Young love was in the air this week as Henry of Storybrooke courted Violet of Camelot. So sweet and innocent, but this is Once Upon A Time so “and they lived happily ever after” won’t come easily for these love struck teens, thanks to that wretched Dark Swan.
Remember how adorable Henry was when he knocked on Emma’s door 5 years ago? Squeaky voice, full of hope and a crazy imagination (that was totally not an imagination, damn non-believers am I right?). Over the course of 4 (and ⅛) seasons we have watched Henry Mills grow up, more so we have watched Jared Gilmore become a man. Apparently Henry is only 13 but Jared, in real life, is 15 going 25. He’s at least 2 feet taller than he was in season 1 and his voice is no longer that utterly adorable pitch (“Where’d you get that? Don’t eat that!”).
Henry was just a pint sized kid with a heart so big he managed to inspire each and every member of Storybrooke. While everything revolves around his mother, Emma, it is undeniable that this fairytale would not be the same without him. [Sidebar: he truly is the center of the OUAT universe, I mean look at his family tree!] With his heart of the truest believer, Henry brought the Savior home, helped break the first and second curse, ripped out his own heart in hopes of saving his family, single handedly defeated the Author, becoming one himself, all the while having the unwavering dedication to the happiness of this family.
Nowadays he has been questioning his potential to be a hero but the fact of the matter he is just as much hero as Snow and Charming, maybe even more. He has been thrown into fairytale land where men are expected to be gallant knights but, being a lanky kid from lame ol’ Our World he never learned to ride a horse or sword fight. This has left him feeling a bit incompetent which has only been made even more distressing with the introduction of Violet. Ah yes, Violet, so beautiful and delicate, how couldn’t sweet pubescent Henry not fall for her? “Dreamcatcher” delved into this budding romance and reminded us that young love can be breathtaking and exciting but also destined for heartache.
Like episodes two and three of this season, the dueling storylines between Camelot weeks ago and present day Storybrooke went hand in hand. In the second episode this season we saw past and present Hook restlessly fighting to save Emma and in the third episode we watched as David and Arthur went on a quest for a magical item in both lands (and times). This week it was all about new love and lost lovers. In both Storybrooke and Camelot, Henry gleefully began “courting” Violet, as she put it. Meanwhile his mothers, Emma and Regina, were paired up – united in Camelot and divided in Storybrooke. Can you guess which one led to a fall?
“Looking from a window above…It’s like a story of love, can you hear me?”
Only You by Yaz made another welcomed appearance during Henry’s date with Violet. A true romantic, Henry asked Violet to meet him at Granny’s following their heart to heart in the stables. The two bonded over the loss of one their parents (Violet’s mother died when she was young). Her smile clearly left his heart fluttering as he pretended to be a knight, wielding a sword around after she left. Unfortunately, he got a bit too confident with it and landed on his ass, breaking the stable door. Enter Sir Morgan, Violet’s dad, ready to scold this seemingly weak and horny teen who’s got the hots for his daughter. He gives the cliche “You’re not good enough for my daughter speech” which leaves Henry motivated rather than dispirited as most young boys would be. Henry begins practicing sword play in the woods before being caught by his wandering Mothers. They give him some good advice…
Regina: You remember Daniel?
Henry: Yeah your first love.
Regina: Mhm, and it wasn’t because he tried to impress me by being like the others, it was because he was so different, so unique
“In Camelot you are a mysterious stranger from an exotic land that’s a good thing.”
Henry uses this advice perfectly – he plays Only You, shows off his cellphone, and treats her to the finest soda in all the land. Henry was so adorably awkward and confident at the same time and it seemed Violet was absolutely enchanted by all of it (the soda especially). This first date was all cutesy and sweet until Violet catapulted Henry into the friendzone. Ouch. Violet realized she was being courted by him and swiftly told him that she doesn’t feel the same way about him as he does of her. Again, ouch. I felt that punch in the stomach too Henry. Not chill.
While on his date his mommies were hard at work trying to free Merlin from the tree. Emma reveals to Regina that she used a Dreamcatcher – which can see the past apparently – to see what happened at the tree all those years ago. Turns out the Dark One trapped Merlin in there for reasons unknown after some painful event involving “her”. Merlin’s tears over his lost love (although it could easily be a sister or mother) activate the spell that turned him into the tree so Regina surmises that a tear just like it could also reverse the curse. In a very heroic move, she volunteers to be the one to produce this tear. It’s a very simple task yet it reaffirms Regina’s pursuit to becoming a Hero and undoubtedly brings more light into her heart. The Evil Queen would have never purposely made herself weak, giving into her emotions for the benefit of others, nevermind Miss Swan. Through the dreamcatcher she relives the worst moment of her life: when Cora killed her first love, Daniel right in front of her. They catch one of tears and then go all double-double-toil-and-trouble whipping up a spell in a cauldron. It fails however, her tears weren’t strong enough since she had found new love post-Daniel.
Henry comes along teary eyed and heartbroken. This season more than ever Emma and Regina have united as parents to Henry. They both look at Henry with such love, coming together to help mend his heart. In the past these two have not only fought the fight of Good vs. Evil but also for the maternal place in Henry’s heart. In this moment they weren’t competing for who was the better mother but rather banding together as family to comfort their son. Henry was completely distraught. As I said before we have literally watched Jared Gilmore grow up but on top of that we have watched him grow as an actor and this scene showcased that growth. He tearfully tells his moms about Violet’s rejection and degrades himself (as teenager so often do), admitting that he will never be a Hero in Camelot. Regina catches a fallen tear and reassures him that he is a Hero, that his broken hearted tear will free Merlin. Emma throws it into the cauldron just as Arthur and his Knights charge in. A tornado of light and dark magic spins around Emma – she throws it onto the tree and Merlin is freed. Anyone else SO glad they didn’t drag on this Merlin’s stuck in a tree bit any longer? Phew, thank you writers. Right out of the gate Merlin throws some serious shade at Arthur…
“You, the boy who would be King. My great hope. How you’ve disappointed me.”
Oooooooo shots fired!! I love Merlin already. Be gone Arthur!
Everyone gathers at Grannys and Merlin uses his legendary magic to first cure David and Mary Margaret from their Sand of Avalon spell. They ask the question we’ve all been waiting for: Can he save Emma? Well duh of course he can! But as we all know magic comes with a price, even Merlin’s magic.
“Darkness like this. It takes hold of a person deep inside where nobody else can see. So if I must free you from its grasp I must know one thing: Emma, is your heart truly ready to be free? Because it is as much up to you as me.”
Presently, Hiolet?…Venry? are thankfully faring much better than in Camelot. Our boy Henry’s got a lot more luck in Our World! Everyone (sans Dark Swan of course) gather at the police station to figure out what happened to Griffin. Remember him? We didn’t get any Storybrooke last week so we are right where we left off in “Siege Perilous” with whipping boy Griffin having combusted after taking a swig of Arthur’s Kool Aid. As the adults furrow their brows over this conundrum, knee deep in cooties, Henry, is texting Violet. Pause: How does she have a cell phone? How would she even be able to not only understand a phone but be able to send texts? She’s been in Our World for like 3 days!) Play. After Mary Margaret suggests they do something to lift the spirits of the displaced people of Camelot, Henry chimes in suggesting they have a dance. Cue Grandpa Charming and Step Daddy Hook with their hilarious excitement over Henry’s love life! Also cue Regina who apparently is just finding out about Violet in the present (“Girlfriend? What girlfriend?”).
“Well if its dating tips you need lad, I know my way around women.”
Henry meets up with Violet who isn’t in the mood for a dance because her horse, Nicodemus, has gone missing. He reassures her, with the confidence of Hero, that he will find Nicodemus. Surprisingly he enlists the help of Emma to find the escaped pony. It was so refreshing and heartwarming to see this duo back in action together. While it wasn’t truly the same as it used to be, with Emma being so clearly cold as ice, it was a welcomed return to form (Operation Cobra!!). In the long neglected yellow Bug, Emma plays the cool mom asking honestly about Violet. Henry boasts about his clutch use of Only You by Yaz to woo Violet. Emma seemed to break from her Dark facade at the mention of the song. Neal loved Yaz. After a brief moment of nostalgia, Emma reverts back to her stone faced self. They (quite easily) find the horse at Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater’s patch and Mother and Son share a sweet exchange of smiles before going their separate ways.
While Operation Cobra lived on, Hook, Regina, Robin and Belle searched Dark Swan’s new digs. They found her (not so secret I guess) secret dungeon-basement and of course Excalibur. Hook goes to pull it out before Regina intervenes…
“Stop! I can’t believe I’m about to say this but it could be boobie trapped you could get killed”
This was no act to keep Killian safe, no this was because she knows Emma would break if anything happened to him. Regina loves Emma. I know there are people out there who think these two have a fighting chance as one and I got to say this moment (and the one with Henry in Camelot) may have pushed me a few board game spaces closer to Swan Queen territory. But(!) my game piece will always be a little bottle of rum so you know where my loyalties always lie. Anyways this ragtag group heads out of the house but not before Hook spots a mysterious box on one of Emma’s tables. Inside is a dreamcatcher which reveals the painful truth of what happened on Henry’s heartbreaking date. To my honest surprise, Emma took Violet’s heart shortly before the date so she could break Henry’s heart and get a tear for the spell. Henry watched over Regina and Robin’s shoulder as they watched these events unfold. Understandably he was left heartbroken once again only this time it surely cut deeper.
Emma shows up to Regina’s home and we finally get to see the Dark Swan not only screw up but realize the consequences of
her actions. In contrast to the previous scene in Camelot where the two united together, here we see them reverting back to their old game of tug-of-war with Henry. But there is one glaring difference: the roles are reversed (→parallel gif set!). Back in season one and two, arguments outside of the Mayor house were a common occurrence. When it wasn’t the whole town ready to riot it was Emma and Regina one on one. Emma was the mom with only the most honest of intentions for Henry whereas Regina was the mother who was keeping her cards close to her chest and her son even closer. Emma looked at Regina in horror of who she was and Regina looked at Emma like she was meaningless, powerless. In “Dreamcatcher” we saw Regina as the honest mother who was disgusted by Emma’s choice to purposely hurt her son and Emma played the role of the sinister mother who sees Regina as a meaningless obstacle. In both instances the villain begins to unravel and realize they may not get there way after all.
Meanwhile Storybrooke hosts the aforementioned dance (though it seemed more like a festival to me). The gang along with Arthur and Guinevere gather – Arthur confesses the truth about Excalibur. Present day Arthur is 20x more honest and less sketchy than in Camelot. But I still don’t trust him. Or Guinevere. He explains that when the sword becomes whole again it will be one of the strongest weapons in all the lands – it can eradicate all dark magic but also destroy all light magic…
“That’s her plan. To snuff out the light forever.”
Finally Henry makes a grand entrance to the festival on the back of Nicodemus. Violet is overjoyed and her Father is impressed, telling Henry he’ll “make a fine knight someday.” Present day (and memory washed) Violet is clearly smitten with Henry, so it’s safe to say she not only got her heart back but the friendzone is nonexistent in Storybrooke and there is surely more to come with this budding romance.
I made this whole post about Henry, so I forgot to mention what happened to his Grandfather who is being held hostage by his mother and trained by Merida to not be such a coward. Oh wait, I think I just summarized that whole B story in that sentence. Yeah. I think I did. Well…then…I guess this recap is over…I will see myself out…See y’all next week! Looks like the Rumbelle ship will finally be porting in Once Upon A Time again…can’t wait!
Some Extra Thoughts:
- I love the development of the relationship between Regina and Emma – it’s so perfect and unified in Camelot but just an utter mess present day. I hope when this Dark Swan business is all over we get what they had in Camelot again.
- So Merlin is hot. Major props to Once Upon A Time for making Merlin and super hot black guy and not some old wrinkly long bearded white guy. Thank You Casting Directors
- Hook had 5 lines this episode. What. The. Hell. Unacceptable Eddie & Adam!
- Also Hook nearly pulling the sword from the stone was TOTALLY FORESHADOWING – its all over Tumblr, theories about Killian being the noblest of heroes who will be the one to pull Excalibur out and combine it with the Dagger and save the day I. LOVE. IT. ALL. All of it! Well except for the part where the theories start up about my sweet Killian going to the Underworld. Definitely do not love that. Do not.