Tonight’s Once Upon a Time is brought to you by Therapy. Therapy – how does it make you *feel*? Also this post is very late because I thought i posted ages ago. Yup, I’m that girl.
We begin tonight’s episode with Rumple. Yay! He’s making camp in the Magic Forest of Doom and Death and Creepy Youths in Hoods. Camping must be significantly cruisier in Magicland what with the magic fire and such. Next up, shadow shenanigans – Rumple cuts away his shadow to hide the knife which alone can kill him. Here’s my problem. It seems like shadows are allegories for souls, and that they’re a) disobedient (per Barrie’s original works) and b) able to be controlled by Pan (per Once). So why would Rumple – whose soul is surely darker and more tricksy than the average bear’s, especially as he’s gone Back to the Bad of late – be able to control *his* shadow? Unanswered questions are unanswered.
And now back to World’s Most Awkward Family, and Friends. Hehe they’re using ‘poof’ as a verb to describe Regina’s (admittedly fabulously lavendery-smoky) magic. Some (you guessed it) awkward girl chat between Snow and Emma (presumably the “Lost Girl” of the title, though I don’t see her joining Pan quite this moment) ensues; I agree, the name ‘Mary Margaret’ is cumbersome, but could you not just call her ‘Mary’ or ‘Megs’ or ‘M2’ or something? There are more choices than “full name” / “Mom”.
There’s no Henry this ep, so we’re really only seesawing between Emma+Friends and Rumple, both of whom have the same goal, both of whom are being frustrated in their attempts by an inability to accept/move on from the past. Rumple keeps having a doll dropped in front of him (which we find out is the last thing his dad gave him before abandoning the family, feeding into his own preoccupation with the way he failed Bael) and Emma has to puzzle out a map which will only be revealed “once she accepts who she truly is” (also – tiny psychopaths are the worst. Also also, what’s Pan’s motivation for giving Emma this life advice/map? And surely someone as distrusting as her would’ve asked what his agenda was. That whole interaction was odd and didn’t ring true).
Two excellent things happen as a consequence of these storylines – with Emma recognising that she still has major abandonment issues and Rumple hinting at his good, ‘human’ self still being very much present under all the sexy snakeskin suits and ‘Dearie’s of his Dark One persona, both characters are pointed in the right direction for happiness – Emma’s fractious relationships with Charming and Snow, and with Neal obviously stem from the fact that both abandoned her (reinforced by the awful ‘shackled teen gives birth alone’ scene from last ep) and Rumple’s whole deal has been trying to acknowledge and atone for the mistakes he’s made, but his emotional cowardice leads him to make further, more serious mistakes. Vicious cycle is vicious. Anyway, enough pop psychology.
The one thing that really irked me was the delving into Snow’s history with Regina (again), as we see her history mirror Emma’s current issues (again). It was really clunky – we saw some of the events last season (or the one before, even?) and this feels like weird additional exposition. And Regina’s awesome outfits make me happy, but Snow’s long-hair wig makes me saaaaad. It’s extremely grotty. Plus, Charming mindfucking her into believing she’s the destined saviour of the land so she’ll one-up Regina in a petty “my magic sword is better than your magic poofy-fingers” was reckless and kind of stupid – he justifies it by saying *he* knows she’s destined to rule the land (and save everyone from Regina, which, yeah ok) and just had to convince her, but it was still a dick move. The only good thing about the flashback was the protective older-brother dwarves. And Regina’s outfits.
My main emotional moment this ep was as follows: Yay Belle’s back!!!! But this cannot be good. Oh yup, she’s some sort of psychic projection of Rumple’s subconscious. BUT yay he imagined Belle not Lacey! Which means he is good deep down and will fix her and all will be well. The end. Oh, more show? Ok…
So *everyone* is having to do Therapy and learn about their True Selves, pointing the way to the Good and Shiny and Inevitably Really Hard Path to Redemption. Rumple is learning about not letting past mistakes/regrets dictate the future, Snow has to become the leader she was born to be and fight for what is hers and Emma has to… be a leader/the Saviour/accept her destiny/forgive her parents? Hmm, not so cut and dried, but a good start.
Weirdly, despite this basically being one long psychoanalytical bushbash for Rumple (literally and metaphroically, as usual in Fairytale land) and group therapy session for Emma (and Snow’s recollected Bildungsroman), there are some good giggles in this episode. Dark lighting and levity. Oddity. Overall, happy bunny, in part just for the continuing awesomeness that is Hook. Swoon.