This was a bit of a throwback episode. We got to finally see more of a few characters that we met in the first season. We briefly saw Dr. Frankenstein again and Emma had to remember how she used to be able to help people before she had magic. Though the main part of the episode was about Cinderella and helping her finish her story.
Much of the beginning of the episode was about the start of Cinderella’s story. We saw her get the invitation to the ball, we saw her attend the ball and fall in love with the prince, then run off leaving her shoe behind. Then the story starts to deviate from the one we know.
In present day Storybrooke Emma, Hook and Henry learn that Ashely (Cinderella) has run off with her husband’s shot gun. Everyone thinks she is after her stepsister who has come over from The Land of Lost Stories.
Turns out that Cinderella is out to stop their stepmother. Clorinda, one of the stepsisters, is not evil. She was acting the whole time because she had a secret that she was keeping from her mother. She was in love with the footman of the prince and she wanted to run away with him. She knew her mother would never approve and she knew she had to keep up an appearance in order not to raise suspicion form their mother.
Cinderella is ready to help her sister but is stopped when her stepmother threatens her happiness. She ends up telling her where Clorinda and her love are. In the end her stepmother and Clorinda end up in The Land of Lost Stories. There her stepmother plans to wait until she can have the fame and fortune she thinks she deserves.
Back in Storybrooke, Ashely has found her sister and stepmother. Her sister learns that she was trying to help and they both stand up to her stepmother. Their stepmother does not care, she is prepared to kill them both. In the end she stabs Ashley. Emma races in just in time to save her.
While this episode finally gave us more of Cinderella’s story it was more about Emma and her work to overcome what her vision keeps showing her. Emma is terrified of her vision, to the point where her magic no longer works. She has no control and she is letting her fear hold her back.
Archie realizes this and tries to explain to Emma that if she keeps letting this possibility control her she is going to lose everything. She is so afraid of what could happen that she is going to let nothing happen. Her magic isn’t working properly and she is not taking the steps forward in her relationship with Hook. She is becoming stuck.
Fear can do this. Fear is a paralyzing force that keeps things from going anywhere. A lot of the time the fear of something happening is worse than the event actually taking place. It becomes a barrier that surrounds the person and suddenly you are a prisoner in your own life. Fear can be controlling and throughout much of this episode it is controlling Emma.
Yes, maybe Emma will die in that battle. Then again maybe she won’t. Maybe that is not when she has to die. None of that matters ultimately though. No matter what the ending, she has to live her life until that point. She can’t let everyone down and she can’t push them all away. If she does, she is going to hope for that end because she will have nothing left.
In this episode Emma is reminded that she used to be able to help people before she had magic. Magic does not make her the Savior. Magic is just a tool she uses. She used to help and save people before magic returned to Storybrooke. Emma has to remember that she has power and worth. She has always had strength and she can’t lose it all now.
What Emma really need to do is to tell everyone around her what is going on. This is one of Emma’s major faults, she never asks for help. She is always so determined to fix things herself. She can’t do everything alone. I thought after the whole Dark One thing she would have learned that lesson but apparently not so much.
Emma cannot take care of this all by herself. She needs her parents, Henry, Hook and Regina. They have proven to be her help and support system for so long. She needs to trust them and let them help her. Emma is never going to be able to live her happy ending if she is always refusing to ask for help. This will all destroy her if she is not careful.
“Maybe it’s not how you end things but how you live them,” – Archie- Archie tells this to Emma at one of their meetings. Emma’s vision tells her that in the end she may die. But that is the end for everyone. You can’t concentrate on all of that, you have to live the life that you have. No one truly remembers the end, they remember how you lived and Emma needs to remember that.
“Hard to stay one step ahead of yourself,” – Hyde- Hyde tells this to Regina. This is an interesting dilemma in the battle between Regina and The Evil Queen. They both think alike, they are the same person after all. Regina literally has to outthink herself, which will be interesting to watch.
What is The Evil Queen’s ultimate plan?
Doe she want to rule everyone?
Does she want everyone dead and gone?
If she wants them all dead then who will she rule?
Doe she actually want to rule or does she just want everyone to suffer?
Who killed Charming father?
How far will Charming go to get revenge against that killer?
What is the next story that we will see?
When will emma tell everyone about her vision?
How will everyone react?
Will it cause a rift between her and Hook?
Will Rumple be able to get close to Belle again?
Will Zelena betray Regina?
This episode pretty much wrapped up all hanging story lines, so that in the finale they can upturn everything on us. For about a minute everyone was happy. Emma finally forgave her parents and realized how important they are to her. Maleficent met Lily and they are going to try to get to know each other and build a relationship. And Regina finally figured out that the only one standing in the way of her happy ending is herself. Rumple is just about the only one who ended this episode more miserable then he started it. And of course this means he is going to destroy everything for everyone else.
This episode mainly revolved around Regina. The group returns to Storybrooke from New York. Regina is devastated by the news from Zelena and she can’t see a way to work around it. Robin tries to tell her they can find a way to live happy together but Regina can’t see what he sees. When they return she locks Zelena away. Regina then goes looking for the author in order to erase Zelena’s existence from their lives. She is intent on removing yet another obstacle to her happy ending.
What Regina learned in this episode is a lesson everyone can take away . Your happiness and thus your happy ending is in your hands and your hands alone. The path to true happiness is full of twists, turns and dead ends. The path is never going to be easy, simple and smooth. If it was, how would you ever be able to appreciate what you have? If you don’t work and struggle for what makes you happy you are going to take it all for granted. We savor the good we have because we know what it took to get to that point. If Regina changed the story so she never had to go through all her issues then she would never be able to fully appreciate what she has and could easily lose it.
Regina has had to struggle more than most people. But all the obstacles have gotten her to this point in her life. If Regina continued to blame the universe and think she needed a new story in order to be happy she would never get to that ending. Even the most perfect, “happy ending,” has its dark moments and struggles. That is just life, even in a fairytale.
I love Regina’s character because she is so strong. In the flashback portion of the episode we saw her mother, Cora, trying to set her up with the Sheriff of Nottingham. Her motives seem to be for Regina to get pregnant. She says it is to see Regina happy but it is unclear how true any of that is. For a moment Regina buys that the Sheriff is supposed to be her soulmate. But then he tells her that he will be the strong one so she can be weak. Instantly Regina knows that something is wrong with the situation.
She doesn’t stand there and wonder if he has a point. She doesn’t try to make herself okay with what he said in order to keep him as her soulmate. She fights back and tells him off and ultimately puts him in her dungeon. When her mother questions her she tells her that she knew it wasn’t true because that is not how a soulmate would act. Her soulmate would never tell her to become someone she isn’t. That person would never tell her to be a weaker person then they are. Never tell her that because she is a woman she can’t be strong. She knows what it means to have someone truly love you. They accept you as you are and compliment you as a person not try to change who you are.
Zelena quips about how of course Regina found her happy ending now that she has a man. Bur Regina quickly steps on that accusation. She tells Zelena that Robin is not her happy ending alone, he is only part of it. Her happy ending is learning to feel at home in her world and with who she is as a person; trusting herself, and knowing that she has come so far and changed so much from the person she once was. Regina finally sees that her happy ending has been around her this whole time. She has Robin who loves and accepts her. She has Henry who does the same. She has friends in Emma, Charming and Snow who have looked past the past and see who she truly is now. And most importantly she loves herself.
Whereas Regina finally sees that her happy ending is in her hands not the author’s, Rumple cannot see or understand that idea. Rumple did not get any type of happy ending in this episode. Rumple said before that once his heart is completely consumed by darkness his ability to love will be gone forever. The Dark One will take over and Rumpelstiltskin as we know him will be dead. There will be nothing left but evil, hate and darkness.
Rumple has done a lot of bad through out his life, which is why he is in this situation to start with. Yet for all that he has done he is not welcoming this change with open arms. With the last bit of humanity left in him he is trying to find a way to save himself. Rumple doesn’t want to be a purely evil man but he knows that he can’t save himself in this life and story. He is too far down a dark path to be able to do enough good to save his heart. The only solution he sees is the change his story completely.
Rumple could just change his story. Instead he gives the author a new storybook called “Heroes and Villains,” and tells him it is time the villains win. He doesn’t just change his story but everyones.
Though at this point it is interesting to note that Rumple is the only one who truly still sees himself as a villain. (Zelena may see herself that way as well). Maleficent has her daughter and no longer cares about revenge or hurting anyone. Regina gave up the role of villain ages ago. Rumple views himself as a villain and that is influencing his decisions. It all comes down how they see themselves and that is influencing the choices and decisions that are being made.
“We can be happy in the future or angry in the past,”- Maleficent – She realizes that holding onto grudges and pain makes being happy nearly impossible. You have to let the past be the past and stay where it belongs.
“The only one standing in the way of your happiness is you?”- Cora – Words the every character should always remember in this story, especially Rumple.
Now that there is a new story book how will everything change?
Are we going to have an alternate storyline type deal?
What does Rumple truly want out of his life?
In the new story will Rumple still be the dark one with that power? Could he ever give up that much power?
Are we ever going to see Maleficent and Lily again?
Is Emma now safe from turning dark or is that always going to be a possibility for her life?
Will someone die?
Can Regina reverse the potion she took so she can get pregnant if she wanted to?
What will the alternate universe idea do to Henry? Will he just cease to exist?