The Dark Swan
Recap by Zach Van Norman--@TheZachVan
Emma's reign as the Queen of Darkness began in the Season Five premiere of Once Upon A Time. Dark times ahead? Oh yeah. Mystery and intrigue? Check. Awesome costumes? Always. Here's what happened when "The Dark Swan" landed in Storybrooke.
Picture this: Minneapolis, 1989. Young Emma (wearing red plaid) goes to a showing of The Sword in the Stone. After she steals Apollo candy bars from a nearby patron, a young man in a red blazer appears; he says she will one day have the chance to remove Excalibur from the stone, but she must leave it alone. In Camelot, Arthur and Lancelot ride to Excalibur, its location the subject of a prophecy made by Merlin. Arthur removes the sword and the tip is missing, but the blade carries the beginnings of a familiar serpentine shape: the Dark dagger is made from the end of Excalibur.
Meanwhile, our heroes in Storybrooke, shocked over Emma’s sacrifice, attempt to summon Emma with the dagger but she does not appear. Regina realizes that she’s in another world. The Apprentice tells them she has gone to the Enchanted Forest and gives them a wand that will open a portal. Next we see Emma emerge from the Vault of the Dark One. The Darkness manifests itself in Emma’s head as the form of Rumplestiltskin, attempting to trick Emma into using Dark magic, so she leaves to find Merlin. Along the way Darknesstiltskin succeeds in getting Emma to use Dark magic and she meets Merida, who is chasing a will o’ the wisp which can lead Emma to Merlin.
Recap by Zach Van Norman - @TheZachVan
We begin with a flashback to December 1966, when Isaac first chose the quill and became the Author. In present-day Storybrooke, Isaac and Mr. Gold discuss what to do about Baelfire while Emma and the other heroes free the Apprentice from the hat, but Isaac completes the new story and everyone except Henry disappears. Henry finds Isaac at a book signing/convention and uses the magic key to enter “Heroes & Villains,” learning from Isaac that bells will signal the end of the book and the new reality becoming permanent. He is rescued from an ogre by Rumplestiltskin the Knight and finds Regina living as a bandit, convincing her to find Robin Hood so that True Love’s Kiss can end the new reality and send them all home. Isaac, who also entered the book, finds the Evil Queen Snow White and her dark husband Charming and warns them about Henry and Regina before demanding their deaths as payment for knowledge of their location. Later, Regina tries to rob a carriage but finds Snow White inside, who nearly kills Regina with a magical fireball before Robin Hood rides in and saves her. They go to a local tavern and Regina seems to have feelings for him, but Zelena arrives and it is revealed that she and Robin are to be married that day. Regina leaves and tells Henry that Robin is to be married, and Henry realizes that the wedding bells are the signal Isaac spoke of earlier. He begs Regina to try again and she tells him to go away, but when he mentions Emma’s nickname of “the Savior,” Regina reveals she’s heard of a woman with that name, locked away in a tower by Snow White. Emma is revealed in her tower, chained to the floor and in great distress.
Recap by Zachary Van Norman
Our return to the Enchanted Forest begins with a trip to the Forbidden Fortress. An unsuspecting guard stands at his post until he is swept aside by the tentacles of Ursula, doing her best runway walk down the hall. As she approaches the chamber she is stopped by the voice of Maleficent asking who she is; Ursula spins, launching her tentacles at the Mistress of All Evil, but is blocked by Maleficent’s staff. Ursula replies that she may be referred to as “Your Majesty,” hinting at a sure-to-be-revealed-in-flashback royal lineage. Ursula asks who Maleficent is before revealing that she was invited to the Fortress. Maleficent tells her that this is her home, and that she did not send for Ursula. The sound of barking dogs interrupts their argument as they turn to see two Rottweilers on the attack, and Maleficent prepares her staff for a magical blast. The dogs stop just short of the villainesses and we are treated to the sight of Cruella de Vil sauntering towards them. She advises that she wouldn’t use magic if she were them, assuring the other two that they don’t eat fish or dragon...unless she tells them to. She crouches to the ground, blowing green magic at the dogs which fells them silent before asking what she’s doing there. Maleficent reiterates that this is her home and she didn’t ask for visitors; the other two declare that they received instructions but Maleficent refutes them, saying they’re trespassing.The three of them are interrupted by Rumplestiltskin, who reveals that it was he who gathered them together. His reason: they’re villains, and it’s time for the villains to get their happy endings.
In Storybrooke, the clock tower’s minute hand moves from 8:15 to 8:16, and we see the town is at peace and back to normal: Regina drops Henry at the school bus outside Granny’s then destroys Snow’s bird painting in the mayor’s office with a fireball as she unpacks items to reclaim the mayor’s office, Snow teaches a class (including Henry) about birds, Granny holds baby Neal while Emma grabs her sheriff’s badge and a dark red jacket before going outside to meet (and kiss) Hook. The two of them walk past the closed pawn shop before greeting Belle outside the library; Hook goes inside with Belle while Emma departs.
Inside the library, Hook has assembled a board with information about the missing fairies, the hat, and the Apprentice’s house. (A post-it note says that records indicate the Apprentice’s landlord is Yensid, known to Disney fans as the Sorcerer from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Fantasia.) Frustrated, the dear Captain knocks the board down before exclaiming that it’s been six weeks and the fairies are still trapped in the hat. Belle assures them that they will find a way to release them and that she’s reached out to some of the finest linguists in the world to help them translate runes. Hook says that it’s all because he was tricked by the Crocodile, to which Belle replies that they both were, and that she should have seen through Rumplestiltskin. Hook tells her that she was blinded by love but he has no excuse; Belle tells him that he was blinded by love too, but for someone else, and Hook says that love is a weapon as dangerous and persuasive as magic. Belle agrees, saying that Rumple had both of their hearts, but Hook tells her that Rumple loved her. Belle expresses hope that he has found whatever he was looking for.
by Zach Van Norman - @TheZachVan
The Snow Queen stands in the forest, watching her Spell of Shattered Sight approach, when she is joined by Mr. Gold. He congratulates her on her victory, and she thanks him while commenting that his words are a welcome change considering he’s usually so confrontational. Gold wants to make a deal, but the Snow Queen declines, as he has nothing that she wants. With a touch of subtlety he questions when the spell will hit (sundown) and reiterates the spell’s effect: it will bring out the darkness in every Storybrooke resident. The Snow Queen replies that it will do more: they will tear each other apart until they’re all dead. He says that not everyone will die: she will remain, along with her “sister” Elsa and Emma, but so will he, spending every waking moment of his immortal life trying to rip her heart out. She says he does have something she wants and asks what kind of deal he wants to make. Gold, ever looking out for his own interests, says he wants to leave. With a sardonic tone she half-asks/half-reminds him that they already made that deal, but Gold says he has an eye for a loophole and he’s spotted hers: Belle and Henry will be destroyed by her spell. He wants her to spare them, and in return he will spare her misery. She tells him to enjoy his trip.
Our fearless heroes watch the spell coming from the clock tower. Charming suggests they open the mines and the vault for shelter, but Regina reminds them that this is magic: it doesn’t care about ceilings. Regina estimates the spell will arrive by sundown and everyone will start tearing each other apart; Emma says they shouldn’t be in town anymore. They travel to the wall, where David tries to ascend using climbing equipment, but he is blasted back as a new pair of icy stalagmites appears. A crack appears in the ground and Elsa finds Anna’s necklace, declaring it a miracle and a sign they’re going to win. Regina asks if everyone is into this “hope” thing now. Emma instructs Charming, Snow and Leroy to warn everyone of what’s coming so they can separate from their loved ones so they don’t hurt each other, while Hook is to go to the docks and attempt to ferry people out on boat. Regina intends to warn Robin Hood and the Merry Men while Emma and Elsa take Henry with them to find Gold to mine him for ideas. Regina insists on taking Henry with her instead, and Elsa lets it go that the ribbons will make her and Emma immune to the curse; Emma wants to take Henry but Regina, viewing Emma as part of the nut job Snow Queen’s plan, insists he come with her. Henry agrees to go with Regina, hugging Emma as Regina looks back at the coming curse.