“Every kingdom needs a hero, don’t you think?”
Three episodes in and there’s no signs of this season slowing down. One thing that Once has to combat this year though, is combining all these dueling stories without making the entire episode seem disharmonized. As far as this episode goes, there wasn’t a hint of discord throughout, but with such a killer pace, the show is definitely going to run that risk.
We’ve got three distinctive storylines this season. Storybrooke, like always; the Enchanted Forest flashbacks; and the Enchanted Forest in real time. One plot is almost always going to find itself relegated to background noise, but it’s a rarity to see a show do justice to so many different stories at the one time. It’s even rarer that all these stories are bound together so neatly by one common theme; a parent who sacrifices everything for their child.
In Storybrooke, Henry and Charming are still continuing their quest to help Emma and Snow, but have made a pit stop to help out Jefferson, who was forced to give up his child. I like Henry and Charming’s little duo; it’s nice to see Henry bond with someone other than Emma for a change. Yeah, there’s the rift between him and Regina, but I really like the whole grandparent side to things. Henry grew up without a father figure, and Charming couldn’t be a batter fit for somebody like that. Seeing Henry bring Jefferson and his daughter back together also helped Charming to have a some faith in the little man, too.
Over in the Enchanted Forest, Snow and Emma had an immediate face off with Cora, whom thankfully Snow recognised. The fact that the entire middling part of this story was cut makes me even happier; there’s a lot less filler this year. We knew she was bad, they knew she was bad, and we got on with it. Snow was also a lot more like that woman we met exactly a season ago; she wasn’t going to fall for any cheap shape-shifting tricks. She knew after the first slip-up that Lancelot wasn’t himself, and along with Emma she was able to stop Cora in her tracks, for now at least.
Kudos to Emma, too. I think this was one of about two or three times that we’ve seen her really open up. Her proclamation of never having had somebody to put her first is pretty heart-breaking. She spent most of her life fighting for herself, and here comes this woman who loves her more than anything, who gave up her entire life for Emma, and continues to put her first. Just like Charming and Henry, these episodes are utilizing the show’s most interesting dynamics incredibly well.
Cora’s mistake aside, it was Lancelot’s kindness that tipped Snow off to Cora’s deception too, something she experienced before when she first met Charming’s mother. There was a certain amount of predictability where this part of the episode was concerned, but there was also some level of originality about it, too. We all knew Ruth was going to sacrifice herself for Snow’s child, but instead of the usual sobbing over her final gesture, a dying mother was able to get her final wish, and save her son’s family at the same time. I’m not sure where this whole impromptu wedding was supposed to go, the entire series opened with their big wedding day, but the symbolism was pretty darn sweet.
As we tear our way through this new and exciting season, I’m kind of aghast as to where the show expects to take a break. So far, every episode has been incredibly intense, so it wouldn’t be a totally outlandish idea for an offbeat episode right about now.
4 out of 5 burned magic wardrobes.
Operation Scorpion is Henry’s code for this season’s secret mission. I gotta say, Operation Cobra had a better ring to it.
Emma, I love you, but firing that gun has got to be one of the silliest things you’ve ever done. Get it together, woman!
He Said, She Said
Emma: “You gave up, everything for me, and you’re still doing that.”
Snow: “I won’t let you give your life for this.”
Ruth: “That’s what parents do, they put their children first.”
Previously posted at PandaTV.