Once Upon a Time- S3 E12, New York Serenade, (Spoilers)
Once Upon a Time is finally back and I am extremely eager to see what the second half of this season has in store. I loved the Peter Pan storyline and how intricately connected it was to the rest of the plot lines.
They were able to make Peter Pan someone important and a tool to reveal more about Rumple and also small pieces of everyone else. I loved Peter Pan because of much he pushed the characters along and inspired some major changes in some of the major characters. He allowed so many of them to grow and for us to find the deeper parts of characters such as Regina. I hope with crossed fingers and toes that they are able to do the same with the Wicked Witch and Oz.
Oz is a little tricky. Peter Pan is a actual classic fairy tale so going into Neverland didn’t seem like a leap that was going too far. Oz is different, it doesn’t spark the same ideas that traditional fairytales do, at least for me. Few, if any, would really call the Wizard of Oz a fairytale in the sense that the rest of the stories have been classified. It will be very interesting to see how they connect and weave the stories around. Up until now they have done the twisting and weaving so very well that I have faith they will be able to work with this new story just as well.
I watched the season recap/explanation that aired before the episode and there were a few things they mentioned that really caught my attention. The idea of everyone having to find home in this second half of the season; and the idea of how everyone gets a happy ending; the story is really about how they find that ending and what they do with it when they get it.
First they mentioned about how the characters are going to be struggling with finding a home in this second half, a true home. There a many ways of defining a home. It is somewhere we feel safe and comfortable. Somewhere where we can be ourselves without having to hide who we are. Home is our sanctuary. How will everyone define this concept for themselves now?
This new theme was apparent very much in this episode. Of course there was Emma. This is not a new idea for her. She has never had a true home, never had somewhere where she felt completely safe and happy. With the new memories Regina gave she has the life she used to dream about, at least most of it. She has a real physical home and a happy life with her son.
The question for the last half will be what is her true definition of home, what will make her truly happy? Living this “fake”life she always had an odd feeling that something wasn’t quite right. Hook constantly tells her to listen to that pit in her stomach that is telling her that something is wrong. Why would this not feel right to her when for so long she has said that this is what she wanted? A life with her son is what she says she wanted. She is constantly fighting her fairytale roots, always having trouble reconciling what she dreamed of with what she has before her. Even in this fake life she is doing that. She has to get past her past and see what is lying right in front of her. I think Emma is going to discover that home isn’t a place it is where the people who love and care about you are. Whether that is Storybrooke, the Enchanted Forest or New York. It isn’t the place that counts, it is the people.
Hook is the character that really interested me in this episode. Up until now we have spent the time we had with him trying to determine what side he was on and what his ulterior motives have been. Who does he care about? and What does he actually want? Questions that we are still asking but in a different way now.
Emma showed him a new side of himself. He has fallen for her and that at first confuses him, then motivates him. He wants to have that true connection with someone. He had Milah at one time, but she really just enhanced the mask he portrayed to the world. She didn’t enable him to delve deeper into himself ever. She allowed him to continue to show the world his pirate face. Emma on the other hand hit a deeper side of him, his “hero” side. After Milah’s death he became focused on vengeance alone. He met Emma and he has had to reevaluate what he needs in life and what he is living for.
It was interesting how once they all returned to the Enchanted Forest Hook instantly wanted to leave. He is connected to Emma and without her as his anchor to this group he sees no place for him. He is afraid and he just wants to run. All the feelings and ideas Emma sparked scared him and without her beside him he just wants to run from everything. He is lost now and he isn’t quite sure what to do with himself. So he decides on a path he has always followed.
He only knows life as a pirate and without Emma beside him, guiding him, he can’t see any other alternative for his life. This new struggle is what is going to define home for Hook. Charming was welcoming to him, asked him to join them but Hook can’t open himself up like that just yet. He is hurting and all he wants to do is run away. Like Regina he doesn’t do well with pain and suffering.
Where is Hook’s home? Does he have any idea of what home actually means? He has never truly had that one place where he has felt safe and able to truly settle in. Now he has to redefine himself. He doesn’t want to connect to the world butt we see that something pulls him back to Charming and the rest of the group. He finds Emma so she can rescue her family. He doesn’t completely disconnect himself from these people. Why? What draws him to these people? Why does he want to help? Is it only for Emma? Or does he see a new opportunity for a new life in this group? Does he see that he may actually be able to have family and friends? He was hurt when he lost his brother and was betrayed by his king, can he trust and hold onto a family again?
While Hook is running and holding out no hope for finding Emma, Neil is determined to get his family back. Neil refuse to stop believing in the possibility that he will be able to reunite his family. This determination did not surprise me. For so long Neil was a hurt man. His father left him and he was forced to leave the love of his life. He was afraid of connecting to anyone because he just kept losing them. Now he has faith in the love of family again and he is not going to let it slip from his fingers. He finally got all he wanted and he will not lose that again.
What did surprise me was Snow’s reaction. She was so quick to tell Neil that there was no hope of them of ever seeing Emma and Henry again. This is a very realistic view of the situation, something that Snow is not. She is always preaching about hope and holding onto the belief that the impossible is possible. It was a little shocking and sobering to see her resigned to their new fate. Is it because of all they have gone through? Has their struggles hurt that believing hopeful heart she has always had?
I was just waiting for to her say something about how they will find a way to get their daughter back, but she never did. Is holding out hope too painful for her? She pretends to understand and be okay with the fact that they will now have a new life but we know deep down she is breaking. For someone who has alway believed in the vast power of the happy ending this new reality has to be crippling. In her conversation with Regina we see that she is in fact devastated but she has hope for a new life, not hope for the old life but for a brand new one. She is shedding her past and moving on. Why?
The conversation with Regina was touching and really showed the new relationship between Snow and Regina. Of course Regina is heartbroken and devastated. She buries her heart because she can’t deal with the pain of losing her son. She doesn’t know how to live with this kind of pain. Always in her life before she has covered up her pain with action, right now she has no way of acting. There is nothing she can do, no one she can’t go after, nowhere she can find a solution to her problem. She is helpless and that is killing her.
This moment showed a new almost sisterly relationship between these two characters. For so long they were at odds and now they are living with the same pain and regret. This can be extremely bonding. We saw the start here where Snow refuses to let Regina break and destroy herself. Snow knows she is in pain and that the only way to deal with that pain is to move on and find a new reason to live. You have to keep moving or you die and Snow doesn’t want to see Regina die. A far cry from the first season. Snow’s way of moving on is staring a new family. What is Regina’s new reason for living going to be?
Regina defined her life by vengeance and then by Henry. Now she has lost both and she has to determine what matters to her now. It will be interesting to see how she begins to live again.
The other theme or concept that really caught my attention was the idea that everyone gets a happy ending, the real story and test is how you get there and what you do with it when you have it. First can our characters get their happy ending and will they ever be able to live with it when they find it?
Emma believes she is living her happy ending, a life with her son but it is not real. Deep down she knows something is missing from this scenario. So what is her true happy ending? Life with her parents? A home in the Enchanted Forest? Hook? Neil? Just her and Henry?
Snow always thinks her happy ending is within her grasp and it is always yanked out of her hands. She marries Charming and gets pregnant with Emma then Regina curses them and she loses Emma. She gets Emma back but miss half her daughters life. She goes home to the Enchanted Forest and gets cursed again, forgetting that whole year. What is her true happy ending? Her whole family together again? Does the place matter?
Regina saw a happy ending once with Daniel, then Cora kill hims and she completely erases that notion from her mind until she adopts Henry. She found happiness is causing suffering. She adopted Henry but is always had something wrong with the situation. Now she is back at square one. Where does she go from here? Who does she trust and what will define her? Will her happy ending have Robin Hood involved? Will it only be having Henry back? Will it be saving those she once hated and cursed?
It will be interesting to see how they define the happy ending concept for each character. Will some of them get it but not be able to really enjoy it, always wanting something more? I doubt any of them will get their true happy endings until the series actually ends.
A quick word about Henry. Henry scared me in this episode. Henry got the book and that sparked his belief. He needed something to define his life and he got it from Snow. Now that moment never happened. He never was given that book, never felt out of place so what has that done to his “true believer” heart?
He was so flippant about the idea of magic when Emma asked him. Old Henry wouldn’t have hesitated in answering her with a resounding yes, now he sees it as a means to get money and gifts. He has a whole different set of memories, not just a few new ones like Emma. How much has this changed who he once was? Does that belief live in someone even if they don’t actually need it? It will be interesting to see how they convince the “true believer” to believe again.
“Tried the hero thing and it didn’t take,”- Hook- Obviously that’s not true because he goes after Emma to save everyone. Hook has been defined as a pirate and had for so long that is it going to take time for him to determine how live this new life.
“Sometimes it is okay to accept things that are good”- Henry- This is a concept all the characters struggle with. They are always waiting for the next person to take a shot at them.
“Our castle”- Regina- I loved how Regina referred to the castle. It is small but it shows that she is staying with Snow and that she is beginning to feel apart of this group.
“Wick always wins”- Wicked Witch- Is there going to be a difference between wicked and evil?
What are Neil and Belle going to try to do to get Rumple and Emma back?
Why is Hook not in Storybrooke? Where did he go after the returned to the Enchanted Forest?
Who is the Wicked Witch?
What is her connection to Regina?
What did Regina do to her?
Is there some familial connection or friendship connection?
How much has changed about Henry?
Are Regina, Neil and Belle in Storybooke too?
Is Rumple truly dead?
How much of Oz is going to play a part in this second half?