"Dreamcatcher" is the fifth episode of the fifth season of ABC's Once Upon a Time and the ninety-fourth episode of the series overall. It aired on October 25, 2015. It was written by show creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz and was directed by Romeo Tirone.
A pumpkin is featured in the forest.
In the Characters' Past
In the early years of Camelot, a mysterious individual is walking through the forest calling out The Dark One with the dagger in his hand, saying that he destroyed the only woman he ever loved. As the original Dark One appears, the person fails in his attempts to stab the gold masked being, only drop the knife in shock. The Dark One then picks up the dagger and collects a teardrop from the man and turns him into a tree. The person is revealed to be Merlin.
The events of how Merlin was transformed is witnessed through a dreamcatcher by Emma as she stands near the tree. At the same time, David and Mary Margaret, who are now under King Arthur's command, convince Regina to hand over the dagger to Arthur, unaware that moments after, Regina took the two to the treestump where it was hidden. Emma was waiting for her parents by placing a freezing spell on them. She tells Regina about Arthur using Mary Margaret and David in order to unite Excalibur with the dagger and then kill Merlin, which is why Emma wants a skeptical Regina to work with her to free the sorcerer, even though Regina is not convinced of Emma's claim, believing that Emma's darkness is telling Emma this, which Emma disputes by saying it's true and that dark magic is the answer. Regina asks how Emma knew her parents were under the spell, and she shows Regina the dreamcatcher. Regina tells Emma that the device catches more than dreams because it's dark magic and dangerous, as Emma believes that her dark magic is stronger than she thought. Emma then explains to Regina about how Merlin was imprisoned in the tree. Regina suggests to Emma that a tear of another lost love would the answer to releasing Merlin. At same time this was happening, Henry helps Violet groom her horse. The two talked about having lost a parent, with Violet telling Henry that her mother was once a champion rider before she died. Henry then sees a sword and pretends to pull Excalibur from the stone, but he is no match for the sword, and he falls through the stable wall. All of a sudden Violet's father Sir Morgan arrives, where the introduction becomes an unwelcomed one for Henry. Morgan disapproves of the outsider because of his lack of swordsman and horse riding skills, and even saving Violet from a ogre attack if it comes to that. Morgan tells Henry to stay away from Violet and leave the stables.
Later on in the woods, Regina and Emma stumble onto Henry practicing and both give him a boost of encouragement. This bought back memories for Regina as she reflected about how Cora killed Daniel, which gave Regina a idea to obtain the tear, which could come from her by using the dreamcatcher. When Emma tried using it, the potion didn’t work, as Regina has moved on to Robin. Meanwhile, Henry treats Violet to dinner and a movie at Granny's and she is impressed, but when the subject of dating or courting came up, Violet tells Henry that she wants to just be friends, but explains that it was not because of her father's disapproval of him. This devastated Henry because he is not a hero in this universe. He is consoled by Regina, who then takes Henry's teardrop to Emma and tells Henry he just found a way to save Emma. As they joined Emma at Merlin's tree, Arthur and his Knights are ready to stop Regina and Emma from releasing Merlin, calling them liars. As Regina unleashed her hand of fire to keep Arthur at bay, she tells Emma to use the spell, which unleashes light and dark magic, freeing Merlin. The now-human sorcerer then calls out Emma, and lashed out at Arthur, telling the King that he - and not Merlin's false prophecies - are to blame for this mess, and added as long as the dagger and Excalibur are separated Merlin is untouchable. Arthur, however says this is far from over. Merlin later lifted Arthur’s spell off of David and Mary Margaret. Hook asks Merlin if he can he free Emma to remove darkness out of her. Merlin revealed he could lift the darkness from Emma, but there was just one thing he needs from Emma, and that is if Emma's heart was ready to release the darkness from hers.
In present day, the residents discover that Grif has disappeared, but Arthur, who had his squire killed, kept silent about his "whereabouts." Henry, on the other hand, believes the only way to stay positive in light of all this is to hold a dance, which in turn was a way to ask Violet out. At the same time, Emma continues to make a real man out of Gold without telling him exactly why she needed him. Gold tried to tell Emma that being the Dark One would cost her the ones she loved, but she didn’t want to listen. She then brings in Merida to do her bidding and sends them to the woods. Emma, heeding Gold's words, was having second thoughts about everything as she went to her shed full of dreamcatchers and cried. As they arrive in the woods, Merida began putting Gold to work on making him a hero, but he is shown to be weak, which infuriated the Scottish archer from DunBroch. She then finds something that he can fight for by showing him Belle's chipped teacup, then taunts Gold on how cowardly he was, even to Belle. Gold immediately takes the sword and heads towards Merida, who stops him and tells him that what he did was a act of bravery, but they have a long way to go so they can kill Emma.
Later on that day, Henry met up with Violet to ask her out to the dance, but she tells Henry that her horse Nico was missing, so he went to Emma for help, believing the mother he loved was still inside her. He asked her to help him find Nico. The two later found Nico at the pumpkin patch, where the owner warned Emma to stay away. Unbeknownst to Emma, Henry used the missing horse search to allow Regina, Hook, Robin, and Belle sneak into Emma's home to find out what she kept in the basement. When Regina discovers that Emma placed a protection spell on it, she used Henry's scarf to act as a counter spell, and discover Excalibur and the dagger together on the stone. When Hook tries to pull it, Regina stops him as it might be booby trapped. Belle also discovers the rope indicating that Gold was in the room, but when Regina gets a text that Emma was returning, everyone makes their exit. As they do, Hook spots a box and a dreamcatcher on the table. Regina believes that is where Emma stored everyone's memories. They later catch up with Arthur to tell about the dagger and Excalibur in Emma's possession, Arthur tells them that Emma merged the two together it could either snuff out light or dark magic, leading Mary Margaret to believe that Emma might be trying to eliminate the light magic.
Finally, Henry arrives with Nico and brings it to Violet, with Sir Morgan thanking Henry for being a noble and heroic person. Unfortunately, Regina and Robin decided to look into the dreamcatcher, and discover what they see is Violet's memories: It turns out Violet discovered a note from Henry for their date, but Emma materializes and makes Violet keep a secret by taking her heart as part of her plan to free Merlin by convincing her to break Henry's heart, which leads to his tear being used. Henry sees this and is devastated by Emma's betrayal and he is not alone; When Emma learns of what happened, Regina explained how she can betray Henry like that by choosing darkness over her son. Regina then warns Emma to stay away from Henry, who has also turned on Emma by closing the blinds on her before she disappears into the darkness.
- Ginnifer Goodwin as Mary Margaret Blanchard
- Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan
- Lana Parrilla as Regina Mills
- Josh Dallas as David Nolan
- Emilie de Ravin as Belle French
- Colin O'Donoghue as Hook
- Jared S. Gilmoreas Henry Mills
- Rebecca Mader (absent)
- Sean Maguire as Robin Hood
- Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold
- Amy Manson as Merida
- Liam Garrigan as King Arthur
- Joana Metrass as Guinevere
- Elliot Knight as Merlin
- Ryan Robbins as Sir Morgan
- Olivia Steele Falconer as Violet
- Guy Fauchon as Vortigan
- David-Paul Grove as Doc
- Mig Macario as Bashful
- This is Merida's third appearance in the series.
- This episode marks the first appearance of the First Dark One.
- This episode references previously deceased characters including Cora, Daniel and Neal.
- The final scene of the episode has a few references to the Pilot
- When Regina tells Emma to leave, she ends the conversation in "Goodbye Miss Swan" and closes the door in her face.
- Henry looks at Emma outside the house from his window in his room, and then leaves.