‘Once Upon A Time’ Roundtable “Awake”

Well, that happened. And by that I mean, well …all of that.

Because, that was a good episode, wasn’t it? Wait, no …that was a great episode. That was the kind of episode I was starting to think Once Upon A Time didn’t have in them anymore. That was …happy and fun and hopeful and slightly less nonsensical than usual, even if I’m still very concerned about Baby Charming.

There was a lot of Snowing, the couple that made us fall in love with this show in the first place, there was a Captain Swan proposal – and a good one at that, and the sleeping curse came to an end. It was …almost perfect.

Here to discuss the episode with me are Fangirlish writers Caryn, Sarah and Charles. So, let’s get into Snowing’s sacrifice, that proposal and Rumple’s ultimatum.

Photo courtesy of http://genrecaps.net/

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

Lizzie: For the first time in forever in these roundtables, I’m going higher than everyone. I’m going to say 9.5 This was my favorite episode of the season, and one of my favorite episodes of the show overall. I loved the focus on Snowing, the proposal, Regina fighting for the Charmings, hell, I even loved Rumple. A+ job all around.

Caryn: 8. Mostly because for the first time in a while, it felt as if things were getting resolved and we were actually getting somewhere with regards to the storyline. And for once the flashbacks were interesting and added to the storyline and filled in some gaps I’m sure many of us had with regards to the curse and the Charmings.

Sarah:  9. This episode was my favorite of 6B and in my top episodes of the entire show honestly. I loved everything going on from the present in Storybrooke with Snow, Charming, Emma & Regina all trying to break the curse and Hook teaming up with Tiger Lily in Neverland. The flashbacks were heart wrenching & took me back to when I fell in love with the show & Snowing in Season 1.

Charles: 8.5. The extra.5 is just for getting rid of that damn sleeping spell! Also I enjoyed the flashback story of the Charmings which showed how much they have sacrificed for Emma. Also Hook and Emma’s reunion was everything I wanted and the re-proposal was a beautiful sight to behold.

Photo courtesy of http://genrecaps.net/

This was a very emotional episode. Describe your emotions while watching “Awake” in one gif:


CarynFergie GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY



Photo courtesy of http://genrecaps.net/

The episode’s theme was “Love is Sacrifice” as we saw the Charmings make a sacrifice for the good of everyone in Storybrooke, Killian basically sacrifice his life to get Emma the wand, and later, Snow sacrifice her happy ending with Charming so that Emma could save Hook. What do you think about the theme and do you think the show handled it well?

Lizzie: This has never been my favorite theme – I’d rather shows did love is fighting together – but for Once Upon A Time and what they were trying to do here, it works, and they handled it superbly, exposing us to what this means in 3 very different circumstances. First, the Charmings making the sacrifice for the good of everyone else, because they’re heroes, because it was the right thing to do and because they had faith in Emma. (Also because they didn’t have all the information, ‘cause if they had …). Then there was Killian sacrificing his life, basically, to get the wand to Emma, because he loves her so much that her well-being is more important than anything else in the world and finally, Snow basically telling Emma – we didn’t put YOU first when we should have, so let me put you first now. And I think these are all powerful messages. It’s not about choosing one thing over the other, though, it’s not black and white. It’s living in this grey world and making a complicated choice that’s 100% about love.

Caryn: I really enjoyed it, what worked well was that they were able to knit together these various scenes which echo and parallel each other without it hitting us over the head with the symbolism, it flowed beautifully. We have been hearing about the importance of love since the beginning of OUAT and this episode just helped to cement the overarching while still presenting it in a new way.

Sarah:  Honestly I think this was the best way I’ve seen this kind of theme handled on television in a long time. OUAT has always been a champion of love and all its different incarnations in the relationships of their characters. This was no different, and I loved how it was shown with simply just actions. Not repeated over and over to the point where it felt like we got hit over the head with the message.

As powerful as words are, what Snow, Charming, Emma & Hook were willing to do to put their loved ones first was, in my opinion, the peak of storytelling. The characters are who the audience care about, and in connecting with them we connect with how powerful love can be not just in their world, but here in ours. Love comes in many different forms, and themes but the one thing we can all agree on and what worked in this episode was how it can make even the impossible seem probable even as we risk it all in sacrifice.

Charles: I think the episode handled it really well. The Charmings got the spotlight in this episode and it was long overdue.  Storybrooke is their home and they have given up everything for their home and their people. It shows how heroic Charming and Snow are in that they had the chance to have Emma but knew they couldn’t. That is the hardest choice to make as a parent and they showed their selflessness there.

Photo courtesy of http://genrecaps.net/

The focus on Snowing in this episode reminded us of why we fell in love with Snow and Charming in the first place.  Did you miss them? Did you enjoy their scenes together? Do you think the “end” of their story is coming, and if so, what would be closure for them?

Lizzie: I thought I knew that I missed them. I mean, I missed them in a noticeable way, it’s not like this episode opened my eyes to something I didn’t know. But the episode did bring to the forefront how much I missed them and how much I will miss them if this is the end of their story. They’re the reason I started watching and the reason I invested in the show, and to see the flashbacks to Season 1 was beyond perfect. I didn’t know I needed this, but I did and now I need an AU where they go through the door and raise Emma and I just …have a lot of feels. I want them to chain them up and never let them go – but, at the same time, it does make sense for the characters to take a step back – not disappear, no, that would never make sense, but to stop being at the frontlines of every battle. They’ve done their time. They deserve to raise their baby (WHERE IS THE BABY?) in peace.

Caryn: I feel so sorry for the Charmings, their entire lives have been one crisis to another, if anything what they need is a break, and I hope that is what the end means for them. It was great to see them reunited again, they are at their best when they are together. As the showrunners have said that the finale will tie up loose ends, perhaps that means that the Charmings will either retire in Storybrooke or in another realm with Baby Neal and pop in now and again to give Emma advice and encouragement.  

Sarah:  What I said before was absolutely true, the flashback to S1 reminded me of how fast I fell in love with Snow & Charming literally from the pilot of Once Upon a Time. It was if the writers conspired to bring together all the elements of what made them so real, beautiful and so easy to want them to face down and overcome anything thrown their way. I loved every second of their scenes in both the present, but especially the flashbacks. Josh & Ginny kill it anytime they are together as Snow & Charming, from their reunion when Charming woke her up to them opening the door up and seeing ten year old Emma (*heartclutch*) I don’t think of it as an ending, but I do think their time on the front lines of Storybrooke is coming to an end. Charming and Snow have been through so much over the years, and personally I feel they’ve more than earned it to see Emma through this Final Battle and then settle down into a normal routine, free of constant danger and raising their son.

Charles: As I said above, it was long overdue. Josh and Ginnifer have great chemistry together (they better since they are married in real life lol) and the show spotlighting it after such a long layoff felt fresh. Their flashback scenes really had a vibe of season 1 in them and I loved them so much. As for the end of their story, I’m really not sure. I hope they can get a happy ending but I fear it might not be in the cards. The one thing I don’t want is them to be separated again. Good or bad, let it happen to them together.

Photo courtesy of http://genrecaps.net/

What was your reaction when Hook got down in one knee? Use gifs.


Caryn: Chris Pratt GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY



Photo courtesy of http://genrecaps.net/

Emma and Hook are back together, and we got a second proposal, as well as another confirmation of  their true love.  Talk about your Captain Swan feels.

Lizzie: I’m just …happy. I understand why it’s taken them so long, and the journey has had it’s ups and downs, but through it we’ve fallen in love with Emma and Hook as they’ve fallen in love with each other, and we see something in their love that makes us happy, that makes us relate. As such, we just want to share in the happiness. We want them to be okay. We want them to make breakfast together and go to bed in the same bed and have silly fights and make up and just …face life together, as an unit. And now we’re getting that, and the journey starts, for real, with a proposal that’s 100% true to character and one that puts the baggage behind and allows them to face life together with open eyes and an open heart. So I’m just ..happy. Relieved. Looking forward to seeing where this journey takes Emma and Hook and confident that, wherever it is, they’re getting there together.

Caryn: I’m so happy that they are no longer playing around with Captain Swan and we can get down to business. These are two people who have grown together, who love each other and just want to be together, can we give them this already? I’m so so glad that this episode gave them their moment and showed us (again) the lengths that they will go to save each other.

Sarah:  I think my heart burst out of my chest watching Emma and Hook both fight for each other and then the subsequent rescue, reunion and second proposal all in a matter of minutes! It’s a wonder I didn’t fall off my chair more than once (which is totally not what happened when Hook declared he would always be by Emma’s side and got back down on one knee.) I can’t begin to express how ridiculously happy I was to see one of the most well written, real & and ahem healthy OTPS reaffirm their true love for each other and commit to spending the rest of their lives together. Emma & Hook have brought so much happiness for countless people over the last few years and while I may have borderline hated the angst of the last few episodes it was worth it for everything that happened between them this hour. Kudos Captain Swan, from climbing a beanstalk to soon taking a trip down the aisle (I CAN’T WAIT *SQUEE*)

Charles: I know online there is a group of fans who feel Captain Swan is not good or healthy. I’m sorry but I don’t see that. What I see is what I saw here: Hook and Emma believing in each other. The beautiful moment of the proposal as Hook kneeled on one knee only for Emma to go down as well. They truly love and care for each other and make each other happier and better when they are together. I think that is what a OTP should be.

Photo courtesy of http://genrecaps.net/

It’s looking more and more like Rumple’s redemption – death or no death – is his son. Would this be a satisfying arc for Rumple? What do you need for this to resonate? What’s Belle’s role in all of this?

Lizzie: Do I trust Rumple? Not as far as I can throw him. Do I think this redemption is likely to stick if there’s a Season 7 and he’s back? No. Do I want this redemption to stick? Surprisingly so, yes. I have a great love for family stories and the idea that Rumple’s failings, which have always been not about lack of love, but about fear of being powerless when his family needed him – would somehow be turned around in a way that would allow him to get that redemption is very appealing. That being said, the show has constantly painted Rumple as a man ruled by fear more than love and if this is going to be the path and if he’s going to survive they better give me a damn good reason why this time it did stick or it just reeks of he loved Gideon more than Belle which is a horrible message, not only because these are two different kinds of loves but because I think that Rumple loved Belle as much as he was capable of and possibly more than he ever thought he could.

As for Belle – I wish she would do something more than be a cheerleader. She’s the woman these two men (Gideon and Rumple) love the most and a hero in her own right and I want her to get a chance to affect the outcome. I also want her to get her son back. I want a happy ending somehow. And though it still feels like this could be leading to Rumple’s death, I would love it if they could come up with an alternate solution that made sense.

Caryn: Rumple has been known for going back on his word and backsliding and while I think that saving Gideon will help him to face his own demons and be a hero for once, I do wonder how much a leopard can truly change its’ spots. I feel like the show will try and sell this as Rumple’s redemption and reason for him to play happy families again with Belle and Gideon, but I do wonder if this will stick if there is a season 7.

Sarah:  Considering I had gotten to a point where I truly didn’t think Rumplestiltskin could ever be redeemed, fighting for his son is the only way I could come back to that belief now. The entire story arc of the show started with the dominos falling that he pushed when he got Regina to cast the original curse so he could find his son. It fits that near the Final Battle his personal fight has to do with what started it all in the first place: to bring his family back together. More than anything I want Rumple’s fight for Gideon to stay about family, leave power & his addiction to magic out of it and don’t make it unbearably drawn out to the point where we don’t care anymore but want the story to end. I want to keep caring on what happens to Gideon, and how his father works to get his heart back and how any kind of reunion could go with Rumple & Belle. Belle as Rumple pointed out, seems to be the one who get truly get to Gideon despite the terrible situation he’s in. He knows the power of a mother’s love even if he was deprived of it himself and more than anything I hope that Belle’s fight for her son leads to the reunion they deserve, regardless of what happens to Rumple.

Charles: I think they are doing the best path for redemption here for Rumple. Rumple trying to save his son is a good way to redeem him and help set up what is needed for the rest of the season. As for Belle, I’m not sure but I want it to be something. She has been sitting on the sidelines way too much lately for my liking.

Photo courtesy of http://genrecaps.net/

If you had to pick one MVP for this episode, who would it be and why?

Lizzie: My MVP of the entire series is Emma Swan and for basically every episode forever and ever – and this was a good episode for her, and a great episode for Snow and Charming,  but I don’t want to repeat myself ad nauseum, so I’m going to say that my MVP for this episode is …Regina Mills. I mean, she not only gave a speech to save the Charmings, she eavesdropped on the Captain Swan proposal with style (come on, we all know she was listening in), she gave Snow, of all people, a little pep talk, and she also managed to fall asleep in her chair instead of sprawled out on the floor! That takes style.

Caryn: Mine is Ms Emma Swan, she is facing a terrifying time with the final battle coming up, and she still has time to save her boyfriend, scold her parents, support Regina, and throw some choice words at the Black Fairy. Emma Swan is not here to play around.

Sarah:  As wonderful as everyone was this episode I have to go with Josh Dallas. He is such a stellar actor and I’m reminded in full force anytime he is in full Charming on a mission to be with his loved ones mode. Watching him fight in the present and having faith in Snow & supporting his daughter was wonderful, but the flashbacks brought to life how anytime he meets Emma his heart completely opens up. When that door opened and he saw Emma sitting there on the bed and declared “she’s beautiful” I was a complete mess. Daddy Charming has always been one of my favorite relationships of the show and despite how I knew it couldn’t happen in that one moment I wanted so badly for him & Snow to go through that door and reunite with Emma.  All in all, bravo Mr. Dallas and thank you.

Charles: I’m going to go with Ginnifer though I could have flipped a coin between her and Josh. I just thought she was really great in her flashback story and it added to the main story. I was a big fan of season 1 Mary and to see her again was a very nice sight.

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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