What Makes a Hero? Once Upon a Time 5×5 (Spoilers)
Emma has fallen far. Emma is not the woman we met back in season one. She is not the woman who would do anything to protect her family and friends. Instead of protecting them from harm she is the one causing that harm. Hope for her redemption is slowly but surely ebbing away. Emma is now focused on making Rumple into a “hero,” though that is a word I am not sure she quite understands anymore.
One of the major moments of this episode was Merlin being released from his tree prison. But what was significant about this whole thing was the means Emma went to, to free Merlin. In the process she did something she vowed she would never do and that was hurt her own son.
When Merlin was released he went to Emma and told her that he can indeed remove the darkness from her but she has to willingly give it up. He can not take what she is not willing to give away. As we know Emma must not have been able to fulfill that requirement because she is currently Dark Swan. She has a choice to make with Merlin and we see that she makes the wrong one just like she did with hurting Henry.
The spell to free Merlin requires a tear from lost love. They at first believe that Regina’s sorrow over losing Daniel will do the trick. They watch the scene again and collect the tear. But it does not work because Regina has healed her heart. She misses Daniel, that is a pain that will never completely leave her but she has learned how to live with it. She has Robin now and her tears are more of a lost memory of love and that is not powerful enough for this spell.
Emma seems to know this, how I am not sure. She knows that Henry is crushing on Violet and she does something that I never expected her to do. When Regina and Emma are watching Daniel’s death Emma wonders how a mother could do that to her child. Then she turns around and does much of the same to her own son.
Emma is desperate, that we know. Despite what Hook has tried to help her with, she is not able to fully fight the darkness by herself. She is desperate for it to be taken away from her. Cora did what she did to Regina because she had no heart, what is Emma’s excuse? I know she is scared and she is running out of options but how does hurting her own child help her fight the darkness?
What she did was allow the darkness to take an even tighter hold on her. Parents are supposed to protect their children, not harm them. I know she said what she did was for the best for Henry but as Regina pointed out to her, her own mother said the same thing. In the end Regina spent much of her life despising her mother. Henry is not going to walk back into Emma’s arms and forgive her anytime soon. In the process of trying to save herself it would appear that Emma has only doomed herself.
The Emma we have now, Dark Swan, has one mission here in this world and that is turn Rumple into the hero she needs. She needs a hero to pull Excalibur from the stone, so that she can rejoin it with the dagger and eradicate all light from herself. She has Merida imprisoned and forces her to train Rumple and make him brave. She believes if she can make him brave that will translate into him being the hero that she needs.
The old Emma would not be making this mistake. The old Emma would have understood that a hero is different depending on the situation and where they are. Teaching Rumple how to swing a sword will not make him brave and will not make him a hero. Even having Merida threaten the chipped cup and the memories of Belle and their life together is not what he needs. He becomes angry but that does not mean that he is now brave.
Rumple is being trained to be a hero in Camelot standards. Camelot and Storybrooke are two very different worlds. The great way to understand this is how Violet’s dad interacts with Henry. In Camelot he tells Henry that he cannot be a knight and cannot be a hero in that world. He is not strong enough, can’t fight and has no way to protect Violet. Henry tries to change but realizes that he can’t.
Now in Storybrooke that interaction is much more cordial. Violet’s father is grateful for what Henry did for his daughter. Henry did not have to fight with a sword to defend her, he found her horse and brought it back for her. He did it because he cared about her and that brought about a different response from Violet’s father.
What this all showed is that the term “hero,” is a broad term. The term does not have a set definition. There is no checklist you can make marks on as you gather the necessary elements to be a “hero.” Just like we have seen throughout the series the title of “villain,” is broad and can entail many different characteristics.
We get massive hints throughout this episode that Henry will be the hero. Regina calls him it more than once. In this world, Henry is the type of person who constitutes a hero.
Emma has this idea in her head that Rumple is the man she needs to be her hero. But what she is doing is training him to be a hero by Camelot’s standards. A hero there is someone who is strong, and fights monsters and protects their kingdom and family. While in Storybrooke that definition is much more subtle. Henry is a hero not because he goes into battle but because he helps those he loves and cares about, for unselfish reasons. Camelot’s hero identity is more about fighting and swords while this worlds’ definition is more about going out of your way to take care of those around you and make sacrafices to help those people.
If Emma wants Rumple to be her hero here, she needs to have him put down the sword. Rumple can be a hero but that will take time. He has many mistakes to amend and people to apologize to and gain trust from again. It will take a long time before Rumple can be a hero.
“The more you justify what you’re doing the more you push them away,” – Rumple – Emma has to find a reason of her actions. There is still a part of her that knows it isn’t right what she is doing but she is ignoring that part. She has to find excuses in order to push away the guilt that will take control of her. The people around her only hear those excuses and one by one they are walking away from her.
“You may not be hero in this world but you will be in ours,”- Regina- Again the two world are very different. Henry is not traditional knight material but he is a great person who can be a hero in our world. He is the hero that Emma needs not Rumple.
“Ms. Swan,”- Regina- Just like Hook, Regina is now making distinctions between the two versions of Emma that she knows. Hook calls her the Dark One and now Regina is calling her Ms. Swan again. A name she called her when they were enemies. She has drawn a line and Emma is slowly losing all those she had that believed in her.
Will the group use the dreamcatchers to get their memories back?
What was the dreamcatcher that Emma was crying over?
Something we haven’t seen? Henry’s? The choice she made with Violet?
Why was Violet’s dreamcatcher out on the table?
Can Henry find a way to forgive Emma?
Will anyone be able to trust and forgive Emma again?
What was the real reason that Emma did not relinquish the dark power to Merlin?
What would Merlin do with the dark power?
Did he create it?
Does it always have to exist?
When will Emma realize that Henry is the hero she needs?
Can she use her own son like that?
Is there any line she will not cross now?
If Henry does take out the sword can he use it against his own mother?
Are the decisions that Emma is making come from the darkness only or is it also from a part of her?
Where is Merlin in this world?
How did he approach Emma when she was young?
Why can’t she take out Excalibur?
Who was Merlin’s love? Who killed her? Who was that Dark One that imprisoned him? Why did he do it?
Can Rumple ever become a hero by either Camelot or Storybrooke’s standards?
Can Rumple be brave?
How did Emma get Merida as a prisoner?
Posted on October 26, 2015, in Once Upon a Time, Tv Shows and tagged Camelot, Emma, fiction, Henry, hero, Merlin, Once Upon a time, Regina, Rumple, spoilers, tv show review. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.