Welcome back to Once Upon a Time, where having friends and family is nothing but disappointment. Thanks for the upbeat message, “Siege Perilous.”


Last season ended with Emma becoming the Dark One and Rumple in a coma. This season began by tossing Emma—and her annoying Storybrooke rescue troupe—to Camelot. Now, everyone’s back and six weeks of memories are gone. These people should just start wearing cameras that automatically back up to the cloud or something. They are always losing their memories. I’m not usually one to advocate a surveillance state, but these guys totally need it.


So half of Camelot has shown up to wander Storybrooke and Emma is full Dark One now, all leathered up and white-haired. Also, she stole everyone’s memories and brought Camelot here, since the dagger is apparently the second half of Excalibur. Which Emma, stone and all, has stored in her basement.

Emma steals an axe from Happy to use on Excalibur. It fails, but it manages to get angry dwarves going to David for help. You know, because he’s the sheriff and she stole something? David’s not any help, but man is his daughter going to ruin his life.

In flashback land of this week, David bonds with Arthur. Because David only makes the worst possible choices. They’re still trying to free Merlin and defeat the Dark One, and Regina’s research turns up a mushroom that may help them talk to Merlin through magic barriers. So David and Arthur go out mushroom hunting together, and poor Arthur and David bond over growing up in the lower classes, having to rule now, and being famous. It was them getting along that sealed Arthur’s role as a villain. No real friendships in Once land, only pain.

So David gets the mushroom, “loses” it in a kerfuffle with some magic knights, and is given a seat on the round table. With his luck, accepting the place means that Arthur owns David’s underpants.


It’s not just Emma who’s doing some thieving. In the now, someone’s broken into a chest of Arthur’s. David gets Arthur’s squire to reveal himself as the thief and finds the mushroom, which Regina left herself a note about in Camelot. I love that Regina did that by writing a single question mark on an old timey post-it. Why not write, “Can this help us talk to Merlin?” At least that would be helpful.


Margin notes like this aren’t going to help come finals time

In the past, previously-dead Lancelot shows up to tell Snow that Arthur is evil. In the present, Arthur monologues his whole plan to take over Storybrooke and make it into a new a Camelot while forcing his squire to take poison. I wonder if David’s betrayal senses are all burned out after four years of this shit?


Emma decides that being evil is a great way to find love—as clearly evidenced by Regina and Rumple’s amazing success in this realm. No, really, Emma uses Gold and Belle as an example of what she and Hook could have. It does not persuade. Emma magics herself up to look like Not Dark One Emma and she and Hook have a wonderfully uncomfortable meal. Where he asks her for an honest answer, and he refuses to trust her. Honestly, given love in this show, that’s a good call.

Although, even that doesn’t save him from the whole lunch being a way for Emma to get his sword, which can be used to uncoma Rumple. Which Emma does, so that the now not-evil, not good Rumple can wield Excalibur. Because... comas are like baptism, I guess, and you come out of them shiny and neutral.


Let’s take stock of this week:

Family? David’s Emma-sized blindspot is nothing but trouble. Friends? OH MY GOD JUST DON’T WITH ARTHUR. Lovers? Just look at Hook’s poor face this whole episode.


Once Upon a Time makes a convincing case for loneliness, is all I’m saying.

Contact the author at katharine@io9.com.


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