“Dreamcatcher” was a big episode for Once Upon A Time. Let’s get started to see how big it was….
Emma gets a glimpse of how Merlin became a tree. The wizard encountered the Dark One to try to kill him because the Dark One killed his love. But, he couldn’t do it, and shed a tear of lost love. That tear the Dark One used to cast a spell to turn Merlin into a tree. Emma sees it all through one of her dreamcatchers.
Regina, Mary Margaret, and David go to fetch the Dark One dagger, but Regina suspects something when they get pretty demanding about taking the dagger to Arthur. Emma stops them in a freeze spell, and explains that she’s seen Arthur put a spell on her parents. Regina and Emma agree to go free Merlin by getting a similar tear that turned him into a tree.
Back in Storybrooke, Emma employs Merida to make Rumplestiltskin into a hero so that he can free Excalibur. As training progresses, it doesn’t go so well as Rumple has a bad leg again, and doesn’t want to bow to Emma’s wishes.
Meanwhile, the main crew of Storybrooke decide to hold a festival, although it was mostly Henry’s idea. It seems he has a girl he wants to date, and wants to ask her to the festivities. When he goes and asks, Violet (the girl) tells Henry she can’t because her horse has run away. Henry goes to ask Emma for help getting the horse back.
Back in the 6 week ago land of Camelot, Henry courts Violet. He thinks he needs to be more heroic, but Regina and Emma tell him to be himself. As Henry sets up a lavish date at Granny’s, his two moms go to a dreamcatcher to relive Regina’s heartbreak before Robin Hood. After watching Daniel die at the hands of her mother, Quora, she cries. They catch the tear to go use it in a potion.
Over at Granny’s, Henry and Violet seem to be having a good time until she tells him that she just feels that they are friends. He’s taken back by the comment.
Regina and Emma make the potion, but find Regina’s tear is not strong enough. Her heart has healed too much with her love for Robin Hood. Henry arrives looking saddened and he shares what Violet said to him. He begins to cry and Regina takes the tear for the potion. But, Arthur arrives to try to stop them, now realizing that Emma is the Dark One and Regina has been lying saying she’s the savior. Emma gets the tear into the potion, though, and manages to use the magic to free Merlin.
Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke….
Henry and Emma find the horse at Peter Peter’s pumpkin farm. They get the horse and head to the festival. But, the whole situation was a bit of a ruse to get Emma away from her house so that Belle, Regina, Hook, and Robin Hood can find out if Emma has Rumple, who has gone missing from the rest. They stumble upon the basement lair with Excalibur. As they start to exit, Hook grabs a dreamcatcher. Regina realizes that Emma could have stolen everyone’s memories with dreamcatchers and they take the item back with them.
At the festival, Henry gives the horse back to Violet, and she gives him a kiss on the cheek. But, aren’t they just friends?
Back in time in Camelot, Merlin says he’ll free Emma from the Dark One, but her heart must be ready to do so. She claims it is, and we’ll find out what happens from this.
In Storybrooke, Merida steals the chipped cup of Belle to entice Rumple to fight. When she taunts him and threatens to break the cup, he fights back. Her explanation is she will train him to take on Emma. The rest of the crew view the dreamcatcher. It reveals Violet’s memories and we see Emma take her heart in the stable before she meets Henry. She explains the plan that Violet must break Henry’s heart so they can get a tear for freeing Merlin. When Regina confronts Emma about what happened, Regina learns that they did free Merlin, but things were more complicated in Camelot than originally thought.
This was an exciting episode full of love, sadness, and revelation! First note is having Peter Peter mentioned in the episode. Peter Peter is from the famous nursery rhyme, not a fairy tale. Could this mean that there are some Mother Goose citizens running about Storybrooke? It’s an interesting mention.
As for the episode, it played a lot with Henry and Violet. The best scene, though rather sad, was Henry’s being turned down by Violet. Maybe it’s because of having those times of being turned down that I really felt for him whether or not it was executed well. Still, Olivia Steele Falconer did a good job of conveying that teenage girl game playing. Jared Gilmore did a good job at showing that teenage boy “everything’s fine…except I hurt inside” look. Once Upon A Time brought in that teen drama that has never been there before!
The rest of the episode’s revelations did a good job at surprising me! I could not predict that twist of Emma manipulating her son’s love life to free Merlin. Nor did I think they would actually free the wizard this episode. In all, I’m glad that it’s progressing this well and even this fast. There’s no time for a slow beat.
If there were any weak parts of the episode, it fell with Merida and Rumple. I just don’t care about Rumple’s training. I think it’s because there hasn’t been as much of an emphasis to why this is so important. If there were, it would reveal too much about what happened in Camelot. But, we need something to go off of for some kind of emotional connection, and I don’t think this episode brought it.
This episode had a lot of heart otherwise. I liked the moments acknowledging past loves, like Neal/Baelfire. Emma clearly still has that connection to him, and Henry does too. The two of them shared a moment remembering as they went to get Violet’s horse. This was one of the best moments of the show, I think. Even Regina’s scene having to remember Daniel was a great moment for her. This episode payed a great homage to past loves.
In all, this episode shot the season forward again with a ton of advancement in the story. We finally get Merlin, but still with mystery. We got closer to finding out what happened in Camelot, and it didn’t feel like a slow pace. It made me wonder how many more episodes we have until the mid season finale, only because I think it will come sooner than later. That makes me a little sad to know the break might be coming faster than I want. This season has been one of the strongest and most intriguing so far for the show. “Dreamcatchers” made up for the slower fourth episode, and that makes me glad for the show. I’m eagerly waiting next week as we find out more about the relationship between Merlin and the Dark One!