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He wants to make a trade in the heart of the Caledonian Forest in one hour... Their lives for the dagger and the flame.
Merlin to Emma src

The Caledonian Forest is a Camelot location on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It appears in the eighth episode of the fifth season.

The Caledonian Forest is based on the location of the same name from the Arthurian Legend.


Before Third Curse

Zelena binds Merlin to Excalibur by using a tethering spell from one of Merlin's own books, forcing Merlin to do King Arthur's bidding. Merlin tries to talk sense into Arthur, but Arthur refuses to listen. Smugly, he orders Merlin him to render Emma's loved ones powerless and send them away. David, Mary Margaret, Hook, Regina and Robin Hood are all teleported to the Caledonian Forest and find themselves chained to the trees. ("Nimue", "Birth")

Merlin brings the Dark One, Emma, a message: If she doesn't give up the Dark One Dagger and the Prometheus' ember, Arthur will make him kill her family and friends. Arthur will make the trade in the Caledonian Forest in one hour. Merlin believes that this is a battle Emma cannot win and advises her to give up without a fight. Emma however, refuses to back down so easily. Realizing she will have to use dark magic to win, she hides dark coils of her magic inside the box containing the ember and goes to face Arthur and Zelena in the Caledonian Forest. She offers them the box the dagger, but only if they free Emma's family first. Arthur refuses and says he will unleash Merlin on them if she won't do as he says. When Emma relents and hands over the box, Arthur asks Zelena to check if it's real. Zelena opens the box, only for coils of Emma's dark magic to wrap her to a tree. Merlin urges Emma to give Arthur the flame but Emma still refuses. Merlin, on Arthur's orders, is forced into a magic duel with her, but Merlin is too strong for her. After she is beaten, Emma struggles to regain her strength, as Merlin is made to begin strangling Mary Margaret. Emma encourages him to fight against Arthur's command because if he can't win against the darkness, no one can. Merlin manages to loosen his grip on Mary Margaret, while Hook pulls off a chain around his hook hand and then rushes at Arthur, who nicks him on the neck with Excalibur. Hook punches Arthur, making him drop the sword, to which Arthur rushes to free Zelena, who teleports him with her to the castle. Emma heals the scratch on Hook's neck and they embrace, happy that they have won. Everyone retreats to the diner, taking Excalibur with them. ("Birth")


Production Notes

  • 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.[1]



  1. David H. Goodman on the Season Five Blu-ray/DVD commentary for "Birth"

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