A carnival has excitement for everyone with laughter and dancing. But don’t forget sideshows with illusions, mystery, and deceit. “Dream Catcher” creates a whole new web for our heroes to get tangled in as Storybrooke hosts its very own carnival.
According to Emma’s dream catcher memory, the old Dark One transformed Merlin after destroying the only woman Merlin ever loved imprisoning Merlin in a tree using Merlin’s own tear. What she needs is another tear of lost love.
But what about all those dream catchers? Do they hold the key to Storybrooke’s lost memories or is it something more? We catch a hint of remorse from Emma as she walks to her collection. Clutching a dream catcher, she begins to cry. Could this be a sign that Neal is somehow the driving motivation behind everything? Or is this just another sideshow misdirect?
Like the adornments in Emma’s dream catchers, references to Neal are woven throughout the episode. In fact, Emma’s first dream catcher was from Neal! In her quest to obtain Excalibur, Rumple reminds Emma that one time he too convinced himself that all of his dark magic was for good. He wanted to reunite with his son and keep him safe.
As the episode continues, Henry also mentions his father. After all he got his pick up skills from him. Seeking to gain Violet’s attention, he pulls one of his father’s “classic moves”. The power of Yaz’s song “Only You” is the same move that made Emma fall in love with his father.
But like every dream catcher, there are good memories and dark ones. Regina and Henry discover that Emma took Violet’s heart back in Camelot. Emma tries to tell Regina that it was for the best she wants to keep Henry safe. Regina always thought Emma would be different, but now she isn’t so sure. By the end of their conversation Emma accidentally slips and reveals that she freed Merlin in Camelot.
If Merlin was freed back in Camelot, why is Emma still the Dark One? What is her big secret? Emma’s not revealing any more. And it is going to take more than just a bear and a girl with a bow.