With the avalanche of Once Upon A Time news assaulting us this week it’s sometimes hard to focus on the last episode we saw – a damn shame, because the musical episode was, perhaps, the best hour this show has ever aired.
So, though there’s many mixed feelings – rage, anger, confusion, acceptance, perhaps even happiness, that’s a story for another piece. Today, I want to celebrate what we got in this episode. I want to celebrate Emma Swan, the heroine, the savior and no longer the lost girl. I want to celebrate the Charmings. I want to celebrate the love story that is Captain Swan and their happy ending (beginning).
Joining me to discuss this wonderful episode are Fangirlish writers Caryn, Sarah and Charles. If you can, try, for a minute, to remember that happy feeling from Sunday night as join us as we discuss the songs, the wedding and the setup to the final battle in “The Song in Your Heart.”
What were your overall thoughts on this episode? Rate the episode on a scale of 1 to 10.
Lizzie: 10. And yes, I know no episode is perfect, not really. 10, however, remains my grade, because this is subjective, and in my appreciation, this was the best Once Upon A Time has been in years, maybe forever. This is why I fell in love with the show and this is an episode that, long after the show is gone, I’ll still be rewatching.
Caryn: 9. This is the best episode of Once Upon A Time in a while. Yes, perhaps the premise what kind of cheesy, but it added to the story and I loved every little bit of the ride. It has become so rare to enjoy an entire episode. Even the flashbacks gave us more context and the fight between Emma and the Black Fairy was compelling.
Sarah: 9.5. This episode became an instant favorite and is easily one of the top episodes of the series as a whole. The music was so damn catchy and wonderful and I never felt like it was out of place in the entire hour which struck me as quite impressive. Emma and Killian’s wedding was everything I could have asked for and more beautiful than I ever imagined.
Charles: 9. This was one of the best episodes of the series. The music was exceptional, the flashback story was good and I liked the Emma/Black Fairy duel. Also seeing Emma and Hook finally get married was a beautiful thing to witness. Seeing Captain Swan have their happily ever after (Or Happy Beginning) gave me such wonderful feels.
Considering this was a musical episode, I have to ask: What was your favorite song? What was your least favorite? Compare this musical to other musical episodes of TV. Where does it rank?
Lizzie: I can’t pick between them! It’s like asking me to pick my favorite kid! Okay – fine, my favorite song is probably ‘A Happy Beginning,’ but I truly love them all. I trade between them every day – yesterday I woke up humming ‘Powerful Magic’ and I still randomly burst into ‘Wicked Always Wins’ and ‘Revenge is Gonna be Mine’ at random intervals.
As for where this episode ranks among musicals – right at the top with Buffy, probably ABOVE Buffy, as the songs are catchy and deep as well, too, but the balance between happy/hopeful songs and sadder songs is better. Buffy’s episode was great, but hella depressing. This is a celebration.
Caryn: I’m going to be very cheesy and say my favourite song is ‘A Happy Beginning.’ It was such a adorable song, and perfectly epitomised the triumphant moment of the Captain Swan wedding.
Sarah: My favorite song is hands down A Happy Beginning. I don’t say that lightly because I truly love all of the songs, I couldn’t stop listening to it on repeat the second the album was released. Anytime I listen to it I’m going to have a permanent happy smile on my face for the whole day and that’s a wonderful gift. However, I’m going to cheat and say I don’t really have a least favorite all of them are so wonderful in their own way and it became even more magical when I saw them all sung on screen. I haven’t seen many musical episodes on TV outside of Buffy’s and the much more recent Flash/Supergirl musical crossover, but in terms of quality, catchy songs that fit within the theme of the show and for never making it feel like it was out of place this was one of the best musically produced tv episodes I’ve ever seen, bar none.
Charles: My favorite song changes every minute honestly! At the moment, I really love Zelena’s song. But honestly, they are all really great — From Hook’s , to the Charmings to the final song at the end. I sing along to almost all of them and the ones I don’t is because I haven’t listened to them enough yet. Not a single song was bad at all. Now as for ranking it alongside other musical episodes, that’s tough to do at the moment. I will say it is one of the best in TV history. I think it was better than the Flash/Supergirl one earlier this year (And I LOVED the Flash/Supergirl musical so that tells you how I feel about this episode).
How were your feelings as you watched the episode? Use a gif to describe yourself as you watched:
This episode brought Emma full circle – she not only internalized that she’d always been loved, she accepted it, believed it, and let that make her stronger. What do you think about the song in your heart metaphor? Did you enjoy the overall plot of this episode and where it took Emma? Do you think it makes sense for her journey?
Lizzie: I just have so many feels about this still. Look at where Emma started. Look at where she is now. That’s a journey, a real, relatable journey. It felt like payoff, not just for the characters, but for the viewers who’ve invested for so long, and the song in your heart metaphor was the perfect way to do it – it was perfectly Once Upon A Time, a tad cheesy, very fairy-tale and just …hopeful and happy. So yes, I enjoyed the plot of the episode, I enjoyed how they wove it in and I really and truly enjoyed getting to watch this woman grow from that lost girl alone and scared to this happy woman who can look at the Black Fairy in the face and basically be all like: Bring it on, because she knows she’s strong, she knows she’s got her family, she knows she’s got the love of her life, and that Emma, that Emma can win any battle.
Caryn: It was adorable. It does sound like a way that they tried to knit the musical into the show, as well as giving Emma a sense of confidence in herself. I’m glad that Emma got to go on the journey to defeat her demons and grow from them, in the way that the writers allowed to Regina to. Oftentimes the heroes’ characterization is neglected while the villains get their redemption.
Sarah: Out of all the metaphors they might have picked I think the song in your heart was the best of the bunch. This episode was a shining star in that I saw the Emma I’ve known for six years reach the point she’d been growing into and not only say it but literally sing it out loud. Smiling, joyous and knowing that everything she’s gone through have led her to this point of acceptance of all the kinds of love she has in her life: family, friends and her true love now husband. The entire cast singing their hearts through the story or plot was honestly one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. It was impressive that the singing wasn’t out of a place for a single second in the past and present (and I’m the kind of person who gets second hand embarrassment from this kind of thing done badly.) Emma’s journey hasn’t been easy, God knows, but she’s gone through hell (literally) and come out the other side stronger because of everything she’s embraced that she spent most of life afraid to let in. Now she has and every hard turn, what she’s gone through and faced down was worth it to get here and I’m so happy she has.
Charles: I thought the song in your heart metaphor was cute and nice. It was a excellent way to get the music into the episode. I mean, there’s been sillier ways of doing it. Emma going through a kind of crisis of faith here and coming out of it stronger thanks to the love of her family works so well thanks to Jennifer Morrison’s performance here. She knocked it out of the park like she always does. As for making sense in her journey, I believe so. Her second confrontation with the Black Fairy showed us how far she has grown in this journey through the years. Instead of going alone, she relied on the love of her family to help her save the day.
Snow’s wish was for Emma’s happiness. Do you think Emma has found that happiness? Are you happy with her new beginning?
Lizzie: Yes, and yes. This is the end of Emma’s journey, and it’s a happy one. I have no fear that the season finale coming up will ruin that, Emma’s gonna win and she’s going to live happily ever after with the love of her life and get the enjoy that family, see her little brother grow up, see Henry become a man and find his own life, maybe one day have kids of her own. I believe that, in my heart. I really hope this show doesn’t continue in a way that makes it so I have to avoid any and all mentions of it to preserve my happy ending (Emma’s happy ending), but yes. I believe Hook, her family – that’s Emma’s happy ending, the one her mother wished for her.
Caryn: I’m not going to lie, I’m really nervous about Once getting renewed and Jennifer Morrison not returning for the new season, but I am putting all my hope and faith into the belief that the writers will give Emma her happy ending, and that ending means her being with Hook and her family, not something dumb like her dying to save the town or something.
Sarah: Definitely yes. Emma has most certainly found the happiness she believed was just out of her reach, but is now and forever more in her hands. Emma, as she said, spent so much of her life on her own and nearly all of it was with her walls way up high guarding that heart of hers. When Henry found her he started her on the path that she’s walked on (and sometimes climbed up) to having herself surrounded by people who love her and found strong friendships. Snow, Charming, Henry, Regina and her true love Killian Jones. Whatever happens in the finale, for right now yes I am so happy with her new beginning and I’m certain she’ll make the most of it for the rest of her life.
Charles: Yes I believe Emma has found the happiness that she has wanted for so long. She is surrounded now by people who love and care for her. She has found true love in Hook and family in the Charmings, Henry and Regina. This is exactly what Emma Swan deserves for all the sacrifices she has made as the savior.
How did the wedding make you feel? Use gifs.
Emma and Killian have come so far – and they’re finally here, together, husband and wife. Did you enjoy their journey? Did you know, from their first meeting, that they would end up here or did they catch you by surprise? Are they one of those OTPs that will stand the test of time?
Lizzie: I’ve enjoyed their journey immensely – I think it’s one of the best journeys for a couple on TV, not this year of this past few years, but ever. They’re one of the timeless OTPs, the ones we’ll still be talking about and reminiscing about in twenty years. It hasn’t been perfect, both of them have made mistakes and yet they’ve grown and they’ve learned and they’ve faced obstacles – together. I love that they love and accept each other as they are, and yet, they both expect the best from the other person, and in a way, inspire the other person to be better. I love that they will go to the ends of the world – or time, for each other. I love that, when I first saw them together, I saw the chemistry and the show gave me not just that, but a good story. And if this is the end of them …I will still love them tomorrow, and the day after, and for many years more.
Caryn: I shipped it from the beginning even when they were just a crackship but it felt as if the relationship would never come to fruition. I hoped but I have been burned by so many ships that I didn’t put all my eggs into that basket. And then Hook got featured more and more, and then the Neverland storyline happened and I was ‘hooked’. I wouldn’t give up their journey for anything, although I would insert some more sex scenes, and I’m glad that it allowed us to reach this point. Captain Swan will forever be one of my favorite OTP’s.
Sarah: Emma Swan & Killian Jones journey from that first meeting where she pulled him out of a pile of dead bodies (oh OUAT) to their wedding has given me the privilege of witnessing a story I will never forget. Truth be told I shipped them the moment they climbed that beanstalk, I mean really how could you resist after the rum hand tying scene? Rhetorical question aside their chemistry caught me right then and then I’ve enjoyed their journey ever since. They didn’t surprise me in that I found it easy to ship them, but rather by the twists and turns of their journey to get here. They never downplayed the struggles and obstacles they faced both individually and as a couple and no matter how annoyed I might have gotten at some story decisions the fact is this a rare one of a kind OTP to me. Their love led them across realms, curses and everything villains threw at them and they still made it here. As Once Upon a Time always said True Love is the rarest magic of all, and Captain Swan exemplifies that in every aspect. Bravo you two lovebirds, I’m glad you found your happy beginning.
Charles: It was a long time but finally seeing Captain Swan tie the knot was well worth the wait. Their journey has been one with a few bumps on the road (the underworld or Charming’s dad arc anyone?) but it has been one of the most enjoyable ones in recent memory. They did catch me at surprise at first but after the episode where Hook traded in the Jolly Roger for Emma basically sealed my love for them entirely. Their love is strong and timeless. I hope other shows look at this couple and understand that you can do it this way. It may not be perfect all the time but it’s certainly one of the best.
What do you think is coming next? Where is the curse taking them? Give me your speculations for the season finale.
Lizzie: I think the Black Fairy is going to try to take Emma back to the lost little girl she was – make her believe all her happiness, her family, her true love, are all a figment of her imagination. But the Black Fairy underestimates Emma, and she underestimates the people that love Emma – not just Henry, but her parents and Killian, people who’ve crossed realms before for her and will do so again. That’s the thing about Once Upon A Time, it has a few brilliant love stories, but it’s always been, mostly, a story about family. A story about coming together, a story about pushing forward, together, and that’s why I’m sure there’s a happy ending in store for the heroes in the finale.
Important distinction – for the heroes. Villains might get happy endings – but they aren’t handed those happy endings. They have to work for them. And that’s why I don’t think Rumple is getting one.
Caryn: It seems like it will be Henry and Emma (the two real world peeps) against the Black Fairy. My greatest hope is that it will transport all our favourite characters back to the Enchanted Forest and they can live out their happy endings there, while the new characters live in Storybrooke. I hope that the character that dies to save all the rest will Rumple. GIVE ME THIS PLEASE!
Sarah: Judging from the short promo it looks like Emma is separated from her family, sans Henry and he’s in the fight to help her win the Final Battle. I’m not entirely sure where everyone else is but given the glimpse of Fairytale clothes I’m going to assume far away from Storybrooke and especially Emma. Aside from the obvious of Emma winning the final battle (because come on no way she loses) I’m thinking we’ll see some stories finally come to a close with their own happy endings (beginnings) for some characters and for others….namely Rumple their stories might come to a point of no return. In details though I won’t being to guess but all I ask for the season finale is whatever happy endings there are please do them justice.
Charles: Well peeking at the preview, it looks like Henry will have to help Emma fight off the Black Fairy’s curse to save the day. I’m not sure what the entire effect of the curse will be but I know it won’t be good for our heroes. I suspect we will see some characters possibly die and some get their happy endings. Other than that, I really don’t know and I’m glad I don’t for a change. Ready to be shocked by whatever may happen!
Agree? Disagree? Want to participate in one of these round-tables in the future? Share with us in the comments below!
Once Upon a Time airs on Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.