Here we go again! Season 6 of Once Upon A Time got under way last Sunday, and it feels like there’s a lot to discuss, a lot to fret over, and even a lot to be hopeful about. Which is really per the norm for this show, isn’t it?
Joining me this season will be Fangirlish writers Sarah, Caryn and a different guest each week. This week our guest is the lovely Mimi!
So, let’s dig in:
What were your overall thoughts on this episode? Did you like it? Did you hate it? Rate it on a scale of 1 to 10.
Lizzie: I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I don’t think it was as strong as previous season premieres, but it did it’s job of setting up the threads of what the season will be. The Regina/Snow parts I felt were particularly strong, and Captain Swan really can’t seem to catch a break, but even that is somewhat predictable. They’re the main couple in the show, and considering Snowing has no drama whatsoever and Belle seems to be done with Rumple (Hallelujah!), it makes sense for them to give them a measure of drama. (Though, if they are going to do that, they might as well let them have some sex, dang it. Endorphins and all. We talked about this). I’d give this a 7.
Sarah: This episode in terms of a premiere didn’t quite meet the bar, but in terms of an OUAT episode I really liked it. Even if Emma’s secret keeping might drive me up the wall for a while. Overall I liked that they slowed down the plot more than usual, and focused on the character’s stories. I never expected so much Robin talk, and just follow up from the fallout of the last few seasons. I’m excited to see what the Land of Untold Stories brings us, but it took me a while to appreciate that, when I’m not convinced Emma and Killian have gotten a solid chance to have well ANY kind of fun. Belle for the first time in a long time I was really proud of, and I hope she continues to stand up for her and her son against Rumplestiltskin. I’m going to give it a solid 7, there were weak spots but I’m hoping they’ll improve especially if we get to dive into Savior mythology with Aladdin and Jasmine!
Caryn: Oh, I’m sorry did anything happen after the Captain Swan cockblocking? I must have missed it in my blind rage. Just kidding! While I don’t think this is their strongest season premiere I did appreciate how they bridged together some loose ends from last season – such as Belle being asleep, Robin’s death and the people from the land of untold stories but had enough of new material to keep me interested. I will give it a rating of 7, purely because I’m proud of Belle for walking away from Rumple, and I’m intrigued to find out more about this savior business.
Mimi: I found the episode a bit underwhelming in comparison to previous premieres of OUAT. With that said, I thought the episode did raise a lot of questions, and opened up more doors for new stories to unfold. On a scale from 1 to 10, I give this episode a solid 7. It did have a great balance of characters and really showed diversity in the story-line, but what I found lacking was that “WOW” factor for a premiere episode to really set up and excite the audience for an entire season. But, hey OUAT is all about redemption, so I’m willing to tune in next week to see the direction the series is going.
Let’s talk Emma. She’s had a hard life, but sometimes it seems like she’s not progressing at the rate we would expect. How do you feel about where her Season 6 story-line is going?
Lizzie: I think we, the viewers, expect a lot of Emma, and well …she’s the main character. That’s the way it goes. But I also think Emma’s default setting is processing on her own, not sharing. That doesn’t just change because she now has people she can trust. That’s instinct. Add to that the fact that she feels like she’s responsible for other people’s happy endings, and it’s easy to see why she wouldn’t share her issues. Now, I don’t think it’ll last long – or I hope it won’t, because that’s not moving forward. Moving forward for Emma, as a character, would be to get to a point where she realizes that even if she’s the “savior,” that doesn’t mean she gets to sacrifice herself in the altar of everyone’s happy endings – especially because her presence is integral to other people’s happy endings.
Sarah: Despite everything Emma has been through, I think the audience sometimes forgets that while for us the show has taken over 5 years, for her it’s only been maybe 2 to 3 at most. She spent the first 28 years alone depending on only herself, and while she’s let her walls down and let in her family, Henry and Hook, old habits are hard to break. I think this season will definitely be the one that forces her to look at herself and make the choice to break those habits and really believe that no matter what she’s confronted with she *never* has to deal with it alone. She believes she’s hit a brick wall and I’m excited to see her looking inside herself instead of a magical solution that I know she’ll overcome with everyone who loves and cares about her.
Caryn: I feel like during season 6 Emma will be dealing with what has been predetermined for her as the savior – which is similar to her doing what was predetermined for her as the Dark One, so it feels more like they revisiting the same tropes. I really hope it won’t be Emma pushing everyone aside as she tries to deal with everything on her own yet again. Hopefully they will give us Emma dealing with her struggles as the savior in a more progressive way.
Mimi: I actually am interested to see what they make of the Savior mythology story-line, and what this really entails for Emma and her future. It all depends on how they play it out. Even though they seem to be kind of “resetting” Emma and her walls in this last episode, it does look like they are trying to delve into her issue of not seeking out help from others. She has a great family and community to back her up, that I believe Emma’s final step to truly diminishing those walls of hers is realizing her happiness does not need to always be sacrificed at the expense of others. That she too can and does deserve a happy ending, and needs to fight for hers just as much as anyone else would.
There’s a moment in the episode where Emma asks Hook to leave her alone, and after some reluctance, he complies. What was your interpretation of his reasoning? Should he have pushed her more?
Lizzie: I found it totally in character and a great example of why these two work so well. Hook knows Emma’s lying. She knows he knows. And yet when she pushes, he retreats, not because that’s what he wants to or because he thinks it’s for the best, no. He retreats because he respects her choice too much to push her into doing/saying something she’s not ready for. He knows walls, and he especially knows Emma’s way of dealing with things, and he’s willing to take a step forward and just wait her out, knowing – hoping, that when she’s ready to share, she’ll come to him.
Sarah: As much as I would have personally wished he kept asking, it was really in character for him that he respected Emma’s wishes to be alone. He knows her well enough that if she doesn’t want to talk about something she won’t and in time she did come back around. However, he was in the right to question her, and Emma knows it and doesn’t really like pushing him away (given by the look on her face after he walked off) but that’s the issue. She’s so focused on doing things herself she’ll put her walls up and lie to her True Love about something that’s really affecting her.
Caryn: I weirdly enjoyed this scene. In so much that Emma clearly wanted to be alone and Hook respected her wishes instead of pushing her into a situation that she didn’t want to be in. I like that he respects her boundaries and allows her to come to him in her own time.
Mimi: Honestly, this scene was slightly awkward and really out of character for both of them. Emma has always confided in Hook when it comes to her walls, and Hook has always respected Emma despite her walls. But what I found strange is that if someone is your TRUE LOVE and is having tremors as bad as Emma was, that it seemed weird for Hook to just shrug it off and leave her alone. I only say this because Hook does truly love Emma and wants the best for her, and I believe that includes her health as well.
Regina had a big moment of character growth in this episode, when, in her conversation with Snow, she admitted to her wrongs, without caveats. How do you feel about her right now? Is she still a villain in your eyes? And what do you think about her relationship with Snow?
Lizzie: I like Regina, and I’ve enjoyed her path to redemption, but it’s always felt somewhat …lacking. Mostly because Regina had never done what she did this episode – which was flat out admit that she did a lot of bad things that she can never atone for. There was also the fact that her redemption was sold to me by characters who really, really want to see the best in everyone, to a degree that’s just flat out baffling. But I can get on board with her redemption, not because she’s separated from the Evil Queen, but because she seems to finally have accepted that she’s responsible for all that she did. She hasn’t truly been a villain in my eyes for a while, anyway.
And, as for her relationship with Snow …that was a highlight of the episode, for me. I always felt like this was the obvious way these two would go, especially considering who Snow is and how Regina was changing. Maybe in real life we would never be able to forgive Regina, but Snow has shown, time and time again, that she’s better than that. And there’s no denying these two have a lot of history together, and that’s why that final scene felt not forced, but organic. Real.
Sarah: Regina hasn’t been a villain for some time in my eyes, but it wasn’t until this episode how much I needed to see her admit to everything she’d done wrong for no other reason than honesty. I really like how far she’s come in the last 5 seasons, and how committed she is to Team Hero. Her friendship with Snow was something I thought was always initiated more by Snow in the past, but Regina especially during season 5 began to show how much she’s truly come to value her friendship. It makes me wish she could show as much kindness towards Zelena, though I know that was more tied up in her grief for Robin than truly wishing her sister ill. She’s still paying penance for her EQ past, and confronting that side of her in the present will I think go a long way in learning how far she has yet to go.
Caryn: I’m enjoying the dynamic between Snow and Regina, especially since Snow was the person hurt the most by Regina’s antics, it’s good to see them having a relationship in where they can confide in each other. It does feel as if the show has attempted to go above and beyond in order to separate Regina from her previous crimes, but in many ways I feel like they set her up as too much of a villain in the previous seasons that’s it’s very difficult to find her penance believable – especially since whenever she laments her actions there is usually a hero telling her that she’s not that bad, attempting to prompt the audience to warm up to her.
Mimi: Regina’s character was in a very complicated place this episode. What I really admired is that instead of impulsively lashing out on Zelena over hurt feelings, she actually internalized and sought out counsel from a friend, Snow White. Which really showed the development of Regina as a person, however, I am still confused on her stance as redeemed or villain since her evil half is out roaming the streets of Storybrooke. Seeing the relationship between Regina and Snow grow to a point where now these two can finally be in a place that they are able to confide in one another after years of hatred and hurt, is really a pleasant thing to see. Nevertheless, I am still very excited to see the EQ face Snow White in future episodes again!
Morpheus turned out to be a manifestation of Rumbelle’s son, and after waking Belle with TLK, she decided she wanted nothing to do with Rumple. What are your feelings about these two? Will they ever get a happy ending together?
Lizzie: *sings* For the first time in forever ….I actually like you, Belle.
No, for real. I was just about done with Belle before this episode. She was not the Disney princess I idolized, she’d become a doormat, and a caricature of a strong woman, in my eyes. Because yes, her attitude about Rumple was pretty much the same thing I praised re: Snow and Regina, but only up to a point. Because Rumple took advantage of that trust again, and again. Right now, he doesn’t deserve it. Trust needs to be earned. Belle has given it freely for so long, but now she’s done. And not a moment too soon, either. Now, we get to Rumple, presumably, try to earn that trust. Not that I care. I’d rather she got her happy ending with her son and he went back to being a villain. I liked him as a villain.
Sarah: I was beyond happy to see Belle stand up not only for herself, but for her son. She was absolutely right in saying that despite their love for each other, all the past misdeeds on his part has always led them both to heartbreak. As long as Rumple continues to have a love of power and magic he’ll never be the man who deserves his wife, and future son. The dream sequence I will admit got to me, (I blame the music I’m a sucker for that soundtrack), but the twist that Morpheus was Rumple and Belle’s son caught me by surprise. Truthfully I loved that twist, and that he warned his mom about Rumple and woke her up. At this point I think Belle’s happy ending is going to live with her son in peace. As long as Rumple chooses to equate power and magic to be equally important as her and even his son he’ll never truly deserve to have a happy life with them. Since he works so well as a villain I don’t see that happening, but you never know with this show.
Caryn: To be completely honest, I don’t think Rumple deserves a happy ending and this comes from someone who was a diehard Rumple and Rumbelle fan in the earlier seasons. Too much has happened, he has taken advantage of her trust too much and she is better off without him. How about they show a happy ending between a mother and her child for once? Or someone that chose to leave a terrible husband in order to give herself and her child a better life.
Mimi: The whole dream sequence was kind of an interesting twist from the writer’s that I did not expect. I truly enjoyed the longer allusion to the Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast, with the classic song and dance compared to their short scene back in Season 4. My feelings on Rumple and Belle are not so good at this moment. It really saddens me the place they have taken this couple to, and I think Belle heeding to her son’s warnings was the best thing she has ever done for a very long time! Rumple has lost all respect from me as a viewer and I just don’t see him truly changing to become a better man for Belle. He needs to stop making promises he can’t keep to her, and if he truly loves her I think he needs to put her happiness and health before his own to prove that love again.
The Evil Queen turned up at Zelena’s place at the end – looking for an ally in Storybrooke. Will Zelena fall for it? Is it actually possible for her to be redeemed in your eyes?
Lizzie: I adore Rebecca Mader, but I have issues with Zelena’s character, and how her “redemption” has been handled. It’s just been too easy – which is probably why they’re testing her now. Will she do the right hing? I doubt it. Does she have good intentions at heart? I believe she does. Which is why I do think that, at some point, she’ll get her actual redemption. I just don’t think it can be this easy -or quick.
Sarah: Zelena has always been a tricky character for me. While I love how fantastic Bex is at portraying her, her redemption felt a little fast tracked compared to what other characters including her own sister have had to go through to get to this point. I think she absolutely deserves a chance, as she truly loves her daughter and was really happy, initially at least to live with Regina. I’m hoping she doesn’t fall for the EQ’s tricks, but since I’ve never been able to really predict her I can’t say for sure she won’t. Even if she does initially my hope is she’ll see that despite her wicked similarities to the EQ deep down she wants a real relationship with Regina, no matter how much hard work it takes.
Caryn: It is clear that Zelena is lonely in Storybrooke – Regina has abandoned her, Hades and Robin are dead and she only has her child. Although Zelena has always been a wildcard I actually think she will refuse the Evil Queen’s offer in order to gain traction with Regina but the Evil Queen will blackmail her into helping her. I do, however, think that Zelena will get her redemption by the end of the season. Whether that will stick, I cannot say.
Mimi: Zelena has always been a “dark horse” to me after she returned in Season 4. Her stories always seem to have a ripple effect that starts affecting other characters in a very bad way. With that said, Zelena is unpredictable in my mind. She could be manipulating the Evil Queen just as much as the EQ is manipulating her. Zelena is a very sharp and intelligent woman, and I can see her playing the part maybe just to get intel on the EQ? Regardless, Zelena has never seen the EQ and who she truly can be, so maybe her learning the truth of how “evil” her sister really was may help her understand why her sister wanted nothing to do with the EQ after all. I believe Zelena will eventually receive redemption, because we can already see that Regina wants to forgive her sister as well. Sibling bond and love is something unique and special in this world, and I hope with this tension between the sisters they will shed light on how that bond will always win in the end.
Agree? Disagree? Have your own answers to these questions? Are you interested in participating in one of these round-tables? Sound off in the comments below!
Once Upon a Time airs on Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.