Well, that was a good episode, wasn’t it? The flashbacks were engaging, the present stuff was interesting, moving and it gave the actors a chance to show their range. Oh, yes, and the Evil Queen and the Not-so-evil-stepsister’s outfits slayed. There’s a lot to talk about!
Joining me this week will be Fangirlish writers Sarah, Caryn and a lovely guest – Jenna!
So, let’s dig in:
What were your overall thoughts on this episode? Rate the episode on a scale of 1 to 10.
Lizzie: Honestly, it was probably the best this show has been in a while. There was better balance, though balance with so many characters is really hard, the flashbacks were compelling and it all intersected really well with what was going on in the present. I also particularly enjoyed the couples in this episode – not just Captain Swan, but Snowing as well. I eve enjoyed the idea of Rumple making that tape for his kid, though since he’s Rumple, I have to wonder what else he’s got planned. Most importantly, it felt like this episode was a step forward in characterization for pretty much everyone, and I always enjoy that. 9/10.
Sarah: Definitely a 9/10. I loved this episode for so many reasons, it truly felt like a callback to a classic season one episode. Between Captain Swan, Belle, Charming, Snow, Henry and Cinderella/Ashley, all of our character’s stories this week felt weaved together in a way that felt right and had so many good moments for them.
Caryn: I also say 9/10. This is one of my favorite episodes of Once Upon A Time in a long time. Even though some of the Evil Queen moments made me roll my eyes, they used most of their strong characters and storylines, they built upon a story we’ve already seen and filled in the gaps, and they helped to tell new stories.
Jenna: Oh man, I’m going to say 9.5/10. That was the closest to perfection we’ve had in a long time. All of main cast members were utilized in some way, and the guest stars had pivotal scenes.
Cinderella’s untold story was about her step-sister, Clorinda, who, in the end, wasn’t the wicked step-sister we’ve always heard of. What did you think of this development? Did you enjoy getting a chance to revisit a S1 character?
Lizzie: I really, really enjoyed, not just Cinderella, but the callback to Emma telling her to not let others define her, and how Ashley was trying to take that advice and apply it to her own life. I never really enjoyed Cinderella – not the fairy tale version, not the Disney version, but in this episode I really connected to Ashley – especially because she had no qualms in admitting that, even if Clorinda had been hateful to her at times, in the end, she was in the wrong in that story. It’s like a mini-redemption arc with a character we already knew, and it was way more interesting than last ep’s story with the Count of Monte Cristo.
Sarah: I loved getting to see Cinderella again. Its one of my favorite fairytales and Jessy Schram brings out her character so well even though we’ve only seen her a handful of times on the show. I’ve learned to anticipate the show’s signature twists on fairytales, but this kind of story is one of the reasons I fell in love with OUAT from the beginning. We all know the classics, but OUAT has a talent for giving characters always known for one thing another side, and seeing her step-sister live out her story and that she isn’t just a “wicked” character was a story I loved seeing play out, especially since I never expected it.
Caryn: I really enjoyed it, especially since when we initially met Cinderella in season 1 there was so much left out of her story and I kept waiting for them to fill in and flesh out the stories of the already established characters (other than the Charmings, Rumple and Regina) instead of continuously introducing new characters. They did a great job with Cinderella’s storyline and playing with what we already new about the fairytale and twisting it up a bit. It felt like vintage OUAT.
Jenna: I actually really loved this development, despite the fact that they chose to create a different stepsister. As a fan of OUATIW, their lack of showing us what happened to Anastasia has stuck in my craw for the longest time. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to show us her again, but alas, it was not to be. But, I actually really loved they took a character that we were introduced to so very early in the series and expanded on her backstory, and how it tied into the Land of Untold Stories. And the fact that Ashley felt she was the wicked stepsister was a nice twist.
Emma seemed to come to a realization this episode – Hook is not only THE one for her, but she wants a future with him. She WANTS a family. Does this revelation ring true to you? And, did her confession that she was holding back because she’s afraid she can’t give him a future make you understand her better?
Lizzie: I think Emma is the type to get these realizations because she’s not so good at introspection. So, how else is she going to realize what she wants other than by things just hitting her out of the blue? I wasn’t necessarily expecting her to want kids, but it rings with her idea of the future, and the house, and I think seeing her parents with baby Charming and being sure that Hook is the one for her have given her the freedom, in a way, to let herself want. And Emma wants it all. She wants to house and the guy and the babies and the close relationship with her parents and to be friends with Regina. She’s not holding back.
Sarah: Her realization, not only rang true for me, but honestly had my heart singing. Emma’s worked hard to get to this point and gone through a lot to let her walls down, especially in regards to her family and Hook. Admitting to wanting a future (and family) with him as terrifying as it is for her, is truly a sign of how far she’s come since we met her in the Pilot. Her confession made it easier for me to stand in her shoes on holding back, since if you think you don’t have a future, what’s the point in trying for one? It eased my frustration with this storyline and made me glad she decided to take Archie’s advice to keep living the way she truly wants and started with asking Hook to move in with her.
Caryn: I understand that, and it feels very Emma-like, that behavior, but I’m so glad to see her opening herself up, trusting others and making leaps in order to live the life that she wants instead of constantly worrying about other people and their futures above her own. Long live Captain Swan endgame.
Jenna: Oh it absolutely rung true for me! She admitted to wanting a future with him midway through the last season, and it terrified her then as well as now, albeit under different circumstances. But the fact that she admitted not just to herself but to Archie was huge. And yes, it did make me understand her situation better, because that’s just the Savior putting others and their wants and needs ahead of her own again. But what Archie said to her was exactly what she needed to hear. While she might at this point in time believe her life is short, that shouldn’t be any reason to go for what you want while you still have a chance to do so.
Snow and Charming are trying to find a new normal – in between fighting bad guys, and yet Charming is not being completely honest with Snow. What do you think about his decision not to burn the last thing he had of his father? Do you reckon it’ll come back to haunt him?
Lizzie: Of course it will. This is a TV show. However, to those people saying that this could spell the end of Snow and Charming, I just have one thing to say: Bullshit. This is not the end of Snow and Charming. At this point I’m not even sure anything could be the end of Snow and Charming, or that the show would even try to go there, but if there was something, it’s not this. TRUST ME. If they’re setting up anything is family drama, not relationship drama. At least not too much of it.
Sarah: I’m positive it will come back to bite him, since keeping secrets from the ones you love whether in real life or on TV it never ends well. It was really nice to see Snow and Charming talking about finding a balance in their lives since as exciting as it seems to us, I’m sure a taste of normal like going back to teaching for Snow, is something they’ve been really wanting since the curse broke. I loved Charming being supportive of her, and talking about his father even if he decided to keep and not burn the last item he had of his. If he keeps investigating I have a bad feeling it’ll end badly, and that will be hard for him to deal with. Especially if he’s not sharing with Snow, but no matter what I know they’ll figure it out – together.
Caryn: Of course it will come back, I don’t understand Charming’s preoccupation with the scroll though and what he thinks he will achieve with it. I just hope he ends up making the best decision possible when the s**t hits the fan.
Jenna: This is OUAT were talking about here: of COURSE it’s going to come back to haunt him! This is probably going to lead to a strained relationship with Snow, even though she pleaded with him to forget about his revenge.
Emma’s tremors come with the side effect of losing her magic. And yet the tremors stopped and the magic came back when Henry reinforced that he believed in her. How do you interpret that, and does that change your answer about who is under the hood?
Lizzie: As I said in my review, in 5×01 when she turned into the DO she was having tremors – they stopped when Killian assured her that her family was with her. In this episode, the tremors stopped when Henry assured her that he, and by extension them, believed in her. And I think this add some weight to the idea that the person under the hood might be a manifestation of Emma’s fears. The whole “you’re killing yourself by not being open” thing is a big heavy handed, but this is Once Upon A Time, and they’ve never been afraid to go there.
Sarah: Honestly it further supports my original belief of Emma’s tremors and the consequences may be real because she gives so much weight to them. By bearing it alone and truly thinking her future is going to be cut short, it’s a self fulfilling prophecy situation. When she stopped thinking it was the tremors keeping her from saving Ashley and let Henry’s belief in her take her away from that long enough her magic came back. The person under the hood, I am still debating whether it’s an actual person or simply a manifestation of what Emma is terrified to be true (her own death in front of the people she loves most). If instances like what happened in this week’s episode keep going I’m definitely going to lean towards the latter.
Caryn: I think because Emma’s magic is light magic, when it is ‘faulty’, words of hope and truth can help her get it back. This all might be thumb sucking though and it could be tied into Henry’s role as an author, or Emma’s doubt in herself. It’s a complex notion that I can’t wait to learn more about.
Jenna: I interpret that as one of her true love’ s helping her through her issues. I’m certain that if Killian would have said it as well, she would have been able to heal Ashley as well. And no, it doesn’t: I still believe that Emma will be under the hood. There has been no greater villain to our beloved Savior than her own inner demons.
At the end of the episode, Emma asked Hook to move in with her – a big step that seems a long time coming. Tell me all your feels about this development. Do you like the way the show has developed the Captain Swan relationship? Where do they go from here?
Lizzie: I think the show has taken extreme care with these two characters and the way Emma asked him to move in is just more proof of that. It might have taken them a while (in real time, not in show time) to get here, but the way they have has been both consistent with the characters the show has presented to us and incredibly respectful of both their journeys. And the fun part is – it’s just the beginning. Shows sometimes forget that there are plenty of stories to be told once two people are in a relationship. Will they/Won’t they is a thing of the past. Viewers now want to see couples thriving, facing problems, solving them together. Once Upon A Time was one of the first shows on TV to get that, way before they got these two together, and now they’re proving once again that they get it with how they’re handling this relationship.
So, in that regard, I was extremely happy because this is a big step for Emma. A huge step. I got into this show because of Emma, and I’ve got a marked investment in her happiness. But I was also really happy because the show has handled her issues in a way that doesn’t feel forced, because they make Hook into a man who respects the woman he’s got by his side, and because it feels earned. It doesn’t feel artificial or forced.
Where do they go from here? Nowhere to go but up. And I’m sure they’ll have issues, this is TV, but I have faith that OUAT will let them figure out those issues, together.
Sarah: I’m surprised I didn’t break a mirror from the loud squeals I let out at when I watched that scene. I loved that Emma just straight out said “Move in with me.” His response sealed the deal on one of the reasons I’ve loved their relationship is Hook always puts her first, whether that’s giving her space or waiting for her to ask and not push on the issue. OUAT has made some story decisions in the past that have had me scratching my head, but if there’s one part they’ve always gotten right it’s Captain Swan. Their relationship has gone at a natural pace since they met and it’s wonderful for so many reasons. Despite the fact that’s it’s all happened between fairytales crisis’s it’s continued to be one of the most well written and real relationships I’ve seen on television in a long time. Living together is a big step, and while I have complete faith in their ability to handle anything thrown their way, they might have to adjust sharing not just a space, but a home with each other (and Henry cause we all know he’ll be going back between his mom’s Sometimes I just feel so grateful to have a show where my OTP is actually canon that I just want to put them in Bubble Wrap and protect them forever, but I do think that the journey that Captain Swan is on and the challenges that they are facing are normal growing pains and it’s refreshing to see a main couple on a fantasy drama go through these notions without the writers feeling they constantly need to throw unnecessary drama at them or make them break up every few weeks. It will be interesting to watch their development, especially now that they have moved in together. Also please can they have sex already. Sigh. ouses.) It’ll be interesting to see how that goes, but after that I’m excited for everything (and anything) to come for Emma and Killian.
Caryn: Sometimes I feel so grateful to have a show where my OTP is actually canon that I want to put Captain Swan in Bubble Wrap and protect them forever. But I am enjoying the journey that they are putting them on and that they are dealing with challenges that are realistic but still interesting to watch, depicting that a couple does not need hectic drama or repeated breakups in order to be good television. It will be interesting to watch their development especially now that they have moved in together. And sigh, can they please have sex already?
Jenna: It’s hard to type of the sound of my own screeching, let me tell you. This scene was just perfect, and kudos to Jane Espenson, the orchestrator of Captain Swan. Their relationship has grown so much over the course of this show, and it has been such a pleasure to watch. And you’re right: this is a MAJOR step for them. I just hope this leads to lovely domestic scenes in the middle of the chaos that inevitably occurs. Just letting them have SOME quiet moments is too much to ask. Maybe even some in their bedroom… *wink wink*.
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.