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‘Once Upon A Time’ Season 5 Recap: “Birth” & “The Bear King”

once upon a time the bear king

It was a double dose of Once Upon a Time this week with a two-hour offering.

The first episode promised to deliver Dark Swan’s plan and it delivered. Collecting the flame and making Excalibur whole again wasn’t for some horrid nefarious plan by the darkened Emma Swan — it was motivated by love.

Back in Camelot, King Arthur cut Hook with the sword when Emma came to save him and her family. However, the small cut wasn’t as minor as it seemed, as later it revealed to be a fatal cut. As Hook lay dying in Emma’s arms, she vowed to save him.

Merlin warns Emma using the dark magic would turn her into the Dark One just as it did Nimue. Brokenhearted and desperate, Emma did it anyway. But saving Hook with the dark magic had a horrid turn of events, as it turned Hook dark as well.

So, the big reveal was that Hook and Emma now share the darkness. When Zelena uses the dream-catcher to give Hook back his memories, he isn’t grateful for what Emma has done for him, he is angry. He vows to get revenge on Emma for what she has done to him. (Seems a bit ungrateful to me.)

Also part of Emma’s plan was to accelerate Zelena’s pregnancy, she goes into labor. It seems she needs the cries of a newborn – she has a daughter, by the way.

The second hour is devoted to Merida and a flashback to when her father was killed. In this slow moving boring hour, Merida is about to be crowned queen when the witch of the woods comes in and tells her she will turn everyone in her kingdom into bears unless she gives back a magic helmet that makes people follow the wearer. Merida is shocked to learn her father, Fergus, had the witch make him the helmet to make his kingdom follow him into battle.

In her quest to find the helmet, the audience learns the following:

  • Fergus hired Mulan to train and protect Merida.
  • When Merida went in search of Mulan, she was surprised she had turned into a mercenary with no honor.
  • Ruby had been turned into a wolf full-time by the witch until Mulan and Merida freed her.
  • King Arthur killed Merida’s father as he was in search of the helmet.
  • Merida finds the helmet and learns her father never used it, tossing it in the lake.
  • The witch didn’t want the helmet — she just used it as a test to prove to Merida she could rally her clan without magic.
  • Mulan revealed she turned mercenary because of a broken heart.
  • Ruby came back to the Enchanted Forest to look for her wolf pack.

A magical ale allowed Merida to talk to the spirit of her father from the underworld. Expect this ale to come into play later in the season.