Hello, Oncers! We've waited months to find out just how dark our Emma Swan is going and the day of revelation is finally here. Can she be saved? Who saves her? Will she take anyone down in the process? The 5th season of Once Upon A Time is here, y'all - buckle up because it's about to get bumpy.
A child Emma goes into a theater to watch Sword In The Stone (HINTHINT) when she steals a woman's candy bar. An usher in the theater catches her, but instead of chiding her about theft, he warns her: leave Excalibur alone. One day our dear little Emma will grow up and have a run-in with the legendary sword... hopefully she takes these words to heart.
Lancelot, Arthur and are riding on horseback through some pretty badass terrain, looking for Excalibur. They come upon the place where Merlin is said to be, only to find someone beat them to the punch. The three men find the sword, and Sir Kay. He's anti-Arthur and the prophecy, deciding to take the sword for himself. He struggles desperately to pull it from the stone... and the sword is like 'hell no', turning him into a pile of ash. Arthur steps up, and is prophesied, he removes the sword from the stone. The end of the sword is broken off... a large (dagger sized) chunk is missing... the Dark One's dagger came from the end of Excalibur!
In Storybooke, Regina, Hook, Robin, Henry and the Charmings and still reeling from Emma's shadowy disappearance, and presumed Dark One conversion. Hook is hellbent on getting her back, with a healthy dose of anger coursing through him. He calls the Dark One to appear, and nothing happens; Emma isn't in this world anymore.
Emma appears in the Enchanted Forest, forming out of a well of dark goo. Who's behind her but Rumpelstiltskin. Gold is in a coma in Storybrooke, but comes to Emma as the nagging voice inside her dark head, he's merely an illusion formed from her mind. He's trying to guide her to the dark side and she's all "no thanks, dude." The only way to stop being dark, is to be stopped, which is bound to be a bad thing. Emma wants to find Merlin, because he's the one who can stop the darkness, and you can already see the anger in her.
Hook and company go to speak to the Merlin's apprentice, who is on his death bed. He gives them a wand that will conjure a portal to where they need to go. All they need is a bit of light magic... and of course, a bit of dark magic. The balance is strong in this show. Regina tries to wield the wand and nothing happens; she's not powerful enough, but her sister is. Oh. Fantastic.
Emma comes across a guy on the road who will tell her how to get to Camelot, for 4 pieces of silver. She freaks out and suddenly he lifts from the ground, choking. Rumpz appears next to her, so it's got to be him, right? Wrong. Emma was subconsciously strangling the man, her hand shaking from the use of power.
Belle is by Gold's side when the Blue Fairy tells her to go help them. She wants to stay by her man, so the Fairy gives Belle a rose in a glass jar - as long as the petals are there, he's still alive. I love the Beauty And The Beast reference!
Hook, Regina and Robin visit crazy lady Zelena in the loony bin, needing her help. Zelena actually wants to help them find Emma, she just needs the wand to do so. Wearing a bracelet that neutralizes her magic, she's unable to use the wand; examining it she explains they need something from Emma's to find her.
Emma is lost in the woods, with Rumpz mocking her. In order to find Merlin, you can teleport. He has her imagine a landscape and suddenly she's ported there, which pisses her off since he tricked her into using magic. They see a Will-O-The-Wisp, a key needed to find Merlin, and chase after it. A red-haired woman grabs it instead, and Emma reacts by throwing her to the ground. The ginger gets up and aims a bow at Emma... ladies and gentlemen, meet the highly underrated Scottish badass: Merida. Emma desperately wants the wisp so she isn't cursed anymore, and Merida says she'd love to help but needs the wisp for her kingdom and proposes a fight over who gets it. Emma declines, still fighting against the evil within, causing Merida to offer help on how to get Emma her own wisp.
In Granny's, Henry is minding his own business when Hook strolls in, asking him to write out Emma's darkness and bring her back, since he's the new author and all. But Henry broke the pen a while back (Hook's face + "You what!?" had me in pieces). They team up, knocking their knuckleheads together: break Zelena out of her cell to use her power.
In the forest, Emma and Merida are hauling ass to get back to her kingdom. Merida's brothers were kidnapped, hence the tear through the woods. War is coming and she's just the girl to whoop some butt. They make a camp for the night and Emma can't sleep. Rumpz shows up to tell her she'll never sleep again - she needs a hobby! Rumps tells her that the wisp isn't a shareable item and the only way to use it after the ginger does, is to kill her. The path to darkness seems to be getting harder to avoid. Lying on the ground next to the hallucinating Emma is a wide-awake Merida... girl, you better RUN.
Hook and Henry go to the loony bin and pull a trick, sneaking into Zelena's cell. Hook needs an assurance that Z won't do anything stupid once he takes her bracelet off. Hook tosses some potion onto his wand that will remove Z's heart; just as he does, a green magic beats the crap out of him. Zelena put a protection spell on her heart eons ago (lovely), so that was pretty much useless. While Hook is down for the count, Z grabs a dagger from his body and cuts her damn hand, and bracelet, clean off. But hey, it's no problem, as she easily reattaches it with her regained magic. You done messed up, bro.
Regina is 12 shades of pissed when she finds out that Zelena is out, arguing with Hook. Snow breaks it up, telling them they need to unite to find her daughter. It's time to find Z and the first person she'll go to is...
Regina runs into the Charming's home, to find Robin. Of course though, it isn't Regina, as Robin figures out once she kisses him. Clever girl. They end up in the middle of town, with him in a magical cage; Zelena wants to trade Robin to Regina in return for her freedom and a one-way ticket back to Oz. Being with a child, who will love only her, she needs nothing else. Zelena casts the spell to open the portal and it weakens her enough for Regina to put the bracelet back on and make the portal one that will lead to Emma.
In the forest again, Emma realizes that Merida has run off, presumably to avoid being killed by the progressively crazy blonde. Rumpz shows up again, telling her to just kill Merida already and once more, Emma says no. At the magical stones she finds Merida, who has just released the wisp into the woods to do her bidding; it's too late. Aiming her bow, the anger in Emma's face grows, Rumpz urging her on.
The storm in Storybrooke is growing, a green tornado is headed their way. Everyone is hiding out in Granny's, because that's clearly the best place to be during a storm. Regina uses Emma's baby blanket to change the storm to take them to her. Leeroy and a couple other dwarves come into the diner, wanting to take part in the rescue adventure. The diner is hit by the storm and lifts from the ground like Dorothy's house in The Wizard Of Oz. We're going for a ride!
Merida fires an arrow and Emma catches it. Oh, shit. You can see the hate rising in Emma and she tries to fight it more and more, even with Rumpz's evil voice in her head. Running around the stone circle, Merida fires arrow after arrow at Emma, with the Swan catching them all like some badass ninja. She pulls Merida towards her and yanks the poor girl's heart from her chest.
Hook runs up, telling her to stop... just in the nick of time.
Emma is already starting to crack, mimicking the things Rumpz says. She's being manipulated and she's trying so hard to not give in; all she wants to do is protect the people she loves. Hook tells her that heroes and villains have come together to be there for her, to save her... if they can overcome demons, so can she!
Emma shoves Merida's heart back into her chest, collapsing from exhaustion and fear into Hook's arms. Crisis: temporarily averted.
Merida watches her wisp sail around, as Emma apologizes for almost killing her. It reminded the ginger of the darkness in herself and she should probably avoid that and show a bit of mercy to her foes. She takes off after the wisp, and her family.
Snow offers Emma the dagger, which is the WORST idea imaginable (like, are you TRYING to get everyone killed?!) and she declines. Instead, she gives the power to... Regina. She's the only one who will destroy Emma if need be, which is a good insurance move if you ask me. They take Emma back to Granny's, which is now firmly planted in the Enchanted Forest. The whole gang is here to help her, d'aww!
In the distance they hear horses, finding a bunch of knights riding up to them. Arthur introduces himself, telling everyone they were expected, as it is told in the prophecy. It is also in that little bit of prophecy that these are the people who will find the lost Merlin. They're all taken back to Camelot and given a hero's welcome, horns blaring. They stroll through the front door into the colossal castle... when they suddenly end up back in Storybrooke. Two of the denizens of the town who stayed behind show up at the replanted Granny's Diner to find everyone decked out in Camelot-looking garb.
They're back. But they just walked into Camelot - how is this possible?
They've been gone six weeks.
And they're back with no memories. Again.
Oh. Oh, no. Emma is there... and she's the darkest shade of evil you've ever seen. They failed her. They failed her so hard. Sneezy sneezes, and Emma turns him to stone - apparently she doesn't approve of body functions now. Regina tries to control Emma but the dagger is out of her possession... and is instead firmly in the Dark Swan's grasp.
Everyone is about to be punished. Hard.
This was a great opening to the season, there was no time wasted in getting the Merida and Dark Swan stories going. I CANNOT wait to see what exactly turned Emma evil and how much more of an archery badass Merida can be. Bring it on!