Title Best Laid Plans
Two-Sentence Summary When Rumplestiltkin’s plan to turn Emma’s heart dark is revealed, Snow and Charming realize they have to tell their daughter the truth about what they did to ensure she would be born a hero: stealing Maleficent’s child to transfer any of Emma’s future darkness onto the baby, who was then sent into a portal and grew up to be Emma’s childhood friend Lily. With her emotions running high, Emma decides to let the Author out of the book to question him, even though August told her this Author was the only one of the many throughout history who started manipulating events, which led to his imprisonment in the book.
Favorite Line “No one—not Rumplestiltskin or some Author—gets to decide who I am.” (Emma)
My Thoughts “Best Laid Plans” was an episode about free will and the importance of it—but also the uncertainty that it causes. There’s a beautiful freedom in knowing someone can choose to be whoever they want to be, but there’s also a fear of making the wrong choice. What helps abate that fear? Hope. As such, “Best Laid Plans” was also an episode about what happens when we lose hope—in ourselves, in the people we love, and in the ability for good to always defeat evil. On Once Upon a Time, hopelessness often leads to desperation, and desperate people do terrible things. Even good people do dark things when they lose hope, and that was the message at the very heart of “Best Laid Plans.”
It seems desperation is the driving force for Rumplestiltskin’s quest to get his happy ending, and I’m very intrigued by what his conversation with (unconscious) Belle implied about his future. While it made me uncomfortable to see him kiss her hand without her consent (especially knowing she’d never give him that consent at this point had she been awake), it was interesting to see that he needed to confess to someone about his motives and chose her—even if I wish he could be brave enough to tell her while she was awake. His statement that things must happen quickly raised the idea that he feels he’s running out of time. Is he dying? Did his resurrection have a time limit no one knew about? Or was he simply talking about Belle moving on? Whatever is actually going on, this much seems clear now: Rumplestiltskin has become that desperate soul he used to be so good at exploiting. And that makes his increasing darkness feel like it’s coming from a more believable place.
Regina is another character whose desperation for her happy ending has her seeking out the Author to get him to change her fate. However, while her desperation might still be blinding her to the idea of simply changing her fate by her own choices, it’s not pushing her toward darkness the way it’s done to Rumplestiltskin. However, Rumplestiltskin apparently has something up his sleeve that he believes will make her desperate enough to give in to her darkness again. (I’m guessing Robin is in danger, and Rumplestiltskin knows it.)
I have a feeling, though, that Rumplestiltskin is underestimating Regina’s growth. She’s not the same woman who craved darkness after losing the hope of getting Daniel back. Instead, she has people around her who want to keep her from becoming completely hopeless, and at the center of that support system is Henry. I loved the way those two characters were able to read each other in the scene in which Henry gave Regina the fake page. Their relationship has changed so much from its earliest days. And so much of that growth came from Regina letting go of her need to control her son. Regina kept Henry in the dark about everything for so much of his life, but instead of letting that define him and drive him to darkness, he forgave her and grew into a resourceful and genuinely good young man (who actually had some important stuff to do in this episode!). I know that the situations aren’t exactly the same, but if Henry can forgive Regina for making him feel crazy, then it’s not impossible to believe Emma will be able to forgive her parents eventually for their attempt to take away her agency before she was born.