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"The Dark Swan" is the first episode of the fifth season of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It is the eighty-ninth episode of the series overall, and premiered on September 27, 2015.


With the Savior now taken over by darkness, it's up to the residents of Storybrooke, heroes and villains alike, to bring her back to the light. Elsewhere, the new Dark One is constantly haunted by the voice inside her and encounters Merida; a feisty and strong-willed princess who prevents Emma from defeating the evil inside her.


Opening sequence

Granny's Diner is shown in the forest.

In The Characters' Past

In a movie theater in 1989 Minneapolis, Minnesota, a young Emma is watching The Sword in the Stone, but while she enters the next aisle over she swipes a woman's candy bar. Emma is then approached by an adult male usher, who tells Emma "Don't do it," and thought he was going to reprimand her, but instead, he offers her advice by saying, "When you do something that you're not supposed to do, even if you're doing them for the right reasons, bad things will happen," a reference of things to come for Emma. He also mentions that she'll have the opportunity to remove Excalibur from its stone, but he warns her not to touch it. Emma turn and noticed the person has disappeared.

In Camelot before Emma's Arrival

King Arthur and two of his knights, Sir Lancelot and Sir Percival, arrive to the location of the stone with Excalibur within it. However, they find that Sir Kay has found it first and as he tries to pull the sword out, he is immediately turned to ash. Despite this, Arthur proceeds with his mission and manages to successfully pull the sword out, however, the tip is missing. Realizing that he cannot present his possession of the sword if it isn't whole, he vows to seek out the missing piece, which is then revealed to be the blade of the Dark One's dagger.

In Storybrooke

Just moments after Emma vanished after harnessing the powers of the Dark One, leaving only the Dagger with Emma's name on it, everyone is left stunned and bewildered, and as expected at odds with each other. While Regina was furious over what Emma had done, Mary Margaret still believed that Emma had good in her and believes she can be saved. Hook, however believing that he can bring Emma back because of his feelings for her, pushed Robin aside and took the dagger to summon her back, but to no avail. Regina then told everyone, including a angry Hook, that "She’s not in our world." This bickering would continue between Regina and Hook, who was adamant about going to the Enchanted Forest to find her. Later on at the Apprentice's home, they learn that he was too weak to help them, but he had a wand that was given to him by Merlin that would help, which contained all the light magic but could only be wielded by two sides of the coin, the light and the dark. As Regina picked up the wand to cast it, it did not work as Hook pointed out to Regina that her powers have gone soft, and that they needed someone "wicked," in other words, Zelena.

Regina and Robin Hood stops by the hospital ward to see Zelena, who taunts the couple as usual after they enter. Zelena agrees to help if she could see the wand, but need something meaningful to Emma, since Zelena is the only one who can use the wand. Zelena also needed Regina's permission to let her have full reign over her power, but Regina refuses to let her reclaim it. Later at Granny's, Hook and Henry formulates a plan to release Zelena. When Hook goes to Zelena's cell in the hopes of convincing her to help, Henry distracts the nurses. However, their plan backfires, and Zelena breaks free from the cell after she cuts off her hand to remove the magic cuff and then restoring her hand once that is accomplished. Regina becomes more furious over this because she knew that Zelena is after Robin Hood since he was the "key to everything," and wants to trade him for the wand, which could take her back to Oz. As Zelena opens a portal, which is a green cyclone. Regina shows up and takes advantage of Zelena's weakened powers to put the cuff back on her wrist, as well as redirect the portal to take them to The Enchanted Forest using Emma's blanket. The cyclone immediately heads towards Granny's diner, and transports everyone to the location of Emma's whereabouts.

In the Enchanted Forest

Emma emerges to the Enchanted Forest through a the Vault of the Dark One, and she finds herself haunted by the voice of the darkness inside of her, which has manifested as a personification of Rumplestiltskin. She struggles to resist, and vows not to hurt her family. Then, Emma runs up to a peddler, only to have her become consumed by Rumple's guidance, eventually to the point of using the dark magic to nearly kill the peddler. Rumple guides Emma with her transportation, where she locates a will-o-the-wisp. As she chases it, Emma comes upon a red-headed archer named Merida. When Merida sees the wisp, she nabs it and places it in her bag. After Emma physically stops her using her dark magic by mistake, Merida aims her arrow at Emma. Emma tries to convince Merida that she needs it to take the magic to Merlin. Merida, being reluctant to trust Emma, decides to go with her but keeps the wisp in her bag. Merida informs Emma that more wisps can be found at the Hill of Stones, so Emma and Merida heads towards the direction of this particular location.

Emma learns that Merida needs the wisp in order to find out what happened to her younger brothers', and restore her family's kingdom. After they both make camp for the night, the manifestation of Rumplestiltskin tries to guide Emma into betraying Merida once they reach the home of the wisps. Merida, who overheard the conversation, is convinced that Emma can't be trusted, so she races off to the Hill of Stones by herself. However, Emma follows her and is encouraged by the manifestation of Rumplestiltskin to rip her heart out. Merida begins shooting arrows at Emma, but she soon discovers that they are no match for Emma's new powers, who catches each of them with her hand as the manifestation of Rumplestiltskin continues to persuade her to remove Merida's heart. Finally, the manifestation of Rumplestiltskin succeeds, but before Emma could crush Merida's heart, Hook appears with both of their comrades and stops her. Once everything has settled down, Mary Margaret hands Emma the dagger; however, Emma, believing that carrying the dagger would be too much power, wants someone else to possess it. She decides to give the dagger to Regina, since she would be the only one capable of killing Emma. Moments later, King Arthur and some of his knights arrives on horseback in order to proclaim that they have been awaiting Emma's arrival. Arthur believes that Emma would be able to reunite Merlin with them, and everyone involved joins forces on their quest en route to Camelot.

In Storybrooke

Six weeks after, the group enter Camelot, they awaken in Granny's Diner where they are wearing Arthurian attire, however they also find that their memory ends with them entering into Camelot, and to make matters worse, Emma has also embraced the darkness, acquired the Dark One's Dagger and vows to make them pay for not saving her from the Evil.



Guest Starring


  • Unknown baby as Prince Neal


  • The Darkness mentions a previous Dark One named Gorgon. The form he (Gorgon) took was that of a Bandersnatch. His title of "Invincible" was also a misnomer, as he could still be slain by by the Dark One's Dagger.


The Disney Wiki has a collection of images and media related to The Dark Swan.

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Books: Once Upon a Time: Shadow of the QueenOnce Upon a Time: Out of the PastOnce Upon a Time: Red's Untold TaleOnce Upon a Time: Regina Rising
Special Bonus: Good Morning StorybrookeThree Who StayedTales From The Underworld: A Knight With Cruella

Once Upon a Time:
Season One: Emma SwanSnow White/Mary Margaret BlanchardPrince Charming/David NolanRumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold/WeaverEvil Queen/Regina Mills/RoniBelle/Lacey FrenchHenry MillsHappySneezy/Tom ClarkBashfulDocDopeySleepy/WalterJiminy Cricket/Archie HopperStealthyVictor Frankenstein/Dr. WhaleBlue FairyWidow Lucas/GrannyKing George/Albert SpencerGenie/Magic Mirror/Sidney GlassNurse RatchedMad Hatter/JeffersonPrince Henry/The ValetKnave of HeartsSheriff of Nottingham/KeithFairy GodmotherAbigail/Kathryn NolanRed Riding Hood/The Wolf/RubyHuntsman/Sheriff GrahamBaelfire/Neal CassidyPinocchio/August W. BoothFrederick/JimSevere NurseMayor TomkinsHansel and Gretel/Nicholas and Ava ZimmerThe Woodcutter/Michael TillmanMartinMyrnaStephenDonnaPrince JamesBlind WitchPeterSirenPongoGastonThe King/Mitchell HermanKing LeopoldKing MidasZosoPrince Thomas/Sean HermanGraceDaniel ColterNovaBriar RoseGeppetto/MarcoGus/BillyRuthDark One

Season Two: Killian Jones/Hook/RogersAuroraPrince PhillipMulanMilahMaid MarianQuinnAlphonse FrankensteinAnita LucasJackKing XavierAntonWilliam SmeeGreg MendellTamaraThe DragonQueen EvaSeerLancelotRobin HoodWendy DarlingNanaMary DarlingGeorge DarlingJohn DarlingMichael DarlingThe ShadowLost Boys
Season Three: Peter Pan/Malcolm/Pied PiperArielZelena/The Wicked Witch of the WestGlinda/The Good Witch of the SouthWalsh/Wizard of OzElsa the Snow QueenTinker BellBlackbeardLumiereUrsula the Sea GoddessJonathanDorothy GaleThe Witch of the EastRapunzelRapunzel's MotherRapunzel's FatherThe Sheriff of HamelinMedusaPrince EricLiam JonesRoland
Season Four: AnnaKristoffHansGrand PabbieSvenUrsula the Sea WitchMarshmallowLittle Bo PeepThe ApprenticeIngridLily PageColetteOakenKing of ArendelleQueen GerdaCruella De VilPoseidonDuke of WeseltonHans' BrothersChernabogKing StefanIsaac/The AuthorMadelineMerlin/The Sorcerer
Season Five: MeridaQueen EleanorKing FergusHarris, Hubert, and HamishThe WitchLord MacGuffinLord MacintoshLord DingwallKing ArthurSir KayGuinevereGorgon The InvincibleCharonBrennan JonesHadesMegaraHerculesCerberusThe ScarecrowTotoCleo FoxAuntie EmDr. JekyllMr. HydeEvil Queen
Season Six: AladdinGideonCount of Monte CristoAlexandraJasmineRed BirdCaptain NemoLady TremaineClorindaTisbeJacobOracleRoyal GuardsThe SultanBeowulfBlack FairyTiger LilyRobertPrince AchmedStanumCowardly LionLucy
Season Seven: Rapunzel Tremaine/Victoria BelfreyCinderella/Jacinda VidrioTiana/SabineAlice/TillyDrizella/Ivy BelfreyAnastasiaGothel/Eloise GardenerEudoraDr. Facilier/Mr. SamdiHansel/Jack/Nick BransonMarcus TremaineCeceliaCoven of the EightMadame LeotaNaveen/DrewBlind Witch/HildaGretelChadSeraphinaFloraIslaZorro

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: AliceCyrusAnastasia/Red QueenPercy/White RabbitEdwinJabberwockySilvermistThe Sultan/The Old PrisonerTweedle Dee and Tweedle DumMrs. RabbitElizabeth/LizardAmaraBandersnatchMillie
Both series: Will Scarlet/The Knave of HeartsCinderella/Ashley BoydRobin HoodLittle JohnFriar TuckGrumpy/LeroyCora/The Queen of HeartsCaterpillarMaleficentJafarDr. Lydgate

Season One: "Pilot" • "The Thing You Love Most" • "Snow Falls" • "The Price of Gold" • "That Still Small Voice" • "The Shepherd" • "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" • "Desperate Souls" • "True North" • "7:15 A.M." • "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" • "Skin Deep" • "What Happened to Frederick" • "Dreamy" • "Red-Handed" • "Heart of Darkness" • "Hat Trick" • "The Stable Boy" • "The Return" • "The Stranger" • "An Apple Red as Blood" • "A Land Without Magic"

Season Two: "Broken" • "We Are Both" • "Lady of the Lake" • "The Crocodile" • "The Doctor" • "Tallahassee" • "Child of the Moon" • "Into the Deep" • "Queen of Hearts" • "The Cricket Game" • "The Outsider" • "In the Name of the Brother" • "Tiny" • "Manhattan" • "The Queen Is Dead" • "The Miller's Daughter" • "Welcome to Storybrooke" • "Selfless, Brave and True" • "Lacey" • "The Evil Queen" • "Second Star to the Right" • "And Straight On 'Til Morning"
Season Three: "The Heart of the Truest Believer" • "Lost Girl" • "Quite a Common Fairy" • "Nasty Habits" • "Good Form" • "Ariel" • "Dark Hollow" • "Think Lovely Thoughts" • "Save Henry" • "The New Neverland" • "Going Home" • "New York City Serenade" • "Witch Hunt" • "The Tower" • "Quiet Minds" • "It's Not Easy Being Green" • "The Jolly Roger" • "Bleeding Through" • "A Curious Thing" • "Kansas" • "Snow Drifts" • "There's No Place Like Home"
Season Four: "A Tale of Two Sisters" • "White Out" • "Rocky Road" • "The Apprentice" • "Breaking Glass" • "Family Business" • "The Snow Queen" • "Smash the Mirror" • "Fall" • "Shattered Sight" • "Heroes and Villains" • "Darkness on the Edge of Town" • "Unforgiven" • "Enter the Dragon" • "Poor Unfortunate Soul" • "Best Laid Plans" • "Heart of Gold" • "Sympathy for the De Vil" • "Lily" • "Mother" • "Operation Mongoose"
Season Five: "The Dark Swan" • "The Price" • "Siege Perilous" • "The Broken Kingdom" • "Dreamcatcher" • "The Bear and the Bow" • "Nimue" • "Birth" • "The Bear King" • "Broken Heart" • "Swan Song" • "Souls of the Departed" • "Labor of Love" • "Devil's Due" • "The Brothers Jones" • "Our Decay" • "Her Handsome Hero" • "Ruby Slippers" • "Sisters" • "Firebird" • "Last Rites" • "Only You" • "An Untold Story"
Season Six: "The Savior" • "A Bitter Draught" • "The Other Shoe" • "Strange Case" • "Street Rats" • "Dark Waters" • "Heartless" • "I'll Be Your Mirror" • "Changelings" • "Wish You Were Here" • "Tougher Than the Rest" • "Murder Most Foul • "Ill-Boding Patterns" • "Page 23" • "A Wondrous Place" • "Mother's Little Helper" • "Awake" • "Where Bluebirds Fly" • "The Black Fairy" • "The Song in Your Heart" • "The Final Battle"
Season Seven: "Hyperion Heights" • "A Pirate's Life"• "The Garden of Forking Paths" • "Beauty" • "Greenbacks" • "Wake Up Call" • "Eloise Gardener" • "Pretty in Blue" • "One Little Tear" • "The Eighth Witch" • "Secret Garden" • "A Taste of the Heights" • "Knightfall" • "The Girl in the Tower" • "Sisterhood" • "Breadcrumbs" • "Chosen" • "The Guardian" • "Flower Child" • "Is This Henry Mills?" • "Homecoming" • "Leaving Storybrooke"

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: "Down the Rabbit Hole" • "Trust Me" • "Forget Me Not" • "The Serpent" • "Heart of Stone" • "Who's Alice?" • "Bad Blood" • "Home" • "Nothing to Fear" • "Dirty Little Secrets" • "Heart of the Matter" • "To Catch a Thief" • "And They Lived..."

Once Upon a Time: Royal CastleBostonDark PalaceMaurice's CastleDark Castle/Rumplestiltskin's CastleLibraryKing's CastleTremaine estateMaurice's CastleDwarves' CottageDwarf MinesGeppetto's HomeNew York CityKing Stefan's CastleThe BeanstalkGiant's LairChinese VillageEnglandLondonDarling NurseryNeverlandBig BenSkull RockHamelinMaritime CastleRapunzel's TowerVault of the Dark OneLand of OzYellow Brick RoadEmerald CityArendelleValley of the Living RockArendelle CastleElsa's Ice PalaceWandering Oaken's Trading Post and SaunaBald MountainRing of StonesDunBrochWitch's CottageCastle DunBrochUnderworldMount OlympusPoppy FieldsAuntie's Chicken & WafflesCave of WondersPleasure IslandMagical ForestSeattleHyperion HeightsBelle & Gold's HouseFacilier's LairGothel's GardenTiana's PalaceSan FranciscoMemento MoriMaldoniaFlynn's BarcadeUnited RealmsSnow White's Farm

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Wonderland CastleThe Mad Hatter's HouseWhite Rabbit's HouseUnderlandTulgey Wood
Both series: StorybrookeMaineEnchanted ForestForbidden FortressWonderlandWonderland MazeAgrabahSherwood ForestThe Sultan's Palace

Once Upon a Time: Once Upon a Time (Book)Snow White's Glass CoffinRed Riding HoodMaleficent's StaffMagic WandGlass SlipperPoisoned AppleSpinning WheelMagic LampDark One's DaggerChipped CupJefferson's HatMagic BeansCaptain Hook's HooksEnchanted CandlePixie DustDreamshadeSalad ForkPandora's BoxSilver SlippersSorcerer HatEnchanted BroomTridentEnchanted ShellHeroes and Villains (Book)Merida's BowMagical RoseExcaliburOlympian CrystalCinderella's DressGolden Scarab BeetleRapunzel's Frying PanMagical Golden FlowerShrinking PotionFloating LanternsTarot CardsMaui's Fish Hook

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Vorpal Blade
Both series: Jafar's Snake StaffEnchanted HeartsJafar's Lamp

Songs Featured
"Give a Little Whistle" • "Heigh-Ho" • "With a Smile and a Song" • "Beauty and the Beast" • "Part of Your World" • "Fathoms Below" • "Cruella De Vil • "Some Day My Prince Will Come" • "The Unbirthday Song"

Original Songs: "Powerful Magic" • The Queen SingsLove Doesn't Stand a ChanceRevenge Is Gonna Be MineWicked Always WinsCharmings vs. Evil QueenEmma's ThemeA Happy Beginning

The Jolly RogerMagic CarpetRoyal ShipCruella's carNautilusCinderella's Coach
FairiesUnicornsDragonsBridge TrollsWerewolvesWraithOgresMermaidsKrakenFlying MonkeysRock TrollsWill O' the WispsFuriesMunchkinsTree Nymphs