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Once Upon a Time “The Bear and the Bow” 

Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand
Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand

We might have hoped for great things after Merlin was released last week, but sadly all is not well in Storybrooke. Arthur is showing his true colors again, and people are finally starting to catch on. Rumple is also showing his true colors, but Belle keeps reminding him that somewhere inside there’s a man behind his cowardly beast.

Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand
Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand

With Merida still heartless and helpless in Storybrooke, Belle is in for a heap of trouble. It’s a shame Merida doesn’t remember those six weeks in Camelot, or perhaps she’d resist the Dark One a little harder on Belle’s behalf. After all, Belle helped her free her brothers and regain the loyalty of her people, even after being coshed on the head. It was Belle who convinced her to fight for her crown with her own talent instead of magic. It was Belle who taught her to have confidence in her own strengths. But none of that matters when the Dark Swan is holding your heart in her hands. So Merida goes after Belle with a vengeance, first with her bow, and then as a bear. The gambit works though, Rumple is forced into an act of heroism that will no doubt send ripples across all the realms. It’s hard to look at Rumple without seeing the manipulator we’ve always known, and yet it’s intriguing to think of all the ways he might screw with Emma as a heroic figure, yet with all the knowledge of the Dark One. Expect fireworks.

Even after Merlin’s reminder about the dangers of pulling Excalibur free, Emma does it anyway. Clearly she’s not a very good listener. Now we’ll see if she is capable of rejoining the two parts of the blade, and what that will mean for the world. Logic dictates that she wants the sword for evil purposes, but in her own mind she’s still the same person she was before. Has the dark magic corrupted her beyond redemption, or might she still prove worthy of the love of her family and friends? She seems to think so. Henry seems to think so too. As the Author, Henry should have a good idea of how this story is meant to flow. I have high hopes that he will find the solution.

Sadly, Henry’s luck isn’t all that good just yet. After Arthur burned the magic mushroom instead of using it to contact Merlin, Henry takes a shot at it. All he gets is a life-sized voicemail message. We must assume that Emma outwitted Merlin and has him contained somewhere safe. (Knowing her, he’s probably a tree again.) But he should be in Storybrooke so there must be a way to get him back. It seems a shame to have broken him out of his wooden prison only to lock him away again, especially since we haven’t learned the whole story behind his imprisonment yet. After all, he was awfully willing to let himself be trapped in the first place. I can’t be the only one thinking that the Dark One who trapped him is the lost love he wept for. There’s a story there I’m dying to learn.

Photo Credit: ABC/Ed Araquel
Photo Credit: ABC/Ed Araquel

Moment of Goodness: Marksmanship

Watching Merida split her own arrows shot after shot after shot renews faith in the belief that it’s okay to have a strong female character without demeaning her in some other way. Merida isn’t pining for a man. She isn’t afraid to rule her kingdom. She doesn’t manipulate with feminine wiles. She is simply herself, and unapologetic for it.

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.

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