I might need some reassurance here. It is still 2015, right? It is still season five of Once Upon A Time, right? I didn’t some how get transported back to 2011 when Once Upon A Time was a good fantasy show that re-imagined fairly tale characters in cool way and made Prince Charming and Snow White interesting, did I? I seriously enjoyed this episode and in like the way the masses are supposed to. I wasn’t enjoying it because of unintentional queer subtext, I actually enjoyed Snowing (Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas) in this episode.
Now that my shock is out of the way, let us get into this episode. Despite its season one elements, this episode still had all the good old OUAT problems. This week’s list included vague timeline distinctions, incredibly powerful magically objects we will never hear of again, a bit too much humanization for its villain, Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and tragically little Regina (Lana Parrilla).
So in Camelot many years ago, a young Arthur is telling a young Guinevere about the prophecy he got from Merlin, who was already in that tree, that he will reunite the broken kingdom of Camelot and become king. He is super sweet in this scene and then bullied by some older kids.
We then jump to the scene from the first episode of the season. He finds the sword, lies to the kingdom about it being whole and makes plans to Guinevere (Joana Metrass) to find it and reunite it so the prophecy will come true. Arthur (Liam Garrigan) starts becoming obsessed with finding the dagger and pushes Guinevere away and closer to Lancelot (Sinqua Walls). It seemed like a lot of humanization for two characters the show made into the villains last week.
Back in present day Camelot, I guess that is how I am going to word that, Arthur tells Charming about the sword not being whole and that the Dark One dagger will complete it and destroy the darkness. Elsewhere in the castle, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) is being drawn to the Dark One dagger. She is being taunted by Hallucination-Rumple (Robert Carlyle) that she can break the protect spell and take it for herself. She tells him no but also accidentally shoots a spell at Hook. She then goes catatonic for a bit, I’m not sure. She ends up surrounded by all the worried good guys and then leaves for a quite place with Hook and Henry (Jared Gilmore).
Charming and Snow get in a fight over what they want to do. Charming wants to trust Arthur and give him the dagger. Snow says they can’t trust him because Lancelot said he was a bad guy.
Five year ago in Camelot, Guinevere and Lancelot team up to go find the Dark One dagger to complete the sword so they can get their king/best friend/husband back. Guinevere uses that magically gauntlet that leads you to the person you love’s greatest weakness, which is a magical item repeat. It leads them to the portal Emma came to Camelot in that has the Dark One vault below it. They get to the dagger but not before Lancelot gets attacked by the Dark One goo and Guinevere saves him in a very similar to Emma saving Regina type of way. Of course, they got to kiss afterward.
They are met by Rumple when they get to the dagger. He says he can’t give it to them but he trades the gauntlet for magic sand that makes something broken appear whole. Once they get back Lancelot decides to leave Camelot because of their kiss. Guinevere tries to fix the sword but decides she doesn’t want to fake it and wants Arthur to choice his marriage and the kingdom. He doesn’t though and uses the sand on her and then on the Kingdom. OK, that was a good twist. Guinevere isn’t actually a bad guy and Arthur just got worse.
Back in present day Camelot, Charming tries to give the dagger to Arthur but finds it missing the box because Snow took it and is meeting Lancelot over at Granny’s. Snow and Lancelot head to the vault to hide the dagger so Emma can’t get to it. Arthur catches up to them in the vault. Snow hands over the dagger to him and he tries to call Emma, but it is the fake dagger and then Charming appears because their double crossing each other was faked! And the banter between them was actually good again and they are being all right parents.
They capture Arthur and take him to the diner to try to find out what to do with him. Just as they and Lancelot are planning to make Guinevere the leader of Camelot, she appears as the diner is surrounded. She has Lancelot arrested and uses the sand on Snow and Charming.
They get back to Regina and tell her they were wrong about Arthur. They can trust him and giving him the real dagger is the best way to help Emma. Luckily, Regina seems to be finding this switch slightly skeptical. Lancelot is thrown into the dungeon and quickly befriends Merida (Amy Manson), who is in the neighboring cell.
Emma’s story line in Camelot was a stupid thing about Hook being able to help her get Hallucination-Rumple out of her head because he has defeated demons too. What demons, you Disney pirate? Her story line in Storybrooke is stupid too but actually important to the plot. She has Rumple tied up because she is going to make him, instead of I don’t know REGINA, the hero to remove the sword from the stone. But, she needs to make him brave first. Luckily, she has just the person for the job tied to her bug.
So yeah, it still had its problems. But, it made Snowing interesting again and made me care about Lancelot and Guinevere more. The Camelot story line just got a lot more interesting with multiple people being cursed. Hopefully, the show can stay this good for a least a few episodes.
I decided to start with that to remind myself why I am still putting myself through this mess every September. I wasn’t expecting this episode to be good. I was expecting it to be all right because Once Upon A Time is usually good at premieres, but this one wasn’t. It had a few good moments when it focused on its well-established characters, one good twist and one disgustingly obvious plot twist.
The episode starts with super young Emma (McKenna Grace) going to see The Sword and the Stone at a movie theater by herself. She is told by a mysterious usher — who we know from promos is Merlin (Elliot Knight) — that she will have the chance to pull Excalibur from the stone one day but she shouldn’t do it.
We then cut to Camelot and a knight riding a horse, which always means a bad episode. King Arthur (Liam Garrigan), Lancelot (Sinqua Walls) and some other dude find the sword. A rival dude arrives, they tell him not to touch the sword. He ignores them and turns to dust. Arthur is able to pull it out but the tip is missing because it is the dark one dagger!
We then switch to Storybrooke and rejoin everyone left standing in the street at the end of 4B. Regina (Lana Parrilla) freaks out. Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) tells Regina to calm down. Robin (Sean Maguire) asks stupid questions and Charming (Josh Dallas) is useless. Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) tries to summon Emma (Jennifer Morrison) with the dagger. It doesn’t work and Regina realizes she must be in a different realm.
Emma appears out of the black goo in the Enchanted Forest and is met by Rumple (Robert Carlyle), but it isn’t really him. He is just a representation of all the Dark Ones and the dark powers inside Emma. He is ready to be her Dark One guide. He tells her the only way to avoid becoming the Dark One is by death. Emma tells him to eff off, she is going to find Merlin because the Apprentice said he could stop it.
Back in Storybrooke, the gang gets the all-powerful magical item of the week from the Apprentice. It is a wand with all light magic that can open a portal to the Enchanted Forest, but it needs to be weld by someone with all dark magic. Regina tries, but it doesn’t work. They realize they need Zelena (Rebecca Mader) to wield it. This all leads to a bunch of messed up scenes with Zelena taunting Robin about the rape baby and Regina and Hook squaring off over who is willing to go further to save Emma. It was a mess but Hook said Emma sacrificed herself for Regina.
Emma makes her way through the Enchanted Forest with Hallucination-Rumple and realizes she can’t control her magic or her darkness until she bumps in Merida (Amy Manson) while chasing a wisp. Amy Manson isn’t doing that bad as Merida, but she is a bad position following up Elizabeth Lail and Georgina Haig’s excellent portrayals of Anna and Elsa last season.
Merida agrees to take Emma to the stones where they can find more wisps. She needs it to rescue her three brothers who were kidnapped because the clans decided to revolt after her father died. That actually sounds kind of interesting and I wouldn’t mind a flashback of that. Hallucination-Rumple convinces Emma Merida has the only wisp and Emma’s chance to find Merlin will be lost after she uses it. He tells her she must kill her to stop her from doing so.
Meanwhile in Storybrooke, idiot Hook recruits Henry (Jared Gilmore), who they make really stupid when the plot calls for it, to free Zelena from her hospital dungeon and magic cancelling bracelet. Their plan backfires of course and she escapes, kidnaps Robin and gets the wand from Regina, in another middle of the street confrontation. She tries to create a tornado to take her back to Oz instead of the Enchanted Forest, but Regina knew she would double cross them. She is able to capture her again and redirect the tornado to take the main cast, the normally forgotten children and a handful of dwarfs to the Enchanted Forest in Granny’s. Regina and Snow have two good moments in here over how much they hope to save Emma.
Emma finds Merida at the Hill of Stones and takes Merida’s heart. She is about to crush it, with Hallucination-Rumple’s taunting, right when the Stroybrooke gang arrives and stops her. With some poorly written words of encouragement from Regina, Snow and Hook, Emma puts Merida’s heart back. Snow tries to give the dagger to Emma so she can control herself. But Emma hands it to Regina instead. She tells her to save her like she saved her and destroy her if it comes to that because she is the only one she can trust to.
She walks with everyone back to Granny’s that landed in a different part of the forest. Then King Arthur rides up and says they have been waiting for Emma because a prophecy said it would reunite them with Merlin. They all go walk into a terrible CGI’ed Camelot.
Then the disgustingly obvious plot twist happens.
Six weeks later, Granny’s lands back in Storybooke and everyone wakes up dressed in Enchanted Forest clothes. Regina, looking fantastic, says the last things she remembers is walking into Camelot. Because, plot reset. Again.
Emma then walks in that weird Dark Swan outfit, has some eye sex with Regina and tells them they tried to stop her from being the Dark One and they failed. Regina reaches for the dagger, but Emma has it. She tells them there is nothing they can do to stop her and she is going to punish them for what they did to her.
Though I am beyond annoyed that the big twist was memory loss again, I am slightly interested to see how the dynamics between Emma and Regina, Henry and her parents changes now that she is fully the Dark One. So I guess this was an effective episode because it has sparked my interest to see what comes next. But, was it a good episode? No. But as I said, I wasn’t expecting it to be because not many episodes are anymore. Anyone know when Mulan is coming back?