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Once Upon a Time- S3E18- Bleeding Through- (Spoilers)

The pieces have finally started to come together for Zelena’s plot and we finally have a better idea of what her ultimate plan is. First I will have to admit I completely missed when she said she had Rumple’s brain. I totally missed the significance of her making that statement. Zelena now has everything she needs (almost), Regina’s heart, Charming’s courage and Rumple’s brain. All she needs is the Charming’s baby after this episode to complete her spell.

The major part of this episode was finding out the circumstance around Zelena’s birth and the reasoning for why Cora had to give her up. The flashback made me feel really bad for Cora, a character I have never like. No wonder Cora decided to get rid of her heart, I probably would have done the same thing. Her life was not easy and never got better.

Cora falls for an impostor pretending to be a prince. He makes her fall for him by saying exactly what she wants to hear. Cora wanted to be anyone but who she was, a plain and simple Miller’s daughter. That life was predictable and unexciting and gave her no hope of ever getting anything more out of life. She wanted, fame, glory and attention. She wanted to be respected and have a high seat of power, that only came with marrying into royalty.

She fights roots and nail her whole life to be the opposite of the ordinary woman she is destined to be. In the end she never did end up with the life that would make her happy and satisfy her fully. She forces Regina into a life she hates, because Cora thinks it will make herself feel better. In the end Cora dies without ever fully realizing the life she wanted.

Cora gets pregnant by the impostor prince. She doesn’t know what to do but then she meets Prince Leopold (Snow’s father) and he falls for her. She tells him he needs to follow his heart, not do something just because he is told to do it. She asks him “What is the point of power if you can’t choose who to wed?” Cora thinks that having power makes you be able to do whatever you want and make any decisions you want for yourself. Anyone who knows the history of kings and queens knows that is generally not true. They marry for an alliance or to help a kingdom, rarely do they get to do anything for love. But Leopold listens to Cora and decides to listen to his heart and gets engaged to Cora and decides not to marry Princess Ava. She gives him a chance to have his own voice, in the end though that is what hurst Cora.

All Leopold wanted was the truth from Cora. He didn’t care about the baby or the one nightstand she had with a fake prince. Leopold is an honest and fair man, he wants to rule the realm in that same manner. All Cora had to do was tell him the truth but instead of listening, actually listening, to this man she had to try to cover everything up. She was so terrified of losing her one shot at this perfect life that her mind was clouded and she lost everything in the process. Ava tells Leopold everything and thus ends Cora’s fairytale and begins her nightmare upward struggle to try to get back to this point. Her life from here on out is nothing but pitfalls and disappointments.

Zelena’s plan is to go back in time and kills Ava. If Ava doesn’t overhear about Cora’s pregnancy and isn’t able to tell on Cora, Zelena then believes Cora will not give her up and they can live happily ever after. Cora gave Zelena away because she would always be a scarlet letter on her, marking her and keeping her from ever being able to move on. With Zelena she would always be a miller’s daughter and though Cora loved her daughter she could not live that life. Zelena blames Ava for all her trouble and thus wants to get rid of the root of her problem, or what she believes is the root.

Zelena’s issues mirror Regina’s journey closely. For both of them one person overhears something they shouldn’t they tell someone and in the end destroy the happiness of that person they were inadvertently spying on. Regina wants revenge on Snow for the death of Daniel. Now Zelena wants Ava dead for allowing her to become an orphan,making it so she never had a real family or ever felt real love.

As we saw with Regina these hate filled plans of revenge generally don’t end well. It is interesting that Zelena keeps saying that she wants to hurt Regina when in reality the plan is all about helping Zelena, herself. Regina never being born along with Snow, Henry and Emma is just a convenient by-product of this whole plan. The true end result Zelena’s wants is to be accepted and loved by her mother, to end up in the loving family and to have a happy ending. Regina loses everything but in reality it won’t actually matter much to Regina because she won’t actually exist.

Right now it is terrifying to Regina because she doesn’t want to lose Henry, so in a sense Zelena is getting her revenge. She is hurting Regina right now but if this plan works as it is supposed to, there won’t be any anguished screams or a broken person for Zelena to stand and gloat over. Regina won’t be alive, so none of this will matter. Zelena won’t even remember this whole ordeal, so in the end she isn’t as much out for revenge as she is out to get her mother’s love. Having anger towards Regina just fuels her fire but the end result isn’t about hurting Regina at all.

There is only one way this time travel storyline can actually happen and that is if a alternate reality is created. The main characters of this show can’t cease to exist that would just change the whole premise of this show. So they have to survive in some manner and this is by having a reality where Zelena wins and one where she fails, in some manner.

Now if Zelena wins and kills Ava, allowing Cora to keep her, the question becomes will her life be all fairies and rainbows like she believes it will be? Cora will have gotten everything she wanted so will she be a loving doting mother? Or will she still be so guarded that she will never be able to truly trust Leopold and in the end still end up losing everything? I doubt this new life will end well. Life will not be perfect, some way, somehow Zelena will not end up as a perfect child with a perfect life.

Also Snow mentioned that with this plan Zelena will become Rumple’s star pupil and be able to do this curse with him. But why would that happen? Regina went to Rumple to learn magic because she was angry and upset at her mother and she wanted to get rid of her and Snow. That was her reason for wanting the curse. Zelena goes to Rumple because she wants to find a family and a way of life where she ends up the one everyone loves. If life is perfect for Zelena (as she seems to believe it will be) why would she go to find Rumple? She wanted power in this life, but in the alternate life why would she want power? What would it do for her? She wouldn’t have a reason to go find Rumple and become his star pupil.

So what life does Zelena truly want? Does she want a life with a nice family, full of love and contentment? Or does she want a life where her magic is revered and she is the most powerful and Rumple loves her? There are of course a number of ways she could end up with both but as things stand right now,it comes down to a choice. Will she be happy and satisfied with the life she gets? I highly doubt it.

The other major part of this episode was Zelena trying to talk Rumple into working with her on her plan, willing. Zelena loves Rumple and wants him to come with her when she turns back time. She tires to lure him by telling him he will see Neal again. Rumple refuses, stating he will finish the fight his son started. Neal’s sacrifice won’t go to waste if he can help it.

First this shows how far Rumple as come. He no longer deals with these treacherous people who are only out for themselves. He respects his son’s decision and wants to save those he cares about.

This idea Zelelan has of taking Rumple back in time confuses me. Where would he go? To when he abandoned Bae? To when Zelena was a baby? What was she planning to do with him once they got back in time? She is going to kill Ava and presumedly then she will disappear and up as the baby. Her other timeline will have been ended because Ava will not be around to create it. So then what would become of Rumple? Would there just be two of them running around? I doubt that would end well. It would end up creating some horrible paradox.

Time travel is freakishly complicated as we all know and Zelena’s plan would not end well. If she succeed, there would be some major complications with this idea that just might destroy her happy ending. Did she think they could be together after she killed Ava?

There was also some small pieces that struck me about this episode as well. When they find out Ava was the one who told on Cora and up-ended everything, Snow was upset because she realized her mother wasn’t completely a “good guy.” This seemed a bit harsh to me. Ava didn’t tell on Cora because she wanted to destroy her life. She told because Leopold was promised to her and he was being deceived. It wasn’t the kindest thing to do but it wasn’t villainy really. I didn’t see her doing it with only malicious intent.

Snow wonders what changed Ava. I don’t know if Ava necessarily changed overall. Maybe she found out about Cora and how she had to give up the baby and she felt bad. But I don’t see her as being this evil person then changing to a good one. She didn’t know completely the consequences of her actions. She knew Cora would be thrown out of the castle but everything else that followed she could never have guessed. She was selfish, not necessarily evil. So I wouldn’t say she turned from a “good guy,” to a “bad guy.” More she changed how she behaved and thought when it come to the consequences of her actions.

At the very beginning of the episode Zelena tells Regina that she doesn’t fight for what she wants. She makes Regina seems very passive while Zelena herself is much more aggressive. Zelena tells Regina that she put her curse into action so she could run away, she didn’t fight for what she wanted like Zelena is right now. Zelena listens to her heart and fights to satisfy it.

This point resonates with Regina. We all know how guarded this woman has been from the very beginning, letting anyone inside her bubble has been a difficult process. She doesn’t lead with her heart because it only gets her hurt. Which is why when she kissed Robin Hood at the end of the episode was so satisfying. Regina is at a point where she could lose everything at any moment and for once she isn’t going to run. Though what this all means without her heart I don’t now. Will it all change when she gets her actual heart back? Can she feel true love without it? Does it matter for true love?

“Act what you plant to be,” Cora-This is a different take on Zelena’s upbringing motto of ,“hide what is inside”. Both have to show the world an entirely different face to the world then what is inside of them.

“Laws only exist until they are broken by someone superior,” – Zelena – She thinks she can outwit the universe. Playing with the laws of time is extremely complicated and she will soon learn she isn’t as superior as she think she is.

Will kill Ava really solve Zelena’s problem?

Will life be perfect then?

Will she becomes Rumples star pupil somehow?

Will any of that matter?

How will Snow, Henry and Emma survive all of this?

What will get changed?

Will Regina’s connection to Robin Hod change once she gets her heart back?

Will Henry ever be brought into the loop?

Will Hook ever do what Zelena wants?

Once Upon A Time- S3E14- The Tower Review (Spoilers)

This episode was very concentrated on David and conquering his fears. Ultimately we learn that the plot line was for Zelena to capture David’s courage, which is an interesting twist on the Oz story. I am sure in further episodes we will see her finding something connected to the heart and brain.

The episode began with a different Charming then we are used to seeing. Charming is the strong character, always comforting Snow and giving positive encouragement to anyone who needs it. He is the true knight in shining armor type. We have never seen him truly fearful for himself, even when he was dying in Neverland. He was just concerned about scaring Snow and Emma during that moment.

This episode humanized Charming. No longer is he just the hero character. No longer is he the prince who is all set out to save the day all the time. Now he is just a scared father. He failed his first child and he is terrified for the cycle to repeat itself.

I liked this episode for precisely this reason. As hero you would expect Charming to shrug off his issues and tell himself he is being dumb and not to worry about everything so much. He wouldn’t let fear rule him, we very rarely see the Prince Charming type character fearful or lost. You wouldn’t expect him to be as desperate as he becomes. And this fear is ingrained in who he is. Even without his memories that fear lives inside of him, this far is apart of him; which makes him fighting the fear and winning all that more significant.

Then in Storybooke we watch as Charming fights himself. The best part of this bit was how he didn’t crumple to pieces like Rapunzel. He was afraid at first. He was confused and he didn’t want to hear what his other self was saying but he moved past that. He stood his ground and he fought back. He defied his fears, taking out that part of himself. Now that doesn’t mean his fears are all gone, we see that he is human so he will have to do this fight many times again but for right now he is in control.

This is an important idea for this show. All of these characters are held back by an overt or secret fear. They lack confidence in themselves, making them very vulnerable.

Emma fears what having a family truly means for her. She wants that life but it comes with challenges and hardships and she doesn’t know if she can handle all of that. Regina fears who she is without Henry. She doesn’t know how to define herself anymore, what her purpose in life is and that terrifies her. Snow seems to be worried but accepting as the events take place around her. But somewhere deep inside of her she has to be afraid of what this all will mean for her new family. Is she meant to have a happily ever after?

While David is battling his fears and finding his courage Zelena is working on her plan. She has a very interesting conversation with Rumple. Crazy Rumple is once again rambling, this time about the voices in his head being quiet when he is dead. Again this man is not the one we saw leave earlier in the season. He hasn’t accepted his life and become determined to fight for a life that will make him happy. I am sure we will get more answer next week while he is on the run.

The conversation that Zelena and Rumple has is about appearances. Zelena is adamant that she hasn’t been able to hide her true nature her whole life. She says, “Our outside showed exactly what was rotting on the inside.” This is a very interesting statement to make.

First of all, generally people strive to hide the dark side of themselves. They don’t want people to see the worst of them. Most of the time we would hear that statement as, “Our outsides never showed what was rotting on the inside.” But the way she says it she states that everyone has always known she was wicked and cruel. She states that she never had to hide that part, it was always there. I think it goes deeper then her being green, that wasn’t the main way she has been showing her dark side to the world. The question becomes, how long has she been this way? The way she states it, it sounds like she has been this way since birth. What happened to make her see herself this way?

The second interesting part of this statement is how accepting Zelena seems to be of her “rotted,” core. She says it almost with a relish or excitement. She doesn’t say it with regret, or anger or even sadness. It is just a fact to her, nothing more. She is no good, she has nothing good inside of her. Who made her believe this? What happened to break this woman down? Is there any good left inside of her?

My question is, is there anything that can redeem Zelena? We know that the darkest characters can be redeemed. Rumple had his love for his son and later Belle that has kept that small good part of him alive. Regina has Henry. What does Zelena, have if anything? Or is she like Pan, completely unredeemable and selfish?

I am very interested in her backstory because I am positive that something happened to break her down. And it was more than being green or being abandoned by her mother. Rumple states that she never cared about appearances. Suggesting this woman has had this screw it attitude for quiet a while. Whatever happened to her happened early and hit her very hard.

This episode showed us a new side of Charming. He was always a man who had the outward appearance of being resolutely strong and unbreakable, and now we know that he has deep emotions and fears. It also showed us Zelena as a woman who revels in her wickedness and doesn’t believe any other part of her exists anymore.

“If it can be broken it means it still works”-Hook – I like this line because it shows us a softer side of Hook. It also tells us that no matter how closed off Emma tries to be she can’t completely close herself off from the world.

Where is Rumple?

Are we going to learn who this man is and what happened to him? Which Rumple are we dealing with?

Why does Snow trust Zelena as she does?

What is Zelena doing with courage and most likely some incarnation of the heart and brain?

Who does Zelena really want to hurt? Is it just Regina?

When will Henry be clued in on what is really going on?

What happened to Zelena to make her believe that all she is, is wicked?

Can she be saved?

Once Upon a Time- S3E13- Witch Hunt- (Spoilers)

In this episode we got a few answers as well as many more questions. We found out that the Wicked Witch is actually Regina’s half sister. I saw this coming from the moment the blood magic stopped working. Though when the mid-season finale aired and we saw the Wicked Witch for the first time I had an inkling that there was going to be some bound between the witch and Regina. It was almost a story written by itself, the “evil” queen and the Wicked Witch related to one another. Two sides of villainy being forced to go against one another. The question becomes, what is worse evil or wickedness? Is Regina still actually evil, enough to defeat this new threat? Will family connection do anything to help this situation? It will be interesting to see how these two play against each other.

This new development set up a very interesting path for Regina. Regina left Storybrooke, broken hearted, so much so that she wanted to bury her heart and never truly feel anything again. She has lost Henry and has no one to blame but herself. She has nothing left. Regina at the moment is a broken woman. Snow and Robin Hood keep spouting off this line about having to find a new reason to live. They keep throwing these words out like they are a cure all for her heartache. They don’t understand Regina enough though to realize that those words are pretty but empty to her. Regina has spent her life living one way (until she found Henry), seeking revenge and destruction. She found Henry and began living for him, now she has neither of those things. So what is left for this woman?

Regina is so broken and done with life that she is willing to put herself under a sleeping curse. She doesn’t want to force her life to mean something. She knows what is should be and she can’t ever have that so she is walking away. She could have gotten angry and literally destroyed the world around her. Instead she just wants to bow out of this life, leave the pain behind and be done with all of it.

It was interesting to me though that she chose this sleeping potion. It does not mean she will never awake again. A true loves kiss will wake her, she assumes it would be Henry, but we know that could also mean Robin Hood. Somewhere deep in her heart she has faith that one day she might see her son again. She is not completely hopeless and done with this world. If she was she would have killed herself not put herself into a sleep that she could be awoken from. She can’t completely leave this world behind her, she can’t fully give up. Snow wants her to live on, she wants her to not give up and here we see that deep down Regina has those same feelings.

Just as she is about to put herself into an almost endless sleep the Wicked Witch steps in and changes everything. For reasons unknown Cora gave up the Wicked Witch as a child. She had no desire to have this child around, why? Because she was the product of an ill fated love affair between her and Rumplestiltskin? Was the witch’s life too much for Cora to handle, a memory that was destroying her? We know Cora removed her heart to avoid pain, was part of that pain from the memory of giving this child away?

Through the rest of this series I am sure we are going to get further information about the witch and what happened to make her so angry and resentful. For Regina though this new revelation gives her a new reason to live, what everyone keeps preaching to her. Again she knows how to live for two things, her son and for destroying people. She now has a new target and a new reason to keep moving.

This I am sure was not the idea that Snow and Robin Hood had. They are very much fairy tale characters with this kind of flowery, happy go lucky thought process. They have a very sunshine idea about life, while Regina has lived her life with very little of that mentality. This Wicked Witch steps in and threatens Regina. She threatens to destroy her; how, we don’t completely know yet. We know she resents Regina but there has to be more for her to be so angry as she is. Regina can’t have her son back but she can destroy someone. She has a look of complete joy and excitement in her eyes now. Though my question is who is she trying to save? Herself? or her new found friends and family? I think when we find out exactly what Regina is planning and why, we will realize just how far her character has come.

Though there is a slight apprehension in this new scenario. Hopefully this new determination doesn’t spark anything from her past. I hope she doesn’t get a taste for this revenge style again and lose the progress she has made over the last season. She has come so far, and we can only hope she doesn’t fall off the wagon. Which is why I think when we find out exactly who she is trying to save we will know exactly where we are at with her character.

During this episode we got a lot of sleuthing and trying to determine what is really happening. One of the major questions that popped up is where is Neil? Everyone seems to think he became a flying monkey but I am really doubting that idea. He was on a mission to get his family back, we saw how determined he was about the idea. He was going to work with Belle but obviously somehow they got split up because she is in Storybrooke without her memories. So either they didn’t go off together or they got separated on their mission. So which leave us with the question of where is Neil? Is he somewhere in Storybrooke? Is he running around New York looking for Emma and Henry? Does he have memories? Is he still in the Enchanted Forest? Some how I think he is connected to the whole Rumple as a prisoner thing.

We see at the end that the Wicked Witch has Rumple in a cage. As I stated earlier I believe Rumple is her father and she is seeking revenge. Though what work she has for them remains to be seen. Though the Rumple we see in the cage is much different then the one we saw leave Storybrooke earlier. First off he must have no power or the Wicked Witch is much more powerful then we previously thought. This is not the Rumple who killed his own father and finally had the love and devotion of his son. This one is broken and falling apart.

His voice gives us a clue as to the Rumple we are dealing with now. This is the Rumble after Bae left and before he met Belle, the one who is almost insane from grief and shame. He has nothing to live for but power, and he might not even have that anymore. He keeps repeating, “You feed the madness, and it feeds on you,” over and over gain. This is a good indicator of how far this man has fallen.

This is not Mr. Gold, a calm and calculating man who is on a mission. This is a man who has lost everything and no longer cares about anyone or anything. Where did he come back from? Does this man remember Storybrooke at all? Does he know who Belle is? Is he from a different time or was be in some hell dimension that broke him?

While everyone is running around trying to figure out what is going on and taking stock of who is missing, Henry is in the background just hanging out. Henry just accepts everyone has his mother’s friends. No memories are sparked, no indications that he knows where he truly is. This lack of recognition is worrying but what is truly worrying to me is his behavior.

Every single scene he is in he is seen playing a video game. We have never seen him do this before. He is either reading, talking with the adults or hanging out outside. This Henry is completely disconnected from the world around him. What did this memory change do to him?

He is still interested in the library which is a good sign. There is still some small remnant of his past self inside of him somewhere, which gives me hope that he can come back. I am just worried that this memory change has altered him in some way that can’t be truly corrected. When will they have time do deal with this though? Will it be too late when they finally pick up on everything?

“I cast curses to hurt other people not myself,” Regina- I liked this line because we see that still pining over Henry. No matter what happened there is still a part of her heart dedicated to her son.

“There you go telling the truth again”- Emma- Emma can detect lies, especially in Regina. She trust this woman now and understands who she is. I like this new relationship between these two.

“You feed the madness and it feeds on you”- Crazy Rumple- Is this just delusional rambling? Or is a clue to what is going on with everyone? Is madness the real villain here?

Why is everyone being taken when they come near the town line?

What is the Wicked Witches’s ultimate goal?

– Is she Cora’s and Rumble’s daughter?

– What happened to her in OZ?

Where is Neil?

– Why is he not with Belle?

– What happened to them finding the knife?

When will Henry remember? And will he be the same after?

Why is the Wicked Witch getting close to Snow?

Who is the cures supposed to hurt ultimately?

Who is the Rumple in the cage? How much does he remember? Does he have any power?

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?

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland- Episode 5- Heart of Stone (Spoilers)

This episode focused on less on Alice and more on the Red Queen. At first I really liked her old self, she seemed to truly love Will, for about a minute that is. Her mother was angry because she worked tirelessly to allow her daughter to become something more thane she was and could hope to be. We see this often, parents wanting their kids to be more than they ever were. Her mother wants something great for her daughter, a life full of majesty.

A first Anastasia doesn’t care, she stands up to her mother, proudly proclaiming love is all she needs. She grabs Will’s hand and runs off to a wonderful land full of imagination. Just like any ideal child, she dreams of things working out perfectly; and again that lasts about a minute and a half.

Anastasia we see very quickly he isn’t dumb. She realizes very quickly that love isn’t going to get her food or shelter. She hits the reality wall hard, fast and quickly begins to see her mother’s part. The scene with them at the ball, showed Anastasia and Will’s personalities perfectly. Anastasia spends the small time they are there, trying to fit in. She copies how everyone speaks, not wanting anyone to know she isn’t high born. For her it is all about how she appears, she doesn’t want to stand out.

While Will is the complete opposite. He is there to nick some food and that is all. He isn’t out to impress anyone. He could really careless what they think. Even though they get caught he still sees it as a victory because he stole bread. Simple and easy is what Will is all about, while Anastasia wants so much more.

Anastasia never could shake the last words her mother said to her, “You can’t live on love.” Those words have been echoing in her head since she jumped through the mirror. Will is constantly thinking positively and knowing that something is coming while Anastasia can’t deal with being hungry and homeless any longer. She makes a plan to steal the crown jewels, take them back home, sell them and live in pure splendor with Will. Yet another romantic idea.

Of course she gets caught by the king, but the king isn’t angry. He is utterly fascinated by Anastasia. This bold woman who has diamonds in her eyes, captivates him. He offers her a deal she can’t even fathom passing up, marrying him and becoming queen. I was surprised at how quickly she said yes. She barely thought about it or remembered Will at all. She sees the jewels, sees the crown on her head and that is all she needs.

I thought Will and The Red Queen’s story was going to be complicated. I figured her betrayal was going to involve a very twisted story. I thought she would slowly lose it and leaving Will was going to be her only choice. The true story was much like the queen herself; simple and not complicated. What she wants is clear and she gets it no matter what.

In the present time the queen takes Alice to acquire some magic dust she needs to have the upper hand on Jafar. The catch of the place is that only the pure of heart can get to where the dust it. The queen doesn’t even try to pretend she is someone else. She knows her heart is nowhere close to being pure.

I am really starting to like the Red Queen’s character. I like how she has absolutely no delusions about who she is and what she will do. She doesn’t pretend at all. She is cold and callus and everyone knows it.

She knows what it did to her to get to where she is and she knows that she is never going back. She hurt people and destroyed any real relationships she ever had, she has nothing left. The Red Queen is again purely simple. She wants power and robes, and that will always come first.

Her heart isn’t ice though. She uses some of the dust to bring Will back. She still loves that man. She cant live the life she wants with him but she also won’t let anyone or anything hurt him. He still matters to her, though no one can know. She runs off before Will sees her, keeping her secret of having a heart for just a little bit longer.

“Trick is not to see the bars but what lies beyond them.”- Cyrus- Alice and Cyrus see beyond what is in front of them, allowing them to never truly be prisoners. While the Red Queen will always be in prision because she sees only the surface.

“Drive to be more than you are,”- King- Red Queen always will want more. Being content with who she is, is not an option. She was raised wanting more and she can’t ever shake that idea.

What will the Red Queen do with the dust?
When will Alice find Cyrus and Will?
Who is Jafar going after now?
What does everyone hold over the White Rabbit?
What does the Red Queen want with Cyrus?

Once Upon a Time- Episode 6- Ariel (Spoilers)

This episode introduced us to Ariel, who was not the mermaid from the premiere. Ariel, as many of the other characters in this show, started out as a wide eyed, hope filled woman who just wanted her happy ending. Regina, again, destroyed that for her. Ariel was hardened by this moment, but still holds a spark of love in her heart. Love does not die. She still holds onto hope, something that everyone in this series continuously does.

This episode was also about secrets and how harmful they can be. Before we dive into the secrets and where they are going to take our favorite characters, I wanted to look at a moment that took place at the very beginning of the episode.

Regina is trying to teach Emma how to really use the power she holds. We know from last season that Emma is extremely powerful but she doesn’t want to use it. Emma sees magic as only a problem, every time it shows up, someone gets hurt or something horrible happens.

Regina tells Emma she has to get angry to tap into that harder, darker side of herself. She can’t use her magic with just a happy thought. She has to get into that dark side, something she is very reluctant to do. She has seen the end results of going that far into yourself, and it never has turned out well.

Last episode, though, we saw that she let dark magic be used when it is useful for saving Henry. She crosses that line when she has no other option. So it will only be time before she sees Regina’s point. She will need her magic, that much is obvious. The question is going to be how far is she going to have to go to tap into that side of herself, and who will she be afterwards? Regina and Rumple gave into that moment of desperation and it has destroyed them. They are still trying to pick up the pieces of who they once were. Emma doesn’t want to fall but if it comes down to her or Henry, she will destroy herself to save him.

Regina deserts the group after they decide to take a detour in their mission to find and rescue Neil. Regina cares about no one but herself and Henry. She sees no point in their mission and finally leaves them. I saw this moment coming, I was just wondering what was taking her so long. Regina doesn’t want to be held down, she wants to find Henry, without the constant moral questions.

Regina rescues Rumple from Pan’s shadow who has been impersonating Belle this whole time. Yet again Pan has been manipulating someone. Pan sees and knows all on his island, we can’t trust anything or anyone. Every mirage or vision is a product of what Pan is up to.

Regina wants to get rid of Pan but Rumple keeps saying the only way for him to kill Pan is for him to die. I can’t remember if the reason for this has been given to us yet. I don’t remember any deal with Pan where this was the end result. Why does killing Pan end in Rumple’s death? Is it just his own death? Or is it anyone who kills Pan? If so this proves a major problem for the group. How are they going to contain Pan? Rumple has something but I can’t quite figure out what it could be. What could contain Pan, or be worse than death? Will it involve stripping him of magic and making him age?

While Regina is convincing Rumple to work with her, the rest of the group is rescuing Neil from The Cave of Echoes. This cave requires a person to tell their darkest secret to rescue whoever is inside. Secrets can break people, we all know this. Secrets can let someone live or destroy someone’s life. Secrets weigh on us, wanting to be said but always hiding from the light of day. Secrets are especially potent in this world.

Snow is reluctant at the beginning to keep Neil’s arrival a secret. She hates hiding information from those she loves. She has seen what secrets can do to people. She doesn’t keep the secret long, telling Emma Neil might be alive and on the island.

I want to make a point here about Pan. Everyone is wondering if Neil could really be in Neverland, wondering if it is a trick by Pan or not. Pan never lies though. Pan tells things exactly how they are. He told Hook about Dreamshade without hesitation. He told Emma what he is doing with Henry. Pan is who Pan is. He is dark and cruel but he is truthful. He plays his games fair, if he tells you something it is true. If you listen to his instructions you succeed. Yet again, we see how in control Pan is in Neverland.

To save Neil each character has to reveal a dark secret, one that can hurt them. Hook goes first. Hook tells Emma that he never thought he could love again. After he lost Milah, he never thought he could let his heart feel love again until he met Emma. His secret is that he is in love with Emma.

Emma is shocked somewhat. I am sure she saw this coming. We see how broken Hook is at this moment. He lays his heart out knowing that she is not going to give hers in return. Hook is hurt now, he let himself be vulnerable, something he hates doing. The question now is what happens from here? What will Hook do? Will he fight form Emma knowing it’s a losing battle? Or will he turn and leave her, leave the hurt and run back to being a pirate?

Snow is next to reveal her deepest secret. She loves Emma but she is very upset that she never saw her whole life. They missed everything about her growing up and Snow is not okay with that. She wants to have another baby, she wants to live the life she missed out on.

Snow only ever wanted a happy ending. She is the perfect fairytale character, wanting the world to be happy and perfect. She has seen the horrible parts of life now she wants the joyous parts. But she is never allowed these moments. As soon as she gets a minute of happiness the world comes crashing down around her. Snow has to see that a happy ending doesn’t exist. It isn’t about the ending it is about the journey, the life that leads to that ending.

David, Charming, goes next. He reveals that he is not leaving the island. He finally tells that he was dying from Dreamshade and that Hook saved him. He tries to explain that he was doing it for the group but he actually reveals how selfish he has been.

Snow is angry beyond words. She refuse to talk to him. In trying to save his family pain, Charming has created much more pain. Pain that might not be able to get around. He wanted to keep his problems to himself but as Hook continuously told him that was never a good idea. You can’t hold the world on your shoulders alone, you need help. Charming finally let it all go, but a little to late. Now he may stand alone.

Finally we get to Emma’s secret. She confesses to Neil that she had actually hoped Neil was dead and gone. She can’t take the pain and heartache that goes with loving Neil. Loving him is too hard, too many things break when she is with him. She doesn’t want to fall back into that broken girl.

Emma’s secret exposes her heart, something Emma is very reluctant to do. Revealing who she is, scares her. She has been hurt way too often, she wants to go back to being that weak woman. She has made a lot of effort to strengthen herself, to get back on top of her life. Having Neil back will put all that work into reverse. But Neil vows to fight for her. He knows he hurt her but she needs him. He showed her a different side of herself, one that helped her. He won’t walk away so easily.

In the end the secrets are out. Everyone has confessed things that can potentially destroy them. At the moment it looks like everyone is breaking, time will only tell how far they will all fall. And if they fall what does that mean for Henry?

“Secrets always seem to keep us from people we care about,”- Snow- The secrets are out, will they really destroy everyone or will they all grow closer?

“Happy endings always start with hope,”- Snow- Snow’s idealized idea. They all have hope but it look like that might not be enough anymore.

Why would Rumple die if he kills Pan?

What is in his shop that will help them?

-What is a fate worse than death for Pan?

What will happen with all the secrets revealed?

What will Hook do now?

When will Emma give into Neil?

Are Snow and Charming breaking apart?

What does this all mean for Henry?

Once Upon a Time- Episode 4 Review- (Spoilers)

This episode built on the story of Pan and gave us a deeper look at Rumple and how he got to the point he is at right now. We learn in this episode that Pan has been part of Rumplestiltskin’s life for a very long time. They have known each other since childhood. Someway, somehow this relationship deteriorated and collapsed taking Rumple down with it. We watched as the strong Rumple is faced with his greatest fear and weakness and the question we are left with is can Rumple be redeemed or is he too broken?

The first thing we see in this episode is that Neil is back in Neverland. We learn throughout the episode how connected Neil is to Pan and this island. Not only is this not the first time he has been here it isn’t even close to the first them the two of them have met.

When we went into the flashback’s I thought that Rumple’s story of saving his son from the piper was going to be another parallel type story like we saw earlier with Snow and Emma. I thought it was going to be a story of the lengths Rumple would go to save his son, highlighting what he could do again.

This idea was true in the very basics. Pan was the piper. Pan has been in Neverland for a very long time we learn. Originally he could only interact with children who came to him in their dreams, but he isn’t satisfied with this. For a moment it seems like Pan is just a lonely boy who wants friends. He uses a specific pipe to call boys to come to him who feel unwanted and unloved, a pipe both Bae and Rumple can hear.

A quick thought on Pan here. First obviously at one point Pan could leave Neverland. He leaves and brings back the lost boys. This makes me wonder about my idea of him being trapped. At one point he could leave, he brings people back to the island, but what about right now? Is he upset that he can’t leave anymore? Or is there more to it?

This moment was an interesting look at Pan for us. At one time he was all alone on the island. Why? How did he end up there? Was the gathering of the boys just because he was lonely? Or is there something more to it? Pan in these scenes is still hard and controlling, he isn’t a scared child. Who was he to begin with?

Rumple knew Pan from his own childhood. It is interesting that Rumple, Bae and Henry all meet Pan as boys, a tradition past down through the family. Rumple can hear the pipe because he has never felt worthwhile or loved. Pan tells him how everyone he has ever loved has left him; his father and his wife. Pan strikes right to the heart here, without any preamble. Rumple has always struggled with trying to feel less worthless. He can’t be the coward anymore, he has to have the control. He decides what to do and when to do it.

We see how wrong he was when Bae was a boy and how that anger and resentment haunts their relationship until this day. Neil tells Rumple he can’t trust him. Especially after he hears the prophecy, he can’t believe anything his father tells him. Neil knows that what stands today will not remain standing tomorrow. Rumple didn’t take Pan’s deal, he didn’t trust that his son would come with him, he didn’t trust that a son’s love for his father will overrule everything else. That lack of trust and sadness still has a hold on Neil. His father has never stopped and asked him what he wants or what he thinks. Rumple decides what happenes not Neil. This is his problem, he wants to survive, instead of ensuring the one’s he loves survive.

We can’t fully blame Rumple though. As a child his father abandoned him, a hurt we know he still holds very close as evidence by how he reacts to the doll. Then Pan comes into his life. Rumple was never a lost boy but he became close to Pan at one time. They were best friends, until Pan betrayed Rumple somehow. I can’t decide exactly what happened here, I think in some way Pan was supposed to take Rumple away from his misery but he didn’t fulfill his part. Rumple has never forgiven him and that helped build up a wall inside of his heart. A wall strengthened by the loss of his wife and son.

This moment is a defining moment for Rumple. Neil walks away, not even trying to trust his father. He is done with questioning his loyalty. Rumple breaks, he understands but it still shakes him. He pushed Belle’s image away, not wanting that small conscience talking to him anymore. I think we are going to end up seeing the dark and cold Rumple again.

While Rumple and Neil are attempting to work together, Pan is trying to get to Henry. We saw that Henry isn’t easy to manipulate or change. Pan plays the pipe early on for Henry and Henry can’t hear anything. We know he doesn’t feel unwanted or unloved. We know Henry believes in his family, he knows they are going to come rescue him.

Pan doesn’t treat Henry like a captive. He tells him the celebration is for him. He doesn’t keep him tied up or in a cage. He is trying to be this friend type figure to Henry. Pan doesn’t need force to keep Henry with him. He doesn’t want to scare him, he wants him to become part of the group. Another reason I still think Henry’s heart has to be given and not taken. Force isn’t the solution here.

Then Neil comes in and manages to rescue Henry for about a minute. He ends up right back in the camp because he doesn’t have his father there to help him. Now something had to happen in these few moments. When Neil got him back he was still this resolute child who knew he was loved but after he wakes up he hears the pipes and joins the lost boys. What happened in that time?

Pan gives Henry a speech about dreams. He tells him that Neverland used to be a place where new dreams were born and that Henry can bring that magic back. Something seems to be wrong with the island (that is if we actually trust Pan and what he says). Then there are the dreams, is that how Pan manipulated Henry? How else could he change Henry so quickly? Pan says he basically dreamt Henry, brought him to the island. Dreams are powerful here. They can make people and change lives. Somehow Pan controls dreams, somehow he did something to Henry. I just can’t believe Henry would feel so lost so quickly even while mourning his father.

Meanwhile Emma and the rest of the group is trying to figure a way to get off the island. Tinker Bell refuses to help them until they have an escape plan. It is mentioned multiple times that no one leaves the island without Pan’s blessing. Yet Neil has left as has Hook. Hook’s required a one time deal. Neil on the other hand escaped by his own means. They find a map of the stars that Neil created for himself. For a minute it seems like leaving is actually possible.

Then Pan tells Neil that his great escape might not have been as impressive as it seems. Pan let him go the first time. Was it because he knew Neil would eventually father Henry? Was everything Pan as done to ensure that Henry was born? Pan has been in control for a very long time. Neil thinks himself clever but we see yet again he is being manipulated. Pan has begun to turn Henry. Soon he will have him where he needs him, ready to be used. I think in the next few episodes we will learn what Pan truly wants and how Henry is a part of it.

“Never break in somewhere unless you have a way out”- Both Emma and Pan- This is my favorite line of the episode. Both characters say the exact same words. Is it because they are connected in some way? Or is it because they think alike?

“One thing I learned from you hero types is that there is alway hope”- Hook- He tells this to Charming. For some reason he really wants Charming to tell everyone that he is dying. Yet he says this line, he still holds onto hope somehow.

“Sometimes the people you fear the most are the ones closest to you,”- Pan- Our most beloved ones are the ones who can destroy us as well as save us.

-What did Pan do to Henry?

How long has Pan been setting up Henry’s life and purpose?

Who told him about Henry?

How did Neil leave the first time?

How did Pan betray Rumple as a child?

How did Pan end up in Neverland?

How close were Hook and Bae?

Why is Hook so intent on Charming telling Snow that he is dying?

Can Rumple ever redeem himself?

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