We're almost halfway into the first half of Once Upon A Time Season 5, and things are crazy. Now that Emma has fully given into her new Dark One identity, things are going from bad to worse quicker than you can say "all magic comes at a price." It's been great to watch, but there are several elements that are still unknown. For instance, what the hell happened in Camelot during those six weeks that made the Savior finally go dark, erase everyone's memories, and zip them back to Storybrooke? Furthermore, what's with all those dreamcatchers Emma has been making in the promo for Episode 5 (which, incidentally, is titled "Dreamcatcher")?
These are all pretty good questions to ask, especially when you take a look at the script spoiler executive producer Adam Horowitz shared on his Twitter page on Tuesday, which features an exchange between Emma and Regina and seems to imply that the Dark One has decided to at least let her closest friend (ahem) have her memories back, if indeed Emma's been collecting them there, which seems plausible. Am I jumping to too many conclusions? Let's slow down a bit, go back, and figure out what's going on here.
The script tease above makes no sense if you haven't watched the promo, but in context, it gives us more of an idea (or so it seems) of what we can expect from this Sunday's episode. Emma is giving Regina a chance to "back out" of something terrible, but Regina can take it — she'll just have to look into the circle. It stands to reason that the "circle" in question is the dreamcatcher in which her memories from her time in Camelot were stored. It's too early to tell what the symbolism is behind Emma's decision to store everyone's memories in dreamcatchers, of all things, but perhaps we'll get more insight into the cultural relevance and how it relates to Once later on. In the meantime, she obviously knows that those memories contain something pretty terrible, but Regina needs to know.
There's also the question of why it's Regina of all people that Emma has given the gift of returned memories. Emma has said all along that there's a reason she took them all away, and given that Emma is controlled by the darkness now, for the most part, I am too skeptical to believe that her decision to hand over this power (because knowing what happened does indeed give Regina power) was an altruistic move, unless it did indeed happen during a moment of goodness and was borne of her desire to help Regina in her efforts to save Emma and restore her to her former self. But that would be too easy, wouldn't it?
If Emma's Dark One status has made her a bit more vengeful, it's likely that her "gift" to Regina isn't a gift at all, but rather a punishment, to make her confront the reality of her own behavior and whatever she did (or failed to do) in Camelot to save Emma. Given that it was Regina she entrusted with the dagger and with the task of saving her as a whole (that's canon, folks), and that Emma has said all along that everyone failed her, it seems to me that something big happened between the women that was the final straw in keeping Emma from going dark. What that was, I don't know that we'll really get to see just yet, but no doubt Regina will be devastated looking back, and since I love angst (especially Swan Queen angst), I'm here for it.
Maybe the whole of Storybrooke will never get their memories back, but once Regina does, she's finally got a proper set up for her hero arc. What she does with those memories and how she can help the Dark One cast off that burden for good is going to be so good to watch, and I can't wait.
Image: Jack Rowdan/ABC