Note: This post contains spoilers for ABC’s Once Upon a Time. Proceed with caution.
Following her run-in with Emma during the season premiere, Merida’s whereabouts during the Enchanted Forest timeline (6 weeks prior to the present day Storybrooke timeline) was left a mystery until this week’s episode, “The Bear and the Bow.” Well, we did see her briefly when Lancelot was thrown in Camelot’s dungeon two weeks ago, but we weren’t told how she ended up there, until today. Thanks to a conversation with Belle, we learned that she was captured by Arthur’s men while using the wisp to locate her brothers and was thrown into the dungeon. Not too long after being joined by Lancelot, however, the duos were rescued (thanks to the spell book Belle had in her possession) by the heroes and a recently freed Merlin.
Despite Merida’s desire to find out what happened to the wisps, Arthur told her they’d find another way to rescue her brothers, and that they needed to get out of there. Though she played along, it didn’t take long for her to figure out how to separate Belle from the crowd, knock her out, and kidnap her. Apparently, she was impressed by Belle’s ability to think on her feet during the jail break, and thought she’d be able to use the book to help her find her siblings.
It was certainly nice to see the girls working together. Once Upon a Time is always at it’s best when it focuses on strengthening the bond between characters. After Belle woke up, Merida told her about her plan and they entered a nearby witch’s home to use a cauldron. After seeing that her brothers were going to be murdered by sundown unless she intervened, she asked Belle to mix a potion that would turn her into a bear–similar to what happened to her mother in Merida’s original Disney Pixar film, Brave–because she thinks it is the only way to overpower the clansmen.
Belle, however, told Merida that she thinks she is more than capable of winning her people’s respect without resorting to magic. After arriving at Dun Broch, Merida explained to Belle that the reason she’s so intent on using magic is because she blames herself for her father’s death. It turns out that she noticed a knight sneaking up on her father, but when she aimed her bow at him, she missed. With that tale, Belle seemingly weakened a bit and handed the potion over to Merida. But, being the clever girl she is, Belle decided to swap out the potions because she knew Merida wouldn’t be able to fight for her family unless she was pushed.
With her back up against the wall, the Queen was forced to save her siblings by shooting one single arrow and hitting all three of the enemy arrows which were speeding towards her brothers. As Belle suspected, this was enough to get the citizen’s attention, because everyone bowed before their rightful ruler. With the support of her clan, and three very alive brothers, Merida decided to stay with her people, while Belle returned to her family.
Merida wasn’t the only one Belle helped this episode. After finally emerging from his coma few episodes ago, Rumple finally reunited with Belle. Unfortunately in order to get back to her, however, Rumple had to break his prized chipped tea cup so he could use the shattered pieces to cut through the ropes that were bound around his wrists. He was then able to make it back to the library where he surprised Belle, and thanked her for sticking with him after everything he put her through. It was her voice that kept him going, instead of slipping off into the void.
Their reunion didn’t last long, though. Soon after, they were on their way to the shop to retrieve some magic dust that would transport them safely over the town line without repercussions. Once Rumple explained what he had in mind to Belle, she told him that there were still a ton of people they know and love to save back in town. Since she obviously not having any of his nonsense, she forced him to stop the car so she could get out and walk.
Much to her surprise, she ran into Merida, who then used a potion to transform into a bear–all because Emma didn’t want to take any chances. Just when it seems like Belle is lost, Rumple showed up and told Bear-ida to do her worst. Then, with the dust he had been planning on using to get over the border, he transformed Merida back into her true form. It was great to see Rumple man up and finally become a hero, despite all of the whining he did about being a coward from the very beginning.
With Merida stopped, the pair took her back to Emma’s and tried to make a deal with the Dark One. Rumple would pull Excalibur from the stone, as long as Merida’s heart was returned. Emma surprisingly agreed, but before he attempted to removed the sword, Rumple gave a heartfelt apology to Belle, explaining how he wished he could have been the man she deserved because he knew what would happen if he wasn’t able to remove Excalibur. Luckily (or unluckily), he was able to remove it, and Merida was given her heart back. On his way out, Rumple told Emma that making him a hero was a mistake and that he would be able to stop her. I for one can’t wait to see what he’ll do as the new savior, especially now that he’s “brave.”
While all of this was going on, the rest of the town’s inhabitants were busy trying to contact Merlin. Since they had a crimson cap, they figured they would be able to use Arthur to throw it in a cauldron and replicate the spell. Unfortunately, after asking to be alone, Arthur threw the mushroom into the flames and told them the he was unable to reach the wizard. After they discovered this, the group reached out the Henry and asked him to help save his mother. But once they finally got it to work, they only got Merlin’s voicemail, which provided them with a clue that told them that they needed to seek help from Nimue. The plot thickens…
What did you think of this week’s episode? Are you excited to see Nimue next week? Let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: ABC