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"The Dark Swan"

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This article focuses on the Season Five episode, "The Dark Swan". For the Enchanted Forest character, see Emma Swan. For the magical entity, see Darkness.
The fight to control my darkness has just begun.
Emma Swan

"The Dark Swan" is the first episode of Season Five of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz and directed by Ron Underwood. It is the eighty-ninth episode of the series overall, and premiered on September 27, 2015. This episode is the fifth season premiere.


Immediately after becoming the Dark One, Emma disappears and the heroes must band together to save her, but first they have to find her, which will require the help of an unlikely ally. Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest, Emma struggles to resist her dark urges as she searches for Merlin in the hope that he can stop her transformation. Along the way to Camelot, she gets help from the plucky and brave warrior princess Merida, as well as King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.[2]


Deleted Scenes

Ribbon cutting ceremony

The former site of Granny's Diner has been transformed into a beer garden. Mr. Clark, driving the Sheriff's car and wearing a red leather jacket similar to Emma's garment of choice, pulls up in front of the beer garden to witness a ribbon cutting ceremony with Bashful, Dopey and Walter in attendance (the Dwarves who didn't leave for Camelot).[3][4]

Wrecked beer garden

The beer garden in front of Granny's Diner has been wrecked, presumably due to the diner landing after being transported back to Storybrooke. Emma, fully transformed into the Dark Swan, is wearing a long black robe and can be seen near the wrecked beer garden.[5][4]



Guest Starring




Production Notes

  • The title card features Granny's Diner in the woods.
  • The title of this episode was leaked by Mark Isham via his Instagram account on June 30, 2015,[7] and officially announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on July 7, 2015.[8]
  • Merlin was originally not set to appear in the season premiere.[9]
  • According to Amy Manson, Merida's storyline on Once Upon a Time takes place ten years after Brave's movie events.[10]
  • Henry mentions that Regina uses his birthday for all of her passwords, including the one for the entrance to the psychiatric ward. In "A Tale of Two Sisters", Regina types 815 as password for the psychiatric ward, meaning that Henry's birthday is August 15.
  • Zelena cutting off her own hand with a knife, was based on a sequence from the script for the Season Four episode "The Apprentice", in which Hook cut off his re-attached hand with a "meat cleaver or something". However, the network thought this would be far too dramatic. The idea was used for this episode instead.[11]
  • The scenes with Emma and Merida at the Hill of Stones was originally written as one scene, but during editing, they decided that it would play better if the scene was cut in two, with the diner scene between them.[11]

Event Chronology

Episode Connections



Fairytales and Folklore


Popular Culture

Set Dressing

  • King Arthur's coat of arms is traditionally depicted as azure (blue) or gules (red) with three or (yellow) crowns (in thirteenth century manuscripts), or azure with thirteen crowns (in later texts).[18] On the show, Arthur's coat of arms is red with a yellow crown surround by four yellow sea-wyverns; however, there also a yellow version with a red crown and red sea-wyverns.[13] A sea-wyvern is legendary creature with a dragon's head and wings, a reptilian body, two legs, and a fish tail. It is the sea-dwelling variant of the creature known as a wyvern.

Costume Notes

  • In the Arthurian Legend, each Knight of the Round Table is often accompanied by a heraldic description of a coat of arms:
    • Lancelot's coat of arms is traditionally depicted as an argent (silver) shield with three bends (a band running from the bearer's right side corner of the shield to the bearer's left side) gules (red).[18] On the show, however, Lancelot's coat of arms[19] is almost identical to that of Sir Bors, who is Lancelot's cousin in the legend. In Arthurian heraldry, Sir Bors' coat of arms is similar to Lancelot's, but is emblazoned with ermines[18] (a pattern of black shapes representing the winter coat of a stoat).
    • Sir Percival's coat of arms is traditionally depicted as azure (blue) fenced with crosses or (yellow).[18] On Once Upon a Time, Percival's coat of arms (a lightning bolt against a red and blue background)[16] is from the cover of the band's double live album Steal Your Face (1976).
    • Sir Kay's coat of arms is traditionally depicted as azure with two argent keys placed back to back. On Once Upon a Time, his coat of arms is similar to that of Sir Safir. Safir's crest is vair (a set of patterns which represents a kind of fur common in the Middle Ages) azure and argent, and checky (divided into several rows of squares of two alternating tinctures[20]) vert (green) and or.[18] However, the show's version is all vair, and the colors are vert and argent.[21]
    • Interestingly, in "The Price", black and white versions of both Kay and Percival's actual coats of arms from the legend, are hanging on two of the seats around the Round Table.[22]
  • When Emma emerges from the vault,[23] she is wearing the same dress that the Evil Queen wore when she was imprisoned in "The Cricket Game",[24] but with a different cloak. In "There's No Place Like Home", Emma wore a lightened version of the same dress when she was the Evil Queen's prisoner.[25]
    • The sleeves on Emma's cloak have swan-like feathers.[26]
  • Mary Margaret is wearing[27] a 3.1 Philip Lim Floral Macramé Blouse.[28] She wears the same blouse in "The Price".[29]
  • Belle is wearing[30] a Wilfred Festin Jacket,[31] an Opening Ceremony Cabbage Knit Flare Skirt[32] and a pair of Jimmy Choo Cosmic Leather Pumps[33] (no longer available).
  • Regina's necklace[36] is an Alexis Bittar Gold Capped Crescent Pendant.[37] This pendant is also worn by her in "The Price".[38]
  • The armor Percival wears in present day Camelot[39] is the same one Arthur wears when he kills King Fergus in "The Bear King"[40] but with different shoulder pads.
  • When everyone returns to Storybrooke, Emma is wearing a hair ornament reminiscent of the wings of a swan.[41]

Filming Locations

International Titles



  2. 2.0 2.1
  4. 4.0 4.1 (section "7/17/15 (Steveston filming)"
  11. 11.0 11.1 Jennifer Morrison, Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis on the Season Five Blu-ray/DVD Audio Commentary
  12. File:501Surprise.png
  13. 13.0 13.1 File:501ItsOtherHalf.png
  14. File:501What.png
  16. 16.0 16.1 File:501WatchingKay.png
  17. File:501IWasJustWorried.png
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4
  19. File:501TellThePeople.png
  21. File:501AllTheRealms.png
  22. File:502PercivalIsDead.png
  23. File:501ThreeTimes.png
  24. File:210YesIDo.png
  25. File:322WeDidIt2.png
  26. File:501Swan.png
  27. File:501MaybeYouLike.png
  29. File:502ShesHereInStorybrooke.png
  30. File:501MaybeYouLike.png
  34. File:502TheBloodyCrocodile.png
  35. File:211HookCameHere2.png
  36. File:501ThatWand.png
  38. File:502ReadyToTrustMe.png
  39. File:501KingArthurOfCamelot.png
  40. File:509SneakingUpOnFergus.png
  41. File:501SneezyIntoStone.png
  42. Zetabords copy of the original Tweet:
    Wikia back-up copy: File:TWMadelxine-back-up-501.png
  48. The title is a nod to "Dark One", named "Senhor das Trevas" ("Lord of the Darkness") in Portuguese version.

Start a Discussion Discussions about The Dark Swan

  • First look at Dark Swan!

    46 messages
    • <div class="quote">Eskaver wrote:<br />I love it! Dark One's do like their dark colors. (Although, Rumple was qu...
    • <div class="quote">LeonKingg wrote:<br /><div class="quote">Eskaver wrote:<br />I love it! D...
  • The Dark Swan Thoughts and More

    124 messages
    • <div class="quote">Eskaver wrote:<br />Lol, I totally didn't think my thread would literally include thoughts on ...
    • I liked how Belle and Mother Superior had a moment, two Belles in one scene, the actress who played Mother Superior also played Belle in Descendants 

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