After a failed attempt to pull Excalibur from the stone Emma embarks on a new plan to snuff out the light. She pays the dwarves a little visit to borrow an ax expecting it will break the sword free of its stone encasement. But this is magic, dark magic and even though Emma is new to the Dark One game shouldn’t she know that an ax used by the dwarves can’t stand up to dark magic? Apparently not because she tries and fails to make a dent in that giant rock.
Meanwhile Regina and the gang are rummaging through Merlin’s tower in Camelot searching for the necessary ingredients to produce the spell allowing them to speak to Merlin from inside the tree. Belle, Snow and Regina work through the magic while Emma offers to do her very best Samantha Stevens impression and nose wiggle Merlin free from his tree prison but Regina reminds her that her magic is dark and it isn’t worth it to put Emma in more danger. She can continue to fake it till she makes it as the Savior.
While holding baby Neal, a forlore Charming stands off to the side not feeling very useful while the women in his life are currently running the show. Regina’s research uncovers a magic toadstool named the Crimson Crown that will aid them in speaking to Merlin. Arthur is familiar with its story and location in the Forest of Eternal Night. Though it’s not that far from Camelot it’s a rather dangerous task which sparks the interest of Charming who insists that he set out on the quest to find it. Arthur joins him and their bromance is born.
Back in Storybrooke present day Regina once again flipping through Merlin’s magic books discovers the Crimson Crown entry she discovered six weeks earlier. They once again realize what needs to be done to possible reach Merlin. Suddenly the dwarves storm the Sheriff’s station demanding action after Emma stole Happy’s ax. Charming assures them he will handle it but Grumpy isn’t convinced. The dwarves are frustrated and tired of being pushed around and they want action or they’ll take matters into their own hands.
David is at his wits end feeling useless and helpless trying to do what’s right for his family not know how to reach Emma to ultimately save her. Mary Margaret reminds him that he’s doing everything he can by leading their people and no matter what he is her hero. Unfortunately David’s not sure that’s enough. David stares at a photo of he and Emma daydreaming about better times with his daughter when Arthur shows up to report a theft from a box of magic relics extremely valuable to Camelot. David joins Arthur back at the camp to investigate.
Not making any headway back in Merlin’s lab, Robin convinces Regina to take a break and clear her mind with a cup of tea. He leaves Regina alone with a still silent Zelena sitting irritatedly in corner of the room. It’s time for a little one-on-one sister bonding time so Regina gives Zelena her voice back. Zelena continues to play the victim card but Regina isn’t having it and drops a heaping spoonful of knowledge on her big sis. Remind Zelena who she’s dealing with Regina reasures Zelena that she’s still the Evil Queen and the Evil Queen is not to be screwed with. Not to worry, Regina isn’t taking a step back to the dark side it’s a more of a wake up call for her out of control sister. Zelena’s concern for her child is once again a sore spot bringing Regina to assure her sister that no harm will come to the baby that it will be loved and cared for and safe but that the same guarantee cannot be made for Zelena.
As Arthur and Charming prepare for their quest to find the magic mushroom, I mean toadstool, Charming has the unfortunate task of telling Arthur of Lancelot’s fate. Though they parted on bad terms, Arthur explains to Charming that they were once the best of friends and he had wished him a happy life just not with Arthur’s wife Guinevere. Arthur’s squire Grif enters the room to produce the now vandalized reliquary filled with magic relics, specifically a torch with an infinite flame believed to be part of the origianl burning bush. This relic will assist them through the Forest of Eternal Night on their quest to the Crimson Crown.
Back in the woods of Storybrooke Arthur’s squire Grif once again shows up with the reliquary though this time it is damage from the robbery. Looking through the box holding the remaining relics Arthur explains there is a missing magic bean that would transport his people back to Camelot. David has an idea of where someone might go trying to sell some magic relics and rushes off to Gold’s shop.
Meanwhile, Hook enter’s Granny’s diner to discover a conflicted Robin sitting at the bar looking at a sonogram of his child with Zelena. Robin is excited to be a father for a second time but doesn’t want to share his excitement with Regina because he fears it will hurt her even further. Just then Granny interrupts them to toss a bag of food at Hook with a note from Emma telling Hook to meet her on his ship. Hook heads to the Jolly Roger to find it empty. Emma appears suddenly which startles Hook. She wants to talk to him, to apologize and try to move forward together even though now she’s the Dark One.
Emma transforms the room to look like their first date even transforming herself to look like the Emma Hook loves in pink dress and blonde hair. Emma seeks hooks trust and will manipulate the situation any way she can to get what she wants. Hook isn’t buying into her game asking what the Dark One really wants. Emma assures him they can still be together but Hook needs to take the leap to trust her. She ask’s Hooks if he still loves her but is he doesn’t she’ll let him go. Hook tells Emma that he loved her in the past tense and in that moment doesn’t see Emma as Emma the woman he loves but as the Dark One. Emma poofs away.
Charming and Arthur make their way through the dark forest on their quest swapping stories of how rad their wives are what it takes to be a better man. They find the toadstool located across a pond crossable by a sketchy bridge. Charming makes his way across, grabs the toadstool and heads back to Arthur on the other side when he’s attacked by remnants of dead knights lurking in the water below. Charming nearly drowns after being pulled into the swamp when Arthur reaches for him just in time. Unfortunately during his scuffle with the undead Charming loses the Crimson Crown.
The toadstool isn’t truly lost though. We find Arthur at the round table when Guinevere walks in to find him hiding the fungus in the reliquary because he doesn’t really trust Charming and his family. Arthur insists his actions are for the good of his people to protect Camelot and the sketchy is his evil or is he not conundrum continues.
The bromance continues in present day Storybrooke as David and Arthur enter Gold’s shop. He and Arthur question Belle about anyone stopping by trying to sell a magic bean but come up empty. Disappointed but not yet defeated, David notices what looks like a silver chalice which turns out to be a leftover novelty mug from Doctoberfest but for what David is planning the mug will do just fine. The boys make their way back to the woods to confront Arthur’s subjects. He presents the people with the Chalice of Vengeance aka the Doctoberfest mug in a ruse to flush out the thief. David’s little plan works and Grif, Arthur’s squire, makes a break for it stealing a horse and running off further into the woods.
David and Arthur chase after Grif through the clearing in the woods in David’s truck. Trying to cut him off and knock Grif off the horse, David tells Arthur to take the wheel and in a couple of words tells him the pedal is power and turn the wheel. Sorry but this guy just showed up from a time of horses and swords. Do you really think you wont die in a ball of flames hitting a tree? But they don’t. Arthur takes the wheel (with the help of baby Jesus) so David can grab a long two by four from the bed of his truck to joust style knock Grif from the horse. Oh don’t worry, it didn’t kill Grif even though they were speeding through the forest and he got HIT IN THE CHEST WITH A TWO BY FOUR.
David and Arthur interrogate Grif in a tent at the camp asking why he stole from Arthur. Grif insists there wasn’t a bean inside but stole the other objects because he was tired of being treated like garbage by the King and he wanted to hurt Arthur for treating him badly. As David and Arthur are about to take Grif to jail David stumbles across none other than the missing toadstool the Crimson Crown. Because their memories are wiped clean Arthur doesn’t recognize it or at least pretending not to but David does. He realizes it matches the picture from Merlin’s book Regina found earlier that day which could be the key to reaching the wizard. David takes the fungus to Regina and Mary Margaret. Regina realizes that this was what they were originally looking for in Camelot and will aid them in reaching through the magic barrier that’s imprisoned Merlin to speak to him. In that moment David’s faith in himself is restored.
Returning to Camelot we find Arthur and his Knight’s welcoming Charming into their group to join them taking a seat as an official member of the round table replacing their fallen friend Lancelot. Snow is pulled from the room by a crying baby Neal when she’s startled by her long lost thought to be dead friend Lancelot. He assures Snow that it is indeed Lancelot but that doesn’t have much time. He must warn her of a threat to Camelot and that threat is none other than Arthur. Lancelot convinces Snow that Arthur isn’t what he claims to be but is in fact a major threat to everyone. Sure, why not. Why not completely believe you’re friend who magically appears from nowhere who you thought was killed by Cora. It’s no more ridiculous than Arthur giving Charming Lancelot’s old spot at the table even though he’s done nothing to earn that position and it not raising any suspicion within the group from Storybrooke. No really it’s cool.
In a prison cell in Storybrooke a freaked out squire named Grif eagerly awaits his King. Arthur arrives to discuss what has taken place when we discover that Grif acted on behalf of Arthur when he broke into the relic box. It was all a scam. Arthur continues to deceive the others and used his trusty squire to pull off another ruse. But Grif is confused as to why he is still locked up if he acted on the orders of his King when Arthur explains that their new friends from Storybrooke are very smart and have magic and now that they no longer have a way back to Camelot they must turn Storybrooke into Camelot and the only way that can happen is if the town trusts Arthur which now they do because of big fat lie he and Grif concocted. Grif understands and wants to further aide his King in anyway he can so of course Arthur’s final request for Grif is to drink poison killing himself instantly. Yeah Grif we’re confused by this too.
Arthur tries to convince Grif that this is the only way to insure their secret will stay a secret and that Grif has been bestowed with a great honor by sacrificing himself. This is a bigger honor than sitting as a Knight at the round table which is something Grif had always dreamed of accomplishing. Um…yeah I’m gonna have to take a hard pass. But I guess that’s just me because Grif willing takes the green poison which causes him disappear from existence. Does he really die or does he end up somewhere else we don’t really know because hell, Zelena disappeared in a cloud of green smoke too and look where she is now…knocked up by Robin Hood and hangin out in a padded room in Storybrooke Medical.
Once again Hook makes his way to Granny’s in search of Robin happens to be chowing down on some dinner and throwing back a cold brew. Hook hopes to enlist the help of a fellow thief in his own quest to discover what Emma has hidden behind that heavily locked door in her house. A hurried Belle coming rushing through the door to quickly grab her to go order when she notices the petals on Gold’s rose start to change. Instead of falling off they begin to reattach making the rose whole again. Belle realizes that Gold must be waking up and run out the door like a bat outta hell. Belle rushes through the shop to back room where Gold was resting only to find his cot empty. Gold is missing.
Down in the depths of Emma’s cavernous basement is a sleeping Gold next to Excalibur stuck in the stone. Emma is sitting watch while the vision of Rumplestiltzkin is commenting how is real world self isn’t looking too hot. Emma takes the sword she stole from Hooks ship, a sword that Hook used on Rumple before he became the Dark One, and crushes it to dust. She doses Gold with it causing him to awaken from his slumber. Gold awakens freaked out seeing a now snowy haired Emma realizing she’s the new Dark One. In his scared barely awake state he begs her wanting to know what she wants from him. Emma explains that Gold is no longer dark be he isn’t light either. He’s neither which makes him the perfect piece of clay to mold into what she needs him to be…a hero, a hero to pull Excalibur from the stone helping the Dark One to once and for all eliminate the light.
Once Upon a Time airs Sunday at 8pm on ABC.