Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 1 Review: The Dark Swan

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The prophecy of Excalibur took on a new twist on Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 1 as the Dark One’s dagger traced back to Camelot. 

The action picked up right where it left off in Once Upon a Time Season 4 Episode 23 as Emma disappeared into the dark mist. I thought Hook’s plan to use the dagger to summon her back was brilliant. Unfortunately, Emma was no longer in their world; she was transported back to the Enchanted Forest. 

It was hard watching Emma fight the darkness and Rumpelstiltskin was perfect as the dark voice tempting her down the dark path. 

Merida (and my goodness her hair is red!) quickly became both friend and foe. There were moments when the two bonded:

Merida: In my land, people, well men, don't think a woman can lead.
Emma: Oh, not just in your land.

And then Emma was ripping the woman’s heart out of her chest. The moment Emma was tricked into using dark magic to get where she needed to be, I knew she was going to lose this fight. Like using a drug, once she got a taste of how easy dark magic could get her what she felt she needed, it was hard to turn back.

The quest to find Emma took several twist and turns. Hook and Regina’s bickering over how to save Emma gave us some of the best Once Upon a Time quotes in “The Dark Swan.”

It's not like she rode off on a unicorn. She got sucked up by a vortex of evil.


I loved that Regina now has so much good in her that she couldn’t use the magic wand. Yes, it was inconvenient in that moment, but it was proof of how far the Evil Queen has come in her quest to be a better person. 

The moment they went to visit Zelena, I knew it was only a matter of time before she got that bracelet off. As ill-conceived as their plan may have been, it was fun to watch Hook and Henry work together as partners to try and save Emma…and it did lead to an interesting revelation.

Robin immediately saw through Zelena masquerading as Regina because of true love, which as Zelena pointed out means he was no longer in love with Marian if Zelena was so easily able to fool him. Of course that didn’t keep him from sleeping with her and making a baby, but I take my upsides where I can get them.

Thankfully, Regina doesn’t need to be evil to be smart, and she was able to overpower Zelena and use the portal to get to Emma. The fact that the portal took the form of a tornado was totally cool, however I kept wondering if we were going to see Zelena’s feet sticking out underneath Granny’s house when they landed. Unfortunately, Zelena is the Wicked Witch of the West, not the East. 

Grumpy’s back in the mix for this adventure, as he’s had enough of being relegated to the sidelines although being on the frontlines may be more dangerous than expected. 

When the bickering and fear started to overtake this crew, it was Snow who pulled them all back together. Nothing will get in the way of getting to her daughter, although I question bringing their baby along on this adventure. Then again, when you transport to the Enchanted Forest you’re never really sure when you’ll be coming back which could make finding a babysitter an issue. 

Where Snow obviously went wrong was giving Emma back the dagger. Handing the Dark One their own dagger is just asking for trouble. Regina seemed like the smarter choice, but apparently even she couldn't stop Emma's trek towards darkness.

I loved that Hook was the one to convince Emma to return Merida’s heart. There’s no doubt that he and Emma still have a strong connection. Unfortunately, just not strong enough.

Six weeks after setting foot inside the walls of Camelot to look for Merlin, everyone found themselves back in Storybrooke, sans memories but wearing some awesome new outfits. 

Emma was more ominous than any Dark One we’ve seen before. 

There's no savior in this town any more.


It definitely looks as though the residents of Storybrooke are going to need one. 

Check back next week for our review of Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 2 and if you can't wait until then for the magic, you can watch Once Upon a Time online here at TV Fanatic. 

Here is your first look at Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 2:

The Dark Swan Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (106 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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