Once Upon a Time Recap: “Birth” & “The Bear King”

So far this season, our heroes and villains have been to Camelot and back. Emma remains the Dark One, while her friends and family try desperately to regain their memories and help her turn away from the path of Darkness. In a twist of fate, Regina and Rumple are the heroes they never thought they would be, while the former savior and the famed King of Camelot have both fallen to evil and conniving thoughts. Merida is kicking ass and taking names, while the fate of the town may yet rest again on Henry’s young shoulders.

Spoilers ahead, dearies.

via International Business Times

So much has happened in the last two episodes that this recap is less of a recap and more of a collection of all the “OMG” moments in Birth and The Bear King. Since OUAT departed from the norm by giving us two fantastic episodes, so shall I.

“Birth” aka “The One with all the Plot Twists”

Birth is all about truth. Learning what Emma has kept secret after stealing everyone’s memories and learning what Emma’s fears and motivations are back in Camelot play a central role in this episode.

1.) My ship still sails. And in a big way.

Well, mostly. Hook and Emma had a variety of close moments in this episode, enough to make my shipping heart go pitter-patter. She calls him Killian, he begs her to be honest, they snog; lather, rinse, repeat. Their moments outside of Camelot have been lacking this season, so I was as pleased as a peach. The OMG moment? The realization that the house Emma currently resides in was chosen for her BY HOOK because he wanted them to move in together.

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OUAT fanfic writers, I expect a deluge of domestic bliss fics right about…now.

2.) The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

As the Dark One, Emma has fallen into the same trap as Nimue and Rumple: believing that she can use the Darkness for good. She truly believes that she can protect the ones she loves with this power, despite her claims that she has plans to…

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via Giphy

…eliminate not the Light Magic, but the Dark Magic. Nevermind that she needs a vessel for the Darkness to go into; a sacrifice, if you will. Coincidence that she chose Zelena, and is 100% convinced that Regina will be okay with it because they don’t get along? I think that’s another story. Now, why does she want to eliminate the Darkness if she’s already let it take ahold of her soul? Well…

3.) The Dark ONES. That’s right. PLURAL.

She isn’t doing it for herself, but for one Killian Jones, aka Captain Hook. That’s right, the other half of my ship is the second Dark One.

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via Tumblr

Back in Camelot, Hook was wounded by Excalibur. Emma healed him. But when she ignited the Flame of Prometheus and prepared to unite Excalibur and the dagger, the wound reopened and could not be healed. Without asking his permission, Emma tethered Hook’s soul to Excalibur so that he could not be killed. This, of course, spells trouble. When Hook finds out, he’s pretty pissed, and appears to temporarily ally himself with Zelena (the one who revealed the truth).

To be honest, I’m absolutely excited for the plot twist. Although at first it felt like a dagger in my heart, this holds so much potential that I can’t help but think of the possibilities. We got a glimpse of Dark!Hook, which means that he received magic in Camelot. Does this mean he has magic in Storybrooke as well? Just when I was afraid that Hook was becoming nothing more than arm candy, I am proved wrong. He’s as pivotal a character as Emma, and I hope he bears the task well.

“The Bear King” aka “The One with all the Kickass Women”


The Bear King is less about a king, and more about a queen. This episode is ruled by three of my favorite female characters, not just in this show, but ever.

1.) Merida earns her rightful place as Queen

At her coronation, Merida is approached by the same witch who gave her the spell to change her fate in the film Brave. This witch also gave Merida’s father a magical helm. She demands payment for the helm, threatening DunBroch with a curse. Merida must find the helm, come to terms with her father’s demise, and learn to rule. In doing so, she earns the respect of the male-led clans in a way that she had not before.

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via Tumblr

She does so stunningly, but with a little help from her friends.

2.) Mulan is back!

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via Giphy

We knew her return was imminent, but it was lovely to see it unfold. When we last saw the warrior, she was suffering from a broken heart—Aurora and Philip were expecting a baby, and Mulan realized she’d missed her chance to tell the Princess how she felt about her. Now, she is working for the highest bidder, collecting debts for others, and taking a huge profit. But after being reunited with her old student Merida, Mulan realizes that she can’t let the past dictate her future. To be honest, they could give Mulan any old storyline, and I would be happy as long as she is being her own woman, and kicking ass while doing it.

3.) Ruby is back!

Finally, the unexplained absence of one of my most beloved characters comes to light. Apparently, some shoddy writing/lack of continuity turned into an opportunity to have Ruby team up with Mulan to search for any other wolves who may still exist in the Enchanted Forest, and the adjoining lands.

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It came out of nowhere, but I’m glad to have seen Ruby again. The way her fairy tale was rewritten was innovative, and the show was missing something without her. Now if we could just get these ladies back to Storybrooke…

Wait, what?

What do we have to look forward to, besides the elimination of Arthur (yeah, cause Merida is totes gonna kill him cause he killed King Fergus) and the drama between the Dark Ones? In case you haven’t heard, it was confirmed this week that Hercules and Megara of Hercules will be in a future episode this season. Called it.

Until next Sunday, dearies.

-The Collected Mutineer