Once Upon a Time “Dreamcatcher” Review (Season 5 Episode 5)

Once Upon a Time "Dreamcatcher" Season 5 Episode 5 (4)

In this week’s Once Upon a Time, Emma and Regina figured out how to release Merlin from the tree of doom, but failed to release the rest of us from the curse of the world’s more irritating teenager. Magic indeed comes with a price – in this case, it’s a stuttering, awkward, lip biting performance that again makes me wish that Henry would receive an owl and head to Hogwarts.

Back in Camelot, Emma has a vision of Merlin being imprisoned in the tree by a masked incarnation of the Dark One. From this, she and Regina figure out that they need the tear from someone who is broken hearted in order to cast a spell to release Merlin. They use the dreamcatcher to take Regina back to the moment when her mother killed Regina’s fiancé, but that’s a bust because that wound has healed. It’s interesting that Emma doesn’t go back to the moment that Neal died – which is good, because it means that she has also moved on. The solution to their problem lies with the tender heart of young Henry.

As we see in both timelines, Henry has a thing for Violet. She becomes the classic damsel in distress and refuses to attend the town’s awkwardly timed ball with Henry until her horse is found. Henry turns to the Dark One for help. It’s kind of funny to see Emma in her evil guise hop into the beat up VW Beetle. In addition to tracking down the horse, Henry woos Violet with his iPod playlist and Pepsi. First, I’d like to say kudos to Olivia Steel Falconer for credibly delivering one of the worst lines ever on the show, “It’s like a carnival in a can.” Second, Falconer may want to dial back her talent because she is upstaging Jared Gilmore in every one of their scenes.

While they’re on the hunt, Robin, Regina, Belle and Regina go digging at Emma’s house to see what she is up to. They find out about Excalibur and the fact that she took Rumple. There’s a lot more to this story that they still don’t know about.

Back in pre-amnesia Camelot, we learn that Emma rips out Violet’s heart so that the girl will reject Henry and make him cry. The plan works. Emma and Regina take Henry’s tear and use it to free Merlin. The special effects of this scene were really well done – I loved the dark and light magic flowing out of Emma at the same time. Merlin is a big question mark, as is the identity of the Dark One who imprisoned him. He obviously wasn’t able to free Emma from the curse, but we have the impression that it may be because she didn’t want to be free.

The bad news for the Dark One is that Henry saw the vision of her ripping out Violet’s heart and is now pouting in his bedroom. I really hope that means he’s going to stay up there for a while and refuse to come out. I would like to also make a suggestion for next season…why don’t we do another Charming-style time jump and the now adolescent Henry returns, recast by an adult actor. At this point, I would also support having the “spirit of Henry” trapped in another’s body.

While all this is going on, Merida has Gold in the woods and is trying to browbeat him into becoming a hero. It’s all part of Emma’s plan to get him to withdraw Excalibur, but serves mostly to give us a bunch of references to the movie Brave.

I enjoyed the scenes between Emma and Regina, particularly the role reversal of Regina advising Emma on how not to go bad. As the Dark One tells Gold, she has a plan and it may involve all the dreamcatchers in her garage. I hope that plan does not include bringing back Neal, as some are speculating. We already have too little Emma/Hook time this season so far. We don’t need a third wheel.