Come on, Once Upon a Time – you had such a good thing going these past few weeks, and now you throw me this curveball? “Siege Perilous” had the makings of a great episode, especially when it delved so deep into Arthurian legend and had some excellent moments, but ultimately, this episode fell flat and seemed like pure filler. Overall, I think they could’ve found a way to chop it up and sprinkle it among any other episodes in this season. (spoilers ahead!)
Things are getting tense in Camelot (obviously) as the group tries desperately to save Merlin. They suddenly come up with the thought, “Why don’t we ask Merlin how to save Merlin?” Apparently, there’s a magical toadstool that will allow them to speak with Merlin despite the fact that he’s currently locked in a tree (that sentence would seem so odd if taken out of context). David and King Arthur head out to find the toadstool, bonding over the fact that they were both originally poor shepherd boys who eventually ascended into royalty. It’s cheesy, but it’s a good “bro” moment between the two.
The bros find the toadstool in a cave, and the only way to retrieve it is to cross a dangerous bridge. As David crosses, he’s accosted by these phantom knights that come out of the water and attack him. There’s a tense battle scene as David fends them off, and in the end, he’s rescued by King Arthur. Bro power! Unfortunately, David dropped the toadstool in the water, making their trip a waste of time.
But did he really drop it?!
Nope. King Arthur is actually a huge douchebag. It seems that he’s only faking his bro-ship with David, and that he saved the toadstool but kept it hidden. He also promoted David to one of his Knights of the Round Table, permitting him to sit at the Siege Perilous, a chair reserved only for the noblest of knights. So aside from Emma, it looks like the protagonists have more to worry about concerning Arthur. The only person who realizes something is up is Mary Margaret, who receives a warning from a once-thought-dead Lancelot. Now it becomes a game of determining who’s more trustworthy: King Arthur, or Lancelot – the man who betrayed Arthur by taking his Queen. Well, we know Arthur is shady, but does Lancelot have his own hidden agenda as well?
In Storybrooke, Emma steals a pick-axe from one of the dwarves and uses it to retrieve Excalibur. And it works! Not. They can’t make it that easy. The Dark One residing in Emma’s mind tells her that only a hero can retrieve the sword. Which hero will Emma use to do her bidding? David, the nobleman who was fit enough to sit at the Siege Perilous? Captain Hook, the converted villain who holds Emma’s love deep in his heart? Regina, the other converted villain who now seeks redemption and could quite possibly become the new Savior? Well, the answer might shock you at the end of the episode, but I won’t tell – because I’m a douche.
I met some people over the weekend who said that they weren’t fond of Emma’s turn to the dark side, but I have to say that I’m loving it. She pulls it off so well, which is impressive since it’s the complete opposite of what she was like in earlier seasons. Also, in this episode, Emma briefly returns to her “normal” self in order to regain Hook’s love. In the end, it turns out this was only a ruse so that she could steal Hook’s sword. I won’t say why, but it has to do with Emma seeking a hero. But let’s focus on the real meat of this concept: we have an actress playing someone who’s also playing someone else. It’s like a double flip-flop. It’s like Alan Rickman‘s role as Professor Snape in Harry Potter, or like Ming-Na Wen‘s stunt in early Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I respect any actor or actress who can get so deep into a role that they can play someone playing someone else.
While Emma is kicking ass as the Dark One, things are all kinds of crazy on the other end of Storybrooke. Someone stole a chest of magical artifacts from King Arthur. David deduces a way to weed out the thief, which leads to an intense high-speed chase. Arthur’s squire attempts to get away on horseback (I can’t image where exactly he plans to go since everyone is locked within Storybrooke’s limits) as David chases him down in his truck with Arthur by his side. David hops in the bed of his truck, grabs a 2X4, and actually jousts with the squire, knocking him from his ride. This was one of the best parts of the episode. I thought maybe David would just jump off the truck and tackle the squire, but when he used the 2X4 as a lance, I actually cheered. What a great scene.
Like I said earlier, the episode had some great moments that could’ve made for a fantastic episode, but it felt like pure filler to me. I would’ve preferred to have aspects of “Siege Perilous” distributed among other episodes since there didn’t seem to be a huge purpose to it. I’m hoping that we find out how it all comes together by next week.
Final Grade: C +
+ Jennifer Morrison. That is all.
+ The scene where David jousts with the 2X4 on his truck was great.
+ I enjoyed the scene with the zombie-knights coming out of the water and fighting David.
– The episode was overall a bit bland for my liking. It felt like filler. I don’t see the point of introducing the Siege Perilous UNLESS it’s some enchanted chair that’s going to turn David evil or something…
– I just realized that they love relying on MacGuffins i=on this show…
– Liam Garrigan is a mediocre King Arthur; he’s not selling his performance for me.
– Still wondering where Jiminy Cricket and Red disappeared to…
How did you feel about this episode of Once Upon a Time? Tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter!