Once Upon A Time – The Bear King
Already knowing Merida’s dad died in battle because for the first time ever, her arrow missed the target we get to see what happened up until that point and who actually killed her father.
At the beginning of the episode we see Arthur and Zelena zap back into the castle in Camelot after his fight with hook and Merlin resisting his control.
Having to find another way to make Excalibur whole again, Arthur tells Zelena he knows of another way – They just have to get to Dunbroch.
Coincidently, this just happened to be where Merida lived.
It’s coronation day for the fiery red head and as sad as she is about her father not being alive to see it, she will finally be able to follow in his footsteps to lead the clans – Even if they didn’t accept her as a leader.
However, her big day is interrupted by a witch wanting payment for a magical object her father had taken from her before he died.
A magical helm which, when worn into battle, would give her father the power to control his army and take victory.
Unable to believe her father would use magic, Merida refuses to pay the witch only to be told if she doesn’t pay up or return the helm that all those living in her kingdom will be turned into bears.
Needing to keep order over her kingdom and to gain the trust of her people, Merida sets out to retrieve the helm which was taken by whoever killed her father.
Flash back to two years earlier, before the battle which saw King Fergus killed and we see just how much the clans oppose of having Merida as their Queen – They don’t believe a girl could rule over them.
To make sure she will succeed, her father hires a soldier to train Merida in the art of war.
Not wanting to take instructions from a soldier and wanting to prove she has the strength she starts a fight with the soldier but unfortunately for her, she is thrown to the ground on a counter attack.
Turns out the solider who Merida thought was a man was actually none other than Mulan!
But she isn’t the only familiar face to return in this episode because in present day Dunbroch, Merida and Mulan set out on a quest to find the missing helm for the witch.
Upon finding the witches house to find potions to track the helm, Mulan and Merida are attacked by a wolf guarding the house.
Although, Mulan is able to see through the wolfs façade and sees that it’s not a wolf at all, it is in fact a girl!
That girl is none other then Red Riding Hood or as everyone knows her in Storybrooke, Red, one of the original fairytale characters from the first few seasons of Once.
Red ends up helping the others on their quest for helm. Turns out they aren’t the only ones searching for the helm, as we see King Arthur and Zelena also ransack the witches house.
They all run into each other as they grow closer to finding the helmet as Zelena needs King Fergus’ bow which Merida has been carrying with her on her trek – With a location spell the bow will lead them right to it.
This is the moment Merida finds out the true powers of the helm as Arthur slyly informs her that once worn, it has the power to control others to fight for them.
Merida didn’t want to believe that her father would cheat and use magic to make people follow him and fight his battles.
If he had to use magic to gain respect and a following how is she ever going to lead the clans.
Flash back to the day of the battle and we witness the death of King Fergus and another shocking twist is upon us!
After stabbing the king with his sword, the enemy takes off his helmet only to reveal that it was in fact Arthur who killed Merida’s dad! – She still doesn’t know however.
She soon finds out as Red uses her wolf nose to track down the killer as they continue their quest to find the helm.
Red leads Merida to a lake where Zelena and Arthur are retrieving the helmet before telling her that the scent of her fathers killer is coming from King Arthur.
A distraught Merida questions why Arthur is looking for the magical helm when he took it off her dead fathers head the day he killed him.
Turns out her father hadn’t used it – He died a hero!
Before the battle Merida and her father had a heart to heart about bravery and leadership which had in turn spurred her father on to use his own leadership and presence to lead his men into battle – He hadn’t needed magic at all.
Upon this revelation, Merida goes to attack Arthur while Mulan uses sleeping powder on Zelena. Now Arthur doesn’t ave anyone to protect him.
Little did Merida know, her men were actually watching in the forest as the battle between herself and her dads killer commences.
Arthur takes the defeat as he knows he is out numbered and doesn’t have Zelena as protection so instead he gets Zelena to poof them out of the fight – Running away yet again.
From witnessing the strength and bravery from the young queen, her men finally show their respect for her as they all kneel before her.
Luckily for her, Arthur left the helm behind in his cowardly escape.
Taking it back to her castle, she then surprises everyone by announcing she is going to destroy the helm because noone should use magic to lead an army.
Fortunately for Merida, this is exactly what the witch wanted her to do!
Her whole curse threat was actually a lie and her plan was for Merida to set out on this mission to find the power inside herself to believe that she was capable to lead and army and to gain their respect.
She didn’t care about getting the helm back! But her plan worked after all.