#OnceUponATime Panel: “Siege Perilous”

Hello again Oncers! It’s Wednesday, so it’s time for our Once Upon a Time post-episode panel, and what a doozy it is. Joining me this week are Ashley (@cptnswan_ouat ), Sarah (@sararose244 ) and Jenna (@csismyendgame), as we take on Captain Swan (my heart, my heart!), Rumple, shady Camelot and where exactly the show is going.

So, without further ado, here’s this week’s panel…

What is Arthur endgame? Is he completely evil or is he just protecting Camelot?

Ashley: Arthur's endgame. I've been really wondering this, especially after everything that went on in the last episode. Based on what we've seen so far, I think in his mind whatever his endgame is, is simply to protect his people and the rest of Camelot. However; that doesn't mean he won't do whatever it takes to do so. As we saw in the episode, he was able to convince Grif to kill himself in the cell. So I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up having some sort of part in how everyone got sent back to Storybrooke and Emma went fully dark. I'm interested to see how it all plays out, especially in the episode next week.

Sarah: Arthur’s endgame is of a complexity that I’m completely looking forward to seeing unfold. I know that he fully believes in his mission, to protect and establish Camelot as the legendary realm we know it to be, however given his methods it’s clear it’s not based in the values we have seen in Charming the past four years. He has always operated under a sense of true honor and valor that he exhibits in everything he does. He’s a man of action. Arthur puts on that face, but considering his actions in Camelot and now in Storybrooke it’s clear his willingness to lie and ask one of his men to literally die for him means he cannot be trusted right now, and no matter how strong his convictions and belief to protect his realm the ends do not justify the means. I don’t think he is fully evil, but I don’t believe he understands what it really means to protect the people in your kingdom and be a true leader or hero either. Either way I’m curious to see what else happens with his “mission” and whether he can learn from our own Prince Charming.

Jenna: Arthur is showing his true color, that’s for sure. I truly believe his endgame is to put Excalibur back together. How he plans on going about this task I'm sure we will find out in the next episode. And I wonder how his need of putting Excalibur back together compares to the Dark One's need. We know she wants it together to "snuff out the light," but other than feeling like the rightful owner of sword he was meant to have, I wonder if there is another reason he wants Excalibur whole.

Honestly, I don't think he is truly evil. We have seen evil over the course of this show, and what he is doing pales in comparison to the likes of Zelena, Cora, and even Regina. But is he being shady? Absolutely. In his mind, he wants to do what is best for Camelot, which is the mindset of every king. Will my assumptions turn out to be false? Only time will tell.

What’s your theory on Lancelot? What happened to him and how is he alive?

Ashley: The main theory I have is that Cora was lying when she said she killed him, clearly. She must have known Snow would trust him and just simply took on his form, and then said she killed him to try and get a rise out of Snow (I need to go back and rewatch those episodes in season 2 now as I can't actually 100% remember what happened). I think that it's entirely possible Arthur could have banished him from Camelot (or at least from the castle) because of what happened with Guinevere, and that's why he was lurking in the shadows (and why Arthur had no idea he 'died'). But, honestly, with this storyline I'm still entirely confused so I can't wait to find out what all happened.

Sarah: Lancelot, while I am thrilled he is alive, I have no idea how he managed to survive all these years undetected. I assume that he must have had a run in with Cora at some point (as she was the one claiming she killed him in season 2) however he must have escaped by some means (magical I would imagine) and has been hiding out ever since. Clearly he was cursed with everyone else given he’s the same age as the Charmings still but why he decided to come back to Camelot now is a real mystery.

Jenna: Well that just threw us all for a loop, didn't it? Obviously what happened between Arthur, Guiniviere and Lancelot happened quite a long time ago, and Cora-as-Lancelot happened while Lancelot was supposedly dead. But what if he just went into hiding? And Cora just used his likeness to manipulate the people left over from the original curse as well as Mary Margaret? We all know that Cora likes to manipulate.

Also did Lancelot know about the original prophecy that Merlin made? If what Arthur said is true, and that they had been waiting for them for a decade, Lancelot must have still been a knight. He might have just been biding his time, hiding out in Camelot, for the opportune moment to approach Mary Margaret. Again, I'm sure next episode will reveal more.

For a moment there, it seemed like Hook had gotten to Emma. Was she faking or do you think the real Emma is in there somewhere?

Ashley:  I think it's a mix of both. The hurt in her eyes at the end of the scene; that was real. THAT was Emma. Because we know the real Emma is in there, it's just a matter of getting to her. The entire point of her going to his ship was that she needed the cutlass, yes. So setting up the date, reminding him of the scene in the AU; that was fake. But even though she's the Dark One, she still loves Killian. And I really think she DOES still want to be with him. So while the purpose of going to him was to get the cutlass, she still wanted to see if he would still be with her even though she's dark. She wanted to spend time with him and really does want him to trust her (and honestly I think Killian really wanted to trust her too, which is why he looked so pained in that scene after he said "I loved you"). And I don't think Emma was expecting his answer, so it caught her off guard and that's why we saw that small glimpse of Emma still in there.

Sarah: I do believe Emma, the real one we know and love is still in there buried under the Darkness but given her current state we only see glimpses of her now. The Darkness has Emma convinced that who she used to be, guarded scared and with walls, was a weakness holding her back instead of simply being a part of who she was. Given her attempts to convince Hook of this and that she is now “better” speaks on a whole of how this evil magic has corrupted her mind. Hook knows the real Emma is still in there, the one he truly loves and is fighting for and when he told her “I loved you” that look of heartbreak, that hollow smile? That was Emma, and while it broke my heart as well as hers it meant Hook got through to her to tell her in that moment that as long as she continues to selfishly choose power she cannot have his selfless love at the same time.

Jenna: This is where the Captain Swan shipper in me will come out. Honestly, I believe, in that moment, a tiny sliver of the real Emma came out. We all know that Jennifer Morrison had stated plainly that Dark Swan's weaknesses are Henry and Killian, and his answer to her question would definitely have forced the real Emma to come to the surface. And as we saw later on in the episode, when Dark Swan was waking Rumple up, her DO consciousness was referring to her crushing his heart with her "impractical boot heel," she whispered over to him, "Quiet." I think he got to her in that moment; she didn't want to be reminded that Killian had made her emotional, and therefore weak. So yes, I do believe there is a little bit of the real Emma left, but Dark Swan is adamant about ridding herself of that light.

Did the confrontation with Zelena make you like Regina less? What do you think of this whole storyline?

Ashley:  As someone that's not the biggest fan of Regina as is, I wouldn't say it made me dislike her less but rather showed really WHY her character bothers me. She told Zelena that all she does is play the victim, but Regina has done exactly that since the show started. She even did it in the last episode, when she went and saw Rumple. She said it was his fault she did all those evil things, rather than owning up to what she did. I know Zelena is all over the place and crazy but... she doesn't have much room to talk, I guess is the best way to put it.

I also thought threatening to take away her child was a little over the top. Is Zelena crazy? Oh yes. But that doesn't mean she's not going to be a good mother. Even she said that this child could be the only one that will love her; and I think that's entirely possible. So unless she shows to be an unfit mother, there is no reason to take away her child. The entire scene was just... weird and ridiculous. I didn't like it at all, honestly.

Sarah: It didn’t make me like her less, but I do think Regina shouldn’t spend very much time with her sister either. Being around Zelena brings out her worst self, as hard as she’s worked to put her Evil Queen past behind her she has no problem completely using it as a scare tactic over her anger and frustration at the situation Zelena has put her and Robin in. If she keeps going this route, I’m going to really question how much she’s letting anger rule her the way she did so many years ago, but I’m hopeful that it won’t be this bad all the time.

Jenna: It is no secret that I am not a fan of Regina Mills. But this scene made absolutely no sense if we are supposed to believe that she is trying to be "the Savior" and/or believe she has been redeemed. Yes, Zelena has done some reprehensible deeds--the evidence of one said deed is now growing inside of her. But her sister is just as bad (anyone remember Graham?). The line "You can't keep painting yourself as a victim. It's absurd" just stuck in my craw, because that is exactly what Regina did all last season. Also, why is she still referring to herself as the Evil Queen? If you want us to believe you are trying to be good, stop trying to use your old self to threaten others. (At least Killian isn't going around, threatening people with his hook). This scene actually made me feel sorry for Zelena, which I never thought was possible.

This whole story is just...meh. While I'm glad they were able to bring Bex back, it shouldn't have been with a "a took advantage of your True Love and now I'm carrying his child to spite you" story.

Robin/Hook. What do you think of that possible friendship?

Ashley: I really like it! I think Killian needs more guy friends (especially if Charming is going to be off bro-ing out with Arthur this season), and it's really great to see him interacting with other characters. It's especially funny to watch them together, as neither of them are from our world so they're both confused about modern day things (re: the sonogram). I'm really excited to see him becoming friends this season and see how that unfolds!

Sarah: Captain Hood is a friendship I have been waiting for since last season. I am thrilled that these two are getting screen time together. Their entire Granny’s scene had me rolling with laughter, but I really loved how these two were talking about how complicated their respective love lives were as if they were old friends. Hook’s request for his help, knowing his past as a thief, as much as Robin claims its behind him isn’t just a “alright I need someone to help me” he asks him because he knows he’s a good, smart and skilled man who’s working as hard as he is to keep things together in the midst of “complex situations.” I really think this has a very good chance at becoming an awesome bromance (no offense to Captain Charming you two still rock!)

Jenna: I am all for Captain Hood! Considering Colin and Sean are practically brothers in real life, I am so excited to finally have them having some quality screen time together. Plus, they will be able to discuss their complicated love lives some more over a few pints. But seriously, I'm really excited for the adventures these two will have. Give me all the Captain Hood.

Does Rumple have it in him to become a hero, like Emma wants?

Ashley: It's possible for anyone to become a hero, if they want it enough, but with this whole situation I think it's going to backfire completely on her. I don't think he's going to become the hero that Emma wants, but anything is possible on this show. Many things on this season have left me just wondering and waiting to see what comes next, and the Rumple situation is really at the top of the list.

Sarah: Rumplestiltskin has been a coward his whole life, by his own admittance. He does now have the choice to become either light or stay dark as he’s been for hundreds of years, but I don’t think he would ever become any kind of a hero unless he makes the choice himself. He certainly can’t be “made” into a hero that the Dark Swan wants, as that plan in of itself shows the Darkness’s completely lack of understanding of how heroism really works, and when that plan inevitably fails it’ll be interesting to see what kind of choices Rumple does make, especially after everything that happened with him and Belle last season.

Jenna: I'm honestly not sure. Just because his heart is neither light nor dark doesn't mean it will change his instincts. But will that instinct lead to that of a coward as he was before? Or will he still be drawn to the darkness even though he is no longer tethered to it? Perhaps he will be hero Dark Swan needs him to be, if he chooses to go along with her plan. As a former Dark One, he knows "the Dark One lies; the Dark One tricks." If he is willing to try his hand at being a hero, it will be at the expense of the Dark One, and I'm not sure how this new Rumple is going to react to that.

Agree? Disagree? Have your own answers to these questions? Sound off in the comments below!

Once Upon a Time airs on Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.

Lawyer. Dreamer. Geek. Eternal optimist. Fangirl since the dawn of time. Hates the color yellow, olives and cigarettes. Has a recurring nightmare where she’s forced to choose between sports and books. Falls in love with fictional characters.