The episode tale begins with a young Arthur who explains to Guinevere Merlin’s prophecy about his becoming a king by pulling Excalibur out of a stone (interesting thing is that Merlin is stuck in the tree even at this time). He basically proposes to her, though they’re just kids, and then Sir Kay comes in and bullies the young squire. Kay explains Camelot is known as the “broken kingdom” because it has no king.
Time travels to what is supposed to be a few years before the present. King Arthur has pulled the sword, but is obsessed with getting the Dark One dagger. Guinevere, his queen, is tired of his quest, and that he is paying almost all of his attention to it. We learn it’s her birthday, and that Lancelot is the one who has put together the festivities. Arthur declares he’s found the location of the dagger and will leave to find it. Guin and Lancelot later find a way to get to its true location and venture off together to retrieve it.
Fast forward to closer to present, King Arthur calls David to reveal the secret of Excalibur. Arthur divulges his plan to get the dagger and get rid of the Dark One by reuniting the dagger with Excalibur. David decides to help, not knowing that Lancelot appeared to Mary Margaret warning her about King Arthur.
Meanwhile, Emma keeps seeing Rumplestiltskin’s leftover Dark One voice image thing, and she can now hear voices that call from the dagger. She goes to try to take the dagger, but Regina has put a spell over it to keep her from stealing it. Hook intervenes and Henry chimes in (at a later time) to say they will both help her to not always have the Dark One images present in her mind. More on that in a minute.
David goes to help Arthur by taking the box with the dagger to him. Only, the box is empty. Mary Margaret has taken the dagger to where Lancelot is hiding and the two go to try to hide it. A flashback to Guin and Lancelot’s quest show that Guin has Merlin’s gauntlet which is leading them to the Dark One’s vault. We’ve seen the door from where Emma appeared in the realm. While in the tunnels, the Dark One cloud form attacks Lancelot, but Guinevere fends it off with a torch. The two kiss, but decide to not continue with this relationship. Eventually they make it to a portal door which takes them to a clearance in a forest with a small structure of the dagger.
Guinevere tries to take the dagger, but there is a spell preventing it. Rumple appears and offers them a trade (since he won’t give the dagger up). He has dust from Avalon that will make anything broken appear together…like a broken Excalibur. In return, he gets Merlin’s gauntlet. But, he does warn that things like a broken heart are not easily mended, and that using the dust may make for a worse price than the gauntlet. Still the exchange is made.
Now, in more current time, Mary Margaret and Lancelot are in the same clearance. Mary Margaret remembers it from a vision she’s had of Emma ripping out her heart. As they’re about to put the dagger in the same structure it once was, Arthur appears. All his villainy is apparent and he nearly attacks the two, but David appears. He and Mary Margaret had a plan all along to have a fake dagger with her and find out about Arthur.
Henry takes Emma and Hook to a stable. The reason? To let the two hide out for a little while. It’s discovered that he has a bit of a crush on the girl who’s family owns the stable. Those two go off riding, and Hook and Emma do too. When they reach a meadow, Emma realizes she is capable of ignoring the Dark One’s voice, and the two share an intimate moment.
Back to the main plot.
Arthur is arrested by Mary Margaret and David, but as they start to assess more of the situation, Guinevere and the knights arrive. In a flashback, we find out that she couldn’t use the powder on the sword or Arthur, and admits to him everything, even her feelings of his obsession. He won’t relent his quest, though she says she’ll leave if he won’t start to mend the kingdom. He uses the dust on her, and she is fine. It’s shown that he uses the dust on the village of Camelot to make it appear to be a large kingdom.
So, Guin is in league with Arthur, and has come to free him. Lancelot is arrested and taken to the dungeon where he meets Merida. Arthur uses the dust on Mary Margaret and David. Upon their returning to Regina and Robin Hood, they say that Arthur is to be trusted. Furthermore, they want to take the real dagger to him.
Nooowwww back in present day Storybrooke, Emma is seen with the revived Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold. She’s still trying to make him a hero to get Excalibur out of the stone. He is back to being a coward, but Emma has a plan. She goes to her yellow bug car in an unknown location. Tied to the front is Merida. Emma tells her she will have to make Mr. Gold brave.
This episode had some twists and turns to it. I liked the argument between Mary Margaret and David. It showed them to be like a family, and even telling how they worked things out in the end. Hook, Emma, and Henry’s scene in the stable was great where it showed them all to be a family as well.
But, these were small scenes compared to the larger picture of Arthur’s background. I don’t think this was the strongest of any of this type of storytelling they’ve done. It felt like an elaboration of what they’ve already mentioned about King Arthur, not anything too new.
I had problems with Hook and Emma’s ride. But, I will say it’s probably because I don’t care about their relationship very much. The small subplot of dealing with Emma’s inner dialogue is neat, but it wasn’t strong for this episode.
The strongest part of the whole episode was the Avalon dust stuff. Seeing how much it can do and knowing King Arthur is in possession of it is scary for everyone. It adds to more mystery, like what happened to Avalon? What is special about it?
I won’t go on with some of the other problems I have of the episode. I liked some of it, but it just wasn’t the best of the season so far. It felt like a small continuation of the story being told so far. Not the most revealing, but not without some revelation. I am glad for what it added to the season. Some of this was needed, but other parts felt like “well, we’ve got to tell about what happened between Guinevere and Lancelot.” I wouldn’t call it a filler episode, but it felt a little like it.
I’m looking forward to next episode to see what Merida will do with Mr. Gold, and it looks like the gang is going to discover Emma’s secret of having Excalibur.
Questions to be answered are things like are David and Mary Margaret still under the influence of the Avalon dust? Does it matter that Merida and Lancelot meet, if Merida is Emma’s prisoner now? Will Henry go on his first date???
I’m waiting for all these to be answered.