Once Upon A Time Review: Episode 5.01 The Dark Swan

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Well ONCERS, season 5 is now officially underway, with the premiere episode entitled The Dark Swan having aired tonight! I had a feeling that this season was going to be great and tonight’s episode proved that feeling to be true. The Dark Swan wasn’t just great, it was EPIC! My eyes never left the screen as I didn’t want to miss a thing.

It wouldn’t be an episode of ONCE if we were not treated to a flashback and this one happened at the very beginning. The flashback was of a young Emma at a movie theater that was very fittingly showing The Sword in the Stone.  Who was that mysterious stranger (whom only Emma could see) and why was he telling her NOT to remove Excalibur from the stone? In typical OUAT fashion, I’m afraid we will have to wait until that is fully revealed.


I have been looking forward to Camelot since I first heard that ONCE would be telling the tale of Merlin, King Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table. The writers and producers of this show really know how to change up the fairy tales from our childhood into something new and exciting. If the changes in the retelling of a classic fairy tale work, then I am behind it 100 percent. ONCE does this well, and in spades. When Arthur pulled the sword from the stone and found it broken, I thought to myself, ‘BLOODY BRILLIANT, MATES!’ It was beyond epic for the writers to make a part of Excalibur into the blade that controls The Dark One.  What does this mean regarding the dagger’s power in controlling Emma? I am looking forward to seeing how this plays out.


While I watched Emma being consumed by the dark side in the season finale, and then disappearing, leaving behind only the dagger, I wondered where she went. Honestly, I had so many thoughts in my head that I couldn’t keep up with my own imagination. Would Emma turn into Rumple right away or would she be able to fight it like the Savior that she is? Could she save herself?

Well, it turns out fighting the evil that consumed you is tougher to fight than one would think. It is especially hard when you are hearing previous unknown amounts of The Dark One’s thoughts in your head in the form of Rumple! I thought the scenes between Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) were beautifully done and accurately portrayed the struggle of not giving in. I found it to be powerful and compelling.

Image courtesy of ABC

Image courtesy of ABC

How about that Merida eh? She is one bad ass character and I am looking forward to seeing more of her. I admit to being scared more than once that Emma would succumb to the darkness and kill Merida (Amy Manson) for that wee bit of whisps. The scenes between these two characters were brilliant and well acted. I was ONCE (see what I did there?) again brought into this whole new world recreated by the powers that be. I was glad that help came for Merida and Emma when it did.

Photo courtesy of ABC

Photo courtesy of ABC


Meanwhile, our favorite clan of heroes in Storybrooke are desperate to get Emma back so they can help her fight the evil that is now inside her. I love her majesty so much, especially when she throws sarcastic quips at Hook, for example Guyliner! Merlin’s apprentice fashions a wand that needs equal parts good and bad to take them to Emma. Sorry Regina, you are too good now, we need your evil sister to open a portal to the Enchanted Forest.


Well, that’s a bad plan waiting to happen as Zelena cannot be trusted but Regina knows her sister all too well. It helps that Regina used to be evil so she knows all the tricks. Little sister won’t be taking that funnel cloud back to OZ as she hoped to do any time soon. I may not like Zelena but she makes for a great villain and I doubt we have seen the last of her evil witchy ways.


Our Storybrooke heroes do indeed arrive in time to save Emma from crushing Merida’s heart and to save Emma as well. I loved that Emma, once again, is trusting Regina (Lana Parrilla) enough by handing over the dagger to her. These two equally strong, magical beings have overcome so much initial dislike and mistrust that you can’t help but root for their friendship. I totally support that friendship and happily ship it.

Speaking of shipping, how about the Captain Swan ship? I am a major fan of the Hook, who would have ever thought it? The writers and Colin O’ Donoghue make Hook an easy character to love or hate, as the case may be sometimes. Hook was beside himself about Emma and would do anything to get to her side, even if it means ticking off the former Evil Queen.


I loved that our heroes (and dwarves who don’t want to be sidelined anymore) landed in the Enchanted Forest, via a tornado, with Granny’s diner still intact. They just might not be able to eat a burger, or have a shake any time soon but hey, they all made it in one piece.

Everyone rejoiced in seeing Emma again, who appeared to be seemingly okay. What’s that I hear? Horses? Why, it’s King Arthur, telling the diner gang that they were expected. Remember Merlin and his prophecies? Off we go to Camelot, which was absolutely breathtaking with its picturesque view. It seems all will be well until…..cut to….


Six weeks?? Here we go again, in true Once Upon A Time fashion, we have a time jump. Granny’s Diner landed back in Storybrooke….six weeks later…can’t say it enough….six weeks later, with everyone wearing Camelot period style clothing and no memory at all. Wait, where is Emma??

No worries, she is back as well but not the Emma we saw walking hand in hand with Hook into Camelot, with her family by her side. She has fully gone over to the Dark Side and Regina no longer has the dagger to control her. The episode ends with Emma telling everyone that they will all pay for what they did to her!!


GULP! That was one hell of a cliffhanger and now I have to wait to see what happened over the course of those six weeks?!! It is obvious that something went majorly wrong but we ONCERS will have to wait for all the secrets to be revealed. I ask you this, what do you think happened in those six weeks? Sound off below.

My rating  5 AWESOMESAUCE Stars!!


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Diane Selburg