This blog contains spoilers from “Once Upon A Time” Season 5, Episode 6 — “The Bear and the Bow”
Sunday, we learned the danger in Storybrooke (and to Emma Swan) is greater than we thought. We are again taken back to six weeks ago in Camelot where we see the group working with Merlin to free Emma from the darkness.
Charming and Hook fight through the guards in the dungeon to reach Lancelot. They discover Merida has also been imprisoned. Merlin says the bars have been enchanted and his magic won’t work. Belle finds a spell in her book, which Merlin then uses to dissolve the bars.
While walking through the woods, Merida asks Belle to hang back and when the rest of the group is out of sight, she knocks her out and takes her to the Shores of DunBroche. When Belle comes to, Merida explains that the other clans refuse to recognize her as queen unless she marries one of them and they had kidnapped her three brothers. They break into a witch’s cabin and use the cauldron to check on Merida’s brothers; they see them tied to posts and the clans, tired of waiting on Merida to re-emerge, say the trio will be executed. Knowing Belle’s skill with magic, Merida persuades her to concoct a potion that will turn her into a bear.
After seeing Merida’s archery precision, Belle asks why she needs the potion — that she could take on the clans with her bravery and her bow. Merida says she missed shooting an arrow at her father’s attacker that resulted in his death.
Merida and Belle head out to save her brothers and upon their approach, Merida asks Belle for the potion. She warns the clans that they’ll regret challenging her and drinks the potion. When nothing happens, Belle tells her that it’s just water and that Merida doesn’t need the potion to save her brothers. Clan members launch arrows at the brothers, Merida draws back her bow and splits all three arrows in one shot. Shortly after, the clans lay down their weapons and kneel before Merida.
Meanwhile, at Granny’s in the woods of Camelot, Emma finds Merlin holding a candy bar and soon learns he was the usher who spoke to her in a movie theater when she was a little girl. Emma had stolen the same kind of candy right before Merlin spoke to her. He asks her if she remembers what he told her then:
“Leave Excalibur alone. The fate of everyone you love rests upon it.”
In present day Storybrooke, the Dark Swan sends Merida to hunt down Belle and kill her after Rumple escapes. Belle finds Rumple in the library and the two make their way to Gold’s shop. He grabs a pouch from a safe before an arrow crashes through the window. Merida bursts into the store, finding the pair in the back. Prodding Rumple to become the hero Emma wants him to be, she draws back to fire when Belle yanks the rug from under her and the couple escape in Gold’s car. As they’re nearing the town line, Rumple tells Belle the pouch contains transformation powder that will allow them to cross the line safely.
Realizing Rumple has returned to his cowardly ways, Belle jumps from the car and leaves Rumple behind. He seemingly drives off to safety. Belle is confronted by Merida who tells her she has reason to be afraid and downs a potion that Dark Swan gave her. She transforms into a giant bear and chases Belle through the woods. As she stands above Belle, Rumple reappears and the bear turns its sights on him. Gathering his courage, he grabs the pouch and throws it into the bear’s mouth. Merida returns to her human form. Belle asks how he knew the powder would work, Rumple says he didn’t, he just took a chance.
The trio return to Emma and Rumple makes a deal before agreeing to try to pull Excalibur from the stone. He wants Merida’s heart back and to know how her brothers are. Dark Swan reluctantly obliges and Rumple steps toward the stone and pulls it out with ease. As he’s leaving, he tells Emma that she will regret making him a hero because he knows how the Dark One thinks.
Regina, Hook and the Charmings meanwhile discover that King Arthur double crossed them in present day Storybrooke and burned the magic mushroom needed to contact Merlin instead of using it in the cauldron. Regina remembers that one other person in Storybrooke was chosen by Merlin — the Author (now Regina’s son Henry). Henry casts the mushroom into the pot and a message from Merlin appears in the smoke. He tells the group that if they’re seeing the message, then things are worse than they feared and the only hope to save Emma from the darkness now is finding a person named Nimoway. The Dark One finds Merlin before he finishes the message, leaving us wondering who Nimoway is until next week.
“Once Upon A Time” airs at 8 p.m. EST Sundays on ABC.