Before I get started on this week’s post, I wanted to take a moment to offer my condolences to the family and friends of a fellow Oncer who passed away over the weekend. Adri, you are loved and you will be missed.
Title The Price
Two-Sentence Summary As flashbacks to Camelot reveal that Regina pretended to be the Savior for Emma’s safety, Emma in all her Dark One glory puts the full pressure of being the Savior on Regina in Storybrooke. This involves coming up with a plan to save Robin from being taken to the underworld after Regina asked Emma to save his life using her new dark magic in Camelot.
Favorite Line “I spent over a century trying to kill the bloody Crocodile. I can spend at least that long trying to save the woman I love.” (Hook)
My Thoughts “All magic comes with a price.” This is one of the founding principles of Once Upon a Time. But like all good fairytales, this theme is actually about so much more than magic. All actions have consequences. All choices have ramifications. And the question becomes, what price can we live with?
There’s a defining line on Once Upon a Time between the heroes and the villains in terms of how they handle people who make choices that hurt them. The heroes choose to forgive and to move on. Villains revel in doling out punishment, in making people pay for their choices. There’s a reason “All magic comes with a price” is attributed to Rumplestiltskin at his darkest. And whether it was Regina’s desire to ruin Snow’s life after Snow told the secret that got Daniel killed, or Hook’s quest to seek vengeance for Milah’s death (which led to him trying to kill Belle), we’ve seen time and again that darkness often manifests itself in a desire to hurt those who hurt you. We even saw that last season with Emma, who turned her back on her parents as a way to punish them after learning that they transferred her darkness onto Lily before the girls were born.
Thematic continuity is a beautiful thing, so I’ve loved that Emma’s version of the Dark One is an extension of the darkness we saw in her when she learned her parents’ secret last season. Emma is the most empathetic character on Once Upon a Time; at her best, she understands the reasons people made the choices they did, and she doesn’t hold those choices against them. But at her darkest, Emma wants to make the people who’ve let her down pay. There’s a righteous anger to this version of Emma that’s fascinating. And that righteous anger is allowing those who love her to confront their own missteps and become better versions of themselves in the process, as they work to rectify the mistakes they made in the past—even if they can’t remember exactly what those mistakes were.