Title: Once Upon a Time
Episode: 1 
Aired: September 27th, 2015
Watched: September 28th, 2015
October 8th, 2015
Hey there everyone!
How are you doing? I hope you’re doing well!! When you’ll have received this, I’ll be furiously writing away at the novel that I’m trying to write for Nanowrimo, let’s hope that it’s well underway and that I won’t worry too much about reviewing by then – that and midterms… midterms… *glares* Anyways, let’s start this season with the regular spoiler warnings!
So I’m not completely back into the whole Once Upon a Time, especially because I didn’t watch all of Season 4, but I watched the last few episodes of the end of the season, so I’m not… completely in the dark as to what’s happening here… I just won’t understand all of the callbacks that they’ll be making, I guess… And yep, I’m writing this after I finished writing my review for the second episode of the season. That one was what really made me decide to take up reviewing this series again, after all…
Past [1989 and seriously distant past]
This episode starts off not where the previous season left off, but in the movie theater, ironically when it was showing The Sword in the Stone, which is a Disney movie of Arthur and Merlin. I loved that movie. Anyways, Young Emma [have you ever noticed that she wears a lot of plaids when she was young? Is it because plaids was in season back then, or is it because it was donated because no one wanted it, or is it because she just plain loves it? She was cute back then though, I dunno how to judge the young actress’ performance, but then again, I rarely do judge actor performance…] sneaks in with a group of kids (probably in a fieldtrip, or maybe she was with the group, going to school anyway), and steals a chocolate bar [I think it is anyway, I don’t recognize the label, nor the logo, maybe it’s not something that’s sold or that was sold in Canada? Or specifically in Quebec?] from a lady before enjoying her spoils alone as she watches the movie. She is interrupted by a young man – Merlin, I’m sure, but maybe it’s not him, maybe it’s someone else who knows? But it seems like Merlin is much more powerful and more trustworthy – who tells her that, no matter if it’s for a good reasons, she shouldn’t do something she’s not supposed to do, because bad things will happen [does this mean that she will want to pull the sword for a different reason later on in the enchanted forest? Also, since Arthur already pulled the sword, why the warning? Will the sword be put back in its stone later on? Also does the warning only apply to Emma Swan? Or does it apply to just anyone? In that case, then why predict that Arthur will pull it then?]. He predicts that she will have the opportunity to pull the sword from its stone, and that she shouldn’t. I wonder if it’s just a metaphor for not taking the Dark One’s Dagger, because it’s part of the sword, right? And besides, we know that the sword is already in King Arthur‘s grasp.
Indeed, we know this because the next scene depicts him getting the sword alongside Sir Lancelot (
yay, welcome back! Later on, you get killed by Cora but it’s ok – I mean no, I don’t think he gets killed? Maybe not? HOpefully not?), and another knight. Sir Kay beat them there, and says he wants to be the greatest king of all realms [it’s funny how he calls Merlin an old wizard when he appeared so young a few minutes ago with Emma – maybe it’s because he appeared that way in order to not frighten the child; also: did Kay really wait for Arthur to get there, just so Arthur could see that he was going to get the sword before him, conveniently making him doubt himself for a moment? Or conveniently showing us what happens to unworthy ones who take a hold of the sword?], but when he grabs the sword, he is turned into grey smoke and ashes. When prompted by Lancelot, Arthur pulls the sword [oh hey look, you didn’t turn into ashes/dust, aren’t you happy? Shouldn’t there be more evidence that there’s people who’ve tried to lift the sword and turned to stone, I wonder? Like heaps and heaps of ashes here and there, or does someone drop by often to just take care of things and sweep the ashes? Should the vegetation be more dense around the stone if so much ash from living beings actually litter the stone’s soil?], only to see that its tip is missing – The Dark One’s Dagger. He chooses not to tell their people that Excalibur is not whole, but that they have a new quest: making Excalibur whole [why WAS Excalibur even broken in two anyway? Because the Dark One dagger half was condensed evil? If Excalibur were whole, could it be completely evil?].
Storybrooke – present day
Now, cut to present day, in front of the dagger of the Dark One, where Emma Swan has sacrificed her life, in order to save Regina Mills from becoming evil again. Regina immediately calls her an idiot for it while Mary Margaret still insists that her daughter is still good. Meanwhile, Hook is beside himself [not letting Robin Hood stop him, and looking really desperate, because this is the second time that he has lost someone he really truly and deeply cares for [ironically, both times, the Dark One was the “cause” of their demise: I mean, the woman was Rumpelstiltskin‘s wife and the latter killed her inadvertently while trying to protect Hook, and the second one, Emma, disappears to become the Dark One. Irony bites, doesn’t it?]], and taking the dagger in order to call to the Dark One. They soon realize that she’s nowhere in this world, as she doesn’t appear to his commands [I love how Regina just calls Hook guyliner, I wonder if he knows what it means and if he actually spends hours every morning putting on the guyliner? I wish to see this, ABC ONCE UPON A TIME Writers, I wish to see Hook putting on guyliner].
Upon learning this, Hook immediately goes to see the dying Apprentice, demanding to know where Emma Swan could’ve gone. He states this cryptic sentence: “she is now where all darkness is born… in your realm“. He’s too weak to take them there, but he gives them a wand which was Merlin‘s gift for him on the day he became apprenticed to the powerful wizard. It’s ironic that the person who wields the wand which contains powers of light, has to be wielded by someone with both sides of the coin: the light and the dark. He says this before he passes out – or dies [probably passes out, because, hey, he’s stronger than he looks, right?]. Regina believes that she’s the only one who can wield it, since she’s both dark (she was THE Evil Queen, after all) and good (having done good deeds – perhaps too many), but Hook says that she’s gone soft. She has the fire and threat, but they all need wicked and the only wicked person? Zelena, of course.
The Blue Fairy – or Mother Superior – advises Belle to go with the others, because she’s resourceful [and they could use her help, especially her knowledge which she finds from books – I bet she reads much faster than everyone and knows where to get information], instead of staying by Mr Gold‘s side, where she insists on staying (I guess this means she still loves him, even though he’s done stupid things and is still doing stupid things even since he became her husband, are they still married?). This means that she might have more badass scenes than she’s had before. I’ve missed the Belle who could fight back!! In order to reassure Belle about Mr Gold, Mother Superior gives her the rose that we know is symbolic of the tale of Beauty and the Beast, as long as the rose, linked to Belle’s Beast (ahahahahahah!!), still has petals on it, he’s alive and well. Has Belle or Blue ever thought about the possibility that the rose, in its glass bell container, can be inconvenient to traipse around with? Like, how is she going to walk around with that in her bag? Isn’t it pretty inconvenient? Wouldn’t it be better to put it in a small snow globe [
wouldn’t it be cool though? Instead of snow being whirled around, it would be rose petals that take away his life every time she shakes it – I mean what she wouldn’t do that] or something? Or a necklace?! Nevertheless, now that she knows she can keep track of Mr Gold‘s health status, Belle agrees to pack her bag and go with the others, which is a good thing, which is a good thing, hahaha.
Because Hook reminds her that Emma Swan has saved her life, and that she owes her something because of that [boy I hope that this whole “owing” business doesn’t come up too often, I don’t like the idea that, because someone saves your life, you “owe” them something. I mean, I won’t help but FEEL it when it happens, but it must be very, extremely heavy in Regina‘s mind already, no need to push on it, man], Regina agrees to going to the asylum-basement, where Zelena resides, meditating – because it’s good for the baby [she really wants to raise the baby on her own, and doesn’t want Robin to raise her or him?]. The Wicked Sister implies that perhaps Robin Hood wanted to see her and that’s why they’ve decided to seek her help, Regina snaps at her. Zelena reveals to them that they need something that belongs to Emma and that’s dear to her, in order to guide the portal into finding her.
The next step for Hook to find Emma then – he’s so cute when he’s running through the city, trying to find ways to help Emma – is to go to Henry, remembering that the Heart of the true believer has become the Writer. Henry reveals to him that he’s broken the magical pen, that way, he won’t get sucked into the power and won’t make the same mistake as his predecessor. Hook then asks Henry to break out the Wicked Witch in order to get Emma back, hoping Zelena would help with their plan. To this, Henry agrees to do, and splashes the nurse with coke by mistake after using the code (his birthday, which, he reveals, she uses for everything, that’s bad to know for Hook, no? He could use that knowledge to his advantage any time), providing a diversion for Hook to enter Zelena‘s room once again. Hook then tries to rip out Zelena‘s heart out, but fails, because she had enchanted it a long time ago so no one could take control of her. Zelena, in order to get rid of the magical inhibitor, slices open her own hand, and puts it back together using magic before vanishing. I like that they went through the trouble of getting Hook and Henry some kind of interaction and bonding time together.
Regina Mills calls them morons – especially Hook anyway – for letting Zelena escape. She’s accused to wanting to spend more time alone with Henry, and of relishing in Emma‘s absence. They are stopped by Mary Margaret, who reminds them that Emma kept them united. Robin had been taking care of Baby Neal – or Roland, or both, before Regina drops in. Robin likes that she’s concerned about her and kisses her, before realizing, in one kiss, that it was Zelena all along. She taunts him by telling him that he easily could tell it was her when she dressed up as the Evil Queen, but not when she dressed up as his wife – implying, I think, that he had stopped having feelings for his wife awhile ago. Zelena uses Robin Hood as hostage in exchange for the Apprentice‘s wand. She also takes that time to explain her motives: since Regina continues to get everything: redemption, happiness, etc. Zelena wants a life in Oz, away from Regina, where she can raise someone who will love her, and only her [while I do feel sorry for her, I do wonder if she’ll have a good relationship with that baby or not, especially since she is… so… unstable… and if she’s so clingy with her child, that might not be a good idea for the child’s development, I’m just saying as a child studies “expert”].
Regina cannot bear to see Robin Hood suffer, so she gives Zelena the wand. Immediately, Zelena summons a tornado that will take her to Oz, but then loses her grip on the wand, because Regina had known something like this would happen, because opening the portal would weaken her, and so, Regina used that against her. So the plan is to highjack the tornado and use it to find Emma wherever she is. They, of course, bring Zelena with them, because who’s safe when Zelena‘s around and there’s no ex-Evil Queen, no Dwarves, no Savior, no Dark Ones, no Princes and Princesses to save them? And no Granny, either, since they decide to let the tornado take the whole diner with it.
In order to direct the cyclone into finding Emma rather than going to Oz, where it had been intended, Regina plans to use Emma’s baby blanket [I like how no one thought about using Captain Hook, since he’s of importance to Emma!! I guess it’s better the blanket than a scarf she wore like what? Once?!] instead of her yellow car, something Mary Margaret seemed quite grateful for (the use of the blanket, that is, because, I think, it means that Regina has been paying attention, and that she does care, she really has gone a long way). I’ll briefly mention how I liked seeing Henry and Roland together, I mean, they sort of are step-brothers now. They’re interrupted by Leroy and the other Dwarves, who wish to come over with them [at least he does, not all of them wish to accompany the Charmings in their new adventure], because they don’t want to stay in the sidelines, because no one needed them [that’s sort of true that they haven’t been of much importance lately, but then again, we haven’t seen Aurora, and we haven’t seen Cinderella around either… And what to say about Ruby?]. I liked the hug that Regina gave Henry when he proudly said that she did it.
Enchanted Forest (?)
Within the first few moments of the episode, we see Emma Swan emerging from the Dark One liquid teleporter thing (or the well) – no idea how it got there or why it’s there and why no one’s guarding it if they know that Dark Ones just spawn from there, and it’s not explained to us, but she does emerge from it, along with an invisible-to-everyone-else Dark One Mentor, Gorgon the Invincible (was also another name that he took on – was he a Dark One?), who takes the form of Rumpelstiltskin (great use of the actor there, I guess), in order to teach her the ways of the Dark One [so he’ll be talking in her brain until she embraces being the Dark One, so does this mean that when she does, he won’t be back? Will Gold ever wake up?], stating that they all say that once they begin, that they won’t hurt their loved ones, that they won’t succumb to the powers, only they do. I wonder how long it took for Rumpel to be broken into fully embracing his nature. It’s funny that she appears in these rags, like a witch. I also wonder why Mentor-Rumpel told her that she’s better off with him than she would be with Merlin…?
The first real human being that Emma encounters on her way to Camelot – where she knows Merlin must be – is a person pushing a cart of pots. He wishes to take silver away from her in exchange for information, but she asks him to tell her, and she inadvertently uses the magic of Darkness to almost choke him. This rattles her, because she’s used magic without wanting to. Dark Magic. It’s not like the light magic that she’s used to using, but the situation is somewhat familiar to her, after all, her own magic hadn’t been familiar to her and she was a danger to a lot of people, if you’ll recall.
In order to find Merlin, Dark One Mentor suggests that Emma go to get a Will o’ the Wisp – which is found in the movie Brave by the way – because it has magic that can help her track anything she wants down. Its resemblance to a Will o’ the Wisp from the Pixar movie is quite great, too [although as I recall, the magic of the Will o’ the Wisp in the movie was quite different, if it had any at all, that is… it led you to important places where you needed to go, but you didn’t have to take it to the Hill of Stones, it just took you there sometimes, or took you away from there. And from the end of the movie: spoiler warning: the ghost of the evil bear did turn into a Will o’ the Wisp, so doesn’t that mean that one of those will o’ the wisps could be Merida‘s dead father? Not only that, but the Will o’ the Wisps weren’t that rare around Merida!! Why are they so rare here?]!!! While I’m talking about it, I really loved the teaser/trailer that ABC released prior to the season premiere. We really do know that her aim is always true, but would she be able to do something against the Dark One?
Before Emma can even reach it, someone else grabs the Will o’ the Wisp and puts it in her bag, trying to run away before Emma caught up to her, before, of course, Emma inadvertently uses her magic to stop her. When Emma tells Merida – because indeed, that was Merida – that she hadn’t been trying to hurt her, Merida sasses her back: “was that a wee magical love tap?” I do like the accent and the expressions that they chose for her to use. It’s hilarious! Emma explains to Merida that she was cursed with Dark Magic [I think she just said she was cursed, though, and doesn’t want to admit that she’s the Dark One, because then that’d just send people into a frenzy], and that she desperately needs the Will o’ the Wisp to get rid of her curse, Merida understands that Emma really isn’t a witch [and I guess she can see from Emma‘s desperate expression that she isn’t lying to her]. Not only that, but she does understand what it’s like to be cursed, and mentions on the sly that it’s pretty good she didn’t get cursed into turning into a bear [this, Emma doesn’t understand, but we do, of course: Merida cursed her Mother to become a bear in the movie, so this means that this has either already happened or is happening and she’s trying to find her mother].
Merida decides that since they both need the Will o’ the Wisp, they’ll both fight each other for it: Merida, without her bow and arrows, and Emma, without her magic. Dark One Mentor comments that he likes her spunk, and encourages Emma to kill her, which Emma doesn’t want to do. Emma doesn’t want to fight either, because it’s giving in to the darkness, and tells Merida to leave before Emma does something without wanting to. Merida, in her fairness and justness as ruler [well maybe?], proposes an arrangement: after she’s used the Will o’ the Wisp, she’ll let Emma use it [when the Will o’ the Wisp are returned home to the Hill of Stones the they’ll answer any question asked to them, maybe in gratefulness]. They agree to help each other and they head to the Hill of Stones.
On the way there, Merida explains to Emma that her brothers were kidnapped by the united clans in her country – Scotland, I think? – because they didn’t believe her worthy of being the Queen after her father’s demise (so this really is AFTER her mother became a bear for a short while). Her plan is to save her brothers using the Will o’ the Wisp’s powers and knowledge, break them out and, if the clans want a war with her country, then she promises that she will wage war [her and what army though? Is she planning to get them all on her own, or did she mean that her own kingdom will fight alongside her? Does that mean that Emma will get to participate in the war later on as well?].
Kidnapping royalty, to me anyway, is pretty clear that they do want a war [I wonder if her brothers really are that young, and if they really are that innocent… I also wonder whatever happened to her mother, since her father died, what became of her? Was she also kidnapped or is she governing the kingdom while Merida pursues the kidnappers?]. Dark One Mentor explains to Emma when they take a break that the reason why she can’t sleep at night is because the Dark Ones don’t need sleep, and that’s why as a hobby, he spun straw. That makes a lot of sense. Rumpel also reveals to her that the will o’ the wisp can’t be shared, and that Emma is better off just killing Merida in order to take the wisp for herself, because the person who whispers to the Wisp will become its owner forever. Couldn’t Merida just order the wisp to help Emma out then? I guess she can’t, because then she’d have to slow down on her mission in order to accompany Emma instead, and both Emma and Merida know she won’t do that. Emma doesn’t know that Merida hadn’t been sleeping and has been listening in on every bout that Emma has whispered.
This is why, the next morning, Emma finds Merida running away. Emma uses teleportation in order to get to the Hill of Stones first, but Merida had already become the owner of the wisp. In order to get the wisp, Emma would then have to kill Merida, which is almost exactly what she does, as she evades all of Merida‘s attacks as Dark One Mentor encourages her into killing her. Emma begins by wanting to talk, but it doesn’t work and she eventually does use her powers, taking out Merida‘s heart in order to crush it.
Before Emma can harm Merida‘s heart, Captain Hook immediately stops her by telling her not to do it. And she realizes that they’ve all moved to the Enchanted Forest again for her – except maybe Zelena. With their arrival, the Dark One Mentor‘s grip on her psyche is lessened, but she still argues that this is the way to do it, because she needs to accept that she’s going to do dark things in order to prevent herself from making the ones she loves suffer. Regina chimes in that this is the same as saying that “to stop the darkness, she’s going to let it consume her,” something she knows a lot about. Before Mary Margaret wants to use the dagger to stop her, Hook says that Emma has to stop on her own, because she wants to. Hook helps her realize that Emma has been helping everyone, even villains, overcome their demons, then she can do it, and they will help her do just that. With a lot of efforts, Emma decides to release her grip on Merida‘s heart, which is good.
Merida follows the wisp to her brothers, and Emma joins her for a moment to thank her, only to be thanked in return. Emma‘s confused about this, since she’d tried to kill Merida. But Merida explains that when Emma showed her the darkness inside of her heart, then Merida realized that in hers, there was also darkness, that she’s not purely innocent either. She was going to kill the kidnappers, of course… Maybe mercy is what will unite their lands together after all that [I wonder if we’ll get to see the three gents who tried to win her hand, too, what will they say, and did they have a hand in kidnapping Merida‘s brothers?]. She immediately leaves Emma to her family, and pursues the Will o’ the Wisp. I hope we get to see her sometime after this. I mean, they can’t have introduced her only to show us this small bout of her story! AND WILL SHE MEET UP WITH MULAN! FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN GIRL WARRIORS FOR THE WIN!!!!
Now that the excitement is over, they explain to Emma how they reached the Enchanted Forest, and Hook remarks that she doesn’t look like a “crocodile” something that he calls Rumpelstiltskin a lot. She smirks, returning to the Emma we know, and says that perhaps she lucked out. That was hilarious. They’re so cute together, too, I am sad though that Henry was sidelined somewhat [he does get a hug though]. Mary Margaret gives the dagger to Emma, but she gives it to Regina instead, in order for Regina to do what needs to be done if need be.
King Arthur comes over to see them and announces that Merlin had predicted their arrival and invites them to go to Camelot, because Merlin had predicted that their arrival would bring him back to the realm.
Six Weeks later…
We then cut to six weeks later, with two of the dwarves, who had been sheriffs, who immediately go to Granny’s after a disturbance. They are all wearing clothes of the time in Camelot [well… Captain Hook looks like he’s still wearing his pirate captain clothes so… I don’t know, it’s not as much of a change on him either, but seeing Henry in these clothes?! And of course Zelena?! Because that’s Zelena, right?!], but without their memories, since it’d been wiped out [is Emma powerful enough to even wipe out Zelena‘s memories? Will Zelena ever come to her senses and become a good character? Where’s Lilith and can she help Emma?!]. When they wonder where Emma is, she reveals herself to them, in full Dark One attire [pretty scary attitude to boot, too. What happens to Rumpelstiltskin now?! I mean, Dark Ones are supposed to DIE in order for the transition to happen, right? So his being alive is very… odd?! Has this ever happened before? How will he transition?! Also when will Belle talk about Will Scarlet?! Where is he again? Did he already go back to Wonderland?]. She reveals to them that they failed to get the darkness out of her. When she touches Mary Margaret‘s cheek, Mary Margaret flinches. Regina realizes that she doesn’t even have the dagger anymore, because Emma has it, so no one else can control her. She announces that for what they’ve done to her, they will all be punished, because she’s the Dark One.
The episode ends that way, so I’m guessing until the first mid-season, we’ll figure out what happened in Camelot. So many questions! Let’s hope all of them are answered, and that they’ll keep up with the continuity!!
I’ll see you next week!