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TV Review: Once Upon A Time 5.8 “Birth” & 5.9 “The Bear King”
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Once Upon A Time 508-03

Once Upon a Time
Season 5 Episodes 8: “Birth” & Episode 9: “The Bear King”
Directed by Eagle Egilsson (5.8) & Geofrey Hildrew (5.9)
Written by David H. Goodman & Jerome Schwartz (5.8) & Andrew Chambliss (5.9)
Created by Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz
Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, Colin O’Donoghue, Jared Gilmore, Robert Carlyle, Sean Maguire, Rebecca Mader
Air Date: Sunday, November 15th, 2015, 8:00pm

Last week on Once Upon A Time, we meet the original Dark One, Nimue, true love of Merlin (Elliot Knight). Unfortunately, he created that monster. Having drunk from the Holy Grail, he was infused with power and immortality. He and Nimue fell in love, and he wanted to give it all up for her. She was having none of that, wanting the power to avenge her village. In the end, in present-day Storybrooke, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) is successful at repairing Excalibur. Zelena (Rebecca Mader) pretends to help, but then joins Arthur’s (Liam Garrigan) crazy team. She is able to make the other half of Excalibur a sword that can command Merlin. Uh-oh.

Spoilers below.

Once Upon A Time 5.8 “Birth” recap/review: In the present, David (Josh Dallas) confronts Arthur about Nimue, so he flees. He’s just about to kill Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) when Emma saves him, and gives a cryptic message, “I’m doing it for you.” What? Hook goes to Gold (Robert Carlyle) to find out that cryptic-ness. “Give her a reason to find you.” So he jumps off a building, and she saves him. We find out the trick in that later. Hook declares his love for Emma, no matter what she’s done. He just wants to know what the hell is going on.

Zelena goes from 2 months pregnant to contractions, thanks to Emma. The baby is coming now! Ahhh!! David Anders is in this episode!!!!! And he has Blaine from iZombie hair! Of course he does!

Regina (Lana Parilla): “What’s with the dye job?” She gets the best lines.

I am giddy with this crumb of crossover. After all, Dr. Frankenstein does live in another realm entirely that deals with reanimated corpses. Squeal!!!!

Anyway, turns out that… it’s a girl! Everyone hovers protectively around the baby, but Emma just steals Zelena. Psych!

Emma finally reveals her plan – to put the darkness in Zelena, then cut her down destroying dark magic forever. Hook does not want her to murder. And still… what does that have to do with him? He helps Zelena escape. In turn, she shows him all.

3 weeks ago, Merlin and Emma had a magic duel, because Merlin tied everyone up to a tree, as per crazy Arthur’s orders. Arthur commands Merlin to kill Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin). He starts to, but he is able to fight the command of Excalibur. Arthur slashes Hook in the neck, but Emma heals him. Or not. The full reveal is…

A cut from Excalibur is fatal. The only way to save Hook was to tether him to Excalibur, making him a Dark One too. She erased everyone’s memories really so he wouldn’t remember what he became.

I cannot believe that Emma actually did that. Now there are 2 Dark Ones. Poor Killian! But now there’s a Dark Supercouple! Hook is going to be the baddest (and sexiest) Dark One of all.

I gotta admit I am thrilled that Hook is front and center now for the season. No side boyfriend dialogue for my guy!

He really hates Emma though.

This episode was one of the best of the season, revealing everything and bringing a new exciting storyline to the rest of the season.

Once Upon A Time 5.9 “The Bear King” recap/review: It’s back to Merida (Amy Manson) in the second hour of the 2-hour event. We go to Dunbroch of 7 years ago, when Merida’s father confronted a witch who turned his sons and super young wife into bears. He asks for help from invaders. Love the accent! He pretty much sells his soul to her. She forges a helmet out of her smoky cauldron. Fast forward 2 years later, and Merida is having her coronation. The witch bursts in, looking for payment for the deal or the kingdom will be cursed. Merida can’t pay up so has to return the helmet which makes men follow its bidding. Zelena and Arthur are after it too, probably because Arthur is the worst king ever. He killed Fergus, Merida’s father.

Along the way, we find Ruby (Meghan Ory) – held prisoner all this time. She gets her own little quick flashback on what happened since we last saw her. And we see the return of… Mulan (Jamie Chung)! Back in the day, Merida’s Da had Mulan train his daughter. Mulan and Ruby join Merida in the search for the helmet in the race against Zelena and Arthur. They do succeed but of course the wicked duo escapes. Returning the helmet, Merida wants it destroyed. The witch is pleased. She allows Merida to see her father once more.

This episode was okay, but seemed dampened by the exciting one preceding it. They should have made this one go first. I was happy to see Mulan and Ruby again, and I liked how they connected Merida and Arthur.

Once Upon A Time airs Sunday nights at 8pm ET on ABC.

ABC’s press release:

On a Two-Hour Special of ABC’s Once Upon a Time: “Birth”/ “The Bear King” (11/15)

Guest Star Jamie Chung Reprises Her Role as Mulan and Meghan Ory Returns as Ruby

In the first hour of this special “Once Upon a Time” event – “Birth” – tensions in Camelot come to a head when Merlin, now under Arthur’s control, delivers an ultimatum to Emma: hand over the Dark One dagger and the Promethean spark or he will kill her entire family. Refusing to give in, Emma and our heroes face off against Arthur, Merlin and Zelena in an epic battle of magic and will. Just when the end is in sight, Emma is forced to make a gut-wrenching choice that no one saw coming. Back in Storybrooke, Zelena’s pregnancy mysteriously accelerates and Hook goes to new and desperate lengths to get answers from the Dark Swan. In the second hour – “The Bear King”– Zelena and Arthur journey to DunBroch on a mission to retrieve an enchanted relic that will provide the advantage they need to vanquish Emma and our heroes. Their path will cross with Merida’s, who is on a journey of her own to pay a debt that her father, King Fergus, owed to the Witch when he died. Merida enlists the help of two friends, Mulan and Ruby, but, in order to satisfy the Witch and save DunBroch, she first must discover the identity of the knight who killed her father. In flashbacks, Merida learns about bravery and honor as she trains for combat and rides alongside Fergus into the infamous battle that claims his life, in the two-hour “Once Upon a Time,” airing SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

“Once Upon a Time” stars Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White/Mary Margaret, Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan, Lana Parrilla as the Evil Queen/Regina, Josh Dallas as Prince Charming/David, Emilie de Ravin as Belle, Colin O’Donoghue as Hook, Jared S. Gilmore as Henry Mills, Sean Maguire as Robin Hood, Rebecca Mader as the Wicked Witch/Zelena and Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold.

“Birth” was written by David H. Goodman & Jerome Schwartz and directed by Eagle Egilsson. Guest cast includes Beverley Elliott as Granny, David-Paul Grove as Doc, Micahel Coleman as Happy, David Anders as Dr. Whale, Ingrid Torrance as Nurse Ratched, Elliot Knight as Merlin, Liam Garrigan as King Arthur and Joana Metrass as Guinivere.

“The Bear King” was written by Andrew Chambliss and directed by Geofrey Hildrew. Guest cast includes Meghan Ory as Red/Ruby, Beverley Elliott as Granny, Jamie Chung as Mulan, Amy Manson as Merida, Glenn Keogh as King Fergus, Caroline Morahan as Queen Elinor, Lily Knight as Witch, Richard Stroh as Edgar, Paul Telfer as Lord Macintosh, Marco D’Angelo as Lord MacGuffin, Josh Hallem as Lord Dingwall, Matthew Olsen as Brother #1, Jordan Olsen as Brother #2, Colton Barnert as Brother #3 and Liam Garrigan as King Arthur.

ONCE UPON A TIME 5.8 “Birth” Image Gallery

ONCE UPON A TIME 5.9 “The Bear King” Image Gallery


Once Upon A Time – The Dark One Reveals The Truth ABC Television Network

Hook wanted answers, but did he want THIS answer?

Merida Meets Mulan – Once Upon A Time

Merida accompanies her father into the military encampment where presents her with his war bow to carry into her first battle. Fergus hired a soldier to teach Merida to fight: Mulan. Watch a scene from Once Upon A Time – Season 5, Episode 9: “The Bear King.”

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