Once Upon a Time-Episode 1 Season 3- Review/Examination- (Spoilers)
A/N: If you have not watched the episode yet do not read, major spoilers ahead
I have always loved fairy tales. I grew up living in their fantastic lands, watching the heroes and heroines defeat the villains in intense battles of strength or wits. I loved the way they pulled you into their world, where anything was possible, where good and love always triumphed.
When I got older I learned the origins of so many of my favorite stories. I found it fascinating how dark they were; Cinderella’s sisters cut off their heels to fit in the shoes and Ariel dissolves into sea foam because of a broken heart. These versions of the stories made me fall in love with the tales all over again. I loved how vastly different they all were and still do love that idea. Fairytales no matter how they are told, fascinate me.
When I saw the first preview two years ago for Once Upon a Time I knew I had a new favorite show, and I wasn’t wrong. This show takes all the fairytale characters and thrusts them into our world. They are forced to live beyond their feel good world and the constraints that come with it. The way all the stories interact, how deep the characters become and how much we learn about them is what keeps me watching this show.
I am not going to recap the first two season (that would be a whole set of posts in and of itself). If you haven’t seen the last two seasons, stop reading, get a comfy seat and watch, watch your childhood stories become living figures that we all know and can relate to.
Season three finds villains and heroes alike in a mission to rescue Henry from Tamara and Greg. This rescue mission is taking them to Neverland, a place no one seems to want to go. Neverland isn’t going to be this fun island where no one grows up and plays all day; Peter Pan isn’t some mischievous child out to befriend everyone. Form the first few minutes we know that Neverland is a scary place, a dark island where no good can be found.
The group is out to rescue Henry, a character that holds everyone together. The episode opened with the birth of Henry. We watch as Emma can’t even bring herself to look at her newborn son. The fact that we opened with his birth I believe is extremely significant for Emma’s character We see how broken Emma was at that point in her life, she can’t even look at her own child. Henry is taken away and she doesn’t see him again until she is thrust into this whole new world. She doesn’t begin to heal until that point, she has no hope in life until Henry returns to it.
Now I hope this opening scene is just the start of more to come about where Henry came from. The question of how Rumple got Henry for Regina has been on my mind from season one. How did he end up with this child? A child who’s birth was foretold long before Emma was even a thought, (as made evident when the lost boys took Baelfire hostage when he was young.) Henry isn’t a normal child as we continuously learn throughout the show. He has such a strong heart, one that never gives up. So where did Rumple get him and did he know who this child really was? Hopefully we get more answers as the series progresses.
Back in the present we are with our rescue group. It only takes a minute for the camaraderie of the group to disintegrate. At the end of last season they are all willing to work together to get Henry back and for half a minute it looks like they might actually be able to work together for once.
Then in the last half of that minute we see that team work isn’t going to be so simple to achieve. Emma lashes out at her parents, blaming them for the kidnapping of Henry. She can’t live in their happy optimistic world. It is an interesting juxtaposition between these characters. Snow and Charming hold onto their optimistic, everything works out fairytale mindset. They personify that full and happy feelings that fairytales are supposed to instill in us. Whereas Emma never lived in that happy, love conquers all world. She is reality, she personifies our lives when we close the book. Life doesn’t always end with the evil queen defeated and a royal wedding. This relationship is the summary of this show, fairytales aren’t always happy and perfect.
Rumple knows that this group isn’t going to work together and quickly takes his leave. He tells Emma that she doesn’t have what it takes to succeed in conquering Neverland and finding Henry. Rumple drives home how different Emma is from the rest of the group. He tells her she has little to no faith or belief, that her imagination is reigned in and doesn’t run wild like it should. A point he make to emphasize that Neverland is going to eat her alive if she doesn’t change. Neverland is a place that lives off imagination, a place you have to look beyond what you can and see and touch, something Emma has extreme issues doing.
In this season I think we are going to see a great change in Emma. It took a whole season and Henry’s almost death for her to believe in the stories and curse. To rescue and keep her son alive she is going to have to let go of some of her doubt and control. She is going to have to become like her son, she has to learn how to believe. She has this pessimistic, reality is reality, look on life so ingrained in her that unless she learns to let some of that go, this world is going to eat her alive.
Neverland is going to be a character in and of itself I can tell right now. It isn’t just a bunch of rocks; it is magic in and of itself. When Hook, Emma, Charming, Snow and Regina are all fighting over the mermaid (who I believe is Ariel) they cause a huge deadly storm. The island feeds off their emotions, the stronger it is the more violent the reaction. This is not the last we are going to see the power of this place. It feeds off the emotions of the characters and none of them are very good at keeping themselves in check. I think before long it will come down to them fighting the place and not just people.
We find Rumple after he runs into a lost boy and we learn this isn’t the first time he has been here. I found it interesting that he is given a pass, the ability to walk away, but without Henry; which obviously isn’t going to happen. He has been here before and whatever happened before didn’t make him and Pan friends, but Pan isn’t out for his head. This isn’t the last time we are going to see the result of Rumple and Pan crossing paths before. Pan scares Rumple but I also think Rumple scares Pan.
The moment that I loved in this scene was when the lost boy handed Rumple the doll; which I’m assuming was Balefires at one point. Rumple breaks down, not even trying to hide how sad and hurt he is. What the lost boy says to him, “Things we haven’t thought about in years still have the ability to make us cry,”(Lost Boy) really struck a cord with me. Rumple isn’t some heartless monster. Yes, he is consumed by his power and fears losing his life but he is still heartbroken over losing his son. This scene shows that Rumple still has his heart, one that still breaks at even the slightest reminder of the child he has now lost not once but twice. This rush of emotion is a breaking point for him, it makes us feel bad for him. We are given a way to emotionally attach to him.
Henry isn’t a prisoner of Greg and Tamara long, he escapes and befriends a rogue lost boy who turns out to be Peter Pan. Henry is very trusting, he wants to see the good in everyone, he can’t see the danger even when it is staring him straight in the face. This child trust is going to break Henry soon and I think we are going to see him having to deal with a less trusting side of himself. We learn Pan wants him for his heart, the heart of a true believer. Why though? What will his heart do? Pan is supposed to be the evil, sadistic character. What does Henry heart do?
One theory I have is that Pan wants out. He is done living forever and being young, (eternal life isn’t a blessing). Can Henry’s heat somehow end this prison he is living in? Can it be some sort of weapon against this island?
Henry is in major trouble and it is going to come down to everyone working together to save him. Emma says this at the end, that they all have some skills and they all are going to be needed to save her son. But I think not only are they going to have to work together and grow but so will Henry. He has to fight for himself, and that heart of his might have to break some for him to live. This place is going to be a true test of just how much Henry’s heart truly believes.
Just a few words on Neil at the end here. He ended up in the Enchanted Forest with Aurora, Philip and Mulan. He ends up meeting Robin Hood in his father’s castle. Neil’s struggle is going to be having to actually use magic to rescue his family. He going to have to see that magic isn’t all that bad, it isn’t inherently evil or good. It all comes down to the person using it. I think he is going to learn this lesson truly through the idea of blood magic. It will be interesting to watch Neil’s fight in this as well.
Quotes I liked:
“Villains don’t get happy endings”- Regina, but can they?
“Belief in love was not strong enough to overcome fear of rejection,”- Mulan’s observation to Neil, that also echoes her own issues with Philip
“Easier to get people to hate something then to believe”- Lost boy, I think this is going to be extremely significant for the show and also can resonate into our own lives.
-How did Rumple get Henry?
-What will Henry’s heart do for Pan? - Why did Rumble save Robin Hood?
How will that debt come back into play?
What happened last time Hook and Rumple were in Neverland?
How did Neil escape Neverland?
What exactly are the Shadows?
Why does death follow to those who lose their shadows?