Sunday, November 15, 2015

Once Upon a Time - Birth & The Bear King

I'm going to handle each episode separately in the post, as they really do stand apart from each other.
So first up:
5.8 "Birth"

This: Yes
from HERE
In the Storeybrook/Camelot story line Dark Swan pushes forward with her plan while Killian begins really pushing her to reveal the whole truth. In the flashbacks we see Arthur pair up with Zelena to try to manipulate Emma into making Excalibur whole again, with a lack of success.

And... that's pretty much it.

The end reveal was quite a twist, but I have to admit that throughout the episode I was starting to just feel jerked around as a viewer. Everything Emma has done said since coming back has been a smoke screen. And yes, she's been fighting the darkness in trying to undo it, but... I don't know. I just felt like it was all a set up to make us gasp, without really building anything into the story to point us to this.

Wouldn't Killian have felt something in all of this time to clue him into the fact that he was now a "Dark One"? Wouldn't someone have sensed something? Some sort of struggle? Something?
This: No.
from HERE
And ALSO, this is really bothering me, why did he suddenly go all moody and dark as soon as he found out. Like, Emma's love has made her fight this whole time and he discovers that she's given up everything to save him and he's all, "that's it I'm done." No. That's just. No.

We still don't know why Merlin isn't here or why Emma still mysteriously says he can't help anymore. I'd say he's dead, but it's more likely we're supposed to think that he's dead, but he's just incapacitated in some weird way.

Arthur continues to be a crazy pants jerk face (which is carried over into the next episode) and seriously needs to get over himself. I also feel like he knows more - that he has more of his memories from the before. He's just too sly.

I was also a bit confused about the whole, Emma couldn't light the spark until she was ready to let go of the darkness. I mean, it makes sense in the flashback, but BUT I don't understand where the spark came from in the present and how she was able to light it again to link Excalibur and the dagger.

Also, how did Excalibur get into the stone in Storebrook?

Also, also. I don't understand her plan. She's going to put all the dark magic into Zelena...somehow. And then kill Zelena with the sword? Which will somehow destroy the dark magic? Why does that sound totally like it won't work. Will Zelena be able to use that magic? And if so, how on earth does Emma think she'd be able to kill her when she's already pretty powerful and it's only going to get worse.

And won't Killian die if he's not linked to the sword anymore? Like won't that undo the magic that's keeping Killian alive and now that he's been stabbed and everything, he's dead many times over. Yes?

Two other unrelated thoughts:

1- How on earth did Arthur break that enchantment that was holding Zelena to the tree. I mean, she couldn't break it and last time I checked he has no magic, so how did he manage to undo it with a little swipe of his hand?

This gif set is basically perfect
from HERE
2- I've been watching iZombie, which is wonderful and ridiculous and I'm enjoying it very much and David Anders is in it and it was particularly hilarious seeing him back in Storybrooke as Dr. Whale and I loved the comments about his hair and that pretty much made the episode for me.

So... yeah, not really feeling this episode.

But, hey, it was a double feature tonight, so now it's on to:

5.9 "The Bear King"

In a separate and basically unrelated story line, Merida and Mulan team up to save Merida's kingdom from the witch, running into Ruby along the way and Girl Powering it up while Arthur and Zelena flounce around with really stupid schemes that they can't accomplish.

But I forgive much about this episode because actual theme development and also RED IS BACK I"M SO EXCITED I CAN'T HANDLE IT < what I actually wrote when the wolf appeared.

I would just like to point out, before moving on to the more interesting parts of the story, that Arthur needs to get a grip because he's been so obsessed with Excalibur being the "only way to save his kingdom" but now it's the helm. Basically, Arthur needs to be smacked.

But his story and the larger narrative with the Bear King and Merida connect together in a theme that ties all of our stories together this season, and overall - if you aren't enough by yourself, magic can never make you enough.

Arthur could have been a great king. Merlin saw it in him and hoped to help train him to reach the potential he saw in Arthur as a boy. Instead, Arthur fell back on Excalibur as proving his right to rule. He looked to magic to save his kingdom. He searched for the dagger so that he could feel complete. But because he relies solely on magic and manipulation, he's exposing his true weakness and the fact that he will never be a good ruler as he is now, with or without Excalibur or the helm.

Fergus was also feeling weak and looking for something magical to save his kingdom. It wasn't until he realized, through seeing himself in Merida, that his power was in himself and in his belief in his cause and in his men. He lost his life, but he saved his kingdom ultimately. The more he used the helm, the more he would have relied on it, rather than on himself and the weaker he would have become as a leader.

from HERE
Something Merida learned as well. She could have relied on the helm, searching for it, not only to save her kingdom from the witch, but using its power to cement her authority. Because she chose to believe in herself and to honor her father's legacy, she was able to earn the true respect of the clans, ensuring their loyalty in future.

Thinking back to "Birth" we see this playing out in Emma's life as well. Her reliance on the Dark Magic to get her through these situations, means that she's losing herself. Her decision to bind Killian, turning him into a Dark One rather than losing him, her plan to murder Zelena in cold blood to try to undo it. The more she tries to solve her problems through magic, the worse things become and the harder it will be for her to break free of it all. Even if she can destroy the Dark Magic by killing Zelena, something I doubt, what's going to stop her from continuing to rely on her own magic as a crutch. Regina wasn't a Dark One and she still managed to wreak quite a lot of havoc by relying on magic to solve her problems.

It was so nice to see Red again and I was grateful that we got some sort of brief explanation as to why she suddenly vanished. It does make me wonder, however, what happened with the actress that precipitated her abrupt leaving and equally abrupt return. I found it a little odd that we didn't get that scene between her and Snow and perhaps a little good-bye party rather than just a vanishing act that no one seemed to talk about. Now she and Mulan are off on their own adventures and I fear we won't see them again for some time, but at least there's closure.

Another question: how did everyone see Merida fail when she was so far away and the battle was raging around them? I mean, enough of them saw her miss to decide to KIDNAP her brothers and turn completely against her. I would think that her not being in the battle at all would have seemed more likely a reason for them to distrust her, but that wouldn't have set up her insecurities of shooting her bow to save her brothers. So, it's true because plot. *sigh*

Favorite lines from tonight?
Ruby "I kind of ate the only boyfriend I ever had"
Mulan "Yes. That disqualifies you."

Big question I have left? Why on earth is Merida in Storybrooke now?

So those were tonight's episodes. And we get a break next week (which I wish was Thanksgiving weekend instead, since I'm visiting my parents and won't be able to watch until later) so have a great holiday (if you celebrate) and I'll see you in a couple of weeks.

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