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I refused to believe a bow was just something my mother tied to my curly locks.

Merida to Belle

"The Bear and the Bow" is the sixth episode of Season Five of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Andrew Chambliss & Tze Chun, and directed by Ralph Hemecker. It is the ninety-fourth episode of the series overall, and premiered on November 1, 2015.


In a Camelot flashback, a chance encounter with Merlin, David, Hook and Belle gives Merida new hope in her quest to save her brothers from the usurping clans of DunBroch. Unwilling to leave anything up to fate, Merida brings Belle along on a dangerous journey that culminates with an invaluable lesson in bravery. In Storybrooke, Regina, Mary Margaret and David discover the spell that would allow one of Merlin’s chosen to communicate with him, but when Arthur fails to reach the missing sorcerer the heroes grow suspicious. Meanwhile, Emma commands Merida to kill Belle in hopes of forcing Mr. Gold’s heroic transformation. With Merida unable to disobey Emma’s orders, Gold must find the courage to fight for Belle’s life or risk losing her forever.[2]




Guest Starring



*: Only in archive footage



  • The title card features a shooting arrow.[3]
  • The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on September 2, 2015.[4]
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: The title of this episode was the original title of Brave.[5]

Production Notes

  • HIDDEN DETAILS: Ramalina siliquosa, better known as "sea ivory" is a tufted and branched lichen which is widely found on siliceous rocks and stone walls on coastlands round the British Isles, where Camelot is based in the legend.
  • CUT CONTENT: A segment with Merida outside the pawnshop as she shoots the arrow through the door before she proceeds to enter the building, was deleted from the scene where she first attacks Belle and Mr. Gold.[7]
  • ABANDONED IDEAS: A scene with Belle, Henry and Merlin was either not filmed or deleted in post-production. The scene involved the two men talking about the jukebox at Granny's Diner and Merlin wandering about the fuss around Pet Sounds. Belle eventually walks in and asks if anybody was worried about her whereabouts. Merlin reveals he knew Merida would need her help and assured everyone Belle was fine.[8]
  • ABANDONED IDEAS: A piece of concept art by Neil Westlake reveals an unused page of instructions on how to communicate through magical barriers:[9]

The True Spell of
Crimson Crown

There is a Forme of
true Divination, for
speaking through
barriers, of both
material and that of
the spirit worlde.

For the workings, the adept will need the
Crimson Crowne toadstool which is then
renderede down into complete morsels.

The Nine Woods in the Cauldron go, burn them
fast and burn them slow. When is ebullient and
steaming, add some comfrey horsetail yarrow
and the umbilicus of a mooncalf. Mix well in a
deosil fashion.

Into theis [sic] melange the mushroom should be
thrown and soon thereafter a portal cloud will
start to forme. It is in [unknown word] of the cloud that
the adept will speke [sic] and communicate with
those as according to her will.

  • "Nine Woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow" is taken directly from the Wiccan Rede,[10] an official statement that provides the key moral system of Wicca.

Event Chronology

Episode Connections

  • This is not the first time Merlin predicts something. He prophesied that Arthur would pull Excalibur out of the stone and be king in "The Broken Kingdom".
  • Mary Margaret and David came under the effects of Sands of Avalon in "The Broken Kingdom", were still under Arthur's control in "Dreamcatcher" and were fixed by Merlin in the same episode.
  • Merida recalls the events of what Emma did to her in "The Dark Swan".
  • Merida says Arthur took her wisp, a magical being that was first seen in "The Dark Swan".
  • Merida has been looking for her brothers since "The Dark Swan".
  • Regina recalls Emma's and her speech about freeing Merlin back in Camelot which takes place in "Dreamcatcher".
  • David and Arthur acquired the crimson crown back in Camelot, and then David found it in Storybrooke. Both events took place in "Siege Perilous".
  • Emma ripped Violet Morgan's heart from her chest in "Dreamcatcher".
  • Merida used the chipped cup to make Mr. Gold brave in "Dreamcatcher".
  • This is the second time the chipped cup has been shattered. The first time was in "In the Name of the Brother", where Belle smashed it by hurling it against a wall.
  • The chipped cup has been repaired by the time of "Beauty". Ironically, it is smashed to pieces once again in the same episode.
  • Mr. Gold uses the shards of a broken tea cup to cut himself loose, just like Emma did when she was Jefferson's prisoner in "Hat Trick".
  • Merida was forced by Emma to help her with her "dirty" work in "The Broken Kingdom".
  • Merida recalls the clans not wanting a woman to be queen, which was first mentioned in "The Dark Swan".
  • Merida mentioned her father's death in "The Dark Swan".
  • Mr. Gold fell into a coma in "Operation Mongoose Part 2" and Emma woke him up in "Siege Perilous".
  • A pregnant Zelena is reading What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff in her cell.[11] Belle is reading the same book while pregnant in "The Other Shoe".[12]
  • Emma tells Zelena that she knows what it's like to be pregnant behind bars; referring to events in "Tallahassee".
  • What Emma really wants from Zelena, and the real reason why she gives her onion rings, is revealed in "Birth".
  • Zelena wielded the Apprentice's wand in "The Dark Swan".
  • Zelena says that she's been on the receiving end of a mother's betrayal; referring to how Cora gave her up in "Bleeding Through".
  • Zelena indirectly killed Neal in "Quiet Minds".
  • Mr. Gold escapes by going through the mines, before using the elevator to get inside the library. The tunnels beneath the library are connected to the mines, something that was previously established in "Fall".
  • Mr. Gold talks about how he broke his foot and fled the Ogre Wars, an event shown in "Manhattan". Belle recalls Mr. Gold telling her that he did this so that his son wouldn't grow up fatherless; the same excuse that Rumplestiltskin told his first wife, Milah. In this episode, however, Mr. Gold admits that he ran away from the war because he was frightened of dying.
  • Belle complains about her father being not supportive of her adventures, which was seen in "Family Business".
  • Mr. Gold gave up his old cane stick in "The New Neverland".
  • Belle mentions how she lost her mother in the Ogre Wars in "Family Business".
  • The story surrounding King Fergus's death, and the identity of his killer, is revealed in "The Bear King".
  • This is the second time that Belle and Mr. Gold argue at the town line about his cowardice. The first one happened in "Heroes and Villains".
  • Merida says, "You're lucky someone once taught me the value of mercy", which she learned from Emma in "The Dark Swan".
  • Emma remembers when the Usher told her to leave the sword alone, which happened in "The Dark Swan".
  • Emma mentions a time when Belle was Rumplestiltskin's maid, which was shown in "Skin Deep", "Lacey", "Going Home" and "Heroes and Villains".
  • Emma tells Belle, "Then you will be sweeping his remains", if Mr. Gold can't pull the sword out of the stone. The first time someone died after attempting and failing to pull out the sword was in "The Dark Swan".
  • Henry was chosen to be the Author by the Apprentice and the Sorcerer in "Operation Mongoose Part 2".
  • Merlin's message was recorded in "Broken Heart".
  • How Nimue (inadvertently and indirectly) "helps" defeat the Dark One is revealed in "Swan Song".




Fairytales and Folklore

Popular Culture

Props Notes

To remove obstacles that
may prevent one from moving forward.
This spell will prove eficacious [sic]
on either the astral plane or the corporeal
Close your eyes slowly
and venture inwardly to your habitual
visualization circle.
Therein place a stoat yellow candle on the altar
in your mind and slowly chant, wordlessly, in
your working space.
Impediment to my passage, dissolve against the
bulwark of my will and be gone!
In the name of the venerable old ones, by those
doughty guardians of the cardinal points,
I say, crumble and evanesce
into inconsequentiality!

Thereforth, hold out your hand afore you
and brash the obstacle into nothingness.
You are now free to proceed
along your path unhindered.

Costume Notes

  • USE IT AGAIN: Belle,[37] Regina,[38] David[39] and Mary Margaret[40] all wear the same outfits in "Birth".

Filming Locations

International Titles



  1. Sunday final ratings: ‘CSI: Cyber’ adjusts down, NFL and World Series rule. TV by the Numbers (November 4, 2015). “Once Upon a Time (ABC) (...) 4.83”
  2. 2.0 2.1 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, November 01, 2015. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#506) "The Bear and the Bow".”
  3. File:506Title.png
  4. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (September 2, 2015). "Here's another #OnceUponATime #titlespoiler -- hope to see ya for season 5 on 9/27!" (screenshot)
  5. Lee, Carl (May 27, 2009). Pixar's 'Brave' is Actually 'The Bear and the Bow'. Screen Rant. “So what exactly is Brave you ask? Apparently, it's Pixar's 2011 winter feature The Bear and the Bow.'Brave', it turns out, is Pixar's internal name for The Bear and the Bow.”
  6. TwitterLogo.svg @AmyMansonLondon (Amy Manson) on Twitter (November 2, 2015). "Thanks #ouncers for your ❤️for tonight's ep! Filmed rowing scenes on my bday, so the ep means a lot to me" (screenshot)
  7. Gittins, Susan (August 21, 2015). SHOOT: ONCE UPON A TIME’s Princess Merida (Amy Manson) Shoots Arrow At Mr. Gold's in Steveston. Hollywood North Buzz. “Princess Merida from Brave — with a spirit as fiery as her hair — is in Storybrooke and shooting an arrow at Mr. Gold's. Once Upon a Time filmed Amy Manson in costume as Princess Merida with her bow and arrows at suppertime today in Steveston. / Entering Mr. Gold's. And then returning to her mark to do another take.”
  8. 8.0 8.1 ONCE UPON A TIME ABC TV Belle Emilie de Ravin's Call Sheet with her marks Prop. eBay (March 2020). Archived from the original on March 10, 2020. (Call sheet front page) (Script page 1) (Script page 2)
  9. File:ManuscriptsVariousEpisodesConceptArt.png
  10. The Wiccan Rede (Full Version). The Celtic Connection. Retrieved on July 12, 2018.
  11. 11.0 11.1 File:506WasThatAKick.png
  12. File:603BelleReading.png
  13. File:506TakesSword.png
  14. File:506CandyBars.png
  15. ONCE UPON A TIME TV Series Spell Prop S02E06 (4868). eBay (June 2019). Archived from the original on June 26, 2019. File:506Prop27.jpg
  16. File:506SurprisedWomen.png
  17. File:503ClosingBook.png
  18. File:506Promo17.jpg
  19. File:617Promo4.jpg
  20. ONCE UPON A TIME David / Lord McGuffin Shared Stunt Sword Prop S06E17. eBay (March 8, 2020). Archived from the original on March 10, 2020.
  21. File:509ThatMuchGold.png
  22. File:506ThisOne.png
  23. File:317BeforeWeMet.png
  24. Once Upon a Time - Scottish Warrior's /Smee's Stunt Prop Axe (0487). iCollector. Archived from the original on June 5, 2020. Retrieved on June 5, 2020.
  25. File:506TheSituation.png
  26. BELLE'S RED JACKET AND LACE DRESS ON ONCE UPON A TIME. WornOnTV. Retrieved on January 31, 2019.
  27. File:506LiveOutThisDay.png
  28. File:506CementTheRule.png
  29. Tartan Details - MacLeod of Lewis (Vestiarium Scoticum). The Scottish Register of Tartans. Retrieved on January 31, 2019.
  30. File:506TheseSpellBooks.png
  31. Alexander Wang Fitted Tank Zip Dress. Shopbop. Retrieved on January 31, 2019.
  32. Screenshot from Arrow: "Dark Waters"
  33. File:506DoThisAlone.png
  34. DAVID'S GREY DENIM JACKET ON ONCE UPON A TIME. WornOnTV. Retrieved on January 31, 2019.
  35. File:506DidItWork.png
  36. Sanna Blouse. Anthropologie. Retrieved on Janaury 31, 2019.
  37. File:508SpellToDestroy.png
  38. File:508LookWhosGlowing.png
  39. File:508Slam.png
  40. File:508HelpingZelena.png
  41. TwitterLogo.svg @sassyfangirl55 (Megan) on Twitter (September 5, 2015). "Elliot, Amy, Colin, Emilie, Josh and Sinqua in between takes last night at Robert Burnaby Park!" (screenshot)
  42. TwitterLogo.svg @sassyfangirl55 (Megan) on Twitter (September 5, 2015). "A few pictures of the #OUAT sets today!" (screenshot)
    TwitterLogo.svg @sassyfangirl55 (Megan) on Twitter (September 5, 2015). "nope, Robert Burnaby Park" (screenshot)
  43. The Finnish translation of "The Bear and the Bow" is a pun: it is an idiom based on the Finnish word "karhu", which means "bear". It is impossible to give an exact translation in English.