TV Time: Once Upon a Time 5.13

JONATHAN WHITESELL, GINNIFER GOODWIN

Source: ABC/Eike Schroter

Title Labor of Love

Two-Sentence Summary As flashbacks reveal Snow’s connection to the young demigod Hercules, she works in the present to remind him of what he’s capable of, while also rediscovering what she’s capable of. The two heroes team up with Meg to bring down Cerberus, while Henry runs into an old foe with a new plan and Hades continues to find new ways to torture Killian.

Favorite Line “I’m saying I don’t want to be Mary Margaret anymore. I want to be Snow White again.” (Snow)

My Thoughts Once Upon a Time has many recurring themes: redemption and forgiveness, hope, love, family…But my favorite theme tackled on this show has always been self-definition. I’ve loved watching the way Emma’s line from Season One about punching back and saying, “No, this is who I am,” has been reflected in the journeys of so many of this show’s characters—from Emma herself to Regina and Killian.

“Labor of Love” put that theme in the spotlight once again, and it did so using a common motif for this show: the reclamation of a name. Names matter on Once Upon a Time. And in an episode that started with Killian using his given name first and his more common—but more villainous—name second, names mattered perhaps more than ever.

For so long, I’ve been decrying the use of “Mary Margaret” instead of “Snow White,” and it seems those who sit on the Once Upon a Time version of Mt. Olympus finally heard my pleas to bring back the name—and the identity—of my favorite character, the one who made me fall in love with this show and the one I relate to the most. I might be biased because of how much that name change meant to me, but I thought this was one of the strongest episodes in recent memory. It took one of the show’s most important themes and carried it through stories in the past and present that shed new light on a character who’d been stuck in the shadows for far too long.

Snow wasn’t the only character whose name carried weight in this episode. As I mentioned, the episode started with Killian telling Meg his name is “Captain Killian Jones” before adding “Captain Hook.” It seems fitting that Killian would want to define himself first and foremost by his given name and not the name he gave himself when he was at his lowest and darkest. Killian finally sees himself as a hero; he chose the man he wanted to be when he chose to take on the darkness and die to destroy it, and that man is Killian Jones and not Captain Hook. And even now—when dying as a hero has seemingly caused him endless torment in the Underworld (Once again, kudos to the makeup team for making the absurdly handsome Colin O’Donoghue look terrible.)—he wants to remain a hero. He wants to live up to the name Emma has called him after getting to see his true self, his heroic heart. So he put himself in danger to free Meg and to make Emma’s job of finding him easier.

And what gave Killian the strength to keep fighting as a hero? The things that are the root of all strength on Once Upon a Time: hope and love. Seeing that Emma has come to the Underworld to save him has given Killian hope, and that keeps him fighting. His faith in her and in their love has allowed him to continue to be his bravest self. It was beautiful to see Emma’s determination to find him paralleled with his determination to help her do that, even while being held captive. Heroes find the courage to fight when it would be easier and safer to just stay on the sidelines—that’s what this episode taught us. And Killian’s desire to keep fighting—whether that’s helping Meg get free or never giving up hope that the woman he loves will find him (because “when you love someone, you know”)—is a testament to the heroic part of his identity he’s finally learned to embrace.

To contrast Killian, the Hercules we met in the Underworld lost his sense of self after he died trying to do the heroic thing. There’s nothing more tragic on Once Upon a Time than seeing a character become hopeless, resigned, and unwilling to fight to be their best self. And that’s exactly what happened to Hercules. His unfinished business wasn’t just about defeating Cerberus and saving Meg; it was about believing once again that he could be a hero. But, as we’ve seen time and again on this show, it’s hard to believe in yourself when you’re the only one doing the believing. Having a support system matters, and there’s nothing weak about someone drawing strength from those around them. In fact, a willingness to allow others to help and support you is what makes you a true hero.

In order for Hercules to rekindle the heroic fire in his heart, he needed to find someone to believe in that part of him, and there was no one better suited for that task than Snow. I loved Snow and Hercules’s relationship. There was such warmth between them in both the past and present, and I really liked that Snow was shown to have had a romantic connection with someone long before she met Charming. Once Upon a Time has always gone out of its way to show that first love and true love aren’t always synonymous like they seem to be in the fairytales of old, but that also doesn’t mean we should consider young love as inherently less than the kind we find later in life. No matter when someone comes into your life or how long they stay in it, if they were important to you, then they were important to you. There’s no need to deny that. It meant a lot to me that Snow was shown to have a healthy, mutually supportive first brush with romantic love that didn’t emotionally scar her in the way first love often has for characters on this show. Instead, it helped her become her best self.

(Side note: How adorable were Bailee Madison and Jonathan Whitesell together? They had fantastic chemistry. Whitesell also had a great onscreen rapport with Ginnifer Goodwin. Both actors really sold the slightly bittersweet nature of their present relationship with a layered affection that couldn’t have been easy to get just right.)

In the past, Hercules was the one who helped awaken the hero in Snow. He believed in her ability to protect her subjects, and he gave her the tools to do so. I’ve always wondered how Snow learned archery, and I thought this was the perfect way to show that bit of backstory. This episode’s flashbacks reminded me of the ones from the show’s first season; they felt like they were providing important information about a character’s past while also connecting to the present story in both plot and theme. In this case, not only did the flashbacks introduce Hercules and Snow’s relationship; they provided another lens through which we could view the theme of choosing to be a hero.

Hercules taught Snow that a hero doesn’t let failure or the fear of failure stop them from trying to do the right thing. And that allowed her to find the strength to defend her people. It’s clear that lesson stayed with Snow long after Hercules left her, because she used those words to inspire him upon learning that he didn’t want to face Cerberus after the beast killed him. However, it soon became clear that words—no matter how truthful and supportive they are—aren’t always enough to inspire people. Sometimes we need to take action.

And that is where Snow’s character arc really took off. It broke my heart to see her feeling as hopeless as Hercules after he ran from Cerberus. But then she was inspired by a “hope speech” from the one person she probably never expected: Regina. Snow White doesn’t give up, and no one knows that better than Regina. So it made sense for Regina to be the one to remind Snow of what she’s capable of as he truest self and not as Mary Margaret. The relationship between Snow and Regina has always been one of the show’s most nuanced. Snow knew Regina before she became the Evil Queen. She knew Regina at her worst, but she also knew her at her best. And Regina knows the same of Snow—she’s literally held her heart in her hands more than once. So when Regina encouraged Snow to find her strongest self again, it was because Regina knows that self in the way only someone who’s known you since childhood can. Snow has spent so long encouraging Regina to be the person she’d lost sight of somewhere along the way, so it made me incredibly emotional to see Regina do the same for her. Snow’s most impressive show of heroism came from never giving up on Regina, and their friendship has now made both women stronger.

That scene between Regina and Snow was a testament to how well Once Upon a Time handles complex relationships between women. It was also a testament to how great Goodwin and Lana Parrilla are as scene partners. They bring such depth to their interactions, and they build each other up as actresses in the same way their characters build each other up as friends.

With Regina’s words about needing more than Mary Margaret echoing in her brain, Snow found her fighting spirit again. And that fighting spirit inspired Hercules and eventually Meg in a way no hope speech ever could. Sometimes you have to lead by example, and that’s what Snow did by tapping into the heroic part of herself that seemed to be lost. She didn’t just offer moral support to Hercules; that’s a job for Mary Margaret. Snow White is a woman of action. So she picked up her bow, told Meg to take Hercules’s sword, and literally fought alongside them to take down Cerberus. And together, they defeated the beast (But is he really dead? That seemed too easy.), proving once again that heroes work together—they don’t try to do everything on their own.

In the end, Hercules rediscovered his inner hero. He learned to believe in himself again, and, in doing so, he completed his unfinished business. He fulfilled his destiny in defeating Cerberus, and he fulfilled a different kind of destiny by forming a connection with Meg. I got more than a little misty-eyed when they walked hand-in-hand into the light. Not only did they get to move on to a better place because they became their best and bravest selves together, Hercules got to finally go home. He became a true hero, and he now also had the hope of true love by his side.

In helping Hercules work through his unfinished business, Snow discovered that she had some of her own (which I think will be a recurring theme this half-season). Somewhere along the way, she’d also lost sight of her inner hero. She’d begun to fade into the background, sitting on the sidelines when she’d always been a woman of action. As she juggled with her identities as a wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, her identity as her own woman seemed to disappear.

And sometimes that happens in life. Sometimes we try to be so many things to so many people that we lose sight of who we truly are. Sometimes we forget that we need to be the hero in our life’s story rather than just a supporting player in everyone else’s story—no matter how much we love them and want to support them. Sometimes we find ourselves defined by an identity that we didn’t choose. And sometimes we forget that growing older doesn’t have to mean losing the boldness and bravery we had when we were younger.

While Snow’s inability to break free of her identity as Mary Margaret reflected these sad truths, her reclamation of her real name reflected an even more important truth: We have the power to define ourselves on our own terms. If we don’t like who we’ve become, we can change. We can dust off the parts of our identity that have been hidden for far too long and embrace our strongest self—no matter how long it’s been since we’ve been that person. But it’s up to us to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight. It’s up to us to reclaim our story.

And Snow did exactly that by telling her loved ones that she wanted to be called by her real name again. Mary Margaret was a meek identity forced upon her; Snow is the heroic identity she built from birth by her own actions and choices. Mary Margaret talked the talk, but Snow also walks the walk. And it filled me with joy to see the other characters—especially Emma—look at Snow with such pride as she talked about wanting to inspire people by being her truest self again. While speeches about hope are great, what’s even more inspiring are moments like that one—moments in which a person becomes the living embodiment of hope by choosing to be their best self again.

Snow proved that we have the power to control our story, but on a show about fairytales, there are often additional forces at play. One of these has always been the presence of the Author. I loved seeing Henry get his own plot and his own moral conundrum to deal with in this episode, thanks to the always-fabulous Cruella. (I missed her almost as much as I missed Snow being Snow.) Will Henry use his power to write Cruella back to life so Emma will no longer have “murderer” as part of her identity? Will he try to write others back to life now that he believes he can? No matter what happens, it’s always fun to discover more pieces of this show’s mythology, and that’s exactly what this plot is doing with the rules for the pen and the Author. (And it makes perfect sense for Cruella to be the one to know all this because of her history with Isaac.)

While Cruella is still everyone’s favorite psychopath, she has some stiff competition now with Hades. I was so impressed with the episode’s final twist. It’s one thing to torture a man physically. It’s another to tell him that, for every person his loved ones help, one of them has to stay in the Underworld. And it’s something else entirely to force him to pick who has to stay. It was a devious game worthy of Rumplestiltskin at his worst, and it skyrocketed Hades up my list of characters on this show I love to hate.

“Labor of Love” had a lot of things working in its favor: great villains posing new threats, fantastic guest characters, and even some fun Disney references (“Wonder Boy,” Hercules catching Meg, and the beautiful music played during Hercules’s scenes that sounded so much like the animated movie’s score). But what made it truly special was the way it brought life back to one of the show’s most important characters. Once Upon a Time is at its best when Snow White is at her best. So welcome back, Snow, and let’s hope we never hear the name Mary Margaret again.

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24 thoughts on “TV Time: Once Upon a Time 5.13

  1. I thought the Apprentice said that the Author does not have the power to bring someone back from the dead. (???)

    • He did say that, but Cruella told essentially told Henry that the Apprentice didn’t know everything about the Author’s powers and that he could have to told Henry that to keep him from trying. It’s going to come down to who Henry believes and what he does with this conflicting information.

  2. This was lovely, Katie. You can really feel how much Snow means to you as a character and how that made this episode so powerful for you. And you know I’m always a fan of you talking about the show’s theme of self-definition. It’s consistently some of your best writing.

    After a very serialized 5A, I’ve been enjoying the return of the character-of-the-week format. I like seeing these new (or returning) characters find peace and being able to move on. I don’t know how long it will last, but it’s been a nice change for me. I think it also gives the flashbacks a little more power and relevance to the present-day story, which is always appreciated.

    As always, it is a delight to have Cruella back. I’m intrigued by her story and what this means for Henry as the Author. But as far as other villains go, I’m also loving (and hating) Hades. His arrangement with Killian was incredibly evil and I loved it.

    • Thanks, my beautiful tropical fish! Snow is such an important character to me, so I’m thrilled that my love for her came across in this post. I’m so excited because after this episode I feel like I can actually write to her for The Fan Mail Project now!

      I’m also really enjoying the character-of-the-week stories (and it looks like next week we’ll be getting that again with Milah). It feels very much like the way the stories were handled in Season One, when each character we met in the flashbacks was given a happy ending in the present. Maybe that’s why these first two episodes of 5B have felt like such a welcome return to the show’s roots.

  3. This episode was SO GOOD…after this week and the 100th episode, if this keeps up it is well on its way to becoming one of my all-time favorite arcs. The parallels between where a character was when we started this journey and where they are now are giving me ALL THE FEELS.

    I was so so so happy to see Snow get such a strong (and IMO, long overdue) showcase. I know that time in the show doesn’t pass as quickly as it does in real life (at least so I’ve read), but still to be in season 5B and to finally get Snow reclaiming the fierceness and passion that helped define her in the Enchanted Forest? LONG TIME COMING. (And to be clear, this is coming from someone who pretty much loves the show to pieces, so I’m definitely not trying to knock the writers…they have quite the job juggling these characters & plot points!)

    I am so excited for next week, especially since the preview looks like Emma finally finds Hook! But with the stellar writing and characterization they’ve given us the past two weeks, I can’t wait to see what other treats are in store.

    Also, seriously bummed that we’re only getting one appearance of Hercules and Megara…those are characters I would’ve loved to see more of!

    • I’m with you, Ruth; this is shaping up to be a fantastic arc for all the characters—not just a select few. I honestly never expected Snow to get this kind of focused and careful writing ever again, so I’ll admit that my expectations for the rest of this arc are now even higher than they were before. It’s going to be an emotional ride, and I can’t wait to see where it takes us!

  4. Yes! That was a very enjoyable episode. The flashbacks worked perfectly with the present day storyline and I loved Herc and his storyline in the past and in the Underworld. I thought of you when young Snow and Herc kissed – I loved that Snow had a sweet first love long before Charming. And hurrah for no more Mary Margaret! I want to see more of strong badass Snow White in the present day.
    I was never quite such a fan of Cruella, but it was fun to have her back. I’m looking forward to seeing where Henry goes with that story.
    I’m on the fence about Hades. I don’t dislike the character, but I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I have strong feelings about him yet. If/when he keeps tormenting Killian though… I liked the graphic someone made of the 3 gravestones engraved with Gold, Rumplestiltskin, and Crocodile! haha.
    I think this will be a great season.

    • I love that you thought of me when Snow and Herc kissed! They were adorable, and I think it makes things much more realistic that Snow loved someone in her youth long before she met her husband.

      I can understand not feeling anything too strongly toward Hades yet. I love the actor playing him, so I think that’s helped me warm up to the character right away.

  5. Beautiful job, sweetie. I love reading your enthusiasm for Snow. Joy practically leaps off the page. I will try to keep this post under control, but . . . it’s hard: you’ve brought up identity and choice — two of my favorite themes.

    Love how you brought Killian into to the discussion of self-definition and naming. He’s Captain Killian Jones. Naming is powerful — especially when it comes to the names we choose for ourselves and how we see ourselves. Killian (rather than Hook — although I love how Emma seems equally accepting of both), Regina (not the Evil Queen) and Snow (not Mary Margaret). I love that Regina gives Snow the hope speech, but that it is still very much a Regina speech. Regina is still Regina — but not the Evil queen. We see these characters choosing the type of people they want to be. Loved your emphasis on how that is a choice that we must consciously act upon. It takes effort — you have to punch back. Like Snow, you have to say, this is who I am now.

    The theme that resonated the most strongly for me was the idea of success and failure. We live in a society where failure is not tolerated; it is relentlessly mocked and ridiculed. I loved, LOVED that we saw Snow fail on her first attempt. No, you are not going to be Xena after a day’s worth of fighting lessons — even if you have a demi-god for a teacher. Very few people get something completely right the first time. We see Snow overcome a crisis of confidence (in both timelines). Even Snow White has tough days. I loved, too, that failure was explicitly seen as a step to success. Failure is helpful. Failure is only bad if you don’t learn from it. Failure helps you know how to succeed. Did I mention I Ioved this? LOVED it, people.

    It was great seeing how Snow learned to fight, but really, did she honestly think her people expected her to single-handedly fight off bandits?? Is that what they expected? (Warning: mild rant ahead.) I wanted an answer to the bandit’s question, “Where are your father’s soliders?” Umm, yeah. Where are they? Surely the king didn’t take his entire army off on a diplomatic mission. Also would have been nice to see the villagers try to defend themselves before asking the teenage girl to take care of them. (Sorry, but this bugged me. Yes, I know. Willing suspension of disbelief . . . after I mentally knock fictional characters’ heads together.)

    Cruella . . . Ah, how I have missed you. (Don’t judge.) Such great Cruella reasoning on how Henry helping her (back to the Importance Which is Gin) is really Henry helping Emma. In honor of this, I think we should put gin in our Doctoberfest mugs.

    Also, I think every episode needs a scene at Granny’s with Emma Caulfield.

    • I knew I was going to make you happy by bringing up your favorite themes, which just so happen to be two of my all-time favorites too. 😉

      I also have to say: Can you please be my life coach? Your paragraph on success and failure was wonderful, and it really resonated with me as someone who has always struggled with accepting failure and believing it can be helpful. I’m a raging perfectionist (Shocking that someone who works as an editor would have perfectionist tendencies…I know.), so sometimes I need that little reminder that it’s not just okay to not have immediate success; it’s good. That’s the only way we learn. It was the only way Snow learned, and I loved getting to see my favorite character work through a lesson I sorely needed to see.

  6. Hi, Great post this week, and I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. I’m so sorry I disappeared on you – I had some health issues again that have really interrupted things for me the last couple of months. I’d be happy to get back into writing about Scandal, though, if you still want me to?

    How have you been? Are you doing well?

    Take care! Laura

    • Hi Laura—and thanks! I’m so sorry to hear that you had health problems, but I hope this means you’re feeling better now. I’ll send you an email ASAP to talk about all things Scandal!

  7. What a fabulous episode! I am so glad we got Snow back!! And I am so happy that this episode helped restore a character that has been tarnished a bit over the past few seasons back to her old former glory.

    I have been totally ready for these little stand alone episodes. I also love that these episodes are about the characters taking responsibility of their own unfinished business and not expecting Emma to do it for them. In the underworld, they are each acting as their own saviors. Its about damn time.

    Speaking of, I absolutely love the idea that helping these deceased souls move on from their pasts is also helping our living heroes do the same. How much “unfinished business” do we have haunting us in our daily lives? Whats holding us back from living the best lives that we can? I feel like the show has been refreshingly subtle the past two eps. I mean, there are still some things they bash you over the head with, but there is a lot of more nuanced stuff going on here too. I loved Herc’s message about not knowing how to succeed without failure. And then we have Snow in the present asking Herc how he failed in the past to work on how to succeed in the present. It was an obvious parallel, but with this show I counted it a huge win when they didnt just have Snow repeat the words verbatim.

    Another subtle thing I liked was when Meg was describing how Cerberus kills his victims. At the time I was thinking “wow, that’s quite detailed, how would she know?”. Then later finding out that’s how she died, it was a total “duh!” moment, but made that previous scene all the more powerful. And I think also made it much more understandable why she was so paralyzed with fear in that prison.

    I didnt mind Meg’s background role here. I feel like the show is in a tough spot sometimes when it comes to approaching these stories. If they hadnt included her at all, people would have been upset. If they featured her too prominently only to leave, people would have been annoyed there wasnt enough focus on the main characters. While her switch from traumatized woman to sassy lady was a little abrupt, I dont mind she wasnt given any depth since we got such great stuff out of our main characters. She wasnt meant to be complex, she was just there to make a cameo and move the story along.

    Really fascinated by Henry’s storyline…I am glad they gave him one. Hes probably gonna make some stupid decisions, but so does everyone on this show. At least Henry has the teenager excuse. Hes got plenty of failing and lesson learning in his future I am sure.

    I didnt really think for a second Killian is actually going to offer up names for those gravestones. He just sacrificed his own life for these people, why would he condemn them now? I mean nobody could blame him for putting Rumple’s name on there, but I doubt Hades would let it be that easy. I imagine before Killian saw that Emma was coming for him he was fully resigned to accept whatever punishment was given to him. He’s had that self loathing problem for a while. I wonder if thats something he is going to have to come to terms with during this arc. Regardless, I just cant see him willingly sacrificing someone else to be alive again.

    Randomness:
    -I shouldnt have laughed so hard at the “hey child muncher” line. But I did.
    -LOVED that snow learned archery from Hercules. Such a defining characteristic and I think they saved that reveal for the perfect moment.
    -If the past two episodes are any indication, I will be crying during every “crossing over” scene this season. They found my weakness.
    -My heart SWELLED when David called MM Snow again. Josh put so much love into her name in that moment I didnt realize how much I missed hearing him say it. It was perfect. I am going to grin like an idiot every time I think about it.
    -I have no idea why Meg was allowed into Mt Olympus. Is this like a quicky marriage for citizenship kinda deal?
    -So is Cruella the mayor now? I thought I saw some dalmatian pillows in the office. Also, they should have asked her for help with Cerberus…that would have been one big pelt. Although skinning the boss’ pet…probably not the best idea.
    -The pen went to the underworld. I find this idea ridiculous, hilarious, and perfect in a way I have come to expect and adore from this show.

    • Great points. (Seriously, I keep looking for the “preach, sister” button.)

      — Others FINALLY taking initiative for helping save folks? You know I’m with you on that.
      — I’m curious, too, how the story-line with Henry plays out. He didn’t confide in Robin . . . will he continue to keep this a secret? What I loved about Cruella’s proposal is the twisted logic to it. She knew just what button to push with Henry — I can help you save Emma. (I’m not sure about her premise . . . was Cruella’s death considered murder?)
      — So glad to read your reaction to Hades’ proposal. My first thought was that he’s not going to be able to make Killian do that. Plus, Hades’ hasn’t been too successful keeping people from leaving, so what makes him think he can enforce this?
      — Cruella as mayor? Please, please, please let this be so.
      — My partner in inappropriate laughter! (Yep, I laughed at the child muncher, too.)
      — Someone should tell Cruella about the citizenship deal . . . 🙂

      • haha, I knew I could count on you to make sure I wouldnt be over here enjoying the show’s sometimes morbid sense of humor alone!

        I think having the other characters take initiative is one of the things giving this arc a great Season 1 flavor. Before the curse broke, Emma was inspiring others to claim their happy endings, but they didnt expect her to take care of them all the time. I have always missed that. I like that post Dark One Emma seems to have let go of a lot of that savoir burden she had been carrying for a while.

    • I loved reading your thoughts about everyone taking up the cause of saving others and helping the lost souls move on. We’ve been hoping for so long that Emma would finally get a break from having to save everyone and for the others to finally step up and remember that they also have the ability to save others and themselves—that’s not really Emma’s responsibility. The show seems to finally be leaning in that direction—allowing the other characters to help the lost souls while allowing Emma to stay focused on her mission to save Killian. In doing so, it’s given everyone something to do, which was probably my biggest issue with the Dark Swan arc.

      I also completely agree with your thoughts on Meg. Was she as awesome as the movie version of her character? No. But she didn’t need to be. As you said, if too much time was spent making her this complex, badass character people would complain that the story was taking away from the regular characters. I’m almost always going to opt for less nuanced guest characters in favor of giving more depth and time to the characters we really care about. And ultimately Meg still got to be a hero. She was a damsel; she was in distress; but she could handle it. 😉

  8. You did such an excellent job, Katie (no shock there of course because you’re a brilliant warrior mermaid, but what differs this review from a lot of others is that you can truly feel how much Snow means to you. And I always love seeing a person connect deeply with a character.). Additionally, I have to commend you once again for the superlative theme you’ve chosen this week — not once did the importance of names cross my mind and the fact that you’ve shed light on such a crucial topic is simply amazing. Of course names matter. It’s who we are at our core. And for so long I actually hated my name because no one ever gets the pronunciation right (also, no shock here because we all know it’s a difficult read), but it bummed me out a lot and made me feel inferior. Then growing up made me realize my name not only made me unique, but it matched my ridiculous personality and now I’m so grateful for it. When people called me “goose”, it offended me because I knew they were mocking me, but today, when friends do it especially in the fandom, it makes me feel special. So seriously, I loved reading this review for a personal reason I didn’t once imagine I could connect to the show.

    Also, “Having a support system matters, and there’s nothing weak about someone drawing strength from those around them. In fact, a willingness to allow others to help and support you is what makes you a true hero.” THIS. It’s one thing to write about this topic myself, but it’s another reading it from a writer I admire. Because knowing you see and pick up this important message makes it so much easier to grasp. And the constant reminder from the show that needing help isn’t a weakness is pretty much perfect.

    I could go on and on, but this is a wonderful review and we’re so lucky to have you writing in this fandom ❤

    • Thank you SO MUCH, Giss! ❤

      I'm so happy my discussion of names resonated with you. I absolutely love your name and how unique it is, and I'm glad you've learned to love it, too. I have a full name that's very easy to shorten in different ways, so I often think about who calls me what version of my name and what that says about my relationship with them. So names are always a subject close to my heart.

      It also means so much to me that you're also moved and inspired by this show's message of teamwork and allowing others to help you/offering to help others. It's a lesson I often need to remember since I do tend to try to do too much on my own, so I always appreciate the reminders I get from the media I consume that it's okay to rely on your support system for help and encouragement.

  9. Love your take on the use of Killian’s name, that he has accepted & chosen to be a hero. I loved that the way he saved Meg & your take on where he gets the strength to fight as a hero. . Adore watching Emma & Killian fighting for & believing in each other, in their love, their love story is so epic, all I need now is the reunion!

  10. I was really impressed the episode and I really liked how it dealt with the identity issue.

    I loved how Killian introduced himself first as Killian Jones, then Captain Hoik second. It reminds me of the season 2 BluRay extra where Colin talks about the difference between Killian Jones and Captain Hook.

    Colin plays both but there is a subtle difference. He described Hook as calculating whereas Killian lives in the moment and I think that’s still true of him today.

    And finally, Snow is Snow again. The writer’s have had this problem with her character for a long time, where they haven’t been able to find balance with her character since the curse broke.

    They could do it with Charming but not with Snow, for some odd reason. But it’s really nice, four seasons later after the curse broke, Snow has finally embraced who she is.

    Hopefully, this also means the writing of her character will be more consistent now, too.

    I have to re-watch this episode again soon. I’m also glad Once addressed the first love question. I’m actually working on this massive true love and love in general meta — yes – that’s what it is actually called — aka my monster true love meta.

    I try to cover all aspects of true love and love as presented on the show, including first love. For the longest time, I put Snowing under semi-obvious first love because we just didn’t know. Now, I can go back and revise yet again.

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