Previously on TVLine… I quick-capped the extra-dark bombshell that came out of this Sunday’s first Once Upon a Time episode (of two). But the double-pump serves up a few other big twists and interesting moments — even though the second hour pretty much “Across the Sea‘d” us.
Here are the 20 or so total highlights from the evening:
♦ As we had already seen in a sneak peek, Dark Emma used Excalibur to save (or “save,” all things considered?) Hook — and then shared the morsel that all she had done thus far was for him.
♦ Asked for help by the man who for years chased him, a meek Rumple counseled Hook to “find out what Emma is atoning for,” as the Dark One.
♦ Speaking of Rumple: You had to LOL at his impression of Merlin’s own accent.
♦ In Camelot, Emma managed to rescue her family from Arthur, Merlin and Zelena, though Hook suffered a “minor nick” from Arthur’s blade during the scuffle.
♦ There was a very nice scene where Regina sympathized with the former Savior’s hesitation to get rid of the Darkness. “It took a long time, but I really know you, Emma,” Regina avowed. Determined to help her friend with this dilemma, Regina went so far as to grab the dagger and command Emma to reveal why she’s afraid to give up the Darkness.
♦ Having been apprised by Henry that Hook had a plan for when they got back home — to get a house, where he and Emma might live together — Emma had a heart-to-heart with Killian, first touching on the nature of the first “I love you” she sent his way (during the Season 4 finale). She admitted to a certain track record, starting with Neal, of saying those three little words when any actual future seems impossible. “I do want a future with you,” she made clear, to which Hook assured her, “There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
♦ When Emma went to forge Excalibur with the dagger, Hook (for some unclear reason) right then started to bleed out, from the “nick” he suffered earlier. Merlin said that Excalibur wounds never heal, and that if Emma proceeds with her impetuous plan to tether Hook to Excalibur, it will “multiply” the Darkness — a situation that can only be undone by the “steepest price” of all, something that would be her “final step” into Darkness.
♦ In Storybrooke, Emma used dark magic to accelerate Zelena’s pregnancy — setting up a hilarious scene between Dr. Whale (played by David Anders and his iZombie hair) and Regina, and introducing the world to Baby Girl… Hood? (But what about Emma needing the “cries of a newborn,” Belle?)
♦ As Hook appreciated the telescope at Dark Emma’s Storybrooke house, she informed him that the house was his idea, for their future. “Everything I’ve done is to keep that future alive,” she asserted… before drugging him.
♦ Emma then revealed her plan to transfer the Darkness into Zelena, and then strike the Wicked Witch down (aka that “steepest price” Merlin had talked about).
♦ Zelena helped Hook get the truth out of a squid ink’d Dark Emma, using a dreamcatcher to reveal how he was turned into a Dark One, else he would die. Having been president of the He-Man Dark One-Haters Club for centuries, Hook is not happy.
In “The Bear King”….
♦ The old witch interrupted Merida’s coronation in DunBroch to “collect” payment on the magical helmet she made for King Fergus years ago. To find the enchanted object, Merida recruits Mulan, the warrior who years ago trained her to fight. Only, Mulan seems “different” now. Sadder. Bitter.
♦ After she and Merida had a bit of a tiff, Mulan sought out the old witch, but met her guard wolf instead — who turned out to be Ruby aka Red!
♦ After name-checking a few common friends (and inadvertently rubbing Aurora/Philip salt in Mulan’s wound), Ruby revealed via flashback how she had confided in Snow White that she didn’t “fit in” in Storybrooke, and was going to use a magic bean that she and Tiny farmed to return to the Enchanted Forest and find more of her people.
♦ King Fergus, it turns out, had switched helmets before heading into battle, opting not to use magic to protect his kingdom. (Saw it coming.)
♦ After the umpteenth reference to generic “invaders from the south,” you had to figure that Fergus’ adversaries would turn out to have some sort of “A-ha!” identity. And as it turned out, it was King Arthur leading his knights on a search for Excalibur’s missing piece. Thus, Arthur is the one that killed Fergus. And Merida now vows revenge.
♦ The magic helmet wasn’t actually the old witch’s solution to protecting the future of Fergus’ kingdom — it was a means to empower its future queen, Merida, yada yada.
♦ The witch brought a gift to the coronation: magic ale that allows you to commune with anyone who has passed to… the Underworld. (Muah-ha-ha-ha-ha!)
♦ At episode’s end, Mulan ‘fessed up that she had been soured by a broken heart, having taken too long to tell someone (no pronouns here, folks!) how she really felt. Ruby suggested that Mulan join her on her own “new path,” and perhaps it will lead her to her own….