“Once Upon a Time” promised a lot of drama on their premiere episode “The Dark Swan” Monday, and after watching the installment we definitely feel confident that they succeeded. This was as intense an hour as anything that the show has put out there, even if it would certainly be fair if you were at the moment to call it somewhat disjointed. there were a few elements to this, after all, that seemed to bounce around thanks to changes in the location and setting.
The story that we had here is for the most part all about the Dark Swan, and Emma’s full transformation into this feared character despite an attempt to find Merlin and change the future in Camelot. What we saw at the end of the episode is that six weeks passed from the beginning of the story until that point, and in that time something went horribly wrong. Heck, she turned Sneezy into a block of stone!
We do like how Jennifer Morrison is playing the character, though, and just how much she should be feared. It’s a nice change to have Regina and Hook in the positions of hero, and to have Rumpelstiltskin (or really, the Dark One) sort of being the devil on the shoulder. The fate of the real Rumple is still for the most part to be seen.
Since most of the episode was about getting to that point, it was mostly a series of little events that while important, probably are not the most memorable ones we’ve ever seen. They include the following:
1. Hook and Henry tricking Zelena (with the help of eventually Regina) to cast a spell that could bring them to Camelot.
2. The introduction of Merida to the story, and the story that involved Emma nearly taking out her heart as she started to battle the darkness for the first time.
3. Seeing King Arthur for the first time as Hook, Henry, and the rest of the gang first arrived to Camelot. He had been expecting them, mostly because Merlin predicted it so.
Who knows where this story will go? We ultimately wish that there was a little more congruence in the episode, since it became hard to attach yourself to anything thanks to jumping around to so many different time periods and places. For now it feels incomplete to even grade “The Dark Swan” since there is still so much up in the air, but for now, we’ll just say that we found it a reasonably enjoyable start to the season. Grade: B.
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