Before I start, I wanna share my impression of/opinion on OUAT’s latest episode beforehand. I’m a bit worried at the moment that Ed&Adam lose focus, or the understanding that there are people out there who don’t know the big picture yet, but can only speculate. They’ve done this in the past, but it seems to become worse. There are too many loose ends that float about and irritate.
Anyways. Off to the review.
* Let’s start with FTL past. And I tell you why: Because there’s not much to say about this. Snow has doubts, wants to give in to Regina and her demands, Charming encourages her, and all is good and happy again. Oh well. Now, the funny part was that the dwarves were suspicious towards Charming – I liked that, at least some reality in all that. The rest was… unnecessary. Yes, it was supposed to show us similarities to Emma in today’s NL, how mother and daughter fought/fight the same doubts. But other than that, they could have reduced the whole thing to five minutes.
The problem is that now, after two years, we know enough about the time frame involving the whole Regina/Snow/Charming affair with their conflicts and all that there are no surprises left. It’s lame and boring – and most of all, it’s predictable. Yes, the scenes may be new, and the Excalibur thing had a nice touch – at least in the beginning when it was still to believe that it’s the real thing. But other than that we KNOW how it turns out, in FTL as well as later post-Curse. It’s not like these scenes bear any thrill or sitting-on-the-edge-of-my-seat quality; they are just there and they, if anything, appear like filler scenes because the authors either couldn’t come up with something else, or there wasn’t enough money to do more, say, NL scenes. Or any combination of the above.
Consequently, these scenes are not important for the character or plot development, not anymore at least. They might have been in season one or two, but not in three anymore, and especially not with Regina, Snow or Charming, because those three we have covered so much and so often that there are only small gaps left in their history for us to know and learn, and those we don’t need to get shown in elaborate scenes.
* Going on from that directly to the result of it all, Emma. And her parents issues. Even though I’m getting a bit fed up with that thing as well, it’s nevertheless still more interesting than any of the FTL past of the Charmings. I liked how Emma doesn’t want to call Snow mum, and it really seems like due to that different air in NL, we are indeed finally getting to the bottom of things. While in SB and with all the problems there, they never had the chance to actually consider their relationship; especially Emma had to come to terms with her parents suddenly being (back) in her life first.
Now that this is settled, we can move on to the facts of what has happened, and how it influenced Emma, and this is what we see now. As said, we can assume that this is due to some influence coming from NL; something’s in their air there. Magic, or poison in a mental/psychological sense… something confronting and bringing out one’s deepest fears and worries. For Emma, as we find out, it is that she sees herself as an orphan. Her parents may be back, but she’s nevertheless lived her childhood, youth and young adult years as someone who never had a family, who thought she’d been abandoned at the side of the road.
What is interesting here is that Pan is seeking this realization. The map he gives her that is supposed to be activated the moment Emma admits to herself her true identity comes to life when Emma says out loud that she is said orphan.
Now, here I at first thought that Pan was trying to make of Emma another believer, just like Henry; if he brought them together, he’d have two True Believers in his lair, and who knows what he can do with their power of faith. Despite the outcome of all this, I’m still not sure if this isn’t where this all leads, after all. Because the effect is the same – when Emma ends up alone, she’ll be an easy target, and even though she’s not the big believer yet, maybe this is exactly what makes her, well, change course.
Another thing about Emma that I don’t want to speculate too much about just yet is her reaction to the Lost Boy she was about to kill (?) during the fight scene. She looked him in the eyes and just stopped. Why? What did she see? I’ve been wondering a bit about that, but I can’t yet make out what this could be about. I assumed it must have been something in the boy’s eyes, maybe a lack of soul, or no lack, but a trapped soul. Maybe she saw herself, a lost child fighting because it has to. In the end it could mean that Emma will help free the Lost Boys – if that is possible. But then, what other purpose should the journey to NL have if they only take care of their own business?
* Let me make the whole orphan and Charmings thing a separate note – or more to the point, the wound Charming sports after the fight. Hurt in same fight, Charming has now the same poison in his body Rumple had last season after Hook stabbed him. Conveniently the poison’s origin – the plant – was shown earlier in the episode, and of course that had to have some further meaning.
And here we go. If Pan want to orphan Emma, he surely does it in a clever way. First of all, Charming is the weakest link of the trio. He is least important; the conflict between Emma and Snow is much bigger, what with mother/daughter dynamics and a mother always having a much closer connection to her child.
Secondly, if something, anything happens to Charming – which I don’t think won’t, at least he won’t die, but let’s assume for a moment that it will be one hell of a close call, just like with Rumple, or even go as far as them being in need of a magical revival (yes, I know, not possible, but I’m sure Ed&Adam would find a way nevertheless) – I can absolutely see a new level of conflict between Snow and Emma. Because in the end, it all comes down to the Charmings’ decision to give Emma up. Maybe also to Regina’s Curse, but I don’t see that get in the way of the family issues; that would be too easy, especially after Emma has now acknowledged that she felt abandoned, still feels like an orphan.
In any way I wonder where this will lead. We know how Rumple survived the poison, but for many reasons that is out of question for Charming. I can’t remember if there was an antidote; maybe Pan will have it? Or Ariel, who’s supposed to appear soon, although I think I’ve seen her with Belle on promo pics, so I guess Ariel will have nothing to do with the Quintett in NL. Magic also doesn’t seem to be a cure (unless Rumple didn’t have enough power when they returned to SB, since in NY he couldn’t use his magic anyways). Or could good magic do it – good magic like Emma’s?
Well, this certainly is going to be interesting. I just hope they don’t make too much of a drama of it.
* I loved Emma and Regina fighting like sisters. And this is now my headcanon, those two being sisters. Because that is really the only relationship that fits them. They are no enemies, they are also no friends; I just don’t see them becoming BFFs, at any time, or at least not any time soon. Certainly they are no lovers; SwanQueen is completely out of question. But sisters, yes, that works for me. And that thought occurred to me when Regina took away the map from Emma, and Emma outright squeaked in protest. Totally like two teenage girls fighting over a boy or a toy or a boy toy or… uh… sorry. Ahem. Anyways, I guess that just this sibling-like relationship is exactly what can and should develop between Emma and Regina. It’s some sort of love-hate like you sometimes have with people you can’t really get rid of because they are part of your life; people you are bothered by and yet still love, in some way.
* Away from all the happenings and arguments among the Quintett (and they do behave like children at times…), there is, of course, also Rumple. He who… cuts his own shadow loose from himself?! WTH??? I guess that’s a “skill” he must have learned when he was in NL before, maybe even one of the Lost Boys. We know that much, I think, that he was there and was part of Pan’s group. Although the whole shadow thing is not yet clear to me, to be honest.
In any way does it seem to be a sentient being – one he now sends to hide his dagger. But where? In NL? Back in SB? The shows obviously can cross dimensions/worlds, as we’ve seen last season, when the shadow came to London to the Darling’s and got Bae. Since he came from NL, they don’t seem to be limited to one world.
So it is possible that the shadow brings the dagger to either SB or even FTL. Maybe it goes to Belle… although I doubt Rumple would want to put Belle in danger. He may trust her with the dagger, but as popular as this object is, I can’t see him painting a target on her back. FTL would have Rumple’s castle, with probably more than just the one secret door, and possible not all as easy to access as the one in the main room where Neal found it. But that would mean Rumple would have to return to FTL. All that aside, we don’t know if Rumple can leave one world without the dagger anyways… it is possible that shadow and dagger will need to stay in NL. And then hiding could be a tricky thing.
* Rumple’s straw puppet. Erm… strange. Very strange. Not destroyable or disposable, which is creepy since it’s the one thing that really seems to touch him and distract him because of the memories it brings up. The last thing his father gave him before he disappears he says it is. the story surrounding Rumple’s father – who he calls a coward, just like himself – is something we’ll learn only later on about.
Now, the puppet’s origin aside, it is something he needs to let go of, since it very obviously weakens him. Something Pan needs. That it keeps reappearing could also be some mind trick the jungle and/or Pan are playing; it’s possible it isn’t really there. Maybe it never was? The thing could just be fake, a lookalike, and the original is still in Pan’s possession. Objects have power, we’ve learned that much, and the original puppet could have just another important meaning in Pan’s fight against Rumple.
* The appearance of Belle. Now here’s for a really confusing plot. belle appears in NL, but obviously isn’t Belle, not the real one… or is she? She’s not there physically, but then she is, and she’s talking that in fact she’s back in SB. Oh, and that they’re all well over in the town, something that sounds too good to be true.
Question now is – did he conjure Belle up with his thoughts? Has she become so much of a guide to him that now he imagines her without realizing? Or is Pan in his head, messing with him? Because Pan can’t possible know about Belle (or can he?). He can cross dimensions/worlds, yes, but if the protection spell really in place, I don’t see Pan finding SB. And even if he did, he still would have no idea of Belle’s connection to Rumple… at least in theory.
But what if Belle is indeed there, in some way, some really twisted way? I like to believe that, problem only is – this isn’t really Belle. The more we see of her there, with Rumple, the more apparent this becomes. She’s different, her whole body language, her facial expressions. Of course we have this wonderful little argument between them when they are standing at the ledge, and they sound like some old married couple, but other than that… no, in fact, not even this is really Belle/Rumple as we know it.
Nevertheless remains the fact that Belle here is an advice giver and a voice of reason. When Rumple contemplates giving up to rather save his own life than Henry’s, when he struggles with his situation and the straw puppet find/acquirement. She is also the one to tell him that he needs to let go of it, let go of the past, so he’ll be able to move on.
And Rumple listens to her, because he trusts her – although I wonder about that, since I would have expected him to be more suspicious. Now, what Belle tells him doesn’t appear in any ways something that could harm him. But if we continue that thought, maybe there is, after all. Because what does Belle do?
She tells him to let go of the puppet, to throw it away. When he does, though, it reappears, several times, leaving Rumple quite devastated and confused, and making him ultimately keep the puppet. As a consequence, in the end, he hasn’t let go of it, but is still holding on, probably convinced that he can’t get rid of it anyways. With the puppet as a symbol of his past, he essentially can’t let go of the same, and he accepts it as such. But as long as he holds on to those memories, those fears of abandonment, it could forever stand in his way, and especially when it comes to finding/helping Henry.
The second thing is that Belle keeps him from giving up, from taking Pan up on his offer that would allow him to live, but at the same time forbid him to save Henry. Giving up would, as it seems, be the better option for Pan, since he gets rid of Rumple and keeps Henry… but what if it isn’t? What if he needs Rumple to come to his “lair”, what if he doesn’t actually wants him to leave? What if this is one elaborate scheme to achieve exactly what he needs?
Belle is perfect means here. If Pan in any way acquired knowledge of Belle and her relationship to Rumple, how much he relies on her emotionally, then he’d be a fool not to use it. Of course that still doesn’t explain how exactly Belle was able to appear in NL, how she is a physical appearance (in her blue dress from FTL though, that’s suspicious if nothing else is), and how she knows certain things. Although… does she really?
Lastly, we have to note how Belle leaves – that’s absolutely not like her, she wouldn’t just have gone away. Another proof that this is not who we are meant to think she is.
* My most favorite moment came with Emma and Hook. Now, I said last time I’d be absolutely fine with those two being friends, even soul mates maybe, because they are very much alike. I also said that I still want a kiss. And, um… pretending to be happy if it doesn’t happen is getting harder. Because – “Wouldn’t you like to know [who I am]?” – “Perhaps I would.” – seriously?! I was afraid they’d set the whole forest on fire every second then because of all the sparks and crackling tension between them. Holy… that was incredible.
Here’s the thing. Emma is desperate because of the whole situation. Henry gone/in danger, Neal presumably dead, looming threats all around them, hopelessness. This is a textbook condition to crack. To give in to feelings and an attraction she wouldn’t normally succumb to. Now, however, I assume Hook is the one of the group she might just feel closest to, because the relationship and situation with her parents is just outright weird, and Regina is Regina. Hook is the only neutral character, to my mind the only one who also understands her due to own experiences, as he hinted at in S2.
Now imagine tensions rising – in the group and between Hook and Emma. The attraction is there, no one can claim otherwise. They’ve gotten closer, and I think Emma has started to trust Hook because she realized that he’s her only true ally, in some sense. I’m not talking about love, I’m talking about pure and unadulterated physical/sexual desire; a longing for comfort in an intimate embrace. Everyone can give that, but Hook is the only one around really suitable for that job – he’s one hot guy, he’s not in on all the madness that involves the Charmings and Regina, and he’s not connected to the family conflict going on. Plus, there is, as mentioned before, this connection between them they both know all too well of; ever since their Giant adventure in S2.
Long story short: He’s perfect for a bit of emotional and physical relieve. So I want a kiss. And please, a GOOD one.
Fun moments:
The Mirror getting carried through the castle. At first I was completely confused because I didn’t know who was talking, since it obviously could have been the guard. I had also completely forgotten about the Mirror. When I realized what it was, it sort of reminded me of Ella Enchanted and the guy in the book she carries around, the one magicked there by Minnie Driver. In any way was it quite amusing 😉
The aforementioned Regina snagging the map from Emma moment counts as well. A snickered at that, because it seemed so out of character but at the same time also completely in characters.
The straw puppet reappearing again and again after Rumple had getting rid of and/or destroyed it had some horror-esque fun qualities. Makes you grin and shiver at the same time.
And of course, Regina’s snarky self always guarantees a laugh or two 😉

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Tags: Belle, Emma Swan, Emma/Hook (CaptainSwan), Emma/Neal (Swanfire), Hook/Killian Jones, Lost Boys, Neverland, Once Upon A Time, OUAT, Peter Pan, Regina/Evil Queen
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