"Birth" is the eighth episode of Season Five of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by David H. Goodman & Jerome Schwartz, and directed by Eagle Egilsson. It is the ninety-sixth episode of the series overall, and premiered on November 15, 2015.
This episode was the first of a two-episode airing.
Tensions in Camelot come to a head when Merlin, now under Arthur’s control, delivers an ultimatum to Emma: hand over the Dark One dagger and the Promethean spark or he will kill her entire family. Refusing to give in, Emma and our heroes face off against Arthur, Merlin and Zelena in an epic battle of magic and will. Just when the end is in sight, Emma is forced to make a gut-wrenching choice that no one saw coming. Back in Storybrooke, Zelena’s pregnancy mysteriously accelerates and Hook goes to new and desperate lengths to get answers from the Dark Swan.
- The title card features the darkness rising from the Vault of the Dark One.
- The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on September 26, 2015.
- "Birth" and "The Bear King" were filmed simultaneously.
- Initially, there was an idea of Emma's plan in the present being turning Hook into a Dark One. This evolved into the idea of Emma having already done it, and this was the secret she was keeping in the present.
- According to Colin O'Donoghue, Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis had given him the heads up from the start that Emma had made Hook immortal. He guessed that Hook was going to be dark, and with some scenes where Emma entered the room, he played it like Hook had the sense that she was going to come, like in vampire movies, where the vampires senses that the master is coming.
- For the scene where Emma's loved ones are prisoners in the Caledonian Forest, there was talk of putting everyone in a giant rolling cage. Another idea was to put them all in a cage full of branches. However, they realized that this would be a challenge, with so many people in the scene, so the director came up with the idea of having everyone tied to the trees instead.
- The reason why Dr. Whale's hair is dyed blonde in this episode, is that David Anders bleached his hair for his role on the television series iZombie. In this show, all zombies, including David Anders' character Blaine DeBeers, have platinum blonde hair.
- The episode script contained more jokes from Doctor Whale, but there wasn't enough room for all of them.
- While filming the scene where Hook is at the top of the library, calling Emma's name, during one take, Colin O'Donoghue jokingly called out "Bella Swan" instead of Emma Swan.
- Colin O'Donoghue wanted to do the jump from the library himself but wasn't allowed to for insurance reasons, so a stunt double performed the actual jump.
- Hook says to Emma that he drowned a sailor named Edgar because he caught him drinking the captain's wine. There is a character named Edgar in the next episode, "The Bear King", but it is not the same person, since this character is alive in present day.
- In one scene of "The Bear and the Bow", Emma gives to Zelena some onion rings to eat. At the origin, these were supposed to be normal onion rings. The fact that they were able to speed Zelena's pregnancy was decided when "Birth" was being written.
- The scene where Regina is outside the birthing room, was added so they didn't have to cover things like cutting umbilical cords and wiping slime off a newly born baby, as they didn't think people would want to see that.
- When Hook's neck starts to bleed, a tiny sponge was used to produce the dribble of blood.
- The scene where Hook's neck begins to bleed, and the scene where Emma transforms him into a Dark One, were originally written as one single scene. It was Jerome Schwartz's idea to split the scene in half and having Emma teleport herself and Hook to the Middlemist field, which radically changed the tone of the scene.
- For the sequence where Hook is lying on the ground with Emma sitting next to him, the greensperson, Sarah McCulloch, had to pull out many of the flowers in order for Colin O'Donoghue and Jennifer Morrison to get set. She had to use a gun drill for drilling holes, which made Colin extremely nervous, as he was lying in the meadow and she was drilling holes in the ground between his legs.
- The scene where Hook rises from the Vault of the Dark One, is a combination of new footage and recycled footage from the scene where Emma rises from the vault in "The Dark Swan". The shot where the darkness begins to manifest into human form, the following wide-shot where the transformation continues, and the following close-up shot where the camera pans up the manifesting darkness, are exactly the same in both scenes, the only difference being the lighting, and the third shot being shorter during Hook's scene (in Emma's scene, the camera pans up to Emma's face; in Hook's scene, the shot ends before it reaches the face).
- The Enchanted Forest flashbacks occur after "Nimue" and before "Broken Heart". (For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
- The Camelot flashbacks occur after "Nimue" and before "The Bear King". (For more details, see the Camelot timeline)
- The Storybrooke events take place after "Nimue" and before "Broken Heart". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- Arthur lied to David about his failed attempt to summon Merlin using the Crimson Crown in "The Bear and the Bow".
- Emma made Excalibur whole using the Flame of Prometheus in "Nimue".
- The reason why Excalibur cannot control anyone any longer, is revealed in "Broken Heart".
- Hook asks Emma about Nimue, a character who first appeared in "Nimue".
- Arthur escapes from his cell in "Last Rites".
- Emma asks Henry about the heroes' quest to steal Excalibur and about Merlin who disappeared during their return, with both events taking place in "Nimue".
- Merlin poofed the heroes away in "Nimue".
- Mr. Gold looks at a snow globe in his shop, just like he did in "The Snow Queen".
- Gold recounts that he became the Dark One to save his son, something that occurred in "Desperate Souls".
- Arthur and Zelena teamed up in "Nimue".
- Hook apologizes to Emma for what he told her on the Jolly Roger, something that took place in "Siege Perilous".
- The ring that Emma shows to Hook, is the one he gave her in "Nimue". How Hook got the ring from his brother Liam, is shown in "The Brothers Jones".
- Emma and Hook realize their plans of moving in together in "Strange Case".
- Zelena mentions that she was a fake midwife, something she posed as in "Witch Hunt", "The Tower" and "Quiet Minds".
- Zelena mentions that Emma gave her onion rings (this being the reason for her accelerated pregnancy) in "The Bear and the Bow".
- Dr. Whale recalls Zelena magically throwing him across the room, which occurred in "Kansas". He wishes to not be attacked this time. Ironically, Emma does the same.
- Regina promised to keep Zelena's baby safe, which happened in "Siege Perilous".
- Emma reminds Hook that Zelena killed Neal and Marian, which occurred in "Quiet Minds" and "Heart of Gold" respectively.
- Emma recounts the first time she admitted her true love for Hook, which happened in "Operation Mongoose Part 2". She also recounts admitting her feelings for Neal when she thought she was going to lose him in "Second Star to the Right".
- Zelena says that she cannot cut off her own hand to remove the cuff, since Regina enchanted her wrist. This is similar to what happened when Hook got his hand back in "The Apprentice", where Mr. Gold tells him that his magic put the hand on, and only his magic could take it off.
- Hook recalls being betrayed by Zelena the last time he helped her, which took place in "The Dark Swan".
- Emma says that Merlin "can't help us anymore". The reason for this, is explained in "Broken Heart".
- Regina reiterates Emma's request to do what is necessary when she was entrusted the dagger to Mary Margaret and David, which took place in "The Dark Swan".
- Zelena shows Hook his stolen memories from Camelot using one of Emma's dreamcatcher. Emma first started making dreamcatchers in "The Broken Kingdom". Regina previously used one of Emma's dreamcatchers to access Violet's memories in "Dreamcatcher".
- Emma tries to make Excalibur whole in the same process that was first seen in "Nimue".
- Merlin states that Excalibur's purpose was to cut immortal ties, something that was first established in "Nimue".
- Emma mentions how Regina lost Daniel, an event which took place in "The Stable Boy".
- Emma talks about how far Regina pushed her to save Robin Hood, referring to events in "The Price".
- Emma refuses to let Hook die because she cannot bear to lose him. In the episode "Rocky Road", Emma told Hook that every person she had been in a relationship had died, and that she was scared of losing him too.
- Emma tethers Hook to Excalibur, just like Zelena tethers Merlin to it in "Nimue".
- Hook emerges from the Vault of the Dark One, a location first seen in "Quiet Minds".
- The Darkness is removed from Emma and Hook in "Swan Song".
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode features the ugly duckling from the titular fairytale, King Arthur, Merlin, and Guinevere from the Arthurian legend, Robin Hood from the ballad, Captain Hook from the Peter Pan story, Rumplestiltskin from the "Rumpelstiltskin" fairytale, and the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz story.
- Zelena reads the fairytale of "Hansel and Gretel" to her unborn child.
- The showdown between Emma, Arthur and Merlin, takes place in the Fairy Tale Land version of the Caledonian Forest. In Arthurian lore, the forest is the site of one of King Arthur's Twelve Battles. In Geoffrey of Monmouth's work Vita Merlini (The Life of Merlin), Merlin retreated to these woods in his madness after the Battle of Arfderydd.
- The bottle of wine that King Arthur and Guinevere share in their tent in Storybrooke is Bordeaux wine from the French winery Chateau Baum.
- It is the same wine that Regina shared with Robin Hood in her office in the Season Three episode "Snow Drifts".
- Zelena and Mr. Gold had the same wine for dinner in the Season Three episode "Bleeding Through", although the label was not clearly seen in the actual episode. However, it can be seen clearly in a promotional photograph.
- Granny's entrance key to the diner has an engraving of a swan.
- The box used to contain the Flame of Prometheus' spark, and the bonds that shoot out of it and tie Zelena to the tree, have the same pattern as the blade of Excalibur.
- When Hook leaves the pawnshop, he is carrying the snow globe that Mr. Gold was inspecting in the previous scene. A section explaining its meaning was cut from the episode. The snow globe was supposed to be a Dark One detector created by Mr. Gold to try to know when Emma was coming. However, this idea was dropped when the episode was shot.
- The newspaper ad for Emma's house says:
NANTUCKET STYLE HOUSE
One of Storybrooke's
with sprinkler systems
- Another property is located near the Storybrooke Heritage Park.
- Two of the ads, mention a company called Storybrooke Realty, which was also mentioned in a newspaper ad in the Season Three episode "Kansas".
- One ad mentions a property located near Nightingale Village, which was also mentioned on a map of Storybrooke in the Season Two episode "Lacey".
- The writing on the newspaper is actually Colin O'Donoghue's own handwriting.
- The picture that Hook takes off Emma's wall can also be seen over the fish tank at the Storybrooke Pet Shelter in the Season One episode "7:15 A.M."
- The dreamcatcher with Hook's memories, which Zelena found outside Emma's house, is the same dreamcatcher that Emma holds as she's crying in "Dreamcatcher". Strangely, in the same episode, Regina takes the same dreamcatcher home with her and uses it to access Violet's memories.
- Hook points to one of his rings and reveals that it belonged to a man named Barnaby, who called him "One Hand Jones". Hook killed him, and took his ring. However, Hook was already wearing this ring in "The Crocodile", when he still had both of his hands. This can clearly be seen while he's gambling at the tavern.
- Burnaby's Central Park doubles as the Enchanted Forest for the scenes outside Granny's Diner.
- The climactic scene with Emma and Hook in the middlemist field at the end of the episode, was also filmed in Central Park. The set was a tiny, round meadow set filled with middlemist flowers, surrounded by blue-screen material. It was CGIed into a big flowery meadow in post-production.
- The scene where Hook rises out of the vault was filmed in Minaty Bay, a populated locality in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.
|French||"La Flamme de Prométhée"||"The Flame of Prometheus"|
|German||"Erben der Finsternis"||"Heirs to Darkness"|