Sunday, September 27, 2015

Once Upon a Time 5.01: "The Dark Swan"

“Did you enjoy it? Your first taste of darkness?”
- Rumpelstiltskin

It’s that time again Storybrooke denizens. Once Upon a Time is back! At the end of last season, Henry became the Author, Regina got a taste of happiness with Robin and Emma became the new Dark One. We take a brief trip back to a young Emma in 1989 where she steals some candy in a movie theater and a British guy in a movie theater uniform warns her that she’ll have a chance to pull Excalibur from the stone one day and she needs to not do it. I’m pretty sure he’s Merlin and he saw all of this coming. Back in the Enchanted Forest some time ago, we find Arthur, Lancelot and another knight on the way to pull said sword from said stone thanks a prophecy from Merlin. They get there to find another knight greedy to have the power for himself. He gets turned to dust for his troubles. Arthur is successful but there’s a problem. The sword isn’t whole. As the camera pans down, we see that in fact the rest of the sword has become the Dark One’s dagger. Oh snap!

In Storybrooke, Emma’s family is kind of still in shock of what happened. Hook is having all kinds of annoying man pain and ordering people to get their butts in gear. When a visit to the apprentice yields a way to travel to the Enchanted Forest (where Emma went to be reborn as the new Dark One), Hook insists on using Zelena’s power to get them there. Regina’s magic to too light these days and wand used to travel needs both sides of the coin. That cannot possibly ever end well. While Regina, Hook and Robin go to try and convince Zelena to help, the Blue Fairy convinces Belle to leave Rumple’s side and help them. She gives Belle the rose in the bell jar, promising that as long as it still has pedals, Rumple will live. Things with Zelena understandably don’t go well. Regina refuses to take off the magic suppressing cuff so Zelena can use her magic to create the portal to take them to Emma. So of course, Hook entices Henry to break Zelena out. Yes, get your girlfriend’s son into a life of crime early. Asshole. Because Hook is an absolute moron, Zelena escapes and goes after Robin. She wants to trade the wand for his life so she can go back to Oz and be happy with baby. It looks like Regina is giving in when she reveals that she knew the use of the wand would make Zelena weak. You go Regina!

Speaking of the newly minted Dark One, Emma emerges from the vault where we saw Neal resurrect Rumple and she’s all kinds of confused. Rumple appears as sort of a hallucination/guide for her and he’s trying to get her to accept the darkness. She encounters a merchant who tries to extort her for money when she asks for directions to Camelot and ends up nearly choking the guy to death with the darkness. Clearly her reactions to things are going to be quite the opposite of who she used to be. I like it. Emma is panicking a little bit but Rumple convinces her he can help her find Merlin. She gets to teleport on her own for the first time and she then crosses paths with a feisty, fiery-haired princess Merida. They are both after the same little magical being that will answer a question when returned home. So when Emma declines to fight Merida (thus avoiding giving into the darkness) Merida invites her along so that maybe they can both get help. As they trek through the woods we learn that Merida’s father has died and the untied clans have kidnapped her little brothers. They apparently don’t want a Queen to rule the land (sexist pigs). So she needs to find her brothers. That night, Emma is having a conversation with Rumple that Merida overhears. She takes off in the morning and manages to ask her question before Emma show sup (embracing some of that dark magic). Things get rather tense when Rumple urges Emma to kill Merida. I can’t see that happening but you never know.

Regina manages to use Emma’s baby blanket to change the destination of the portal and Granny’s diner gets sucks up with quite a lot of people inside. Should be interesting, especially since we know Ruby is coming back (yay). And it takes Emma’s family and Hook showing up to ultimately stop Emma from killing Merida. For a time at least, her family’s support has pushed her evil spirit guide away. I liked the sentiment of Hook’s little speech I just wish I had been Henry who had given it but that’s just me being super anti Captain Swan.

After some reunions, Emma and company head back to Granny’s (Emma is surprised by how it got there) and find King Arthur and his knights approaching. They’ve been expecting the denizens of Storybrooke and invite them to Camelot in search of Merlin. Just as the gang heads into Camelot, we jump six weeks back in Storybrooke where we find that Emma has in fact given in to the darkness and somehow wiped everyone’s memories (again). That part kind of irked me but seeing Emma go all bad is going to be pretty awesome. I know it sounds like I’m being mean but I can’t wait to see what she has in store for Hook. I am sure that she won’t do anything too awful to Henry.

Overall I thought this was a strong premiere and it sets up a lot of fun things for the rest of the half-season at the very least. It’s going to be crazy but in such a good way. Having this show back on my TV every week is going to make me very happy and I am so glad it’s finally back. I’ve missed getting to hang out with these characters and share in their drama and family craziness. I’m even eager to see if Regina and Zelena will be able to reconcile.

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