TV Recap: Once Upon a Time, ‘The Dark Swan’

Written by Megan LaBruna


The Dark Swan Plot Summary:

There is never a dull moment in the town of Storybrook!  ABC’s Once Upon A Time returned this week and picked up right after Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) had taken over the role of the “Dark One”. With her soul at risk of becoming engulfed by the darkness now pulsing within her, Emma’s family and friends will risk everything to get her back; even if that means letting loose one of their most wicked villains, Zelena (Rebecca Madar), and traveling back to their world.

Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand
Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand

It wouldn’t be Once Upon A Time if some “heroes” didn’t try to valiantly go off on their own to save the damsel in distress, which in turn only ends up making matters worse.  This episode is no exception. With his love’s life at stake, Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) teams up with Henry (Jared Gilmore) to hatch a plan to harness Zelena’s evil powers to wield a magic wand that will open up a portal to the world in which Emma has been transported to.  Their plan works, only Zelena’s abilities are more than they can handle and she ultimately attempts to open a portal to Oz.  Luckily for everyone, the original Queen of Mean aka Regina (Lana Parrilla) knew something like this might happened and cursed the wand so that it would open a portal to Emma’s location instead.  She also knew that opening a portal takes a lot of effort and that her pregnant sister would be extremely vulnerable after opening the portal, which is the perfect time to take Zelena back into custody. You can take the blackness out of Regina’s heart, but you can’t change her strategic evil scheming ways, even if they are used for good.

As Once Upon A Time has done in prior seasons, they now introduce the storyline of parallel worlds…again. I’m a fan of twisty turning plots and I love the crossovers of some of our favorite fairytale characters.  The writers always find a way to either combine a few characters into one or manage to shed a beloved character in a different light. They do this either by making them more human and fallible or by having them interact with other characters you would have never imagined them with.  That being said their typical recipe of branching storylines set in two different worlds is starting to get a little old. I do have faith, however, that the writers have some magic up their sleeves to make this season just as alluring as past ones.

Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand
Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand

This season’s first episode introduces the audience to King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) and Merida (Amy Manson).  I guess we’re supposed to assume Camelot is located within walking distance of Merida’s kingdom, highly unlikely but for the sake of the story I’ll accept this “reality.”  Regardless, we finally find out how the dark one’s powerful sword came to be.  It is actually the other half of Excalibur *gasp* and if we’re to use prior seasons as evidence of what is to come, I’m sure it will take several episodes before the gang puts two and two together to find out the swords are one in the same.  We also learn of a prophecy shared by King Arthur that Emma’s arrival was anticipated and that she will reunite King Arthur with Merlin.  Unfortunately no prophecy ever seems to be that simple and I anticipate this prophecy will also have its faults.

At the end of the episode everyone who was transported to their former land returns to Storybrook, several weeks later; once again missing memories of the time they spent “abroad” and suspiciously dressed in renaissance clothing.  Emma however, appears after them cloaked in all black with hair as white as snow. Evil does not look good on Emma, I’m used to seeing her as the fallible hero, who despite her internal fight between good and evil, always manages to fight for good. However, this season it appears we will have to view our beloved “Savior” in a new light, er, darkness. With Rumple’s voice whispering to her, constantly tempting her with the powers of the dark side, the fight for Emma’s soul has begun and it appears her loved ones are seriously running out of time to save her.  After having watched the show for a few years now, I am interested in seeing if there is anymore magic and mystery still in store for dedicated viewers during this 5th season.

Rating: 6.5/10