TV REVIEW: Once’s Season Premiere Begins an Epic Quest
By Meredith Loftus
After a game-changing finale (and an even longer hiatus), Once Upon A Time returned for a brand new season tonight.
The Dark Swan gave audiences an introduction to important information and some great foreshadowing for events to come all in the first five minutes, and it only got better from there. Not only am I impressed by this episode, but I am confident in and intrigued by the story that the writers are telling us this season.
Setting the Stage
We start this season in a magical place, the movies. In Minneapolis in 1989, young Emma Swan goes to the movies to see “The Sword in the Stone.” While she’s there, she steals a chocolate bar from a woman. As she sits in her seat content, an usher appears and warns her “don’t do it,” and he isn’t referring to the stolen sweets. He warns her that one day she will be the one to remove Excalibur from the stone but he instructs her not to, even if it’s for a good reason. Before she can question him about this, he disappears. Curious isn’t it?
Also many years ago, we meet Arthur and his knights, Sir Lancelot and Sir Percival. Their quest to find Excalibur is drawing to close when we see them for the first time. However, when Sir Kay tries to take Excalibur in an attempt to claim his right to rule he is proven unworthy and is promptly turned to ash after failing to pull the sword from the stone. Tough act to follow! Good thing Arthur has a prophesy on his side, one that destines him to rule Camelot with Excalibur in his possession. As he pulls out the sword, it is revealed that the tip of Excalibur is missing. With half a sword, Arthur takes his place as king of Camelot while also embarking on a new quest to find the rest of the sword. It just so happens that the missing piece is the exact same size as the Dark One’s dagger. That’s right: the dagger came from Excalibur.
Reacting to the Sacrifice
Speaking of the dagger, our Storybrooke heroes are left in the street where the dagger lies with Emma’s name on it. Emotions are high after watching the savior sacrifice herself for them and the entire town. Hook tries to summon the Dark One to him with the dagger but fails, leading them to believe that Emma is no longer in their realm. They go to see the Apprentice on his deathbed in the hope of securing any assistance in finding Emma. The Apprentice tells them that the origins of the Dark One and darkness are in the Enchanted Forest; therefore, that’s where Emma is. He gives them a wand filled with light magic that was given to him by Merlin. With it, a personal belonging of Emma’s, light and dark magic, the heroes can create a portal to wherever Emma is. Because of her history with light and dark magic, Regina tries and, unfortunately, fails to make the wand work. How ironic: the Evil Queen has become too good to pull from dark magic. They need evil, wicked help in the form of Zelena. Unfortunately, she’s only willing to help if Regina removes the bracelet that is blocking her magic and gets the wand. Regina refuses to do this, but Hook has other ideas. He enlists the help of Henry to make a deal with the Wicked Witch in order to be one step closer to finding Emma. Hook’s plan backfires after he fails to rip out Zelena’s heart, and Zelena cuts her own hand off to get the bracelet off her wrist, and escapes.
Meanwhile, Belle is looking over Rumple in his comatose state. Blue encourages her to help the others because of her wit and resourcefulness. However, Belle doesn’t want to leave Rumple should something happen to him while she is gone. Blue gives her an enchanted rose in a glass case to keep track of Rumple’s state while she helps the others.
Zelena attempts to trick Robin by disguising herself as Regina, but he figures out it isn’t really her after they share a kiss. Zelena uses Robin as leverage to get the wand from Regina so she can open a portal back to Oz and have her child love her unconditionally. Regina gives her the wand, Zelena opens the portal but it weakens her from being able to actually use the portal. Regina takes back the wand. Together with the Charmings, Hook, Henry, Robin, Roland, Zelena, Granny, and a few dwarves who are tired of being on the sidelines, the portal is opened and Granny’s is transported to the Enchanted Forest.