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Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare- Review

tumblr_ogwcviAKSN1r3oy4vo1_500The second book in a series can be difficult to pull off. The first book tends to handle setting everything up. We learn about the world and the characters, we get a hint at the who the greater foe will and we set the stage for other side story lines. The last book in a series is the ultimate climax, everything ends and all of our questions get answered. The second book is the awkward in-between point. It has to continue the plot, develop the characters and make sure everything is set for the finale. A lot of the times this second book gets bogged down by a treading water feel. A lot of the times as a reader I feel like the second book is slower and stagnant.

Unfortunately that is what happened to this second book in Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series, Lord of Shadows. There was plenty of set up but not much actually happened. We get to know our characters better but that is hindered by the lack of communication by almost every character. While the pieces are placed on the board, everyone  spends the book just hiding secrets from each other.

Lord of Shadows picked up a few weeks after Lady Midnight left off. Emma is fake dating Mark because she can’t be with Julian. She won’t tell Julian about the curse for his own “protection.”

This is the part of the book that I had the most difficult with. I have written a full post about why this type of storyline drives me crazy, here. So I won’t go into a full rant. Emma keeps saying throughout the book that she can’t tell Julian about the parabati curse because he could get hurt. She never specifies how he could get hurt or why that would be. She just uses that as her justification for not telling him.

This makes little to no sense to me. Julian has two main priorities in his life; his family and Emma. He will do anything to protect them, but ultimately his family comes first. This was well established in the last book and throughout this book. Julian would NEVER do anything that would end up hurting his siblings. If he had to choose between them and Emma, he would choose them in a second.

So why can’t Emma tell him about the curse? He isn’t going to throw away his family and say, “Screw it, I don’t care what happens. I still want to be with you.” He isn’t going to throw away everything that matters to him. He may want to find a cure or way out, but that does not mean that he will end up hurt. Julian loves Emma but he is sensible. He is smart and he thinks through his decisions. He won’t let the curse hurt his family, period.

I feel like this secret thing was put int place in order to create angst throughout this book. We go on this continued back and forth, Does she/he love me?, for hundred of pages. It wasn’t needed. This same feeling could have been conveyed better and more naturally if they both knew about the curse.

Their communication is one of their strongest points. They talk through glances, they know each other better than anyone else. They even have a special way of tracing letters on their arms or backs, to spread messages. They would have been able to handle this secret, I wanted to see them fight it together. Having this secret kept felt like cheapening that connection between the two of them. Instead of building their bond, the bond was weakened throughout the story.

While Emma is busy keeping her secret they learn that Kieran is going to be put to death for killing Iralath. Julian, Emma, Mark and Christiana go to Faire to find and rescue Kieran. In the process they make a deal to find The Black Volume.

While this is happening in the background we have a whole storyline with The Centurians and Cohort. There is a set up for a scary way of treating Downworlders and those who aren’t Shadowhunters. This storyline hit close to reality and was a bit hard to read at times just because I can see so much of it happening in our world today. I think I know where this part of the storyline is going and it is going to aggravate me in the next book.

Tucked into all of this there is the storyline from the last book about raising Annabel and her backstory. This was the storyline I thought we would stick with from the last book but it kind of got lost in the pages of the number of other plot lines going on.

One of my favorite parts of this book was what we learned about Kit. Kit is an interesting character and a type we haven’t seen yet in this series. Kit knows the mundane world, the shadowhunter world and the downworlder world. He has a connection to them all and he was raised with one way of thinking. Throughout the story we see Kit begin to change how he thinks and how he sees the shadowhunter world.

I loved his connection to Ty. Kit understands Ty because he know the mundane world and mundane medicine. I like that he never felt disconnected from Ty, he actually connected best with Ty. I am interested to see how the connection builds after the events of the finale. I have a feeling that the two of them are either going to enter into a relationship together or become parabati or both if the curse is broken.

Kit was the character that grew throughout the book. He development felt natural. He is accepted into this family, though he at first doesn’t want to be. He begins to understand how they operate and he sees that he may have a place in this world if he wants it. I am eager to see what happened with him in the next book.

I didn’t hate this book at all. I was just expecting more from it. I think the secret keeping is what made this book difficult for me. It might just be me and my dislike of that particular storyline. I felt like it was used in order to force storylines instead of finding ways to do it naturally. Emma and Julian could have had strife in their relationship without the secret keeping. Christina could have gotten closer to Mark without Diego keeping secrets from her. I just wish this idea wasn’t the main point of this book.

I am interested to see how this story ends. Julian is going to be interesting in the next book. After the way the book ended i think we are going to see a very dark side of his character. I hope we see his dark side, I hope he loses it and has to be brought back. That will be interesting and will give us an interesting moral gray line to focus on. I have hope that this series will end in a satisfying way, but we will have to see.

Closing One Book and Opening Another – Once Upon a Time (Season 6 finale)

images-6I was prepared to be done with Once Upon a Time after the season finale. This season was tough, disjointed and all over the place. It has felt like the writer’s were grasping at straws, desperately trying to find ways to keep the show going. I stuck it out because I knew that there were rumors this could be the last season. I wanted to see how they ended it.

The season finale was a great way to end this story. We spent six seasons with our set of characters and the season finale was the time to close that book and open a new one. I had no idea going into the finale how they were going to wrap up the storylines and then set up a new, fresh season. The last few minutes left me intrigued. I wasn’t going to watch season seven, but I now have to at least give it a shot and see where they are going.

The finale started in “The Enchanted Forest, During a Time for Great Upheaval.” This should have been a tip off that something was odd because this show always gives a time period when doing the flashbacks. We see a man run and wake up a little girl. He hands her the storybook and tells her she has to run and to protect the book. We see him take a stand. We assume that he dies in the battle.

We then jump to our present “timeline,” right after The Black Fairy’s curse has taken affect. Henry wakes up on the roof where Hook and Emma’s wedding took place. He has the book. He goes down into the town and quickly learns what the curse did.

The Black Fairy’s curse sent Emma to a timeline where she is in a mental asylum. In this time she came to storybrooke but there were no Charming and no one was from The Enchanted Forest. She is found to be crazy for her believing Henry and is forced to an asylum to help with her supposed delusions.

Henry is desperate to find her and make her see that she is being tricked. Of course, The Black Fairy intervenes and tells Emma that she has to stop believing in the stories in order to help her son. She centers her argument on that Emma is only making it so Henry can’t live a normal life.

The rest of the group has been sent back to The Enchanted Forest. They are desperate to find a way back to Emma. We quickly learn that all the storylands are falling apart and disappearing. Since Emma no longer believes, the stories are starting to fade.

I loved this idea. I wish this was the idea that was the theme throughout this whole season. This main problem with this season was that there was no overall theme. We had too many stories going on at one time. This idea, that without belief there are no fairytales or stories, is an interesting idea. I think a lot could have been done with it.

This show has always been about the power of belief, hope and stories. Without belief no story can exist. If ,as you are reading you don’t believe what you are reading or don’t feel like the characters could be people you could ever meet and talk with, then the stories haven’t done their job. You have to believe the story could be real, that the situation could happen. You have to get lost in a story or else it is just words on a page.

The Final Battle that has been spoken about all season is not a huge battle between The Black Fairy and Emma. It is a battle for Emma’s soul. The Black Fairy knows that if Emma stops believing and leaves all that she has gained behind then The Black Fairy can win. Emma can’t fight her, she will no longer be The Savior.

Henry refuses to give up on his mother though. He starts to play the game of the world and figures out ways to convince Emma that all of the stories are true. He takes her to where her and Hook got married. For a minute she gets flashes of memories.

Emma tells Henry she has to get away. She needs to start over and get away from Storybrooke and everyone thinking she is insane. Henry agrees to help her escape, though he has a different plan.  He finds The Storybook and decides to take it back to Emma, though gets caught by The Black Fairy.

She knows that Henry is in her way, so she decides to push him down the steps. She injures him in order to convince Emma that she needs to stop believing in order to protect Henry. The Black Fairy is able to convince Emma that the way to save Henry is by burning The Storybook.

As the book burns the Enchanted Forest (the last of the story lands) begins to crumble. Emma walks away and returns to Boston. As she runs, our group is desperate to find a way to save themselves but they quickly find out that there is no hope. They can’t stop the destruction.

Emma gets back to her old apartment (though why it has been kept for her, untouched, is a mystery). She is willing to restart her new life, but finds a new storybook written by Henry. It tells her, her life story. It is the story of everything that happened to Emma since she came to Storybrooke.

Emma returns to help Henry. She tells him she may not remember her past life but she believes in it.  That it is the life she always wanted and she is willing to believe in the possibility of that life. That is the moment where everything stops falling apart. Emma decides that she believes her son. She believes that there is something else to life then what she has been fed. She decides to take a chance and see where it leads her.

IMG_3906-1200x675-1200x640While Emma is deciding what path to take, Rumple is also making a huge decision for himself and his family. In this alternate timeline Rumple has his son but Belle has supposedly run off and left her family. Rumple doesn’t believe this and he knows that The Black Fairy did not keep her word. She did not give him his family.

Rumple has his own decision to make. He can either buy into what his mother tells him, that with her new, grand power she can give him back Bae, and put his family back together or he can fight her influence on him. She offers him a new life but he knows that all magic comes with a price.

Rumple is done letting his family suffer for his choices. He decides that he does not buy into his mother’s schemes and he ends up killing her. Once The Black Fairy is dead the curse is lifted. Emma remembers who she is and everyone is brought back to Storybrooke.

Unfortunately before The Black Fairy died she commanded Gideon (whose heart she still had) to kill Emma. The Black Fairy learned that darkness cannot snuff out light. Only light can destroy light. She forces Gideon to do her dirty work.

Rumple rushes to find Gideon’s heart to return it to him. As he is picking it up he is given one last choice. The devil on his shoulder tells him that he can have all that he ever wanted; power and family, if he only puts down Gideon’s heart and lets him kill Emma.

Rumple decides that he is done betraying his family. He tries to stop Gideon. He tries to command him to not hurt Emma, but it doesn’t work. The Black Fairy’s spell cannot be undone that easily. In the end Emma knows what she has to do and that is to let Gideon kill her. She sacrifices herself for her family and her home.

She falls and appears to be dead. Everyone rushes to her side and in an echo of Season 1 Henry kisses her and wakes Emma up. True love’s kiss wins again.

The storybook returns and we learn how the final battle was actually won.  The last page says “When good and evil both did the right thing, faith was restored and the final battle was won.” Snow then gives a sweet speech about what comes next. That this is not the end of their story. It is not about the happy ending but believing in the possibility of the happy ending. Now, they live on. They get to see what happens next in their lives and they get to do it together.

The final scene shows all the worlds we have seen throughout the last six seasons coming back together. Then get to see how everyone gets to move on with their lives. Snow and Charming have a farm. Snow goes back to teaching. Henry goes back to school. Emma and Hook work together. Rumple and Belle start new with a baby Gideon.  And Regina is once again mayor, or as the dwarves put on her door, “Queen.”

That proves the perfect ending for this series or at least this “book.” All of our characters get to move on and actually live their lives. They get to see where their stories go now, no longer having to fight. They get to live this next chapter with one another, in the life that is meant for them. To me it was perfect. It was literally closing this book and that is what this show needed. Life moving on with joy and togetherness.

The last few moments gave us a hint as to what is to come in the next season. We find out that the man from the beginning, the one that sent the little girl away, was actually adult Henry. His daughter arrives at his door step (much like Henry did to Emma’s in season 1) and tells him he has to save his family.

She is carrying a new storybook, one that contains our old story but will start a new one. After that last scene I am intrigued to see where this story is going. I was so set on letting this show go. Especially after this finale. It all ended so well!

Now I want to know what is going to happen. I feel like this is the only way for this show to move on. It is time to move our focus to a whole new set of characters, a new theme and a new story. This will only work though if this “book,” feels new and fresh. We need to have new themes, something other than the power of love and family. We need to have new characters and brand new stories.

I know that Regina, Hook and Rumple are supposed to play a part in the next season but I am hoping they are side characters. I am hoping this will feel like a sequel to a book series. New story but with cameos from people we know. It needs to find a way to get us hooked on these new characters and I think this time jump may just be the ticket.

I don’t know if I’ll do reviews for the next season but I am interested to see how this show handles this new turn. It could go very well or it they could get stuck. It will be interesting to see.

Quotes:

“Curses have never stopped us before.” – Snow – It was nice to see this end to a curse. I hope that in the new season we stay away from curses. Curses are the tool used in this book, time for a new way to stir things up.

“Belief in something, something that isn’t real, can be dangerous” – Black Fairy – This is what she wants Emma to believe. She wants to her to think having firm belief is a bad thing. When the opposite is true, having belief in what you can’t see will give you hope and provide a driving force for you to take risks and do the impossible.

 

 

 

Song in Your Heart – Once Upon a Time – Review

1200x630bbThis was the long anticipated musical episode as well as Hook and Emma’s wedding. I was hesitant about the whole musical idea. It can either go really well or really wrong. I think this one fell in the middle. I liked the songs but the story was just too Disneyeque for this show. Some of the plot points actually made me laugh out loud.

The episode started with us in the past. Snow is desperate to find a way to save her unborn daughter from the curse. She desperately makes a wish on a star, praying that her daughter can get her happy ending. The next morning the whole kingdom finds themselves signing.

At first they are confused and scared but then the number hits its crescendo and they figure out that they can do anything with love. Their whole song is about the power of love and the power of music and songs. They have this new feeling of determination and power in their souls.

Back in the current timeline Snow gives Emma her wedding dress only for The Black Fairy to show up and reveal she is still alive. She gives Emma one more chance to turn over her heart and to surrender. Emma refuses. The Black Fairy promises that she will regret that choice.

The gang goes to the clock tower where they find the plan that The Black Fairy has set in motion. At 6, right after Hook and Emma get married, a dark curse will be unleashed. This curse will separate Emma from the people she cares about. The Black Fairy assumes that this will make Emma vulnerable and make it so she can’t fight.

The Black Fairy is trying to play on Emma’s insecurities, particularly her fear of being alone. Being an orphan made Emma think she wasn’t wanted for much of her life. Throughout the series we have seen her grow and realize that she is not alone. She has her parents, Henry, Regina and Hook. Emma will never be alone again.

For a moment though Emma is scared. She resolves to fight The Black Fairy and end the battle once and for all. She faces her enemy and gives up her heart. This is the point where the past storyline and the current one connect.

Once-Upon-a-Time-6x20-The-Song-in-Your-Heart-Blue-Fairy-puts-everyones-song-in-Emmas-heart-720x409In the past the singing spell gave Snow and Charming enough confidence to fight for their daughter and their kingdom. They face Regina in a strange singing dance battle. In the end Regina is able to reverse the spell.

Snow and Charming find that they lose their drive when they can no longer sing. The Blue Fairy comes to them and tells them that the song in their hearts never leaves. That this song will always be with Emma. They have to forget this moment in order for Emma to find that song again when she needs it the most.

This was the part that had me giggling. This was so Disney it was a bit ridiculous. Emma’s heart can’t be destroyed because she has the song of her parents and family inside of it. The song in her heart is what saves her in the end from The Black Fairy, this time. She literally sings her way out of the issue.

Emma learns that she is never alone. She will always have her loved ones in her heart, no matter what else is going on. She can take on The Black Fairy because of this love. Even as the wedding ends and we see the new curse taking over, Emma is confident she can defeat this evil and be back with her family.

The season finale is Sunday. It will be a two part episode and will also be Jennifer Morrison’s last episode. She is leaving the show, which means no more Emma. I am have no idea how they are going to continue the show without her. It has been picked up for a Season 7. I am not sure how they are going to continue the story but I am interested to see. Mostly because I feel like they have hit their creative wall and it can either go well and breathe new life into the show or it will be the ultimate end and kill it. We shall see.

 

Quotes:
“Cause love expressed through song is a weapon that the queen has never seen.” – Snow – This was the point of this episode. Somehow signing about their love and dedication to their family made them more powerful. I am not entirely sure how but it was the string that kept this episode together.

 

Questions:
Where will Emma end up?

Will Emma live through the final battle?

Will The Black Fairy be defeated?

How will the last episode set up the coming new season?

Will it feel like a series finale?

What will the show be like without Emma?

 

Self-fulling Prophecy – Once Upon a Time (6×19)

maxresdefaultThis episode gave us the backstory of The Black Fairy. We learned why she had to give up her only son and we also learned that working to avoid prophecies tend to make them come true. While Rumple learned why he was abandoned, Zelena finds out that she has worth outside of her magic.

The episode opened on Rumple’s birth. Just after he is born his fairy godmother (Tiger Lily) comes in and reveals that he is destined to be a savior. This was the biggest shock of this episode. Rumple, The Dark One, was at one time destined to be a Savior; destined to help and save the people around him. It is an interesting idea considering where he ended up.

The group watches as Rumple attempts to wake up The Blue Fairy. They are able to wake her up where she tells them that the rest of the wand needed to banish The Black Fairy  is at the heart of Storybrooke. Just as she is finishing her revelation The Black Fairy comes in and kidnaps her.

Rumple is upset and at a lost. Everyone heads off to find the wand but he needs to stop them. He needs to keep The Black Fairy alive until they find out where she has hidden Gideon’s heart. At this point Rumple cares about no one but his son. He could care less what his mother wants.  He doesn’t care what her secret is, he wants his family safe, nothing more.

In another flashback we learn that that Fiona (The Black Fairy) learns that there is a prophecy about her son. It says that a Dark Force, a great evil, is going to put her son in a final battle and kill him. She is terrified and can only think about saving her child, nothing more.

images-5Fiona becomes obsessed with protecting Rumple. She jumps at everyone who comes near her and she is willing to go to any lengths to save him. Tiger Lily thinks she is trying too hard and needs to let things happen as they are meant to happen. For Fiona this is not an adequate answer. Instead of sitting around she turns herself into a fairy thinking she can now completely protect her child.

While The Black Fairy is trying to get the information of the wand piece out of The Blue Fairy, Rumple uses dust to send him, Gideon and Emma into the dream universe. He needs to ask Gideon where his heart is being held, so he can find it before taking out The Black Fairy.

The dream realm isn’t Gideon’s dream though, it is Rumple’s. Rumple is haunted by his past but is at first unwilling to find out what happened. He believes he was never loved and he doesn’t care. All Rumple cares about is his own son. The problem is that Gideon has no idea where his heart is. He knows that to defeat The Black Fairy, Rumple needs to learn about what happened to make his mother leave him.

Rumple gives in and we learn what happened with his mother. The Black Fairy is obsessed with defeating the dark force after her son. She first looks for the child she believes is going to be his downfall but can’t find him or her. Instead she decides to create her own spell. It turns out to be a dark curse that will send all the children possible as a dark force to a land without magic.

Tiger Lily tries to stop her unwilling to let her create something so dark. The Black Fairy won’t listen and pulls out Tiger Lily’s heart. This is the moment that turns Fiona into The Black Fairy. She has made an unforgivable move. Then we find out that making this mistake makes Fiona into the evil that will kill her son.

This whole thing shows again the issue with prophecies. Prophecies are just words. They have no power until someone acts on them. If Fiona had just left her son alone, watched over him and let him live his life; he would have been fine. Instead she was hell bent on preventing the darkness that she created it. Prophecies need to be left alone. Trying to prevent them always make them happen.

Fiona isn’t done destroying her son’s life though. She still believes she can save him. She takes the shears and uses them to sever Rumple from his Savior destiny. She believes that if he is not The Savior then she will not have to fight him and he will not die. This is unacceptable to The Blue Fairy. The Blue Fairy banishes The Black Fairy for her choice and gives Rumple to his father to care for. (And we all know how well that worked out).

In the end Rumple ends up facing off with his mother. He has a choice. He can use the wand to destroy her or he can work with her. He now knows that she loved him, that everything she did was to protect him. He hesitates, unable to decide if he can trust her or wants to work with her.

Rumple choose to let her live. He can’t kill her, knowing her secret. Unfortunately The Black Fairy wants to kill Emma. She needs Emma dead because of the prophecy. Emma is now The Savior, which means she can defeat The Black Fairy. I am not sure how this fight will go down, but Rumple again has proven that he can’t be trusted.

 

Quotes:

“The problem with Saviors, never quite as helpful as advertised.” – Rumple – Rumple was at one point destined to be one of these Saviors. Saviors are expected to live up to certain expectations and I wonder if Rumple could fulfill that role if he tried.

 

Questions:

When will the group learn that The Black Fairy is not dead?

Who will Rumple fight with in the end?

How will the final battle go down?

How will the musical episode work?

Will Emma and Hooks’ wedding be interrupted?

You Will Not Be Alone – Once Upon a Time 6×17 (Review) (Spoilers)

617WeCantAskUsThe final battle is coming quick. This episode wrapped up the loose strings so that the rest of the season can focus on this fight. Hook has found his way home. Emma and Hook have fixed their relationship and Hook has also fixed his relationship with her parents. Snow and Charming were woken up and everyone is ready to fight with Emma.

The main part of this episode focused on waking up Snow and Charming. They are both still under the sleeping curse and Regina was having trouble finding a way to wake them up. She comes up with an idea but she is not sure it will work.

Snow is adamant they try it because she does not want Emma to have to face the final battle alone. That was the theme of this episode; not fighting alone. Emma keeps trying to tell her parents that it is okay, that she can handle herself; but no one will hear of it. Snow and Charming still feel guilty for not being around most her life and they will do anything they can to save Emma.

Regina’s plan ends up backfiring. Instead of removing the sleeping curse from the shared hearts it triggers a failsafe plan. They have until the end of the day to find a way to wake up both Charming and Snow or else they will both end up asleep forever.

While the group is trying to find a solution to the problem we get to see a moment from the past that I found interesting. In the previews last week I thought this week was going to be another version of trying to keep Emma from being The Savior. I was not thrilled with the idea. We have seen it a number of different ways at this point. We know that Emma HAS to be The Savior, period.

Once-Upon-a-Time-6x17-Awake-Snow-White-and-Charming-under-a-sleeping-curse-at-Reginas-vault-720x373
What the past portion of this episode showed up was that Snow and Charming had the opportunity to find Emma. Snow found a pixie dust flower that woke up Charming. When Charming woke up he remembered that he was from the Enchanted Forest and was able to wake Snow up from the spell as well.

They were excited to be out of the curse and were intent on finding their daughter. They went to Rumple to see if he had a way of finding her. Once Rumple woke up though he was not for the idea of running off after Emma.

He told them that it was too early for them to find Emma. Emma had to be 28 in order to break the curse for everyone else. If they went and found her at that point, she would never become The Savior and never be able to wake everyone else up. The pair was faced with a choice; reunite their family at everyone else’s expense and or go back under the curse and wait until Emma found them and saved everyone.

In the end we know that they chose to let Emma live her life and find them. They knew that they could not sacrifice everyone else’s life and well-being for their own happiness. Other lives were at stake and they needed to help them, and to do that they had to let their daughter find her own way.

The episode ends with the whole town coming together and taking a piece of the sleeping curse into themselves. (I am not entirely sure I understood how this worked but I am just going to go with it). By everyone taking a small piece of the curse they were able to dilute the curse enough to wake up Charming and Snow. Now they can all fight the final battle together.

This moment felt like it setting up a final ending for this series. I know the fate of Once Upon a Time is still up in the air (as of this posting). I have also read that if it gets renewed there could be a major cast shake up with also major story shake ups. This episode felt like a tying together of stories and preparing for everyone to come together to fight this final evil. I would love to see the whole town fight together and it not be just Emma. This series has always been about a number of characters lives and stories and I would love to see it end that way as well.

Quotes:

“I practically invented dark magic.” – Black Fairy- I wonder how much of The Black Fairies past we will see. Will we see how she became who she was? Or how she fell so far into the darkness? I think that could be interesting.

“Because it needed to.” – Emma- She says this after she finds the one pixie flower that survived The Black Fairies destruction. This is a statement of faith and belief, a statement that past Emma would never had made. She has much more belief in fate and destiny now then she ever did before.

Questions:

Will Rumple tell everyone that The Black Fairy has Gideon’s heart?

Who will fight the final battle?

What happens when the book ends?

Will anyone die?

What does The Black Fairy want exactly?

 

Becoming a Hero – Once Upon a Time 6×15 – Review (Spoilers)

605LookingAtAladdinThis episode stayed on the trend of wrapping up extraneous storylines. We found out what happened to Agrabah and where Aladdin and Jasmine have been. Also Hook and Emma have begun on the path to fixing their relationship.

The episode began with Emma telling Charming about what she learned from Hook. Charming seemed distraught but was ultimately more concerned about Emma’s broken heart.

While Emma is nursing a broken heart, Hook is desperately trying to find a way to get home to Emma. In order to move between portals they need Kraken blood. In the fight to get the blood Hook runs into Aladdin and Jasmine.

Aladdin and Jasmine are still looking for Agrabah. The wish they made in the mid-season finale only brought them to the middle of The Enchanted Forest with a ring as a hint.

In a flashback we learn that Jasmine was desperate to save her home from Jafar. She tries to find ways around Jafar’s offer of marriage but was unable to beat him. She ends up losing her home and in the process her confidence in herself.

Hook, Aladdin and Jasmine end up on an island where they find Ariel who offers to help them in anyway she can. She offers them the use of a genie bottle that turns out to contain Jafar. To control and hurt Jasmine, Jafar puts Hook, Ariel and Aladdin out of commission. Jasmine is forced to fight on her own for herself and her life.

Jasmine has been hunting for her home since we met her. She has to not only find her home and her people but also she needs to find her purpose in life again.

Jasmine is someone who has had her life decided for, for her whole life. As a princess she has a duty to her people, to protect and help them. Her life is defined by being able to see her people. When she feels as if she has failed she puts her fain in everyone else around her.

It isn’t until she has no choice that she finds herself able to be a hero. She tries to put everyone else into that role until she realizes is a true hero, herself. She doesn’t need anyone else. She is here just as powerful as Emma and Aladdin. She just needed to have faith in herself.

COLIN O'DONOGHUEThe other part of this episode was about Emma being forced to deal with Hook’s apparent abandonment. Regina and Snow take Emma out for a night of drinks hoping to get her to open up and admit how much pain she is in.

Emma seems to being holding her pain close to her chest. She almost appears to shrug it off. But we know Emma has no idea how to handle this. She trusted Hook and despite knowing him well, she truly believes he could walk away from her.

I am glad that this was resolved by the end of the episode. It was going to drive me nuts having to listen and watch Emma try to move on, when we know that is a pointless endeavor. Hook is able to get a message to Emma with the truth and we see that their love is true love and that it is not easily broken.

Quotes:

“Perhaps Agrabah found its hero at last.” – Jasmine – Jasmine kept trying to put everyone else in the hero rule but herself. She wants someone to help her until she learns she can be a hero too.

Questions:

Will Emma help Gideon?

Why does Gideon need Emma’s help?

Who is Gideon trying to save?

How will Hook get back to Storybrooke?

How will they end up breaking the sleeping curse?

The End of Evil Queen’s Storyline – Once Upon a Time (6×14) (Spoilers)

images-3The Evil Queen storyline has finally come to a conclusion and I am hoping this will give the show an opportunity to branch out and try to tell some new, fresh stories. While the Evil Queen story ended, the circle of issues with Hook and Emma is still spinning.

The episode opened in the past with The Evil Queen yet again looking for Snow. As she is threatening the village, Tinker Bell, comes in and tells them that she is to blame for the way the villagers are being treated. She reveals that Regina walked away from love and that made her bitter and angry. Regina denies it all, trying to make it seem like she cares about her people.

In the present The Evil Queen and Robin are bonding. They both realize that they do not belong in the mortal world. Both of them don’t belong in a place where things are calm and selfless. They both have hard and difficult personalities and need somewhere that works with that. Robin reveals that he wants to return to his world, he wants to be back in a world he understands and can work with. The Evil Queen agrees to help him if he helps her.

We then hop back to the past and we learn that Regina’s father is desperate to help her find true love. He tricks her, making her think he is going to help her find Snow White. In reality he brings her to cupid’s arrows. He tells her that she deserves love and he wants her to be happy. Regina lashes out, angry that she was tricked. At that time she thinks she has what she wants, revenge.

Regina takes the arrows and reworks them to show her who she hates. She believes it will take her straight to Snow, when it instead it shows her, her own image. This isn’t new information for us. We know that Regina spent much of her past pretending that she was happy with her revenge plot. We know that she thought that killing Snow would solve all her issues.

We also know that she learned that love is what she was missing. Past Regina didn’t want to admit that she had lost an essential part of herself. This whole series has been about Regina taking a step back and learning what she really deserves and that is a second chance at love.

In the present Regina faces off against her evil half. She is set on destroying her for good. She wants to be done with this whole thing. They fight and in the end Regina takes her heart and combines it with The Evil Queen’s. She forces light into her darkness, while also darkening her own heart again.

This was the end that I assumed we were heading too since this all started last season. Regina was dead set on pushing all the dark out of her life while The Evil Queen was set on destroying all the light in hers. They both learn in this episode that there has too be a balance between the two forces. Light and dark do not exist without each other.

Once The Evil Queen’s heart is lightened she is no longer interested in destroying Regina. She wants to make amends and then start over again. Regina helps her go to a fresh start, which includes Robin.

I found this part interesting. I had a feeling at the start of this episode that Wish Realm Robin was in fact Evil Queen’s true love and not our Regina’s true love. I liked that The Evil Queen got to live out what she denied herself. Wish Realm Robin is a bit selfish and hard, same as The Evil Queen. In the end part of Regina got the true love she deserved.

While Regina was tying up her storyline, Emma was destroying hers. Hook is feeling guilty for not telling Emma about what he did to Charming’s father. He goes to Captain Nemo for advice. Nemo gives him two options. He can either forgive himself and let it all go or he can tell Emma and ask for forgiveness.

I personally thought he should find a way to forgive himself and move on. We know Hook had a dark past, everyone knows this. Hook made poor choices and he hurt others. That was past Hook, everyone knows he had things he did that some may know and others may not know. Revealing this transgression does no one any good. It just picks at a scabbed wound, a wound that will never fully heal. I thought he should just put it behind him and let it go.

Of course, Hook does not do any of the above options. He instead attempts to burn the dream catcher with the memory. Emma catches him and she lashes out on him. She breaks down, telling him that he should have been able to trust her. She accuse him of keeping secrets and not being open and honest about everything. She turns it all on its head and makes it about her.

This whole thing drove me crazy. Hook tries to explain to Emma that he wasn’t trying to hide it from her because he didn’t trust her. He just couldn’t live looking at her parents knowing what he did. Instead of listening and trying to understand how he is feeling, she just makes it all about her. I wish she had just listened to him. Understood that his past was yet again hurting him. In the end she gave him back the ring, telling him they needed to find a way to connect again.

images-4Hook is heart-broken, believing the this past has done what he always feared it would do; taken away the one woman he loved. Hook debates leaving with Captain Nemo, going on a journey of self-discovery; but he after talking with Snow he decides he is not running away. Of course, Gideon has to throw a wrench into the idea.

Before Hook can get off the submarine, Gideon launches it and forces Hook to leave. Emma thinks he has left her and is in the process of believing their relationship is over.

Next week it looks like the story is going to be the “I have to move on,” storyline, which I am going to hate. This is committing one of my most hated story crimes. Emma and Hook have literally gone to hell and died for each other. Emma should know that Hook wouldn’t walk away from her without a fight. She should know that he has his demons but he fights them. It is going to be frustrating watching her act like she has no idea who the man she claims to love is.

I am hoping this will have a quick resolution. I don’t think I am going to be able to take watching this back and forth stuff for too long. I am hoping a dramatic event will put things back to where they need to be and things will be alright again for these two.

Quotes:
“Guilt can be as corrosive to the soul as revenge.” – Captain Nemo – Guilt is always going to be apart of Hook’s life. Emma needs to learn to listen to him and help him ease this guilt once in a while instead of fighting him about it all the time.

Questions:
What is Gideon’s plan?
How will Hook get off the submarine?
Where is Nemo going?
Why are Jasmine and Aladdin on the submarine?
Is Gideon going after Emma again?
What happened to The Land of Lost Stories characters?
Can Emma learn to help and listen to Hook?
When will they be able to lift the sleeping curse?

You Fight When it Matters – Once Upon a Time – Winter Finale

once-upon-a-time-6x10-wish-you-were-here-emma-and-regina-in-the-wish-realm-720x409The winter finale finally told us who the hooded figure is. We also got to see what life would be like if the dark curse had never been enacted. We set up more of the conflict for Rumple and Belle but still haven’t solidified what The Evil Queen’s story is actually about. And we seem to have completely thrown The Land of Lost Stories characters to the side.

The episode opens with the group trying to find away to go after The Evil Queen again. During a small fight between Regina and her darker half, Emma takes a swing at The Evil Queen with the sword they found in the last episode. It is quickly discovered that the sword can hurt the queen but it doesn’t hurt Regina. They now have a weapon! Though who the sword belongs to and why it hurt the queen and not Regina is left as unanswered questions.

The group goes after the queen but she takes Jasmine hostage. She now has possession of the lamp and she uses it to send Emma to a world where she is not the savior. She is hoping to put everyone against each other as they try to find a way to save Emma and leave The Evil Queen to whatever she wants.

I still have no idea what this woman wants. She wants to hurt Regina, that much we know. We know she wants to watch the people she hates suffer. She thinks taking away all the people from Regina will destroy her. What I am confused about is what happens after that? What is her long term goal? If Regina loses everyone and falls apart then what does she want? Will she go back to the Enchanted Forest? Will she rule Storybrooke? What does she really want?

Emma ends up in the Enchanted Forest in a life where she was raised by her parents. We see right away that she is not a fighter. She has been coddled her whole life and she has no idea what suffering feels like. She is taken care of by her parents. She is loved by her people. Her life has been almost perfect.

Henry is still her son and she did end up with Neil, though I am not sure I understand how that worked out. In the actual storyline, Neil ends up in the mortal world because Rumple pushes him away. We know that Rumple is still The Dark One in this world so why didn’t Neil end up in the mortal world? How was that changed because the curse didn’t happen? Those two things had no connection to each other.  I  feel like this was glossed over to shoehorn Henry into the story.

Regina ends up figuring out that since her and The Evil Queen are essentially the same person she is also the master of the lamp. She takes it and wishes to be where Emma is. The only problem in is that in the new reality she is still seen as a villain and feared. No one knows her as Regina so she has to play a part.

Regina is desperate to turn Emma back into the woman who will fight for what she loves again. She takes her parents hostage and threatens their lives. She tells Emma she just has to fight her. Emma instead offers up the kingdom to save her parents. This Emma has no idea what fighting means. She has no idea how to give herself up for people she loves. She is not someone who will do anything for her family.

Our Emma has had to fight for everything from day one. She has not had anything handed once-upon-a-time-6x10-promo-wish-you-were-hereto her. She knows loss and she knows pain. This Emma knows none of those things. She has never been in real pain. She did lose Neil but she hasn’t watched people die at her feet. She hasn’t had someone take someone she loves. So, she has no idea what to do when Regina takes her parents; other than to hand over everything.

It takes Henry stepping in front of her and fighting for her to snap her back to herself. No matter what form she is in, she will do anything to protect her son. He is what matters in her life, anywhere and anytime.

They make almost make it back to their reality but stop when Robin shows up and catches Regina’s attention. She has been spending her whole time there saying that this place is not real. All of it is just an image, not real life. Then Robin shows up and her mind goes off track. She sees Robin, someone she thought was dead forever and she can’t walk away.

The second half of the season is going to have Regina coming to terms with losing her Robin; because this is not the man she loved and lost. She is going to learn to let him go and go home to her real life. I’m sure somehow he will help her find a way to fight the dark side of herself and win.

The other part of this episode was about Rumple trying to find his son. We find out that the Blue Fairy was attacked by the Black Fairy and their son was stolen. In the last moments of the episode we learn that the hooded figure is Morpheus, their son.

The Black Fairy has turned him evil/dark. Now Belle and Rumple are going to have to work together to save him. My question though is, will Rumple see the situation the same as Belle? Rumple likes his dark side. He has been wanting someone that understands him. Now, he has his son. Will he actually help turn him good again? Will that help him realize that his thirst for power is what is destroying his life?  Will saving his son help save Rumple?

Quotes:

“Love is weakness” – Evil Queen – We have heard a number of villains say this before. They are afraid of love because it makes them vulnerable. They would no longer be centerd on themselves. But in the end it also makes everyone stronger, because they are able to fight for the people around them.

“Every savior needs a villain.” – Rumple – Saviors need something to fight against. The villain doesn’t have to be a person, it is just an obstacle in the way. Saviors are saviors because they are able to stand up and fight for who and what means the most to them.

“You fight when it matters.” – Regina – Emma fights when people she knows are in harms way. She does not fight to fight. She fights because it means saving people she loves. That is when fighting matters the most; when you use it to help others.

Questions:

How will Emma and Regina get home?
Can Regina leave Robin Hood again?
Will this Robin Hood be anything like hers?
How did Rumple is the wish reality know about Storybrooke?
What consequences will there be for realizing Rumple is the wish reality?
Will we see the Black Fairy again?
Why did she steal Rumple’s child and turn him dark?
Can Morpheus be saved?
Where is Agrabah?
How is that story going to fit in with the rest of the stories?
What happened to the people from The Land of Lost Stories?
When will we get the story of Charming’s dad?
Who does the sword belong to?
Why can the sword hurt The Evil Queen and not Regina?

 

A Family Bond Can’t be Broken – Once Upon a Time 6×06 – Review

606thedevilamiThis episode centered on the importance of family and the strength of that bond. It also again explored the idea that revenge does nothing but breed hate and anger. We also got a better idea of what The Evil Queen is after; though it fees like we are spinning our wheels on her storyline right now.

The episode opened in the past with Hook being taken onto Captain Nemo’s ship. He is taken specifically because Nemo wants to save Hook. He knows about Hook’s past and he tries to explain to him that getting revenge does not help. He explains that he did what Hook is trying to do and all is left him with was hate and anger. He does not want Hook to suffer like he has.

Hook tells him that he can’t give up when the one he wants is so close. At that time Hook is centered on getting his revenge and that is all. He is counting on the act of revenge relieving some of the pain he is constantly feeling. Nemo explains that it won’t help, not how Hook wants it to.

What Nemo tries to explain is that what Hook needs is a family. He needs people to care about and that care about him. Nemo is constantly emphasizing the importance of family. He finds the key to The Land of Untold Stories, in order to give them a home. He wants everyone to have fresh start, which at that point is not something Hook wants.

In the present it is a completely different story. Hook has found love with Emma and somewhat of a family in the rest of the group.

The conflict in this episode is between Hook and Henry. Henry is not warming to the idea of Hook moving in and the idea that he may one day become Henry’s step-father. He lets The Evil Queen plant the idea that Hook will hurt Emma and hurt their family. She helps him find the shears and he instantly thinks that Hook is out to take away what is special about Emma. He becomes resentful and angry towards Hook.

Now, I really did not like the way this story was told. Never has Henry acted like he has a problem with Hook and Emma. When Emma was The Dark One he helped Hook find a house for them, he held him find a way to connect with Emma and give her a future. Henry was just sparring and spending time with Hook an episode ago. Now all of a sudden he is resentful and not trusting of Hook. Where did that come from?

I know that maybe all of a sudden Henry is thinking about the idea of Hook being his step-father but it is not like Hook is trying to force a relationship between them. He is acting like he always has, and they have always had a friendly, easygoing bond. I feel like this was put in in order to tell this story with Nemo. I did not like the way Henry took such a turn in his character.

Also Henry would never let The Evil Queen influence how he thinks and sees people. He knows that she is not to be trusted. As soon as she showed him the shears he should have thought about what she was trying to do. He should have gone to Hook and asked him about it. He should know by now that The Evil Queen just wants to cause trouble. This episode seemed to make Henry very dumb.

once-upon-a-time2-1Near the end of The Evil Queen tells Rumple what she really wants. For a few episodes she has been trying to tear apart the group but has begun to see that is not as easy as she wanted. She wanted them to destroy themselves but it is not happening.

We learn that what she really wants is Snow White, which should not be a surprise to anyone. This has been her storyline for the whole series. She wants revenge for what happened to Daniel. I am curious how they are going to use this, because right now it is a pretty stale storyline. We have see her try to take out Snow White a number of times before. How exactly will this be different then before? Will it involve Regina having to make a choice between herself and Snow? I am hoping this deepens the character in some manner.

Quotes:
“Nothing you do will ever tear this family apart,” – Snow White- Our group has been through quite a lot together. They are not people you can break apart with a few whispered words or tricks.

“You don’t need allies when you win,” – The Evil Queen – That’s not actually true. No one can rule alone. The biggest fear of dictators is that the people will rebel, that someone will take them out because they are too weak on their own. You can only live behind a facade for so long before those who oppose you get together and take you out. You need someone on your side or you will lose eventually. The Evil Queen needs at least one person on her side or else she is going to be defeated fast.

Questions:
What happened to Agrabah?
How will the Agrabah story and the Evil Queen story intersect?
Can Aladdin become The Savior again?
Does Emma want to be The Savior anymore?
Would she give it up if she actually had a choice?
Who was the person in the hood?
How will The Evil Queen go after Snow White?
How will they make that a fresh storyline?
How will Regina deal with The Evil Queen?
Will Regina have to sacrifice herself?
What happened to Charming’s dad?
Does Emma really have to die?
What will Rumple do with the shears?

Do Saviors Really Have to Die? (Once Upon a Time 6×05)

once-upon-a-time-6x05-street-rats-emma-savior-shakes-720x480This episode gave us Aladdin and Jasmine’s story. It also saw Emma finally come clean to everyone about her visions. As predicated everyone freaks out about it and Emma promises to not hide anything anymore. I doubt this will happen because everyone in this show loves to hide things. What this episode was really for was the focus on the question of whether a Savior has to really die in the end or not.

I was a bit disappointed with the way Aladdin and Jasmine’s story was reimagined. Aladdin is a thief who Jasmine goes to to help defeat Jafar. They go to The Cave of Wonders to find The Diamond in the Rough and make Aladdin The Savior. He takes the diamond and is given magic. He then uses it to save Jasmine and her father.

This is the basic story we all know pretty well. There is not much more added to it other than the Savior piece. Instead of a genie Aladdin gets to wield magic for himself. The rest of this was pretty much the same. I was a bit disappointed just because this show is usually pretty good at reimagining the story. It usually deepens a story or twists it in some manner. This one just felt like copying, but they did hint there was more so maybe it will get better.

The main aspect of this episode was the focus on the question of does a Savior have to die? It concentrated on what makes a Savior and what ultimately becomes of them.

Emma is desperate to find Aladdin because she is positive that if she finds him alive that means a Savior can live. It gives her hope that she does not have to die because she is The Savior. She wants someone to tell her that her destiny is not death.

I have an issue with this concept of The Savior being destined to die. First I’ll start with this vision. Emma’s vision is her getting stabbed. Now, nowhere does it show her actually dying. We know that just because someone gets stabbed in this show doesn’t mean they die. Also visions are a problem.

Visions only become true because people act on them, just like prophecies. If you never see the vision or hear a prophecy would what is shown come true? Most likely not. It happens because you are actively trying to prevent it and inadvertently make it come about.

Like in Harry Potter, if Voldermort had ignored the prophecy and hadn’t tried to kill Harry he would never have created the one person who would kill him. He could have taken over and been immortal. But because he had to kill what he thought was a threat, he created that threat. Most of the time the visions and prophecies become self-fullfilling.

If Emma just ignores the vision and continues to live her life would the vision happen? We don’t know it wouldn’t for sure but she could very well be making it come around by trying to make it not happen. The oracle said her destiny is death, but never stated that, that moment was her true death.

My other issue comes with this saying that keeps popping up that Saviors are destined to die. The problem I have with this is that the people who keep pointing this out are the villians. They are the people who want the Saviors to die and fall. They need them out of the way so they keep getting into their heads.

No one who is on the good side has said this phrase (as far as I can remember). Emma hears it once and figures it has to be true. Sure it makes some sense, Saviors are in danger more because they are always helping people but that doesn’t mean they have to die. The people telling her this are the people that want her gone. They are messing with her head and she is letting them.

Emma is going to doom herself is she keeps focusing on this saying and thought process. She needs to push it aside and live her life. She can’t be scared to fight and save those she loves. She needs to just live on and take what happens as it happens. Hell, for all we know this visions could be planted by some magic. No one knows where it comes from so how can we trust it to be true?
144613_2557-900x600The other major part of this episode was about Zelelna. She sits down with The Evil Queen and ends up confessing that she is afraid of what her daughter is going to think of her. She wants her daughter to look up to her. She is afraid she may lose her daughterr with her actions.

The Evil Queen tells Zelena that she just has to be truthful to her daughter. She needs to not hide who she is and then her daughter will admire her for it. Which may be true in some form but Zelena is not seeing what The Evil Queen is doing to her. She is being manipulated.

The Evil Queen needs Zelena. She needs her power and she needs her not with Regina. She doesn’t actually care about her. She doesn’t want to form some bond with her. She just doesn’t want her on the opposite side. She only gives her these speeches to make sure she stays on her side.

Zelena is going to wake up soon and see she is being used and she is going to be all alone. She is going to push away Regina and in consequence the rest of the group. The Evil Queen will discard her when she is done with her. All she will have left is her daughter and that is it. In the end Zelena is going to end up broken and alone if she continues on this path.

Quotes:
“You don’t have to live in anyone’s shadow,” – Archie – He tells this to Zelena. Zelena is always trying to fit herself into other people’s expectations. She needs to figure out what she wants and how she wants her life to be for her and her alone.

Questions:
Will Hook use the shears to save Emma?
Is Emma’s visions true?
Who is the hooded figure?
Is being The Savior really a death sentence?
Will Jafar show up and become a main villain?
Can Aladdin become a Savior again?
Does being The Savior have to be a destined thing or can it be anyone?
What does The Evil Queen want from Zelena?
When will Zelena see she is being used?
What will happen when Zelena loses everything?
When will the group find Archie?

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