Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 10 – TV Review
Hoping Zelena and Arthur got up to more merry misadventures in Camelot before they were pulled into Storybrooke?
But at least we get to see Merlin die.
TL;DR The flashbacks show how Hook went into a tizzy after becoming a Dark One, eventually killing Merlin and using a dark curse to send everyone back to Storybrooke; back in Storybrooke, Emma and the gang chase down Hook all episode, yet fail to stop him from opening a portal to the Underworld; Hook and Gold also duel futilely for some reason.
Because Hook still wants his revenge on Gold or something? Who cares about that, anymore?
So the flashbacks are where the action is this episode, as Hook takes poorly to the resurgence of darkness within him. Emma tries to show him that she trusts him and that their love can conquer all, which seems to work. Until Hook reveals he was playing her all along, and plans to get back to Storybrooke so he can kill Gold and exact his long-sought revenge. To do this, Hook enacts a dark curse like the one Queenie did way back when, and uses some lawyering to substitute himself with Nimue as the curse caster (because all Dark Ones live inside the current Dark One), who kills Merlin, the person Nimue loves most, to ignite the curse. Just as it pops off, Emma knocks out Hook and steals his, along with everyone else’s, memories to protect him from his horrible deeds, and plans to fix things once they arrive back in Storybrooke. See? She wasn’t evil at all. Ever. Boo. Meanwhile in present day Storybrooke, Hook steals Emma’s memories of Camelot so she can waste forty minutes chasing him to find out what he’s up to. But his duel with Gold ends with no bloodshed, as Hook is too busy fulfilling Nimue’s demand from their alliance, which is to open a portal to the Underworld in Storybrooke and revive her, along with all dead Dark Ones. Cool. Meanwhile, Belle arbitrarily turns down another go at a relationship with Gold; Emma gives everyone their memories back, finally; Henry now trusts Emma again; and Regina and Robin take custody of Li’l Baby Rapesly, while giving Zelena visitation rights in the hopes that she can redeem herself through parenthood.
Because being a mother to Henry has always kept Regina and Emma out of dark temptation, right?
Look, for the most part, I’m glad to see the Camelot flashbacks go away. They were tired, and we didn’t need to see a fucking third Merida episode. But at least they weren’t as tired as the Arendelle flashbacks last season. Those were just cruel.
Still, I am sad that the brilliantly stupid villain team-up between Arthur and Zelena from the last few episodes never got a chance to do anything truly despicable (what ever happened to that melty potion thing?).
Let’s hope Nimue can step up to the plate.
Why I hate this episode:
I don’t know how our heroes are going to be able to fend off a legion of revived Dark Ones. Unless the Dark Ones don’t have their powers. Either way, get ready for lots of convenient magic plot devices to pop up at just the right time for the gang to stay alive.
With the final flashback, we now know that Emma’s evil actions as the Dark One were all a ruse. Gosh, Emma. What better chance is there to be bad than to inherit Gold’s powers, and you can’t even get that right. Your purity is exhausting.
Conversely, Hook takes a dump on three seasons’ worth of character development to immediately give in to his darkest desires as the Dark One. Yes, it follows the logic set out by the universe. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
Also, as Emma’s only current love interest, I don’t see Hook’s life really being at stake when it comes to vanquishing him. Yeah, Baelfire ended up dying. But Hook had already been around for a long time as Emma’s replacement love (and her biggest one, at that). I don’t see Once Upon a Time killing Hook off, so any showdowns to come won’t have much tension.
Belle’s rejection of Gold wasn’t convincingly motivated. She just played the “I’m done” card and slapped him with all the shit she’s put up with in the past. But honey, he’s actually good now. He’s no longer the Dark One, and he proved his goodness by pulling Excalibur from the stone. He’s currently at his best (even better than his cowardly, pre-Dark One self), and now you decide the party’s over? Idiot.
Gold also appears to get scratched by Excalibur during his duel with Hook. We already milked the “Gold is dying” udder dry, guys. Ease up.
Oh, and the way Hook weasels around the dark curse is unnecessarily silly. Given that Ruby got chucked a magic bean out of nowhere, as well as that hat thing we haven’t seen for yonks, Once Upon a Time evidently isn’t above finding any old excuse to traverse realms. It doesn’t have to be that complicated, Hook.
But it’s not all bad:
Merlin totally dies. I’ll happily take a character death whenever I can get one. And now the gang can’t rely on his vague superpowers to get them out of their jams. No, they’ll have to find new, vague superpowers from other sources. Duh.
Hook’s deception of Emma in the flashbacks warms my heart as much as it breaks hers. Emma’s constant stream of bad decisions is one of the highlights of this show. Both because Emma is rubbish and I enjoy watching her fail, and because they give me something to complain about. Thanks, Emma.
And it’s refreshing to see, temporarily, at least, that love doesn’t always conquer all. He got you, Emma. He got you good.
Now that Zelena’s saddled with baby crap, Nimue looks promising as a new female villain to adore. I hope she ditches that silver skin paint, though.
The weasel wording for the dark curse is kind of justified, because Nimue bargained something from Hook in exchange for stepping in to enact the curse. That something, which was so horrible that Emma erased everyone’s memories in the hopes that it wouldn’t come to pass, is the resurrection of all the Dark Ones in Storybrooke. Apparently a pond in Storybrooke, the one where the Fury took Robin, was a gateway to the Underworld all along.
Regina’s confiscation of Baby Rapesly was a smart move, and I relished Zelena’s misplaced indignation. Regina sums it up with the best line of the episode, and the closest I think Disney is going to get to admitting what Zelena really did to Robin: “The only reason you have that baby is because you killed Marian, and you deceived Robin in the most vile way imaginable.” But it’s still cool to have visitation rights? Come on, Regina.
Even Regina finds it ridiculous: