After spending the majority of our time fleshing out King Arthur’s backstory in the Enchanted Forest and Camelot last week, “Dreamcatcher” took us back to the land of Storybrooke (a.k.a. the real world) and followed up with the residents’ quest to not only bring Emma back from the dark side, but to find out what happened to their memories. We also got to see Henry fall in love (and get his heart broken), Merida try to bring the Brave Hero out in Rumple, and Emma take drastic measures to release Merlin from the tree.
Although extinguishing Emma’s darkness is clearly the main objective this season, one of the driving forces behind the plot thus far has centered around figuring out what it was that pushed Emma over the edge. From the moment she stepped foot in the Enchanted Forest, it was evident that she was willing to fight against the darkness within to save the ones she loves. But, at some point before they were all transported back to present day Storybrooke, Emma’s family did something to her that caused her to slip. Though we don’t completely understand what it was that pushed her to let the darkness in, we finally know what happened to everybody’s memories. She collected them with dreamcatchers.
Despite the fact that she was trying to avoid using dark magic, Emma revealed to Regina that she’d seen Merlin’s tree transformation in a dreamcatcher. According to the vision, Merlin was fighting the dark one because he/she had taken away the love of his life. But, while they were going at it, the mysterious villain used one of the famed wizard’s tears to trap him in a tree. The duo deduced that using yet another tear from someone else who’d just lost their love would be the way to release Merlin.
After Regina’s tear (which was prompted after Emma used a dreamcatcher to remind Regina of the time her mother killed Daniel) didn’t work, the girls used Henry’s tear and were able to free Merlin. Unfortunately for Henry, this meant that his crush on Violet didn’t go well this week. Though they’d clicked since the moment they met, she shattered his heart by rejecting him during a dinner and a movie date. It was sad watching Henry get friend-zoned, but after finding out that Emma had actually been controlling Violet through heart control to get her to break Henry’s heart so he would produce the tear, not to mention the kiss she gave him after he brought her missing horse back, there’s hope that things will work out between them.
Following his disappointment, Henry found Emma and Regina in the woods. As soon as he started to cry, Regina took the opportunity to collect his tears. Luckily, the tears worked, and Merlin was free. As we’ve already made aware, he’d previously had a vision that the savior would be the only one able to save him. When they asked him whether it would be possible to remove the darkness from Emma, he told them that he would be able to do so as long as her heart was in it and she was ready to have it done. We don’t exactly know the answer to this yet, but there’s something about Merlin that strikes me as odd. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him betray Emma, especially since he struggled to defeat the Dark One before getting trapped in the tree.
As for Storybrooke, the heroes decided to look into Rumple’s disappearance and host a fun-filled carnival. Without the terrible memory of being rejected by Violet, Henry enlisted his mother’s help to help find his crush’s pony. It was nice to see mother and son working together like the good old days. After locating the pony, Henry brought him to the carnival to give to Violet. Both she and her father referred to Henry as a “hero” and somebody who’d make a great knight one day. This scene was in stark contrast to another that happened while they were still back in the Enchanted Forest. When Violet’s father originally encountered Henry, he told him that he wasn’t knight material, and that he should leave her alone.
Meanwhile, Merida–who we learned was being controlled by Emma–tried to bring the hero out in Rumple. After hitting a wall several times, the fiery red-head used Rumple’s love for Belle to make him fight. As soon as she showed him his precious chipped tea cup and told him that he would have to fight to win it back, he took a massive swing in her direction–despite his terrible limp. Despite being crippled for so long, it looks like he is finally building enough courage to fight back. He may be a brave hero, yet.
Aside from constantly using the term Brave, the writers have done a great job incorporating Merida without making it seem forced. A lot of this, however, hinges on how they do her origin story. We’ve heard snippets of her history, but we haven’t seen her in her element. Though the reason Emma is trying to make Rumple brave is evil, it’s also nice to see Rumple on the cusp of bravery, especially when you consider that the reason he first became the dark one was because he was such a coward.
What did you think of this episode? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t miss our interview with Robin Hood himself, Sean Maguire, on a recent episode of Nerdist News!
Image Credit: ABC