1. Emma refuses to reveal what drove her to darkness in Camelot. What do you think her motivations are?
Zach: I feel like Emma's resistance to becoming the Savior is a major factor here. She refused to believe in magic (or Henry) in Season One, going so far as to tell August that she didn't want her destiny. She's struggled with who she is ever since, a struggle which was highlighted in season 3A's episode "Lost Girl," and even more during her confrontations with Ingrid in season 4A. My first thought when she yelled at Regina ("You want people to believe you're the Savior? Then step up and do what needs to be done!") was that she was really yelling at herself. Regina and Emma have always been mirrors for each other, and I think in that moment Emma saw her struggle reflected in Regina, and got angry because she let herself and her family down. I think that, when it came down to it, Emma had a choice whether to destroy the Darkness or not, and she made the wrong choice. She's ashamed and blaming her family for her own choices (rather like Regina), and her shame is what led her to erase their memories.
Ashley: I'm not sure and I think that's the mystery I like the most about this season. I prefer that the writers spend more time in the missing six weeks than they did in the missing year of Season 3b. I want this mystery to unfold slowly, so for now I really can't guess since we don't have enough info. It must have been a serious betrayal though.
Sam: I have two early theories on this. First, I wonder if even Emma does not remember what happened in Camelot. My second theory is that she cannot tell everyone what happened and she needs them to figure it out for themselves to be able to help her.
Joanne: I don't think Emma can tell people why she embraced the dark side. She told Hook as much at her house. I think that she has been compelled to keep quiet about it by Merlin or even Arthur.
Laurie: She said that Henry didn’t let her down, but it appears that literally everyone else did. I think it has to do with finding Merlin, and what may have happened when they found him. For some reason, he was unable or unwilling to rid Emma of the darkness - it may be that the others went behind Emma’s back and inadvertently prevented Merlin from helping her. Or he was killed or somehow rendered unable to help her? It seems like a personal disappointment on Emma’s part - that it is one more thing her parents (and others?) did where they thought they were helping her, but in reality they made things worse.
2. Regina proved herself capable of being a Savior when she faced the Fury. Thoughts on how this will affect her in the coming storyline?
Ashley: I think Regina was most successful when she worked together with others and that is the most telling thing about her story line. For the longest time she has been unwilling to rely on others because everyone she has ever known has wronged her at some point. But she is learning to trust again, to not be so afraid and I think that is what will affect her story line. Maybe she'll teach the Dark Swan how to trust again too.
Sam: I honestly believe that Regina is the new Savior and I think she can do what's necessary to save everyone. She is going to need the town to keep believing in her, because even Emma didn't do all her 'savioring' by herself.
Joanne: I think Regina will start gaining confidence, know that people support her (even in a Guardian of the Galaxy way). I don't think that she will ever completely do it on her own though. I think that Regina will need to let down her guard and rely on the people around her.
Laurie: I love the balance of Regina’s “typical” personality and her having to somewhat quash that in order to be the savior. I think we will see her continue to struggle with this, while knowing that she is really the only person who can BE the savior at this time. We will no doubt see her excel in certain aspects of heroism, while battling her lifelong mistrust of those with whom she is allied, as well as having to put her own wants and needs aside, in order to serve the “greater good.” I think this is a very interesting twist on Regina’s character and is part of why this season is starting out so well.
Zach: I think Emma will become resentful of Regina's increasing success as a Savior, and this will contribute to the Dark Swan taking flight.
3. Merlin is trapped in a tree. Do you think Emma will attempt to free him or will she leaf him alone?
Sam: I'm always suspicious when one of the World's Greatest Sorcerers is trapped. I wonder if Merlin let himself be trapped for some reason, much like Rumple did before the original Curse.
Joanne: I think Emma will attempt to free him. I think her pride will get the best of her. Like Rumple's good intentions of saving the children from the Ogre War, Emma will try to save her loved ones by using dark magic.
Laurie: I think she will attempt to free him, at least at the beginning. The longer she waits, the more the darkness will take hold of her. I think we will see her begin to doubt that she wants to be freed of darkness. We know Merlin is an important figure, but there is still a lot we don’t know about how how he figures into this version of Camelot. It is hard as an audience to suspend belief of what we already know about Camelot and enter in to this new version.
Zach: I think she's going to get him out and learn more about her destiny as the Savior, which will scare her off from embracing it and contribute to her becoming the Dark Swan.
(Observation note: Emma went through a tree to get here. Dopey turned into a tree when he crossed the town line. There's the Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge on the biblical side of things. Lots of wood-erful moments happening here. I also think that there's some family tree symbolism going on. Emma was finally embracing her roots, and now she's having to examine who she is amid her internal struggle. And now we have a bunch of trees. Coincidence? I think not.)
Ashley: Har Har, I can't beleaf what you did there. I'm not sure though I find it interesting that Merlin was a tree, Dopey became a tree, and it was a tree that brought Emma into The Land Without Magic in the first place. This all means something.
4. Our heroes enjoyed a brief break from chaos when they attended the Camelot ball... until Percival interrupted. Will the people of Camelot continue to embrace them, or is conflict looming on the horizon?
Joanne: Arthur motives seem a bit shady. He needs to have the Dark One's dagger to make Excalibur whole and complete. I think he will cooperate with our heroes as long as their mutual interests coincide, but if they deviated, he will turn on them.
Laurie: Guinevere is definitely NOT on board with all of them - I think she will be a catalyst for a break in the “friendship” between our Storybrooke group and the people of Camelot. Also, in addition to Percival, there have to be others who experienced Regina as the Evil Queen. All the players in this equation are accustomed to leading, each in their own way. I think it will be difficult to build trust when there are a variety of opinions on how to lead, and how to solve problems. (as we saw in Neverland) I think it will be revealed quickly that Emma is dangerous, and the fear that produces will be counter-productive to a balanced leadership team.
Zach: The ball was one of the best moments of the entire series, because everyone finally got a break. They got to relax! And laugh! And dance! (How many feels? All of the feels.) But as for their hosts, well... Arthur is shady, Guinevere is shady, Percival is shady. Camelot should just be called Shade-alot. I mean, Charming killed Percival and Arthur looked more excited than dismayed. He didn't have a negative reaction whatsoever! (Shady.) I don't trust them at all, and I agree with Joanne's assessment that they will turn on our heroes as soon as their goals no longer align.
Ashley: I LOVED seeing them at the ball, I had been asking for every character moment that ball gave us since the end of season two. I am so happy with that. However, I think the people of Camelot will be shady shady shady and put up a nice front, all the while snooping and trying to manipulate our heroes.
Sam: Since our Storybrooke friends are pretty much lying about who and what they are and Arthur and Guinevere are also holding back some information there is bound to be lots of conflict unfolding.
5. Favorite Moments
Laurie: Emma grabbing Snow’s hand when they were looking in the mirror, getting ready for the ball. I love that she called her “Mom” and I absolutely loved Emma’s dress in the ball scene. I loved that her dress was elegant and classy.
Zach: I'm with Laurie, the scene between Emma and Snow was my favorite. It's the family moments that are the heart of the show and this episode (particularly the ball) had them in droves. I also thought Emma's dress looked like a christening gown, appropriate for what was essentially her coming-out party.
I also enjoyed Emma talking to Darknesstiltskin and looking like a lunatic to her family, because it developed the Dark One mythology more and I'm all about that life.
Ashley: The ball scene. Every small character moment, our heroes relaxing slightly and enjoying themselves. The goofy faces they made at the ball, Regina not knowing how to dance, it being Emma's first ball and Snow getting her ready. Give me more scenes like that please!!
Sam: I'm just LOVING Apparition Rumple or whatever we're calling him! My favorite moment was when he pointed out that Emma was turning sparkly.
Joanne: I loved the scene with Dark Rumple explaining to Emma that there is a price for dark magic and that he didn't make up the rules. He teases and taunts her in a very sinister way, and everyone around her thinks she's crazy because they can't see who she is talking to.
6. Favorite Quotes:
Zach: Emma - "You want people to believe you're the Savior? Then step up and do what needs to be done!"
Ashley: The banter between Regina and Zelena. Basically Zelena threatens to tattle and Regina taunts her like a sister. They may hate each other, but they are family.
Sam: "Shut up and listen," when Regina inadvertently used the Dagger to control Emma during their little argument.
Joanne: Regina to Zelena: "Well, you could be locked up in Granny's freezer." I loved the sibling rivalry banter.
Laurie: Belle - “It’s far easier to hate the Dark One than it is to love one."
Ashley: I am really digging Jennifer Morrison's performance as the Dark Swan. She's still Emma but there's something else there too. The fact that she isn't mad at Henry and is the most like herself is interesting and I love the scene where she unloads her wrath on Regina. The slinking about, the sharp quips (that "bottle your wrath and drink it" line), all of it... I am really interested in and enjoying this performance.
Sam: Jennifer Morrison's Dark One Emma is amazing! I love the coldness she exudes. Emma was always so empathetic and the Dark Swan has none of that in her.
Zach: Shout-out to Andrew Chambliss and Dana Horgan for crafting a superb chapter of the show, and to Roger Tirone for his direction. Jennifer Morrison is flying high as the Dark Swan. She has very stiff movements and it speaks to Jen's experience as an actor that she's using her entire body in her performance. It's disturbing yet captivating.
Laurie: Why does Snow go by “Mary Margaret” in Camelot?? They are in the Enchanted Forest - she should be called Snow White.
Joanne: We seem to be seeing a lot of tree imagery. Dopey was turned into a tree when her crossed the town line, Merlin is trapped inside a tree, and the Fury was very tree like in its form. Many cultures have the Tree of Life symbol, and I wondered if that might play into the storyline.
We also had two more characters from Greek mythology in the form of the Fury and Charon, the ferryman, who would ferry the dead across the River Styx. Both of these apparitions happen because of use if dark magic and its price. Charon always demanded a price of two gold coins when ferrying the dead to the underworld. I wonder if the Greek god of the Underworld, Hades, was the original Dark One.
(It was also fun seeing some of the scenes because I recognized the locations from our recent trip to Vancouver for Operation Storybrooke. I even recognized some of the ducks in the duck pond behind Robin. Lol.)