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Your insane girlfriend sped up my pregnancy, kidnapped me right after giving birth, and separated me from my little girl. And they say I'm wicked.

Zelena to Hook

"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.[2]




Guest Starring





Production Notes

  • "Birth" and "The Bear King" were filmed simultaneously.[5]
  • ABANDONED IDEAS: 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.[6]
  • 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.[7]
  • ABANDONED IDEAS: 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.[8]
  • 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.[7][9] In this show, all zombies, including David Anders' character Blaine DeBeers, have platinum blonde hair.
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: Dr. Whale's and Regina's comments about his hair are a tip of the hat to the people at iZombie, who worked with Once Upon a Time's schedule so that they could get David Anders back.[8]
  • ABANDONED IDEAS: The episode script contained more jokes from Doctor Whale, but there wasn't enough room for all of them.[6]
  • 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.[10]
    • 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.[11]
  • OBSERVATIONS: 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.
  • ABANDONED IDEAS: 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.[6]
  • 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.[6]
  • When Hook's neck starts to bleed, a tiny sponge was used to produce the dribble of blood.[7]
  • ABANDONED IDEAS: 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.[8]
  • 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.[12]
  • REUSED FOOTAGE: 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,[13] the following wide-shot where the transformation continues,[14] and the following close-up shot where the camera pans up the manifesting darkness,[15] 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).

Event Chronology

Episode Connections

  • 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

Props Notes

  • REUSED PROPS: Zelena and Mr. Gold had the same wine for dinner in the Season Three episode "Bleeding Through",[21] although the label was not clearly seen in the actual episode. However, it can be seen clearly in a promotional photograph.[22]
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: Granny's entrance key to the diner has an engraving of a swan.[23]
  • The key that is frozen in mid-air is real. Strings were used to sustain it.[7]
  • CUT CONTENT: A section explaining its meaning was cut from the episode.[28] 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.[6]

115 W 10th Ave, Storybrooke

One of Storybrooke's
finest heritage homes
awaits you. Completely
renovated throughout,
this house features an
open floor plan, [obscured]ch 10'
cell[obscured] on the main floor
custom cabinetry in the
kitchen, stainless steel
appliances, bamboo hard
wood floors throughout,
limestone, marble and
granite in all baths and
kitchen, custom fp & huge
400 square foot secluded
South facing terrace off
kitchen / dining room.
Professionally landscaped

with sprinkler systems
rock w[obscured] and night
lighting, 2 bedrooms on
2nd floor, master
bedroom can easily
accommodate a King Bed
and has lot of closet
space! 3rd floor addition
allows for full height and
is fully finished for use as
a den, bedroom, office or
combo. There is a
detached single garage
with plenty of room for
storage. Exterior shed
may be used for more
Open House Saturday 12-5

  • PAUSE AND READ: An online prop auction from November 2019 reveals what the spellbook pages that Belle shows to the others (the ones which contains information about the spell to destroy light magic) say.[32] Note that some of the information can be read on-screen,[33] but most of it is illegible due to the angle of the book or Belle's finger being in the way; the information which is indecipherable on-screen is set in fuchsia:

The triangle of light and dark can be manipulated to protect
one from the other. Darkness from light and light from dark.
By basking in the vanity of light and never straying from its
path one can absorb its power and re-focus its glory into a shield.
Using the passage of luna ipsum the virtuous can attach or bind
these protections to another person or object.

Dispel Light Magic

Absolve the bindings of Light Magic using an enchanted
vessel, bound object, eternal flame or the cries of an
innocent or newborn child.

The hearts of men are dark so protection from this evil
darkness can be protected by the bindings of the light.
Only those with purity of heart can cast the spell of
protection – but any can dispel it with the following passage:

The virtuous has bound thee with protection of light
spin forth back to front to extinguish its light
with darkness we counter – using nit day but the night
to break the barrier or goodly and bright.

The triangle of Light and Dark

By studying the triangle of
man I have discovered the
3-fold effects of light, dark
and stimuli. Those which
effects [sic] our lives, and connot [sic]
be measured in simple terms
Love, joy, torment, revenge.
These are things that can drive
one from the light into the dark
or vica versa.

tenebris ad luceat et luceat tenebras – effectus in nobis efficere imperium quod pugnare (inside the circle)

Lux effectuat tenebris (in the middle of the circle)

Triangulum luceat ac tenebras (caption beneath the circle)

  • "tenebris ad luceat et luceat tenebras – effectus in nobis efficere imperium quod pugnare" is Latin and directly translates as "darkness to shine and shine darkness – effects in us bring about control (literally:"government") and fight";[34] in other words, "darkness to light and light to darkness enables us to command and fight"
  • "Lux"is Latin for light.[35] "Effectuat-" is a Medieval Latin combining form meaning "caused to happen".[36] "Tenebris" is Latin for "dark".[37] In other words, the text in the middle of the circle can be translated as "light created darkness".
  • "Triangulum luceat ac tenebras" directly translates as "triangle shine and darkness";[38] in other words, "triangle of light and darkness".
  • USE IT AGAIN: The dreamcatcher with Hook's memories,[41] which Zelena found outside Emma's house, is the same dreamcatcher that Emma holds as she's crying in "Dreamcatcher".[42] Strangely, in the same episode, Regina takes the same dreamcatcher home with her and uses it to access Violet's memories.[43]

Filming Locations


  • Hook points to one of his rings[49] 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.[50]

International Titles



  1. Porter, Rick (November 17, 2015). Sunday final ratings: ‘Madam Secretary’ adjusts up, ‘CSI: Cyber’ rises vs. last week. TV by the Numbers. “Once Upon a Time (ABC) (8-10 p.m.) (...) 4.85”
  2. 2.0 2.1 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, November 15, 2015. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-10:01 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#508/509) "Birth/The Bear King"”
  3. File:508Title.png
  4. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (September 26, 2015). "Here's another #OnceUponATime #titlespoiler -- hope to see ya tomorrow night for the season 5 premiere!" (screenshot)
  5. TwitterLogo.svg @BastardSonVan (Larry Andreutti) on Twitter (September 20, 2015). "Last day for filming #OnceUponATime 5x07 will be Thursday (9/24); the simultaneously filming of 5x08 and 5x09 will start Friday (9/25)" (screenshot)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 David H. Goodman and Jerome Schwartz on the Season Five Blu-ray/DVD commentary for "Birth"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Colin O'Donoghue on the Season Five Blu-ray/DVD commentary for "Birth"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 David H. Goodman on the Season Five Blu-ray/DVD commentary for "Birth"
  9. Moynihan, Robb (July 10, 2015). How iZombie Makeup Turns Rose McIver Into the Undead. TV Insider. ““David Anders [who plays fellow zombie Blaine DeBeers] bleached his hair, and that definitely made the process easier because we didn’t have to worry about wigs.”
  10. Gittins, Susan (October 1, 2015). SHOOT: ONCE UPON A TIME’s Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) on Storybrooke Library Roof in Steveston. Hollywood North Buzz. “O'Donoghue changed it up for one take calling Bella Swan (Twilight) instead of Emma Swan for a laugh.”
  11. TwitterLogo.svg @BastardSonVan (Larry Andreutti) on Twitter (October 2, 2015). "On the #OnceUponATime set yesterday, @colinodonoghue1 wanted to do the jumping scene himself but was not allowed for insurance reasons" (screenshot)
  12. TwitterLogo.svg @leafladygreens (Sara McCulloch) on Twitter (November 22, 2015). "CaptainSwan#MiddlemistField- I have to share this funny moment with u all. I had 2 pull out a lot of roses in order 4 Jmo & Colin 2 get set" (screenshot)
    TwitterLogo.svg @leafladygreens (Sara McCulloch) on Twitter (November 22, 2015). "I had to use a drill gun wf a ft long drill bit on it.it was scary and so was Colin as I had to drill holes" (screenshot)
    TwitterLogo.svg @leafladygreens (Sara McCulloch) on Twitter (November 22, 2015). "- INBETWEEN his legs! Lol. I said "b still luv", he screams " I have a crazyScottish woman wf a drill between my legs!" I cranked it up more" (screenshot)
  13. File:501EmmaEmerges.png
  14. File:501EmmaEmerges2.png
  15. File:501EmmaEmerges3.png
  16. 16.0 16.1 File:508ClosesBox.png
  17. King Arthur's Twelve Battles. Britannia. Retrieved on August 29, 2018.
  18. The Arthurian Name Dictionary, Christopher W. Bruce, Garland Publishing Inc., 1999. Facsimile by Google Books.
  19. File:508NotAnymore.png
  20. File:321ReturnOfYourHeart.png
  21. File:318Magic2.png
  22. File:318Promo8.jpg
  23. File:508Frozen.png
  24. File:101WelcomeToStorybrooke.png
  25. File:508OutOfHere.png
  26. File:508GlamourSpell.png
  27. File:508Crocodile.png
  28. TwitterLogo.svg @InkTankGirl (Brigitte Hales) on Twitter (November 16, 2015). "I'm dying to but it got trimmed out. Not sure if we'll use it again or I would." (screenshot)
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 File:508OurFuture.png
  30. File:320Ads.png
  31. File:219PlacesYouSawIt.png
  32. Once Upon a Time - Merlin's Spell Book (3039). iCollector (November 3, 2019). Archived from the original on September 29, 2019. (Photograph) (Photograph 2)
  33. File:508MerlinsSpellBookFlipped.png (flipped screenshot)
    File:508MerlinsSpellBook.png (original screenshot)
  34. What does tenebris mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: dark”

    What does ad mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: to”

    What does luceat mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: shine”

    What does et mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: and”

    What does tenebras mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: darkness”

    What does effectus mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: effects”

    What does in mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: in”

    What does nobis mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: us”

    What does effecere mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: bring. More meanings for efficere: bring it about”

    What does imperium mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: government. More meanings for imperium: (…) control noun

    What does quod mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: and”

    oppugn. Merriam Webster. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “Oppugn was first recorded in English in the 15th century. It came to Middle English from the Latin verb oppugnare, which in turn derived from the combination of ob-, meaning "against," and pugnare, meaning "to fight."”
  35. What does lux mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on Deember 1, 2019. “English Translation: light”
  36. effectuate. Lexico. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “Origin: Late 16th century from medieval Latin effectuat- 'caused to happen'”
  37. What does tenebris mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: dark”
  38. What does triangulum mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: triangle”
    What does luceat mean in Latin. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: shine”
    What does ac mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: and”
    What does tenebras mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: darkness”
  39. File:508Idea.png
  40. File:110MaryMargaretLeaves.png
  41. File:508ShowingDreamcatcher.png
  42. File:505SadEmmaWithDreamcatcher.png
  43. File:505AboutToUseDreamcatcher.png
  44. FlickrIconTemplate.png Shawn. OUAT Filming - 5x08. Vancouver, BC - Steveston and Central Park (October 1, 2015).  (archive copy)
  45. InstagramIcon.png vfxsup (Craig Clarke). August 29, 2019. Central Park (Burnaby). "#tbt with @jenmorrisonlive" (archive copy)
    File:IGmo co lee-508.png
    File:IGmo co lee-508-2.png
  46. TwitterLogo.svg @Ness202210 (Vanessa) on Twitter (November 19, 2015). "@leafladygreens hard at work on #OUAT 4 a #CaptainSwan scene with @colinodonoghue1 @jenmorrisonlive I want your work" (screenshot)
    InstagramIcon.png vfxsup (Craig Clarke). November 21, 2015. "#OnceUponATime" (archive copy)
  47. InstagramIcon.png vfxsup (Craig Clarke). February 7, 2019. Minaty Bay. "Just playing around with some editing with this pic of Colin as the dark one." (archive copy)
  48. Minaty Bay. Advantage Waste. Retrieved on February 8, 2019. “Minaty Bay is a small community in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District which includes Cheekye, Coquitlam, Nanaimo, Pitt Meadows, Whistler Village, Garibaldi Highlands and Ladner. Sea Island, Lulu Island, Gabriola Island, Roberts Bank Superport, Peace Arch Park and Galiano Park, Browning Lake and Zorro Bay are also around this area.”
  49. File:508SeeThis.png
  50. File:204Gambling.png