Once Upon a Time: “Dreamcatcher” Further Thoughts & Season 5 Mid-Season Catch Up

This weeks’s Further Thoughts is a bit different as I only have a few additional thoughts on “Dreamcatcher” that I did not cover in my Nerd Machine review. So, I also included some thoughts from previous episodes I have not yet discussed. Warning: some of this contain some spoilers from articles and interviews so read at your own risk. 


Mysterious Merlin:

I was so happy to see Merlin this week in both the opening flashback and when Emma released him from the tree. I pretty much completely adore him already. How can you not love the most powerful sorcerer in all the realms who is also as precious as this. It is an interesting take on the character that I quite like because it is the exact opposite of what you would expect.




Beyond these affable qualities, Merlin and his abilities are real mysterious and left me with many questions. If he was trapped inside a tree how was he able to still communicate with others. We know he did so because he spoke to not only Arthur, but also his Apprentice. I suppose that shows the brevity of his power.

Merlin visits Emma:

One of the most mysterious questions raised is how Merlin was able to visit Emma when she was a child. The timeline is somewhat confusing but was not he already imprisoned when she was in the real world? He had to have been. So that begs the questions as to how he was able to do this. The warning he gives her, very intriguing an ominous at the time, is starting to make much more sense as we have seen the season play out so far.

merlin emma

merlin emma 1

merlin emma 3


In this episode we saw Emma do something very bad to Henry, but for a good reason. It leaves us wondering if she will continue to do so. During the panel for NYCC Jennifer Morrison said that Emma was doing bad things but for good reasons. Those reasons are still a mystery, but she also revealed much has to do with Killian. Jennifer said as much.

jmo hook

jmo hook 1

jmo hook1


Did she cast the curse for a good reason? Was it out of protection? This is also playing into her present day mission to create a hero out of Gold to pull Excalibur from the stone. She may have a good reason for wanting it to be removed but as Merlin warns, bad things will happen. That is what we discovered in episode 2. If she wants it to be removed she is going to have to pay “The Price.” I think it is possible that Emma is trying to spare Killian from having to pay that Price, but the inevitably bad may still may happen. For if this is not the most blatant piece of foreshadowing, I don’t know what is?

hook sword2

hook sword1


Two Prices to be Paid?:

We know that in order to remove Excalibur a price has to be paid, but I have been wondering if there is still a price to be paid for saving Robin’s life. Regina offered herself in his place, but then Snow, David, Leroy and Arthur stood with her and fought off the fury that was coming for Robin.The Price was never really paid and the figure we see below simply sails away. With talk of the Underworld coming into play, I would venture to guess that this price has not been fulfilled yet and someone is going to have to pay it.


Merlin’s and Killian’s Rings:

In the additional episode stills released for “Dreamcatcher” of Merlin. I was instantly struck by how similar his rings are to the ones Killian wears. I’m sure many have already brought this up as well, because Oncers are the most brilliant and observant fans ever. Look how similar they are. It is pretty remarkable and by no means a coincidence.


Series Creators Adam Horowotiz and Eddy Kitsis revealed in a recent interview that Killian’s rings would reveal things about his origins.



With this knowledge, the fact that there are striking similarities between the rings these two men wear is intriguing and extremely exciting!!!

Underground Darkness:

When we saw Lancelot and Guinevere travel to the Dark One’s vault in “The Broken Kingdom” one of the things that was particularly confusing was the darkness that was floating around untethered to anything. It latches onto Lancelot in the same way it did with The Apprentice and then Regina in “Operation Mongoose.” It is trying to snuff out the light. The difference here is that unlike in the Season 4 finale, the darkness is tethered to a person- Rumpelstiltskin. He is the Dark One. So what is this excess darkness that is in the vault? Is there so much that not all of it could be contained in one person, so there are still remnants of it, at the very least safe from the outside world in the vault? This was confusing to me and I wonder if it will even be explained.


Merlin’s First Love is the Dark One:

This is a popular theory that many have been saying and I definitely agree that The Dark One that Merlin summons- the one he plans to kill because they destroyed the woman he loved- was indeed the person standing before him. The darkness can destroy a person. It changes them. Many have also pointed out that this very very could be Nimue as there is a episode coming up with that title. He could not bring himself to kill her and misses her. This moment of grief cost him his freedom. If these ideas end up being true I definitely am on board with the possible parallels between Merlin/Nimue and Emma/Killian. Where Merlin’s first love was destroyed by the darkness and they failed to overcome these demons, Emma and Killian’s love will prevail and overcome this darkness. Isn’t that what the greatest fairy tales are made of? Isn’t that  what Samwise Gamgee told Frodo about the stories that really matter:

“Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.”

Surrounded by all these familiar charterers and allusions, with Emma’s character we are witnessing an entire new fairy tale and one that is for the ages. One that is like so many that came before it where darkness must be overcome. But there is something special about Emma’s story. We sees so many amazing complexities in her various relationships, and this season is about her True Love and fighting for it- fighting for their happy ending amidst the darkest of struggles imaginable. In these stories that we hold dear, there are always moments that are bleak and seemingly hopeless, but there is always hope. When the skies darken, eventually the sun does shine through again. This story feels so reminiscent of the poem “Morning” by William Blake:

poem2 This gives new meaning to the scene between Emma and Killian in the meadow when the sunlight peaks through the trees, quieting the darkness within her. For the moment, her fears vanish and all that is left is the two them bathed in sunlight. This was just one moment of the story and the darkness is sure to creep in once more, but it shall not prevail. Light and love will always shine through in the end.

cs kiss

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