The Bear King Recap

Three Weeks Ago – Camelot

Zelena teleports Arthur into the castle and he insists that he doesn't need her dark magic. She reminds him that her dark magic let them escape, and Arthur insists that he doesn't want to work with her but they need to work together. Arthur says that his knights can defeat the combined power of Merlin and the Dark One... if they give them the proper motivation. He gets an idea and says that there is something that can help them in DunBroch.

In DunBroch, Merida places a flower at her father Fergus' grave. She tells him that she saved her brothers and reunited the clans, and worries about how she will rule over them. Her mother, Queen Elinor, arrives and assures Merida that Fergus is with her no matter what. She takes her daughter to her coronation,

DunBroch – Several Years Earlier

Fergus rides to the witch's cottage and draws his sword, and then goes inside. She admits that she dabbles in magic, and Fergus says that she needs him some magic to oppose invaders from the south. The witch agrees to give him something to assure the future of his kingdom, but warns that it won't come cheap. She says that she doesn't need anything but may in the future, and has Fergus sign a contract. Once he does, the witch mixes a potion and a helm emerges from her cauldron. She tells Fergus to wear it in battle and he'll get exactly what he wants, and Fergus takes it.

Three Weeks Ago

Lord Macintosh presents the crown to Elinor, and she starts to place it on Merida. The witch arrives and Merida says that she is there because of Fergus' deal. She shows the contract and points out that Fergus died before he could pay the debt, and now he owes 10,000 gold scearts. Merida points out that much money would bankrupt the clans, and the witch asks for the helmet instead. If Merida doesn't return it by the next day's sundown then the witch will curse the entire kingdom. Before she goes, the witch tells Merida to figure out how to lead when Fergus couldn't.

Back in their chambers, Elinor looks for the helm without success. Merida tells her mother that Fergus was wearing it when he was killed, and asks what the witch meant about Fergus being unable to lead. Elinor says that they have more important things to deal with, and Merida explains that the knight who killed Fergus took the helm. The queen refuses to lose Merida as well, but Merida points out that DunBroch is doomed without the helm... and her arrow won't miss.

Two Years Earlier

Fergus and Merida tour the troops and one clansman disrespects Merida. The king takes offense and Merida says that she can take care of herself. Her father explains that the soldiers are writing out wills, and he brought Merida there to show her what war is like. Fergus then takes out his war bow and gives it to Merida to carry into her first battle. He admits that he hired a soldier to tutor her in the art of war, and Merida attacks the man. The helmeted warrior easily knocks Merida to the ground and then removes her helmet... to reveal that she's a woman. She introduces herself as Mulan and tells Merida that she will teach her the most important thing: honor.

Three Weeks Ago

Mulan is rousting locals for the money they owe her boss. They refuse to let her push them around, and she knocks two of the three down. As she fights the third one, Merida arrives and pins his sleeve to the wall .Mulan knocks him out and Merida says that she needs her help. When Mulan refuses to help, Merida asks where her honor is. Mulan says that Merida didn't know her well, and Merida offers her a pouch of gold for her help. The warrior accepts on the condition that Merida doesn't ask any more questions about her.

Arthur leads Zelena to the witch's cottage and breaks in. A wolf steps out and Zelena uses sleeping powder to knock it out. The witch appears and Arthur says that he needs the helm to save his kingdom. She says that she doesn't have it, and sent someone to find it. When the witch prepares to teleport them away, Zelena threatens to thrust her head into her own cauldron if she doesn't tell them the truth. The witch says that Merida is searching for the helm. Arthur confirms that Merida was his prisoner until she escaped, and Zelena makes Merida regret that she ever escaped.

Merida and Mulan go to where Fergus was killed. Merida's arrow marks the spot and has a trace of the killer's cloak on it. She figures that they can trace the killer from that, and Mulan says that they should be on their way. Merida asks why her friend has closed off her heart, and Mulan says that a true warrior doesn't let anything hurt them.

Two Years Earlier

Mulan trains Merida into how to fight, and Merida gets the upper hand. She helps Mulan out as Macintosh and the others mockingly applaud Merida. Merida offers to kick his ass, but Mulan warns her that no one will follow her out of fear. They go to the camp and Mulan suggests that Merida talk to someone the clans are already following. Fergus is speaking to the troops, wearing the helm.

Three Weeks Ago

Merida insists that she won't rest until her father's killer is brought to justice. Arthur and Zelena arrive and explain that they're there for the helm so that Arthur can save his kingdom. He explains that the helm has the power to make other men fight the wielder's battles, no matter how dangerous, and Merida insists that her father never would have used it. Mulan says that they don't have the helm, and Zelena teleports away Merida's power. She explains that she can use it to find the helm, and Merida insists that it was the last thing Fergus ever gave her. Unimpressed, Zelena teleports away with Arthur as Mulan holds Merida back.

As Merida goes to her horse, Mulan says that they can find the helm using the cloak. Merida says that it doesn't matter because if Fergus can't lead without magic than neither can she. She's going to tell the lords to find the helm, and Mulan tells her that she can't give up. Merida reminds her that she's given up, and rides off.

Two Years Ago

Fergus stands watch for the invaders, and Merida finds him. He wonders what's wrong, and Merida says that she needs to learn how to inspire the clans to follow her. She asks Fergus how he does it, and Fergus glances at his helm. After a moment, he tells Merida that a ruler must show his subjects that he or she is the first one willing to die. Fergus is sure that he will survive, and asks Merida to help him stand watch.

Three Weeks Ago

Mulan enters the witch's cottage to have her cast the locator spell, and the guardian wolf snarls at her. Mulan realizes that it's not a wolf, just as it tackles her. The warrior knocks over a nearby cauldron and the fumes envelop the creature... transforming it back into Ruby. She apologizes and introduces herself.

That night, Ruby and Mulan head back and Mulan explains that she's experienced other transformed animals. Ruby explains that the witch put her under her thrall, and recognizes Mulan from the description that Phillip and Aurora gave her. Mulan asks how Ruby returned to the Enchanted Forest.

At the diner, David and Mary Margaret present their child prince Neal to the others. Afterward, Mary Margaret sees Ruby watching and asks her what's wrong. Ruby admits that she hasn't fit in since they returned to Storybrooke, because she's the only one of her kind. She wants to find more of her kind, and has been helping Tiny work on his bean fields. They did grow one bean, and Ruby plans to return to the Enchanted Forest. Mary Margaret hugs ruby and says that she needs to do what makes her happy,

Ruby tells Mulan that her pack was gone without a trace, and she went to the witch for help. She thanks Mulan for freeing her, and asks why she was there. Mulan says that she set a bad example for a friend and wanted to make things right, and Ruby offers to follow the scent on the cloak.

Merida returns to the castle and tells Elinor and Macintosh of her plan. Mulan and Ruby come in and Mulan admits that she was wrong to give up.

Two Years Ago

Mulan continues drilling Merida, and the battle pipes sound. Merida realizes that Mulan brought her out there at Fergus' request to keep her out of the fight, and runs to join her father.

As the invaders advance, Fergus calls upon them to identify who they are and who they fight for. The invaders don't respond, and Fergus proudly declares the names of the clans. The two sides advance, and a helmet knight closes in on Fergus. Merida arrives on a hill overlooking the battle and sees the knight approaching her father. She tries to call a warning but Fergus doesn't hear her, and fires an arrow at the knight. It hits his cloak and flies on into the ground, and the knight kills Fergus. He takes the helm and removes his helmet... revealing that he's Arthur.

Three Weeks Earlier

Zelena's spell leads her to a lake, and she magically lifts the helm out of the waters. As Arthur takes it, Merida shoots it out of his hand. Ruby identifies Arthur as the man who killed Fergus, and Arthur says that he and his knights were questing for Excalibur. The king insists that a knight does what he must on the field of battle, and Mulan reminds Merida that she's trying to save her people, not seek revenge for Fergus. Merida wonders how Arthur lost the helm, and he admits that the helm wasn't enchanted. Merida realizes that her father didn't use any magic to lead the clans into battle. She vows to keep the helm, and she and Arthur fight.

Mulan tells Zelena to step aside, and Ruby stuns Zelena with sleeping powder

Arthur insists that he needs the helm to fulfill his destiny. Merida prepares to grab the helm, but Macintosh and the other clan leaders arrive, bows drawn. Mulan brings the dazed Zelena forward, and she teleports herself and Arthur away. Merida thanks Macintosh and the others for their help, and the clansmen kneel to her. she wonders why they want her to lead the clans, and Macintosh points out that she was willing to give up her crown to save her people. He figures that if she isn't fit to lead the clans, then no one is.

Later, Elinor presents Merida to the clans as their new queen. The witch arrives and demands the helm, but Merida says that she's going to destroy it. She insists that no one should be forced to lead people into battle against their will. The witch smiles and says that it was never about the helm: it was a test. Fergus wanted the magic to ensure the future of his kingdom, and that was what she did. The witch has a gift: magical ale. One cup can summon the spirit of anyone who has passed to the underworld. Merida thanks her for the gift, and Macintosh leads the clans in cheering their queen.

Afterward, Merida goes to her father's grave with Ruby and Mulan. She thanks them for their help and Mulan gives her the pieces of cloak back. Merida asks what happened to her, and Mulan admits that she was trying to get over a broken heart after waiting too long to tell someone what she felt about them. Ruby suggests that Mulan come with her so that she can find her path while helping someone find theirs, and Mulan accepts. The three women hug and then Ruby and Mulan leave.

Once she's alone, Merida tosses the ale on her father's grave. Fergus appears and tells her not to waste it, and she apologizes for losing faith in him. He explains that he lost faith in himself when he went to the witch, but Merida changed his mind. Fergus realized that he couldn't show her the right path by using magic, and assures Merida that she's made him proud. Sobbing, Merida hugs her father before he disappears. Determined, Merida promises that Arthur has no idea what is coming for him.

Written by Gadfly on Nov 16, 2015