Once Upon A Time Roundtable “Heartless”

That was a twist …wasn’t it?

Maybe I’d been lulled into a false sense of security. Maybe I was just too used to the Evil Queen never getting what she wanted. Either way, Once Upon A Time, six seasons in, managed to surprise me in “Heartless.” And that’s a good thing.

No, that’s a great thing.

Joining me, as always, to talk ships, evil plans and what comes after are Sarah, Caryn – and our guest, Maii!

Let’s do this!

ONCE UPON A TIME - “Heartless” - In a flashback to the Enchanted Forest, Bandit Snow dodges a bounty hunter known as the Woodcutter while shepherd David goes on a fateful journey to sell his family’s farm. In Storybrooke, the Evil Queen threatens to destroy the town and everyone in it unless Snow and David surrender their hearts. As Emma, Hook and Henry prepare to defend Storybrooke, Snow, David and Regina search for a magical sapling created by the first spark of true love. Regina uses Gold’s and the Evil Queen’s burgeoning romance against them, and Zelena offers Belle some friendly advice, on “Once Upon a Time,” SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Jack Rowand) JOSH DALLAS, GINNIFER GOODWIN, JENNIFER MORRISON, COLIN O'DONOGHUE, JARED GILMORE

What were your overall thoughts on this episode?  Rate the episode on a scale of 1 to 10. 

Lizzie: I’m going to say 9/10. It was a really good episode, with nice family moments, a great focus on Snow and Charming, a heartfelt Captain Swan scene, the Evil Queen being actually evil, Belle standing up for herself and Regina proving she’s part of the family. I only deduct a point because …ugh Golden Queen. UGH.

Caryn: I would give it 8/10. It was such a neat episode, it worked so well that it served as something that could stand on it’s own as Snow and Charming’s Disney movie, but also served the storyline and the development of many of the characters. Also it was refreshing to see the Evil Queen actually do something solid instead of just being a pest to our heroes.

Sarah: I would give this episode a 9/10. It was so unexpected in different ways and the twist at the end literally had my heart drop out of my chest. Between the CS moment, Belle standing up to Rumple continuously and the wonderful flashback for Snowing it was nearly perfect. Sadly the, ahem, makeout scene dropped it a point.

Maii: I have to give it an 8.5. It was a phenomenal episode and so well written and the cinematography and editing was gorgeous (as a film major I was majorly fangirling especially during that last Snowing curse scene). The CS was wonderful and I loved Belle standing up for herself. And Wilby was a fantastic addition. But since that side plot does exist I have to deduct 1 1/2 points from it, mostly because it is that disturbing.

Screencap courtesy of http://genrecaps.net/

Snow and Charming’s belief in each other has carried them this far. Can it carry them further? Can they find each other, metaphorically, as well as physically and find a way to overcome the Evil Queen’s curse? And, do you think Emma’s the key to breaking this particular sleeping curse?

Lizzie: They’re obviously going to find a way back to each other – and I’ve been saying since the episode aired that it’s going to come down to Emma. We KNOW TLK between parents/kids works. We know Emma has finally reached a point in her life where she can not only understand, but forgive her parents for the 28 years that she spent on her own. We know Emma’s lived her life in fear, and that she’s only just starting to really internalize that she has a family that loves her, unconditionally. This would be a nice way to tie all that together. This is, after all, how this show started – with Emma and her parents.

Back to Snowing, though – I thought I wasn’t going to like the flashbacks, and I did. I hate retcons, but this didn’t feel like one, just a nice addition to an already awesome love story that has, surely, not ended this way.

Caryn: The Evil Queen did well this time in her punishment, this is actually something that would significantly affect both of them, even though I still think her reasoning is incredibly petty and tiring. If Belle’s father administered the true love’s kiss on her and it worked, can’t Emma do the same for Charming and Snow? Would that not cancel out the curse? I do believe that Snow and Charming will find their way back to each other and Emma’s vision will probably come true – in that they are together. It won’t be long until they are reunited.

Sarah: I know Snow and Charming’s belief in each other, their love and their family will always overcome anything that gets thrown at them including this cruel sleeping curse. This might be the hardest one yet, but there’s always a way. They might find a way to be clever about speaking to each other for now, but at the end of the day they won’t give up until this curse is broken, and neither will their family. I think Emma will definitely play a part if not break the curse entirely herself but how it might go I can’t begin to guess. The mechanics of it come down to their shared heart, so it makes me wonder if working around that will help Emma break it with her parents help. Either way I can’t wait to see the moment it’s broken and Snow & Charming are back in each other’s arms again.  

Maii: Of course it can it’s Snow and Charming and they will always find each other. I love my CS but Snowing is truly the core of this show, everything started thanks to them. I have the outmost faith in them getting through this. And I might be one of the only ones but I liked the twist (yes it goes against logic and the rules of the show but it was interesting and unexpected). But yes I believe Emma (and perhaps Henry) will help break the curse.. After all they make a big deal out of Family true loves and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we saw Emma break her father’s curse and see Henry break Snow’s? (Especially since everything started when Snow gave Henry the book .. full circle).

Can I say that I loved Snowing’s flashback? I was worried about how it was going to work or if retcons were gonna happen and I was very surprised. They did it in a way that was completely believable and yet still had the emotion. Plus again cinematography for the win!

Screencap courtesy of http://genrecaps.net/

The Evil Queen finally had a plan – and a good one. But, now, with revenge on Snow White seemingly achieved, what does she do next? What’s the Evil Queen’s happy ending? Does she even know the answer to this question?

Lizzie: It does seems like she’s just wandering aimlessly, doesn’t it? This is what she wanted all along – except when she wanted to break up the Charming/Mills/Swan/Jones family. And when she was playing the role of good sister. And when she was taunting Regina. And when she wanted Rumple. So, either they give her an end goal – pronto, or I’m just going to sorta tune her out and focus on the Regina side of her, which I honestly like much more than THIS version of the Evil Queen, even if she doesn’t quite have the flair.

Hopefully – because that’s the one thing that’d really make this storyline interesting to me again – she’ll turn her focus on Regina so we can start to examine how the good side/evil side thing works and focus on Regina finally reconciling to the idea that we all have good and bad in us, and we can’t really magic that away.

Caryn: Perhaps now that her end goal has been reached she will just be sticking around and making sure that it sticks, or getting herself involved with other shenanigans. She might have a bigger goal or make a final play for Rumple’s heart (ew) and try and get rid of Belle and the baby.

Sarah: Now that she’s seemingly gotten revenge, her end goal could be anything at this point and that’s scary. Essentially she’s a loose cannon with magic and no morals to boot and now she might just take it out on the whole of Storybrooke. I don’t believe she has any idea what her happy ending is and even if she did it would keep changing because it would never be enough. There would always be someone else’s life to ruin or mess with or get revenge against. Without any kind of resolution she’d just be miserable and evil for the rest of her life. I have no doubt it won’t go on forever but even if she had that kind of time I still don’t think she’d ever get her happy ending. There is none to be found when its at the expense of others.

Maii:  I don’t think even the writers know the answer to this question. I commend the fact that she does seem a lot more menacing now than when she’s being overtly sexual or getting mani-pedis but still not as menacing as in season 1 (or even season 2). And no I don’t think she knows, and the worst part is that we know they’ll never acknowledge that these are Regina’s actual feelings (yes she’s made some strides toward redemption but it’s been all over the place) but these are still her feelings? Because they are the same person? So I wish I knew where this storyline was going but as of right now it’s unpredictable and well, taking up valuable screen time.

Screencap courtesy of http://genrecaps.net/

Belle confronted Rumple with the notion that he could be a better man, if he chose so, and that’s the thing she can never forgive. Do you think her words can finally reach him? Is he playing the Evil Queen? Where do you think the writers are going with this storyline?

Lizzie: No, yes and who knows? Though, hopefully, wherever it is they’re going, it’s not going to change my answers. Because, at this point, Rumple changing because of Belle’s words would just be out of character. He’s been given chance after chance AFTER chance. Belle was never enough, Bae was never enough, learning about THIS child was not enough, why would he change now? I don’t believe he can, and I want to think the writers are not going to do a complete 180 on us with this storyline. I want to believe they’re going to keep building Belle up and have her fight for her happiness and that of her child, even if  – especially if – it doesn’t involve Rumple.

Re: the Evil Queen, I think Rumple  has a plan. He always has a plan. That’s about the only thing he’s consistent of. And his endgame might be trying to protect Belle and his kid, it really might. It’s just that, at this point, that’s not enough.

Caryn: I am of the school of thought that thinks that both Belle and her child would be a lot better off if they did not have Rumple in their lives. Because all of her attempts to convince him to become a better person – for Neal, for Henry, for her, and for her child – has been futile. Perhaps he is playing the Evil Queen and working on a plan to stop the death of Emma etc, and end the Evil Queen and will prove to be the hero of the season, but I will always think that Belle deserves better.

Sarah: I can’t begin to guess where they are taking their storyline, but if it continues in this fashion whatever happens I’m all for it. It’s wonderful to see Belle refusing to let up on her stance towards Rumple and their son. She’s not buying his excuses anymore because despite what he thinks the methods don’t justify the end result nor his motivations. Especially to use a magical object to forcibly change his son’s destiny so he’d love his father. I don’t know if he’s playing with the Evil Queen, but that alliance is going to end badly or just blow up in their faces. His focus on Zelena after his conversation with Belle, is the never ending struggle of who to blame when the world gets bad. He may have been honest about his battle with being good but as long as he focuses on anything but what Belle said he won’t ever find the happiness he wantss with his son.

Maii:  I have no clue where they are going with this (or why they are subjecting us with the horror of seeing it.) But I definitely appreciate them giving Belle a backbone and sticking to it. Personally I think Rumple has gone past the point of no return too many times to ever go back. Even if he chose to be a “better man” we know it wouldn’t stick. It’s what happened back in season 2/ season 3 and then he got worse than ever. He’s tried the hero thing and he wasn’t a fan. Rumple is basically “I want to have my cake and eat it too” he wants power and he (claims) he wants Belle. But he’s too reliant on magic and has always chosen power (with Young Baelfire, with Milah, with Neal, with Belle x100) over the people he claims to care about so how could this be any different. How could we or Belle for that matter, believe he’s telling the truth this time around?  And in my opinion I think Belle deserves better than that. Belle deserves an epic love who will love her and care for her (and her son) without hurting her, abusing her, or disappointing her every 5 seconds.

Screencap courtesy of http://genrecaps.net/

Killian’s way of comforting Emma when she was feeling down about her parents was reminding her of what they went through – of what she is: The product of true love. Did you enjoy this scene between them? Do you think it’s significant that his words essentially made the shaking stop? Gush about Captain Swan a little (or a lot. No judgment here)

Lizzie: I think Killian has always sort of understood what Emma needs, mostly because he comes from a similar background of feeling alone, and he can probably relate. Of course, that’s not the only reason why they work, but it does make it easier to reach your partner when you sorta can see where they’re coming from.

What Emma needed in that moment was reassurance that her parents would get through this – that history was on their side on the finding each other thing, and also, on the Emma helping them front. She needed to believe things weren’t doomed, and Killian provided that, while, at the same way,  he provided a sort of glimpse into the future he hopes they can have for themselves.

It’s no coincidence that Killian’s words made the shaking stop, that Henry’s words made the shaking stop a few episodes ago. Part of Emma’s issue is self-doubt. She does not believe she’s enough – to be the savior, to be Henry’s mom, to be Killian’s love. And yet, when the people she cares about reassure her that she does, when she, for a moment, at least, believes them, it all gets better. The world seems easier to face. And Emma’s shaking stops.

Thing is, Emma needs to internalize this feeling – and that’s why I think she’ll be the key to waking up her parents. She already knows Henry and Killian are her true loves, she has factual proof this. And Emma’s that kid who’s been burned so badly that she needs proof. Now the proof will come from her parents.

As for Captain Swan – if there’s one thing I trust the writers to do right, is write this couple. It hasn’t all been perfect, but at this point, I think they know what they’re doing and what they’re writing towards – and it’s the happily ever after that Emma’s always dreamed of, the one that’s not an end, but a new beginning. And I’m here for this journey. I want to see it on-screen. I think most of us do.

Caryn: I just cannot with Captain Swan. Every week I think they can’t get better and then they do (still holding out for my sex scene though) but when he was encouraging Emma and reminding her of who she is, the scene felt so pure, so natural, so right. This is why this ship is so easy and unique, it does not need extra drama to perpetuate it, it is natural and adorable. Urgh, I really love Captain Swan.

Sarah: This scene was downright amazing and rang completely true for these two. I loved everything from the moment he started telling a story to him reminding Emma where she came from and that being her, Emma is where all of her strength comes from. His belief in her floors me every time and I was melting into a puddle on the floor by the time he kissed her hand. I think it’s significant that every time Emma is able to stop the shaking it’s when she lets go of the worry and truly believes. The fact that every time it’s been when her true love has been with her showing his faith is not a coincidence. Emma and Killian are the kind of otp you dream about because their journey to this point has them setting the bar for seeing how a real relationship builds up to this point.

Where you know no matter what the other is dealing with the other will be there to help them no question. Love isn’t about keeping score, it’s about the fact that this person’s wellbeing is essential and equal to your own and the amount of times we’ve seen that from these two, fills me with a kind of happiness I can’t accurately describe (ok let’s face it I just end up smiling like an idiot and freaking out but hey I’m a shipper and a fangirl haha).  It’s been an amazing journey (and I will happily say I’ve shipped them since Tallahassee), and I cannot wait to see them face down Storybrooke’s challenges, together.

Maii: I spoke about this scene at length in my review and I still don’t think I could do it justice with my words but I will definitely try.  I definitely think this is one of the best scenes of the season and maybe even one of my all time favorite CS scenes (and seeing how I’ve loved this ship since before it was even called Captain Swan before even the Doctor had aired that’s saying something). I loved the entire scene from how it started with them bickering (I love the bickering) and then turned sweet, then emotional and I might have cried.

Colin O’Donoghue and Jennifer Morrison have literally what I’d call perfect chemistry. It shows in every scene they are together, and they respond to each other’s cues so well. We have Killian telling the story and we see how Emma goes from being worried, scared to being reassured and in love with this man.  I’m gonna be shameless and steal from my own words.

One of my favorite parts of the scene was the emphasis on their hands. It’s through their hands that their love shows. It started way back at the beanstalk when Killian healed her hand then in the same place Emma grabbed his hand and locked him up because she was afraid to trust him. Even when they were on opposite sides of hero and villain or in a dispute of some sort, even though their words said something their eyes and their hands said something else entirely. We saw it when Killian chose to be a part of something and they focused on his hand passing her the bean. We saw that once again during the heartbreaking moment where Emma had to let go of Killian for the last time in the Underworld. He kissed her hand as she went up the elevator and he kisses her hand again in this episode. Just as he speaks and holds her hand it stops shaking, and that’s beautiful. She is the product of true love, true love personified and he is her true love, and it shows. Sorry I got rambly I just love them so much.

Screencap courtesy of http://screencapped.net/

Let’s talk Emma’s vision. Has the future changed? Who do you think is under the hood at this point? And when do you think this is coming – end of the season or sooner?

Lizzie: No, I don’t think the Snowing curse really affects the vision at this point – especially because I don’t think it’s coming in the next few episodes. Probably not at the end of the season, but not right now. And I’ve sort of moved from my – it’s Emma’s insecurities or whatever taking on corporate form under the hood, though I still think that’d be a hell of a storyline. At this point Regina seems like the most likely culprit, though that’s not as interesting as my first guess. And, if it is true, then where does the show go from there?

Caryn: At this point, I really wish I could give you a proper guess, but I still have no clue. The obvious answers are Regina, Zelena, the Evil Queen or Rumple. What if it’s a wildcard like Belle? Just kidding, they won’t give Belle a storyline separate to Rumple. But I just hope that Emma gets to a point where she learns to defeat the monster under the hood.

Sarah: Whoever is under the hood is still a mystery I can’t begin to guess, but if the future has changed in terms of Emma’s vision that is still the one part I doubt has. Like all visions the details are likely to shift as events play out and the further along Emma gets in learning more about being a Savior (I hope at least.)  I think it still might be someone we don’t see coming, but I pray the audience at least gets to find out relatively soon. Emma’s battle with this hooded person I’m praying doesn’t wait to the end of the season because it would be heartbreaking to see her battle that fear she’s going to die in front of her loved ones for that long. Knowing this show it’ll happen when I least expect it but either way I know Emma will win that battle when she does face him/her down.

Maii: I still have no clue who is under the hood.. I’m still leaning towards the theory of a Boy-Meets-World Shawn situation where it’s a manifestation of your demons or fears but not completely sure how it would work. At this point it pretty much could be anyone? As much as I’d love for it to be the Evil Queen or Rumple I doubt it. And I think we’re getting this in the midseason because they seem to be moving at a fast pace in all non-EQ plots.

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.

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