Once Upon A Time S05E02 “The Price” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Netflix
Writers: Andrew Chambliss & Dana Horgan
Director: Romeo Tirone
Essential Plot Points:
- King Arthur throws a ball
- Regina must save Robin from a Fury
- Citizens of Camelot appear in Storybrooke
- Regina begins to doubt herself
- Dark Emma has Excalibur
If there were ever an episode which could be summed up as “40 minutes of killing time” it would be this one. So much nothing happens. Every plot point is set up only to be given absolutely no consequences or impact on the story; other than maybe two developments you could skip this entire episode and be able to pick up next week just fine.
The worst part is it’s not even bad, because that would give us some to write about. The episode is just okay, a masterpiece of middling adequacy. Sure, you can’t expect every episode to be great but this is only the second episode of a new season –step it up guys.
Back in flashback land (still not impressed they’re reverting to this technique again) the Storybrooke gang arrive in Camelot to be greeted by King Arthur and his wife, Guinevere. Everyone is excited to meet the Saviour but when Emma goes to introduce herself Regina decides to claim she’s the Saviour. She later explains that Emma cannot use her powers so it’s best for her to keep a low profile.
With Charming and Hood eager to start the quest to find Merlin, Arthur explains that all of Camelot knows exactly where Merlin is. The great and powerful wizard, built up to be the greatest practitioner of magic in this series is… stuck inside a tree. Which, to be fair, is actually part of Arthurian mythology so we’ll give them that one. According to Merlin’s prophecy the Saviour will rescue him from the tree. So it’s straight to work right? Nope, time for a ball!
Meanwhile, in the present, the Dwarfs test the boundaries of Storybrooke to see if the curse stops people leaving (again… again). Consequently, one of them is turned into a tree. So the same old.
But wait! Emma is the Dark One and has evil powers, so time to see some villainous mischief, surely? Except she doesn’t do anything with her new powers. She just stands around talking. She does psyche out Regina a little, though, making her doubt herself. Terrifying!
King Arthur and the denizens of Camelot have shown up in Storybrooke, another general annoyance for the main cast. Last week we complained that King Arthur came across as a rather bland character; this hasn’t changed in the slightest.
Some excitement does occur when Robin is taken away by a Fury. A Fury cannot be defeated by magic; the only way to save Robin is to bargain for his life by offering up another.
At Camelot, the ball is in full swing and it’s the fanciest ball since, well, the last one they had. However, there is a great little montage when Henry introduces himself to the princess and shares his iPod with her; the anachronistic ’80s synth pop actually suits the lavish ballroom dancing really well, and it’s a sweet scene. This soon ends when Percival tells Regina the story about when he grew up and witnessed her burning down his village. Unsurprisingly a bit miffed at this he bears a grudge and ends up attempting to murder Regina. But Robin jumps in the way and Percival is killed by Charming. Considering we’ve never met Percival before and we know Robin survives (he’s in the “six weeks later” scenes) this leave no emotional impact. Robin is lying on the table dying, Regina can’t save him and Emma is warned if she uses her magic there will be a price to pay, thus connecting the two stories.
Back in the present, Regina offers her life to the Fury to save Robin. This leads to an odd scene reminiscent of Guardians Of The Galaxy in which a bunch of Storybrookers hold hands with Regina to share out the cost the price. It’s a nice moment until you realised they’ve just given up about a fifth of their lives each, which is, at a guess, 5-10 years of their life gone. Considering three of them have children, I’d call that a loss.
In the final scene we see that Emma has Excalibur as well as the dagger. The Darkness informs her that she can use the sword to remove any links she has to love ones; fortunately for now she cannot remove the sword.
- The costumes were pretty.
- Regina’s reluctant to dance was amusing.
- The musical moments featuring “Only You” by Yazoo were fun and the song fitted in beautifully.
- Dark Emma has been quite disappointing thus far
- King Arthur is still a bore
- Nothing of much importance happens
- Only about five minutes of the episode progressed the ongoing story in any form.
- How many times does Robin need saving? We get it! Regina is a strong character and gender roles can be reversed.
- The title card features a tree… in the woods. More specifically it’s the Merlin tree.
- Furies come from Greek mythology. When the Fury is about to take Robin’s soul we see the Ferryman. Also from Greek mythology, the Ferryman transports the souls of the dead to the underworld. Both the Furies and the Ferryman (aka, Charon) appear in Disney’s Hercules (1997).
- Dopey is wearing a Geronimo Jackson shirt, who were a fictional band on the television series Lost.
- The rose in the jar makes a return – many viewers will probably recognise it from Disney’s Beauty And The Beast which, of course, is where Belle hails from.
Reviewed by Sam Halford