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This is the Siege Perilous. Reserved for the knight with the purest heart... The one destined to carry out the most sacred quests.
King Arthur to David Nolan

"Siege Perilous" is the third episode of Season Five of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Jane Espenson, and directed by Ralph Hemecker. It is the ninety-first episode of the series overall, and premiered on October 11, 2015.


In Camelot, the heroes feverishly work to free Merlin. Determined to help Emma, David embarks on a quest to retrieve a magical relic that Regina could use to communicate with the imprisoned sorcerer, but, when David leaves, Arthur insists on joining him because the dangers ahead are greater than he can imagine. Meanwhile, Mary Margaret discovers the fate of her old friend Lancelot. Back in Storybrooke, Arthur seeks David's help to catch a thief who threatens the safety of the citizens of Camelot. Across town, Emma reaches out to a conflicted Hook as she sets about her plan to draw Excalibur from the stone.[2]


Deleted Scenes

"Dad Duty"


"Trivial Pursuits"




Guest Starring





Production Notes

  • The herb that Regina is trying to find for a potion to free Merlin, is called witchbane. During the middle ages, witchbane was a nickname for the rue herb, because people carried them to ward off witches.[7] In magic lore, the rue herb is often used in spells of protection against witchcraft and bad luck.[8] It can be used for hex breaking and warding off the evil eye, and is a classic herb for protection magic and to increase one's psychic powers. It is also used in some love spells.[9]
  • The line about Merlin in the tree - "When we snap off a twig and it turns into a finger, who's crying then?" - was pitched in the writers' room by Andrew Chambliss.[10]
  • The design of the Storybrooke Sheriff's Department has undergone a notable transformation since the previous season: The fire exit, which used to be located right next to the sheriff's office space,[11] has been moved several meters to the right, and a kitchenette has been built between the office space and the fire exit.[12]
  • Giacomo Baessato, who plays Grif, also plays Rip Van Winkle in a deleted scene from "Nasty Habits".[13]
  • The scenes between Emma and Hook was supposed to happen on the deck of the Jolly Roger. However, for budget reasons, their scenes were moved to inside the ship.[14]
  • The sentiment of Arthur needing the Round Table to remind him to be humble was inspired by T. H. White's The Once and Future King.[15]
  • In the Arthurian Legend, Grif's original name is "Giflet", and one alternative form of this name is "Griflet".[16] Jane Espenson decided to change it because it "sounded weird".[17]

Event Chronology

Episode Connections

  • Emma glamours herself to appear as a regular person as opposed to the Dark One. Zoso glamours herself in the same way in "Desperate Souls".
  • Emma first began to see the manifestation of Rumplestiltskin in "The Dark Swan".
  • The Storybrooke heroes learnt that Merlin was trapped in a tree in "The Price".
  • Regina began to pose as the savior in "The Price".
  • The dwarves first posed their concerns about the newly-dark Emma in "The Price".
  • David expresses his regret over not trying to stop Emma from absorbing the Darkness, which occurred in "Operation Mongoose Part 2".
  • Leroy and Happy reference Dopey's transformation into a tree, which occurred in "The Price".
  • This is the third time someone tries to use Happy's pick ax on a magical object. Greg used Happy's pick ax to enable the trigger in "And Straight On 'Til Morning",[18] and John attempted to break Pandora's Box using Happy's pick ax in "Dark Hollow".[19]
  • Emma first tried to remove the sword from the stone in "The Price".
  • Regina first rendered Zelena mute in "The Price".
  • Zelena tried to go back to Oz in "The Dark Swan".
  • Zelena was discovered to be pregnant with Robin's child in "Lily".
  • Regina points out that Zelena had a second chance, and a second second chance, referring to events in "A Curious Thing" and "Kansas".
  • David stabbed Percival to death in "The Price".
  • David tells Arthur about Lancelot's supposed death, which was mentioned in "Lady of the Lake".
  • Hook found the locked door in Emma's house in "The Price".
  • Emma and Hook relive their first date, which took place in "The Apprentice".
  • Belle discusses Mr. Gold's coma, a condition he succumbed to in "Operation Mongoose Part 2".
  • Emma says to Hook that she's "an open book" if he is willing to trust her. Hook previously referred to Emma as an open book in "Tallahassee".
  • Hook recounts his relationship with Rumplestiltskin from before he was the Dark One, which occurred in "The Crocodile".
  • The sword that Emma takes from Hook's ship is the one he threatened Rumplestiltskin with in "The Crocodile".
  • Emma asks Hook if he remembers when they were in the storybook and she taught him how to swordplay, which took place in "Operation Mongoose Part 2".
  • David says that his father drank his life away; something that was first touched upon in "White Out".
  • David says that his brother accomplished nothing but evil; a reference to the events in "Tiny".
  • David says that he doesn't want to only be remembered as the man who kissed a sleeping princess awake thirty years ago; referring to the events in "Pilot", "A Land Without Magic" and "Lost Girl".
  • Arthur's past with Lancelot is revealed in "The Broken Kingdom"
  • Arthur's habit of 'fixing things' began in "The Broken Kingdom".
  • Mary Margaret learns that Lancelot is alive, which debunks the notion that he was already dead in "Lady of the Lake."
  • Arthur asks his squire to drink a poison of the Agrabahn Viper, a magical species first seen in "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree".
  • Belle notices the petals of the rose in a jar are reforming into the rose, which was given to her by Mother Superior in "The Dark Swan".
  • Emma talks about Mr. Gold's heart now being a blank slate, which was discovered in "Operation Mongoose Part 2".
  • Emma's plan to turn Mr. Gold into a hero, is implemented in "Dreamcatcher", and succeeds in "The Bear and the Bow".
  • Mr. Gold is freed from captivity, and reunited with Belle, in "The Bear and the Bow".



Fairytales and Folklores

Popular Culture

  • Emma's line, "You guys sure you don't want me to just wiggle my nose and get him out of that tree?" refers to the classic ABC sitcom, Bewitched. The main character, Samantha, is a witch who employs a distinctive "wriggle" of her nose to use magic.
  • The song playing in Granny's Diner when Hook and Robin Hood are discussing about Zelena's sonogram is "Good Love" by The Murmaids.
  • The souvenir from Doc's birthday party says "Doctoberfest". This is a reference to Oktoberfest, a beer festival held annually in Munich, Germany.
    • Every time Jane Espenson made rewrites to the script, she would make sure that the "Doctoberfest" reference was still in it.[21]
  • "The Night That You Left" by Phil Parlapiano is playing in the diner when Hook asks Robin Hood how to break into Emma's cave, and when Belle notices that the last petal of the magical rose is falling.

Props Notes

  • One of Merlin's Books, the one that Regina opens in Merlin's tower (seen upside-down)[22] is a facsimile of page 392 of Foxe's Book of Martyrs,[23] a work of Protestant history and martyrology by the sixteenth century English historian and martyrologist John Foxe, published in 1563. The opposite page[22] and two other pages[24] also seem to be taken from the book: While the text mostly illegible, the pages have the same layout as Foxe's book (two columns separated by a vertical line).
    • Another one of Merlin's books, the one that that Emma opens in "Dreamcatcher (also seen upside-down),[25] contains a facsimile of page 654 and 655 of Foxe's Book of Martyrs.[26]
  • The illustration of the magical toadstool says vermiculus coronum,[27] which is Latin for "crimson crown".[28]
  • The book about the Crimson Crown, that Regina is reading, says:[29]

The Crimson Crown has as

[four illegible words]
[illegible]at brings
[illegible]ad to the
[illegible]ht if
[two illegible words]

There are other properties
that this toadstool doth
possess magical properties
It is of beneficence when one
has to communicate across
barriers even through
spells. They grow in
Brocéliande The Forest of
Eternal Night.

The Crimson Crown has
masculine correspondence
and is aligned with the
planet Mercury and the air
element. It may be used as a fertility
charm. Some use this
toadstool to aid with astral
. This can be

Some associate this fungus
with Dionysus.

There are a number of other
folk magic uses for The
Crimson Crown, and one
may incorporate them at a
symbolic level, rather than
actually eating them.

In many areas, the
appearance of a ring of
Crimson Crowns on the

ground is cause for either
rejoicing or alarm. In The
Northern Lands, these
circles are known as fairy
- and they are where
the fae come to dance and
cavort after a rainstorm.

Moreover, like many other
locations associated with
faeries [sic], humans who,
perchance, dare to enter
such a ring may find
themselves asleep for a
hundred years, or worse
yet, whisked off to the land
of the little folk, never to

In the Western Mountains,
these rings are formed when
an ogre sets down his milk
churn - once he picks it up,
there's a big circle left in the

In some ridings, such as The
Enchanted Forest and the
wetlands to the East, these
rings are associated with
sorcery and malevolent
magic, and travelers are
well-advised to steer clear of
Some of the text, is adapted from's article "Magical and Spiritual Considerations", about the mushroom Amanita muscaria. The original text reads thus:
"Magic mushroom has masculine and is aligned with the planet Mercury and the air element. It may be used as a fertility charm. Some use this mushroom to aid with astral travel. However, it should be noted that using chemical assistance is never advised and can be dangerous. Some associate this fungus with Dionysus, mainly because of its intoxicating potential."[30]
Other parts of the text, are adapted from the following excerpts from's article "Mushroom Magic and Folklore":[31]
  • "In Holland, these rings are believed to be left when the Devil sets down his milk churn - once he picks it up, there's a big circle left in the grass. In some countries, such as France and Austria, these rings are associated with sorcery and malevolent magic, and travelers are well-advised to steer clear of them."
  • "In many areas, the appearance of a ring of mushrooms on the ground is cause for either rejoicing or alarm. In Great Britain, these circles are known as fairy rings - and they are where the Fae come to dance and frolic after a rainstorm. However, like many other locations associated with faeries, humans who dare to enter such a ring may find themselves asleep for a hundred years, or worse yet, whisked off to the land of the wee folk, never to return."

Set Dressing


Missing from Storybrooke, Maine

Date Missing: 6/7/00
Date of Birth: 4/10/76
Age at Disappearance: 27 years
Height: 5'11
Weight: 145 Ibs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Blonde
Sex: Female

Melissa was last seen on the night of June 7.
2009 on her way to a friend's home in the
upper area of Storybrooke.

Last seen wearing: Blue jeans, a white t-shirt and black and white tennis shoes

A $29,000 reward is being offer for the return or recovery of Melissa Lew.

  • Strangely, the wanted poster says that Melissa was 27 years old when she disappeared on June 7. in the year 2000, but if she was born on April 10. in 1976, she would have been 24 at the time. Also, the poster contradicts itself by claiming that she was last seen in 2009, nine years after her disappearance.
  • A poster on the billboard says, "Storybrooke Sheriff's Department invites you to attend the Bike's Safety Fair."[46]

Costume Notes


  • To wake Mr. Gold from his coma, Emma needs an object that touched him before he became the Dark One. When Hook tells her about how he threatened Rumplestiltskin in "The Crocodile", he shows her a sword, telling her that he took this cutlass and held it to Rumplestiltskin's head. However, the sword that Hook shows to Emma, is not the sword that he threatened Rumplestiltskin with. The sword that he used to threaten him had a golden handle.[58] When Hook and Rumplestiltskin met again in "The Crocodile", several years later, Rumplestiltskin takes the same sword from Hook and duels him with it.[59] When he vanishes into thin air after cutting off Hook's hand, he takes the sword with him.[60] The sword that Hook shows to Emma,[61] which Emma uses to wake Mr. Gold,[62] has a black handle with a completely different design, and is the one he carried after the other sword was taken from him. This can be seen in episodes like "Queen of Hearts",[63] "Lost Girl"[64] and "The Jolly Roger".[65] This means that the sword Emma uses to wake Mr. Gold from his coma never touched Rumplestiltskin in the past at all, but the spell still works.

Filming Locations

International Titles



  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. File:503Title.png
  5. Malory, Thomas. Le Morte d'Arthur, Book XI, Page 326. London: Macmillan Publishers, 1868. Facsimile by Google Books.
  9. Garden Witch's Herbal, Ellen Dugan, Llewellyn Publications, 2012, page 169. Facsimile by Google Books.
  11. File:413GrilledCheese.png
  12. File:503MaryGetsUp.png
  17. 17.0 17.1
  18. File:222PickAxe.png
  19. File:307WhenToWalkAway.png
  20. File:503InTheirOwnRealms.png
  22. 22.0 22.1 File:503TalkToHim.png
  23. Stanford University Libraries' copy of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, p. 392. Facsimile by Google Books.
  24. File:503TalkToHim.png
  25. File:505FirstWeNeed.png
  26. Stanford University Libraries' copy of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, pp. 654 - 655. Facsimile by Google Books.
  27. File:503TheCrimsonCrown.png
  29. File:503ReginaFindsInformation.png
  32. File:503ClosingBook.png
  33. File:506SurprisedWomen.png
  34. File:503Poison.png
  35. File:503Chest.png
  36. File:503MixedEmoitions.png
  37. File:503TableTransforms.png
  38. File:503WalkingToSeat.png
  39. File:421AboutToOpenCarriage.png
  40. File:503IntoAFinger.png
  41. File:507HerSpirit.png
  42. File:503MagicIsDark.png
  43. File:102CalledYouHere.png
  44. File:102Desk.png
  45. External screenshot from "Breadcrumbs"
  46. 46.0 46.1 File:503NobleOne.png
  47. File:503CarChase.png
  48. File:503MyHandwriting.png
  50. File:503MeToo.png
  52. File:312WhatIsThat.png
  53. File:503FindsRoomEmpty.png
  55. File:204GoesToUnlockLibrary.png
  56. File:322NeverBeenEasy.png
  57. File:503StillAMan.png
  58. File:204PointyEndGoesAtTheOtherGuy.png
  59. File:204StolenFromYou.png
  60. File:204RumpleSheathesSword.png
  61. File:503EnoughSwan.png
  62. File:503WorkedHardForThis.png
  63. File:209Lock.png
  64. File: 302FightCancelled.png
  65. File:317HookDuel.png

Start a Discussion Discussions about Siege Perilous

  • Quest to find a mushroom:)

    18 messages
    • "Brothers" and mushroom? This episode game me Super Mario Bros vibes, and I Iike it. They should have placed turtles in the pond to m...
    • Rainarooo wrote:"Brothers" and mushroom? This episode game me Super Mario Bros vibes, and I Iike it. They should have placed turtles...
  • Siege Perilous Thoughts

    119 messages
    • CoolDudeAl wrote:Eskaver wrote:Farerb wrote:Eskaver wrote:Farerb wrote:If the Blue Fairy had the Black Fairy's wand, then Rumple never had...
    • Edward Zachary Sunrose wrote:CoolDudeAl wrote:Eskaver wrote:Farerb wrote:Eskaver wrote:Farerb wrote:If the Blue Fairy had the Black Fairy...