Once Upon a Time is back again! The first half of the season saw Emma trying to come to terms with the fate she was shown. She knows that in a battle she is going to be stabbed and possibly die, she now has to determine if she is going to accept that fate. This half of the season seems as if it is going to focus on the characters fighting back against what destiny supposedly has set out for them. There is no one fate for anyone. You get to make your own story.
This episode opened with a glimpse into the past. We got to see how Emma decided on her last name. She was living on the street when August finds her. He steps in and stops her from burning a book of fairytales. He specifically pulls out The Ugly Duckling and tells her that the best stories are about transformation. He leaves her with the thought that she can choose her own path in life and that there is no one set path for her to walk down.
Back in the Wish Realm, Regina and Emma are robbed by Robin. He takes off with their jewelry leaving Regina confused and stunned. Emma convinces her that they need to find a way home before they get caught. She leads them to Pinocchio who agrees to help them build another magical wardrobe to get them home. While they are talking Regina runs off intent on hunting down Robin.
Regina cannot shake the idea that Robin has a life without her. She needs to find him and find out if his life is better; she needs to know if she meant something to him. She finds him and he tells her that his lives a carefree lifestyle and that he is happy (thought he is lying). Regina is crushed. She had been hoping to find out that without her his life is a mess.
Regina has a pretty clear idea of what her destiny is supposed to be, loneliness. She doesn’t get lasting happiness. She sees her life as nothing but pain. And she has a point, everytime she gets something she wants, she loses it. She convinces herself that Robin being happy without her just proves that she is destined to be alone and unhappy. She sees this as a sign that they were just passing connections.
But then Robin talks with her, and is honest. He is not happy and doesn’t enjoy his life. He has no wife, no children and is stealing for himself. Robin is missing a point in his life. Regina is faced with a choice. She can walk away from Robin and leave him in the Wish Realm. Put that portion of her life behind her and be done with the pain but also risk losing a second chance at love.
Emma convinced Regina to take the chance. Everyone in the realm has aged as they naturally would have without the curse except for Robin. He is the same age that he was when he died. There could be a part of the original Robin’s soul in this new version. Regina is being handed a chance, a chance to stop wallowing in her despair and try a new path.
Emma is also given a choice in this episode. Emma has the sword that is foreseen to kill her in the Wish Realm with her. She has the option to walkaway and leave it behind but she decided to take it back with her. She knows she has a legitimate choice in front of her but she decides to confront the vision. Emma decides that destiny is in her control and she is not going to let anyone take that away from her.
In this episode we also learn a little more about Gideon (Rumple and Belle’s son). Gideon was raised by the Black Fairy thought he does not view himself as evil. He does not possess a fully dark heart. He states that he does not want to hurt anyone but Emma. He tells his parents that he needs to kill Emma in order to become The Savior. He need to be a Savior to save another land and stop the Black Fairy. I am sure there is much more to this story that we will find out throughout this half of the season.
The other interesting aspect of this is how Rumple and Belle have to work together to save and stop their son. They are Gideon parents and they believe they may be the only two who can get through to him. They can’t do it alone and they are going to have to find a way to work together.
Rumple makes a point to say that throughout his whole life he was constantly looking for a slice of light in his darkness. He doesn’t want his son to have to live that way. He doesn’t want him to be bogged down and unable to fully live his life. Together his believes that he and Belle can save Gideon from a life of sorrow and pain.
“If we believe in something strong enough we will have the power to change our fate.” – Austin – Emma knows now that she has to believe she can win the fight for her life. Without belief it is too easy to give up or give in at the first sign of trouble. Belief is what pushes us forward and gives us the ability to write our own stories.
“It might not work” -Regina, “Then again it might.” – Robin – This is an interesting exchange. Robin allows that moment of hope into the situation. Things could go wrong but you won’t know until you take that risk. You can’t live in that in-between you take the chance and see what comes of it.
Can Gideon become a Savior?
Who does he need to save? Can Rumple and Belle work together? Will Emma actually have to die?
Is the first Robin living somehow in Wish Realm Robin?
How can Emma defeat fate?
Where does this all tie into Agrabah?
Where are the characters from The Land of Lost Stories? Are we done with them?