This Once Upon a Time review contains many spoilers.
Once Upon a Time: Season 5, Episode 3
I was going to try and write this review without putting any spoilers in it. But since the bulk of the episode’s action (and my reactions to it) are going to make up the body of this review, that seems kind of foolhardy. So, if you haven’t watched yet, don’t read this. Or I mean, read it, but then don’t be spiteful to me in the comments because I hella warned y’all.
So yeah, remember how everyone on Twitter was having a fit over how dreamy Arthur was? And then how the other half of Twitter (myself included) was like “You guys, that dude tried to rape Hayley Atwell in that Ken Follett mini-series, don’t trust him”? WE WERE RIGHT, MY HALF OF TWITTER. Arthur is evil, and the only thing less surprising about this development is that Lancelot is also alive and keen to help the denizens of Storybrooke figure out what happened in Camelot.
This was ostensibly David’s episode. Eager to foist from his shoulders the mantle of simple savior’s father and kisser-of-princesses, he sets out to procure a magic mushroom (which looked felt and like something that might be tagged on Instagram as #kawaii) that might enable the gang to speak to the Merlin tree. If you’ve never watched the show before, having read that last sentence back, you might think that I’m the one who went hunting for magic mushrooms. You would be incorrect.
While David and Arthur bonded, the theme of men struggling to assert their identities in a world run by women was earnest enough in its intention to be laughable. Dear TV show, you can turn your central female protagonist into a villain and make that the conflict of the season without penning an apologia about how tough the dudes have got it. In fact, you probably should. Not only was I rolling my eyes as David and Arthur shared stories of their humble origins, but I nearly stormed from the room when Hook once more went on to explain to Emma that he couldn’t love her now that she was dark. Emma sagely points out that Belle did it for Gold — but apparently double standards are acceptable if not encouraged when the genders are reversed. We’re meant to think Hook’s actions are noble, that David’s search for a new identity outside of his family are admirable. But it doesn’t play that way. Instead we’re left watching the antics of petulant boys huffing and puffing because their egos aren’t being stroked the way they’d like.
Emma’s got Gold in her thrall now, and that should make for good TV. I’m sure whatever news Lancelot comes bearing with him about Arthur’s murderous tendencies will also be engaging. But we could have used more story about people we cared about this week. Regina’s baby mama sister drama felt underwritten, and Snow basically lurked in the shadows nodding at David and soothing a screaming baby. Even Dark Swan seemed only featured in her capacity as Hook’s girlfriend. Admittedly, the payoff there, that she was acquiring his sword to awaken Gold, was a bit better than anything else we saw this week.
Best Moment With Emma’s Red Leather Jacket:
WHAT red leather jacket?! This week was all about the men’s sartorial missteps in Camelot.
Best Death and/or Maiming:
David for the win two weeks running. No actual murder this time, but him plank jousting that bro off his horse from the bed of a truck was pretty dope.