No Captain Swan reunion, yet. But a Jaladdin TLK! A princess team-up! Jasmine finding the hero within! The return of Ariel!
There were a lot of good things in this episode – and there were some questionable writing choices when it comes to Emma and practically everyone else in Storybrooke. But, all is well (or sorta forgivable) that ends well? Emma knows the truth now, at least, Gideon has shown his true colors and a big confrontation is coming. But let’s not worry about that yet.
Here to discuss this episode with me are Fangirlish writers Sarah and Charles, and our lovely guest, Maria! So, let’s get into the emotional ups and downs of “A Wondrous Place”
What were your overall thoughts on this episode? Rate the episode on a scale of 1 to 10.
Lizzie: 7.5, if only because princess team-up! Even if they basically accomplished nothing. I enjoyed the Hook/Aladdin/Jasmine scenes, I really liked seeing Jasmine finding the hero within her and I was happy to see Ariel back. I didn’t love the fact that the writers made Emma and everyone else in Storybrooke a tad OOC, though.
Sarah: 7.5. I wished it had been a more balanced episode, but I loved the scenes between Jasmine, Aladdin, Ariel and Hook. The flashbacks were cool (I mean how can you resist a flying carpet with Jasmine & Ariel), but overall it felt more like an inbetween episode than something that really moved the overall story along.
Charles: 7. This was a very okay episode. Saved really by good performances from Karen David, Oded Fehr and Colin O’Donoghue. Some stories hit well like Jasmine realizing she is a hero and Hook’s saga to get back to Emma but overall it felt like it should have been more than it was.
Maria: 6. It was slow and kinda dragged. Aladdin and Jasmine are cute, but this felt like an adventure that we didn’t really need to have, not now at least. If the show is going to end in season 6 this is just valuable time we’re losing.
Emma’s abandonment issues came back full force in this episode, with the result that she retreated and never even questioned Hook’s decision to leave. What do you think about this storyline? Do you understand where Emma’s coming from? Would have you have written it differently, if you could?
Lizzie: I would have most definitely written it differently. I would have taken Emma on the journey her character deserved, I would have had the ever-positive Snow or the truest believer Henry or even sarcastic Regina point out how out of character it was for Hook to just leave – and I would have had Emma come to the realization that this man isn’t Neal, this man has stayed through good times and bad times, and he would never willingly leave her.
That being said, I understand where Emma is coming from. I don’t blame her at all, I blame the writing. Hook was ready to leave till Snow talked to him, so Emma being on the ledge makes sense, having no one to talk her off, however? That didn’t. And it’s lazy writing, because either way, Emma found out in this episode. The only reason they did it was to set up a dramatic confrontation with Gideon at the end, but a dramatic confrontation could have been had anyway.
Best thing I can say about this storyline is that it’s over. Really, there was no need to waste 2-3 episodes with this nonsense. Can we just get back to what makes sense, please?
Sarah: Given Emma’s strongly rooted abandonment issues I understood completely where she as a character was coming from, but I hated that the writers revived them this way. It made no sense that she would immediately accept that Hook would up and leave her with no word at all after everything they’ve gone through. Story wise I understand the desire to have Emma face down one of her oldest standing fears with the man she loves, but I would have written it so she figured it out on her own not because of a last minute magical solution that “revealed” to her Hook didn’t leave. As heartwarming as that scene was it didn’t fit with Emma’s character to me so I wish that would have been executed differently. At the end of the day though it was contrived to keep Emma and Hook apart for a few episodes and while I have faith it’ll end well it could have been done a lot better and with better respect to Emma’s character.
Charles: I hate this storyline honestly. Hate it. I understand “Drama for Drama’s stake” but having it look like for most of the episode in Emma’s mind that Hook just left was cruel. As for Emma’s mindset, I can understand it if you’ve had that pain before. The worry of always having someone you love leave can come back in a heartbeat. How I would have handled this : Not done this storyline. Hahaha but seriously I’d have had Emma wondering if something was wrong with Hook’s disappearance. Have her investigate the disappearance more.
Maria: I think this storyline is a mess. Emma’s gotten so far on her journey that she seemed like she was over her issues. And even if she wasn’t, which is completely understandable, what was even the point of this storyline if not to let her confront those issues? It was just lazy and drama for the sake of drama and to add some fabricated angst to keep CS apart for two episodes.
If you were Emma’s friend, what would you have told her re: the Hook issue. Pick a gif.
Hook behaved like a hero – and helped Jasmine save Agrabah, even when he wasn’t sure it would help him get back to Emma. Are you comfortable calling him a hero now? Is his redemption arc over? And – how long do you think it’ll take for him to get back to his true love?
Lizzie: I think he’s been a hero for a while in everyone’s appreciation but his – which, to be honest, is the most important. He needs to not just behave like a hero, but to feel like one. However, if anyone need any proof of the fact that he is, then his behavior in this episode would have left no room for doubt. Hook wasn’t helping Jasmine because he was trying to impress Emma or because he didn’t want the Charmings to see through him – they weren’t there. He was helping Jasmine because even though the only thing he really wanted was to get back to Emma, he couldn’t do anything less. That’s the kind of person he is now.
As for his redemption arc – I tend to think that’s not over till he feels it’s over, till he’s ready to accept himself as a hero. And even then, when you’ve done the things Hook has done, redemption is sometimes something you have to fight for day in and day out. But he’s a hero for me, for the people who love him, and it’s time for him to see that. And time to get back to Emma. Which will hopefully happen next episode. It’s been too long! (Yeah, I know it’s only been one episode. That’s too long).
Sarah: Oh definitely, I’ve thought of Hook as a hero long before this truthfully. He’s far from the man we met when Emma pulled him out of a pile of dead bodies way back when. However, a lot of people in the past have tailored his heroics and his motivation for it solely on Emma when it’s clear he’s become one in his own right – whether Emma is around or not. She’s believed in him, encouraged him and while I know she’s played a part Hook has made the choice of his own volition. He’s redeemed himself in my eyes, but I think his redemption arc will be over the second he accepts this truth about himself because he knows it and not because anyone else says so. Reunion wise I want to say this upcoming episode, but since I’m not the best predictor I’m going to hope for as soon as possible.
Charles: Oh, I have been comfortable calling Hook a hero for a while. He’s done heroic things for a while now. Maybe some of them were for Emma but that doesn’t lessen the heroics of them at all. Hook’s has redeemed himself in everyone’s eyes except his. When he reaches that point, only Hook can say. For me , he’s redeemed himself already. As for how long this “roadtrip” story arc stretches, feel like 1-2 episodes tops. If stretched out anymore, then it will lead to a lot of angry fans I think.
Maria: I think he’s been a hero for a while now. He’s come so far from the vengeful pirate he was, and the only person who doesn’t believe that he’s worthy is himself. And like you pointed out, the fact that, even when he’s not with Emma he’s trying to do the right thing, trying to help, but also trying by any means possible to get back to the love of his life, proves that he’s not just not the man he was, but that he’s not Neal, ready to abandon Emma at the first sign of trouble.
Jasmine found it within herself to be the hero her people needed – and choose love. What did you think of her journey so far? Were you happy to see her get her happily ever after? Do you think this is the last we’ll see of her and Aladdin?
Lizzie: I’ve been rooting for her from the beginning, not just for her in general and for Jaladdin in particular, but for her as a woman to realize that she didn’t need a man to save her. She didn’t need Aladdin or Hook or anyone else to be the hero of Agrabah, because she was already the hero of Agrabah. And I’m glad she got there, and I’m also glad that it wasn’t easy or quick, because that makes it more relatable. Fears are hard to conquer, and yet people do it every day, and in a show where, sometimes, the answers are too simple or quick, Jasmine took a while to conquer her fears and reach for true love. And, if possible, that made it even better. So yes, I was extremely happy she found the hero within and that she let herself feel for Aladdin. I was also happy he was so patient and kind – because her feelings were obvious and the poor guy must have been clueless. They deserve to be happy together.
I anticipate they’ll be sticking around till the end of the season, though what for, I do not know. Maybe Emma and co. need help with The Black Fairy?
Sarah: It was lovely to watch Jasmine overcome the fears she’d been holding onto for so long to not only save her kingdom, but let love in with Aladdin. Since the moment she stepped on screen it was another Disney dream come true, getting to see her journey from meeting Aladdin and working to save her kingdom from Jafar in Agrabah and then in Storybrooke. I hoped it would lead to the happy ending OUAT is well known for and I wasn’t disappointed. Despite their story wrapping up, I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of Jasmine and Aladdin, but if we have it’s been good having you two on Once Upon a Time.
Charles: I’m very happy to see Jasmine overcome her fear to become the hero that she is. Her and Ariel were a lovely team together and her scenes with Aladdin were very nice as well. As for will we see her ever again? Since everyone (except Sebastian Stan lol) comes back , I would be very surprised if this is the last we see of the street rat and the princess.
Maria: I think she’s staying around, at least till the end of the season. That’s how things usually go with guest stars. And I’m glad she got her happy ending, but not as glad as I am to see her just stop asking everyone to be the hero she needed when she was the hero she needed all along. I really liked this message because, as a woman, so often we’re told someone else has to be our hero and that’s a lie, we can be our own heroes.
Princess team-up! Describe your feelings about seeing Ariel and Jasmine team up in one gif:
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.