This is one of my new favorites on TV. I know it doesn’t seem like it because I haven’t really written about it, but I LOVE this show. OUAT’s penultimate episode basically brought everything back full circle to the pilot. There were some significant learnings in this episode and sets up for what should be an epic finale next week!
The Queen/Regina is starting to feel desperate. Things are spinning out of her control and she goes to Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin for help. He tells her he is not going to help her anymore because he wants the curse broken for his own reasons (which he neglected to share with us.) But we learn a HUGE piece of information during this exchange….if Emma is killed, the curse will be broken. Now it makes sense. I’ve asked myself this question several times and then gotten yelled at by my husband saying “it’s a TV show!” I’ve always wondered why Regina simply didn’t kill Emma. She’s evil, she’s murdered before to get what she wants. If she can kill her own father, Emma should be no skin off her nose. Now we know why. Emma’s death breaks the curse.
Regina enlists The Mad Hatter to help her open a portal back to Fantasyland to see if she retrieve some things to help her get rid of Emma. There isn’t enough magic in Storybrooke (even using the ring Daniel gave her) to get Regina back to Fantasyland. However, the magic from the ring is strong enough to open a very small window where she can reach through and grab something small, quickly. She knows exactly what she wants and we flash back to the Queen and Snow having a negotiation (more on that in a minute.) Needless to say this is a twist on the apple story we all knew growing up and Regina is able to grab the poisoned apple.
Regina gets back to her house and proceeds to cut up the apple and make a very delicious looking turnover. Just so happens that Ms. Swan shows up at her house. Emma loves Henry. She wants him back in her life, full-time. But that can’t happen. Emma feels Henry’s life has actually gotten worse since her arrival so she wants to leave Storybrooke, but not without seeing Regina first. She tells Regina she wants a truce and that she is leaving town but that she has one request, to see Henry whenever she wants. She thinks the animosity between them hasn’t helped Henry so she wants to bury the hatchet, leave town, but still visit Henry when she can. Seems fair enough to me. Regina is floored by this and completely agrees with Emma’s wishes. As a sign of good faith (yeah right) Regina gives Emma the apple turnover she made for her travels back to Boston. Emma graciously accepts it.
Back at her apartment, Henry comes in and begs her not to leave. She has to believe and she has to help them. She doesn’t cave to Henry’s demands and tells him that she’s doing this for him. He is desperate at this point and when he sees the turnover, he asked her who made it. She tells him it’s from Regina and he begs her not to eat it. Emma is getting frustrated with Henry thinking Regina is trying to kill her and goes to pick up the turnover to eat it to prove to him how wrong he is. Instead, he picks up the turnover and he eats it to prove how wrong she is and promptly keels over with Emma screaming his name. As Mr. Gold warned Regina…”all magic comes with a price!”
While this is all happening, in Fantasyland, Snow White is looking to break into the King’s castle to free Prince Charming. I love that in this version of Snow White’s story, she’s very bad ass! It’s awesome! She has enlisted the help of Little Red Riding Hood and her granny, the 7 dwarfs, and every fairy ever created. They all storm the castle and Snow is able to get to the dungeon where James is being kept…or so she thought. It was a mirage of mirrors set up by the Queen to get Snow there so she can request a meeting with her. Snow agrees.
They meet where all the bad blood went down…the stables. There, the Queen shows Snow Daniel’s grave and finally tells her the truth about what happened….that Daniel was murdered and that it was all her fault. Now here is where I would have stood my ground more if I were Snow. I would have said to the Queen “really, you want to blame an 8-year-old girl who was manipulated by a very power woman who also had magical powers. You, yourself, were manipulated by her so many times yet an 8-year-old is held to a higher standard. I WAS 8 FOR GOD SAKES!!! Cut me some frigging slack! Why aren’t you blaming your mother?” But she didn’t so I’m moving on. The Queen makes Snow a deal, bite the poisoned apple and Prince Charming doesn’t die. Snow tells her congratulations, she won. She bites the apples and collapses.
What I think is so cool about all of this is that both Snow White and her grandson both engage in incredibly unselfish acts out of love. Snow eats the apple to save Charming’s life and Henry eats the apple turnover to save Emma’s and show her that she needs to believe. It was very well laid out and I loved the symmetry in the scenes.
I have one comment before moving onto the finale next week. I’ve read many articles, blogs, and posts and listened to many podcasts where people blame Emma for not believing and are giving her a hard time. I know it’s a TV show but let’s stop and think for a minute. Imagine that your son, whom you gave up for adoption 10 years ago, shows up at your door requesting your help. He tells you that you are savior of all the fairy tale characters that we all have grown up reading about or watching in movies. Not only are these characters real, and not only are you the only person who can save them, but you are also the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Show of hands, how many of you would believe this? Come on, don’t be shy! All I’m saying is that I’m cutting Emma a little slack. Now, having said all that, you have to imagine that at some point, when all these crazy things start happening, when adults like August and Jefferson start telling you that they are fairy tale characters as well and that Emma needs to believe, that you would start to raise an eye brow to what people are saying. I’m saying jump in with two feet and believe. But you have to admit to yourself that something is off. I think Emma does believe that and I think she believes something beyond the norm is happening in Storybrooke, but she’s just not ready to believe “Once Upon A Time…” just yet.
Now that Henry is in the hospital fighting for his life, will all that change? Is this the push Emma needs to believe? Will she stay and fight for all the characters who are robbed of their rightful lives? I guess we will find out next week during the season finale of OUAT!!!!