It is time once again to return to the magical beautiful world of Once Upon a Time and do some reviews of Season 5 part 1, in which Emma takes on a new role. Emma is now the Dark One, and there are more than a few consequences to her choice at the end of Season 4. These we will be discussing here in depth, so there will be spoilers. Armed with that knowledge…here we go…
As we begin the episode, even younger Emma is watching the Sword and Stone animated movie at the theater and she steals a candy bar. She is about to indulge when Merlin (as an usher) shows up and gives her a warning not to mess with Excalibur. Love the foreshadowing in the beginning, but I’m not sure that scenario in the best way to set that up.
We then pick up the story from when Season 4 ended, just after Emma becomes the Dark One and vanishes. Hook is crushed and angry at the same time when he is unable to summon her with the dagger. The heroes enlist the help of the Apprentice and after tricking Zelena to open the portal with the Apprentice’s wand, they are able to get to Emma. Even after becoming the Dark One, Emma still unites the heroes in a common cause – but this time she’s the one who needs saving.
Another new thing is the connection of Excalibur to the Dark One’s dagger. This is something I didn’t expect, but it sets up a connection between the heroes’ world and Camelot, which we need to justify the purpose for being in that world and the new characters that we meet. Jennifer Morrison is absolutely killing it as the Dark One, and her scenes with Apparition Rumple were brilliant. I love how Emma’s inner struggle is displayed visually by the devil on her shoulder(Rumple), which he portrays with his awesome evilness.
The new characters add more than a little spice. I can’t point to any miscast characters in the whole history of OUAT, and season 5 brings even more examples of this. King Arthur is just how anyone could have pictured him, although there is an unwelcome surprise as we delve deeper into the Camelot story. Merida is very strong and she was the perfect first opponent for Emma’s first test. This time Emma’s family saves her, and Killian leads the way. It’s amazing how the relationship between Regina and Emma has developed to the point where they understand and trust each other. That she gives Regina the dagger shows a shift in their roles. Standout moments include the expected snark between Regina / Zelena, and the delicious one-liners with Hook and Regina. Regina’s all over this episode and that’s a great thing. All the plot twists and turns almost make you forget about the convenient loss of memory device that has been completely overplayed at this point.