The theme for the latest episode of Once Upon A Time could easily be disgruntled employees. After Emma kicked off the episode by stealing a pick ax from Happy, the dwarves went to file a report with the sheriff, but the Dark Swan’s parents were more interested in their quest to save their daughter. Elsewhere in Storybrooke, a squire robbed Arthur and in Camelot, Arthur and Charming talked about Lancelot’s betrayal with Guinevere.
Of course leaving it there would only be skimming the surface of “Siege Perilous.” We need to talk in depth about Charming and Arthur’s bromance, both in Storybrooke and in Camelot. The men set out to find an ingredient Regina needed for a spell so they could talk to Merlin and simply ask him how to free him from the tree (smart). On the way there, Charming and Arthur bonded over their humble beginnings, their kickass arrow-shooting wives, and we saw a few cracks in Charming’s armor. He wanted to be more than just the man who kissed a princess awake 30 years earlier.
Did Charming’s midlife crisis feel a little out of character to anyone else? I understand his frustration with feeling powerless and I’m not saying he’s wrong to want to save Emma or even to be the hero, but since when does he do it for the credit? Charming’s never cared about the glory. He does the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. But fine, whatever, we can set that aside and focus on Arthur. He claims to be doing the right thing too, except he’s a bit of a lying liar who lies. In Camelot, he stole the magic toadstool from Charming and in Storybrooke, he not only ordered his squire to “rob” him, he asked the squire to drink poison so no one could ever discover the truth. His real mission is to claim Storybrooke as his own (why anyone would want to with all the crazy stuff that happens there is beyond me).
On the bright side, Lancelot returned to the land of the living in Camelot to warn Snow that Arthur was the villain of the story. To be fair, we only had Cora’s word that he was dead, but it also kind of made sense that Cora would kill him? But I’m not going to nitpick about this plot point because Lancelot being alive and not trusting Arthur makes the story more interesting (Seriously though, Guinevere still seems like the shady one to me. Not Blue Fairy Shady, but enough to be suspicious).
Back to the Dark Swan: the pick ax didn’t work and Rumple gleefully told her that she needed a hero and she knew which one she needed. So Emma requested Hook’s presence on his ship and asked him to have lunch with her like the used to (she even donned the dress she wore on their first date). Hook continued to be wary of her because he wasn’t born yesterday and even recounted the tale of Rumple’s first visit to his ship. He reminded her that he’d been the villain then and he’s changed and he can see how much she’s changed. Emma insisted that she was better now and stronger and she asked Hook to help her if he loved her. He told her that he did love her as in past tense (ouch) and Emma left the ship with the sword he fought Rumple with way back when (But the whole thing shook her because she’s not quite as Dark on the inside as she’s projecting).
Poor Belle took a small break from searching for a way to help Rumple in order to get herself something to eat and then more petals fell off the rose. She started to run out only to watch the rose reform itself, which meant Rumple was waking up. But when she got back to the shop, he was gone. Back at her lair, Emma sprinkled the remains of the sword over Rumple, he awoke and wanted to know what the new Dark One wanted from him. Since his heart was untouched by the dark or the light, she wanted to mold him into the greatest hero ever so he could pluck the sword from the stone for her.
Meanwhile, Regina assured Zelena her baby would be loved and cared for, but the same could not be said for Zelena (I am sad this scene was so short. I could watch these two forever). Robin had quite possibly the best line ever uttered on the show when he tried to show Hook the baby’s sonogram and referred to it as “a picture inside of Zelena.” Well done, writers. Hook also asked Robin to team up with him to break into Emma’s house and find out what’s happening in the basement (bromance ignited).
All in all, this episode fell on the weak side for me. I’m having trouble with Arthur’s motivations. Didn’t Merlin tell him to trust these people? Did he forget that? I could see why he might be uncomfortable after the Dark One lie, but he doesn’t know about that in Camelot yet and he still screwed Charming over with the toadstool. Emma kidnapping Rumple bugs me too. I’m not against Rumple’s redemption. TV characters can almost always be redeemed with good writing. But this feels a little like Zelena holding him hostage in season three. I will reserve judgement though because it’s early yet and even though I didn’t love this episode as much as the two that preceded it, it still held my attention and left me curious for what’s next.