At first, I was about to criticize the lack of Regina and Rumple in the episode, since it seemed to me that an episode without at least one of these two misses this certain excitement and thrill the show usually has with their established goody-baddies.
Well. I was so wrong.

ONCE UPON A TIME’s latest episode showed us mostly what was happening to Snow and Emma in not so much more fairy tale like FTL, and how Snow’s and Charming’s story back pre-Curse went on after they’d finally found each other.
And I have to say one thing at this point: I’m no fan of Snow. I know, shocking, but for some reason, I don’t really like her. Not because I have a feeling she could be bad beneath the surface, by no means. It’s just simple dislike you sometime feel for someone, with no reason at all. Therefore Snow-centric (more or less) episodes aren’t exactly my favorites. Lucky for me, the show is so interesting that even those eps have me cling to the screen 😉
I can’t claim to have understood the function of Lancelot save for helping Snow and ultimately also Charming, but he was a likable character who really should have gotten a bigger role. Apparently, Cora didn’t agree on that.
And this brings me to the most important part of the episode. And also back to my own review of last week’s episode in which I came up with a wild speculation that suddenly doesn’t so wild and improbable anymore as it did a week ago.
So far, the Big Bads came in form and character of Regina and Rumple. Now we know that neither of those two is thoroughly evil, as we’ve learned about (and from) their personal history. Both are good and kind people, or at least they used to be before fate decided to give them the hard life of fallen souls. But, both Rs (see me grin mischievously) are a vital part of the show, FTL and Storybrooke, because they balance the stories. Added to that, especially Rumple is an incredible character that makes it just enjoyable to see him whenever possible, period.
Nevertheless it might just be true that two Baddies can’t carry the burden of standing up against a whole town of what we have to assume are mostly Goods. Plus, where does it leave FTL that, as we’re now seeing more and more with every new episode, still exists at least partly? It’s too much of a task for Aurora alone to be the bad one there (yeah, don’t like her either, sorry).
I’m rambling, though. Cora is back. And boy, how she is back. Guess Snow summed it up pretty good – if you think Regina is bad, look at Cora and think again. Also, as far as the audience is concerned, don’t we know Cora’s background, so even though she probably also once was as good as Regina and Rumple used to be, so far we can only see her as the evil one. And for some reason, she appears to be a lot more dangerous than Regina and Rumple together could ever be (have been).
Let me take a quick detour to the other storyline surrounding Snow and Charming. Snow was captured by Lancelot, brought to King George, and poisoned to become infertile. Then Snow met Mama Charming who learned of what the King had done to Snow and gave her life to allow her daughter-in-law-to-be to have children with her True Love. Awww. Nicely done, and when Ruth died it was heartbreaking.
What is more important here, though, is what the King told about. He had a woman he loved, but she was cursed to be never able to conceive a child? As mentioned before, last week I had what I felt was a rather wild theory. Because after it became clear that Rumple knew Regina from her birth on, I theorized that maybe Rumple could also be her “father” – not in *that* way, but in the way that he had given Cora the child — because she wasn’t able to conceive a child the natural way.
So what if Cora was the lover the King once had? When she was cursed/poisoned, she had to leave George and marry Henry, the man we know as Regina’s father. Cora is obsessed with power, with her daughter wedding a king, here Snow’s father – she wants her daughter do and have what she never could. What if she was the one to become Queen at King George’s side, but had to give it up because of her inability to give the King an heir? Then she married Henry, but only met Rumple afterwards when it was too late. She had him help her bear a child nonetheless – Regina. It’s possible Regina was never promised to Rumple in the “traditional” sense, but in another way; as a tool for his powers maybe, or for a reason we have yet to learn.
In any way do I see what I thought of a crazy speculation last week now as much more real and plausible.
Also, this makes me wonder what Cora would want in Storybrooke. Finding her daughter again, of course. Taking revenge – likely, after Regina more or less banned her from her life and from freedom. Rumple is the other candidate to receive Cora’s revenge, unless of course he proves once more that he’s even more calculating than anyone – in the show and in front of the TV screens – can predict and he’s either more powerful than he lets on now or has another trick up his sleeve. For all we know Cora might come to Storybrooke, but without magic.
Answered was a question I asked myself in the very beginning of season one, when Snow and Charming are in the dungeon inquiring help from the imprisoned Rumple. It wasn’t a question I thought much about, just a thought in the back of my mind, something I noted, but didn’t give much importance to. Still, it was answered in this episode, which I think shows once more how genius the showrunners are.
Rumple said/knew that the child Snow was carrying back then was a girl. Now they didn’t have sonograms or anything in FTL, and probably just waited patiently unless they asked a good fairy or something. Nevertheless Snow knew that Rumple was right with his girl guess, while Charming was convinced he’d get a son. Now we saw how Snow could know that she would have a daughter – it was Ruth’s necklace that told her. And this is exactly what makes this show so great – the little details that are paid attention to even though they don’t really seem important in comparison to what else is going on.
Then there is this one thing I don’t think I have mentioned yet, so it is overdue: Jennifer Morrison is a damn good actress. I liked her on House, though I never saw her as special or anything, but Emma seems to be like the role she’s just been waiting for. Her whole performance, in every situation, is fabulous. Together with the screenwriting she manages to sell Emma’s disbelief that is still there in combination with all those moments that show her a truth she rather wouldn’t see. It’s a credible performance, incredibly done, and whatever Emma does, I’m with her – laughing, crying, frowning, amazed. It’s one of the things that fascinated me from the very beginning, and it’s been something I’d wanted to say for some time now.
All other impression are more snippets: Emma, there’s a lot she still has to learn. To believe – and to listen. Using her gun was the stupidest thing she’s done so far, I guess, especially since she knew that ogres (anyone else has to think of Shrek?!) have very good hearing abilities. And speaking of ogres and fighting them – Snow defending “her daughter” was definitely made of awesome. Mulan starts to grow on me, while, as I said before, don’t exactly like Aurora. She’s like the spoiled little princess you just want to slap so she’ll finally see the reality.
Oh, and – how far exactly is this part of the land where the Curse didn’t hit away from Snow’s and Charming’s castle? Didn’t seem to be that far, which makes the reason as to why the Curse didn’t affect this part of the land even more interesting. But I won’t start theorizing and speculating about that now…
Back in Storybrooke, Jefferson’s (or the Mad Hatter’s, however you like it) reunion with his daughter was heartwarming. As was Henry initiating it. With his mother gone and harsh reality having reached the town after the Curse has been broken, he seems to have grown up a bit, somehow. Seeing Charming as his grandpa is still a bit strange, but also, well… charming 😉 That their little sword fight exercise was watched by ‘King George’ was less charming, though.
And, last but not least: Regina. I wonder if she’s really changing for the better – and if only because of Henry, even though as far as I am concerned they’ve reached some kind of agreement, so she wouldn’t have to be so eager to impress him anymore – or if there’s the big (bad) finish is still about to come. It’s confusing to see her so nice and so… once could say, broken, a bit. Like she’s found her humanity again. Her reaction to Henry not showing up to their lunch date and him having taken her keys was confusing to me, but still also positively surprising – not only did she remain calm, it seemed, but she also asked Charming for help.
As I said last week, I’ve started to like her, and I’d love to see her change to the good side… should Cora really become the new real Evil in FTL and possibly also in Storybrooke, it could be in Regina’s – and also Rumple’s – best interest to work and side with the rest of the town, the Good ones (excluding George, which could be interesting if my theory is correct, Cora indeed his ex and she’s coming to Storybrooke…), at least for the time being, since both Rs are partly good.
Upcoming: Finally the fourth episode that includes Rumbelle (The promo! Even that short piece had me already die… well, almost, wanna see the ep, after all.), a kidnapped Belle, Rumple asking Charming for help (I absolutely like that those two have started working together), Rumple’s wife and: the hottest pirate of all time. Or Hook, in short. 😀
And to close that: The mix-ups become more interesting with every new episode. As the newest issue of Entertainment Weekly calls it: “How a risky idea became an enchanting hit.” Risky idea? No doubt. Enchanting hit that deserves every praise it gets? Hell yes!!!

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Tags: Cora, Curse, Emma Swan, Once Upon A Time, OUAT, Regina/Evil Queen, Rumplestiltskin, The Charmings