The mystery of Camelot continues in Season 5, episode 5 of “Once Upon a Time”! Last week viewers watched as King Arthur’s (Liam Garrigan) true intentions for Merlin (Elliot Knight) were revealed, and this week more of the story unravels.
Episode 5, titled “Dreamcatcher,” begins with a flashback to Camelot “many years ago.” Merlin, brandishing a dagger, approaches the Dark One, a mysterious masked person, after he/she kills his one true love. He wants to destroy the Dark One for what he/she’s done, but the Dark One bests him. The latter uses magic to force Merlin to drop the dagger and uses one of his tears to cast a spell -- the spell that turned him into a tree.
It turns out that Emma (Jennifer Morrison) saw this flashback via a dreamcatcher. It’s dark magic, but it’s exactly what Emma needs to know in order to find out how to free Merlin from the tree.
Emma goes to Regina (Lana Parilla), who is about to give an enchanted Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) and David (Josh Dallas) the dagger. She uses her dark magic to freeze her parents while she fills Regina in on Arthur’s curse and the dreamcatcher.
Regina’s suspicious but ultimately decides to follow Emma’s lead. However, she’s not happy that Emma’s using dark magic. She warns her friend that it’s a slippery slope, but Emma insists that she’s different.
“All due respect,” Emma tells Regina, “I’m not you.”
After explaining what happened with Merlin, Regina suggests that they use the “venom” to create an “anti-venom” -- the tear of lost love. Now they just have to find someone who had their heart broken.
Meanwhile, Henry’s (Jared S. Gilmore) continuing to bond with Violet (Olivia Steele Falconer). It seems as if the two are really hitting it off, but Violet’s father is not a fan of Henry. He finds Henry practicing fighting with a sword in his barn and is not impressed. He tells the teen that his daughter deserves a hero, someone who can protect her -- and Henry is not that person.
Henry meets up with his moms while practicing with the sword and tells them what happened with Violet’s father. They explain that he should be himself, which makes Regina realize that she possesses the ingredient that could help them free Merlin. Emma uses the dreamcatcher to show Regina the death of her first true love. The vision triggers a tear, which Emma captures for their spell.
Elsewhere, Henry takes the advice from his moms and plans a romantic dinner at Granny’s for Violet. However, when Violet figures out that Henry is “courting” her, she tells him that she’s not interested in him other than a friend. Henry thinks it’s because of her father, but Violet insists otherwise.
Henry’s loss is Regina and Emma’s gain, though. Emma uses Regina’s tear in the spell, but it isn’t strong enough because Regina moved on and healed with Robin (Sean Maguire). However, Henry’s lost love is fresh. They capture his tear, telling him that he’s a hero in their world.
Unfortunately for them, Arthur finds them before they can complete the spell. He knows that Regina is a fraud and that Emma is the Dark One. With time running out, Regina fights Arthur and his men with magic while Emma completes the spell. Light and dark magic combine to blast the tree, freeing Merlin.
“I’ve been waiting for you, Emma,” he says when he gets to his feet.
Merlin’s words aren’t as kind for Arthur. He tells the king that he “disappointed him.” But Arthur fires back that Merlin gave him “false prophecies” and sent him on an “impossible quest.” He’s ready to fight Merlin with Excalibur, but Merlin warns him that the broken sword cannot hurt him. Arthur walks away defeated, but he promises Merlin that it’s not over.
Merlin’s first order of business is to rid Mary Margaret and David of the spell that Arthur cast on him. That’s easy, but freeing Emma of the darkness is not.
“Darkness like this takes ahold of the person,” he explains.
The darkness goes deep inside a person, and only Emma knows in her heart if she’s “truly ready” to be free of it.
Back in present-day Storybrooke, the heroes decide that they need a little happiness while they continue to search for their memories. And what better way to join the people of Storybrooke and Camelot together than a dance?
Unfortunately they still have problems on their hands -- like Gold (Robert Carlyle) going missing. Belle (Emilie de Ravin) tells the others and they know that the first place they need to look is Emma’s house.
And it’s true. Emma has Gold tied up and is moving forward with her game plan to have Merida (Amy Manson) train Gold to be “brave.” She needs him to become the hero that can pull Excalibur from the stone. However, Gold’s not really cooperating.
“You will always lose the ones you love the most,” he warns her. That doesn’t sway Emma’s mind. She forces Merida to take him into the woods. But some part of the old Emma remains. She tears up as she looks at a dreamcatcher.
Meanwhile, Henry is trying to spend more time with Violet by inviting her to the town dance. However, Violet’s preoccupied after her horse goes missing. Henry sees this as his chance to be her hero, but he needs help. He goes to Emma and asks her to “prove” that the old her is still there by helping his friend find her happy ending. Emma agrees, giving viewers another hint that some light still might remain inside her. But “Once Upon a Time” fans can’t forget that she has Merida’s heart, which is forcing her to turn Gold into a hero. When Gold refuses to fight, Merida decides to go into town to find inspiration to trigger his bravery -- Belle’s chipped teacup.
With Henry preoccupying Emma with their quest to find Violet’s horse, Regina and the others break into Emma’s house. They find Excalibur and figure out that the Dark One’s dagger has the same engraving on it. They don’t know why Emma wants Excalibur out of the stone -- but they know it can’t be good.
The group doesn’t have time to stay and explore. Henry gives them a warning that they found Violet’s horse and that Emma’s heading back to the house. But Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) makes a discovery before they leave -- a dreamcatcher. Regina steals it, believing that the power it holds can help them regain their memories. However, they still need answers about Excalibur and turn to Arthur for help.
They sit down with the King of Camelot at the Storybrooke town dance, and Arthur is ecstatic to hear that they found the sword. But he’s not happy that they know about the dagger. He explains that the two weapons were one until they were broken apart. Excalibur as a whole has the power to “eradicate all dark magic forever” -- but it can also destroy all light magic.
Meanwhile, Henry arrives to the town dance on Violet’s horse. She’s ecstatic to see her horse, and so is her father. He commends Henry for making his daughter happy and tells him that he’ll make a great knight some day. He leaves the two teens alone at the dance, and Violet thanks Henry with a kiss on the cheek.
Henry’s happy that he could make Violet smile, but there is more to her story. Regina is able to get the dreamcatcher to work and discovers that it holds Violet’s memories. It turns out that Emma approached Violet in Camelot after Henry left the barn. She ripped out Violet’s heart and promised to return it, but she needed her help first.
“I need the tear of a lost first love,” Emma explained. “I need you to break Henry’s heart.”
Regina is shocked to find the role Emma played, and so is Henry. He refuses to see Emma when she goes to Regina’s to see her son.
Emma tries to tell Regina that it was for the best and to trust her, but Regina can’t. She fires back that she thought Emma would be different, causing Emma to accidentally slip and reveal that she freed Merlin in Camelot.
“But if that’s true why are you still the Dark One?” Regina asks.
Emma’s not interested in revealing any more. She leaves when Regina tells her that Henry doesn’t want to see her.