Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep2 – The Price

“All Magic Comes With a Price.”

Anyone who has watched the show has heard this time and time again. We’re familiar with the idea, even if this supposedly essential rule isn’t always applied in the show. Various characters have used magic with impunity on numerous occasions, so this maxim doesn’t seem as serious as people make it out to be. But in this episode, the rule is applied strictly and both Emma and Regina are confronted with the price they have to pay for magic.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep2 - The PriceOnce Upon a Time always does well when it focuses on both Emma and Regina’s paths and choices. From enemies to allies/co-mothers to this intriguing new role reversal where Emma is the Dark One and Regina the new Savior, it is always fascinating to see how these characters struggle with the burdens of their destiny. While current Emma has embraced the darkness within her, Regina still doubts herself and her ability to be the new Savior. Considering what a long and arduous road it has been for her to change from a villain to a hero, her struggles are understandable. But Regina is nothing if not determined, and from being determined to get her revenge, she is now determined to prove herself worthy of this new title. And having seen her come so far, Snow, Charming, and the others are supportive of her efforts. It was particularly heartening to see how characters like Leroy believe in her enough to risk his life facing a Fury. (It was strange to see Arthur join them in facing the Fury though, since he barely knows any of them.)

Well, that's one way of calling your mom.

Well, that’s one way of calling your mom.

The scenes in Storybrooke picked up from where the previous episode left off. Everyone but Emma has lost their memory and are trying to figure out how to fend off the next threat. This new curse managed to bring along King Arthur and a number of Camelot citizens. So it’s another group of people trying acclimatize to our world, a constant source of some levity on the show. It’s always amusing to see their reactions to modern technology (though a jukebox, really?) Regina and Snow discussed their options, while Hook sought advice from Belle about dealing with a Dark One true love.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep2 - The PriceMeanwhile, Emma made it clear that she had no intention of turning back to the light, and that she was perfectly comfortable in her new role (and in her new house, a significant upgrade from her crowded flat) as Dark One. The ending was particularly disturbing as Emma chooses to attach her dagger to Excalibur in order to snuff out the light, forever as Dark-One-manifestation-Rumple tells her to. But this apparently will not be a very straightforward operation, and even Emma has to face some challenges before she can get what she wants.

Smooth, Henry, real smooth.

Smooth, Henry, real smooth.

The scenes in Camelot did little to enlighten us on how the Storybrooke situation became what it is. Upon the group’s arrival in the legendary kingdom, they were immediately treated to a lavish ball. Never mind that they still needed to figure out how to reach out to Merlin, who is somehow stuck in an ancient tree. As impractical as it seemed, the ball was a good opportunity to show some bonding moments between the characters, from Snow talking to Emma about her first ball, Grandpa David encouraging Henry to make a new friend, and Snow and Charming giving Regina fashion advice (which she even gladly accepted, proof of how far their relationship has improved.)

Even Belle and Leroy had a sweet scene, a callback to their friendship back in season one. These little scenes were lovely to watch, because we’ve journeyed so far with this family and they deserve some happy moments together in between magical trials.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep2 - The PriceBut of all the fantastic things we need to suspend our disbelief for on Once Upon a Time, I find it impossible to believe that Regina never learned how to dance. Knowing how meticulous Cora was in grooming her daughter to be a future queen, I’m pretty sure dance lessons were part of her training. But I’ll forgive this strange lapse because it gave us the adorably awkward scene of Snow and Charming giving Regina an impromptu dance lesson.

Anyway, it turns out that one of Arthur’s knights was also one of the unfortunate souls Regina had terrorized back in her day as the Evil Queen. So having recognized her, he immediately attempted to murder her and was summarily dispatched. Farewell Sir Percival, we barely knew thee.

It was a bit strange how Arthur easily let the death of one of his knights go, and how he almost immediately accepted Regina’s confession of her identity, because Camelot is a place for “second chances.” We still know too little of the characters in Camelot to either root for them or feel bad when one of them dies. Hopefully, they will get more integrated into the main cast as the season progresses.

Firebending Regina is my favorite.

Firebending Regina is my favorite.

Robin Hood continues to exasperate me as a character, since his main purpose seems to be getting injured or captured in order to force Regina to make difficult choices. He has become her weakness that others can exploit, and though he does make her happy, his presence also seems to bring more trouble than it is worth. Sometimes it seems like Regina’s happiness comes at too high a price (haha). But I do want her to be happy, so I guess I’ll have to put up with him.

And in the end, the price wasn’t really paid though, was it? After all, the Fury departed without having taken a life, because apparently a bunch of people holding hands was enough to prevent it from fulfilling its purpose. But clearly the main point of the story was to have Regina gain some more confidence in herself as a Savior. The Fury, just like the Wraith and the Chernabog, was just another temporary disruption. Darker things are still to come.