After the shocking ending of last week’s episode, waiting a whole week to watch Once Upon a Time again was a struggle. But, alas, we’ve finally made it to episode 2, and thankfully there is a ton to dissect. As we’d already figured, “The Price” danced back and forth between our heroes’ initial arrival in Camelot and the events that immediately followed the revelation that Emma, who has fully embraced the Dark One, brought the inhabitants back to the real world under another memory curse. Now, all that’s left is to meet in the middle to determine why Emma flipped.
The curious thing is that though Emma let her evil desires take over, it looks like there’s still a bit of our favorite savior left inside. When Henry summoned her at the beginning of the episode, her love for him was apparent when she told him that he wasn’t the one who “failed her.” While we still don’t know what everyone did, we now know that she doesn’t hold him responsible. It also seems like she has a soft spot for her beloved Hook. Despite his attempt to break the curse with true love’s kiss (Belle’s suggestion), she didn’t seem accusatory when she was around him. I mean, that could just be because she’s trying to manipulate him, but I have a feeling the real Emma Swan is still in there fighting back.
Back in Camelot, Emma’s motives started to come together. After meeting with Arthur, Guinevere and the rest of the royal court, we realized that Merlin is in the palace as well, but as a tree. The problem is, they need a savior to free him. Seeing as the savior is now the Dark One, Regina stepped up and stated that she was the savior. This obviously didn’t make Emma happy, but when Regina reminded her that using her magic again would be dangerous, she saw reason and agreed.
As if being the savior wasn’t hard enough already, Regina spent most of the episode questioning how she was going to fit into the new role with her past as the evil queen. Throwing her into this position was a smart idea and a great way to continue her own personal story of redemption. She’s come a long way since the first season, so it’s great to see her step up and try to do good for others as their leader. With the constant flip flopping between timelines, we see the Queen worried about something as trivial as not being able to dance at the ball, to struggling with the idea–which was planted in her head by a manipulative Emma– that the folks of Storybrooke might not think she has what it takes to save them.
As if her own worries weren’t enough, a mysterious Knight named Percival came along and made things a lot worse for Regina. Prior to the ball, he brought her a fancy necklace, stating that it was a gift for the savior from the King. But, surprise, surprise, the necklace wasn’t actually from Arthur, but part of the knight’s plan to spy on her. During her dance lessons with Snow and Charming, Regina voiced her concerns about the kingdom realizing she wasn’t the savior, but the Evil Queen. Though she’s obviously changed her ways, she knows that folks won’t take that discovery lightly. Unfortunately, Percival heard this, and tried to murder her at the ball later on. Regina obviously wasn’t hurt, but, when Robin saw the man take out the weapon, he rushed over and was fatally stabbed.
So, on top of filling the hero role, Regina also dealt with the fear of losing her true love. Since the dagger was destined to take her life, the queen hit a wall when she tried to save Robin. A desperate Regina begged Emma to use her magic despite the consequences to bring Robin back to life. Rumple (a.k.a. her inner Dark One) popped back up to sway Emma over to the dark side. But she was still strong enough to fight it, and was able to bring Robin back without any consequences–that is, until they reached present day Storybrooke.
Although Emma was the one who cast the spell, Rumple revealed to her that it was Regina who would have to pay the price. Although Robin made it out alive in Camelot, a freaky creature referred to as a Fury came to collect his life since the original debt wasn’t paid. Finally able to embrace her role as the hero and put others first, Regina offers her own life to the Fury in exchange for Robin’s. Luckily, Charming, Snow and Leroy showed up and offered themselves as well, thus lightening the burden on Regina and satisfying the dark monster. With everyone alive, they all headed back to Granny’s where a lonely Emma stood outside and watched.
Following the attempted murder of Regina, King Arthur dismissed the revelation of her identity as the Evil Queen, telling her that the only thing that matters is the person she is now. But, the reason behind his forgiving mood was explained later on, as he revealed to Guinevere that he’s willing to tolerate the group because he knows they’ll bring them a step closer to the Dark One’s Dagger–which he needs to make Excalibur whole again.
The episode ended with Rumple (inner Dark One, not real one) popping back up When Emma asked him why he’s back now that she’s let the Dark One take over, he informed her that they have more work to do. He explained that the thing that stopped past Dark Ones from taking over were the friends, loved ones, and heroes in their life who were able to stand in the way. But now that the dagger is in her possession, and that Excalibur returned to Storybrooke along with them, making the famed sword whole again would snuff out the light once and for all. Despite having the sword right in front of her, Emma was unable to pull it out. Merlin’s foreboding warning at the beginning of last week’s episode finally makes sense.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know in comments below.