“Once Upon A Time” recap (5.5): Dream Team

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Previously on Once Upon A Time, a mysterious stranger told a young Emma never to pull swords from stones, Storybrooke Arthur made his squire kill himself, Camelot Arthur put a spell on his wife and the Charmings, and Emma decided she was going to train Gold into the hero she needs to extract Excalibur and reunite it with the Dagger.

We begin our story a long, long time ago in Camelot. Young Emma’s mysterious stranger finds the Dark One and commands them (it was unclear who the Dark One was at that point, due to a gold mask, but I’m sure that’s not the last we see of that particular Dark One) to stop using the Dagger. The Stranger says the Dark One destroyed the only woman he ever loved, and raises the Dagger to stab the figure, but hesitates in a way that makes me wonder if the Dark One was in fact that very same woman. The Dark One uses his hesitation to their advantage and takes the dagger, scoops up a tear off the Stranger’s face, and promptly turns him into a tree. So the Stranger was Merlin.

In a more recent version of Camelot, Emma is watching all of this unfold through a dreamcatcher, things finally starting to fall into place.

In the forest of Camelot, Regina is leading Mary Margaret and David to where she hid the dagger, still unsure giving it to Arthur is a good idea. The Charmings insist it’s fine, because they’re a good judge of character. Like the time they sent their baby through a magic tree portal with only another child to take care of her. Or the time they hired the literal Wicked Witch to be their nanny. Or the time—you get the picture. Understandably, knowing how bad it would be for Emma if the Dagger falls into the wrong hands, Regina is hesitant to hand it over.

OUAT 505-1“I don’t call you the Two Idiots for nothing.”

Emma shows up right before Regina can hand it over and freezes her parents. Regina is alarmed she’s using magic all willy nilly, but Emma brushes off her concern and tells Regina about Arthur’s plan to make a big bad sword that will kill Merlin. Emma promises she’s telling the truth, and Regina is more apt to trust her than her parents, so she’s on board.

OUAT 505-2“Dark or not, you’re the smartest person here. Besides me.”

Emma wants to use her dark magic to get Merlin out of the tree, but Regina REALLY doesn’t think that’s a good idea. Regina reminds her that she knows firsthand how addicting dark magic can be, but Emma says she’s not her. (But it’s literally the kindest, gentlest way someone’s ever said, “I’m not you.”)

In present-day Storybrooke, Team Charming tries to figure out how the Squire disappeared, so they figured he must have had the magic bean after all and portaled home. Guinevere says obviously everyone is desperate to get home, so they need to cheer their people up. Henry suggests a dance, and David and Hook immediately assume it’s about a girl, because of course they do. Hook even goes so far as to offer to give him tips, but Regina says, “Over your dead body.” Which I’m so stealing.

On the way out of the Sheriff’s office, Regina starts to grill the Charmings about this “girl” they speak of, but Belle runs into them to tell them Gold is missing.

OUAT 505-3 “Help! They’re still making me carry around this thing!”

But we know where he is! He’s currently in Emma’s basement. Gold tries to bond with her, ex-Dark One to Dark One, but she says she’s stronger than he was, and won’t make the same mistakes. But Gold insists that she’ll still lose everyone she loves at the rate she’s going. Emma ignores him and calls out Merida, ordering her to train him.

OUAT 505-4 Maybe give him some hair tips, too.

Merida thinks she can fight through the spell, but Emma gives her heart a squeeze and Merida realizes that she’s going to have to be more clever than brave to get out of this bind.