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Early Observations about “Mother”

Oddly enough, some parenting of our own delayed this post a day. Things are getting more meta by the moment. And just when everyone’s finding happiness on their own, too.

Michael’s “Always… no, no… never… forget to check your references.”

“Mother” (1988)

Inspired by Tipper Gore’s PMRC and their crusade for Parental Advisory labeling, Danzig’s “Mother” is a more or less a challenge to parents who wish to protect their children from the evils of the world. Sound familiar?

Can you keep them in the dark for life
Can you hide them from the waiting world

Not about to see your light
And if you wanna find hell with me
I can show you what it’s like

Of course there are also a surfeit of mothers on the show: Emma, Regina, Mary Margaret, Zelena, Cora, Maleficent, (the baby club from 4A)…

Exodus 2:1-10

Lily: They sent me through the portal in my eggshell. Baby Moses in his basket.

So last episode I pointed out how the SuperSport with the Sylvia license plate linked Lily and Mal to 2014’s Maleficent. “Rhea Sylvia conceived Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome with the god Mars. She was a minor forest diety, a spirit of the forest, like the movie Mal.” Here the writers drill further down. The legends of Romulus and Remus as well as Moses are examples of the foundling tale, a trope as old as stories themselves. Maleficent‘s Anastasia is another example.

This is apparently the kind of thing writers get up to when allowed. We’ve seen a reference to another foundling, Sigurd, by way of his partner Guðrún’s name emblazoned on the shop next to Gold’s.

“Dark Star” (1968)

4x20 Dark Star Pharmacy

Naming a pharmacy after a song by the psychedelic rock band The Grateful Dead is both goofy and inspired. Placing the sign for it above Lilith Page, Maleficent’s daughter and unwilling recipient of Emma Swan’s potential for darkness with the star shaped birthmark… well, that’s just a cleverness hammer.

Mirror shatters in formless reflections of matter.
Glass hand dissolving to ice petal flowers revolving.

Like Gudrun they might even have seen the callback to 4A. And they named this ship if anyone wants to sail it.

Annie Hall

Maleficent: But all I want to do now is enjoy our time together. I am your mother.
Lily: Well, I’m grown up now. I don’t need grooming advice from Annie Hall.

4x20 Annie Hall

The prodigal daughter is definitely making fun of Mal’s vest and tie, but there’s a good chance that she’s making another lateral analogy. One of the tensions in everybody’s favorite Woody Allen movie is between enjoying the time we have versus neurotically dwelling on the past.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Chief Bromden and Nurse Ratched:

4x20 Chief Bromden and Nurse Ratched


Bonus points for working these folks, whom we’ve seen before into Zelena’s cuckoo scheme subplot.

The Lion King

This is probably the closest we’ll ever get, but it’s actually more interestingly constructed than it might appear at first glance.

4x20 The Boy with the Lion Tattoo

Nottingham’s actually trying to get himself a kingship he has no right to and he’s the nemesis of Robin, the guy Regina believes to belong by her side. This little lion is meant to remind the scary sheriff who he is. Remember…

How to Train Your Dragon

This one seems a like a bit of a stretch, but Mal does say dragons have to be trained how to fly. Even so, I might have ignored it if Killian hadn’t mentioned Toothless.

Mr. Gold: Are you sure you want to start the day tangling with the Dark One?
Hook: The Dark One can’t strike back without charring his heart. You’re toothless, old dog.


Why didn’t he say crocodile? Because we’re talking about the descriptor, not the animal.

“Operation Mongoose” 4×21,22

Maleficent: Can’t you just wait a little while longer? Things could look different in a week.

Postneometareference to the season finale, where things look very different indeed.

“Pilot” 1×1

But wait, it’s also referencing the first ever episode? It is. Like a mirror. The parent is trying to get the child to stay in Storybrooke for one week rather than the other way around.

Emma: Listen to me, kid. I am not in any book. I’m a real person. And I’m no savior. You were right about one thing, though. I wanted you to have your best chance. But it’s not with me. C’mon, let’s go.
Henry: Please don’t take me back there! Just stay with me for one week, that’s all I ask! One week, and you’ll see I’m not crazy.

“Heroes and Villains” 4×12

Another episode reference comes full circle as Gold’s plans from the beginning of the arc come to fruition, just in time for villains to finally win.

4x20 Heroes and Villains


Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

Captain Swan

Killian gloats to Gold that Emma didn’t turn dark. Nah-nah-nah-nah-boo-boo!

Emma’s return to Storybrooke means a big ol’ romantic hug for Capt. Hook.

Killian takes Emma out to the docks to have her look at the horizon. “I can tell your heart is uneasy. And it’s my job, well, I hope it’s my job to protect your heart, even when no one is physically trying to steal it.” He talks to her again about letting go of the anger and resentment she’s holding towards her parents. It is incredibly sweet. And it totally works. Of course, since Lily’s blood is the key to making the ink, totally saving Emma from her darker self doesn’t end up meaning much for the plot, but it does bring Killian and Emma closer and restores the bond she has with her parents. Killian proves, once again, how insightful he can be about love and grudges.

Outlaw Queen

A rough opening scene and conversation between Regina and Robin. Regina, however, shows her character growth by not just ripping out his heart. Actually, she’s pretty calm about the whole thing, if a little wallowing in self-pity. Robin rightfully points out that his moving on is hardly the biggest issue here–his little Roland won’t understand where his mother has gone once Zelena stops using the glamour. This helps get Regina back on focus, and she suggests a forgetting potion to take him back to the time before fake Marian showed up. Furthermore, poor Marian, who died for no other reason than this farce that Zelena cooked up. Regina apologies for Zelena doing all of this to thwart Regina’s happy ending, and Robin suggests they can now pursue that happy ending again, though clearly there are many complications and challenges in front of them. Here Regina wallows a bit more, foreshadowing the reveal that she cannot have children. But Robin just asks, “What do we do now?” It’s a neat scene, echoed later with Lily and Malificent, showing two real human adults dealing with their hopes and disappointments. It certainly kicks the door wide open for these two to continue their relationship, but it doesn’t minimize the emotional difficulties it would mean.

Cora is an Outlaw Queen shipper! (Except not so much as it turns out she’s willing to sub any ol’ scoundrel in for Robin.) When Cora does try to trick Regina into accepting Nottingham (the sexist pig!) in for Robin, Regina doesn’t fall for it. Later she tells Cora: “That’s not what a soulmate feels like.” Regina will understand many years later how right she is.

Regina realizes she’s her own worst enemy in achieving her happy ending and changes her mind at the last minute about writing Zelena out of the story. Instead, she essentially challenges Zelena to a custody battle, showing she’s ready to fight for her happy ending…which is feeling at home in this world. Robin’s just a part of that world. Too bad that decision makes Isaac very bored.reginaworld


No real action in this episode, but the teaser for next week certainly promises great things for Rumpbelle on the horizon.

Swan Queen

Regina figures out a way to power the blood without endangering her/our Savior’s heart.


When Snow runs in to “help” with Lily in dragon form, Charming runs in after her, clearly concerned for her well-being (and rightfully so).

Anti-ship Moment

Zelena, after hearing Regina’s plans to be happy with Robin despite Zelena’s meddling: “Another woman defining happiness relative to the love of a man.”




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Early Observations about “Lily”

There’s almost too much of everything in this episode. Too many references to do them all. To many shipper moments to catch your breath.

Michael’s “Always… no, no… never… forget to check your references.”


The Flower symbolizes friendship and devotion. Which helps explain why every other word launced a ship. And ties in nicely to the Emma/Lilith relationship over time.

The opening scene is a smorgasbord.

Once Upon a Time “Best Laid Plans”

This scene picks up immediately after Isaac’s imprisonment.

Fantasia – “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”

As always, The Apprentice is accompanied by theme music based on the film.

4x20 Apprentice - stairs

Mickey The Apprentice traipses down the stairs to the Sorcerer’s… what is this place anyway?

According to The Disney Audio Archive and Sterling Holloway, “Once upon a time, in a deep dark cave way down underground, there lived a mighty sorcerer.” So that’s cannon anyway.

The Sword and the Stone

The Sorcerer finally manifests himself as blue smoke with white stars and red lights. It’d be an incredibly interesting coincidence if this weren’t intentional.

4x20 The Sorcerer and Merlin

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

The Sorcerer sounds a lot like Palpatine, particularly with the diminutive, “my Apprentice.”

The Invisibles

Ragged Robin Ganzfeldt Tank SmallSeveral works of fiction have dealt with authors entering into or getting trapped in their own stories, but few have dealt with them continuing to write inside. In Volume 2 of Grant Morrison’s magnum opus, the reader learns that Kay actually wrote herself into the story. A feat which required technology, magic, and time travel.Tom O Bedlam Small

Being trapped inside might not be inherently bad; though Isaac doesn’t seem to have been too fond of it. Coincidentally, The Apprentice looks an awful lot like Tom’O’Bedlam, greatest sorcerer of his age.


The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Jennifer Morrison actually mentioned this title on Facebook and Twitter a couple weeks ago.

Gold: We won’t have what we need to rewrite the book, to secure our happy endings, until Ms. Swan has completed her journey.

We’d be forgiven for assuming he means only the dark path he mentions next. But in a sense, that’s just the latter phase(s) of the hero’s journey, dramatized below by Ryan Dunlavey in Action Philosophers.

Hero's Journey

 Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

Gold (again): The savior has taken the first step down a dark path.

Led Zeppelin and Jack of Fables4x20 Lilith Page

Lily’s adoptive parents are James and Priscilla Page. They’re named page to tie in with all this author stuff, The first names are clever. Jimmy Page’s guitar could scream for Adam and Eddie as easily as Tolkien. But Priscilla Page is a bold move. Fables is an ongoing comic book series with a conceit similar to that of Once Upon a Time. Priscilla Page handles retrieval, capture, and return of Fables to the Golden Boughs Retirement Village.

Paradise Lost

With Lily explicitly noting the savior.anti-savior setup they have going, it’s probably safe to revisit one of the greatest stories of hubris in the Enlish language.

Regina: How about we make this the day we both beat fate?

Nether of them actually do, of course. Emma picks up an embodied nemesis and Regina finds Robin bound by his sense of honor to remain with Zelena.


Emma’s foster family serves Mr. Cluck’s Chicken Shack for dinner despite having a two thousand dollar espresso machine,

Once upon a Time in Wonderland

A chess board with the white pieces closest to the camera and more to the left than their black counterparts dominates the foreground while Belle says goodbye to Will, recalling the White King.

4x20 White King


Will: If you’ve come here to hurt me,Will Scrappy you best get on with it. But I warn you, I’m scrappy.
Gold: All right, Scrappy.

Scrappy is the original Poochy, added to the ABC series Scooby-Doo in 1979 in an effort to bolster ratings. It worked, but oversaturation ultimately squandered fans’ goodwill. He’s a universally unpopular character and the trope namer for characters with hatedoms rather than fandoms.

However, the reference here is both to Will’s boxing style and his willingness, even eagerness, to begin a discussion with fisticuffs. The image is from 4×11 because even he knows punching the Dark One is silly.

Weekly World NewsWeekly World News – The World’s Only Reliable News

Once a supermarket checkout aisle staple, The Weekly World News published its last issue in 2007. Consisting of mostly fictional material, the tabloid occupied a sort of fairy tale space in American culture for nearly three decades. Pinocchio’s story would not have seemed out of place on the cover as “Toy Becomes a Real Boy.” And it would have ran without a disclaimer.


First things first. You cannot escape this car in a Volkswagon Beetle. Even if you’re the Antisaviour.

4x20 Sylvia

Other than that, we mostly want it for the license plate that connects Lily to Maleficent via the 2014 movie. Rhea Sylvia conceived Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome with the god Mars. She was a minor forest diety, a spirit of the forest, like the movie Mal.

Disney Descendants

Snow and Charming have a dateughter. And a son. The Evil Queen has a son. Maelficent has a daughter. Zelena’s pregnant. What does it all mean? Hopefully not this. (Although Kristin Chenoweth is always a delight.

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

Captain Swan

  • killiannothingtoliveforAlthough Hook himself isn’t in much of the episode, he and Emma have a key romantic scene. As Emma is saying her good-byes to the fam before she and Regina road trip it to New York, Killian gives her one last encouragement on how to keep from the dark side as a man who started as a hero, turned dark, and has had to work his way back. She asks him why he gave in to the dark path of revenge. “I had nothing to live for. You have your parents, Henry…” “You,” she supplies wryly. “Aye, me. And I you. That’s what’s kept me on my path now. Use whatever it takes to stay on yours.” If Emma does go dark, or on the brink of it, and all signs seem to point that way, I’m hoping Killian will be the one to bring her back.

Swan QueenReginaSmilesatEmma

  • This is a Swan Queen episode if ever there was one. Regina is the one to comfort Emma when she finds her staring at the microfilm article about baby Lilith Page, empathizing about being fate’s plaything–Emma’s only friend may have been her darkside doppleganger, but Regina managed to adopt the Savior’s son. In the first half of the season, this role was being filled by Killian, but now Regina has stepped in. Regina suggests they road trip to New York. Emma says she doesn’t need a babysitter, but Regina responds by saying perhaps she needs Emma. “But maybe I need you. You lived in New York; I’ve barely been outside of Storybrooke. How ’bout it, Swan? How ’bout we make today the day we both beat fate?”
  • On the road trip, Regina attempts to find out more about the story of Emma and Lily, leading to the various flashbacks, although it doesn’t seem that Emma shares the information from those flashbacks with her. Instead, as Emma is challenged by her feelings of anger, fear, and aggression (the Dark Side of the Force are they), Regina is constantly trying to pull her back, make sure she’s okay and not crossing lines she can’t come back from. Most noteably this happens when Emma has Lily on her knees at a point of a gun and Regina talks her back from killing her. What’s at stake for Emma: Lily knows the whole story and wants revenge against Emma’s parents. By killing Lily, Emma would be protecting her family. This was the Cruella justification. But this time, Emma knows Lily can’t kill anyone, at least not at the moment. There is time for other options. Regina points this out and makes it clear that if she crosses this line, the path back is not easy. “Your parents need a hero, not a murderer…Cruella was an accident. But if you cross this line, the journey back isn’t easy. Trust me. I know.” And Regina reaches her.

Lily Swan

  • Of course, the other major ship that got play this episode was Lily Swan. All of the talk of fated, entangled lives. All the discussion of Lily being in darkness and life being lighter when Emma is around. All of that can easily be read as soul-crossed lovers stuff. Among the best of these lines: “Emma was the first person who really understood me. You know, like we were meant to come into each other’s lives.”
  • But also: “My life is filled with darkness. When you’re around, things are brighter.”
  • And the set designers are fine leaving the ambiguity there. When Emma and Regina enter Lily’s mobile home, there is a colorful banner hanging over her couch. It’s one of those multicolored prayer banners with the many different religious symbols to guide a person to enlightenment–clearly a character-building detail–but it also reads as a gay pride banner to anyone looking for clues of that sort.


Dragon Queen

  • Regina looks truly excited and impressed when Malificent crashes the family meeting to get Emma on the case of finding her daughter. “I knew Gold couldn’t keep the dragon on her leash for long.”



  • Gold enlists Will’s help to retrieve Belle’s heart. But the banter that opens the deal is priceless. While Will certainly doesn’t want to work with Gold, he does want Belle to have her heart.
  • The mission is a success, and Rumple gives back Belle’s heart while also seemingly bowing out of the love triangle. Gold: “We [he and Will] share one thing in common–we both care for you… I’m not asking for forgiveness. I spent every day of our marriage deceiving you when I shoulda been trying to make you happy. Now it’s too late. My heart is nearly black. If I continue hurting you, then there’s no hope for me. I’m going to return this [her heart] to you, Belle. But he’s [Will] the one who is going to protect it, because I’ve proven unworthy.” When he leaves, she turns to go after him or say something at least. Will tries to take her hand but she pulls it away. Now, on the one hand, this could be sincere change in Rumple, a move that deserves Belle cracking her heart open to let him back in. But, on the other hand, this could be a calculated move to sully Will in her eyes by teaming up with him, magnanimously giving back her heart, both literally and figuratively, and showing repentance and a lack of jealousy.

Scarlet Beauty

  • The same scenes that play into the Rumpbelle fandom play here, but less well. The scene opens with Belle and Will kissing before Belle goes off to babysit for a bit. Will, when originally approached by Gold, readies himself for a fight. Although he doesn’t trust Gold, he cares enough about Belle to take a chance to get her heart back.
  • But why does he back up so when Rumple gives her heart back? Rumple gives a line that might be a clue to another twist in this story: “But he’s the one who is going to protect it, because I’ve proven unworthy.” At face value, it would seem Rumple is talking about Will making her happy. But there’s another option, a more literal one. Perhaps Rumple put Belle’s heart in Will’s body and Will’s heart in Belle’s body. Thus he would literally be protecting her heart, and the one in her chest, the one that Regina might seek to remove again for leverage, would actually be Will’s. He would take the chance rather than her. It’s a bit convoluted, but not outside of the range of plausibility.

Outlaw Queen

  • Good grief. Where to start? This story line went from bad to worse in the span of five minutes. But let’s begin at the good. Regina travels to New York to save her love Robin Hood from her insane sister. I like the twist of the normal trope here–the princess needing to be rescued from the evil king.
  • The bad. Then, at the end of the episode, she finally makes it to New York, gets reunited with Robin, tells him Marian is actually Zelena, and (conveniently) it was Zelena who killed Marian (not her). She can’t understand why Robin is so reticent to believe her, to grab Roland and make a run for it.
  • The ugly. Then Marian returns home, and all hell breaks loose. First, Zelena attempts to play Marian and get Robin on her side. This works for a while, until Regina makes a move to find the magical artifact allowing Zelena to look like Marian and Zelena brings down the illusion to reveal to Robin the truth. Robin is aghast. Zelena is pregnant. He can’t leave her.
  • robinreactsWhy is this ending so ugly? Because Robin was raped (or merely sexually assaulted by some state’s definitions). It’s bad enough for OQ shippers that he would consent to sex with Marian, and certainly that is one of the implications of Zelena’s pregnancy. But the fact that he was consenting to sex with Marian, not Zelena, means that Zelena raped him. The ugliness of this is that the show runners won’t likely treat it as such. Already, he means to stay with Zelena out of honor. I understand him wanting to make sure the baby is healthy and protected, but the whole turn of events, besides being needlessly soap-operatic, is likely going to do little justice to telling a story of male rape. And that’s a damned shame. Treat it respectfully, or find another way to challenge the Regina/Robin relationship.

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Early Observations about “Best Laid Plans”

The Author shines a light on things and brings down the curtain. Even our toddler has had it with Snow White and Prince Charming. And Rumpbelle is resurrected.

Michael’s “Always… no, no… never… forget to check your references.”

“To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough” (1785) – Robert Burns

This classic poem draws parallels between a farmer’s situation and that of a mouse whose home is destroyed as he plows. It’s a leveling of the field, as it were, ennobling the mouse and humbling the farmer. While the tone of the poem is companionable and its message universal, it’s useful to Once Upon a Time because it reverses the existing order, the theme of 4B.

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
Has broken nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
                    Which makes thee startle         10
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
                    An’ fellow-mortal!

Specific to this episode, “Best Laid Plans,” references lines 39 and 40, often translated into modern English as, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” We’re meant to note that for all Snowing’s efforts to ensure Emma’s future, they still ended up at the same verbal exchange Snow witnessed in her vision. It’s extra special because the Apprentice, our mouse, was involved.

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
                    Gang aft agley,         40
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
                    For promis’d joy!

The title is also, again, an hilarious pun. Maleficent’s best laid egg…

Bonus: Jacob Grimm, the elder of the Brothers Grimm who recorded scores of household tales including many of those reinterpreted in Once Upon a Time, was born in 1785.

Was he an Author?

August: There have been many Authors throughout time. It’s a job, not a person. And the one trapped in here was just the last tasked with the great responsibility.
Emma: Which is?
August: To record–to witness the greatest stories of all time and record them for posterity. the job has gone back eons,1 from the man who watched shadows dance across cave walls and developed an entire philosophy,2 to a playwright who told tales in poetry,3 to a man named Walt.4 Many have had this sacred job–great women and men who took on the responsibility with the gravity that it deserved… until this last one.

Eion Baily1

August Booth is played by actor Eion Baily. There’s a chance, however slight, that the word choice here was subtly hinting that he’s the current author or at least a journeyman in training. after all, he was able to add his own story to Henry’s Once Upon a Time book. And he knows more about the Author(s) than anyone outside the Apprentice or the tricksie Peddler himself.


In The Republic, Plato has Socrates desPlato's Cavecribe a gathering of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to designate names to these shadows. The shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.

William Shakespeare3

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. His works have been translated into every major living language. His inclusion in the mythology opens up a huge roster of potential background characters.

Walt Disney4

Often suggested as the Author who’d appear this season, Walt Disney founded the company that owns ABC and has produced several popular interpretations of classic fairy tales. But you knew that.

It’s not entirely unreasonable to suggest that the Author trapped in the book is James Lapine, writer of the postmodern revisionist Into the Woods, the film version of which Disney released last year. It makes Charming’s, “As long as we have each other, we can be the best versions of ourselves,” slyly metatextual.

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Snow White plays Lady Macbeth pretty much straight here. Unable to shake her vision, she pushes herself and her husband to ever more egregious acts of evil until, eventually, she cannot take the consequences anymore.

Isaiah 34:14

Lilith, variously a female demon or wicked fairy. In Jewish folklore she became Adam’s first, equal, wife who refused to submit and rejected Eden. So Maleficent’s exiled daughter has a powerful, resonant, ominous name.

Paradise Lost

Finally, some of the juxtapositions in the Comic-Con trailer make sense. What had been useful as a broad metaphor now has specific referents. The first portion in particular.

Snow: I’ve loved you since the first moment I saw you.
Charming: And I’ll love you until my last

Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,(163)
Our labour must be to pervert that end,(164)

Emma: It’s time for all of us to believe; to believe in each other

And out of good still to find means of evil;(165)

Zelena: I tried to be good once but it wasn’t in the cards.

Snowing sought to secure Emma’s good destiny through an act of evil. Zelena managed to twist several benevolent acts toward her own ends. And, of course, as long as you’ve seen the preview, she’s coming back.

The Poetic Edda

For whatever reason, the building to the left of Gold’s Pawn Shop, if you’re facing it, is fronted with “gudrun.” It could have been there all along, but I only remember seeing it twice this season. In one of the stories in the Edda, Guðrún feeds her husband their sons and burns down his hall.

Once Upon a Time

The non-Frozen portions of 4A really come back in force this episode. We revisit “The Apprentice,” “Breaking Glass,” and “Smash the Mirror” all weigh pretty heavily here. But since we open on Snowing tracking a unicorn for clairvoyant visions, I want to focus on that.

Emma Swan has always been associated with the unicorn and it’s nice to see it brought back into the mythology and reality of the show. The unicorn is a traditional Christian salvific symbol, so it’s entirely appropriate that it be involved with every aspect of her story.

1×01 “Pilot”

This is where we first see the unicorn mobile.  It reappears in Gold’s shop in 1×06 “The Shepherd.”

Unicorn Mobile

In addition to the potential Into the Woods connection above, the acknowledgement that the mobile was a gift from Cinderella opens her, via the recent live action Disney release, as a potential focus next season.

1×02 “The Thing You Love Most”

When Regina confronts Maleficent in order to retrieve The Dark Curse, Mal has a diminutive pet unicorn by her side. Ultimately, it’s her concern for this pet that decides the fight against her. It’s interesting that the other unicorn in the story is at least tangentially linked to Swan’s counterpart, Lily.

Unicorn Title Card1×12 “Skin Deep”

This episode reuses the title card from “Skin Deep.” In that episode the unicorns appear on tapestries in Rumpelstiltskin’s Dark Castle.

The first “Sight” from the series The Lady and the Unicorn. The second only appears after Belle attempts to break Rumple’s curse with true love’s kiss. He tears the cover from the mirror and rants at Regina while “The Unicorn in Captivity and No Longer Dead” from the series The Hunt of the Unicorn overwhelms the background. It’s a subtle scenery clue that the savior is integral to his convoluted plans.

At this point, Rumpelstiltskin, Ingrid, the Sorcerer, the Apprentice, Snowing, and the Author all have designs on Emma Swan. With all that pressure, how much control does she have over her own destiny?

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

Captain Swan

  • Killian is clearly deeply concerned about the plan to turn Emma into a villain. Emma emphatically reassures him she will not go dark, though Killian speaks from experience when he tells her darkness can creep up on a person. The two share a long comfort hug where clearly they are oblivious to everyone else around them because one foot away Charming and Snow are discussing the thing which cannot be told to Emma and use Emma’s name. That’s a helluva hug.
  • Killian asks how “the wooden man-child” was as a dual conversation starter. Certainly he knows she’s thinking about August’s well-being, but he’s also attempting to dig a little into her feelings for August. Emma sees immediately what he’s up to and tells him, “Now is not the time to be jealous.” “Why would I be jealous?” Killian responds, adding that he knows she’s partial to men in leather jackets. Emma explains that August is just a friend, but since she’s had a rough time making friends, she holds him dear. Then they notice the sleeping curse coming at them and land in the cutest sleeping pose possible, with Emma laying on Killian’s chest.
  • When her parents finally come clean, Killian attempts to comfort Emma by asking if she’s alright and moving to hold her hand, but she pulls it away quickly before he can touch her. She leaves shortly after.
  • Killian finds her later by the pier. She tells him she just needs some time. He knows to skip the discussion of how she’s doing and goes straight to what will relieve some of her anxiety: “August is awake. Your parents are with him.” “Is he?” “He’s going to be fine. Your friend is going to be fine.” Then she hugs him, bringing back the intimacy and comfort she had rejected earlier and allowing him to carry her emotional burden. It’s quite sweet and says much about how much vulnerability she has allowed herself to have with him.


  • Finally, a truly substantive moment for the Rumpbelle shippers out there. Rumple takes his opportunity to be close to Belle during Maleficent’s sleeping spell. He lovingly moves her from the floor to a divan, holds her hand, and speaks softly. “My love,” he begins. He goes on to confess that all magic comes with a cost and he’s wracked up so much magical debt, he’ll never be free of it. He has to change the rules altogether, and quickly. He promises to come back for her if he can and kisses her hand before leaving.

Runaways (Emma/Lily)

  • Emma explains the dearness with which she carries August by reminding Killian of her lost friendship with Lily. Later we find out Lily is Maleficent’s child and thus also Emma’s heart of darkness mate. They are now officially two halves to a whole! The two are meant to be together.

Swan Queen

  • Regina intervenes on Emma’s behalf when Cruella makes a comment about wanting to wring her neck while she sleeps.


  • Although the role these two play in the episode is largely antagonistic, that doesn’t mean that their intentions weren’t motivated by love. The concern they share for their child’s well-being brings them together. In all actions, they are united, though their visions of the child diverge.
  • After they go through with the nefarious plan to imbue another child (Maleficent’s baby) with their child’s darkness, they are haunted by what they’ve done. Snow notes they are no longer heroes, but Charming is more concerned with their relationship: “But we’re still here, so how do we fix us?” Snow again shows her concern is with them being good again. She asks, “Do you really think redemption is possible?” Charming says they must “spread hope and faith everyday” and be the best version of themselves. The two commit to being better heroes to raise their child and keep her on the right track.

Wooden Swan 

  • August falls ill from so many recent magical transformations. Emma is deeply concerned. She is so concerned, in fact, Killian becomes jealous.
  • When August wakes and Emma returns, he asks her what’s going on. She dodges the question, but he sees right through it, reminding her that he knows lying. When she makes a connection about the powers the Author would still have, he comments that she’s come a long way from the woman who wouldn’t believe. There is clear affection and intimacy in his understanding of who Emma is


Early Observations about “Enter the Dragon”

Things get meta. Enter the dragon has so many meanings. And everyone involved proves once and for all that they are master shipwrights.

Michael’s “Always… no, no… never… forget to check your references.”

Enter the Dragon (1979)

The Deadly Three? Seriously!

They actually could have used this in 4A. Look at all those mirrors!

Oh! Okay, while Maleficent’s If You’re So Evil, Eat This Kitten(s) could come from pretty much anywhere, Enter the Dragon has a bathetic moment of its own involving a cat and a guillotine.

To be honest, the plot on Enter the Dragon involves Bruce Lee acting as a secret agent infiltrating the evil Han’s organization in order to obtain proof of his nefarious deeds or take him down. Sometimes the titles are just clever puns, and this one is, too. Sometimes they’re minor pop cultural references, and this one is, too. And I guess sometimes they’re freakishly intertextual, though I’m not sure one’s ever been quite so precise.

Angelina Jolie

Speaking of freakishly intertextual, Maleficent’s recent makeover seems to come with reverberations. Not content to riff on the Maleficent costume, Eduardo Castro has subtly referenced several of Jolie’s films, including Changeling and Girl, Interrupted. But you’d never notice if not for Kristin Bauer van Straten’s incredible physical control.

4x14 KBVS AJ 1

Donnie Darko

Regina: I’d be careful questioning my commitment…

…to Sparkle Motion?

Journey Into Imagination

Maleficent: So there’s a tree I burned that’s still on fire. Who cares? What does it matter?

Regina: That’s your spark. That’s what’s going to reignite the dragon inside you.

Epcot Center’s attraction featured Dreamfinder and Figment, the dragon, performing “One Little Spark.”

Sleeping Beauty (1959) Maleficent (2014)

Enter King Stefan, exclusive to the Disney version(s) of “Briar Rose.” Briar Rose has become Aurora’s mother in Once Upon a Time, as in last year’s Princess of Thorns.

Paradise Lost

Gold: Sometimes you need to fall very far to finally see the light.

Rumpelstiltskin’s reinvigorated villainy stems from being cast both out, of Storybrooke, and down, stripped of power, love, and agency. All of which he sought to regain. Now he seeks to upset the balance. In a sense, that line condenses both his arc and Lucifer’s monologue at the beginning of the epic poem.

The addition of a literal burning bush in the form of Maleficent’s tree as part of the Enchanted Forest flashback might also obliquely nod toward the theme. It’s purpose inverted to inspire Maleficent to more and greater wickeness, its metaphorical weight reifies, “And out of good still to find means of evil.” Regina providing the impetus for Maleficent’s transformation provides a nice mirror for Maleficent’s temptation of Regina in Storybrooke.

“I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That” (a Special Bonus Round)

Maleficent: What are you doing?

Regina: I’m not going out like this.

She proceeds to light up some presumably hemp rope, ’cause “Let me see what you’ll do / It’s a sin to kill a man / But I’ll be damned if I don’t take a stand.” The first track and the third single from 1992’s Black Sunday by Cypress Hill also includes the line “I’ll huff-n-puff and blow ya head off!” And let’s face it, not since the Whale episodes have more characters appeared in black, Sunday.

4x14 Regina Not Going Out Like This

Once Upon a Time

Again, depending on how you wish to define significant, here are some of the more overt references to past episodes.

“Unforgiven” 4×13

Maleficent’s brooch is the same shape as the symbol on the shields of the folks guarding the bridge to the Tree of Wisdom. Actually we might have a theme here. So are Cruella’s earrings.

4x14 3

 “Selfless, Brave and True” 2×18

The power of the Dark One is apparently at least equal to Reul Ghorm. Gold was able to undo the memory wipe and restoration of youth that Mother Superior performed on a ligneous August Booth. Rumple’s been walking in and out of shadows these last few episodes, but nothing says evil like taking away innocence and a second chance. Incidentally,

“Hat Trick” 1×17

This is the episode with the best image of the portal room inside Jefferson’s, or the Mad Hatter’s, hat. Henry scrutinizes the page from August’s book with a magnifying glass. The tragedy is that if only Regina had looked, she might have recognized the location.

The Author and Jefferson

“The Thing You Love Most” 1×02

Regina: You know how much I wanted my revenge.

Of course Maleficent knows. Regina assaulted and stole the dark curse from her. And enacted it despite Maleficent begging her not to.

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

Captain Swan

  • Not a lot here this week. The two weren’t together much, and then it was mostly business. Hook did get to be the Charming Team’s Pirate mascot, and he did get to exposit to Emma the damage the Queens of Darkness did to Granny’s.

Swan Queen

  • Emma is seriously concerned about Regina going undercover. Likewise, Regina doesn’t want Emma to put herself in danger by becoming part of the scheme. That is some love there, folks.
  • In fact, bails bond Emma is either terrible at undercover side-kicking or she’s far too blinded by her concern for Regina to follow the normal rules. She follows Regina far too closely in the truck, comes in to save her far too soon at Marco’s, and causes Regina to drop her cellphone so that Emma can no longer follow when Regina leaves.reginaemma
  • I mean, truly, its rare to see Emma get this uppity about Killian in danger. This was the episode for Captain Swan fans to jump ship.


  • Rumple decides to also go undercover by making himself appear like Killian to get close to and manipulate the dagger away from Belle.
  • This starts with some major cock-feather fluffing with Will in Granny’s.
  • killianrumpleThis moves to Rumple-Killian talking Belle into giving up the dagger (at which point I kinda loose my suspension of disbelief). But Colin O’Donoghue does a pretty bang-up job nuancing his performance to give the facial expressions and head movement of Robert Carlyle.
  • After “hiding” the dagger, Rumple-Killian returns to the shop where Belle is smelling a red rose which we all assume is from Will. (Though considering his broken-heart from Wonderland, I sort of doubt Will would get her a red rose.) Anyway, Rumple-Killian tells her they will make a “pirate’s oath” to never speak of this to anyone, including each other. But this is all in the name of touching her collarbone and hand. Considering Rumple is in Killian’s body, this plays with a touch of awkward.
  • He also asks if she’s serious with Will and if she’s over Rumpelstiltskin. It’s all a little junior high, except instead of sending a “friend” in to ask these questions, Rumple sends himself appearing as a friend. To her credit, Belle admits that Will makes her laugh and that she’ll never be over Rumple. She’s an interesting foil to Rumple–he’s all subterfuge and she’s nothing but honest.

 Captain Beauty (I prefer Captain Librarian)

  • I know that in these scenes Killian is actually Rumple, but for a shipper that makes no difference. For instance, on The X-Files there were a couple of episodes where, due to a shapeshifting ability or an Area 51 tech body swap, men appearing as Mulder attempted to seduce Scully. These were some of the Mulder/Scully shippers’ favorite episodes, because there were near kisses in those scenes. So Captain Librarian shippers, er, I mean, Captain Beauty shippers will still appreciate Killian’s jealousy displayed towards Will in Granny’s and his ham-handed moves to touch Belle via “pirate oath.”
  • The key romantic lines about how serious Belle is with Will or if Belle is over Rumple take on a new meaning when seeing this as a Captain Beauty scene, but they’re still full of tension and longing.

Dragon Queen

  • Speaking of near kisses, this ship went from off my radar to one of the most overtly sexual pairings on the show in this episode. Must be the influence of Maleficent actress Kristin Bauer van Straten, who played lesbian vampire Pam on True Blood. Maleficent threatens to eat the flesh of Regina and then nearly kisses her. That is a page straight out of the million-times more sexually explicit True Blooddragonqueen
  • In the flashbacks, Regina brings Maleficent back from a drug haze, encouraging her to get back her dragon powers and take her revenge. In turn, Maleficent’s revenge inspires Regina to take the long view on her own and quit being so impatient. When Maleficent realizes the two of them have the loss of someone they cared about in common, there’s an immediate physical and emotional intimacy sparked. (There’s your spark, Mal.)dragonqueen2
  • Back in Storybrooke, Maleficent is the one who clearly has some faith, or at least strongest desire, to see the return of evil Regina, making quite the interesting little love triangle between Maleficent, Regina, and Emma.
  • maleficentfunMaleficent’s costuming in Storybrooke, with the gray fedora and masculine necktie, was both stylish and evocative of 1940’s film noir. In this kind of film, an otherwise good person is pulled into an underworld of corruption. This is perfectly in line with the Regina “going undercover” plotline of the episode and the larger themes of good versus evil and potential redemption. And while the costuming places Maleficent in the role of gangster or detective, she’s clearly Regina’s Femme Fatale. Noir gets its name from the use of heavy contrast and shadow in a traditionally black and white format. The art design of the Storybrooke scenes with Maleficent in them all had a monochromatic effect thanks to black, white, and gray costuming, heavy use of nighttime, and sets that were lit to look more gray in tone than normal.
  • [Paraphrased] Rumple: “You made it back quickly.” Regina: “I rode a dragon.” Is that a metaphor?reginaridingdragon

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Early Observations about “Unforgiven”

They were raised to be Charmings not sincere. Is there a Hook up he’s not talking about? And the death rattle is way sadder this way.

Michael’s “Always… no, no… never… forget to check your references.”


I’m going with the 1992 Eastwood film, here. Based primarily on the themes of buried secrets, folks who cannot change, and hard choices. Even doing terrible things to ensure the future of one’s children. And anyway, the Metallica song is “The Unforgiven.”

Unforgiven 1


David: Maleficent!Maleficents

Maleficent: I was afraid you wouldn’t recognize me.

Finally! A lamp shade for the costume change. I do like it receding into the flashbacks to provide some reasonable continuity.

Maleficent looming over Queen Snow’s baby and the implicit threat hearkens back to both Sleeping Beauty and last year’s remake.

Not to mention the deeper touchstone of a secret betrayal revisited on the family of the betrayer. Where the Frozen arc maintained the story of the movie, this seems to pull more on the themes. Plus they’ve created a sympathetic twist for Maleficent incredibly efficiently.

One Hundred and One Dalmatians (101 Dalmations)

Cruella: If that old bag still wolfed out I would make her into a coat for my collection.

Noted in both the animated classic and the Dodie Smith novel that inspired it, Cruella has a collection of animal skin coats. But the one she wears on the show outshines the rest.


ReginaShould have known fish sticks and pound puppy were here for more than a second chance.

A classic toy from the eighties. Similar to Cabbage Patch Kids they came with an adoption certificate kids could beg their parents to frame, thereby increasing the cost. They were revived by Funrise last year, but since the producers had to resolve the lack of knowledge about Frozen by saying Storybrooke was behind the viewing public by a couple years, the reference has to be to the Tonka line or the silly cartoons.

Once Upon a Time

Too numerous to count, which is sort of standard practice this season. The writers are exploiting parts of the timeline that aren’t entirely accounted for to weave the new arcs into the existing story. I reckon some folks balk at apparent inconsistencies, but it’s television.

Of particular note is 2×18 “Selfless, Brave and True”, wherein August Booth reverted back to the young flesh and blood Pinocchio with the help of Reul Ghorm’s magical meddling. Blue was awfully shady last episode, so bringing this in immediately afterward adds some gravity.

4x13 Regina Book 2


And what they’re really after in this interrogation is how and why August was able to alter Henry’s Once Upon a Time book in 1×13 “What Happened to Frederick” and whether that’s significant.

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments


  • 2:38 a.m. Snow wakes to find Charming gone. But Maleficent is there instead, with the other Queens of Darkness, threatening Snow’s family. But it was just a nightmare! 2:38 a.m. again. Snow wakes to find Charming gone. Again. (Is this going to be a Groundhog Day loop?) Except this time it turns out David is sitting on the stairs being an insomniac and trying to drink his way through it (a sign of their secret villainous past).
  • Through the episode, the two act together to hide the secret of Maleficent’s prediction about Emma and Maleficent’s lost child. Though their motivations and actions are questionable–lying is the stuff of villainy–they do act in tandem, bringing them closer together, even as they screw everything up.

Captain Swan

  • Hook brings Emma her craved for grilled cheese. With it he passes her test by giving her a ring, actually, several onion rings.
  • Emma’s superpower is telling when people are lying to her. She uses it on Hook when he feigns forgetful ignorance of how he knows Ursula. But Hook isn’t budging. He leaves with a rather meaningful, “Enjoy your witch hunt.” The line suggests the questionable motives behind David’s gung-ho attitude towards Cruella and Ursula, and how Emma’s being pulled into it without knowing what’s actually going on.
  • Later that evening Hook comes back, perhaps with the intent of coming clean about his relationship with Ursula, but Emma has also had a change of heart. Not wanting her distrust of people to get the best of her or her relationship with Hook, she tells him that while it’s not okay to lie to her, he can have the time he needs to be ready to tell her. “You’re not that man anymore,” she tells him. “It’s not going to change anything between us.” “That’s quite a lot of faith you’re putting on me, Swan,” he responds, showing that doubt, once again, that he can live up to being the boyfriend of a hero. Hook tells her he has no intentions of letting her down. She says, “No matter what, I will always choose to see the best in you.” “And I with you.”
  • As Snow reveals the truth to Regina, there’s a slow-mo walking shot of Emma and Hook walking on the street being uber-cute and happy.captain swan walk

Scarlet Beauty

  • These two are shown together in Gold’s (now Belle’s unofficial) shop. They smile at each other then KISS! scarlet beauty kiss


  • gold reactionAnd Rumple sees this kiss from across the street! He is shocked. Takes a staggered step back into the shadows, suggesting his recession into further villainhood.
  • Earlier, when Ursula and Cruella come into the shop to steal the MacGuffin, Belle responds with sincere care and curiosity about how Rumple is doing. “You’ve seen him?” When the ladies give her a line about how terrible and miserable he was, they ask if part of her didn’t want to see him suffering? “I would never revel in his suffering,” Belle proclaims.
  • Ursula and Cruella also lie to Rumple when they tell him that Belle didn’t mention him and that clearly she had moved on. Well, I guess she has, considering the kiss.

Swan Queen

  • There’s one wonderful moment for this ship in the ep. When Emma finally shows up to assist in jogging Pinocchio’s memory, Regina exclaims, “Where the hell have you been?” Then her face shows total relief that Emma is there.

Snow Queen

  • Snow meets Regina in the rain in the dark. Despite having failed to keep Regina’s secret in the past, now Snow wants to share her secret with Regina. It’s a nice moment of growth between them. Snow certainly needs Regina’s help, but there is a leap of faith there that Regina is trustworthy.

Sea DeVil

  • The two bond over their joy at seeing Maleficent back alive and in action against the Charmings.

Cruella DaVid

  • Welcome, new ship! cruella DaVidRight now, this ship largely consists of some tasty comments by Cruella concerning David’s good-looks. But shippers have worked with less.
  • In an Enchanted Forest flashback, Cruella quips after Charming proves a bit obtuse, “If only your wits matched your looks.”
  • When David pulls Cruella over to search her car, she rolls down her window with a “What can I do for you, Sheriff Chisel Chin?”

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Once Upon a Time “Unforgiven” Previews and Predictions

Coming Tonight: Once Upon a Time 4×13

CAUTION: spoilage, peeking, and speculation

“Unforgiven”David and Mary Margaret suspect Cruella and Ursula have come to Storybrooke looking for something more than their own happy endings – something that threatens to reveal a secret they thought was long buried. Emma begins her own investigation of Cruella and Ursula, but she can’t shake the feeling that her friends and family are keeping something from her. Regina and Henry continue their search for the Author, turning to Pinocchio and Marco in the hope Pinocchio might remember a clue that will help them. Meanwhile, in a flashback to Fairy Tale Land, Snow and Charming cross paths with the Queens of Darkness as the threat of the Evil Queen’s Dark Curse hangs over all of them, written by Andrew Chambliss and Kalinda Vazquez and directed by Adam Horowitz.

Here’s the ABC promo that aired after “Darkness on the Edge of Town”:

Once again we got four sneak peeks of the upcoming episode. This will taper off in an episode or two like it did last fall, but it’s fun while it lasts. In the first, David and Mary Margaret discuss the implications of illegal search and seisure.

In the Enchanted Forest of the Past, Snow and Charming return to the castle to find everyone asleep on on the job.

Hook brings Emma lunch hot off the grill and Emma grills Hook.

Maleficent looms over a baby and teases a terrible truth. It’s her thing.

Producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis teased that two big secrets would be revealed in this episode. From the sneak peeks, we can be pretty sure they have to do with whatever the Charmings did to Maleficent and the secret about Ursula that Kilian’s keeping from Emma.

I’ll take an educated guess based on Ursula’s raison d’être in The Little Mermaid. Hook made a deal with Ursula whose subject was Milah, Rumplestiltskin’s wife. It won’t make his past much darker, but it will increase the enmity between our favorite nemeses.

For the Charming mystery I’ll just shoot an arrow in the dark. I imagine they tricked the stone in her staff away from her to use against Regina or the dark curse, perhaps even for the scheme to protect baby Emma. At the very least it helps explain the crystal globe’s inconsistent appearance in flashbacks. Again, it’s not an action so terrible or unjustifiable that it ruins them as heroic characters. But it’s bad. And, especially if it could have protected the Queens of Darkness in a similar way, it creates a reasonable enmity.

They’ve also continued a a useful visual technique from the first half of the season. With Snow White in particular, clothing is color coded. Check it out.

Here she is plotting to get rid of some bad, but maybe not as bad as her, elements.

4x13 Bad Snow

And here she is in mom mode, wanting nothing more than to protect her child.

4x13 Good Snow

What we really want to explore is if you’ve done a bad thing, can you come back from it? Can you become the person you want to be even if you didn’t start out that way? And vice versa? What makes a hero and what makes a villain is a point of view. – Kitsis


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Early Observations about “Darkness On the Edge of Town”

Welcome back, Once Upon a Time! We’ve missed you.

Michael’s “Always… no, no… never… forget to check your references.”

“Darkness On the Edge of Town” – Bruce Springsteen (from 1978’s Darkness On the Edge of Town)

Everybody’s got a secret… something that they just can’t face.


4x12 Chernabog

Chernabog! From Bald Mountain, folks!


When confronted with the intrusions of Ursula and Cruella, Maleficent remarks, “And you know what I do with trespassers.” We’re assuming she isn’t suggesting she’ll fall deeply in love with these two.

101 Dalmatians

Once has come up with a really clever use of the green smoke that followed her original template around throughout the film. It was only teased at the end the last arc, but it’s definitely her power signature.


Cruella and Ursula get their fast food on at Mr Cluck’s Chicken Shack:


Rumplestiltskin’s bringing “the good news” to the Queens of Darkness. The first time seemed like a bit of a gag, but later he remarks that he’s “the answer to [their] prayers.” And Cruella hangs a bell on it when she says she’s not the religious type. It’s a sly inversion that ties into…

Paradise Lost

‘Cause here’s Rumple talking like a prophet while planning to corrupt the savior. And that theme is recapitulated in Chernabog’s selection of Emma as the individual with the greatest potential for darkness over Regina. The whole arc is gonna rock the evil from good/good from evil angle.

 Once Upon a Time 4×10 “Shattered Sight”

The scroll Ingrid used to enter Storybrooke in 2001 reappears as a useful method of getting people into, or back into, town.

Ingrid's Scroll

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

Captain Swan

  • cskisscoffeeDuring the hiatus, apparently this couple got comfortable. The first indication of this is Hook’s coffee and kiss waiting for Swan as she stops by the library on her way to the sheriff’s office. Both are smiling. They appear genuinely happy and in love. It’s adorable. They’re doomed.
  • During the ceremony to let the fairies out of the hat, Hook and Swan are holding hands and looking to each other for comfort. It’s all very sweet. Seriously, doomed.
  • Emma finds Hook in the back hallway of Granny’s, thinking. “Lurking and brooding. That’s a classic combination.” Also totally something she digs in men, this, exactly this, is her potential for darkness writ large.
  • She exhorts him to go party. “We should buckle some swash, or, you know, whatever.”
  • cpceremonyHe’s struggling with his involvement in trapping the fairies in the first place, having difficulty forgiving himself now that they’re freed again, because it was a choice of his, just a really, really bad one. And one he’s now got to live with. Emma, however, attempts to absolve him of his guild. “Trust me, this is a mark in the hero’s column.”
  • At the end of the episode, Hook and Swan sit at Granny’s having a nice little dinner and looking just tickled pink to be in each other’s presence. Incoming doom in 3, 2, 1…cpdinner

Swan Queen

  • For all the surface level lovey-dovey goo-goo we got in the shared moments between Hook and Swan, we got just as much intense, magic-infused life-saving between Regina and Swan.
  • Swan brings Regina root beer thinking she could use a break. Is this the counter-point to the coffee moment from earlier?
  • Swan finds the Robin/Regina picture. Regina opens up to her about it, saying Robin said it was “hope.”
  • The two share shoulder touches, use their magic together again against the chernabog.
  • reginalookThinking Regina is the target of the chernabog, the two pile into the VW bug and head to the edge of town. Although Regina complains about the car’s color and coffin on wheels nature, we all know what she was really saying: “I love you. I love you. I love you.” Regina poofs herself out of the car declaring she won’t let the both die and places herself as the bait before the magical town border. Emma speeds up and then steps on the breaks, throwing the chernabog over the city line and into non-magical oblivion. And then there’s a brilliant shared moment where the two appreciate the other’s part in saving her life.


  • Unfortunately, I knew Rumple was our “linguist” as soon as he got mail. I wonder how much he was peppering his behind-the-scenes email to Belle with invisible little I-love-yous and I’m-sorrys. Fanfic writers–GO TO!
  • Belle hoped Rumple found what he was looking for, even after all the hurt he’s caused her.
  • Rumple insinuates that Belle is the happy ending he wants. Man, too bad he didn’t realize that before she kicked him out of town.

 Captain Beauty (I prefer Captain Librarian)

  • Although Belle and Hook have never been copacetic in the past, post-hiatus they seem to have grown to care some about each other now that they share a particular kind of experience: having Rumple get the best of them. Belle attempts to assuage Hook’s guilt over the trapping of the fairies and Hook likewise tries to minimize Belle’s pain over Rumple’s betrayal. Hook makes a particularly interesting comment when he says, “Love is a weapon.” A repetition of Rumple’s statement from way back.

Sea DeVil

  • Ursula, on the phone with Regina, referring to Cruella: “We’re back together.” Yes, those implications are pretty clear.