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Monday, October 12, 2015

Once Upon A Time - Season 5, Episode 3 Recap: Arthur Is A Toadstool-Sucking Douchebag

We begin this evening in the mines with the dwarves, who get a surprise visit from Emma. She's decided to take Happy's pickaxe, and when he protests, she shares this bit of advice:

"When your name is on something, hold onto it."

And I call that a serious clue. I'm calling it for sure now, though I've had an inkling from the beginning. I don't think Emma is controlling her dagger, despite having it in her hands last episode. Someone else is calling the shots here. Remember when Hook begged her to tell him what happened last week? Her answer was "I wish I could tell you." Not "no" or "Eff you" or "I'm not going to tell you," but "I wish I could tell you." That's another little clue, I think.

Flashback now to Camelot where Regina's trying to whip up a potion to free Merlin from the tree. Snow suggests that they talk directly to Merlin via a magic toadstool she located in a book called "The Crimson Crown" which grows only in the Forest of Eternal Night. (I'm sure the forest is strictly forbidden to all students at Camelot castle, too). David pawns baby Neal off on Snow and goes with Arthur, who addresses him as 'Your Majesty'.

Helloooo? Continuity? Last week, I remarked that they introduced Snow at the royal ball as "Lady Mary Margaret" instead of Princess (or Queen) Snow White and the only explanation anyone had for that bit of inconsistency was that maybe the royals were trying to stay undercover. Obviously, that isn't the case. Anyway, enough bitching about continuity.

Let's go forward now to Storybrooke, where Regina's looking at the same book she was studying in Camelot, with the pic of the funky toadstool marked by a question mark. In stomp the dwarves, all pissed about Emma and her axe-thieving ways.

"Stop being a scared parent - be our sheriff!" Leroy demands, ready to lead a seven dwarf march down main street, singing about the chains of their oppressors. It's a bit much, Leroy. Nobody's a raging anti-dwarfite, here.

David's starts getting all manly and punching shit 'cause he can't stop Emma from stealing axes. He feels like he failed her because he should have stopped her from going dark. Snow reassures him with "In any world, you are my hero. Remember?" That line left a taste in my mouth. Talk about sappy.

In walks Arthur, with an urgent need. His relicary has been robbed, and a magic bean has been taken. So rare, those beans. How the hell did it take Rumplestiltskin a century of searching to never find one? It's only Season five and we've come across a good half-dozen, not to mention Regina had a growing bean plant in a terrarium in her office in Season two that no one's ever discussed. Sheesh.

Back at Emma's palatial digs, she's trying the dwarf axe on the rock holding Excalibur and it fails. Dark Rumple gives a giggle and tells her:

"We want you to snuff out the light, so we want you to find a hero to pull Excalibur from the stone."

Is there a mouse in his pocket? We???

Back in Camelot, Regina and Zelena have a little chat - once Regina zaps her voice back. Zelena immediately starts the sarcasm rolling and Regina tells her she can't take the child away from Robin. Zelena points out that they were going to do the same damn thing to her, really getting pissy until Regina takes her voice again. She promises Zelena that the baby will be safe and loved, but she won't promise the same for it's mother.

David and Arthur, meanwhile, have gone full-on Knight in gorgeous costumes, Arthur shows off the round table and mentions that (a) Percival's chair is empty and he's got no beef with David for killing a man who needed to be killed (even though David could have just disabled the guy and would have done so in previous seasons) and (b) many of his knights are kings and princes in their own realms and they all sit in the same chairs. Oh, except this one special one. That chair is the Siege Perilous, held for the knight who takes on the bravest quests.

Lancelot held that chair, and David brings up the whole "cheating on Arthur's wife" thing, which is obviously a sore subject. Then David informs Arthur that Lancelot bit the big one. Arthur seems genuinely saddened, even though the circumstances of Lancelot's departure was predicated by that big, strapping, gorgeous hunk of knighthood shagging of his wife senseless.

Arthur's squire interrupts that steaming mental picture to bring in the chest - or relicary - that holds all their sacred magical items, Arthur suggests that they take "The unquenchable flame" a fire taken from the burning bush itself. Oooooh! They're bringing in bible mythology now. What's next? Plagues? Arks? Pillars of salt? This could be fun.

Forward to Storybrooke now, where David's questioning the squire, a guy by the name of Gryff, who was guarding the now-empty relicary. Gryff suggests that maybe the Dark One took their stuff. Arthur smacks that right down, pointing out that the lock has been pried and Emma woudn't need tools to open a lock. David gets an idea and off he goes.

Finally - Hook! He shows up at Granny's to talk to Robin. Robin pulls out a cellphone pic of his rape baby and when Hook asks what that is he replies;

"Its a picture from up inside Zelena."

Hook makes a face and responds with "Whoa - mate..."

Ha! TMI, Robin, TMI. It's an ultrasound picture, of course, and despite the circumstances, he's happy to have a baby.

Hook mentions that Emma's not the same and tells Robin about the door in Emma's house. Granny shows up with a sack of vittles that Hook didn't order, but it comes with a note from Emma, telling him to meet her on his ship.

He heads for the Captain's cabin, and is more than a little wary when she poofs in out of nowhere.


She poofs up a recreation of their first date, including dress, hairstyle and checkered table cloth (but with the comfort-food addition of grilled cheese and onion rings), really going for the gut as she tries to calm his red flag-raising instincts that tell him this woman isn't to be trusted.

Flashback to Camelot, where David is doing some male-bonding with Arthur on their way to fetch the toadstool. Arthur mentions he started out poor and peasant, and David's all "Shepherds represent!" and then they're swapping "My wife can out archery your wife" barbs. Arthur says that he wasn't always a great guy - especially back when Lancelot and Guinevere were banging, but he's made a conscious decision "to fix things."

They spy the magic toadstool sitting in a pool of sunlight over a half-submerged bridge and David says "I'll go." Arthur's like "knock yourself out, dude," and David runs for it, not noticing the floating knight-parts in the dark water.

Forward to Storybrooke where Belle has found a healing spell that she's going to attempt on Rumple. She needs one last ingredient - something that touched him when he was still a man, before he became The Dark One.


David and Arthur arrive to ask if anyone's come in to pawn an extremely rare and amazingly hard to find magic bean and Belle acts like that's an everyday occurrence but she shrugs and tells them no. Not today. Nobody had this incredibly hard to find thing that can take us all back to our land and cross realms today.

David finds a chalice from the dwarves recently celebrated "Doctoberfest" (I want to go to Doctoberfest!) and decides to use it to his advantage in finding the thief. He heads out to the forest, where he announces to the gathered people of Camelot that it's the "Chalice of Vengeance" and it will identify the thief. He orders them to line up and drink from it. Rather than tip his hand (or steal quietly away) Arthur's squire takes off on horseback, with David in pursuit.

After a horse and car chase that would do Starsky and Hutch proud, David climb out the truck window leaving Arthur to drive, picks up a wooden two-by-four of convenience out of the bed of the truck and knocks the squire off the horse.

Flashback to the Forest of Eternal Night, and David's got the toadstool. He heads back across the semi-submerged bridge only to find his way blocked by suits of armor that have come to life. He fights them all (Arthur is strangely nowhere to be found) but they knock him off the bridge and try to drag him under the water of the bog. Finally, Arthur shows up and pulls him out.

Forward to Storybrooke, where Hook is asking Emma about the locked door in her house. She doesn't answer that question and instead asks him to trust her. Emma admits she's different, but better. She claims to have more clarity and less fear.

"Are you suggesting we move forward in a real relationship?" Hook asks.

When Emma brings up the fact that Rumple fell for Belle after he was the Dark One, Hook admits - with a good deal of self-loathing - that he was the villain in he and Rumple's scenario. He tells Emma how he held his cutlass to Rumple's throat when all the poor guy was doing was trying to save his family. Emma asks him to trust her once again.

"I'm done humoring you," he bites out. He knows Emma needs something. Emma assures him that all she needs is his trust.

"Do you love me?" she asks.

"I loved you." he answers flatly. And my heart breaks in little bitty pieces as Emma poofs the hell out of there.


Some people are upset that Killian seems to be giving up, but you're forgetting that Hook is nobody's fool. The best - and surest - way to get Emma back is to methodically and unwaveringly go after the threat. In this case, the threat is Dark Emma, and Hook won't play her games - they'd only derail him from his course. Buck up, Captain Swan shippers. This is a man who loves deeply enough to carry him through centuries. He's not giving up.

Flashback to Camelot again, and David's lost the toadstool in the bog. He also finally realizes he's not been given much in the way of hero stuff beyond kissing a princess (although, I would argue that sword fighting with a baby in your arms and sending the baby to safety with your last breath is pretty good hero-fodder). Arthur points out that he pulled a sword out of a rock to get famous. He invites David to stay in Camelot..

In Storybrooke, David questions the squire, who admits he's tired of being used and taken advantage of by Arthur. He also mentions there was no bean in the relicary. Arthur says the dude isn't lying so it's possible the bean was removed during the six weeks that have gone missing. Walking back to the truck, David stumbles across the magic toadstool. Arthur has no idea what it is, and if it fell from the squire's bag, it must've been added to the relicary just recently.

David takes the toadstool to Regina, who recognizes it from the book (and it's giving David some good strong deja vu as well). They may be able to use the toadstool as a walkie-talkie since it communicates between realms and they might be able to talk to Merlin.

"David," Snow whispers simperingly, "You did it!"

He smiles proudly, clearly pleased that his toe nudged a mushroom under a blanket and reaffirmed his manhood and leadership capabilities.

All right, I have to address this. I appreciate the writers listening to the fans when we snarked on David turning to a bumbling buffoon milktoast and remarked about how he and Snow were pretty much ignoring or misplacing their baby last season, but this season has really been overkill, don't you think? Who brings a baby into a diner about to be hit by a cyclone? And the baby has consistently been in the arms of a parent - which is nice but really not necessary. You brought Granny to Camelot, and Belle. You've got babysitters. And who flooded David with testosterone? Last week he's skewering people and this week he's punching walls and smacking hapless squires with two-by-fours from a moving truck. I love when he gets to be badass, but it's a bit much, guys.

Flashback now to Camelot, where David, resplendent in princely gear is knighted and added to the round table. He heads for Percival's chair, and Arthur directs him to the Siege Perilous instead.This has to be by design. I'm still not trusting Arthur.

(Sidenote: Every time they show the round table, I start singing "We're knights of the round table, we dance when 'ere we're able! We do routines and chorus scenes and footwork impecc-able!")

David sits and everybody applauds and baby Neal - who is in his very attentive mother's arms - starts crying so Snow heads out of the room to comfort him.

In the hallway, she sees a ghost - Lancelot is back from the dead. He warns her of a terrible villain in Camelot - Arthur. He tells Snow that Camelot is not what it seems. Ha! I knew it! Arthur's seemed shady from the get-go.


Later that night, Arthur and Guinevere are hanging at the round table, and Arthur reveals that he's got the magic toadstool.

Forward to Storybrooke, and Arthur shows up at the jail to talk to the squire, who asks to be released, especially since he did everything his king asked: stealing the relicary and giving David a prefabricated story. Arthur says no dice and vents his ire on the fact that David lied about Emma being the Dark One. He wants to take over Storybrooke and build a new Camelot. He gives Gryff poison from the Agrabah vipers and tells him he has to drink it, so they don't compel him to speak out against his king. The poor sap does just that and poofs away.

Across town, Hook seeks out Robin at Granny's. He wants to know what's behind that door in Emma's basement and suggests that they team up because he needs a thief.

Belle rushes into Granny's to pick up lunch and her rose is suddenly becoming whole again. Rumple is waking up.She rushes back to the shop only to find Rumple gone. He's now in the basement of Emma's house.

Emma has found something that touched Rumple when he was a man - Hook's cutlass, which she's holding over Rumple's prone body now. She crushes it, waking him up.


According to Dark Rumple, Good Rumple's heart is a blank slate, which can be useful. Emma can make him into the purest hero who's ever lived.

"I have a job for you," she whispers. And we fade out on a dazed and confused Rumplestiltskin.

Despite the overkill of David testosterone and the serious deficit of Regina snark, I'm giving this one five dark daggers out of five.


There was some good exposition, those costumes were on point, Arthur is the creep I knew him to be, Hook was his tortured best and Rumple is finally awake. Things are going to get interesting, folks. Strap in and enjoy the ride!

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