That was a tad …anticlimactic?
I mean, I see what you were going for, Once Upon A Time. Especially if I tilt my head to the side and sort of squint. Which kinda means you didn’t quite hit the mark with this one.
And that was sort of the story of the first half – it was either a hit, or a miss. Captain Swan was a hit. Regina was, alternatively, a hit or a miss. The Golden Queen was a real, real miss. Snowing was a hit. And so on.
Joining me to talk about “Wish You Were Here” and to sort of try and make sense of the first half of the season are, like always, Sarah, Caryn and our lovely guest this week, Caralynn!
So here we go:
What were your overall thoughts on this episode? Rate the episode on a scale of 1 to 10.
Lizzie: I’m going to say 6.5, though it’s closer to 6 than 7 for me. It had it’s moments: I liked the beginning, and though the rules of the AU world were less than clear, I liked the idea of it. I also mostly enjoyed Rumbelle this episode, and the Gideon reveal. But I did not like Regina as much as I normally do, I didn’t enjoy AU Emma and the lack of common sense/consistency that sometimes plagues this show seemed to be way more obvious in this episode than it usually is.
Caryn: I would give the episode a 7. The fact that the person under the hood was Gideon, surprised me, and I like it when the show still catches me off guard. The AU sections were a bit meh and tedious, I was more interested to see what would happen when they returned to Storybrooke than to see Regina try and make Emma become the saviour again.
Sarah: I would rate this episode a 7. I loved the Gideon under the hood reveal, but the Enchanted Forest parts just overall had me cringing (aside from Emma happy and singing in the woods.) They still know how to do those really good reveals and story twists but for a mid-season finale it wasn’t my favorite.
Caralynn: I would give this episode a 6. It definitely wasn’t the best of the season, but it was pretty good and certainly had its moments. I like the show’s AU forays in general, and the Gideon twist was great.
Captain Swan was separated all episode, and yet it felt like, in a way, they were still fighting/searching for each other? What did you think of their separate story-lines and what they mean for their future together? Is that Hook holding an engagement ring in the promo? Speculate a bit.
Lizzie: To get the obvious out of the way first, yes, that’s Hook. I’m convinced. I don’t think the writers are trying to play us at this point – Captain Swan has come a long way, and the payoff hasn’t really been equivalent to the pain. This, however, is more like it. Only thing I’d wish, though, is that the show would do a better job of focusing on the happy couples – not just Captain Swan, but Snowing, and show us the little moments, because OUAT often gets bogged down by the urgent and loses sight of the important.
My expectations re: the ring are that Hook is going to do a very old-fashioned thing and ask Charming for permission or something before asking Emma, but I think he will ask, and soon. Which means we might even have time for a wedding this season! Though, I’m not sure that’s in the cards if Once Upon A Time gets another season – that’s probably last season stuff.
As for their storylines, I don’t mind Hook getting something to do away from Emma – hopefully he and Charming can go on this long-awaited adventure. I really like their bromance, and we haven’t seen enough of it this year – or ever. I also don’t mind Emma getting to meet AU Hook and who knows what else in the EF AU, as long as she isn’t stuck there forever staring at Regina making eyes at Robin. Because, eh …no. What this episode really showed, though, was that Captain Swan works well because, above all, they have faith in each other. Hook can take a step back and realize that, at this moment in time, he doesn’t have the best chance of getting at Emma, so he can hold down the fort while she gets back to him.
She’ll find him. She always has before. Like the Charmings before them, they’ll find each other. They always do.
Caryn: It is time, I fully believe that a Captain Swan engagement is coming. Hook has so much faith in Emma, in their bond, it is lovely to watch onscreen, especially since it is unwavering. They have definitely earned their chops this season with how they have learnt to love and trust each other. Team Captain Swan FTW!
Sarah: It was great to see Killian have every bit of faith that Emma would find her way home no matter what kind of situation she ended up in the Enchanted Forest. It’s a testament to how strong their relationship is even when nefarious villains step in. I will admit it caught me off guard at first when he didn’t immediately go after her, but I loved him being there for Charming (his bro lets face it.) Whether they are in the same or different realms Hook and Emma always find their way to each other, and it speaks volumes of their future together. To get specific YES I completely believe that engagement ring is for Emma and are headed for a Captain Swan engagement (*squeals*) I’ve dreamed about this for years, and honestly after everything they’ve been through they deserve that completely incandescently happy moment. (my personal wish is he proposes on the Jolly Roger but however it happens I’ll be screaming loudly haha.)
Caralynn: It has to be Hook holding that engagement ring in the promo — no other couple makes sense. Unless, of course, they’re pulling a fast one on us, and it’ll actually be some random couple that no one cares about getting engaged. That would be incredibly annoying. I’m not looking forward to MORE of Captain Swan being separated (which seems likely now that Emma and Regina are apparently stuck in the wishverse, thanks to the Robin-distraction). On the other hand, hopefully their separation will give Hook more of a chance to have his own storyline. This season, he’s been all about Emma — which is great, but I’d like it if he also had his own stuff to deal with. Maybe more David/Hook bonding?
Regina’s behavior has been a tad erratic of late – she flat out refused to forgive Zelena for something other people forgave her for and now she murdered AU Snow/Charming to snap Emma out of her trance. What do you think is going on with her? Is there any way you can defend her actions? Where do you think the writers are going with this?
Lizzie: Her behavior as of late has been troubling, to say the least. I think her problem with Zelena is that she’s never been able to see her as what she is – Regina’s foil. Everything she holds against her sister is something she did herself, so in a way, Zelena reminds her of her worst deeds. There’s also the fact that Regina hasn’t dealt with the pain of losing Robin. Which makes the way she treated Zelena understandable, but not right. A little more self-awareness would make Regina a much better character, writers.
And that’s without going into the whole killing AU Snow/Charming thing. I’m going to chalk this up to a writer’s mistake, 100%, because it sorta contradicts what they’ve been trying to do before, but still, it’s stupid at best. She kills AU Snow and Charming because …why? They’re not real? They’re real to Emma. They’re real to the world they inhabit. But hey, if that’s the justification, why even stop for Robin? By her own standard, he’s not real.
Which, I get it, this is me being logical and we can’t expect Regina to be logical in moments of great emotion like seeing the sorta-resurrected love of her life. But it isn’t too much to ask the writers to be logical, is it? I want to like Regina, but the baffling choices they’ve made with her character lately sorta take some of the shine away from a character I’ve always, always enjoyed.
Caryn: In a weird way I think the writers think that Regina has earned our sympathy already so her actions don’t really have consequences? Either that, or they want us to not be as heartbroken when Regina dies so that Storybrooke can get rid of the Evil Queen? Regina has always been a morally ambiguous character, and this season especially has me questioning if all her bad was taken out with the Evil Queen persona.
Sarah: Truthfully I feel like I’ve been getting character whiplash from her choices lately. Her refusal of Zelena frustrated me to no end and her choice to fake murder AU Snow and Charming just had me flat out cringing through that scene. The only takeaway I can glean from all these choices is Regina’s path to accepting she can’t shove out the EQ side of her that easily. To accepting herself entirely including what she tried to magically get rid of. Whether it’ll turn out that way remains to be seen, but I’m hoping at some point it does in fact make sense writing choice wise.
Caralynn: To be honest, Regina’s actions with Zelena didn’t strike me in such a strong way as they’ve struck other people. For me, I feel like the difference between Zelena and Regina is that Regina has been redeemed (in other words, not evil) for a while now — and Zelena keeps waffling. So, logically, it makes sense that Regina would be hesitant to forgive/trust Zelena at this point. Killing AU Snow/Charming, though… that was weird. She was so cavalier about it, too, which was really startling. I think that she’s still struggling with Robin’s death/her lack of closure. Since Sean Maguire isn’t sticking around, I think faux-Robin’s reappearance will help Regina get closure so she can actually start moving on/recovering from her trauma.
The man in the hood is – Gideon. Where you at all surprised? Are you looking forward to how Rumple and Belle deal with this? Do you still think Emma’s vision will come to pass?
Lizzie: I’d speculated that it might be him – OUAT isn’t the best at keeping their twists hidden, but I still enjoyed the whole thing. And I’m looking forward to how Rumple and Belle deal with this, yes. *sings* For the first time in forever …I actually care about what’s going to happen when those two are on screen. It’s a miracle! I also want to know why he’s even trying to kill Emma, for there’s no quick and easy answer to that.
Re: Emma’s vision, the short answer is yes. But I don’t think she’s going to die, and I don’t think Gideon is going to die either – I think he’s going to go back to baby Gideon and end up with his parents, like he should be.
Caryn: As I said above, I really enjoyed the twist. Really out of all the people that I thought it would be, I didn’t even imagine that it would be Gideon, but it’s some excellent foreshadowing from the show with regards to Belle’s dreams about him. I’m interested to learn why he wants to kill Emma more than dealing with RumBelle aspect of it. I do think some form of Emma’s vision is going to come to pass but I don’t think she’ll die.
Sarah: I figured it out during the episode, but I still liked the twist because I had guessed quite a few people and to be completely wrong was really nice. Rumple and Belle’s story has had me grinding my teeth more than anything this past half season so really I’m just hoping there’s no more of Rumple acting like a complete power-hungry-I-can-control-everything moron. I don’t know what the chances are, but given this now very huge conflict in front of them I’m curious to see how it affects them and that he’s here to kill Emma. I believe Emma will end up fighting him, but as I’ve said before there is a 0% chance she actually dies, so it makes me curious on how this epic fight will actually turn out.
Caralynn: I wasn’t very surprised, though I still really liked the twist. Gideon (or Morpheus, as we first knew him) was giving off super sketchy vibes all season. It’s not too shocking that he was manipulating Belle, but to what end? I’m really interested to see what Gideon’s reasoning is for killing Emma and how the Black Fairy/his grandma factors into it. And also how he aged so quickly! I’m still not sure if anything can rectify Rumbelle, but it does seem like this Gideon situation will push them back together in order to resolve it.
Tell me all your feelings about AU Emma. Gifs are allowed.
Caryn: For a minute there I thought Jennifer Morrison was playing Dr. Cameron again. While it was fun to see the type of character Emma would be it she never had to be the savior and I can believe the argument that her experiences made her that tough I can’t ever accept that one choice would turn her into a completely different person. When she surrendered I couldn’t believe it, I don’t think Emma would be that defenseless even in an alternate universe.
Sarah: It was an eye opening experience to see her all happy and light and I liked that we got to see this “what if” version of her (especially singing Someday my Prince will Come I mean come on.) What I didn’t like is how this AU characterized her as someone with literally no backbone. It felt wrong to see her give up so easily against the “EQ” but later I came round to thinking that was the point of how wishes can go badly. So while I loved the costumes and braid, OG Emma will always be my favorite version of her.
Robin is back! Sort of. What do you think about this development? Did you miss him? What do you have to say to the writers about the way they’ve handled his character?
Lizzie: It’s great that he’s back, but I can’t even say I missed him because he did literally nothing for the whole of Season 5. I miss pre-Season 5 Robin, that I miss. The one who had an actual storyline and promise and seemed like he could really be an equal to Regina. That one. And no one’s ever going to convince me that this was actually the plan from the beginning. Oh, no.
Why is he coming back? He’s coming back to give Regina closure, which is great for Regina’s character – she really, really needs it, but he’s also coming back, I think, to appease the fans. And that sucks. You know how to appease the fans? Don’t sideline characters you just made series regulars, don’t KILL OFF those characters for no reason other than to further another character’s plot and then don’t act like that was just the plan from the beginning. We’re not dumb, okay? We can read between the lines.
Caryn: Perhaps Robin’s return will help to fix what’s been going on Regina’s character lately, it’s obvious (especially from the Zelena scene) that she is still mourning him, perhaps she can move on or find a new purpose.
Sarah: It was wonderful to see him again, I have missed seeing my favorite thief on OUAT. I’m glad the writers found a way to bring him back that wasn’t typical, but it highlights how I think they made a massive mistake in killing him off in the first place. The worst part is I felt I should have seen it coming given his lack of material in Season 5 but I firmly believed they would never actually let him go. After that harsh wake up call I’m left wondering if this is their way of trying to apologize and properly close out his and Regina’s relationship. If it does play out that way then maybe Regina’s story will make more sense than it does now, but at the end of the day I will never agree with their choice to permanently let him go. (Plus it’s Sean Maguire I’ve met the man at OUAT con and he’s a total sweetheart)
Caralynn: The way they’ve treated Robin/Sean Maguire is totally inexplicable. He had literally nothing to do for all of Season 5 and then was unceremoniously and totally randomly killed off. The whole situation screams “Something weird happened behind the scenes” to me. Anyway, I think it’s great that he’s coming back (in his faux-Robin form) for a few episodes. It’s pretty clear to me that he’s there to help Regina move on from real-Robin’s death, to help her find closure. Honestly, I was never all that big of a Robin fan to begin with — I didn’t dislike him, but I didn’t love him. Either way, his return is 100% necessary for Regina’s arc, so I’m glad it happened for that reason.
What was your favorite thing about the first half of the season? Your least favorite? What do you want to see more of?
Lizzie: I enjoyed the sense of family the show has managed to give these characters that don’t all have a bond of blood. Family is what you make of it, and OUAT has always been very good at sending this message. I also really enjoyed Captain Swan, and the small little steps they’ve taken towards the happy ever after both of them have dreamed. I enjoyed the Hook/Belle friendship, and the Hook/Charming moments, and the Captain Cobra bonding and Regina/Snow – basically, the interactions between the characters, that I REALLY loved.
Plot wise, however, the show had it’s issues. At times it seems like they’re wandering aimlessly around, with no idea of where they’re going. The Golden Queen was far from my favorite, I can’t stand how toxic Rumbelle has become and I really have no sympathy for the Evil Queen whatsoever. I also think Rebecca Madder is wasted as Zelena – she needs more scenes with the whole cast. I will never understand why OUAT keeps promoting characters to series regulars if they don’t have a clear idea of what they’re doing with them.
I want to see more of the interactions I loved – more Captain Cobra, more Captain Swan, more of Emma with her parents, more of Regina/Snow, and even more of Henry with both his mothers at the same time. I also want more scenes with all of them like the one where Regina confesses she and Rumple always had sort of a thing. That was priceless.
Caryn: I liked the domesticity of Captain Swan, it shows such an interesting development of a ship that goes beyond the current trend of conflict/drama/withholding of information/makeup breakup that writers think they need to do with ships in order to make it interesting.
Sarah: I loved seeing the small strides Emma and Hook made from moving in together, and just the domestic moments I had been missing. Their relationship development has been so natural and real it was wonderful anytime they graced the screen. I also liked how much Hook was there for Belle, and how they’ve become true friends. Least favorite was any scene with the EQ and Rumple, especially when they were kissing (blech). I pray I never have to see that again, because literally every time I had to turn away or risk cringing my way through the scene. Truthfully I’d love see more of all my favorites, and Aladdin/Jasmine they are adorable, but more than anything I’d love to see the story come together in ways we haven’t really seen up to now. (IE less backstory eps for guest characters I won’t see again please)
Caralynn: I really liked the burgeoning Hook/Belle friendship. I’m a big fan of Hook being his own character/not solely existing to hang around in the background and provide backup to Emma when necessary. On the flip side, I loved how Captain Swan is continuing to progress this season — Emma was able to be honest with Hook, they moved in together, an engagement is definitely on the horizon. I dig it. More of that, please. As always, Regina and Emma working together is great, so I’m excited to see more of those two in the wishverse as Regina works through her Robin issues. Least favorite would definitely be the Aladdin/Jasmine storyline — what the heck is going on with that? I assume they’ll be coming back later in the season because their storyline went literally nowhere after all that hype about them joining OUAT.
Wish-list for season 6B. List your top five.
Lizzie: 1. Charming Family (and with this I mean and extended family, aka Regina and Hook) bonding. Tons of it. 2. More Captain Swan domestic scenes – or hell, even a steamy scene. 3. Aladdin/Jasmine back, but only if they’re going to do something useful. 4. For Belle to remain firm in her stance re: Rumple – they can fight for their son together, but that doesn’t mean they belong together. 5. For Regina to find peace.
Caryn: 1. For Rumple to sacrifice himself for Belle or Gideon. 2. For us to see what happens in Agrabar 3. A Captain Swan sex scene or some inference that they are actually having sex (sorry not sorry) 4. The Evil Queen to disappear 5. More sassy Zelena
Sarah: 1) To see Snow/Charming break their curse in epic fashion 2) Captain Swan engagement and uninterrupted alone time 3) More Aladdin/Jasmine 4) As many domestic moments for the whole Charming family 5) For Regina and Zelena to truly mend their relationship.
Caralynn: (1) Return of Jasmine/Aladdin/Jafar (and actually putting them to use. (2) Captain Swan engagement. (3) A quick resolution of the silly Snow/Charming sleeping curse. (4) More Black Fairy. (5) Rumple to stop acting like a completely out of character jerk and finally having some actual, permanent character growth that would warrant Belle ever being in the same room with him again.
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.