Once Upon A Time S05E03 “Siege Perilous” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Netflix
Writer: Jane Espenson
Director: Ralph Hemecker
Essential Plot Points
- Dark Emma continues to try to free Excalibur .
- David and King Arthur go on a quest for a magical toadstool .
- David and King Arthur must team-up in the present to find a thief.
- Lancelot appears in secret to Snow that King Arthur must not be trusted.
It’s amazing how backgrounded Dark Emma has become in her own story arc. This episode only exists for one purpose, as a set-up for future episodes. It basically consists of another quest in the flashback and more heel-kicking back in Storybrooke. However it does leave us with the promise that some interesting complications are coming up.
The search to free Merlin continues! Our heroes come up with a brainstorm. Why not ask Merlin himself how to set him free? Communicating the wizard involves locating a magical item – The Mario Super Mushroom. Actually, it’s a magical toadstool called the Crimson Crown but it does look exactly like something from a Mario games. Apparently it comes with a power-up which allows the user to communicate through magical barriers, such as being trapped in a giant tree, for instance.
David wastes no time and begins a quest to search for it, and King Arthur insists on joining the adventure. Before they head off Arthur shows off his treasure chest filled with magical items; he chooses a magical torch to help guide them through the magical forest. There are two issues with this. Firstly, this torch has an naked, everlasting flame which seems an incredible health and safety issue when it’s being stored in a wooden chest. Secondly, the torch’s flame is so feeble it’s practically useless for the quest, so it’s patently obvious the thing is a mere plotting tool designed to introduce the far more important magical chest.
Back in the present, Emma steals a dwarf axe which literally serves no purpose, and… oh no! Someone has stolen the contents of King Arthur’s treasure chest! These include one of the magic beans that could transport them all back to Camelot. They first suspect Emma, but immediately realise that the lock has scratch marks on it (Emma could have just magicked it open). They ask the man who found the chest, Grif, if he has any clues to the identity of the thief. Grif of course, acts like the most suspicious and obviously guilty person ever created, but for some reason David decides to not to question him further.
Meanwhile (or six weeks ago) in Camelot David and Arthur locate the Mario Mushroom, at the other end of a rickety bridge over a lake, which other than a potential slipping hazard it doesn’t come across as that dangerous. It’s only on the return journey that David run into trouble, in the form of undead skeletons trying to kill him. I will give the episode this: the action scene in which David battles two skeleton knights is really entertaining. When he slips in there are more skeletons in the water to drag him down. Luckily Arthur arrives to save him from drowning at the cost of losing the toadstool in the water. Hey, but who cares about a mushroom when bromance is brewing?
Dark Emma shows up! Remember her? Because we don’t think the writers did. Hook is invited on a date with Emma during which she tries to convince him that she’s better off as the Dark One, saying how that Rumplestiltskin was a coward before he became the Dark One. Hook – in a rather touching moment where Hook reflects on his past life – tries to tell her that Rumple was a man trying to keep his family together when he begged in front of him on his ship.
David and Arthur find the thief with unbelievable ease leading to a pretty awesome car-horse chase/jousting scene in which David uses a 2×4 to slam the thief off his horse (which, even if he was wearing armour, would almost certainly have done him some serious damage). The thief turns out to be Grif, because every single person other than David saw that coming.
The last few scenes of the episode are all setting in motion plot lines for the future. Arthur not only kills Grif after revealing that there was never a bean in the chest, but he also hides the fact that he saved the magical toadstool from the water. Lancelot shows up to warn Snow White about Arthur. And Emma brings Rumplestiltskin out of his coma so that he can remove the sword from the stone for her.
- Interesting set-ups for the next few episodes .
- Pretty awesome action scenes with David .
- Hook continues to prove what a great character he is .
- Dark Emma feels like a supporting role in her own story arc .
- King Arthur is still a bore of a character despite possibly being a future villain .
- The Dwarfs whistle “Heigh-Ho” while digging .
- The title card features Brocéliande, the dark Forest. However as the Title card usually features a forest it’s difficult to notice they added anything new.
- The dark forest Brocéliande is from the Arthurian legend.
- Hook and Emma’s date was supposed to be on the deck of the Jolly Roger but was moved to the inside for budget reasons.
- King Arthur’s use of a round table to remind him to be humble was inspired by TH White’s The Once and Future King.
- Inside the chest there’s a golden apple which could be a reference to Snow White or King Midas.
- In the police station there’s a missing poster for Melissa Lew, who works on the production staff (who’s not missing, for those wondering).
- Many apologies for the lateness of the review this week… illness got in the way.
Reviewed by Sam Halford