killed Lily (Woody’s love). It's no coincidence. Faith predicted her wicked boss' every move (Crooked Man Vivian, and Georgie) Seem too far of a stretch? It’s not.
We know that Woody knows what happened to Lily (or at least he thinks he does). If you wait to enter the trip trap at the end of episode three and listen to Gren and Woody’s conversation through the door, Woody tells Gren what he thinks happened (that Georgie killed Lily by a misunderstanding). Woody wants to tell Holly, but never gets the chance. Notice also the important absence of Woody at The Crooked Man’s trial. In this way, there was no dissenting opinion. But wait! Gren was at the trial, and he could have given that same dissenting opinion. No he couldn’t. Remember the funny phrase: Gren won’t remember this. At first it just seemed like a funny line put in by TTG, but it serves a purpose – Gren can’t give a different version of the story. But there is another problem to my explanation here. How would Faith (disguised as Nerissa) have been able to tell Woody the fake story – she was wearing a ribbon after all.
There are three possible solutions to this. When Georgie exclaims that Vivian is “the original” – the first one with the ribbon, he never actually says that Vivian cast the silence/beheading spell. In fact, it’s the opposite. He says she was the first one burdened with the problem (although she makes copies of the ribbon for her club). Vivian goes on to say, “Every day I have to Look Gwen and Hans in the eye and pretend I don’t care…about what I’ve done to them [taken away their freedom]… I look at Nerissa and I hate myself.” This leaves us with the implication that the other ancillary dancers DID NOT wear the ribbons, including Amber. Who is Amber? Another dancer who wants to switch nights with someone. See picture below.
http://oi59.tinypic.com/1ht56s.jpg Amber's note.
The first possible solution is that Amber, or some dancer (who switched jobs with Faith after meeting up with Bigby) simply didn’t wear a ribbon and was blackballed or tricked into going there by Faith. I'd go with tricked. Faith says, 'I will do this favor for you (covering for you on 7/16), but in return, you've got to say sorry to the Woodsman for me about the earlier tonight and that Lily is in danger (this is why Woody was desperately looking for his axe -- to protect Lily's impending doom). Oh, and by the way, you have to look like me because Woody only gets a woody for me (lie, but Amber doesn't know that).' Woody is pissed at first, but when he hears news of Lily's impending death, he takes her seriously. Then, as Nerissa, Faith tells Georgie all about Faith's and Lily's treason (as Nerissa herself puts it). She tells him that Faith is going to be back at the club in just a bit. Nerissa's explanation to Bigby in ep. 5 was that, '...we [Faith, Lily, and Nerissa] had committed treason. And while the two of us were sitting there [at the club], Faith walked in, and I had to watch while Georgie --' and the quote ends there. She never explains how Georgie killed 'Faith'. I think she 'had' to watch while Georgie (even angrier that Faith somehow seemed to have taken off the ribbon), hit her and then slapped a ribbon onto the treasonous and subversive Amber/Faith, promptly removing it and killing her. This explains the identical bruising and why Swineheart never released the head -- the glamour had worn off and it wasn't Faith's head anymore. Swineheart was probably under threat from the Crooked Man not to release any evidence on pain of death. That or he really could have been running more tests; he was a great doctor and maybe something didn't seem right.
The second possible solution is that Faith was immune to the decapitation spell. How? If you look at the book with the symbols on it (the one that Bufkin must translate) there is a ring on Lanelot’s page. Vivian is from Vivienne/Lady of the Lake (Lancelot) fairytale. The entry on the ring says this (the whole book is in semi-archaic Latin by the way), 'Hoc ordine a magno malo nos defendant adfectatuz signare magna olim potestas.' See picture below.
http://oi61.tinypic.com/2db83np.jpg The unseen ring theory
I happen to speak and read Spanish and read Italian, so it caught my eye. I can also say my Latin is better than Bufkin's. He says it says something about the Frog Prince. If translated correctly (it won’t perfectly because it is semi-archaic), it reads, 'Once upon a time, there was a great power [the pictured ring] that protected us from a great evil [the beheading spell].' Update: I thought the ring didn't appear in the game, and it might not; I am not sure. There are a few ways to translate it. First, the ring caption actually says, 'any wearer was able to activate its [power]'. The caption I translated is just appears to be an insignia, but (though I don't read Latin too well), it sounds like it's a defensive spell, one that would protect one from the "seal" (another way to translate it). Basically, I don't think it can be used to take away Vivian's power. I think it is used to make one immune to that power. And the ring that Greenleaf sold to Crane looks nothing like the one in the book nor the much like the insignia below it. I think Greenleaf just gave Crane a junk ring to get him out of there. She dislikes him ('Crane could be hollow bones tomorrow, and you wouldn't see me cry a drop.') She also just needed the money. Maybe there was a real one out there, and it is possible Faith had it (or she had the stamp/official seal/marking). Additionally, if Vivian had it, she could wear it herself, but still be able to use her ribbons on others, and Vivian never wears a ring. If this is the case,then why is Faith so scared that Bigby might take it off? Overcompensation to steer him in the wrong direction.
The third, and cleanest explanation is simply this: Faith (as Nerissa) found a way to tell Woody (or let him come to his own conclusion) what was about to happen simply by being clever and doing everything by the book. She made it all official: putting Nerissa (Faith) in the book, an ambiguous room number, and a pseudonym for a client.
Phew. Now, getting to the last episode and the ending about which we are debating: The Crooked man doesn’t recognize Nerissa, yet he recognizes Beauty and Beast perfectly well, 'I see some of my employees are present among us.' Further strengthening this argument, remember that Beauty only recently started working at the Open Arms for the Crooked Man (as revealed by herself in Ep. 2). Also, why on earth would Nerissa go to the club (which she hated and knew was dangerous)? She even told Bigby not to tell anyone she went to see him. Only Faith, who knew she was safe, would go back to the club to confirm Vivian and Georgie dead.
In addition, Faith says some rather odd things.
She says, "I left Faith on your doorstep." This is a double entendre. Literally it means: I left Faith's head at your doorstep. Metaphorically it means: I put my faith in you to carry out my insidious plan.
Then she says something rather troubling and easy to miss right before the very end:
"For better or worse this town won’t be the same without you.” For worse? What? How could she possibly say for worse after all the trouble the beneficent Nerissa went through to change things? Unless she knows things Bigby doesn’t, which she does. She Successfully deported Crane, who is her enemy, and what Nerissa says is an ally of the Crooked Man (obvious lie at this point). She killed/imprisoned The Crooked Man. She got rid of anyone who knew too much (Lily, Vivian, Georgie). She conned Fabletown in its entirety. Worst of all, she did all this by manipulating Bigby and Snow (by the end the only two who the rest of the cast trusted) to come to a gigantic false conclusion!
Her last words to Bigby (for the second time) were, "You're not as bad as everyone says you are." This is also a double entendre. Literally it means Bigby is a nice guy. Figuratively, it means that compared to herself, the Big Bad Wolf is a saint.
In the very last few seconds, as Bigby realizes Nerissa wasn’t really Nerissa, the music and sound effects take on a horrific tone. It’s not just a moment of revelation; Bigby realizes he has very possibly (along with everyone else) been cleverly manipulated by the innocent, victimized girl who we all rooted for at the start. The Crooked Man certainly was a crook, but Faith, as much as I love her character, really was, (though not a dumb one) a complete ass.