Saturday, November 7, 2015

Once Upon A Time Recap: “The Bear and the Bow” [5x06]

     Greetings, dear readers, and welcome back to another recap of ABC’s Sunday-night fantasy drama, Once Upon a Time. This past Sunday’s episode was a surprising mix of ups, downs, twists, turns, and a few moments of cheering as well as the usual cringing. What exactly happened six days ago, and what can we expect to see tomorrow? Well, read on. But as always, just remember:

     Down below Camelot, the Heroes raid the dungeons to free Lancelot. Along the way, Merlin proves himself to be both incredibly powerful and incredibly suave. When they arrive at Lancelot’s cell, the imprisoned knight seems to automatically recognize Merlin.

     Merida comes to the door of her cell and demands rescue as well, but when Merlin examines the cells he finds their bars imbued with magic that he’s never encountered before — and this is coming from the dude who can travel through time and between realms. This is the guy who gave Mickey the power to create the books and ordain the Authors. Where did Arthur get this magic? What is Merlin going to do? What are any of them going to do!?

     However, Belle just happened to bring along the one book in existence that Merlin has apparently not read, which just happens to have the right counter-spell for Merlin to use, even though he never actually told her what the spell on the bars was.

     So Merlin poofs the bars away, and they all prepare to leave. Merida wants to retrieve the will-o-the-wisp that Arthur took from her, but Merlin warns her that trying to do that will only lead to death. They’ll rescue her brothers another way.

     Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Regina convenes with the Heroes to tell them what she learned from Emma: they did free Merlin in Camelot. Now they need to know why Emma is still dark, and they can use the Crimson Crown mushroom to communicate with him. However, Merlin will only communicate with somebody chosen by him. Fortunately, they know that Arthur was chosen back in the Enchanted Forest, so they can just use him!

     But Belle doesn’t think that using the mushroom to reach Merlin is more important than finding Gold. After all, he knows what it’s like to be the Dark One. But when the other Heroes agree that contacting Merlin is a higher priority, she storms out.

     And where is Gold at this moment? Tied up in Merida’s camp. While the wild Scottish princess is out elsewhere, Gold manages to reach the chipped cup that she placed out of his reach. After asking for Belle’s forgiveness, he shatters it on a nearby stone and uses the shards to cut himself free.

     Back in Camelot, the Heroes are traveling in the woods to… somewhere. Near the back of the pack, Merida compliments Belle’s book knowledge. When asked how she wound up in prison, it’s explained that Merida followed her wisp to the Ivory Sea, where she tried to steal one of Arthur’s boats to sail across. Suddenly Merida pretends to hear something, and when Belle turns her back to listen, Merida knocks her out!

     When Belle wakes up, she’s in the middle of a loch in a boat with Merida. Merida needs to find her brothers and save them through magic, so she decided to recruit Belle and the book of magic through force instead of risking a refusal. She explains that after King Fergus died…

- may he rest in peace -

     …the three clans kidnapped the young princes and exiled the Queen.

Come on; we all know the clans would never have the guts to exile the queen.

     Now the boys are held for ransom in exchange for Merida’s throne, but she won’t give it up. Not because she wants to be royalty, necessarily, but because she wants to be able to make her own decisions instead of having men try to make them for her.

     Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Merida brings Emma to see Gold, but they find only the traces of his escape. Emma takes the evidence as a sign that he still cares for Belle, so she orders Merida to go find Belle and put an arrow in her heart.

     At the moment, Belle is working in the library. But then the elevator to the mines suddenly starts coming up! She grabs a fire extinguisher and prepares to fight whatever it is, but of course it’s Gold, and he’s on the floor begging for mercy before the doors are even open! As the two of them are reunited, Gold thanks Belle for saving his life. When he was in the coma, he wanted to let go since he didn’t deserve to live, but then he heard her voice still standing by him, and it saved his life. However, now Emma is after him. Gold knows she let him escape, and now he knows why: to put Belle in danger and force Gold to fight and be a hero. However, he knows of some magic in his shop that might help.

     Back in the Flashback Forest, Merida brings Belle to the house of the witch from her childhood. While the old woman gets out, they borrow her cauldron to conjure up a vision of where the clans are keeping Merida’s brothers. The girls see a vision of the southern moor and see the princes of the three clans.

     Now Belle can see why Merida didn’t want to marry them. The princes (led by the hunky-but-spoiled young Macintosh) are overseeing the captivity of the three Dun Broch boys, who are now surprisingly grown up (and also apparently no longer able to cause trouble and escape adults as easily as they used to). Since Merida has not shown up, the clans plan to execute the boys to take her crown.

     Belle thinks that they may still have time to save the boys, but Merida isn’t convinced, so she has an idea to change their fate and she needs Belle to create a certain potion for her.

     Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Zelena is craving onion rings and is just starting to feel her baby kick, but she’s also rejecting the entirely-healthy organic diet that Regina has assigned to her. (Two questions. One, why would Regina put her on an all-green diet? Is that supposed to be ironic or just an attempt to have a really healthy baby? Also, why would a pregnant woman reject food? Zelena’s been in captivity for a while, it’s not as if it’s her first meal in the ward. She should be ravenous right now. Neither of these women are making any sense.)

     Anyway, Emma appears and poofs Zelena to her house to chat (using onion rings as a little perk). Zelena sees through the ‘gift’ and asks what the Dark One wants. Emma shows her Mickey’s wand and recalls that Zelena is the only person to have wielded Merlin’s magic and lived to tell about it. Emma wants Zelena’s help with something (probably re-forging Excalibur), and in exchange she’ll free Zelena and protect her from everybody.

     But Zelena has apparently heard a lot about the town goings-on (from the ward janitor, nonetheless. Apparently he’s a real talker. How bizarre)… and she knows what Emma did to Violet back in Camelot. Zelena thinks that Henry will resent Emma forever for doing it, but Emma doesn’t believe her… until she’s reminded that Neal died at Zelena’s hands. Zelena says that some things just can’t be forgiven. Furthermore, she’s not going to take the deal because unlike Emma, she doesn’t mind being alone.

     Back in the Enchanted Forest, Belle finds Merida to inform her that the potion has been completed. She finds the princess practicing archery and splitting her own arrows (which is both impractical for somebody who’s about to go fight a battle, and also sadly impossible according to the Mythbusters. Because we all know that Mythbuster word is law when it comes to science).

     Merida knows that the potion will make her strong enough to save her brothers, but Belle doesn’t think that Merida needs magic to change her fate; her archery seems impressive enough to prove herself. But Merida says she’s wrong.

     In the middle of Storybrooke, Belle prepares to cross the street to the shop with Gold, but he keeps making excuses about his leg and doesn’t think he can make it. Belle sees through his act and reminds him that he crippled himself for his son, not because he was a coward. Now she sees him as a hero, and he needs to see it, too.

     They manage to get to the shop and grab Gold’s cane, but then Merida shoots her way into the store and finds them. She can’t control herself since Emma possesses her heart, and her victims flee to the back of the shop as she prepares to attack.

     Not far away in Regina’s secret vault, the Heroes explain their situation to Arthur and ask him to speak to Merlin. They give him the Crimson Crown, but he asks to speak to Merlin alone since Merlin first spoke to him through the tree only when he was alone.

     As soon as they’re all out of the room, the despicable king tosses the mushroom into the fire beneath the cauldron and then comes out to tell them that it didn’t work.

     Meanwhile, Merida storms into the back of Gold’s shop and spots the couple hiding in a corner (because neither of them seems to understand that they’re completely visible thanks to a giant mirror directly across from them). Merida orders Gold to be a hero, but he insists that he can’t. While their attacker is distracted, Belle yanks the rug from beneath Merida’s feet and knocks her out. The two victims make their way out of the shop as quickly as possible (instead of, I dunno, tying Merida up!?) and grab some magic that should supposedly keep them safe.

     Back in the magic realm, Merida and Belle come upon the enemy camp… after strolling up in plain sight across a wide-open valley.

     They see Merida’s brother tied up and Merida demands to have the potion, but Belle doesn’t think that she needs it. Merida explains that King Fergus died in battle because an enemy charged him from behind and though Merida shot at the man, she missed.

     Even though I don’t like the perfect-archer thing, this show (as well as the preceding movie Brave) have been making such a friggin’ big point about Merida’s archery skills that I refuse to believe she could have possibly missed a fully-grown man. Not managing to kill him I can understand, but surely she could have severely wounded him! So unless somebody secretly cursed Merida with a spell to deter her aim (which I will consider a legitimate possibility), I do not buy it, people. I simply DO NOT buy it.

     That moment was when the clans lost their faith in Merida, and now she needs the potion to defeat them… though Belle doesn’t agree.

     Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Belle discovers that Gold is driving them both to the town line with a sack of transformation powder that will keep them safe from the border’s enchantments. She tells him they can’t leave, but he knows what being the Dark One is like. He can’t protect Belle from Merida, let alone Emma.

     But Belle forces her way out of the car before they can reach the town line. He begs for her to come to safety, but she points out how many friends they would be leaving behind. Running away never made anyone a hero, and maybe crossing the town line isn’t his way of protecting them both: it’s just his way of protecting himself. Now he has to decide what to do for himself because Belle is going to walk back to town by herself.

     So of course, Belle comes upon Merida on the road. But Emma sent along a certain little potion as a guarantee, and when Merida drinks it she turns into a mad bear.

     Back in the highlands, the three ridiculous princes are preparing to unite the clans and execute Merida’s brothers with arrows. (Two things: number one, I’m assuming the princes have all been practicing their archery since the last tournament? And secondly, I TOTALLY bet that Merida will shoot their arrows down from the side with just one of her own. Because of course.)

     Merida arrives and demands that her brothers be freed. However, when she drinks the potion to change her fate… nothing happens. Belle admits that she switched the potion for water because she knew Merida wouldn’t go to battle on her own strength unless she didn’t have a choice.

     Sure enough, while Merida is hesitating, the princes fire at the boys, but Merida takes aim and shoots down all three of their arrows with just one of hers…

     …which means that all three arrows had to be perfectly aligned and Merida’s arrow somehow magically kept its momentum after hitting each arrow in its way.

     The princes draw their swords to fight Merida, but the clans all kneel. Merida’s brother’s are freed, and she’s reunited with them, and it’s beautiful. After that, Merida offers to return to Camelot, but Belle tells her to stay with her kingdom, and sets out for Camelot alone.

     Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Belle is running from Bearida (see what I did there?). She tries to talk sense into the creature, but then a rock hits it… thrown by Gold. Belle is finally realizing the error of her ways and yells for him to run, but he’s not running this time. Bearida knocks him down and prepares for the kill stroke… but he grabs his bag of magic-canceling dust and hits her with it! The magic slips away until Merida is human again, though unconscious, and Belle runs to her new hero to thank him for saving her. “Actually,” Gold admits in reply. “I think you saved me.”

     Back in the Enchanted Forest, Merlin speaks with Emma privately and reminds her of the day that he appeared to her in the past, when she went to go see The Sword In the Stone. She’s not sure how relative his message to her still is, since Arthur has Excalibur already… but Merlin warns her that Excalibur will soon return to its place in the stone, and now that she has the darkness in her it’s more important forever that she leave the sword alone. The fate of all her loved ones depend on it.

     In present-day Storybrooke, it seems Gold and Belle finally had the good sense to tie up Merida, and they escort her back to Emma. I expected Gold to refuse Emma’s demand that he pull out the sword, but instead he strikes a deal.

     He knows she won’t stop wreaking havoc until he removes Excalibur, so he’ll retrieve it… but only in exchange for Merida’s heart (and Merida demands information about the welfare of her brothers as well). Since Emma was done controlling Merida anyway, she returns the princess’s heart and assures her that her brothers are safe with their mother in exile.

     Gold prepares to pull out Excalibur, knowing that if he fails then he dies. He tells Belle that he’s sorry for everything and wishes he could do it all over; she replies that it’s never too late to start. He reaches out… takes the hilt… and PULLS IT OOOUT!

     At last, Rumpelstiltskin is a good guy for sure! He tosses the sword to Emma but warns her that she made a mistake; she turned him into a Hero. She’s not bothered at first. “There are heroes all over this town and none of them have been able to stop me yet.”

     “Well, that’s because none of them are me.”

     Not far away at Regina’s vault, the Heroes are trying to figure out what went wrong with the potion… and David finds the barely-singed mushroom in the ashes. (Apparently it didn’t burn up, because magic.) Now they need Merlin more than ever since Arthur is clearly hiding something. But who else did Merlin choose? Micky is dead, but Regina suddenly realizes who else has been chosen: the Author.

     They bring Henry to the vault, though they’re not sure if he can do this sort of thing right now. Henry assures them that he can; he’s mad at the Dark One, but he genuinely wants the real Emma back. He drops the toadstool into the potion and comes face to face with the same sort of potion-message that the witch had in Brave… only this time, it’s Merlin. Things in Camelot are worse than ever, and the only person who can help is someone called Nimue. But before Merlin can finish explaining how to find Nimue, the Dark One arrives and he has to flee.

     And now the Heroes are left with yet another massive mystery before them: who is Nimue? And what on earth did Emma do to Merlin?

Tune In Tomorrow…

     …when Hook prepares to reunite Excalibur with the dagger in Camelot, but Merlin needs a spark from mankind’s original fire to re-forge the blade, and Emma needs to summon the “darkest force of all time” (possibly the very first Dark One) under Merlin’s supervision for it all to happen! And while all those flashbacks are occurring, since we know they didn’t happen we are meant to be on the edges of our seats because Emma is preparing to reunite Excalibur with the dagger in Storybrooke!

Quote of the Episode:

     There were a lot of great quotes in this episode, if you didn’t notice, but I think the winner that just barely scraped by is:

     “I don’t believe it. We’re getting Merlin’s voicemail?”

Current Questions:

1. Did none of the Heroes in Camelot (especially Merlin) notice when Belle and Merida vanished? For TWO DAYS!?

2. Though to be fair I didn’t think of it, either… why didn’t Regina think to bring Henry to her vault in the first place? (Still, I am glad the Heroes know that something’s rotten in the state of Camelot now.)

Current Theories:

1. If Merida’s brothers are in exile with her mother (which is still an outrage, I might add), then does that mean the three spoiled princes are leading the clans right now?

2. I vote that Young Macintosh and Hans need to team up. We really need some non-magical villains around here… and the fact that they’re both fairly attractive is a plus. They would have one of those relationships where they hate each other, but they both see the other as a good ally to have around.

     A. Merida and Hans. Can this be a thing? I want this to be a thing. She would have to beat some major sense into him, but then it would be awesome. And he would get three little brothers of his own! They could pull pranks on him. Also, it would be hilarious seeing him try to get the hang of a kilt.

3. I think Merida missed her father’s murderer not because of her own lack of skill with a bow, but because somebody secretly sabotaged her aim with magic because they wanted King Fergus dead.

(May he rest in peace.)


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