Once Upon a Time: Dreamcatcher
October 26, 2015 6:45 AM - Season 5, Episode 5 - Subscribe

In Camelot, Regina and Emma team up to free Merlin. In Storybrooke, Merida trains Rumple to be a hero. In both worlds, Henry just tries to go on a date.

Reviews and Recaps
Entertainment Weekly
A.V. Club
posted by Bulgaroktonos (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I thought this episode was a significant improvement over the past couple weeks. It also featured a lot more Regina, which is obviously related. The reveal that Emma set up the bad date for Henry to get a tear was nicely done and it's good to see her doing something genuinely dark. Also, I'm glad that some kind of Merlin related progress is being made, even if I'm really curious what happened to mean that he's not in Storybrooke in the present. Oh and the Merida/Rumple thing continues to befuddle and bore me.

I didn't quite make the connection until reading the recaps, but I guess making dreamcatchers is what Emma does instead of sleeping which is interesting. Does she have a larger plan with them? She did have a lot of them.

I'm also excited to see what Lily Sparks (sadly the TV.com review isn't up yet) makes of this episode, which seemed like it was trolling the Emma-Regina shipper people pretty hard.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:51 AM on October 26, 2015

Man this episode was SO MUCH BETTER! It was so, so great to get back to some of the core dynamics of the show. The TV.com review is up now and it makes a lot of great points, I think most notably:
Ship them or don't ship them, the show is at it's most electrifying when it comes down to their family dynamic, and how two such different people raise one child. It's been so long since they've had a scene like this I'd almost forgotten that, but what a reminder. Why are we always running after the Sorcerer's Cape and the Witch's Candle when all I want to see is just one Charming-Mills-Swan Thanksgiving?
I don't ship them (although I really enjoy when people do) but I absolutely 100% love their relationship both as women and as coparents and, as that quote points out, SUCH DIFFERENT parents. Seeing that now, where Regina has struggled so much to become good and Emma has always been natural good and her struggles are just beginning? And the reversals that brings? It's great! If the next few episodes are as good as this one, or even close, I will be so thrilled. I feel like this is the first episode that's actually held my attention in a while.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:42 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Also, in the grand tradition of "I sealed it with blood magic", we have a new Useful Phrase! It is the bit where Regina says "Well that's a great plan but the man is still trapped in the tree", so now we can have awesome conversations like "Hey, sweetheart, did you shut the inside door?" "Of course. I sealed it with blood magic. By the way, I was thinking about making fajitas for dinner?" "Well that's a great plan but the man is still trapped in the tree."

If anyone else has Once Upon a Time phrases that have worked their way into everyday conversation I would be THRILLED to hear about it! My favorites are the completely bonkers things Regina says that seem so painful on their own but work perfectly in the show because Lana Parilla is the best actress.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:47 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Also, on much, much shallower notes:

-God am I loving the hair and many of the Camelot dresses.
-I thought that the contrast between Emma being blond and wearing white and Regina with her dark hair and wearing red was really, really pretty. Also like symbolic and maybe a nod to the fairytale Snow White and Rose Red but also super pretty.
-This show is pulling me into a real Renaissance of finding men attractive; I thought maybe it was just Hook (back before he was dumb) but WOW is Merlin charming. He's phenomenally good-looking, too, but the actor is managing to convey an appeal beyond just looks. Well done sir.

Anyway yeah I just posted three times in row but last night's episode really was so much better and brought back so many of the things I like (a combination of stuff that is ridiculous -- Tear of First Love's Loss? Seriously? I love this crazy nonsense -- and strong, good, complex relationships especially among women) that I am feeling super, SUPER enthusiastic about this today.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:53 AM on October 26, 2015

This season is very into colour-coding what the women wear, red for Regina (good choice, she looks great in red), black or white for Emma, green for Belle, blue for Merida. The men continue to wear black leather. This is a little weird because the men all look pretty similar while the women do not.
posted by jeather at 11:33 AM on October 26, 2015

i've seen comparisons of regina-in-red to S1 emma and her red jacket. fits into the regina as the new savior, regina/emma swapping roles theme.

everything Mrs. P and lily sparks said about the core dynamic. unfortunately, i don't think this signals any positive trend in quality. they like their dumb exposition and boring romance too much. i hope i'm wrong.

the last scene on the porch is, well. DON'T MISS SWAN ME. like, i need you guys to realize how much the sq fandom has been joking about their names for each other long before it started happening on the show last season. regina especially changes it up depending on the situation. miss swan, deputy/sheriff, SWAN, emma.

i feel we should also acknowledge re: the dreamcatchers:

"why are we in the hall of cultural appropriation?" -- jeather
posted by twist my arm at 3:35 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oops, sorry, missed Mrs. Pterodactyl's post that the TV.com review was up, then missed my edit window.

i feel we should also acknowledge re: the dreamcatchers:

Yeah, I was very "oh, no, show, please don't go there" when I saw the first dreamcatcher, but there they went.

Oh and the Merida/Rumple thing continues to befuddle and bore me.

Merida does nothing for me, but, I have to admit, I'm enjoying all the Rumple scenes.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:32 PM on October 26, 2015

"why are we in the hall of cultural appropriation?" -- jeather

Ugh yeah seriously show writers not cool -- I hadn't really thought this through all the way (it felt icky to me but I hadn't really given enough thought as to why) so thank you for making this point and twist my arm thank you for bringing it into the thread.

I also hadn't given enough thought to the color motif for the female characters but the idea of Regina wearing red like Emma's jacket is fascinating! Also Evil Mayor Regina had her whole office and everything in black and white (because evil she might have been but her decorating sense was on point) and now Emma's wearing all white. Interesting! Thank you both for these points!

I also agree with oh yeah! that Merida is not doing a whole lot for me and I wince every time either she or Rumple has a line with the word "...brave" in it (always with a dramatic pause so we know what's coming). It wasn't great the first time and boy is it not getting better the more it's repeated.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:35 AM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Merida does nothing for me, but, I have to admit, I'm enjoying all the Rumple scenes.

Rumple is great, obviously, but I feel like he's taking a back seat to Merida reminding us what movie she was in and not really doing much with his scenes. I also kind of hate cringing cowardly Rumple, at least when it's not balanced with him showing something else. He'll get his moment next episode when he fights the bear or whatever,* and if I'm totally honest I do kind of like his dynamic with Belle (sometimes) so there's potential there, definitely. It might just be that the Rumple Merida stuff needs more screen time, this episode felt very "meanwhile back at the ranch" and then quickly cutting back away from the boring ranch.

*What movie was that bear in again? Is there a person in a wig who can remind me?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:05 AM on October 27, 2015

*What movie was that bear in again? Is there a person in a wig who can remind me?

Be patient, you'll remember the name of the movie. You just have to be ... Brave.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:38 AM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

you're both ridiculous.

Mrs. P you may be interested in, from a completely swan queen biased perspective, some color coordinating in the swan-mills family across the seasons. short posts, long post, tan post.
posted by twist my arm at 11:29 AM on October 27, 2015

I'm actually kind of having mixed feelings at the "It was all Emma's fault your date went bad!" My feminist heart was really enjoying, "No, I don't like you like that, we are just friends and that is fine and Henry will have to deal with it!" This feels a lot like "Ha ha who am I kidding? The heroes can never have people actually preferring others over them!" I don't think we've had any serious unrequited feelings in this show, have we?
posted by corb at 6:57 AM on December 7, 2015

the only unrequited feelings that i can remember involve 2 people of color bc happy endings and modern fairytales are for straight white people (with the exception of rapunzel and ursula, 2 minor characters whose episodes were to further the development of charming and hook respectively). sydney/mirror the stalker, patsy and lackey. and mulan, where she never even actually said anything explicit to anyone, either to aurora or about aurora. i believe they managed to pat themselves on the back for their "queer representation" after that one.

and yeah, the henry thing made me uncomfortable because intentional or not it hits that "friendzone" button (not henry's fault, he handled it as should be expected) and conveniently offers an alternative explanation-- ah! BUT THE YOUNG LADY WAS NOT IN HER RIGHT MIND!

i get that emma needed to do something terrible to henry to show her evilness but clearly they don't care or understand anything about messaging.

hi corb, welcome to this terrible shoooowwwwwwwwwwww *does a jig*
posted by twist my arm at 12:26 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

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