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Once Upon a Time: Labor of Love

“If I hadn't failed, I never would have figured out how to succeed.”

The execution of this episode’s guest appearance was a little lackluster, but I loved where that new character helped to take one of the series’ veterans, pulling them out of passivity and finally addressing their lack of contribution to the show at large.

That veteran is, of course, Mary Margaret, who has been getting progressively more irrelevant with each season; both her and David’s roles in the on-going plots have become largely inconsequential, to the point where their presence has become almost unnecessary. Here, a person from Snow White’s past helped her to remember the bad-ass she used to be, something that will hopefully stick with her and not be forgotten in a few weeks' time. As a series lead she needs to be far more involved than she has been for the last few years. We need less of her standard “speeches of hope” and more action. Now that she’s realised this I’m hopeful we’ll get to see her have a bit more fun.

While I’m glad that old friend, Hercules, wasn’t allowed to overshadow Snow’s story this week, I felt like there was a lot of untapped potential with him. The guest star was perfectly fine, but I feel like a more nuanced actor could have brought more to the role than we got. He was cute and all, but lacked the presence that I thought this character needed. Not to mention some more interesting back story; we didn’t learn anything interesting about him at all, really. His role here wasn’t without consequence, but I feel like it didn’t accomplish a whole lot other than what I discussed already. He just popped in and got Ghost Whisperer’d off to Olympus, and not a whole lot else.

I did like how Hook’s failed escape from Hades’ guarded prison was tied into this episode’s A story, though. Meg, like Hercules, could have been a lot more interesting. The character I remember had a lot more snap to her and this iteration lacked a lot of what made Meg special in the first place. Regardless, she served her purpose in getting Hook’s message to Emma, and letting her know where to find him. I’m sure we have a daring rescue ahead of us next week when Emma and the rest of Operation Firebird try to break Hook out of Hades’ prison.


Mary Margaret is now officially known as Snow White again. I’ve personally found it difficult to know when to use what name so I’m very happy about this.

Cruella is back! Is anyone else hoping her secret pact to force Henry to help her escape works out? She needs to be a permanent fixture.

Emma Caulfield has appeared twice now. I love that she’s in charge of Granny’s. Will she be one of the lucky few who get to escape?

He Said, She Said

Blind Witch: “I know who Hercules is. He comes in here on his lunch break every day. And no matter how hard I try to fatten him up, his muscles are always bulging. It's a shame. He'd make a great Sunday roast.”

Mary Margaret: “How am I supposed to help anyone stand up to Hades when all I have is speeches about hope?”

Hercules: “If I hadn't failed, I never would have figured out how to succeed.”

‘Labor of Love’ achieved what it set out to do, but the way it achieved its goal left a little to be desired. I’m also concerned that this underworld arc will burn (no pun intended) out a little too quickly if the find-and-save formula is milked too much. Nevertheless, I’m delighted with Snow’s personal realisation and growth this week. It’s been a big issue for a while now and I’m glad it’s been somewhat overcome.

3 out of 5 giant anchors

Originally posted at PandaTV.

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