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There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

While I do think that them constantly relying on amnesia in this show is getting very, very tired, there are a lot of aspects of the current storyline that I genuinely like. Regina’s journey in this episode has been so long coming, and I dig redemption storylines when they feel duly won. We’ve seen her overcome her past and her darkness and take responsibility and change. Now it’s five seasons later and she wants to be the savior. That’s a big deal, and it’s one of the things OUAT has done well at. So golf clap for you, OUAT. Previously on Once Upon a Time, the whole gang went to Camelot to try and find Merlin. But then they show up back in Storybrooke six weeks later with no memories, and Emma’s now fully the dark one. Her make up is kind of weird? It’s silly but endearingly silly, I think. Jen is definitely doing her best to pull off the white hair and emo clothing. Anyway she says everyone failed her and she cursed them to not know what they did. Which seems kind of counter productive if you want someone to suffer for things they did, but don’t spell out what it is. Unless there’s a reason she’s done all this. I want to know, and that’s a good thing. It’ll keep me coming back!

So Emma’s the Dark One and everyone’s panicking. The dwarves try to leave town, but she’s done a new curse where if you cross the boundary you turn into a tree. Oooookay. I think this is definitely related to the fact we see Merlin has been cursed into a tree in Camelot. Only the Savior apparently can get him out. Regina presents herself as the savior, using the dagger to hold back Emma. Later she explains it’s because Emma shouldn’t use her magic since the darkness will control her when she does. As usual their friendship is one of the highlights of the show. I love women supporting each other and being BFFs. In Camelot Regina reveals she can’t dance. This seems … needlessly silly. Of course she can. Her mother would certainly have taught her to dance if she wanted to marry her off, come the fuck on. I guess it just gives her the chance to bond with the Charmings? Whatever. Regina feels like she can’t pull off being the savior. Percival gives her a special amulet and then tries to kill her at the ball, revealing he knows who she was since he came from a land she wrecked. Robin takes a stab wound for her. Why didn’t Regina just teleport away? She’s not powerless. We’ve seen her react much more quickly to this with magic, and she has no reason to hide her magic since all of Camelot knows she’s the savior. This is ridiculous. Okay fine Robin is dying and she begs Emma to save him using magic, despite what she said before. Emma does, although her evil Dark One Rumple reminds her that all magic comes at a price. Life is definitely for a life, which we’ve seen before on this show. Of course they also never care about the rules.

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Back in Storybrooke, Emma sees Henry and assures him it wasn’t his fault. She also seems to have no real problem with Hook, since she’s willing to mack on him and brings him to her new house. So is it just Regina and her parents she’s mad at? It’s a little weird to me that this show always presents female sexual aggression as an evil trait. Regina’s sexual appetite/control over men was often used as an evil trait, and now Emma’s all over Hook the eviler she is. I just sort of side eye the implications there. Anyway she insists this is who she is now, and that she doesn’t actually need to be fixed. I’m kind of agreeing with her at the moment, go figure. I guess I just haven’t really seen her do anything that makes me think in my gut this isn’t the same person. Because Rumple was definitely still in the Dark One, they were just mixed together. He was corrupted by the darkness, but the man he always was still existed in there. I think Emma’s been fighting her dark side for a long time, especially last season when we know that her parents forced all her darkness out into Lily. Except we also knew that Emma was a thief and did plenty of questionable things in her youth; she has darkness to her. Not all darkness has to be terrible, show. Eh, who am I talking to, this is OUAT.

Robin gets kidnapped by a Fury, who is there because he should’ve died in Camelot and now his life is forfeit. For some reason. Regina confronts Emma who says that it wasn’t her who brought the Fury there, but that Regina has to stop blaming everyone else for her failures. I liked this since it came so soon after her blaming Rumple for everything. That guy definitely deserves some of the credit, but Regina’s at her best when she accepts responsibility for her own actions. But Emma, if you don’t want people blaming you for everything, maybe you should give them a little more of their memory so they know how they failed instead. I’m just saying. Robin is saved because the Charmings and even Grumpy give up their life force to join with Regina, which was actually very sweet. Okay so I’m not made of stone shut up. Everyone celebrates in Granny’s and Emma stands outside moping, not unlike how Regina felt the same long ago. The Dark One points out that she could rid herself of all her connections and it has to do with Excalibur, which she has. Oh also Arthur and all his people are in Storybrooke, probably because of Emma, still not sure what’s going on for them under the surface. Something’s going on. No Lancelot though? More Lancelot!

Overall this was a decent episode. Emma keeps implying there’s worse things to come. It’s hard to say how fully Dark she is? Is there a bigger danger coming and some of this is actually to protect most of them? That’s probable since they’ll want Emma to come out the other side of this still a hero. I’m guessing Merlin might be evil, which I really don’t want and would make me sad, but it’s possible. I like Regina’s journey to now. I like Dark Emma? IDK maybe I’m inclined to be sympathetic with her because this show gets way too black and white about people and their morality. The fact everyone keeps saying something is wrong with her, even if it is true, makes me think of when she was afraid of her powers last season and how they were afraid of her. Like maybe if you stop going WE NEED TO FIX YOU she’ll have a better chance of being fixed with support? Hm. So far it’s gripping me more than the end of last season.

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