Once Upon A Time 5×03 “Siege Perilous” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

Bromances, darkness, and more mysteries.

Episode Summary: In Camelot, Charming and Arthur bond while in Storybrooke Robin and Hook plot a mission of their own. Dark Swan tries to find the hero that’ll pull Excalibur from the stone, but things go south when Hook refuses to give in to the darkness. Gold awakens and Arthur is the worst.

Review | Analysis: Tonight’s episode was yet another reminder that we stand where we do because of the choices we make. While evil forces have power, at the end of the day so does light, and when we find ourselves lost, the people we love never give up on us. It’s interesting to note however that it appears this is the first time all our heroes have found themselves disagreeing most. And while we still don’t know what betrayal led to Emma embracing the darkness, we can be certain that there will be a rift among them depending on which knight they choose to believe.

The original love triangle: the story of King Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot is known by (almost) all however, we viewers have learned that while classics say one thing, Once Upon A Time says another. After all, Peter Pan is anything but evil and frankly, Captain Hook’s not that good-looking. What’s interesting though is that this is the first time a character other than Emma or Henry has confronted legends which makes us wonder that it may be the choice to trust what legends say that will cause a rift between the Charmings.

We’re all for epic bromances but c’mon, Charming, you’re smart enough to realize that Arthur’s friendliness is a bit too much of all of a sudden. At least now that we’re certain he’s untrustworthy we no longer have to keep guessing whether or not he’s a villain. However, we’re still pretty unsure of Guinevere, it appears that she’s fully aware of Arthur’s plan but at the same time, there are moments where one would think there’s much more to her. If this adventure has led to anything, it’s just a ridiculously entertaining time. And who doesn’t want to see Prince Charming get knighted or King Arthur drive a car?!

Speaking of puns and homages — it’s always nice to have ties between Disney’s version of these classic tales. Though the dwarves are a bit frustrating at the moment, the scene with them digging for diamonds was a fun one. Grumpy wouldn’t live up to his name if he didn’t just go on a verbally attacking riot, but their scene at the Sheriff’s Station led to one of the most beautiful Snow and Charming scenes we’ve seen in a while.

The past few episodes hadn’t exactly shown us the depth of devastation Charming and Snow are feeling due to Emma being the Dark Swan, thus the scene we got with them did a great job of reminding us why they’re our favorites. It doesn’t matter how old a daughter gets because to her father, she’ll always be his little girl. And for Charming especially, while he knows Emma’s done well on her own, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s sworn to protect her until his final breath. He’s blaming this entire situation on himself because he feels he could’ve prevented Emma from making the sacrificial choice. It’s always stunning to see the beautiful partnership between Snow and Charming for in the midst of adversaries when one of them is weak, the other is always strong. Together, they’ve taken back kingdoms and saved lives all while being incandescently in love with one another and understanding just how to inspire each other.

Josh Dallas delivered Charming’s breakdown impeccably — you were able to feel the raw torment that’s a constant in his life when he’s unable to help his family. This moment was the most lamentable one yet because it was the first time we see him completely fall apart. It’s the first time we’ve seen him this emotionally and spiritually paralyzed. Jane Espenson always does such a prestigious job with word choices that leave us floored, and there could not have been a more accurate depiction of Charming’s state. Charming’s a fighter who’s been in the worst possible situations, but there’s absolutely nothing the man fears more than losing his children as he’s done in the past. However, even during those times, he was able to remain collected and resilient for Snow — he was able to present himself as the one who’ll calmly take care of everything. Goodwin complimented Dallas’ poignant expressiveness and physicality wonderfully with a tender potency that served as a perfect reminder of why they’re such excellent scene partners. With their gorgeous theme music playing in the background we were able to feel so much of what they were making this one of the strongest scenes between the two of them.

It’s always lovely how Once Upon A Time reminds us that even the strongest fall and that’s entirely okay. And the truth behind all this is that each person is equipped with the strength they need to move forward, but as human beings, everyone could use the reminder of how important they are. Charming’s a man who’s constantly giving and it was beautiful to see his wife remind him of why he’s the hero. It reminded us of the conversation Charming had with Emma in “White Out” while she was upset because Henry wouldn’t talk to her. It’s in this moment where he feels the same exact frustration and his wife reminds him of the fact that everything’s going to be okay. He will always and forever be her hero. And at the end of the day, he’s been a hero in Emma’s life as well — the serene talks he’s had with her reminding her to enjoy the little moments have undoubtedly inspired her. It’s heartbreaking that this situation has torn him apart so badly, he’s lost all sight of the fact that he’s a human and his dedication and desire to help is currently enough.

Amongst choices and fighting for those we care for, another running theme throughout the episode is that sometimes the will alone is temporary enough. Charming and Snow would do anything and everything to protect their children and we can be certain that the fight for Emma’s goodness will only be intensified from here on out. Special thank you to Vana for reminding us of this moment, but it was gorgeous to get a parallel between Snow looking at a picture of her and Emma in Smash the Mirror” (4×08) and Charming looking at a picture of him in Emma in “Siege Perilous.” Both times mother and father believed they’d failed their daughter but the other was there to reassure them of the fact that they can’t give up fighting.

On another familial note, Regina’s choice of actions has once again left us with mixed feelings. As stated in previous reviews, while we know change doesn’t happen overnight, she needs to try harder to speak with a bit more tenderness. Zelena’s without a doubt a twisted villain, but Regina’s been given numerous chances to change in the past as well. And Zelena deserves that same chance to prove she can be a great mother. She deserves the chance to create the family she’s always dreamt of, and it’s sad to see Regina rob her of that without even hearing her out or even considering it.

Although Robin knows the child wasn’t exactly conceived with honor, he can’t help but love it. And because he doesn’t want to tell Regina in order to keep her happy, we’re wondering if this will somehow come up later on in the series. The point is, both parents are allowed to be involved in their child’s life and it’d be nice to get a confrontation of some sort on the matter.

Speaking of Robin, you need to work on your word choices, buddy. “The inside of Zelena” is most definitely something Hook doesn’t want to see. It’ll be fascinating to watch the two of them attempt to break into Emma’s house in order to see what she’s hiding behind the wall, but something tells us they won’t exactly be successful. It’d still be a great adventure though so we’re all in for this.

Because Emma Swan has always been our favorite character, we’ve wanted her happiness more than anything. And tonight Killian Jones once again proved why he’s so perfectly suited to be her equal — the man by her side. As Emma’s trying to get him to see that she’s still the same, he tells her he “loved” her, and it’s appropriate for the woman standing in front of him isn’t the Emma Swan he fell in love with. Killian loves Emma more than anything in the world and that’s the reason why he won’t give in to the Dark Swan. She isn’t his Emma — the brave and beautiful hero whose honorable choices in life made her the loveliest one of all. Darkness must be embraced in order to fully take root but he knows that Emma’s fought through it, and she would’ve wanted him to fight for her even though she claims otherwise.

It’s key to mention that there’s some debate going around about whether or not actions such as the dark one can be excused. However, the one difference between Emma and Rumple is that from the very beginning he chose to become the dark one in order to have power. He killed to become it. Emma Swan didn’t kill when the darkness was tethering itself to her; she made a bold sacrifice. And in Camelot, we see her continually fighting through it despite the liberation the power brings. She knows deep inside this isn’t what’s right thereby, she must’ve been pushed too far toward the edge in order to fully embrace the darkness. And can a ‘blank slate’ Rumple really play the hero card? Because as we’ve said and hoped, Emma Swan will be the only hero here. She is still the savior after all.

Additionally, we’re incredibly proud to see Killian Jones take responsibility for his actions thereby authenticating just how important choices are in the lives of heroes. He admits to essentially taunting a crippled and cowardly man when instead he could’ve handled the situation in a better way. He was a villain who’s chosen to change his life for the better whereas Rumple’s taken the easy way out. And he admits to that with full confidence because he wasn’t pleased with the person he was. He refuses to make excuses for terrible behavior.

Lighting and camera work do an excellent job of revealing that there’s a lot more here than meets the eye. As Emma states that she sees things clearer now, she’s in the darkness, there’s very little light focused on her showcasing just how wrong she actually is. It doesn’t matter that her walls are no longer up and she’s much more fearless than she used to be, this isn’t the real her. Emma Swan has always been the strongest because she’s allowed herself to feel — she’s given in to the emotions within her and through endurance, she’s found light. She’s strong because even though her life hasn’t been great, she’s made the right choices no matter how difficult they may have been and it’s led her to become the hero she is. She’s strong because she’s been weak. She’s let herself feel vulnerable which says much more about strength than not being as afraid. It’s okay to be afraid as long as you don’t let the fears engulf you.

Emma has chosen Killian because of the valor he’s exhibited authenticating an idea that the same goodness and light in her found a home with the harmonizing merits in him. They’re kindred spirits — imperfect beings who’ve fought to make the wrongs in their life right. Years and years of darkness have only ever brought Killian heartache and desolation; any form of happiness when the heart’s encompassed with darkness is evanescent. And no matter how much it clearly pains him to shut Emma out, it’s beautiful for it only means that Killian will do anything he can to make sure the light within her is restored for she deserves unparalleled, eternal happiness.

Obligatory mention that Jennifer Morrison has once again done an exemplary job of meticulously crafting Emma’s mannerisms and tone of voice. In this week’s episode, while she attempted to appear softer to Killian, the robotic tone was still lingering in her voice revealing that this is in fact the Dark Swan. And at the very end when she sees she’s unable to get through to Killian, there’s a moment where the real, vulnerable Emma breaks through and that’s when she makes the choice to poof away. As much as we’re not a fan of our beloved savior going dark, we’re such fans of the magnificent work Morrison is doing during each and every scene.

It’ll be interesting to see how Belle and Rumple interact now that he’s no longer the dark one. Side note: how gorgeous is that CGI rose!? It looks so beautiful. As much as we dislike how much Rumple has put Belle through, her smile toward the end was a lovely reminder of what an adoring character she is. Belle’s a wonderful person, and we really can’t wait to see more of that happiness in her so we’re excited to see where this storyline goes.

A heart was crushed in order to create this curse, but who crushed it doesn’t it have to be the thing the curse creator loves most? And Arthur’s so keen on creating a new Camelot that it appears he either knows or remembers way more than he lets us believe. He’s indeed a shady one, but we really can’t wait to see what on earth he wants to do with the entire sword. And of course, we can’t conclude a review without taking a moment to gush over costumes in Camelot. Bravo once again, Eduardo Castro. Simply bravo.

What are your thoughts on this week’s episode? If there’s anything you’d like us to elaborate further on, let us know in the comments below and we shall do so.

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