Around Arthur's Table
Once Upon A Time is heavy on innuendo but light on plot, as shenanigans in Camelot continue.
Merlin's stuck in a tree, Belle has a bad CGI rose, Emma's the Dark One and brought Excalibur with her back to Storybrooke, and making it one with the dagger again will "snuff out the light."
Heyyyyyyy Ho, Heyyyyyyy Ho!
Alert Type: This Looks Kinda Gay Alert.
Issue: The dwarves are mining fairy dust, but Grumpy is...grumpy because their yield is down. Just six sweaty guys hard at work...mining fairy dust. This is only the first scene in which the show takes the "sub" out of "subtext" this week. And how have I never noticed before how cute Happy is? And also that he looks a little...oh, what's a synonym for happy?
Complicating Factors: Emma shows up and steals Happy's axe.
Resolution: A lot of ineffectual staring; sadly, not a dwarf orgy.
Spoiler: Even a dwarf axe won't cut Excalibur or its stone.
That Quote"I know Dopey's a tree, but we've gotta be more productive since he can't."- Grumpy -
Plot Lightning Round
The Quest For The HoYay Grail
David, Mary Margaret, Emma, Belle, and all their wigs discuss their options in Merlin's tower. Merlin's condition might be caused by a cloaking spell, or he might be an actual tree. They can't risk taking a sample in case it's the latter, and they can't use Emma's dark magic. "What if we could talk to him?" asks Mary Margaret, which seems like just the sort of dumb thing Snow White would suggest (talking to trees and all), but Regina turns to a page in the book she happens to be reading on the Crimson Crown toadstool, which can communicate through magical barriers. David will go in search of it, and Arthur insists on joining him; David seems more than a little pleased by this. Oh for this to be the gay storyline!
In Storybrooke, Regina finds the book with the page she marked about the mushroom, so they have another piece of the missing memories puzzle.
The dwarves storm into the police station to yell about Happy's axe getting stolen. They want something to be done about Emma but don't seem to want her killed, so good job being part of the solution, dwarves. David and Mary Margaret are angry and feel powerless...mostly David, who feels he's failing as a leader. Mary Margaret tells him that "In any world, you are my hero, remember?" Fat lot of good that does saving the world. Arthur arrives to report that his reliquary is in Storybrooke, but it's empty. Among the missing magical items: A bean that could get everyone home in an instant.
There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters
Who called the meeting? Regina.
What's it about? What to do about Zelena's baby.
How'd it go? Regina unmutes Zelena and tells her that she can't take Robin's child away from him. Zelena counters with the completely fair point that they were all going to take it away from her. Regina tells her to stop playing the victim, which is also a fair point considering Zelena got impregnated while pretending to be Robin's dead wife, but Regina does kind of undermine it by going all Evil Queen and threatening her with violence. Regina promises that Zelena's baby will be safe and loved if Zelena stops being a pain in the ass (I'm paraphrasing) and leaves when this is all over.
Plot Lightning Round
Looking Inside Boxes
Arthur shows David his sword. Sorry, his actual sword. Arthur says that Percival's chair at the Round Table will be filled soon enough, but another, larger than the others, will be empty forever. This was Lancelot's. David lets on that he knows this story, and he's glad it seems to have had a happy ending, given that Arthur and Guinevere are okay now. David mentions that he and Mary Margaret met Lancelot, and when Arthur asks how he is, it falls on David to tell him that he died. (He didn't really, but David doesn't know that...and to be honest I barely remember and had to look it up.)
A squire brings the reliquary, which Arthur explains to us for the second time in five minutes, because "reliquary" is a big word. It's very full (more like a toy chest than a store of precious magical objects), and Arthur takes out The Eternal Flame to light their journey, which will take them through a forest of endless night. In Storybrooke, the same squire delivers the now nearly empty box.
Robin shows Hook Zelena's sonogram, and Hook makes the same face I make whenever anyone thinks I care about seeing a blurry picture of their fetus. Also who the hell gave Zelena a sonogram in Storybrooke? And when did they upgrade to smartphones? What year even is it? I don't ask for a lot, show, just a teeny bit of internal consistency. Anyway, Hook tells Robin that Emma isn't the same and she's hiding something, which, duh, she's evil. Granny arrives with a large bag of food for Hook even though he didn't order anything. The note attached reads "Meet me on your ship. Emma." Like Granny would just say "Order up!" and not "Your evil girlfriend called ahead for you"?
We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together
Who called the meeting? Emma.
What's it about? She wants to apologize for overreacting last time they met up. "I thought we could just talk and have lunch like old times."
How'd it go? Not great! Hook says this is hardly like old times, so she magically sets the table and makes herself look like her old self. Because dark magic is exactly what will put his mind at ease. Emma thinks she's better off as the Dark One. Before, she was judgmental and couldn't even see the magic right in front of her. But now she sees things clearly, and she isn't scared anymore. "I'm an open book if you're willing to take that first step." Gold and Belle were happy, why can't they be? Rumple didn't find real love until after he became the Dark One. Hook reminds her that he was the villain in that story, taunting Rumple at sword-point. Hook's not buying her act, and wants to know what she wants from him. Emma insists she only needs his trust. "If you tell me you don't love me I will let you go."
"I loved you."
Spoiler: She didn't only need his trust.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
David gives Arthur a hard time for being mean to his squire, and Arthur admits he has no excuse since he was born common and was once in service himself. "You weren't born noble?" Dude, you just said you know his whole story! David reveals that he used to be a shepherd, and they totally make out. Ugh, fine, they just high-five and talk about how great their wives are. Arthur admits to being crazy competitive, and David says he thought the whole point of the Round Table is that Arthur doesn't think he's better than his men. "Someone who isn't competitive doesn't need a two-ton table to remind him to be humble." Fair.
That Quote"I can feel my backbone relaxing already."- Arthur, King of That's What He Said -
That Quote"It'll never take both of us."- David, Prince of That's What He Said -
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Mario And Luigi
The place where the toadstool lives is very Alice In Wonderland meets Indiana Jones: a single mushroom in a shaft of light at the end of a rickety bridge. As David runs across, the bridge sinks under the water, but the only real issue seems to be getting his feet wet -- or tripping, which David ungallantly does -- but a piece of armor floating in the water suggests more danger. David harvests the toadstool and bits of armor float up from the lake to form two pretty intimidating-looking knights. David beats them easily...but each time he does, they're able to reform, until they pull him off the bridge and under the water. Arthur shows up to rescue him, and the black knights give up. So, no one ever tried to steal the mushroom with a friend before?
Winner: Arthur and David.
Plot Lightning Round
A Rose By Any Other Name Would Still Be Boring
In Storybrooke, petals continue to fall off Belle's rose. (It seems to be in better shape than her wig. Do they have a different crew for the Camelot scenes?) She's found a healing spell that she thinks will work but she needs an object of Rumple's from before he became the Dark One, and she has yet to find one in the shop. David and Arthur ask if anyone's come in to pawn anything. Because that's what would happen to stolen items in this town with a dozen people, sure. David asks if he can borrow a goblet he thinks will help them. Belle points out that it's not magic, just a souvenir from Doc's birthday party. "It says 'Doctober Fest' on it." Hee.
David addresses the Camelot refugee camp, claiming the cup is the "Chalice of Vengeance" and that it will reveal the thief. Everyone is to line up to drink from it. Surprising no one who's watched television before, the squire runs away (on horseback). David and Arthur chase him down in David's truck (which Arthur needs a crash course in how to drive).
David discovers that he lost the toadstool in the water. He and Arthur bond over their fucked-up pasts and how what makes them heroes is never giving up, even after a loss. Blah. Arthur offers David a seat at the Round Table.
The squire -- whose name is Griff -- says he took the relics because he was tired of being mistreated and wanted to hurt Arthur, but swears he never saw a bean. Arthur concedes that it's possible the bean was taken during the period no one can remember. David spots the toadstool, so also at some point during that time someone must have found it.
David realizes that if the mushroom can communicate through magical barriers, they could conceivably use it to talk to Merlin now, from Storybrooke, and save Emma. Yay, David feels useful again!
That Quote"Some large rock decided I was a hero. Prophesy fulfilled."- Arthur, realizing that this is no basis for a system of government -
I Never Thought I'd Say Cool It With The Homoeroticism, But...That'll Do.
David is on his knees before Arthur's massive sword. He's being knighted, you guys, what did you think I meant? (Aren't they planning to cure Emma and leave? It seems very rude to accept this job offer.) David starts towards the chair formerly known as Percival's, but Arthur points to Lancelot's. "I never thought I'd find anyone I trust enough to fill that seat." I die a little bit. David makes a face that reminds me of ones from some key scenes on Looking. Do you think the Once Upon A Time and The Flash writers share a Google doc where they just leave innuendos for each other? That'll do.
For The Noblest Of The Knights, He Sure Is Good At Lurking
Alert Type: Twist Alert.
Issue: Outside the ceremony, Mary Margaret finds Lancelot lurking in the shadows. Quickly dispensing with the "yeah, I'm alive" stuff, he tells her that there's a villain besides the Dark One: Arthur. "Camelot is not what it seems."
Complicating Factors: Oh, you know, Mary Margaret's husband has just been made Arthur's right-hand man, her daughter is the Dark One, and Merlin is still a tree.
Resolution: None yet, or for the foreseeable future.
Spoiler: At least this reveal is finally going to move the plot forward a little.
Wrap It Up
Arthur reveals to Guinevere that he has the toadstool. "I must think of my kingdom first."
Arthur visits Griff in Storybrooke jail, where Griff is confused that he's behind bars when he was only following Arthur's instructions, including lying about maybe having seen a bean when they both know there was never a bean. Arthur, who actually believes they'll never get back, reveals his plan to build a new Camelot in Storybrooke, before making Griff drink poison from Agriba vipers (nice touch). "I'm offering you...a chance to die in service of Camelot." And poor dumb Griff buys it. I guess you're not going to be the gay storyline either. Boo.
Belle runs into Granny's for some take-out lunch (if no one can cook in Storybrooke, what did they do for the six weeks the diner was entirely gone?), but just then the second-to-last petal falls on the rose. But then all the petals come back! Belle drops her plate on the floor (rude) and runs out.
Back at the shop, Belle finds Rumple gone. He's in Emma's basement, getting better with the help of Belle's spell and Hook's sword. Emma's meeting was all a ruse to get Hook to tell the story of his first meeting with Rumple, to see if there was still something on the ship he'd touched in his old life. Emma explains to Gold that now that his heart is a blank slate, he's useful to her. She wants to make him into a pure hero so that he can pull Excalibur from the stone. What could go wrong?