Once Upon A Time season 5 episode 6 review: The Bear And The Bow

Brave's Merida comes to the forefront of the action in this week's episode of Once Upon A Time, The Bear And The Bow...

This review contains spoilers.

5.6 The Bear And The Bow

Well, if you love Belle and Rumple, then boy, was this the episode for you!

Belle is probably the most underused character from the main cast, so seeing her take a break from carrying around a glass jar everywhere is a welcome change. She gets her own two separate storylines this episode, one in Camelot with Merida, and the other in Storybrooke with Rumple, but let’s first talk about the Brave-centric flashback.

Ad – content continues below

I like Merida. I do, even with that wig, but her backstory this episode just felt unnecessary. It was completely removed from what was happening in the rest of Camelot and does nothing to bringing us closer to solving what exactly happened six weeks ago. Belle and Merida are good together though, or at least after Belle gets over being kidnapped. Again. It happens a lot, so it doesn’t take long until they’re fast friends. At least this time it isn’t as a way to threaten Rumple, but because Merida recognises she’s smart and would be an asset. So really, it’s a compliment. Obviously the others don’t appreciate her, because Belle apparently goes missing for at least a day and no one cares.

In the flashback, we learn that Merida must save her brothers from death by arrow and is convinced the only way to do this is by turning into a giant bear (the logic of this is hazy, but the writers clearly wanted to get in as many Brave references as possible.) Belle could help her, but won’t. She’s adamant that magic is not the answer. Belle has seen first hand the addiction magic can cause, the problem with relying on it completely to solve your problems. She lost the man she loved to it, so her refusal to help Merida, even though it nearly results in three boys’ deaths (lucky Merida is a good shot), makes sense. Finally, some Belle characterisation!

Definitely the more interesting of the halves, back in Storybrooke, was that Rumple must become a hero or watch Belle die. Personally I’m not a big Rumbelle fan, but it can’t be denied that Emilie de Ravin and Robert Carlyle do some of their best work when together. Their reunion scene in particular comes to mind. I like how Belle is noticeably relieved and happy to see Rumple, but she’s slightly reserved and holds herself back. Rumple tearfully thanks her for essentially saving his life (not the first time), and it’s plain that Belle is moved, but there’s no embrace. Their relationship is one big question mark at the moment. Rumple has done a lot of bad things, even when he was meant to be on the good side, and Belle pushing him over the town line was a highlight of last season. However, this was all when he was still technically the Dark One, and as Belle points out, Emma was seduced by the darkness, just like he was, so how are they any different? It’s a good argument, but Emma so far has been about as dangerous as walking down a well-lit street at night. In theory something could happen, but nine out of ten times, it’s perfectly safe. She borrowed a kid’s heart once, and occasionally makes vague threats to Merida. Rumple killed. Multiple times. It’s fine for Belle to still care and worry for Rumple’s safety, but she needs to remember this.

However, Rumple is a hero now, so things are looking up. Not to criticise his act of bravery, because it definitely was, but there are a lot of other people in Storybrooke who have done similar, and more than just once. If this was all it took to be defined as a hero, then surely Emma could have found someone who was significantly less hassle? Rumple may have pulled the sword out of the stone, but he won’t be the one wielding it. A gold doubloon on Hook handling the sword by the mid-season, I’m sure.

Emma’s plan to get the sword has finally come to fruition, but she’s already setting up the next chess piece, this time with Zelena. It’s only with these two villains together that it becomes apparent how drab Emma is in comparison to Zelena. Her character is so monotone and detached; the complete opposite to Zelena’s enjoyable wickedness. Robert Carlyle and Rebecca Madder have so much fun playing villains, but unfortunately Jennifer Morrison’s strict take in comparison is left wanting. A little flair would be much appreciated.

There’s the smallest of storylines involving the rest of the gang, but so little happens it’s not even worth discussing. Suffice to say, they are now aware that Arthur is not such a great guy. They also learn from Merlin’s voicemail that the only way to defeat the Dark One is with Nimue. According to Arthurian legend, this is the lady of the lake, so expect more Camelot mythology. I’m pretty sure they blew their budget on that CGI bear, so don’t be surprised if the lake looks more like a pool next week.

Ad – content continues below

Read Alyce’s review of the previous episode, Dreamcatcher, here.