Once Upon a Time Recap: The Dark Swan Rises as Emma Battles Her Inner Rumpelstiltskin

Jennifer Morrison
Emma Swan's (Jennifer Morrison) journey as the new Dark One continues in the Once Upon a Time Season 5 premiere. (ABC/Jack Rowand)

All daggers come with a price, dearies!

Once Upon a Time kicked off Season 5 with everything viewers have come to love about this magical series. Hearts were getting ripped right out of their chests, swords were being pulled out of stones, and a new Dark One started coming into her own. But hey, that's just a typical Sunday for these characters. So sharpen those daggers and ready yourselves for the Holy Grail of recaps below.

Double-Edged Sword

It wouldn't be OUAT without at least one major flashback scene. This one took place in Minneapolis, 1989, and found a young Emma sneaking into a movie theater to watch Disney's animated feature, The Sword in the Stone. (Camelot foreshadowing, anyone?) But right after she managed to steal some candy from an unsuspecting woman's coat, an usher came over to speak to her — not about stealing the candy, but to warn her about Excalibur.

He said, one day, she will have the opportunity to remove the legendary sword from its stone, but she must never touch it. She must leave Excalibur alone. Why? He disappeared without any further explanation, so that's hard to say. But at least she got to eat the candy she took, so the day wasn't a total loss.

Cloak and Dagger

Meanwhile, in a land far, far away, a soon-to-be King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) and his loyal knights Percival (Andrew Jenkins) and Lancelot (Sinqua Walls) came across Excalibur, which was currently stuck in a stone (as most fairy-tale swords tend to be). But when Arthur pulled Excalibur out, he noticed that the bottom part of the blade was broken off. He makes a vow to find its missing half so that the sword can once again be whole. The only problem is, that missing piece of the sword is actually being used as a dagger. In fact, it's the very dagger that controls the Dark One. (Dun, dun, dunnnn!!!!)

Once Upon A Time- Men
Courtesy ABC

Emma Where Art Thou?

Last time viewers saw Emma (Jennifer Morrison), she was sucked into a giant dark vortex, leaving nothing but her dagger behind. So, obviously, everyone still in Storybrooke went into full-on panic mode trying to figure out where she could've been taken. Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) tried summoning her with the dagger, but Regina (Lana Parrilla) explained that it wouldn't work since Emma was no longer in their world.

Thankfully, the Apprentice just so happened to have a magical wand on hand that would allow all of them to cross realms and find Emma, but it needed to be wielded by both light and dark magic. Now that Regina is more good than evil, that immediately ruled her out, which left Zelena (Rebecca Mader) as their only option. At first, she tried to use the wand for her own means so she could return to Oz. But Regina was always two steps ahead of her and managed to hijack Zelena's portal so that it would take them (along with everyone in Granny's Diner) to Emma's current location. (Hey, there are certainly worse ways to travel.)

A Brave New World

Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) may still be in a coma back in Storybrooke, but when Emma appeared back in the Enchanted Forest as the new Dark One she came face-to-face with his Rumpelstiltskin counterpart. But it wasn't really Rumpel she was seeing, but rather a dark figment of her imagination (her inner-Dark One, if you will), goading her to embrace her powers. And it almost worked.

Determined to find Merlin so that he can destroy the darkness within her, Emma set out to find a magical wisp that leads its user to wherever they wish to go. (In this case, it would be to find Merlin.) The only problem was that someone else wanted the wisp as well — a "brave," Scottish, red-haired princess that goes by the name Merida (Amy Manson). Merida explained that she needed the wisp to save her three kidnapped brothers, but offered to take Emma along and give her the wisp once she's done with it. But, as Emma's inner-Rumpel was quick to point out, the only way to use the wisp after Merida would be to kill her.

Once Upon A Time- Woman
Courtesy ABC

Thankfully, the Storybrooke gang arrived just in time to talk Emma down and prevent her from crushing Merida's heart into a pile of dust. But Emma knew that she still couldn't be trusted, so she decided to give the dagger to Regina and made her promise to use it to destroy her if she can't be saved.

Welcome to Camelot

On their way back to Granny's Diner (which is now taking up residence in the Enchanted Forest), Emma and Co. were interrupted by King Arthur's arrival. Apparently, he had been expecting Emma to show up for quite some time since it was prophesied that she would be the one to reunite him with Merlin. He invited them all back to his kingdom of Camelot.

Cut to six weeks later: Granny's Diner arrives back in Storybrooke with everyone inside dressed in medieval garb and no memory of what happened over the past six weeks. Well, everyone except Emma, that is. However, she isn't the Emma they know anymore. She's officially transformed into the Dark Swan. Hook demanded to know how this happened, to which Emma responded saying, "You went to Camelot to get the darkness out of me. And you failed." This prompted Regina to reach for the dagger, only to realize that it's no longer in her possession. Emma has it. And she has no intention of ever giving it back. Clearly, that Camelot trip didn't go quite as planned, dearies.

Tell Us: Did the Once Upon a Time premiere cast a spell on you?

Tune in to Once Upon a Time on Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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