Once Upon a Time “The Price” Review (Season 5 Episode 2)

Once Upon a Time The Price Season 5 Episode 2 (4)

I feel like the promos for this season of Once Upon a Time overhyped the Dark Swan. What they should have highlighted was the rise of the new Savior. While Emma lurks in the fringes, Regina is stepping up as a true leader and has the support (so far) of the Storybrooke cast of characters.

The episode jumps back and forth, a bit awkwardly at times, between Storybrooke and Camelot. Something went down in Camelot that caused Emma to turn against everyone, but she won’t say what it was. It must have something to do with Merlin, who we learn has been transformed into a tree.

King Arthur wants the Savior to help free Merlin, but the question is, of course, who is the Savior at this point. Regina steps up, which seems logical considering Emma’s changed circumstances. I love the dynamic between Zelena and Regina when they arrive at the Court, but it was odd that Zelena pretty much disappeared for the remainder of the episode.

Back in Storybrooke, a weird harpy thing abducts Robin, and I assumed that it must be Zelena. Who else would want to kidnap him? But it turned out the creature was a fury, which appeared as a consequence of Dark Swan using her magic to save Robin’s life back in Camelot. Regina goes after the fury, which is exciting because she gets a chance to use her magic. She remains one of the most fun, complex characters on the show and I love when she tosses out the purple smoke.

As the episode went on, I became more dismayed by the sad turn the Emma/Hook relationship has taken. The Dark One-bonding between Belle and Hook makes me nervous that they may seek consolation with one another. That would not be cool. At all.

The relationship between Regina and Robin, thankfully, seems to be going strong. It wasn’t surprising that she begged for Emma’s help to save Robin’s life. Emma would have done the same for Hook, and Snow definitely would have for Charming. In the end, I appreciated that it wasn’t the Dark One or the Savior who saved Robin from the fury—it was Grumpy, Snow, Charming, King Arthur, and Regina altogether.

So far, I am enjoying the tone of this season. I like that they are building this feeling of the importance of forgiveness, personal growth, community and friendship, without hitting us over the head with it like they did in the Snow Queen interlude. There are a couple things that I would like to have improved, however. Dark Swan’s appearance tops that list.

Jennifer Morrison is doing a fantastic job playing with Emma’s newly found evil side. I’m not a huge fan of the granny hair and mega blush they’re giving her, though. Dark Swan looked impressive in the season promos, but in the episodes she comes off more geriatric than sinister. It also turns out that Emma is cursed not just with darkness, but also with having to wear nylons.

There were several really enchanting moments in this episode that captured the spirit and wonder of a fairy tale. The scene where Regina has to choose a less scary dress and then learns to dance with Charming was…well…charming. It’s wonderful to see the formerly sworn enemies dancing and laughing together. It’s a real world version of happily ever after. Even though I’ve never been a big fan of Henry, the scene where he shares his iPod was very cute (especially loved the Yazoo “Only You”). I also love that Hook still looks like something out of an Adam Ant video.

This season feels more fairy tale than some of the past seasons. I hope it maintains this spirit.