Once Upon a Time Recap: “The Price”

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Once upon a time, a young blogger was entranced by a tale of love, intrigue, magic, and destiny. This is the story of how she fell down the rabbit hole.

Basically, Once Upon a Time continues to keep me riveted to my seat. We’re two episodes into season 5, and things are already out of control (in totally awesome magical ways, of course). If you’re behind, you can catch up on ABCGo. What are you waiting for?

Spoilers ahead, dearies.


In good old Storybrooke, our once-fearless protagonists find themselves cornered by yet another curse. When the Dark One brought the Scooby Gang (crossover anyone?) back to Storybrooke and erased their memories, she reinforced the town boundaries. Once again, this means that no one can cross the town line without terrible consequences. A few of the dwarfs want to try it out, but the moment that Dopey steps over, he is turned into a tree.

So much for that escape plan. (Except that it is incredible foreshadowing. But more on that later.)

While Henry is caught between his two moms (are we surprised that Regina wants him to stay away from Emma?…no, we aren’t), Hook is trying to figure out how to free Emma from the clutches of Darkness. Taking a cue from Belle and Rumple’s story, he tries True Love’s Kiss after Emma invites him to her new house. He’s shocked and sad when it doesn’t work because he truly loves her. Emma is equally upset, not because the Darkness didn’t leave her, but because she thinks Hook cannot accept her as she is. She states that there is nothing to cure, because this is simply who she is now. When she refuses to tell Hook what happened in Camelot, he storms away.

via Daily CS Gifs

Either way, I ship it.

Meanwhile, Arthur and the whole of Camelot’s courtiers, who have also been transported by the Dark One, are in the midst of setting up camp in the forest alongside Robin Hood’s tents. While Robin is aiding them, he is suddenly kidnaped by a hideous creature called a Fury. The Fury has come to take his soul to the beyond, as payment for magic. Belle and Regina quickly realize that a spell was performed during their time in Camelot, but whoever cast it did not pay the price of a life. They find the Fury awaiting the arrival of Charon to ferry them the Underworld, where Regina tells the Fury to take her soul instead. As the Fury latches on to her sacrifice, Mary Margaret, David, Leroy, and Arthur all grab on in a very Guardians of the Galaxy moment. Their bond drives the Fury away, and Robin is safe and sound.

Alone in her house, Emma opens a locked door and descends into a creepy basement room. (What is it with the houses in Storybrooke having underground crypts and caverns?) She has transported the sword in the stone, and Imaginary!Rumple encourages her to make the sword whole. She attempts to pull it from the stone, but fails. Emma realizes that in order to complete the task, she will have to pay an equivalent price.


6 weeks earlier, the Scooby Gang is welcomed by Arthur and Guinevere, who decide to throw a ball for their guests. Arthur also explains that Merlin has been trapped inside a tree (a la legend), and the one person who can free him is the Savior. Regina is worried that if Emma uses her dark magic, her situation will worsen. The former Evil Queen tells Arthur that she is the Savior who will free Merlin, even though she has no idea how.

ONCE UPON A TIME - "The Price" - In an effort to protect Emma, Regina steps up in a surprising way that will test her mettle as a force for good. King Arthur and Queen Guinevere throw a royal ball to welcome the heroes to Camelot, but when the celebration takes a deadly turn, David and Robin must leap into action or lose a crucial asset in the fight to save Emma. Back in Storybrooke, Hook deploys a tried-and-true technique in hopes of bringing Emma back to the light while the heroes discover that some unexpected baggage has followed them home from Camelot, on "Once Upon a Time," SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Jack Rowand) GINNIFER GOODWIN, JOSH DALLAS, JENNIFER MORRISON, COLIN O'DONOGHUE, LANA PARRILLA, SEAN MAGUIRE, LIAM GARRIGAN, ANDREW JENKINS
ABC/Jack Rowand

The group attends the ball, and everything seems to be going well until Regina is confronted by one of Arthur’s knights, Sir Percival. Percival reveals that when he was a child, he witnessed the Evil Queen slaughter his family. He attempts to stab Regina, but Robin steps in. Percival is killed, and Robin wounded. Regina cannot heal him because since the sword was enchanted to kill her, her magic is useless against the wound it created. Regina begs Emma to intercede, despite being the Dark One. Emma eventually agrees, ignoring Imaginary!Rumple’s warning that the price for saving Robin is the life of another. Though she heals Robin, the fears of the group come true as the spell begins to let the darkness unravel.

P.S. Charming taught Regina how to dance before the ball and it was ADORBS. Carry on.

Wait, what?

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“The Price” contains a good amount of foreshadowing for future episodes. Here’s what I think some of it means.

1.) Dopey turning into a tree signifies that Merlin isn’t trapped inside a tree, but is, in fact, the tree. (I won’t mention how excited I got when I realized that the writers are following the legend of Merlin, which states that he was imprisoned in a tree or cave, where he still sleeps to this day.) Furthermore, I deduce that since Emma has learned how to turn people into trees, she also knows how to turn enchanted trees back into people. This likely means that she frees Merlin at some point during their stay in Camelot.

2.) The name of the episode says it all. The price for Robin’s life was another life, even though Emma didn’t follow through. Emma must also pay a price to free the sword from the stone. I think that is why Emma transported King Arthur from Camelot to Storybrooke. And I think that it spells inevitable doom for the once and future king. He is the one person who can pull the sword free without consequence, and Emma knows that. How she will manipulate the situation remains to be seen, but I have a feeling it might include Guinevere (whom I don’t completely trust).

3.) The inclusion of Charon on the river almost made me jump out of my chair. This blatant glimpse of Greek mythology means that we’re going to have some characters from Hercules, right??

4.) In both Camelot and Storybrooke, Henry is developing a crush on a young courtier named Violet. We know that Emma still loves him dearly, but I get the feeling that the Darkness won’t be so happy when it learns that he’s got a girlfriend. Watch out, Violet!

Until next Sunday, dearies.

-The Collected Mutineer