Slowly but surely, what happened in those missing weeks in Camelot is being revealed on Once Upon a Time, with this episode “Dreamcatcher” showing how they managed to accomplish one thing they needed to do — and what the price was to do so.

Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Emma and Henry team up, while Regina, Robin Hood, Hook and Belle uncover just what it is the Dark Swan is up to, along with the answer to how their memories were taken.

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How to Make Mr. Gold Brave in 4 Easy Steps

Mr. Gold wants to see Belle, but Emma needs him to get her Excalibur, and she’s taking a page from his book from his days as the Dark One and keeping her plan a secret. The more she justifies what she’s doing, the more she’s pushing her loved ones away, he warns her, and take it from him, she will always lose the ones she loves the most.

Step 1: Emma sends him and Merida to the woods, but the archer clearly has her work cut out for her because Mr. Gold can’t even stand without a walking stick to lean on. Step 1: Forget about actually keeping a sword in his hand during a fight. Step 2: But Merida knows there has to be something that will make him brave, and she knocks him out while she goes searching for it.

Step 3: Fortunately for her, there’s a storybook where she can read all about his life, and therefore, she knows to fetch a certain chipped cup to motivate him/remind him what he has to fight for. Step 4: It takes a bit, but he does eventually manage to actually swing his sword, which Merida knows that it means he was thinking of her, an act of true bravery. But they’ve got a long way to go before he’s ready to take on Emma, she warns him.

Find a Horse, Get a Date?

That’s what Henry’s hoping, at least, when it comes to Violet in Storybrooke, as he avoids Regina’s questions about his “girlfriend” and is eager to throw a party to help raise Arthur’s people’s spirits/score a date. However, Violet‘s not in the mood to party with her horse missing, so Henry takes it upon himself to find it, with some help from Emma. “Show me that the mom I know is still in there somewhere,” he says as he presents his case to the Dark Swan to get her help returning his friend’s happy ending.

Cue a bit of Dark Swan/Henry bonding as he tells his mother about playing Violet “Only You,” a move his father taught him and a move that worked with Emma. Since Violet‘s horse is a big fan of pumpkins, they head over to Peter Peter’s pumpkin stand, and it’s Henry who calms down the horse to get it to go with them with a pumpkin. When he rides the horse up to Violet at the party, her father calls him “heroic and humble” and leaves them to enjoy the festivities. Henry gets a kiss on his cheek from Violet, which is promising.

Heartbreak at Granny’s

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Henry and Violet‘s relationship in Camelot. Things do seem to be going well as the two talk about losing parents — for her it’s a mother, for him a father — but when her father, Sir Morgan, finds Henry playing around with a sword with no skill, he tells him that Violet needs to be with a knight (someone who understands this world), not a writer.

And so Regina and Emma then find Henry swinging a sword and offer him a bit of advice when it comes to relationships. Changing because someone likes you doesn’t work, Emma tells him. She liked his father because he was always himself. And Regina liked Daniel because he was different and unique from everyone else. Here is where Henry has the edge: he’s a mysterious stranger from an exotic land in Camelot. He can use that.

Henry then has Violet meet him at Granny’s for a candlelit dinner for two, but it takes her a while to realize what’s really going on. (Give the girl a break; she doesn’t know what soda is until he tells her.) He has to introduce her to movies, and when he comments that one is a good date movie, she asks him what a date is and then realizes he’s courting her. The only problem is she doesn’t feel the same way. She liked spending time with him just as friends. Poor Henry.

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Getting the Missing Ingredient Needed to Free Merlin

Many years ago in Camelot, Merlin commanded the Dark One to stop using the dagger. The Dark One destroyed the only woman he ever loved, and so he was going to destroy the Dark One, only he couldn’t do it. When he dropped the dagger, the Dark One picked it up, touched it to his tear and turned him into a tree.

Emma sees this memory in Camelot using a Dreamcatcher and explains it to Regina after freezing her parents because she also saw what Arthur plans to do with Excalibur and what he did to Mary Margaret and David. She wants to free Merlin and then take on Arthur, and though Regina warns her about the slippery slope using dark magic in order to do that can lead her down, Emma says, “I’m not you.”

Dreamcatchers catch more than dreams; wave it over someone and you can catch a memory. (Hmm, their missing memories, perhaps?) After seeing Merlin’s memory, they’re thinking that using the tear of a lost love can also free him, and so Regina relives the moment when her mother killed Daniel, and Emma catches her tear. However, it doesn’t work. Her heartbreak wasn’t strong enough because she has Robin Hood now and has started to heal. Enter Henry, whose heartbreak over Violet and feeling like he’ll never be a hero is strong enough, and Regina takes his tear and tells him that he’ll be a hero in their world. If this works, he can even be the one who saves Emma.

Arthur and his knights try to stop them, but there’s really nothing they can do. Henry’s tear works, and Emma frees Merlin, who tells her, “I’ve been waiting for you.” Arthur blames him for ruining his life and sending him on an impossible quest, but Merlin just doesn’t have time for him and dismisses him since they both know his broken sword can’t hurt him. For that, if for no other reason, I like Merlin. Arthur has really been getting on my nerves.

Merlin frees Mary Margaret and David from the spell they’ve been under, and Hook immediately brings up him freeing Emma from the Darkness. Merlin will do it, but there is a caveat. “Darkness like this takes a hold of a person, finds its way deep inside where nobody else can see,” he warns Emma. “If I am to free you from its grasp, I must know one thing. Emma, is your heart truly ready to be free?” It’s as much up to her as it is to him.

A Heartbreaking Truth

While Henry’s off with Emma in Storybrooke looking for Violet‘s horse, Regina, Robin, Hook and Belle sneak into her house — thanks to Henry’s scarf, prompting Regina to call him “their hero” — and find Excalibur in the basement and see it has the same design as the dagger. Regina stops Hook from trying to pull the sword out of the stone, warning him that it could be booby-trapped and he is “useful-ish” right now.

When Henry texts Regina to let her know that Emma’s on her way home, it’s time to leave, but on the way out, they find a dreamcatcher, much like the ones hanging in Emma’s shed and one she cried over while holding earlier. Regina knows how Emma took their memories now.

Since they have no idea that they can’t trust Arthur in Storybrooke, they fill him in on finding Excalibur and its resemblance to the dagger. If the weapon is restored, it can eradicate all dark magic forever, but in the wrong hands, it can also destroy all light magic. So they know Emma’s plan.

Meanwhile, Regina and Robin watch the memories in the dreamcatcher they found at Emma’s and see Emma taking Violet‘s heart after the girl found Henry’s note to meet him at Granny’s. Emma needed the tear of a lost first love, and so she needed Violet to break Henry’s heart. Talk about dark! To make it worse, Henry sees the memory.

When Emma goes to Regina’s to try to see Henry later, Regina refuses to let her inside. Henry’s devastated, and what’s worse, Regina bets that Emma let the horse out in the first place as a twisted way of making it up to him. Regina has experience with Dark Ones, and everything’s a manipulation with them. Emma tries to argue that she had a good reason for what she did, that it was the only way to free Merlin, which raises the question: why is Emma still the Dark One if they freed Merlin?

Once Upon a Time season 5 airs Sundays at 8pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Meredith Jacobs

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

If it’s on TV — especially if it’s a procedural or superhero show — chances are Meredith watches it. She has a love for all things fiction, starting from a young age with ER and The X-Files on the small screen and the Nancy Drew books. Arrow kicked off the Arrowverse and her true passion for all things heroes. She’s enjoyed getting into the minds of serial killers since Criminal Minds, so it should be no surprise that her latest obsession is Prodigal Son.