Once Upon A Time 6×16 Review: We can be heroes?

Okay, that was sort of what I expected, and yet …it truly led to an unexpected place. And hey, any surprise a show like Once Upon A Time can procure six seasons in is a good thing. No, it’s a great thing.

But first – let me state that the Captain Swan separation has run its course. There’s nothing to be gained by keeping Killian apart at this point – there’s no even added drama, because everyone and their mother expects him to be back. You can’t say never (as in he can never come back) on a show like this one. It doesn’t have the same weight as it does in real life.

That aside, though, this was an entertaining episode that made me way more scared of the Black Fairy that I ever expected (It’s kids. She’s torturing kids!), made me feel a tremendous deal of sympathy for Gideon and even made me cheer out loud for Rumple. Wonders never cease!

So, let’s talk about heroes, their families and if we’re really nearing the final chapter in this “Mother’s Little Helper” review.

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The thing with Gideon has always been that we can understand him – and yet, we can’t just forgive all he’s done because he had a shitty childhood. Lots of people have shitty childhoods, not all of them grow up to be evil. In fact, not even most of them do. So while the flashbacks to the Black Fairy and her treatment of Gideon do provide an explanation, they don’t provide a reason.

At least they don’t until the end of the episode.

Curveball? Yes. Totally out of left field? No. In our hearts of hearts none of us believed Gideon was irredeemable – and that was when we thought he was acting of his own volition. Now? Now it’s clear, to the viewers at least, that he’s just another victim in the Black Fairy’s game.

This can be a good thing, or a bad thing. Keeping the suspense about Gideon’s true loyalties for a while would have allowed the show to shine a light on the complicated family dynamics between Rumple/Belle and their kid, yes, but putting the Black Fairy on the forefront helps give this season some stakes that when it was just Gideon – who we never believed Emma would kill – were sorely missing.

Now, it’s just up to the writing to deliver on the promise of this storyline. And when I say deliver I don’t mean just for Gideon – I mean for Belle and Rumple too, for the family these 3 never had a chance to form together. Is there a happy ending in the cards? A few weeks ago I would have said no. I would have said I didn’t want to. But right now, I really want Rumple and Belle to get a chance at a life with their son.

I’d really like it if they could just magically make him a kid again, because no one should have to live with that childhood, but I don’t think that’s what Once Upon A Time is going for. I think the journey here, for Gideon, is learning that despite The Black Fairy’s influence and training, he can be a hero. He just needs his heart back to be able to prove that.

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I mentioned it before, but the Captain Swan reunion has taken too damn long. I say reunion because everyone knows they’re getting reunited. Killian isn’t really going to stay in another realm. This is not the end of Captain Swan. This is just some misguided way to up the angst so, when they get back together, it’ll be sweeter or something.

But – that’s a mistake. We don’t need angst to make this couple’s moments together sweet. We just need the journey, and we’ve gotten that. And there comes a point in the journey where the thing that makes sense, the thing viewers want is to just see the couple get to enjoy their hard-won happiness. There comes a point where you want to see them coming home together, fixing dinner, kissing goodnight, you know, the day-to-day things. A little angst doesn’t in any way, shape or form make that better. It just frustrates fans because it’s completely unnecessary.

And yes, every couple goes through bad moments – but sometimes those moments can be external, and the couple can deal with those obstacles together. Not every little problem has to end in separation – physical or otherwise. Been there, done that, Once Upon A Time. We were promised the happily ever after, but not the one in the old Disney movies where they promised happiness but didn’t show it.

We want to see the happiness. We want to enjoy it. Especially if this is, as you teased, the final chapter.


  1. Gideon, you were raised by the Black Fairy – HOW DID YOU FALL FOR THAT OLD TRICK WITH THE KEY?
  2. How does Isaac even know about Hamilton?
  3. For that matter, how does Hamilton exist? Am I just supposed to forget about the timeline again? That old thing only matters when it’s convenient?
  4. Of all the ways to kill people – why death by spider? So much could have gone wrong.
  5. Dear old Dad needs to know of your plans, Gideon. You should have known better.


  • When Gideon was all like – “Do you really think you you frighten me?” he legit looked like you could chop of his leg and he’d be like IS THAT ALL YOU GOT?
  • All the kuddos to Giles Matthey. I didn’t think Gideon would have this depth – but he does, and Giles portrays him perfectly.
  • There have been better, more developed villains than the Black Fairy. But she’s torturing kids. KIDS. That just takes evil to another level.
  • I just want to hug Gideon and, like, make him a cup of hot chocolate.
  • I desperately wanted to see the scene where Emma told Snow and Charming that Hook didn’t really leave. Henry too! Can someone fic this? Pretty please?
  • “We’ve been looking for some mother-daughter bonding.” YES, SO HAVE WE. Where is the bonding?
  • Ugly cape is the uniform on the Black Fairy’s realm or something? Is the cape the same pattern as her dress? Why are they both so …ugly?
  • “Let’s get MY pirate back.” gave me feels. You think with Captain Swan living together, confirmed TL and all of that I’d get less feels. NOPE.
  • “What’s a pirate without a ship?” is pure Killian making fun of himself. He knows that the Jolly Roger is no longer home – Emma is.
  • Everyone’s so trusting in this show.
  • When things are too easy, something’s about to go wrong. If I know it, you should know it.
  • Though I admit I almost faltered when Gideon apologized.
  • Regina and Emma really need to communicate better re: Henry.
  • For example, if Regina had been like – something’s wrong with Henry, let me call his other mother, SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN AROUND TO HELP WITH THE SPIDER.
  • And really, did it have to be a spider? Like Ron Weasley would say – why isn’t it ever follow the butterflies?
  • She’s a mother, Isaac. Of course she’s asking a lot of questions.
  • As long as you’re asking for the impossible, why not throw in Hamilton tickets?
  • Emma’s upper body strength is hella sexy.
  • Rumple saving Emma and just not being evil for the sake of being evil is the thing I didn’t know I wanted.
  • “Captain Hook always survives.” – I appreciate the sentiment, I do, but HOW?
  • Now how will Regina tell Henry he can’t have a car for his 16th birthday?


Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.

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