TV Time: Once Upon a Time 4.16



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.

Agency and free will go hand-in-hand. Because we have free will, we’re able to choose the actions we take in our lives, which determine who we are and how our life story plays out. However, “Best Laid Plans” showed us that free will might not always be free for these characters, and even the most innocent can be stripped of their agency by people who think they know what’s best. The philosophical questions raised by the actions of Snow, Charming, and the Author were deep and complex enough for a 50-page college thesis, and the way they were woven into an emotionally honest episode by Jane Espenson and Kalinda Vazquez was no small feat. It was an ambitious bit of storytelling, but it worked because it wasn’t just philosophical; it was deeply personal for these characters.

In “Best Laid Plans,” Snow and Charming were a shining example of the fact that having free will means that, at some point, we will inevitably choose something we shouldn’t have chosen. No one is perfect; even the best people can and will make bad choices. That’s what being human is all about. We all have darkness inside us, and, as much as it scares us to think about it, there will be a time in our lives where we’ll give in to that darkness. For as easy as it is to separate these characters into “heroes” and “villains,” they’re all just people, and they’re so much more complex than those labels could ever imply. If “villains” like Regina are capable of goodness, then “heroes” like Snow and Charming are also capable of darkness.

What was the driving factor in Snow and Charming giving in to that darkness and taking Maleficent’s child? Hopelessness. While Charming saw innocence and goodness when he saw Emma’s future, Snow only saw evil and pain (which I think says a lot about how both parents have approached Emma ever since—with Charming having a less pushy approach to parenting their adult daughter than Snow). And sometimes fear feels much stronger than hope, which is what happened with Snow and Charming. The fear that their child could choose darkness motivated Snow and Charming to take drastic, desperate measures to ensure their child would never even have that choice to make. Instead of having faith that their child would grow up to be good and noble, they gave in to hopelessness, which is a path to darkness.

And when Snow and Charming make a dark choice, they really go for it. I know they didn’t think Maleficent’s offspring would be a baby (and were horrified upon learning it was), but it was still terrible to take a child—human or dragon—from its mother for selfish reasons. They used their narrow-minded idea of darkness being passed from parent to child to rationalize their actions, but in the scene where they stole the egg, we were reminded that even villains aren’t all dark all the time. Cruella and Ursula standing guard at Maleficent’s nest and later trying to save the baby (explaining the presence in our world but not their 30-year aging freeze) proved that these women are loyal, good, and protective friends. And when Maleficent begged for Snow and Charming to spare her child, I actually started to cry. Kristin Bauer van Straten was absolutely heartbreaking in that scene—the best I think she’s been on the show to date. Motherhood has given depth, dimension, and humanity to so many of the female characters on Once Upon a Time, and Maleficent is no exception. Seeing her devastation upon losing her child made me so upset with Snow for being able to turn her back on a fellow mother-to-be.

However, I found myself not as angry with Snow and Charming as I thought I was going to be because they didn’t know Maleficent would lose her child in the process (which didn’t excuse their actions but did make it a little better than them knowingly sending the baby through a portal), and they immediately regretted their actions. They didn’t try to justify it or act as if Maleficent deserved what they did to her; they admitted they’d done something horrible and selfish. They admitted they compromised their values. And they started to work on finding redemption by acting like better people. Because that’s what good people do; they make mistakes, but when they do, they try be better people from that moment on.

It was Snow who reminded Charming of that in the present, and that made me proud of this character, who’s always been one of my favorites. And seeing Ginnifer Goodwin show such strength in this episode made me happy for her to be getting meatier storylines again. Snow knew that—in lying to Emma, pretending that they’d never done anything wrong to Maleficent, and lying to Henry—she and her husband were losing their way again. They were choosing to do the easy thing and not the heroic thing because they were afraid of losing their daughter to darkness like they were so many years before. But this time, they ultimately chose to do the right thing—even if it made Emma hate them in the moment.

And Emma had every right to hate them. While I appreciated the fact that Snow and Charming could admit they’d made mistakes and were working to be better than the bad things they’d done, that doesn’t mean they should be immediately forgiven for doing them. Emma spent so much of her life without agency, and just when she felt like she was finally starting to have some ability to choose her path, she found out that her parents decided the kind of person she would be before she was even born. And it was all because they didn’t believe she would be strong enough to choose good and not darkness. They made the decision for her instead of trusting her to use her free will to choose the right path. And for Emma Swan, that’s an understandably heinous offense.

This episode was structured in such a brilliant way in terms of Emma’s character growth and regression. It started with her as sure of herself as we’ve ever seen her. When Hook revealed Rumplestiltskin’s plan to turn her dark, she was so confident in her ability to remain a good person that it made me emotional. But by the end of the episode, she seemed more uncertain about herself than we’ve seen her in ages. The last shot of her standing in front of the clock tower reminded me of the pilot episode, and I think it was done to show that—just like in the pilot—this is Emma facing a turning point in her story, her journey toward knowing her true self. That’s why she let the Author out; it was another act of desperation in an episode full of them. She was desperate for more answers, and she was willing to let a dangerous man loose in order to get them.

I have a lot of questions about Emma’s free will after learning what Snow and Charming did: Does she really not have any darkness inside her, and does Lily really only have darkness inside her? (How great a reveal was that, by the way?!) It doesn’t seem to be true because we saw Lily be genuinely kind to Emma, and we’ve also seen Emma have moments of darkness. (She didn’t seem to hate life as part of a “Bonnie and Clyde act,” she let Regina rip out the lost boy’s heart, she threatened to kill Regina if Henry died, etc.) So if it’s not true that all of Emma’s darkness is gone, then why didn’t the spell work? Was it because Snow and Charming weren’t there for her formative years her after the Apprentice made a point of saying it was their job to guide her to the light? Or was it because the spell itself was a phony product of the Author’s manipulations and thus didn’t actually do anything but open a portal?

I’m hoping that it’s revealed that, despite what her parents tried to do, Emma has always had the ability to choose either light or darkness. Otherwise, part of the beauty of Emma’s story is lost, which is that she grew up under such horrible circumstances but still ultimately chose to be a good person. Self-definition has always been a part of Emma’s journey (going all the way back to her “People are going to tell you who you are your whole life” speech in Season One), and it would absolutely kill me to see that part of her story taken away because her parents chose who she was going to be before her birth.

I think that anxiety is exactly what we’re supposed to feel. Emma has always been the eyes and emotions through which we discover this world, so we’re supposed to identify with her; we were supposed to be scared and confused and angry along with her in this episode. And Jennifer Morrison did such a great job of grounding Emma once again in very relatable emotions—from her red-rimmed eyes as the episode went on, showing Emma had been crying, to the way she clung to Hook when he held her at the docks. It’s one thing to find out the course of events in your life has been controlled by forces other than you since your birth. That’s difficult, but Emma is learning to accept it. However, it’s an entirely different thing to find out that the kind of person you are might not even be in your control.

Despite Emma’s very understandable sense of self-doubt by the end this episode, I have something a lot of the characters don’t seem to have right now: hope. It’s my hope that Emma’s words at the beginning of this episode will prove to always be true: Nobody gets to tell her who she is. I don’t think it was a coincidence that she said this when Hook voiced doubts about darkness sneaking up on her. That moment was the entire episode in microcosm. Hook had good reasons to grow momentarily hopeless about the Dark One harming another woman he loves; he knows the power of darkness, but he let his fear of Emma turning dark cloud his belief in Emma’s strength. But in the face of that worry, Emma was there to reassure him that he wasn’t about to lose her to darkness. She believed she could choose the right path, and I hope she is able to convince herself of that as strongly as she was able to convince him.

Seeing Emma comfort and reassure Hook with such tenderness and then seeing her emphasize that Hook didn’t have to worry about August reminded me of the fact that Emma might feel like she hasn’t been able to choose a lot of things for herself, but there’s one choice no one made for her: to open her heart to Hook. And that choice is going to be so important for her during this time of self-doubt. We saw the first signs of it in the scene between them at the docks, as Hook was able to talk to her when her parents couldn’t. There was a sweet little moment before they hugged in which Emma took his hand and looked into his eyes, and Morrison was able to convey so much in that look. Hook is one of the few people Emma is still choosing to trust. And it’s because she still feels hopeful with Hook; she still believes he won’t let her down. Whether it’s a gentle embrace or a desperate one in the midst of a new storm, both of these characters have chosen to lean on each other and draw strength and reassurance from each other. And in an episode all about the choices we make and the choices we’re robbed of, Emma’s choice to still lean on Hook after her world was shaken was beautiful.

Every character’s world was shaken by the revelation that there were many Authors (including a guy named Walt—don’t think I didn’t notice that perfect nod to Mr. Disney), but the Author trapped in the book was given that fate because he began manipulating stories. I wonder if he only manipulated one moment, or if it will be discovered that he actually played a role in a lot of the stories we saw. I’m hoping he’s not as meddlesome as he seems to be because I still think it’s important to show characters being responsible for their own actions. And sticking with that line of thinking, I believe Emma is going to try to take responsibility for her parents’ actions by finding Maleficent’s daughter, which is going to make for an interesting reunion between Emma and Lily.

Right now, Emma might think she needs the Author to help her figure out her story, but I hope that it becomes clear to everyone—including Emma—that nobody (including her parents) gets to tell her who she’s going to be.


14 thoughts on “TV Time: Once Upon a Time 4.16

  1. [“Does she really not have any darkness inside her, and does Lily really only have darkness inside her? “]

    I believe she still does . . . especially if you look at her past history before the show began and during.

  2. Great post, as always. I know we all appreciate your work on these.

    — While I cringed at Snow and Charming’s actions, it was such a great picture of the snowball effect of trying to cover up a lie and the lengths we will go to control things. One crazy thing led to another until Charming was ready to burn the page and lie to his grandson.
    What made it horrifying was that their initial motivation was good. They wanted the best for their child — but they were trying to take a shortcut to get there. Even with the darkness removed (and yeah, I’m a little suspicious about that, too), it was still up to Snow and Charming to guide her. How can you guarantee goodness in another person without taking away her choice and part of who she is? No wonder Emma was angry.

    However, Snow’s realizations about the easy way and kindness were brilliant.

    — I continue to adore the Emma-Killian relationship. At one time, the reveal of this level of deceit would have had Emma putting up walls like crazy and fleeing in the yellow bug. I love that she doesn’t take offense at Killian’s concern that she might go dark, but consoles him. Given how much Rumple has manipulated Hook, I think his concern is understandable. And how great was it that Hook went to Emma immediately with this info? No hiding it from her. I love, too, that the Charmings seem to be more accepting of him as well, sending him to Emma with the news about August. And how cute was Killian’s jealousy? And how great that he doesn’t let that interfere with his support of Emma and telling her that her friend is ok?

    — I really wonder if Rumple’s going to be able to come back from this. I found his actions with Belle creepy and just more evidence that he doesn’t really respect her. Plus, he was very willing to dispense with his own grandson if it meant finding the Author. And really, Rumple, “If I can”? That’s your best? Charming is all, “I will always find you.” Hook gives us, “I’d go to the end of the world and time.” But the best you can do is, “If I can”? It’s a tribute to the writers that I get THIS irritated with him.

    — Regina’s growth continues to be amazing. I’m curious how Regina and Emma’s friendship will develop in the aftermath of what’s happened here.

    — Is it wrong that I laughed at Cruella’s puppy-mittens?

    — I’m curious to see where the Author story goes. I did love that it’s a position of recorder — including a “Walt” — and that our current author has exceeded his authority. I did think it odd that, given Regina’s investment in this issue, no one waited or even suggested waiting for Regina before releasing the author.

  3. Before I get into my thoughts on this episode, I have to say that August’s mention of the dragon inspired me to go back and watch ‘Selfless, Brave, and True’ since the first time it aired (because really, who wants to ever see Greg and Tamara make out again). I wanted to see if there was any talk of the author or any hint that August took anything from him. They dont show anything of the sort, but there is nothing to contradict that notion either.

    But what I did find VERY interesting was this exchange with Marco and Mary Margret when they are talking about August turning to wood:

    Marco: This is all my fault.
    MM: Our children make their own decisions, Marco. You can’t blame yourself for anything that’s happened.
    Marco:Yes, I can. And you should blame me, too. The wardrobe I built for you. The one that transported Emma to this world… she did not go alone.
    MM: Of course she did. The wardrobe only had enough magic to transport one person.
    Marco: No, that was a lie I made The Blue Fairy tell you. It had enough magic to transport two, and it did… your daughter… and my son… Pinocchio.
    MM: I could have gone with her? With Emma?
    Marco: There is no apology I could give that could ever make up for what I did. But I am so sorry.
    [MM slaps Marco]
    Emma: What are you doing? He’s apologizing.
    Marco: No, no, that’s okay. I deserve that.
    MM: No, that wasn’t me. (side note: I guess Hook is not the only one with a rogue evil hand!) Marco, I am so sorry. I’m not myself. You just made a mistake. I would have done the same thing for my child. I forgive you. You were protecting your son.
    Marco: No. I burdened him with a weight no child should have to bear, and I called it love.

    I think its pretty reasonable to say that as atrocious as Snow and David’s actions were, I don’t think they came out of nowhere.

    Bonus ironic conversation from the same ep:

    August: That’s my problem… hoping. Hoping that things can still work out. Hoping that I can find redemption for the mistakes that I made. But maybe some things you just don’t come back from.
    MM: No matter what you’ve done, you deserve a second chance.
    August: That’s easy for you to say. You never had to worry about forgiveness, redemption. You’ve never needed it.
    MM: August, it’s time to stop feeling sorry for yourself.

      • Haha, thanks! Its honestly one of my favorite things about the show. How many shows out there make you want to go back and re-watch to see how everything fits together? I always remember or learn something new every time I watch an old episode over again!

  4. This was absolutely fantastic! You put into words exactly what I was thinking in regards to Emma’s journey and hoping that this story doesn’t rob her of all the heroic choices she’s made despite her “villain’s” backstory.
    As always your analysis of the Hook and Emma scenes were spot on and I loved your revelation that Hook is a choice she’s made in which no one else has had a say. I like that idea very much.

  5. I think it’s going to turn out that the spell to give Emma’s darkness to Lily was a load of crap, one way or another. It just doesn’t fit with the messages of agency and free will that this show lives by. And it’s pretty clear that Lily wasn’t evil. Sure, she wasn’t perfect, but she we didn’t see any sign that she was a villain or evil. I was thrilled when I realized that she was the child Maleficent lost. People find each other for reasons on this show and I’m excited that Lily has more of a role to play in Emma’s life, however that works out.
    I hope they have something really good to explain what the hell Rumple has been doing this season. I was a little more hopeful that there is a good reason behind it all after his “talk” with Belle. I’m going to trust that the writers are doing something interesting with him.
    I was glad that the Snow/Charming deception story finally came to a head, even though it was awful to watch. The snowballing of lies was just making me more and more anxious. I keep yelling “secrets and lies!!” at the TV (not just on this show though. I realize that secrets and lies are what TV drama is all about, but it’s not always enjoyable). I don’t like Snow or Charming being like this, so I was glad that they got back to a more heroic place. I loved it when we finally got their theme music back when in the flashback – it felt like they were finally back.
    Good episode. A lot to love and a lot to look forward to. I love that I never know where we’re going on this crazy show! (the promo for next week left me wondering wtf?!)

    • I like that you brought up that people find each other for reasons in the show. Between Neal, Ingrid, and now Lily, it seems like Emma was a magnet for people from the enchanted forest. Emma was finding people long before she even knew she was doing it!

  6. lovely review as always Katie.

    I enjoyed this episode a lot. It was nice to get answers to some of the outstanding questions (how Ursula and Cruella got to our world) and that the search for the Author has moved forward (still a search, but at least he’s human now!)

    I also really enjoy when they bring back a known rule of magic. I feel like lately they have just been making up new rules out of nowhere (like last weeks ep) but it was nice to see the whole sleeping curse immunity come back into the plot. I wonder what Aurora was up to when this went down? And is the whole town immune to sleeping spells now? Also, its interesting that they have brought up the immunity thing multiple times now (sleeping curses, Anna with the spell of shattered sight, and magic hat entrapment) yet everyone in the town was not immune to the dark curse being cast a second time (although the dark curse seems to be in a league of its own). I am starting to believe more than ever that the author might have actually written the dark curse himself.

    I love what you said in regards to Hook and Emma. That scene where Charming and Snow told Emma what had happened was heartbreaking (again, I love that we didnt have to hear the retread of the story, but we just got to see Emma’s reaction to it). But as sad as that seen was, it was a little easier to bear knowing that Emma didnt have to go through the pain alone this time. This was a true give and take situation. Hook was there to give comfort, and Emma allowed herself to take that comfort. And that was beautiful to see.

    I liked pretty much everything in this episode, and I am not going to go into it all, but Regina and Henry were also perfect, and even the scene with Rumple and (unconscious) Belle didnt bother me as much as the ‘pirate’s oath’ scene did. This one read more ‘sad’ than ‘creepy’ to me. And like others I am starting to wonder if there is more going on with Rumple and his motivations than we know.

    Other thoughts:
    -I am still trying to reserve judgement on aftermath of the Emma/Lily spell. It definitely doesn’t seem like the spell worked on either of them.

    -Again my love of Kristin Bauer van Straten continues. She was once again perfect in this episode and I am totally rooting for her. I loved the choice to have her “costume” free in that scene where she asked for mercy from Snow and Charming. A lovely visual that she was not demanding as a villain, she was asking as a mother.

    -Poor Killian. Not only does he know Emma loves a handsome man in leather, he is also used to men from her past coming back just when things start going well for them. I dont blame him for his moment of worry.

    -And finally, I kept thinking that in a High School AU version of this episode, Rumple totally would have used the sleeping spell to go put Wil’s hand in warm water and draw on his face with a sharpie.

  7. There was so much I loved about this episode! After getting increasingly frustrated with Snow & Charming’s recent parental “yo-yoing,” for lack of a better term, I was almost as concerned that the revelation of their past with the “Queens of Darkness” would be forced retcon-ing — even by the standards of a fantastical show like this one. However…realizing that their black-and-white belief/stance in good v. evil stems from a place of guilt…that was a powerful moment for me as a viewer. They — especially Snow — is so fearful of darkness that they became willing to do anything to guarantee the opposite in their child…attempting to negate the most precious gift of all, free will/choice.

    I suspect…hope!…that seeing how this backfired, coupled with the revelation that the most recent author was seeking to MANIPULATE stories, not simply chronicle them, will lead to revelations for everyone involved that all along they’ve been the authors of their fates. That choices, even bad or unfortunate ones, play a part in making us who we are, and it’s what we DO with those choices that determine the type of person we’re going to be. They don’t have to define us. (I especially look to see this in Emma, Hook, and Regina.)

    I can’t wait to find out whether or not the author was able to manipulate stories while trapped in the book, or if events he’d orchestrated earlier in his tenure played a role, for example, in Regina NOT going in the pub to meet Robin and becoming the Evil Queen, etc. Stuff like that. Moments where hurting characters might sincerely believe that they have no choices left, but instead bought into that lie, and once realizing that, realize they have the power to change.

    I’ve got to run to a meeting but there’s more I’d like to process and I want to read everyone else’s comments in more depth!!! Thanks for the forum. 🙂

  8. Great review Katie! While I didn’t like what Snow & Charming did to Malificent (& her daughter) I did like their conversation in the nursery after as they agreed going forward that they would be the best people they could be. Emma & Hook continue to be a great couple as at the start of the ep we saw Emma comfort Hook and by the end he was supporting her. I think Hook will be Emmas rock over the next few eps as she works through her emotions. I think we really saw Emmas pain and anger in her scene with August and her parents – I can see Hook acting as a buffer between Emma and her parents, as she really won’t want to listen to anything they have to say for a while. I like the idea of Emma righting her parents wrongs by reuniting Malificent with her daughter.

    I stand by my theory that Rumple will prob die at the end of the season, and I think Rumple gave the magic quill to the author back in the Enchanted Forest.

    I have to say I’m not really looking forward to the next episode as I don’t really like Robin and I don’t really care about Zelena either!

  9. I loved the Author reveal so much and I want to know everything about him and what he wants. I want to know why he needed Snow and Charming to have the spell performed and what his motivations were. I still like that he was clearly manipulating some things but not everything that’s happened since everyone left the Enchanted Forest, since he seems to have been stuck in a book for much of that time. Mostly because it leaves Regina’s journey of self-discovery to find her happy ending intact. She’s worked to be a better person and to move on from the darkness she once surrounded herself in and that path is what’s leading to her happiness.

    Snow and Charming’s visions of what Emma would grow up to be explain so much about their differing relationships with her. I don’t know why Snow seems to fear/be more inclined to believe in the darkness in their daughter more than Charming but it’s been a recurring issue in their relationship and hope that maybe now they can start to work past it.

    • I love that you brought up the differences between Charming and Snow’s vision of their daughter. I thought it was amusing that Charming’s vision was so short sighted. I am not quite sure how you are supposed to tell if a baby is evil or not…was he expecting horns? Teenager though, definitely a time when a dark heart would start to show. I wonder if those visions were actually real or created by the author? Did Charming think as long as the baby was born healthy he would be able to protect her from the darkness, hence why he only needed to see baby form? I would love to hear Jane’s reasoning behind the age differences.

  10. I’m so happy that Once has finally addressed two things here: free will, and that even good people can make really bad decisions.

    I loved how the apprentice explained that we all have the capacity for good and evil, but it’s the implied choice, whether we decide to good or evil, is something we have to choose for ourselves. Personally, I think Emma would have chosen good because Snow and Charming are good. That’s the kind of environment that would have influenced Emma’s decisions. Had she been raised by someone evil, like Rumple or Regina, then I would say for sure Emma would have become evil.

    The other thing, even good characters can make bad decisions, is something I’ve always believed. Snow and Charming, both are good people but being good does not make you immune from making bad decisions. Even Charming said that passing off Emma’s potential evilness to another innocent child was wrong, but it was Snow who justified, what if it’s not a child? What if it already a monster? Does it make the act any less monstrous? The fact that the child, Maleficent’s child turned out to be a human baby, made Snow regret what she did. Because she already decided, you know it’s a monster anyway so it won’t cause any harm. Had Lily not being born at that moment, it’s doubtful Snow would have had a change of heart. She was already set in her belief that they weren’t doing something wrong.

    I think it also goes back to past seasons too, where we’ve seen good characters like August and Neal make choices for the greater good but those choices had horrible consequences for someone else (ie., Emma). Does what they did make them bad people?

    I also feel bad for Emma in all of this because now, she’s learning once again, someone she loved, took away from her free will and agency for the greater good. Someone else already decided her fate for her, instead of letting her choose her own fate.

    I also love the metaphor of Snow and Charming’s vision of Emma. Charming’s always seen the best in Emma, so it made sense he saw her as a sweet, innocent baby. And Snow got treated to Emma as a teen, which sometimes, can be the most violent period growing up. What does it say about adolescence, growing up as a teenager in the enchanted forest, that puberty can somehow make you susceptible to evil?

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