"The Bear and the Bow" is the sixth episode of Season Five of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Andrew Chambliss & Tze Chun, and directed by Ralph Hemecker. It is the ninety-fourth episode of the series overall, and premiered on November 1, 2015.
In a Camelot flashback, a chance encounter with Merlin, David, Hook and Belle gives Merida new hope in her quest to save her brothers from the usurping clans of DunBroch. Unwilling to leave anything up to fate, Merida brings Belle along on a dangerous journey that culminates with an invaluable lesson in bravery. In Storybrooke, Regina, Mary Margaret and David discover the spell that would allow one of Merlin’s chosen to communicate with him, but when Arthur fails to reach the missing sorcerer the heroes grow suspicious. Meanwhile, Emma commands Merida to kill Belle in hopes of forcing Mr. Gold’s heroic transformation. With Merida unable to disobey Emma’s orders, Gold must find the courage to fight for Belle’s life or risk losing her forever.
*: Only in archive footage
- The title card features a shooting arrow.
- The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on September 2, 2015.
- The title of this episode was the original title of Brave.
- The flashback scene where Merida is rowing the boat with Belle present through the Ivory Sea was filmed on Amy Manson's birthday.
- The Storybrooke events take place after "Dreamcatcher" and before "Nimue". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- The Camelot events take place after "Dreamcatcher" and before "Nimue". (For more details, see the Camelot timeline)
- The DunBroch events take place two years after King Fergus' story in "The Bear King", and before the events surrounding Merida's coronation in the same episode.
- The Enchanted Forest events at Granny's Diner take place after "Dreamcatcher" and before "Nimue". (For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
- This is not the first time Merlin predicts something. He prophesied that Arthur would pull Excalibur out of the stone and be king in "The Broken Kingdom".
- Mary Margaret and David came under the effects of Sands of Avalon in "The Broken Kingdom", were still under Arthur's control in "Dreamcatcher" and were fixed by Merlin in the same episode.
- Merida recalls the events of what Emma did to her in "The Dark Swan".
- Merida says Arthur took her wisp, a magical being that was first seen in "The Dark Swan".
- Merida has been looking for her brothers since "The Dark Swan".
- Regina recalls Emma's and her speech about freeing Merlin back in Camelot which takes place in "Dreamcatcher".
- David and Arthur acquired the crimson crown back in Camelot, and then David found it in Storybrooke. Both events took place in "Siege Perilous".
- Emma ripped Violet's heart from her chest in "Dreamcatcher".
- Merida used the chipped cup to make Mr. Gold brave in "Dreamcatcher".
- This is the second time the chipped cup has been shattered. The first time was in "In the Name of the Brother", where Belle smashed it by hurling it against a wall.
- Mr. Gold uses the shards of a broken tea cup to cut himself loose, just like Emma did when she was Jefferson's prisoner in "Hat Trick".
- Merida was forced by Emma to help her with her "dirty" work in "The Broken Kingdom".
- Merida recalls the clans not wanting a woman to be queen, which was first mentioned in "The Dark Swan".
- Merida mentioned her father's death in "The Dark Swan".
- Mr. Gold fell into a coma in "Operation Mongoose Part 2" and Emma woke him up in "Siege Perilous".
- A pregnant Zelena is reading What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff in her cell. Belle is reading the same book while pregnant in "The Other Shoe".
- Emma tells Zelena that she knows what it's like to be pregnant behind bars; referring to events in "Tallahassee".
- What Emma really wants from Zelena, and the real reason why she gives her onion rings, is revealed in "Birth".
- Zelena wielded the Apprentice's wand in "The Dark Swan".
- Zelena says that she's been on the receiving end of a mother's betrayal; referring to how Cora gave her up in "Bleeding Through".
- Zelena indirectly killed Neal in "Quiet Minds".
- Mr. Gold escapes by going through the mines, before using the elevator to get inside the library. The tunnels beneath the library are connected to the mines, something that was previously established in "Fall".
- Mr. Gold talks about how he broke his foot and fled the Ogre Wars, an event shown in "Manhattan". Belle recalls Mr. Gold telling her that he did this so that his son wouldn't grow up fatherless; the same excuse that Rumplestiltskin told his first wife, Milah. In this episode, however, Mr. Gold admits that he ran away from the war because he was frightened of dying.
- Belle complains about her father being not supportive of her adventures, which was seen in "Family Business".
- Mr. Gold gave up his old cane stick in "The New Neverland".
- Belle mentions how she lost her mother in the Ogre Wars in "Family Business".
- The story surrounding King Fergus's death, and the identity of his killer, is revealed in "The Bear King".
- This is the second time that Belle and Mr. Gold argue at the town line about his cowardice. The first one happened in "Heroes and Villains".
- Merida says, "You're lucky someone once taught me the value of mercy", which she learned from Emma in "The Dark Swan".
- Emma remembers when the Usher told her to leave the sword alone, which happened in "The Dark Swan".
- Emma mentions a time when Belle was Rumplestiltskin's maid, which was shown in "Skin Deep", "Lacey", "Going Home" and "Heroes and Villains".
- Emma tells Belle, "Then you will be sweeping his remains", if Mr. Gold can't pull the sword out of the stone. The first time someone died after attempting and failing to pull out the sword was in "The Dark Swan".
- Henry was chosen to be the Author by the Apprentice and the Sorcerer in "Operation Mongoose Part 2".
- Merlin's message was recorded in "Broken Heart".
- How Nimue (inadvertently and indirectly) "helps" defeat the Dark One is revealed in "Swan Song".
- This episode features Merida, young Macintosh, young Macguffin, Wee Dingwall and Merida's Brothers, as well as their homeland DunBroch, from the movie Brave.
- Merida is transformed into a bear, just like her mother was in the movie.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode features King Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot from the Arthurian Legend, Captain Hook from the Peter Pan story, and the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz story.
- Zelena affectionately refers to her unborn baby as her little munchkin.
- The spell book that Belle and Merida bring to DunBroch and use to perform magic is the same book that Regina was seen closing in the beginning of the scene where she talks to Zelena in "Siege Perilous".
- Belle is wearing a Zara Crepe Blazer (no longer available).
- The tartan worn by Lord Dingwall and some of the clansmen, with a yellow field, black squares and a red stripe, is the tartan worn by the real Scottish Clan MacLeod of Lewis.
- Regina is wearing an Alexander Wang Fitted Tank Zip Dress (no longer available).
- David is wearing an AllSaints 'Hough' Jacket (no longer available).
- Mary Margaret is wearing a Meadow Rue Nwt Sanna Blouse from Anthropologie (no longer available).
|French||"La Quête de Merida"||"Merida's Quest"|
|Italian||"L'orso e l'arco"||"The Bear and the Bow"|