After what seemed like an eternity of a summer without Once Upon a Time, the first half of Season 5 has blown by! And while I haven’t been this season’s biggest fan, I still remain committed to seeing my friends in Storybrooke through, no matter how ridiculous their adventures may be.
We had a double episode this week, so let’s just get right to it! Here are some things we learned in the first episode, “Birth.” A recap of the second episode of the evening, “BAERS!” “The Bear King” can be found here. (No, seriously, every other word in that episode was “bear.”)
And then Hook slap Arthur so hard he got blurry for a minute.
Everyone returns to Granny’s and Emma tries to get the Prometheus flame to spark. Regina tries to get Emma to let her guard down by gently and lovingly using the Dagger to force her to confront her fears.
Mary Margaret’s enduring optimism has no chill.
In Storybrooke, Zelena’s baby is coming, ready or not.
Shoving all the dark magic into Zelena and then cutting her down with Excalibur is the simplest way the Dark One can think of to fix what’s wrong.
In yet ANOTHER flashback…
Outside of Emma’s house, a discussion Regina and Mary Margaret should have had weeks ago is happening.
Not having many options, Hook agrees to remove Zelena’s power-sucking bracelet so they can magic themselves out of Fort Nutzy-Kookoo.
Zelena and Hook escape the basement, but Hook stays behind to search for the squid ink to use against Emma to make her tell him the truth about her plan.
Hook splashes Emma with the squid ink and begs her to tell him what she’s up to. But before they get anywhere, Zelena comes in and —
Zelena asks a not-dead Hook if he’d like to see what Emma’s been hiding all this time.
Back in Camelot, Emma is set to reunite Excalibur and the Dagger.
But when she does, Hook keels over.
Merlin doesn’t bother to tell Emma the wound Killian received by Excalibur earlier will kill him once Excalibur is made whole. Because… Why would that even happen?
But apparently she can reunite the blades to also save him?
So she magics him out of the diner to do the dirty work.
Out in a field of Meadow Mist(™) Roses, Killian sports a dollar store Halloween make up kit gash on the side of his neck. Hook begs Emma to let him die rather let the Darkness save him.
Emma does not listen.
At least Arthur is ok.
So… there are two Dark Ones?
How do you not know the Darkness is in you? Even if you lose your memory, how do you not feel it?
PHEW! What a ride! I didn’t understand half of it, and I took notes! But there you have it, the big reveal about what Emma’s motives have been.
I’m sick of hearing my own voice, so now it’s your turn. Tell us in the comments what you thought of the show.
What a whirlwind of deceit we had this week! Let’s get started!
Emma appears in the Dwarf caves at the remaining six mine for fairy dust. She absconds with Happy’s ax.
In Merlin’s study back in Camelot, Regina, Mary Margaret, David, baby Neal, Belle, and Emma are brainstorming ways to get Merlin out of the tree in the courtyard.
Mary Margaret suggests that Merlin actually *is* the tree, transfigured, and that perhaps there is a way to talk to him. They discover a toadstool that has this property. David decides he will go find it when Arthur says it grows a half days ride from there. King Arthur proposes they quest together as brothers.
Back in Storybrooke, Regina recognizes her handwriting in a book that came from Camelot. The Dwarves bust into the sheriff’s station demanding David act like their prince and sheriff again and do something about his daughter. When they leave, David admits to Mary Margaret that he feels paralyzed. His wife assures him that he is doing the best he can by leading and not giving up.
David contemplates a picture of him and Emma for a few moments.
Arthur arrives to tell David that his reliquary has been broken into and a magic bean that could get his people home is missing. David assures him that he will help search for it.
Back in the secret room under Emma’s house, Emma approaches the rock holding Excalibur with Happy’s ax. Rumpelstiltskin’s image appears again and warns her that her idea will fail. She hits the rock, but the ax blade falls off, much to her dismay. Rumple’s image tells her that they need a hero to pull out that sword, and they both know who that is.
Back in Camelot, a stressed out Regina is comforted by Robin, who leaves to get tea. Regina notes Zelena rolling her eyes at their exchange and gives her “mute handmaiden” her voice back to clear the air. Regina wants to chat about Zelena trying to escape back to Oz with Robin’s child, but Zelena says it was her only chance to be with someone who truly loves her. She just wanted a second chance, but Regina reminds her she’s already had a dozen second chances and to stop painting herself a victim. Before Zelena can have a Jan Brady-style breakdown, Regina reminds her re-silenced half-sister that she’s still the Evil Queen, and promises that Zelena’s baby will totally be loved and safe– unlike Zelena.
In the Round Table room, Arthur tells David about the Siege Perilous, the seat reserved to the knight with the purest heart who carries out the most sacred quests – a seat previously held by Lancelot.
David tells Arthur that he and Snow knew Lancelot back in their realm, but that he had died, much to Arthur’s sadness.
The Squire, Gryff, brings in the reliquary and Arthur takes out the Unquenchable Flame, which he says they will need where they are going.
Let’s just take a moment to really appreciate how badly Arthur needs to take a trip to the Container Store. Like, it’s only a collection of sacred, holy, magical, one-of-a-kind items that brave knights have risked life and limb over. Let’s just throw them in a box. There isn’t even bubble wrap in there. Who does that?
In Storybrooke, David investigates the burgled reliquary and has an idea what the thief’s next move may be. Hook finds Robin at Granny’s and they discuss their awkward love lives. Robin shows Hook a cellphone picture of a sonogram.
Hook mentions to Robin there’s a weird door in Emma’s house, but before he can share his theories, Granny sets down a large to-go bag complete with instructions for Hook to meet Emma on his ship. Frustrated, Hook leaves for the Jolly Roger.
Hook looks around the quarters in his ship. Emma appears suddenly, but Hook doesn’t like it. Emma apologizes for overreacting the last time they saw each other and asks to have lunch and talk like old times. As Hook sets the bag down, the table from their first date recreates itself, and Emma stands before him in her soft pink dress minus the white hair and scary makeup.
In inky blackness, David and Arthur walk and talk about being leaders who came from low backgrounds. They bond over their commonality and they practically touch abs.
Arthur hands David his flask and they talk about weaknesses and how they’ve changed and grown. They come upon the toadstool at the other end of a rickety bridge over a murky bog. David says he will go and Arthur too-easily agrees. Though David falls on the bridge, he continues on, oblivious to the armor floating a few feet from him.
David and Arthur visit Belle in Gold’s shop. She’s contemplating the rose as yet another petal falls off. She mentions a healing spell that she’s put together, but she still needs an object that touched Rumple from back when he was still a man, before the Darkness found him. They ask about anyone pawning a bean, but no one’s been in all day. But David spies a silver cup that he says will help them catch the thief. Belle says it’s not magical, just a souvenir left over from Doc’s birthday.
Out in the woods, David presents the “Chalice of Vengeance” to the people of Camelot, then asks that everyone step up to drink from it so it can reveal the thief.
The Squire takes off on a horse and David and Arthur give chase in David’s truck. There is a ridiculous “take the wheel” moment where Arthur learns to drive like Bo Duke in a matter of seconds…
…and where David uses a 2×4 to joust and knock the Squire to his death off the horse.
Back in the bog, David acquires the toadstool, then makes his way back across the bridge. But two black armored knights rise up and attack him. David beheads one, but it finds his helmet and continues fighting him.
The other has his head knocked clean off and several feet away. David beheads the first one and makes a break for land. As he runs, another arm reaches up and grabs his ankle pulling him underwater. A struggle ensues and he is pulled free of the water by Arthur. On land they discover that the toadstool is missing. Instead of going back to look, Arthur super calmly gives David some Mike Brady dad speech about the journey being the reward, totally not mad that their chance at communicating with Merlin for the first time in a decade has slipped through their fingers.
Before leaving for Camelot, Arthur says he has a place for a man like David.
On the Jolly Roger, Hook hits Emma with a blunt question about what’s behind her locked door. Emma tries to be sweet and joke around, but Hook says the real Emma didn’t play games. Emma admits she’s different now, better. She’s not scared anymore and can finally see things clearly. If Hook is willing to move forward, she says, she could be an open book. Hook is incredulous at her suggestion that they try to have a real relationship, and Emma reminds him that Gold and Belle love each other. To paraphrase Hook, “That’s not exactly comforting.”
Emma says Rumple didn’t find love until he became the Dark One. Hook tells her that Rumple was trying to keep his family together, but that Hook put a cutlass to the man’s neck and ruined his life. Emma, realizing that the blade has touched Rumple when he was still a man, turns playful and reminds Hook about teaching him to sword fight in the fairy tale book. Disgusted, Hook releases the sword to move away from Emma who now holds it.
Hook says he’s done humoring her and realizes, sadly, that the Dark One is there because she needs something, not because Emma wants to be there with him. Emma swears she just wants his trust, but Hook says he liked her the way she was before, even with her walls. She asks him if he loves her, saying she’ll let him go if he doesn’t. Hook says he loved her and backs away, waiting for her wrath, but Emma disappears, leaving him very alone.
In the camp, David interrogates Gryff. The Squire says he wanted to hurt Arthur because he was tired of the kingdom breaking their backs to serve the King.
Through this he maintains that he never saw the bean Arthur is looking for. Arthur privately says to David that they could have used or lost the bean during the six months they can’t remember. Outside the Squire’s tent they find the toadstool, which David recognizes. He brings it back to Regina.
“You did it! You found an item that might be in some minor way tangentially related to saving our daughter eventually. Good on ya.” – Mary Margaret… kinda
Back in Camelot, King Arthur knights Sir David of the Enchanted Forest and grants him a place at the Round Table sitting at Siege Perilous. David, who expected to take Percival’s seat, is stunned.
He takes the seat to applause. Baby Neal begins to cry and Snow takes him outside. In the shadows, Lancelot appears, assuring her that it is really him. He warns of a villain in Camelot, and that the kingdom is not what it seems.
Later, Arthur and Guinevere talk alone in the Round Table room where Arthur unwraps the toadstool he lifted from David. Though he says he regrets having to lie to David, he tells his wife he must think of the kingdom first, as that is the burden of a king.
In Storybrooke’s sheriff’s holding cell, Arthur approaches Gryff, who thinks Arthur’s there to spring him. The Squire says he’s done all the King has asked, that he lied for him and told David maybe there was a bean even though there wasn’t one. Arthur says they trust him now, and though they seem friendly, they are a threat. Arthur blames the group from Storybrooke for tearing them away from their home in Camelot. But since they can’t get back, they will build a new Camelot in Storybrooke. Gryff insists he will do anything to help rebuild, but Arthur holds out a vial of venom from Agrabah vipers.
The Squire swears he will never tell their secret, but Arthur says they have magic that could make Gryff reveal their plan. Arthur offers him a chance to die with honor in service to the king and kingdom. He fills the man with the promise of a legacy, and the Squire, shaking but resolute, downs it in one go. Gryff disappears in a puff of smoke.
Hook approaches Robin in Granny’s, saying he needs a thief to help him get into Emma’s locked room. Though Robin considers himself an ex-thief, Hook basically says they’re all ex-bad guys until the shit hits the fan.
Belle hurries in to get her lunch, but just as Granny is insisting that she sit down and eat a decent meal, the rose loses its last petal. A heartbroken Belle is about to cry when Granny points out that the rose is coming back to life. Elated, Belle runs out of the diner saying “He’s waking up!”
Belle rushes to the back room, but Gold is nowhere in sight.
Down in Emma’s basement, Rumple’s image congratulates Emma on finding something that touched Rumple when he was a man, and for crushing Hook’s heart. Emma disintegrates the cutlass over Gold.
Meanwhile, Belle sees the rose fully reform and sparkle anew. As Gold wakes, he says Emma is the Dark One now, not him. Emma says he’s not dark, or light. He’s nothing but a blank slate.
Emma says she will make him into a hero, the purest who’s ever lived. As he looks around the cavern, not seeing his doppelganger, Emma says then she’ll have a job for him.
Well, I gotta say, this episode kinda hearkened back to the old days of OUAT for me. I liked the bro field trip, and I liked the continued set up of King Arthur as a benevolent sociopath. I could have done without the drawn out lunch between Emma and Killian though. It just pointed out the plot of hole of “when did Emma find out that she needed something that touched Rumple when he was still a man?” Sure, we knew because we heard it from Belle, but when did Emma find out? Well, whatever, I still enjoyed this more than last week’s episode.
ONCE UPON A TIME: OUT OF THE PAST
STORY BY: Kalinda Vazquez and Corinna Bechko ART BY: Pascal Campion, Betsy Peterschmidt, Vanesa Del Rey, and Janet Lee PUBLISHER: Marvel PAGECOUNT: 112 COVER PRICE: $17.99 RELEASE DATE: April 14, 2015
I’m actually getting antsy. Like, drumming my fingers on the steering wheel, huffing loudly as I wait for my computer to boot up, grinding my teeth watching my tea heat in the microwave antsy. As I’ve explained before, I’m deeply emotionally invested in OUaT. It’s not just about romantic relationships either. I need to know more about the characters’ history and motivations. I need to know more about how magic works. I need to meet new characters and see new realms. I need ten minutes alone in Gold’s shop, darn it! I don’t even want to steal anything– I just wanna see what surprises and secrets my non-HD TV is missing!
Well, I can’t have any of those things, so this week I settled for something that was new-to-me to tide me over another seven days. Once Upon a Time: Out of the Past was published by Marvel in April 2015. But I’ve been obsessively writing fanfic busy doing important grown up things, so I haven’t made time to read it before now. But I’m actually glad I waited, as I really needed to digest this last season and appreciate where the main characters from this graphic novel started and where they ended up.
Unlike its predecessor Shadow of the Queen, this volume is comprised of four stories. It focuses on events prior to the series start for Hook, Rumpelstiltskin and Belle, the Evil Queen, and Jefferson. Hook’s story reunites him with his brother, Liam, long-thought dead. In Rumple and Belle’s story, we find out that Belle’s devotion to keeping her promise to Rumple isn’t just about pleasing him but being true to her word. In Regina’s story we see yet another painful motivator fueling her quest to destroy Snow White. And in Jefferson’s story we learn that the Hatter wasn’t always so mad.
Out of the Past is co-authored by Kalinda Vazquez and Corinna Bechko, and illustrated by four artists. Each story has its own unique style, but all remain true to the feel of the series we love. Hook’s story, Dead in the Water, is illustrated by Pascal Campion, and it’s a gorgeous homage, intentional or not, to Mary Blair’s days at Disney.
Rumbelle’s story, “Truth and Daggers”, is some of most gorgeous watercolor work I’ve ever seen. I confess, I can’t say with certainty whether or not Betsy Peterschmidt did the entire chapter by hand, but if she did, then I want to lie prostrate at her feet and kiss those fingertips… if she’d let me.
Vanesa Del Rey and Esther Sanz’s work in Regina’s story “Ghosts” has a classic feel with a modern edge, perfectly befitting a story like Once Upon a Time.
Lastly, the art of “Tea Party in March” by Janet K. Lee is easily my least favorite offering.
While the storytelling and layout are nice, the style is just shy of bad fanart that one might find attached to mediocre fanfics. And let it be known that I have produced my share of both mediocre fanfics and fanart, so I think I know what I’m talking about. But just because I didn’t like the style doesn’t mean it wasn’t appropriate for the story. Campion’s art was rough and eerie like the seas the Jolly Roger sailed, while Peterschmidt’s watercolors were soft and dreamy and warm, like the light that Belle brought into Rumple’s Dark Castle. Del Rey and Sanz’s work was dark and gritty, like Regina’s sadness and vengeance. All their art was befitting their main characters and their story, and Lee’s work regarding Jefferson is no exception.
I think that if you’re missing something original while you wait for Season 5 to commence, then Out of the Past is an excellent tide over. The art is (mostly) gorgeous, and the stories are excellent additions which are true to the characters’ mythos. Both paper and electronic copies include bonus material like character sketches.
All comics come with a price, though, and in my opinion, the $17.99 or less you’ll shell out for this book is well worth it.