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‘Once Upon a Time’ Recap: The Bear King

Picking up right after their defeat in the woods in the previous episode, Zelena and King Arthur return to Camelot. Down but not out, Arthur suggests they head to DunBroch.

After returning from saving her brothers, Merida puts flowers on her father’s grave before her coronation.

Several years earlier, King Fergus arrives at the hut of the Old Witch looking for magic. He needs help leading the clans against the invaders from the South.

Screenshot 2015-11-17 at 3.51.20 AM

Drafting up a contract faster than Rumpelstiltskin, the Old Witch brews a potion which produces a helm able to command any army into battle.

At Merida’s coronation, just before the ceremony is completed, the Old Witch storms in and tells her her father owes a debt with interest of 10,000 gold sceats. Merida’s options are to pay, which would bankrupt the clans, or find and return the helm. Fail, and the Old Witch threatens to turn the whole kingdom into bears.

In an astounding moment of character building advice, the Old Witch tells her she’s got to learn to lead, then disappears into a cloud of smoke, which is the standard exit for villains.

After a search of her husband’s belongings, Merida tells Elinor that the helm isn’t in the castle, that it fell where Fergus did. Against her mother’s wishes, Merida insists on going after the knight who killed her father.

Two years earlier, Merida and her father walk through camp where the clans are preparing for battle.

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Fergus gives Merida his war bow to carry it into her first battle. He tells her he’s hired her a soldier to tutor her in the art of war. She pulls her sword on the soldier and they spar for a moment before the masked warrior flips Merida and knocks the wind out of her in front of the troops.

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The warrior pulls off her mask as she helps Merida up, and introduces herself as Mulan.

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In present day, Merida finds Mulan working as a grunt enforcer collecting debts. She is devoid of her former sense of honor and only goes with Merida after being handed a purse of gold and the agreement that Merida asks her no more questions.

Arthur and Zelena arrive at the Old Witch’s hut and are greeted with a snarling wolf, which Zelena knocks out with sleeping powder.

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The Old Witch says she doesn’t know where the helm Arthur wants is, and is forced to tell them who she sent to fetch it. Arthur recognizes Merida as a former prisoner in his dungeons, and they go after her.

Merida and Mulan arrive at the battlefield where Fergus fell. Merida recognizes an arrow she shot which tore a piece of the cloak from her father’s killer. Merida questions Mulan about her detachment from Fergus’s death, saying she’s acting like she never knew the man.

In a flashback to before the battle which killed Fergus, Mulan teaches Merida the difference between being strong and smart, and that people won’t just follow her out of fear. She suggests asking Fergus what will motivate the clans to accept her leadership.

Back on the empty battlefield, Merida says she won’t rest until her father has justice. Mulan senses someone is coming, and Zelena and Arthur appear. Arthur tells Merida he needs the helm to save his kingdom. Merida is ignorant of the helm’s power, and Arthur says the helm makes people fight your battles, no matter how dangerous they may be.

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Not wanting to believe her father wasn’t the leader she thought he was, Merida raises her bow, but Zelena magics it away from her. She plans to use a locator spell to find the helm. Mulan keeps Merida from clawing Zelena’s eyes out, and Zelena and Arthur abscond with the bow.

Merida, convinced she can’t lead without magic like her father used, gets ready to return home and give up the crown. Fired up, Mulan insists that Merida can’t give up like this, but Merida says Mulan has, so why not? Merida rides off leaving Mulan stricken.

In a flashback to before the battle which killed Fergus, Merida asks her dad how he inspires so many people despite certain death.

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He looks down at the helm but doesn’t answer. After a long pause, he replies that showing them that you’re the first one ready to lay down your life shows them what an important battle it really is. He sends her off, saying he’s got to keep an eye on the sea for the invaders, but looks back at his helm once more.

In the present, Mulan approaches the Old Witch’s hut, hoping to have her reveal who the cloak belongs to. She’s greeted by the wolf which attacks her. But Mulan recognizes that the creature isn’t really a wolf. She knocks over a cauldron and the wolf turns back into the long-absent Ruby.

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Ruby and Mulan leave together, and Ruby realizes that she’s with Mulan, who her friends in Storybrooke spoke of. She mentions that Aurora was about to have a baby when she last saw them. Mulan changes the subject by asking how Ruby got back to their realm.

We flashback to the night of Prince Neal’s naming ceremony at Granny’s. Though pleased for Snow and Charming, Ruby is melancholy and antisocial. She reveals to Mary Margaret that she’s been feeling lonely lately as she’s the only one of her kind in Storybrooke. With the help of a magic bean from the fields Tiny was working on, she plans to return to the Enchanted Forest to find her pack.

When Mulan asks her if she found them, Red says sadly no. She went to the Old Witch for help, but was turned into a guard dog instead. Mulan shares her reasons for visiting the Old Witch, then shows the cloak to Red. Red says she can help her friend.

Back at the DunBroch castle, Elinor tries to convince Merida handing the crown over is not the right thing to do, but Merida tells Lord MacIntosh the crown will go to him if he finds the helm before the deadline. Mulan and Red arrive, and Mulan says they were both wrong for giving up, and that Red can sniff the knight out.

Flashback to the morning of the battle against the Southern Invaders, Merida realizes Mulan has taken her out to train to keep her from the fight. Merida ditches Mulan to join the battle.

With a helm on his head, Fergus the Bear King leads the four clans into battle against the Southern Invaders.

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While the fight seems to be going in the clans’ favor, Fergus is taken from behind by a masked knight. Merida, arriving too late, tries to shoot the killer with an arrow, but only catches a bit of cloak. Mulan strongarms Merida away to keep her safe as the knight takes Fergus’s helm from his body. The knight reveals himself to be King Arthur.

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Presently, Arthur and Zelena stand at the edge of the same shore on which Merida last spoke to her dad. The locator spell points them to the helm underwater, and Zelena magically retrieves it. But Merida shoots it out of Arthur’s hand. Red says Arthur’s scent is all over the cloak, and an incredulous Merida draws her sword. Arthur admits to seeking the helm to aide him in finding Excalibur.

Mulan reminds Merida that her goal is to find the helm and save her people, not pursue revenge. But when Merida asks why Arthur doesn’t have the helm already, he admits that the one Fergus wore didn’t work, and the clans defeated his men in battle that day. Merida realizes that her father led them without magic.

Edified, Merida redoubles her bravery and fights Arthur for the helm. Mulan confronts Zelena, but before Zelena can throw her fireball, Red hits her with sleeping powder. Arthur and Merida continue to fight, and when Merida eyes the helm, Arthur promises to cut her down just like Fergus.

The Lords of the other three clans arrive, arrows drawn on Arthur and, finding himself with only a drowsy Zelena for backup, lowers his sword and allows her to return them to Camelot.

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Merida thanks the other clans wholeheartedly, and MacIntosh leads the others in a respectful bow, telling her they recognize her as their queen now because she was willing to give up the crown for the good of the kingdom, something her father would have done.

At the coronation ceremony, Elinor introduces her daughter as queen just as the Old Witch bursts in again.

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Merida says she’ll find a way to reverse whatever curse is set upon them, but she won’t be bullied into giving the helm back. The Old Witch reveals that the whole thing was a test, and Merida practically groans as she realizes that getting the helm back made her realize what it takes to rule. As a gift, the Old Witch gives Merida a flask with magical ale of the legend of Seonaidh, a cup of which will summon the spirit of anyone who’s passed to the underworld.

Later, at the grave of her father, Merida says thank you and goodbye to Mulan and Red. Mulan admits she was trying to get over a broken heart. Red offers Mulan a chance to come with her searching for more werewolves, and Mulan accepts.

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Merida splashes her father’s grave site with the magical ale. When he appears, Fergus confesses that it was Merida who convinced him to fight without the magic of the helm, and that he is proud of her.

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He disappears and Merida vows aloud to go after Arthur.

Honestly, ABC should have totally aired this episode BEFORE ‘Birth’, but whatever. Let us know your thoughts on the episode below!

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‘Once Upon a Time’ Recap: Siege Perilous

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.

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“Hail Hydra.”

 

Cue the title card with the creepy bog.
Cue the title card with the creepy bog.

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.

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“I am missing disposable diapers something fierce right about now…”
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“Do you have any idea how much Turkish erotica we’ve had to sift though just to get this far? DO YOU?”

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.

Screenshot 2015-10-12 at 3.28.39 PM
Regina: Hey, maybe we should go to Wonderland! Everyone else: NO! Someone outside: NO! A peddler down the lane: NO! Three fairies in a field: NO! A person in a coma opens their eyes: NO!

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.

"I don't think you understand. No one ever actually SWORE ME IN."
“I don’t think you understand. No one ever actually SWORE ME IN.”

David contemplates a picture of him and Emma for a few moments.

Bike safety fair! Sign me up!

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.

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David: Sorry, what’s a reliquary? Arthur: Uh, are you a Prince in our realm, or…?

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.

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“Regina this, Regina that! Everywhere I go, it’s just Regina, Regina, Regina!”

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.

Screenshot 2015-10-12 at 3.34.23 PM

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.

Screenshot 2015-10-12 at 3.35.10 PM
“Let me show you the junk in my trunk.”

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.

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Robin. It’s a picture from up inside Zelena! Killian: *gouges out eyes with hook*

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.

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“I hope you like this dress. This plan was kinda last minute. I couldn’t get a Slave Leia bikini.”

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.

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Arthur: When all this blows over, I think you and I should get an apartment together. David: Maybe you should stop saying words now…

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.

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“It still says Doctoberfest on it.”

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.

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“The old ‘pet the black chicken’ ruse. Gets ‘em every time.”

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…

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…and where David uses a 2×4 to joust and knock the Squire to his death off the horse.

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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.

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“‘Tis but a flesh wound!”

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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.

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“Nah, it’s cool, I owe him money anyway.”

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.”

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“Can we please not fight? I had to go two towns over to get these bread sticks from Olive Garden.”

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.

Screenshot 2015-10-12 at 3.49.25 PM
“You made me put ointment on your saddle sores!”

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.

Screenshot 2015-10-12 at 3.49.41 PM
I don’t understand this new season of Supernatural.

“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.

Screenshot 2015-10-12 at 3.50.16 PM
“We present the most manly coat of arms in all the realms! Oh, wait, sorry, this is Guinevere’s cross stitch sampler.”

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.

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“You wouldn’t believe the stuff I’ve seen around here. For one thing, NO ONE in the kitchen wears hair nets.”

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.

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Some guy on Yelp! called “Grumpy07” gave this cell 4/5 stars.

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.

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You can’t fool me, props master. That is pure Ecto-Cooler!

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!”

Screenshot 2015-10-12 at 3.52.50 PM
“Oh, dammit, I forgot about the bike safety fair!”

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.

Screenshot 2015-10-12 at 3.53.30 PM
“Trust me, my mom dated a doctor one time like four years ago.”

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.

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“Just tell me one thing… Did I sleep through the bike safety fair?”

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.

But what did you think? Tell us in the comments!

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Surviving the Summer Break for ‘Once Upon a Time’ Fans – 4 Things You Might Have Missed About Season 5

Property of ABC

Oncers are counting down the days ’til we’re finally reunited with our friends in Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest! But in the meantime, here are four things we can look forward to this season with absolute certainty…though some details may be open to creative interpretation as the season goes on!

4. The 100th episode is coming up and it’s gonna be CRAZY MAGIC

The 100th episode was teased at San Diego Comic-Con and at D23, but not much is known about it. There’s talk of it being a musical episode, and several cast members brightened up when the idea was mentioned.

Adam Horowitz, series co-creator, alluded to it very vaguely:

 We want to make it very special, and we want the 100th episode to be our spring premiere. We’re hard at work trying to not to tell you anything.

What’s a Disney movie or show without some music? We’ve had so little of it these past four seasons that it seems like it’s time for a number or two already! Ursula’s singing and Snow White’s whistling are nice little nods, but I’m looking for a full-on community sing!

Property of ABC
“A ha’penny? C’mon, guys, I’m literally singing for my supper!”

 

Property of ABC
“This is the last time I answer a Craigslist ad for housekeeping.”

3. Emma isn’t going to fight the Darkness as much as she’d like to think she is

Jennifer Morrison, who plays the main hero and Savior Emma Swan, tells fans:

Emma went through a lot in her life. She had a tough childhood. She’s had to overcome a lot of things. She’s tried to be the bigger person. Now that she’s going to face the darkness, she’s free of that… She’s going to face the darkness in herself and figure out how to overcome it.

GOOD, I say! I don’t like static characters. Not that Emma hasn’t grown a lot since we first met her (and since her days in foster care), but we’ve never really seen her let go before. Sure, she’s thrown some punches, extracted her revenge via Regina’s apple tree, and shot Cruella in the chest when the villainess kidnapped Henr, but we’ve never seen Emma’s powers go truly dark before. Emma is a good person, and she’s a hero, but that doesn’t mean she’s perfect. I want to see her push the limits and explore the side that she didn’t really know she had. I want to see who she becomes after she finally gets to know all herself.

Property of ABC
Remember kids, apples are a gateway drug to Evil!

2. Merida isn’t going to be a solo act

Horowitz made sure to entice fans with this teaser:

 We’ve always wondered what would happen if Belle and Merida went on an adventure together. We hope you do, too, because it’s coming!

I would love to have heard that Merida and Mulan were going to partner up, but Merida and Belle sound just as amazing! Belle’s life is going to change so much this season. Rumple may or may not have magic, so he’s going to need to recover and readjust to no longer being the Dark One. And Belle may or may not stay with him romantically. Belle’s sense of adventure will most likely be sparked by this new, non-flouncy princess who would rather have a ball than dance at one. I’d really like to see Belle re-energized. She’s one of my favorite characters in both Disney and OUaT, and I think she deserves more credit and opportunities to shine without Rumple around.

Property of ABC
“Hey, wait a minute, this master script says Belle is supposed to have her own house, her own bank account, and her own car by season 3! CARLYLE! GET OVER HERE!!”

1. Merida will not be Zelena and Robin’s daughter

I can’t even begin to express my joy over this news. Honestly, it was my least favorite fan theory ever. Horowitz gives it to us in no uncertain terms.

It’s just a fun theory, but the reality is we are sticking to the canon of the movie Brave in terms of who her parents are and where she came from, but post-movie is where our Once Upon a Time spin comes into play.

Which sea goddess do I bow before? Which Fairy do I bring gifts to? Is there a Rock Troll that needs more moss? I cannot begin to express my gratitude. Zelena is the embodiment of insecurity and selfishness. Merida is, in a word, BRAVE. And I refuse to believe that Zelena could ever be worthy of a daughter like Merida.

Property of ABC
“Spoiler alert, I’m actually Merida. Watch out for bears, or something.”

How have you been coping with the countdown? Send us a comment below to tell us what you think of the news!

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