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The Dark Swan

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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 Rumpelstiltskin 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 Rumpelstiltskin 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 Rumpelstiltskin continues to persuade her to remove Merida's heart. Finally, the manifestation of Rumpelstiltskin 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


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Shows: Once Upon a Time | Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
Books: Once Upon a Time: Shadow of the Queen | Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale | Once Upon a Time - Behind the Magic | Once Upon a Time: Out of the Past | Once Upon a Time: Red's Untold Tale | Once Upon a Time: Regina Rising


Once Upon a Time: Emma Swan | Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard | Prince Charming/David Nolan | Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold | The Evil Queen/Regina Mills | Belle/Lacey French | Killian Jones/Hook | Henry Mills | Happy | Sneezy/Tom Clark | Bashful | Doc | Dopey | Sleepy/Walter | Jiminy Cricket/Archie Hopper | Stealthy | Victor Frankenstein/Dr. Whale | Aurora | Prince Phillip | Fa Mulan | Blue Fairy | Widow Lucas/Granny | King George/Albert Spencer | Genie/Magic Mirror/Sidney Glass | Mad Hatter/Jefferson | Milah | Prince Henry/The Valet | Maid Marian | Knave of Hearts | Sheriff of Nottingham/Keith | Fairy Godmother | Peter Pan/Malcolm/The Pied Piper | Wendy Darling | Ariel | Zelena/The Wicked Witch of the West | Glinda/The Good Witch of the South | The Wizard of Oz/Walsh | Elsa the Snow Queen | Anna | Kristoff | Hans | Grand Pabbie | Sven | Tinker Bell | Blackbeard | Lumière | Abigail/Kathryn Nolan | Ursula | Red Riding Hood/The Wolf/Ruby | Huntsman/Sheriff Graham | Baelfire/Neal Cassidy | Pinocchio/August W. Booth | Frederick/Jim | Severe Nurse | Mayor Tomkins | Quinn | Anita | Hansel and Gretel/Nicholas and Ava Zimmer | The Woodcutter/Michael Tillman | Martin | Myrna | Stephen | Donna | Prince James | Jack | Blind Witch | King Xavier | Peter | Siren | Pongo | William Smee | Dorothy Gale | The Witch of the East | Gaston | Greg Mendell | Tamara | Geppetto/Marco | The Dragon | Rapunzel | The King/Mitchell Herman | Rapunzel's Mother | Rapunzel's Father | King Leopold | Queen Eva | Lost Boys | John Darling | Michael Darling | The Shadow | The Sheriff of Hamelin | King Midas | Nana | Mary Darling | George Darling | Medusa | Gus/Billy | Marshmallow | Zoso | Prince Thomas/Sean Herman | Prince Eric | Little Bo Peep | The Apprentice | Ingrid/Sarah Fisher | Lily Page | Nova | Seer | Grace | Daniel Colter | Lancelot | Colette | Stephen | Liam Jones | Oaken | The King of Arendelle | Queen Gerda | Cruella De Vil | Poseidon | The Duke of Weselton | Hans' Brothers | Chernabog | Briar Rose | King Stefan | Isaac/The Author | Madeline | Merlin/The Sorcerer | Merida | Queen Eleanor | King Fergus | Harris, Hubert and Hamish | The Witch | Young MacGuffin | Young Macintosh | Wee Dingwall | Ruth | King Arthur | Sir Kay | Guinevere | Charon | Brennan Jones | Megara | Hercules | Hades | Cerberus | The Scarecrow | Cleo Fox | Auntie Em | Dr. Jekyll | Mr. Hyde | Evil Regina | Aladdin | Gideon Gold | Jasmine | Iago | Captain Nemo | Lady Tremaine | Clorinda | Tisbe | Jacob | Oracle | Royal Guards | The Sultan | Genie | Black Fairy | Tiger Lily
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Alice | Cyrus | Percy/The White Rabbit | Jabberwocky | Silvermist | The Sultan/The Old Prisoner | Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum | Mrs. Rabbit | Elizabeth/Lizard | Amara
Both series: Will Scarlet/The Knave of Hearts | Anastasia/The Red Queen | Cinderella/Ashley Boyd | Robin Hood | Little John | Friar Tuck | Grumpy/Leroy | Cora/The Queen of Hearts | Caterpillar | Maleficent | Jafar | Dr. 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"
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: Dark Palace | Dark Castle/Rumplestiltskin's Castle | Library | Prince Thomas' Castle | Cinderella's Chateau | Dwarves' Cottage | Dwarf Mines | King Stefan's Castle | The Beanstalk | Giant's Lair | Neverland | Skull Rock | New York | Boston, Massachusetts | Land of Oz | Yellow Brick Road | Emerald City | Arendelle | Arendelle Castle | Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Sauna | Bald Mountain | DunBroch | Witch's Cottage | Castle DunBroch | The Sultan's Palace | Hamelin | Ring of Stones | Vault of the Dark One | Underworld | Mount Olympus | Poppy Fields | Auntie's Chicken & Waffles | Cave of Wonders
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Wonderland Castle | The Mad Hatter's House | White Rabbit's House | Underland | Tulgey Wood
Both series: Storybrooke | Maine | Enchanted Forest | Forbidden Fortress | Wonderland | Wonderland Maze | Agrabah | Sherwood Forest


Once Upon a Time: Once Upon a Time (Book) | Maleficent's Staff | Magic Wand | Glass Slipper | Poisoned Apple | Spinning Wheel | Magic Lamp | Dark One's Dagger | Chipped Cup | Jefferson's Hat | Captain Hook's Hooks | Enchanted Candle | Pixie Dust | Dreamshade | Pandora's Box | Silver Slippers | Sorcerer Hat | Enchanted Broom | Trident | Enchanted Shell | Heroes and Villains (Book) | Merida's Bow | Magical Rose | Excalibur | Olympian Crystal | Cinderella's Dress | Golden Scarab Beetle
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Vorpal Blade | Jafar's Lamp
Both series: Jafar's Snake Staff | Enchanted Hearts

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 Jolly Roger | Magic Carpet | Cruella's car | Nautilus


Fairies | Unicorns | Dragons | Bridge Trolls | Wraith | Ogres | Mermaids | Kraken | Flying Monkeys | Rock Trolls | Will O' the Wisps | Furies | Munchkins

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