ONCE UPON A TIME Recap: Emma Did What Now?

once upon a time

Before we dive into this recap, it is important that you are very well aware that there will be major spoilers ahead. Proceed at your own risk.

Last night’s ONCE UPON A TIME was promoted as a huge two-hour event and I swear I thought it was going to be something like parts one and two, and that they would work as one huge episode, like we have seen in past seasons. But to my surprise “Birth” and “The Bear King” served as two completely standalone episodes and – let’s be honest – the one that really mattered was “Birth”. As much as I love Merida and it was great to see Ruby and Mulan again, the only thing we really took from this episode was that Crazy!Arthur was the one who killed Merida’s father in his endless quest to make Excalibur whole. So, let’s focus on “Birth”, shall we?

The first episode of the night revealed what the Dark Swan is really after and what prompted her to fully embrace the darkness back in Camelot. I have to say that I did not see that coming. At all. As much as I had suspected it was something big and it had to do with Killian – and I really suspected that she had done it out of love, just like Rumple had, to save Baelfire – I had no idea it was going to be this big. That was very bold move on the writers’ part and I am so curious as to how they are going to resolve this.

Emma’s master plan is not to destroy all light magic, as the heroes had previously thought. What she really wants is to get rid of all dark magic, including hers. So after she makes Excalibur whole, she saves Killian’s life when Arthur tries to kill him – or so we thought – and he tells her that he still loves her and he wants to know the truth about what really happened in Camelot, no matter how bad it is. He insists on it and tries to get her attention in every way possible, until she relents and takes him back to her house, telling him she will tell him, but only after she has completed her plan. So she puts him under a spell and in shackles, so he won’t try and stop her, and proceeds with her schedule. Speeding up Zelena’s pregnancy is the first item on the agenda and the Wicked Witch quickly gives birth to a baby girl. Regina and the others think that it’s the baby that Emma is after, but they couldn’t be more wrong. The Dark Swan is actually after Zelena, but she is not that heartless, so she saved the baby and then kidnapped Zelena, putting her in her creepy basement with Killian. Once there, she reveals that what she really plans on doing is to tether all dark magic to Zelena and then to kill the witch to get rid of it once and for all.

What she didn’t foresee, however, was the fact that, as much as Killian really, really loves her, he really wants to stop her plan. Remember, he still thinks that she maybe wants to destroy all light magic; so he teams up with Zelena, uses his enchanted hook to get her magic binding cuff off and she frees them both. Except Killian stays behind, hell bent on finding something that could help him help Emma, and she catches him on the act. He confronts her and uses a potion that immobilizes her, so she won’t go through with her plan. And that’s when Zelena decides to return because – guess what – she found one on Emma’s dreamcatchers and she knows exactly what happened back in Camelot. But of course, she is the Wicked Witch and she has a flare for drama, so she stabs Killian just to prove a point. When nothing happens to him, she reveals what really happened and why Emma is so determined to get rid of all dark magic. But before we dive into that, let’s talk about Camelot.

Crazy!Arthur tethered Merlin’s magic to Excalibur, so now he has command over the sorcerer. So he kidnaps Emma’s loved ones and threatens to unleash Merlin on them and kill them all, if Emma doesn’t give him the dagger and the Promethean spark, so he can finally make Excalibur whole. Merlin and Emma duke it out and he wins, but she still refuses to give them to Arthur. She tells the sorcerer that he is stronger than the sword’s command and Merlin is able to fight the power long enough to save Mary Margaret, and for Killian to free himself and attack Arthur. The crazy bastard manages to hurt our favorite pirate, but once he realizes his out numbered, he tells Zelena to poof them out of there. So Emma quickly heals the cut on Killian’s neck and it seems that they are all going to live happily ever after. They have the dagger, Excalibur and the Prolethean spark – all that is left to do is for Emma to light that spark and turn into it fire, so she can make the sword whole again.

In order to do that, however, she needs to be ready to let go of the darkness. Regina confronts her and even commands her to face her fears head on. Killian stops her, of course, but Emma soon confesses to him that what she is really afraid of is that future he has envisioned for them, with the house and white picket fence and she thinks she is going to lose him, just like she has lost everyone. He reassures her that he won’t ever leave her and they profess their undying love for each other and that is what turns the Promethean spark into fire. So great – they have everything, Emma is ready to let go of the darkness and they are going to live happily ever after, right?

Wrong. Because the moment Emma starts the process of making Excalibur whole, the cut on Killian’s neck reopens and it’s so much worse than before. He is suddenly bleeding out and there is nothing they can do to save him. Emma begs with him not to leave her and tells Merlin she can take his magic and transfer it to Killian, tethering him to Excalibur. Merlin warns her she shouldn’t do it because this will be the last step for her to embrace the darkness and it would turn Killian, but she doesn’t listen and takes Merlin’s magic away and tethers it to her pirate in order to save him.

And Killian Jones becomes a Dark One.

Holy. Mother. Of God.

I don’t know about you, but I never saw this coming and I admit my jaw hit the floor when that was revealed. Killian was obviously not amused by that fact and is downright furious with Emma. She turned him into the one thing he has spent centuries trying to kill and I can’t even begin to tell you how heartbreaking that is. She did it out of love, because she loves him so much that the only way to save him was to turn him into the creature he hates the most and my god, my heart cannot take all these feels.

Let it please be acknowledged that Jennifer Morrison is bringing her A game this season. It is easily her best season yet, but these past couple of episodes she has been breathtaking and my heart is in pieces for Emma Swan. And that is all due to Morrison’s talent. I have no idea where they are supposed to go from here, but I am so in. Is there any way we can give a grade higher than A+? Because that’s what “Birth” deserves.

So what did you think? Hit the comments below or come talk to me on Twitter.

Don’t miss the next new episode of ONCE UPON A TIME on November 29 on ABC.

ONCE UPON A TIME Sneak Peeks: Battles and Truths

once upon a time

ONCE UPON A TIME is serving up an extended two-hour episode this weekend full of returns, missions and showdowns.

Merlin — under Arthur’s control — delivers an ultimatum to Emma in the first hour, telling her to hand over the Dark One dagger and the Promethean spark or he’ll kill her family. But Emma isn’t one to give in so easy and this leads to a face-off between the heroes and Arthur, Merlin and Zelena. Back in Storybrooke, Zelena’s pregnancy mysteriously accelerates and Hook is desperate to get answers from Dark Emma.

Meanwhile, Zelena and Arthur travel to DunBroch in the second hour to retrieve a relic that could help them vanquish Emma. They cross paths with Merida, who is on a mission of her own to pay a debt that her father owed to the Witch when he died. Merida enlists the help of two friends — Ruby and Mulan — but first she must discover the identity of the knight who killed her father. And in flashbacks, we’ll learn more about Merida as she trains for war and fights alongside her father in the battle that claimed his life.

Don’t miss a two-hour episode of ONCE UPON A TIME on November 15 beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

ONCE UPON A TIME Teasers: Mulan, Dr. Whale & Ruby Return, Merlin Delivers an Ultimatum in A Special Two-Hour Episode

once upon a time

ABC is airing a special two-hour episode of ONCE UPON A TIME this weekend and it’s full of the return of three familiar faces (Mulan, Dr. Whale and Ruby), ultimatums and battles. Thanks to the network, we now have some spoilers for the episodes:

“In the first hour – “Birth” – tensions in Camelot come to a head when Merlin, now under Arthur’s control, delivers an ultimatum to Emma: hand over the Dark One dagger and the Promethean spark or he will kill her entire family. Refusing to give in, Emma and our heroes face off against Arthur, Merlin and Zelena in an epic battle of magic and will. Just when the end is in sight, Emma is forced to make a gut-wrenching choice that no one saw coming. Back in Storybrooke, Zelena’s pregnancy mysteriously accelerates and Hook goes to new and desperate lengths to get answers from the Dark Swan.” Guest cast includes Beverley Elliott as Granny, David-Paul Grove as Doc, Micahel Coleman as Happy, David Anders as Dr. Whale, Ingrid Torrance as Nurse Ratched, Elliot Knight as Merlin, Liam Garrigan as King Arthur and Joana Metrass as Guinivere.

“In the second hour – “The Bear King” – Zelena and Arthur journey to DunBroch on a mission to retrieve an enchanted relic that will provide the advantage they need to vanquish Emma and our heroes. Their path will cross with Merida’s, who is on a journey of her own to pay a debt that her father, King Fergus, owed to the Witch when he died. Merida enlists the help of two friends, Mulan and Ruby, but, in order to satisfy the Witch and save DunBroch, she first must discover the identity of the knight who killed her father. In flashbacks, Merida learns about bravery and honor as she trains for combat and rides alongside Fergus into the infamous battle that claims his life.” Guest cast includes Meghan Ory as Red/Ruby, Beverley Elliott as Granny, Jamie Chung as Mulan, Amy Manson as Merida, Glenn Keogh as King Fergus, Caroline Morahan as Queen Elinor, Lily Knight as Witch, Richard Stroh as Edgar, Paul Telfer as Lord Macintosh, Marco D’Angelo as Lord MacGuffin, and Josh Hallem as Lord Dingwall.

Don’t miss the two hour ONCE UPON A TIME on November 15 beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

ONCE UPON A TIME Recap: The Original Dark One

once upon a time

Well, that was a surprise.

Who would have thought that Merlin’s long lost love was actually the original Dark One? I definitely did not see that coming. Or maybe I did. In hindsight, when Nimue was mentioned in last week’s ONCE UPON A TIME, I had taken that as the original Dark One’s name; but then last night, when Nimue was introduced as the woman Merlin loved, I just figured that I had misunderstood and just went with it. And to my utter surprise, it turns out that Merlin’s love story was even more tragic than I had previously thought.

“Nimue” told the story of how Merlin became a sorcerer. It was actually pretty great that we got to spend a lot more in Camelot than we did in previous weeks, and got to witness out how the darkness is affecting Emma in the early stages of her becoming the Dark Swan.

Merlin is actually thousands of years old and he found the Holy Grail in the desert, when he was nearly dying of thirst. The guy he was with tried to drink the water from the Grail, but just like what happens to those unworthy of Excalibur, he turned to dust. Merlin was scared, but he figured he had two options: die of thirst or try to drink the water from the Grail and risk dying anyway. The Holy Grail deems him worthy, however, and after drinking its water he suddenly finds himself with magical powers and turns the desert into a forest.

A thousand years later, he is a well-known sorcerer in the village he lives in, and he meets a woman named Nimue. Surprisingly, he can’t see the future when it comes to her, but she tells him that a man named Vortigen burned her village to the ground and she was the only survivor. She wants revenge on him and she thinks that the best revenge would be to plant the seeds she has saved from a flower that only blossomed around her village. That way, Vortigen would know that he hadn’t killed everything and that her village lived on somewhere else.

Merlin is completely enchanted by her and they soon fall in love. He wants to propose and confesses to her that he is thousands of years old and immortal. So he doesn’t want to marry her and only have her for a brief period of time and then be left behind when she dies. Nimue suggests that maybe she could drink from the Grail and become immortal too, but Merlin doesn’t want that. He would rather lose his powers, so he can live a normal, human life by her side. In order to do that, he needs to transform the Holy Grail into a sword and that will take away his immortality. And that’s how Excalibur came to be.

All seems to go well, but Vortigen shows up and tries to take the sword. When Merlin doesn’t give it to him, he threatens Nimue and then proceeds to kill her when she struggles. Merlin is overcome with grief as he watches Nimue die and my heart totally broke for him. It turns out, however, that the sneaky woman had drunk from the Holy Grail and gained powers as well. So she surprises Merlin by ripping Vortigen’s heart out and crushing it. When she used her powers to kill someone the darkness took over and, thus, the mighty Dark One was born. She breaks Excalibur, so Merlin wouldn’t be able to take away her powers, and flees. Merlin puts Excalibur in the stone with his Apprentice’s help and performs a spell on the broken piece of the sword, forging the dagger that commands the Dark One.

How tragic is it that the original Dark One was the love of Merlin’s life, who became his mortal enemy, and trapped him inside a tree for thousands of years?

We fast forward to six weeks ago and what the heroes were up to in Camelot. Merlin enlists Emma’s help to make Excalibur whole again, but in order to do that they need to get the first spark of mankind and, lucky for them, the one who has it is the very first Dark One. So what Merlin needs her to do is to summon the original Dark One, which is not risk-free because the darkness might consume Emma and she could end up killing Merlin.

I have to say that I really, really enjoyed the Camelot part of this episode – especially Emma and Merlin. She confesses to him that she has done some dark things already and that she can feel the darkness taking over. When it’s revealed that the original Dark One is actually Nimue, Merlin’s long lost love, Emma is just as surprised as we are. Nimue is a force to be reckoned with and she nearly wins Emma over. But our Swan fights back and Jennifer Morrison was simply brilliant in that scene. It seriously looked like she was possessed; that’s how powerful her performance was. It was breathtaking. She takes the spark from Nimue and they start their journey back to Camelot with renewed hope.

But it was all for naught, because the Charmings, Hook and Regina devised a plan to rescue Excalibur, trusting Zelena’s intel. Obviously, the Wicked Witch had an ace up her sleeve and was actually working with Arthur, who has taken a trip to Looneyville and never returned. The guy is seriously bonkers and completely obsessed. Zelena performs a spell that tethers Merlin to Excalibur and now Crazy!Arthur has control over the sorcerer.

Flashforward to present day Storybrooke and Emma makes Excalibur whole again. My bet is that all hell is about to break loose.

So what did you think? Hit the comments below or come talk to me on Twitter.

ONCE UPON A TIME will air a special two-hour episode on November 15 beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

ONCE UPON A TIME Sneak Peeks: A New Quest

once upon a time

Our heroes will be covering a lot of ground in this week’s ONCE UPON A TIME and embarking on several different quests.

In Camelot flashbacks, Merlin organizes a mission to reunite the dagger with Excalibur so that he can use the weapon to save Emma from being completely overcome by the darkness. Two groups head out: Hook, Mary Margaret, David, Regina, Robin and Zelena are tasked with breaking into Arthur’s castle to take Excalibur, while Merlin and Emma go on a journey to confront his ancient nemesis and retrieve the spark he’ll need to reforge Excalibur.

Meanwhile, we’ll be going even further back in time to see flashbacks to a young Merlin when he discovered that he was blessed with magic and immortality, giving him a new purpose. But when he falls in love with a woman named Nimue, everything changes for him and their story impacts the lives of our present-day heroes as well.

Don’t miss an all new episode of ONCE UPON A TIME on November 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

ONCE UPON A TIME Recap: Rumplestiltskin Is Finally Brave

once upon a time

Last night’s ONCE UPON A TIME presented a tale of how to get one to overcome their fears. Both in Storybrooke and back in Camelot and Merida’s lands, we saw Rumplestiltskin and Merida face their deep fears head on and conquer them, but it took a long journey to get them both in a place where they could do that.

“The Bear and the Bow” kicks off with Hook, Charming, Merlin and Belle breaking into Arthur’s dungeons in a mission to free Lancelot. To their surprise, however, they find that Merida is a prisoner there as well, so they free her too. What intrigued me about this scene, though – besides Belle being able to quickly find whatever it was Merlin needed in a book so fast – was the fact that Lancelot and Merlin seemed to know each other. Correct me if I’m wrong, but unless I missed something, Merlin had been stuck inside a tree for over a thousand years and, as far as I know, he would only reveal himself in prophecy to Arthur. So how exactly do they know each other again?

Anyway, mission accomplished and they go on their merry way. Belle trails behind the group with Merida, who was pretty impressed with Belle’s skills with a book. Just imagine what she would be able to do if there was a magical Google kind of thing. Merida decides Belle is the key for her to free her brothers and, instead of asking for her help like a normal person, she promptly knocks her out with a rock to the head and kidnaps her. So when Belle comes to, she is already far away from her friends and in a boat, where Merida says she is “a hit first, ask questions later sort of lass”, but that she would greatly appreciate it if Belle could help her, after explaining the situation about how she needs to save her little brothers and reclaim her position as Queen.

During their journey, Merida reveals that she feels incredibly guilty for her father’s death. Despite being an excellent archer, when her father needed her the most, she missed the target and the enemy ran her father through with a sword. Belle tries to convince her that she has all the skills she needs to save her brothers and that magic is not at all necessary, but Merida is determined to take this potion that will make her turn into a bear, so she can get her brothers back and defeat the clansmen who want to take her throne. When they get there, she asks for the potion and Belle gives it to her, not saying she has just switched the real potion with water. So, Merida goes forward and confronts the clansmen, who are about to execute her brothers, and takes the potion. When nothing happens for obvious reasons, Belle confesses to having switched the vials and tells she can do this.

With Belle’s pep talk, Merida saves her brothers, by shooting an arrow that stops the three arrows that were going to kill the boys. Showing this act of bravery and that she is an excellent archer earns her the respect of the clansmen, who all bow down to their Queen.

Back in Storybrooke, Emma has Merida doing her dirty work. When Rumplestiltskin escapes – by breaking Belle’s beloved chipped cup (!!!) and cutting through the rope that was tied around his hands – the Dark Swan sees this as a perfect opportunity for him to show he is a hero, so she tasks Merida to go and try to kill Belle, so Rumple can save her. It takes a while for him to overcome his fear and let go of his cowardice, and it’s only when Belle really is in mortal danger – because Emma gave Merida the real potion that would turn her into a pissed off giant bear – that he steps up and offers himself up in Belle’s place. When he is about to become the bear’s dinner, he throws a pouch of magic dust into its mouth, effectively reversing the spell.

They tie Merida up and take her back to the Dark Swan’s dungeon, where Rumple cuts them a deal with Emma. He will pull Excalibur out of the stone, but she needs to return Merida’s heart. Emma takes it, Merida gets her heart back and Rumple pulls Excalibur out. Now, what really interests me in this scene was that it took Rumple only one act of bravery for him to be worthy of the sword. Really? That smells really fishy to me. This is supposed to be the ultimate hero’s sword and super mythical and all that. Was that really all it took to get it out of the stone? I don’t think so.

Bonus points for seeing Zelena being her delightful evil self when Emma tries to ask for her help, by bribing her with delicious food. That entire exchange was brilliant and I think Zelena is totally right. It will take a while for Henry to forgive Emma, when all of this is said and done.

So what did you think? Hit the comments below or come talk to me on Twitter.

ONCE UPON A TIME returns with an all new on November 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

ONCE UPON A TIME Sneak Peek: Aiming for Belle

once upon a time

Merida is doing her best to turn Gold into a hero on ONCE UPON A TIME, but in the next episode she’s going to resort to extreme measures. Ordered by Emma to turn him in to a man worthy to pull Excalibur from the stone, Merida quickly realized that the best way to get Gold to fight was to threaten those people and things that were important to him. And so this is going to lead to a rash plan, because Merida’s next action is to threaten Belle’s life. In the clip below, we see the red haired warrior take aim at Belle in order to provoke Gold into fighting back.

Elsewhere in the episode, we’ll see Merlin recruit Belle, Hook and David to help break Lancelot out of prison in a Camelot flashback and they’ll also happen upon Merida (watch a sneak peek). When Merida heads off to find a way to save her brothers, it’s Belle who accompanies her on her adventure.

Don’t miss a new episode of ONCE UPON A TIME on November 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

ONCE UPON A TIME Sneak Peek: Prison Break

once upon a time

Merlin asks David, Hook and Belle to help him on a little quest in this week’s ONCE UPON A TIME. In a Camelot flashback, he recruits the heroes to help get Lancelot out of prison. The group finds Meridaw while in the dungeons and they free her as well. This chance encounter gives Merida hope that she can save her brothers. But she’s not willing to leave things to fate, so she brings Belle along to help her on her journey.

In present day Storybrooke, Regina, Mary Margaret and David discover a spell that would allow one of Merlin’s chosen to communicate with him. They select Arthur, but when he fails at the task they start getting suspicious.

Meanwhile, Emma orders Merida to kill Belle in hopes of forcing Gold’s transformation into a hero. Since Merida is unable to refuse Emma’s orders, Gold must find the power within himself to fight for the woman he loves.

Don’t miss a new episode of ONCE UPON A TIME on November 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

ONCE UPON A TIME Recap: How To Fix a Broken Heart

once upon a time

Dear Emma Swan, your darkness is showing.

In last night’s ONCE UPON A TIME, a few loose threads from the premiere finally made sense, as Merlin was finally freed from his tree prison and we got the first glimpse of how the Darkness is starting to cloud Emma’s judgement back in Camelot.

The first thing we see is how Merlin ended up in a tree and that is because the Dark One at the time – does anyone know who that one was? – trapped him in there. Poor, young Merlin had just lost the only woman he ever loved and was grieving the loss of his first love, so the Dark One caught one of his tears with his dagger and cast a spell that effectively trapped the wizard inside a tree.

Cut to Camelot in somewhat present time and we see that Emma has been watching the scene of Merlin getting trapped in the tree through a dreamcatcher. Apparently, an enchanted dreamcatcher can show someone’s memories and Emma got a hold of this one and figured out how the wizard got trapped and how they can free him. She enlists Regina’s help, after stopping her from giving her dagger to spellbound Charming and Snow.

Regina comes up with the idea that the missing ingredient for this spell to work is the same that trapped Merlin in the first place: a tear shed because of a broken heart. So she volunteers to shed said tear and Emma gives her one of the dreamcatchers so she can relive the memory of her mother killing Daniel – her first love. Everything seems to go great, but her broken heart is not so broken anymore because of Robin, and the tear she shed was not powerful enough to make the spell work.

That’s when Henry makes an appearance to save the day and become a hero. He set up an elaborate date at Granny’s and invited Violet over. He was so adorable and nervous and I wanted to pinch his cheeks because he was so cute. But then Violet completely shatters his hopes and dreams when she tells him that she only likes him as a friend. Ouch.

When he finds his moms trying to cast the spell to free Merlin, he is completely heartbroken and cries the loss of his Violet in their arms. Turns out, the timing was perfect because his tear is exactly what they need. Even when Arthur shows up trying to stop them, they still manage to complete the spell and finally free Merlin, who promptly tells Arthur what a huge disappointment he is. Good for you, dude.

With Merlin free, they immediately undo the spell on Charming and Snow and it’s time for the wizard to get the Darkness out of Emma. He asks her if she is ready, because it won’t work unless her heart is ready to let go of the Darkness, and I guess we all know the answer to that, since Dark Swan cast a curse on everyone and is now in Storybrooke trying to get Excalibur out of the stone.

That leads us to present day Storybrooke. Emma has a room full of dreamcatchers – where I am assuming everyone’s memories are – and orders Merida to make a hero out of Rumple, who has reverted back to his old self before his Dark One days and is a total coward. Their sessions in the woods were so completely entertaining and I am absolutely in love with Merida. Can we keep her? Please? The girl sure has spunk. That final scene, where she gets the chipped cup and taunts him with it, was absolutely brilliant!

Elsewhere, they find out the dude from Camelot, that had supposedly stolen a magical bean, vanished from his prison cell and Snow decides that they should do something so people won’t lose hope and yadda yadda yadda. So they decide a party is in order and Snow is super excited to organize it.

Henry is super into Violet – and doesn’t remember having his heart broken back in Camelot – so he invites her to the party. Except the girl is super sad because her horse, Nicodemus, escaped from the stables. Henry makes it his mission to bring the horse back and enlists Emma’s help, to try and help her do something good and give back Violet’s happy ending, just like old times. And it does feel like old times and everything goes according to plan: they find the horse and Henry arrives at the party like a knight in shining armor, riding the horse and earning the seal of approval from Violet’s father.

And everything goes to hell when he goes home because, while he was out with Emma, Regina, Hook and everyone went to the Dark Swan’s house to find out what she is up to. They find Excalibur – thus figuring out what her plan is - and the dummies are working with Arthur in order to get the sword back.

Regina takes one of the dreamcatchers, thinking it could be one of their memories, so they would finally find out what prompted Emma to cast the curse in the first place. Except the memory is Violet’s and we find out that Emma took her heart out and commanded her to break Henry’s heart, so she could get his tear and free Merlin. Henry sees everything and is heartbroken all over again, the poor kid.

Regina confronts Emma and tells her she knows she was the one responsible for Henry’s heartbreak back in Camelot and the boy already knows and doesn’t want to see her.

Way to go, Emma. Pushing away everyone you love. You have successfully completed the Being the Dark One 101 course.

Don’t miss a new episode of ONCE UPON A TIME on November 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.






ONCE UPON A TIME Sneak Peeks: Emma Puts Her Plan Into Effect

once upon a time

Emma captured Merida in last week’s ONCE UPON A TIME in Storybrooke and the new Dark One has a plan for the redheaded warrior: she wants Merida to help turn Gold into the hero they need to draw Excalibur from the stone. While the other heroes break into Emma’s house hoping to locate Gold, they actually get a glimpse at Emma’s end game. But while they’re engaging in some B&E, Merida and Gold are far away from prying eyes.

Meanwhile, in flashbacks to Camelot, Mary Margaret and David try to retrieve the Dark One’s dagger, while Emma uses a dreamcatcher to glimpse into the past and see how Merlin was transformed into a tree. Emma will team up with Regina to figure out the crucial ingredient they need to free Merlin, but it turns out that Arthur doesn’t want Merlin released and will do what he can to stop them.

Finally, Henry decides to ask Violet on a date in Storybrooke after some encouragement from his mothers. And when he promises to find Violet’s missing horse, he turns to Emma for help. Will she put aside her darkness to help her son?

Don’t miss an all new episode of ONCE UPON A TIME on October 25 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.