Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 3 – TV Review
Emma may waste the entire episode doing fucking nothing to get Excalibur out of its stone, but that girl knows how to close an episode.
By bringing Gold back to consciousness and reminding us of the reason any of us have stuck with Once Upon a Time into its fifth season.
Well, and Regina.
TL;DR Emma fails to maintain a relationship with Hook because she’s an evil mega wizard now; she wakes Gold up to help yank Excalibur from its stony sheath; Arthur turns out to be a deceitful bastard; he and David bro it up both in Storybrooke, and in the Camelot flashbacks which detail their quest to find a mushroom.
Bros and their hallucinogens.
So it’s a fucking David episode, and in the Storybrooke portion we follow him as he helps Arthur try to track down some stolen magical items that came through with the Camelotians, but are now missing. One of them was a magic bean, which Arthur desperately wants to recover so he can send his people home. The thief turns out to be Arthur’s squire, but while he admits to robbing the magic stash, he claims there was no magic bean. Except twist, Squire was put up to this whole ruse by Arthur, whose goal was to earn David’s trust. Because he wants to build a new Camelot in Storybrooke. And then Arthur forces Squire to commit suicide. Meanwhile, Emma whisks Hook away on a lunch date, also in a quest for him to pledge his trust. But he don’t want her, no. But it’s okay, because Emma does snag a victory: she steals Gold for a plan to turn him heroic enough to extract Excalibur. Easy peasy. And back in the Camelot flashbacks, David and Arthur go on a journey to find a toadstool that Regina could use to communicate with Merlin. They find it, but Arthur secretly steals it from David. And then he makes David a new knight of his Round Table, a position formerly held by Lancelot.
I’d actually forgotten Lancelot had even been in the show before. What a PLL move, OUaT.
With Emma turning out to be pretty disappointing on the Dark One front (so now both Henry and Hook are exempt from her wrath because she loves them. I expect we’ll see that list grow), it’s a good move to build up Arthur as our secondary antagonist.
I reckon he’s only going to be evil in a Well-Intentioned Extremist kind of way, but at this point in OUaT’s life, you’ve gotta take conflict where you can get it.
And who doesn’t love seeing David duped not once, but twice in the same episode. By the same person.
He’s lucky he’s pretty.
Why I hate this episode:
Arthur’s goal, as he states to Squire, is to create a new Camelot here in Storybrooke. Bitch, you’ve been here, like, a couple of days. Fucking relax and see if you can find a way home first. Good grief.
Flashback Arthur also plays the “I’m doing it for Camelot” card after he steals the toadstool. Yeah yeah, we get it. You’re a fucking saint. Deception and murder are saintly qualities, right?
Emma is still not setting my world on fire as the Dark One. If she has the ability to just teleport and take people whenever she wants, she should at least try kidnapping Arthur to extract Excalibur. Yes, Arthur is a total d-bag these days, but it’s worth a shot, no? It sounds a lot easier than shaping a blank slate Gold into a hero. And a lot less bizarre than stealing a dwarf’s pickaxe to try to break the stone.
This episode is pretty light on Regina, which means it’s a bad episode.
Robin talks about how he’s kind of excited for his new baby that Zelena’s carrying. Rape babies get me pretty excited, too.
Nobody finds it suspicious that Arthur is willing to give David the Siege Perilous chair at the Round Table, a position Arthur held in such high esteem that for years he couldn’t fill it following Lancelot’s betrayal, after having known David for, like, a day or two (at the very least, it’s less than six weeks). Also, shouldn’t our heroes be working on a way to contact Merlin instead of putting their faces and frocks on for a knighting ceremony?
Why does Squire’s body whoosh away in a puff of green smoke after he dies from the poison Arthur gives him? Was that poison also a teleportation spell?
Oh, and Once Upon a Time can fuck off with expecting me to remember Lancelot from literally three seasons ago (he was in Season 2 Episode 3. It is now Season 5 Episode 3).
But it’s not all bad:
Lancelot does warn Snow in secret that Arthur can’t be trusted and Camelot is not what it seems. I’m starting to think that maybe Arthur found a way to retain his memories. It would explain his instant evil now he’s in Storybrooke.
Regina doesn’t get much screentime this episode, but she makes it count. She has a verbal slapfight with Zelena in Camelot over the rape baby. She promises Zelena that the baby will be taken care of without a single expense spared, but that Zelena will not be so lucky. I hope she sticks to her word.
Upon finding the toadstool in present day Storybrooke (it was in the magic stash, and Squire apparently dropped it), Regina realises the kind of spell their past selves were trying to concoct, and thinks it might still be possible to use the toadstool to contact Merlin. Neat.
David is David, so that’s not good. But he does get a couple of decent action set pieces. And anything to keep his pretty mouth shut is welcome. The first is a cool little stunt driving sequence where David rides in the tray of his ute while Arthur, new to driving, drives after a fleeing Squire. They then joust using a plank of wood. It’s preposterous, but thrilling.
Later, in the Camelot flashbacks, David is attacked by ghostly suits of armour on a floating swamp bridge after getting the toadstool. It looks surprisingly not cheap.
Emma is a huge time waster, but her gambit (at Humple’s suggestion, natch) to use Gold as her pure hero is pretty nasty. Belle had spent the episode working on a waking spell she read about, but was short one ingredient: something that had touched Rumple pre-Dark One transformation. Emma’s lunch with Hook didn’t yield any romantic results, but she did pay attention when Hook pointed out the sword he used to fight Rumple back in the day. So she steals that, and it’s the last ingredient in the spell to wake Gold.
I’m not sure I buy the weird explanation about how Gold, now he’s no longer the Dark One, is neither good nor evil, but I’m interested to see what kind of fucked up My Fair Lady plans Emma has for him.
The poison Arthur forces Squire to drink in jail is Agrabah viper venom. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland‘s seven fans must have gotten a kick out of that.
Emma gets to wear a snazzy leather coat this episode, as opposed to her kind of boring LBD from last week.
Oh, and Emma drops the Dark One getup and puts on her boring, old makeup for her lunch with Hook. And I can’t believe I’m saying it, but she actually looks better nice than naughty.