5x01 "The Dark Swan"
1. Dark Swan is here! What was your reaction to the new Emma? Her and "Rumplestiltskin" also had unique dialogues and clashes. Thoughts on their interactions and what they reveal about The Dark One mythology.
Lori: I loved how the Emma/Rumple/Merida scenes focused on the "desperate soul" theme of the Dark One Mythology; at one point Emma even uses the word "desperately" to describe her need for the wisp to rid herself of the curse. It makes me wonder what really happened in those six weeks to turn her completely dark, since she fought it so hard in this episode. Also, I found it interesting that there was emphasis on the fact that the Dark One can't sleep (shades of "Skin Deep": "Why do you spin so much?" "It helps me forget.") because sleep deprivation affects one in many ways. And if you can't sleep, you don't rest, you don't dream - it actually makes sense that this would be part of the Dark One curse.
Amy: Adored it on so many levels. When Emma first emerged from that pit of "Wonder Goo" as the new Dark One, she literally looked as though she had just been given birth too, or baptized into this darkness. She was wet, no makeup, somber. I am really enjoying the Rumple/Dark One in her head. It gives us more Robert Carlyle in Rumple leather, which is pretty fantastic on its own...but there is something so sinister about this darkness that Emma hears, just constantly prodding at her. I love it. Don't get me started on the new Storybrooke Dark Swan costume, because I may faint. It's divine.
Mauri: I liked Emma going dark at the end of the episode, and I loved her look. She looked like a total B.A. It would have made her a BAMF if after she had turned Sneezy into stone she blew Statue Sneezy up. If she's going to be darker than Rumple because she was cursed by the Dark One's pure form, then they should have just gone for it. Take off the kid gloves.
Teresa: These were strong scenes. I loved seeing the two actors interact deeply again. It hearkened back to the seasons when Emma bantered with The Dark One inside of Gold. Now, there are no barriers. It's a full-throttle-battle-for-the-soul. I think these moments add to the mythology of the Dark One because they reveal that there is a real battle between the "host" and the "parasite."
Francesca: I liked how we see Emma transforming from the dark liquid to the raggedy cloak Emma in the new land. Also, I did like her banter with Rumplestiltskin, and how he was egging her on to go to the dark side. They really have great chemistry between these two characters so I hope they continue this in up-coming episodes. Carlye is always great!!
2. Do you think Merlin's prophesy of Emma's arrival constitutes a simple foretelling...or something darker, a warning perhaps? What do you think happened in Camelot that turned Emma completely dark?
Francesca: If, in fact, Merlin's appearance to Emma as a child had any bearing on her becoming the Dark One, then I think that was a warning. I think Emma went completely dark when they put her in prison!
Amy: I loved the little peek at Merlin as the Usher in the theater. Like all prophecies we have seen thus far, I think it could go either way. I LOVE Arthurian legend and I am very much looking forward to seeing where this goes. I believe that the foretelling of Emma's arrival meant, yes, they would find Merlin, but not that it would necessarily be all good. I have a theory brewing about Merlin, the dagger, the sword.... Have to see how that plays out. In short, what I believe happened in Camelot is that Emma picked up Excalibur. Merlin/Usher Stranger Danger warned little Emma never to pick up the sword. I believe doing that somehow merged the darkness to her and sent them back.
Teresa: A warning. I can see Emma being forced somehow into making a "Catch-22" type of decision because of something her loved ones do.
Lori: Honestly, I think it's a warning, especially after the first scene in the movie theater (which was totally awesome, by the way). As they made their triumphant way into Camelot, I wondered if Emma would be a guest or a prisoner! I think something happened that gave her no choice...or she made a desperate choice that she thought would be right and turned horribly wrong.
Mauri: I think everyone just put too much pressure on her not to turn and she snapped.
3. Merida and King Arthur made their first appearances! Did they live up to your expectations?
Francesca: I really enjoyed Merida, again another spunky female character was added to the Once mix while reflecting the Disney cartoon version of her spirit. As for King Arthur.... he is another piece of eye candy for me. It is too early to tell until I see more of him.
Amy: I could just eat Merida with a spoon. She is so spunky and smart. Love Amy Manson, and added bonus, she has an EPIC first name, haha. I was pleasantly surprised that they were able to merge Brave SO well and make Merida instantly endearing and not "cartoonish" for lack of a better word. King Arthur, Liam Garrigan, is really well-suited to the part. I'd like to see a bit more before I decide how well I like the character, but so far, I'm quite happy.
Teresa: I liked both of them. Merida was fun. Kudos to Amy Manson. Arthur had the "legendary" air about him.
Lori: Love the spunk this Merida has - punch in the gut, then mercy, indeed! And you could see Emma totally related to that! King Arthur looks quite kingly, but I also need to see more.
Mauri: I loved Merida I thought she was done well. I like that this is an older Merida. I haven't seen enough of King Arthur yet, but he looks good. And it's nice to see Sinqua Walls back as Lancelot.
4. The Storybrooke moments seemed to focus on the relationships and teamwork of the characters. What do these scenes suggest to you about the relationship dynamics moving forward?
Mauri: It was nice to see everyone move past their problems and work together. I hope they keep it up.
Francesca: I always like it when the core characters work together as they did in Season Three when they all went to Neverland to save Henry. For me, the show started with the core and I like them interacting with one another for the cause, and the new cause is Saving Emma from becoming the Dark One.
Teresa: I'm hoping it's a sign of more to come. Perhaps a return to what we saw in 3a? That half-season had everyone bickering, and plenty of conflict, but always returned to the core characters working together. I liked that.
Amy: Alas, poor Sneezy! Should not have borrowed Emma's jacket without asking. As for the rest of the group, it seems very telling that they banded together so fast, ready to help Emma and take the Tornado Express without hesitation. This whole group have proven themselves heroes. They love Emma and I believe that family dynamic is going to be a big part of the season. They are together, adventuring, like back in the days of Season One. I love it.
Lori: They've come a long way in working as a team and seeing each other as family. I think that is going to be key to solving the problems in this season, but I think Hook might have a problem with that. He showed a little desperation himself in going rogue with trying to make a deal with Zelena, and he's lucky it worked out in the end. I'm interested to see what his role is (if any) in turning Emma completely dark. As for Zelena, I wish they could have let her go back to Oz! I do think she is better off away from them; Regina only feeds her jealousy. And I actually hope that having a child and feeling, for once, that unconditional love could be a big step towards healing her, both emotionally and mentally.
5. Favorite Moments
Lori: Definitely the reveal that the Dark One Dagger is part of Excalibur (I won't get into the crossing of swords here - Excalibur was actually given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake, and the Sword in the Stone was a different sword, but we'll see what the writers do with this in future episodes). I thought the dagger and sword being two halves of one whole weapon was ingenious. And we should remember that these are weapons...it will be interesting to see how they use this symbolically and/or literally in the plot of upcoming episodes. I also loved when the tornado took Granny's!
Mauri: When Granny's landed in FTL.
Francesca: My favorite moment is when the family were crossing the bridge to the Camelot Castle and the camera panned up to the castle, expanding out to see the whole land. It brought that bit of hope .... and then they pulled the rug out from under us.
Amy: The reveal that the dagger is actually the end piece of Excalibur. Fantastic. High marks for the Tornado Express and Emma's emergence in Storybrooke at the end in full Dark Swan garb. Gorgeous.
Teresa: All of the scenes with Emma and The Dark One, especially when he tricked her.
6. Favorite Quotes:
Amy, Mauri: "What's she saying? Accent's a bit much, no?"~Rumple
Amy: Rumple's remark about Merida's accent was TOO delicious. Especially seeing as how Robert Carlyle has that amazing Scottish accent himself.
Lori: "A punch in the gut and then mercy."~Merida
Teresa: "Do you like knitting?"~Rumple
Francesca: "Put that thing down before you hurt yourself, Guyliner!" - Regina
Love her sass. Regina always has the best lines.
7. Anything Else?
Francesca: I liked the way they incorporated the Excalibur sword with the missing end as the Dark One's dagger!
Amy: Yes!! Why is Arthur's banner a dragon with a mermaid tail? It has to be important.... and I am still on the fence about memory loss as a plot device. It's only six weeks and I am totally willing to see where the writers take it ... I just personally am not an amnesia fan...LOL Solid episode. Adore the Dark Swan. I'm all in.
Teresa: I'm a little weary of the amnesia. Snow's reaction mirrored mine! I was happy to see the "Beauty and the Beast" nod with the rose and hope to see something come of it before December. I love fairy tale magic!
Lori: Overall I was really satisfied and happy with this premiere and I am excited to see where we go from here.