This week, Nerdy Girl Contributor Leah takes the reins and shares her thoughts about the latest episode of Once Upon a Time.
Your lovely blog mistress was off being awesome in other parts of the world this week, so she asked me to step in for her, and I am excited to discuss this episode of Once Upon a Time with you all!
Title We Are Both
What Happened? While the residents of Storybrooke test the boundaries of the town and discover that leaving means forgetting their fairytale selves all over again, Prince Charming continues to try to find a way to get to Snow and Emma while simultaneously performing his duties as a leader to the people of Storybrooke. Regina continues on her quest for power, magic, and Henry.
In the fairytale-world flashbacks, we learn more about Regina and Rumplestiltskin’s first meeting (as adults), the fate of Regina’s mother Cora, and Regina’s first taste of magic that leads her to learn more. In present-day Fairytale Land, Emma and Snow are the captives of Mulan and Aurora and are thrown into a pit with Cora, who offers to help them.
Lines to Remember
“I will not listen to childcare lectures from a man who put his daughter in a box and shipped her to Maine.” (Regina)
“Are the nuns still nuns, or can they, you know, date?” (Dr. Whale)
“That’s not how you say it, dearie. But then, you don’t know how to say anything.” (Rumplestiltskin, to Regina, when she summons him by saying his name incorrectly)
What I Thought While this episode probably won’t end up holding a spot in my Top 5 Once Upon a Time episodes, it definitely was enjoyable and appeared to set us up for bigger moments as Season 2 progresses.
One of the major themes of Once seems to be that evil is not born, but made. They have shown us this several times, especially through Regina and Rumplestiltskin’s storylines, and this week it was time for more of Regina’s backstory. I am a huge fan of complex characters, and I love it when the media I consume includes characters that are not simply good or evil, just like most of the people you meet in reality.
This week, we got to see more of how Regina came to be who she is, which, interestingly enough, seems to include a lot of intervention by Rumplestiltskin. While Regina is most directly influenced by her mother, Cora, who has been using her magic to control her daughter all her life, we find out in this episode that Rumplestiltskin was the man who gave Cora her magic. It seems to me that Rumplestiltskin has a major plan in place and is trying to bring about some end result that will undoubtedly benefit him. How that will benefit him and how much of the future he can predict is unclear, but he certainly seems to be the fairytale land’s metaphorical chess player, manipulating all the pieces in order to achieve some end result.
We also saw in Storybrooke that Regina regained her powers through a spell book and used them to get to Henry. Storybrooke Regina has been continually proving since the pilot that the thing she cares most about right now is Henry, and he continues to have a redeeming and humanizing effect on her. The scene where she let Henry go is another piece of fantastic writing, in my opinion, as I felt Regina’s motives were extremely complex. She does truly want Henry to stay with her because he wants to, not because he has to, but there’s more to it than that. She doesn’t want to become her mother by using magic against Henry to force him to do things, but I also feel that Regina has some sort of plan up her sleeve that she can put into motion by Henry being with Charming. Once again, she is neither entirely good nor entirely evil, and that’s the way I like her to be.
The other major storyline in this episode showed Prince Charming’s attempts to find a way to get Emma and Snow back. While I liked Charming last season, this season he has really grown on me, and I absolutely love him.
The way his whole demeanor has changed from David to Charming is incredible – the way he speaks, the tone of his voice, even the way he stands is different from the David we knew. And yet, like Charming says in his wonderful speech near the end of the episode, he is both of them now. All of the people of Storybrooke are both of their personalities; the people they were before the curse was broken are part of them and are important. This echoes the speech Grumpy made to Snow in Season 1 when Snow wanted to take her heartbreak over Charming away with a memory-loss potion, and he told her about his own heartbreak and how he didn’t want to get rid of the pain because it was part of what made him who he was.
Other Notable Observations
• Rumplestiltskin and Charming’s truce: This intrigues me, as you know Rumplestiltskin is always up to something, and it will only be a matter of time before that non-interference pact becomes threatened by some event. It’s definitely something to keep in mind as the season goes on.
• The Town Limits: The dwarves discovered in this episode that if you leave Storybrooke, you forget everything about your past life, as if you were cursed again. The main point of significance in this discovery is in what it means for Rumplestiltskin: He cannot leave to try to find his son, Baelfire. We see him realize this in the scene where he smashes the glass of a few of his shop’s displays, similar to the manner in which he smashed things after Belle left him in “Skin Deep” (1×12). He is angry and heartbroken, and it is my belief that finding Baelfire has been his number-one priority this whole time—what he has been working towards—and it will be interesting to see how he proceeds with this avenue closed off to him.
• Red Takes Charge: During all the confusion and panic, I noticed that Red seems to be the character that serves as a sort of second-in-command for Charming and has been stepping up as a leader for the rest of the characters as well. I would watch for her to continue to play an important role in future episodes.
• Cora Reappears: At the end of the episode, we see Cora in the same pit that Emma and Snow were thrown into, and she offers Emma her help. It will be interesting to see if Snow realizes who Cora is upon waking, or if Snow will stay knocked out the whole time Emma interacts with her. One thing, however, is certain: Cora has a plan of her own and will definitely create more problems for our heroines to deal with.
• Snow vs. Mary Margaret: I don’t know if any of you noticed, but in the scene we saw of present-day Fairytale Land, Emma still calls Snow “Mary Margaret.” Significant? I think so. Emma perhaps has still not fully accepted that Mary Margaret is Snow White and her mother, so that is what she is more comfortable calling her. When we see Emma fully accept her parents and what they had to do, I think we may see her calling them by their fairytale names.
What are your thoughts on this week’s episode? Did you enjoy seeing more of Regina’s backstory, or are you ready to move on to other characters? And how do you think Emma and Snow will fare now that they are stuck in a pit with Cora? Do you think they will return to Storybrooke anytime soon, or is our whole season going to revolve around finding a way to bring them back? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!