This Once Upon a Time review contains spoilers.
Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 5
Absence is known for, among other things, making the heart grow fonder. In the case of Once Upon A Time this is totally true — at least, it is where Regina and Emma are concerned. I am almost willing to forget the morass of the past two episodes so great was my delight at seeing the world’s best cross dimensional co-parenting team reunited and trying to save Merlin from being stuck inside a tree. I kept chanting “MAKE OUT” which was totally inappropriate but I’ll be real — I regret nothing.
The secret of the massive Dark One-sized chip on Emma’s shoulder in the present is finally being gradually revealed through the flashbacks to Camelot. What’s that, you say? We’re not using the time in Camelot to linger over Arthur’s evil machinations or David’s secret feelings of inadequacy?! SIGN ME UP.
Emma’s penchant for checking out memories in dreamcatchers as a means of accessing her magic is normally not something I’m wild about. It worked this week! Partially because flashback deer-in-headlights Emma needs something to hold onto, and this talisman is also a powerful anchor to her past.
I love love love that Emma finally saw what went down between Regina and Cora vis a vis the whole boyfriend murdering thing. It brought the two women closer together more quickly than sharing a son ever has. The comedic beat of Emma telling Regina that her heartbreak over Daniel “wasn’t enough”, may have been accidental, but it was a delight. Ain’t nobody serve face like Madame Parrilla, and her double-take at this news was everything.
Like other viewers I’m sure, I’m far too invested in Henry’s quest to woo Violet. I don’t think I’m alone in immediately seeing through her shutdown of him at Gran’s. But my god was it still a powerful punch to the gut to discover that Emma was responsible, and scheming to break Henry’s heart in order to get the last ingredient necessary to free Merlin. It wasn’t murder, but it was a patently Cora move.
Which sets up the beauty of Merlin’s arrival: He has the power to free Emma from the powers of the Dark One, but she has to be ready to accept leaving that strange power behind. It’s a stunning moment, and one that’s surprisingly complex. Emma has always been willing to do whatever it takes for those around her, and that’s been a real Achilles heel for her now that she’s, you know, EVIL AS ALL HELL!
Clearly the answer to his question is “no”, but I don’t think Emma-in-the-past has that figured out just yet. Which begs the questions, what is going to happen to make things so cut and dried that she embraces her new identity to the extent she has in the present?
Best Moment With Emma’s Red Leather Jacket:
Not featured. That said, with Dark Swan’s fitted-yet-also-drop-crotch black pants I hardly had time to miss it so deep was my quandary about this sartorial misstep.
Best Death and/or Maiming:
Henry getting the shit kicked out of him by a horse is almost as good as his heart getting the shit kicked out of it by his own mom. Almost.