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Once Upon A Time, Episode 501: The Dark Swan




A Brave New World

Welcome back Once-lovers! It looks like our new “fairytales†this season will include Brave and Camelot. Remember how I’ve been bitching about the writers ruining my favorite story—Robin Hood? Well, my second favorite story is about King Arthur, so expect some additional bitching.

Ready? Let’s look at the highlights of the season opener.

In 1989, a very young Emma goes to a Disney movie (Product placement! No one’s better at this than Disney!), steals a candy bar, and gets a warning she doesn’t understand from a mystical usher. My takeaway is that 1) the foster system is indeed very tough if what appears to be a second grader is already adept at stealing, and 2) when the foster system tries to do something nice like take kids to a Disney movie, they fail miserably by arriving late, after the movie has already started. Way to make a sucky childhood even suckier, foster system!

In the Enchanted Forest (EF), Arthur, Lancelot, and another guy try to talk Sir Kay out of pulling the sword out of the stone. The result is as expected—not good for Kay. I like when, after Kay disintegrates, Lance blithely turns to Arthur and says “Your turn!†Arthur tugs on the sword but only pulls out half a sword. Where’s the rest? Turns out the rest of the sword is the Dark One Dagger!!! Dun, dun DUN!!

Back in Storybrooke, our “heroes†are where we left them at the beginning of the summer—still sniping at each other. Emma has been sucked up “in a vortex of evil.†Hook is despondent. Robin is confused. Hook tries to summon Emma with the dagger, but he can’t because Emma’s not in this realm. Which realm is she in and how will our ham-fisted heroes get there? They’ll get there using a wand from the sick (possibly dead) Apprentice which requires both light and dark magic. (How many ways do we have now for jumping realms? Magic beans, tornadoes, doors in mysterious many-doored rooms, I’ve lost count.)

Having determined that Regina’s “gone soft†and isn’t dark enough to use the wand to realm jump, they decide to ask Zelena for help, ‘cause, you know, she’s known for her helpfulness.

In the EF, Emma emerges from the vortex of evil to find her mind being controlled by faux-Rumple who encourages her to be dark. Emma insists she’ll never turn dark and stomps off to find Merlin who can help her destroy the darkness. Rumple won’t be ignored and follows Emma around, telling her if she captures a will-o’-the-wisp, it will lead her to Merlin. This is how she meets Merida and the two go into business together.

In Storybrooke, Hook wants Henry to use his author powers to get Emma back. Henry explains that he broke the pen. That doesn’t stop our persistent pirate, who enlists Henry’s help to bust Zelena out of jail.

In the EF, Merida gives us exposition on her kidnapped brothers and her difficulties being the queen ruling over anti-feminist clans. Later, after making camp, Merida overhears Emma talking to Rumple about betraying Merida. (And thinks Emma’s talking to herself which, I guess, she is.)

In Storybrooke, Henry helps Hook get past the Psycho nurse and sweeper, but does anyone think a jail-break operation headed by Hook is going to go well? Anyone? As you’ve guessed, Zelena overpowers Hook and frees herself from the magic-suppressing bracelet. (By cutting her own hand off and re-attaching it—say what you want about Zelena, she’s got gumption.)

When Regina finds out, she calls Hook a moron. (Sorry, my pretty pirate, she’s right this time.) Mary Margaret (MM) makes a speech about how important Emma is, which is certainly a huge attitude shift for her. (By the way, is David not allowed to talk? He’s been in a lot of scenes but hasn’t said a word, just keeps looking vague.) Regina knows where Zelena would go—to Robin.

In MM’s apartment, Regina runs in to warn Robin that Zelena’s on the loose. But wait! This isn’t Regina. It’s Zelena glamoured as Regina. Robin sees through the charade as soon as he kisses her. (And Zelena makes an unkind remark about Marion which I don’t appreciate.)  The hero posse walks purposefully (again) across Main Street and comes face to face with Robin and Zelena. Zelena intends to escape with her baby to Oz. She monologues about how Regina always gets everything and blah, blah, blah middle school angst, etc.

Regina, in fear for Robin’s life, gives the wand to Zelena who makes a tornado/portal with it. But it’s a trick! Those are some slick sisters! Once the portal is open, Regina overpowers Zelena.

In the EF, a frightened Merida has run away from Emma. Using Dark One magic, Emma finds Merida who’s let the wisp go. And now we come to My Favorite Line of the Episode. Rumple, played by uber-Scottish Robert Carlyle, says:

“What’s she saying? Accent’s a bit much, no?†–Hee, so meta.

At Granny’s, our heroes batten down the hatches in preparation for the tornado that will take them to the EF. The dwarves come in and demand to be taken along. Fine, whatever.

In the EF, Merida shoots arrows at Emma to no avail. Emma gives in to Rumple’s urging and rips out Merida’s heart but is stopped in a nick of time from killing her by our hapless heroes. MM has the dagger and is about to order Emma not to kill Merida, but Hook argues that it has to be Emma’s choice. Why, Hook? Why? Can’t we discuss all this later, when Merida’s not dead?

After a noble speech by Hook, Emma relents and shoves Merida’s heart back in her chest. Merida makes friends with Emma pretty quickly for someone who was almost murdered by said friend. Emma tells her parents it was too dangerous for them to come. And David speaks!!! MM gives Emma the dagger. David thinks Emma will be able to control herself. What could go wrong? Emma is sensible and does not want the dagger, so she gives it Regina. Again, what could go wrong?

At transplanted Granny’s, Arthur and his knights stop in for some meatloaf. Oh, and also they knew Emma and the crew were coming thanks to Merlin.  But now Merlin’s missing and Arthur wants to bring Emma to Camelot so that everyone can find Merlin.

The group arrives at Camelot. (Did MM carry that baby a long way through the forest? Sounds mighty uncomfortable.)

Six weeks later, our heroes, dressed in medieval garb, are plunged violently back into Storybrooke. Regina says they only remember walking into Camelot. Haven’t we done the memory wipe before? Yes, MM says. Thank you, MM. And here comes Emma who is very dark. (But her hair is very light.) It looks like our champion chumps have failed in their quest. And poor Sneezy gets the brunt of it.

Regina no longer has the dagger. Emma does. And it appears our heroes are in biiiig trouble, because Emma wants to punish them for trying to save her.

My thoughts on this episode:

  • Emma’s Dark One outfit is pretty raggedy. Why can’t she be fierce like Evil Regina?
  • Belle still loves Gold. (Ick.)
  • Merida’s hair color is off—more “Ronald McDonald†than “Fair Scottish lass†I hope they fix that.


What are your thoughts? Join in the forum at http://www.freejinger.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13046&start=80


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