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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.”

Lily

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.

Lost

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

Scooby-Doo

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.

Maleficent

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.

banner

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.”

reginasmilesatmal

Rumpbelle

  • 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.

http://www.bartleby.com/6/76.html

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.

Plato2

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.

Rumpbelle

  • 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.

Snowing

  • 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


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Early Observations about “Poor Unfortunate Soul”

The Little Mermaid gets a big role, but Ariel only gets a cameo. Fans get serviced. And it’s not the size of the ship, it’s the portal under the sea.

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

The Little Mermaid

“Poor Unfortunate Souls”

The episode title is pulled from the soundtrack of The Little Mermaid and while it’s not as popular as “Under the Sea,” it’s denser and more integral to the story. It’s also, appropriately, Ursula’s solo.

The film itself gets a title drop when Ursula confron4x15 Ursula's Charmsts Poseidon.

Ursula: All you ever wanted was for me to be your little mermaid.

And their argument culminates in the same ultimatum from father to daughter as Ariel and Triton’s.

Triton: As long as you live under my ocean, you’ll obey my rules!
Poseidon: As long as you live in my ocean, you will live by my rules.

Ursula in present day Storybrooke is wearing a number of charms on chains around her neck, reminiscent of the shell her animated counterpart used to trap her voice. Here Poseidon creates it and recruits hook to steal Ursula’s voice.

4x14 Triton's Shell

…which is exactly like Ariel’s in The Little Mermaid, because this episode is awesome. At least the ascending vocalization she’s using to lure pirate ships.

She also sings “Fathoms Below,” the first song heard in the animated film.

Ariel herself shows up and saves hook from drowning, much like she did for Eric. And Snow White. It’s kind of what she does.

Ursula’s voice is captured, and returned, with similar graphics and in the same way Ariel’s was in the animated film. It’s also quite similar to how Maleficent’s spark returned to her last episode.

Ariel's Voice

In a similar vein, young Ursula’s costuming is similar to Ariel’s, though with different colors, sort of matching her Vanessa form, but more in keeping with how we’ve seen her on the show.

GlowerhavenAnd finally, Ursula wants to go to Glauerhaven, where her mother loved to sing. It’s not just some random word chosen to be similar to Misthaven, Arendelle’s name for the Enchanted Forest. Grimsby wanted Eric to settle down with their princess.

Frozen

The Jolly Roger was in its diminutive state because Blackbeard had ran afoul of the Nobles of Arendelle.

Hook: Elsa did this?

Ghostbusters

Ernie Hudson, who played Winston Zeddmore in the immortal classic, portrays Ursula’s father, self professed diety Poseidon. Which is terrible funny when you consider this line:

One Hundred and One Dalmatians

Right at the end, there was a well crafted Cruella PoV shot from inside the Panther De Ville that recalled the shaky shots from the animated classic. That they take the time to work those little details in is worth noting.

The movie got nods in a couple lines as well.

Regina (to Cruella): Please, I was torturing people back when you were still playing with puppies.

and

Gold: Cruella will be our guard dog.

Lord of the Flies

4x15 Conch

Hook uses a conch shell to call Ursula, demanding an opportunity to speak. This is actually pretty cool, since it’s a subtle callback to Neverland where there were oh so many Lord of the Flies references. And their history is Neverland adjacent, taking place during the period Hook was working for Peter Pan.

Bonus Pun: Smee: Pan will never notice if a few cakes are missing.

Lost:

Regina sends the Smoke Monster to possess Mary Margaret so she can communicate to Emma and the Charming gang.

Pinocchio

4x14 Pinocchio's Nose

Paradise Lost

Hook: Where is that infernal creature?

Infernal’s an uncommon word that appears fairly frequently in the poem. But the context is perhaps more interesting. Hook offers Ursula an alternative to Gold’s plan, risking himself for the others. While it doesn’t initially work, he persists in trying to rectify his errors and ultimately brings Ursula and Poseidon back together. Everyone involved is simply trying to make what was wrong right and good is brought forth from evil.

Once Upon a Time

4x15 Page 23

Regina’s dream sequence is a reminder about Page 23 and a longing for the happiness depicted therein. It was found in 4×08 “Smash the Mirror,” destroyed in 4×11 “Heroes and Villains,” and Emma discovered it in 4×12 “Darkness on the Edge of Town.”

Ariel and Regina

3×06 “Ariel”

Beyond her timely cameo, and the more or less satisfactory explanation about the sea goddess Ursula vis-à-vis Merrin Dungey’s character, there’s some real follow through with this callback. After the title card, “Ariel” moves right into Regina teaching Emma magic in Neverland with the exhausted and distraught Charmings looking on.

Charming: This is a bad idea.
Snow: She has it in her; she should learn to use it. We just have to trust her.

Trusting her is exactly what they’re not doing these days. And she’s in full control of her magic, having teamed up with Regina to stop Chernabog and destroying August’s bonds in this episode.

It’s also the episode where Hook revealed that kissing Emma gave him hope for happiness again. The happy ending he revealed Emma to be at the end of “Poor Unfortunate Soul.”

Incidentally, Ursula’s bracelet performs the opposite function of the one in “Ariel.”

4×04 “The Apprentice”

4x04 Love is a Weapon

Love is apparently a lot of things on Once Upon a Time. In “The Apprentice,” Rumpelstiltskin called it a weapon. He used it as one last episode, with Belle, just as she used it against him at the end of 4A.

It turns out you can weaponize anything, if that’s your intent. Sort of like how every problem looks like a nail if your only tool’s a hammer. In this case, Ursula’s voice, which is itself kind of a manifestation of her love for her mother, is weaponized by Poseidon.

2×18 Selfless, Brave, and True

August reveals that the Dragon was looking for the Author. He also gets turned back into wood with a potion that can reverse any spell the fairies cast.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Finally! Hook mentioned that Will spent more time in Wonderland than anyone he knew. And Will hooked him up with a distillate of Wonderland’s finest mushrooms to restore the Jolly Roger to its original size,

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

Captain Swan

  • Much of the Captain Swan love in this episode revolved around what Hook was willing to do and own up to in order to assist Emma’s heroic attempts to thwart Gold’s plans. One of the things it meant was facing Ursula and the wrong he had done her in the past–betraying her trust, breaking his code, destroying her happiness, and turning her into a villain. There are two scenes that especially deal with the Hook of then, the villain, and the Hook of now, ostensibly a good guy.
  • The first is between Emma and her parents, where they very quickly discuss whether Hook has “turned” Ursula or vice versa. Emma defends the very notion of Hook being “dark” by empathizing with wanting to shove the dagger in Gold’s heart. Her parents are taken aback–Snow: “That’s not you, Emma.” Emma: “That’s not Hook either.”
  • The second scene is the real swooner and it comes near the end, after Hook has reunited Ursula and Daddy Poseidon as well as Ursula and her happy ending. Ursula’s villainy comes to an end, but Hook is concerned that Regina’s theory about happy endings might be true and that he might be marked with a V rather than an H. In this concern, Emma realizes that if he’s worried about loosing his happy ending, that means he’s found it, and in true doltish but romantic fashion, Emma asks The-Pirate-Who-Traded-His-Ship-For-Her what his happy ending is. “Don’t you know, Emma? It’s you.” She is obviously touched, with tears welling in her eyes, and they share a very sweet kiss.
  • Regarding whether Hook is on the precipice of losing his happy ending as a marked Villain. This is clearly some heavy foreshadowing, but I’ve been on to the writers since 4B started and they overdid the lovey-dovey happiness between these two. It spelled DOOM. And we got the particular spelling of that doom via Ursula who revealed that the endgame was to fill Emma’s heart with darkness. But on the other hand, Ariel’s cameo not only saved Hook’s life and name-dropped Elsa, it also gave the perspective that perhaps the villains weren’t getting their happy endings because they were going about it the wrong way. So, for instance, Ursula teaming up with Cruella, Malificent, and Gold to force the Author into rewriting their endings=wrong way. But Hook giving Poseidon the shell allowing Poseidon to return her singing voice and also allowing Ursula to forgive her father=right way. Hook seems to be learning the “code” of the Book in this episode. “By taking a page out of your book, Swan. I’m going to return her happy ending.”

Wooden Swan (Emma/August)

  • Reunited! Oh, and the concern by Emma and the knowing grins by August! Emma: “It’s good to have you back. Even if it’s not the way it was supposed to be. I’m glad I didn’t have to wait 20 years for you to be you again.”

Outlaw Queen

  • Well, of course it was a dream. Fan service like that just doesn’t come in normal, reality-based packages. With the exception, perhaps, of the recreation of the ballroom dance between Belle and Rumple. But it was brilliant, that joy at finding each other, the kiss that followed. Too bad that Evil Queen Regina interrupted the works with her fireball. It would seem that Regina feared losing Robin if she lost her newly found goodness, but that’s not how she interprets things later to Emma. Regina thinks Evil Queen was trying to protect Robin.

Swan Queen

  • Regina confides in Emma her dream about Robin. Emma thinks it represents the battle between good and evil within Regina and Regina’s fear about losing the good. But that’s not what’s important–the intimacy between these two opened a door for this sharing. A sharing that was Regina’s priority when arriving at the apartment.

Scarlet Beauty

  • Will and Belle got a cute little moment when Hook goes to re-size his ship. Belle questions whether Hook is really Hook and Ursula mentions how “lover boy here” would already be dead if Hook were really Gold.
  • You know, Will may be “the thief” but he seems straightforward with Belle, and that’s something she has lacked with Rumple.

Rumpbelle

  • See the above “lover boy” comment by Ursula, since it also applies here. Actually, most of the moments concerning Belle and Rumple were more anti-ship moments than supportive of their couple status. I didn’t initially want to include them.
  • When the Charmings Team inform Belle that Rumple is in town and ask where the dagger is, the truth comes out that she was completely duped by Rumple. As always? She bemoans whether she’ll ever be free of his deceptions.


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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.

Rumpbelle

  • 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 “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.

Fantasia

4x12 Chernabog

Chernabog! From Bald Mountain, folks!

Maleficent

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.

Lost

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

Gospel???

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.

Rumpbelle

  • 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.


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Early Observations About “Fall”

The musical numbers in Frozen are Once canon! Kristoff and Anna fight back to back like John Crichton and Aeryn Sun. And Emma wonders what lip gloss Killian was wearing.

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

Frozen

Gerda and Adgar’s Sangwrecked ship was in the title sequence.

Anna: And I sang with you. (“Love is an Open Door“)

Pirates are better than wizards. Made me think of “Reindeers are Better than People.” And gave me some hope for the doomed Captain Killian Jones…

“Anna can save everyone!” Elsa had just the right amount of naive enthusiasm.  She did it in Frozen.  She can do it in Once.

There’s a line from “Fixer Upper” that pretty much encompasses Elsa’s actions (and Rumple’s and Regina’s and Snow’s… you get the idea): “People make bad choices if they’re mad or scared or stressed.” The line that follows is, “But throw a little love their way, and you’ll bring out their best.”  So I’m still counting on that being the solution.

The Goonies

The underground caves or mines or whatever ultimately open up onto the beach and wishes come true.

Hook

The Boo Box! Red coated Blackbeard just happens to have a trunk for stuffing folks in.  On the Jolly Roger. That he calls for.  Even the rounded top is reminiscent.

The Snow Queen”

The spell of Shattered Sight is the portion of the plot lifted almost unchanged from Hans Christian Andersen. It’s more melodramatic, as befits both network television and especially Once, but the principle and the origin, a mirror, are the same.

Pinocchio

The Wishing Star, or “When You Wish Upon a Star,” weirdly implicating Ruel Ghorm in all this.

Like I careThe Wizard of Oz

Regina: It’ll be sundown before you munchkins can finish.

Leroy: Dwarves, sister.

Regina: Like I care.

Paradise Lost

The title itself, “Fall,” is a reference to the epic poem, about the condemnation of the rebel angels. “And out of good still to find means of evil.”

Duck Talesbackstroke

“You rolled around in gold bars? Weird. And, ouch.”

Rebel Without a Cause

Ingrid: “They will tear themselves apart until everyone is dead.”

Regina: “By sundown, everyone in this town will start tearing each other apart.”

James Dean:

I mean, one character tells us in her scene. Then the other in hers immediately following…

“7”LS

Tenuous at best, this revolutionary classic from 1992 deserves a shout out simply because seven characters literally watch, with binoculars, the eponymous fall roll in on a sparkly cloud. Can I claim the sand of the sea and love through space and time as well?

Once Upon a Time

The big one this week was the callback to 4×02 “White Out,” as David reunites with his bro Kristoff and the bond over their shorn locks and “Joan” comes clean about her codename.

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

Kristanna

  • Back in Arendelle, Anna, Kristoff, Hans, and the rest of the kingdom unfreeze. Hans and Franz and bros. come to take the kingdom, as they do, and attempt to arrest Anna and Kristoff. Kristoff pulls a diversionary tactic of giving up to pull two of the brothers in close so that Kristoff and Anna can smack one upside the head with an climber’s pick and steal a sword respectively, ending up back-to-back with the upper hand. It’s pretty great.
  • After being led into another trap by Hans with the help of Blackbeard (who now owns the Jolly Roger!), Kristoff and Anna are tied up, put in a trunk, and thrown into the sea at the exact spot Anna’s and Elsa’s parents were lost at sea. Anna, in desperation as the water rises in the trunk, attempts to say her marriage vows so that she can at least die married to Kristoff. Kristoff, wanting to keep her motivation to survive intact, says they can get married if they survive. But he does tell her he loves her.

Kristoff: You don’t get to marry me unless we survive. Okay? So just keep your chin up and breathe.

Outlaw Queen

  • Regina goes to tell Robin to scatter the Merry Men because with all of their weapons, they’ll kill each other when the curse hits. She stares at him–“I’m just trying to memorize you like this”–fearing that when the curse hits, he will hate and fear her just like everyone else does. He refutes her claim, saying, “This is real. This is true.”outlawqueen409kiss
  • After Regina seals Henry in the Mayor’s Office for his protection, she turns around to find Robin behind her. He wanted to see her again and offer to come with her now that Roland and Marian are safely away from him. He has faith the shattered sight won’t change how he sees her, that he is not afraid of her. She responds, “You should be.” She rushes to her vault to seal herself away from everyone else.

Captain Swan

  • Hook plays the villain in this episode, though not by choice. The dramatic irony of him hiding behind the counter as Emma, Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff show up to assist in a speedy counter-curse potion after he has just Magic Hat Hoovered the fairies is heartbreaking.
  • Afterwards, everyone meets up at the Sheriff’s Office. Hook comes by to have a “word” with Emma. I had hoped he’d tell her some of the truth, but, really, what good would that do anyone at that moment. Instead, he just wants one last look at her. Emma says she doesn’t do good-bye kisses–“well, maybe just this once.” This good-bye kiss has the added depth of one knowing he’s going to die when this is all over, no matter how it comes out. captainswan409oncecaptainswan409goodbye
  • Post-kiss, Emma touches two fingers to her lips as a way to remember his taste OR because she recognizes something is wrong. Perhaps missing your heart tastes like Cherry Cola Lip Smackers. Alternatively, he had magic dust on his lips from the Fairy Vacuum Massacre and it tastes like Lip Smackers. But being the savior, she can’t be distracted by that now.emmalips

Snowing

  • The Charmings lock themselves in separate cells in the Sheriff’s Office. (I didn’t know there were two cells.) They give Neal to Emma for care. It’s all very sad-making, but not nearly as much as when the Shattered Sight reaches them and all love drains from their eyes and faces when they look at each other. They stand in for what might happen to the other couples if they look upon each other with the curse. Thanks for taking one for the team, guys, now we’re all properly fearful for Outlaw Queen and Captain Swan.

Rumpbelle

  • Rumpelstiltskin’s antics to maintain both his powers and Belle and Belle being pretty obnoxiously naive about the whole thing is making this ship sink. But, if you still have the faith, he does offer this little gem: “I’ll be back soon and then we’re gonna be together. I promise.”


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Early Observations About “Smash the Mirror”

There’s something for everyone.  There are games and rock operas.  And Outlaw Queen shippers activate chakras.

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

The Who’s Tommy “Smash the Mirror”

You don’t answer my call
With even a nod or a wink
But you gaze at your own reflection, all that
You don’t seem to see me
But I think you can see yourself
How does the mirror affect you?

Can you hear me
Or do I surmise?
That you fear me
Can you feel my temper
Rise, rise, rise, rise, rise, rise
Rise, rise, rise, rise, rise, rise

Do you see or hear or
Do I smash the mirror?
Do you hear of fear or
Do I smash the mirror?

Star Wars

SWA

Frozen

“For the First Time in Forever” Chocolates

I wanna stuff some chocolate in my face

Elsa orders a coronation worthy dessert table to welcome her sister home.

“Let it go!”

While they reconnoiter the dusty room in the East Wing, we’re reminded that the past, well, “It’s in the past.”

Anna’s manacles attached to the floor in the dungeon are similar to the ones that held Elsa in Frozen, though they don’t entirely enclose her hands.

Gloves

Speaking of hands…

Elsa’s wearing her gloves from the movie, and they’re Ingrid’s from last episode.  The gloves haven’t been part of the Arendelle scenes before, but they feature in Storybrooke in the deleted scene ABC released; so their prominence makes a little more sense in that context.

LiG sub

While Anna and Elsa are sneaking around, plotting to trap the Snow Queen, the elder sister halts in reverie before the painting of their parents. The music that plays in the background draws heavily from “Let it Go.” Knowing what she now knows about their intentions in Misthaven, Elsa has to come to terms with that.  The music is a nice touch.

After Anna’s captured Elsa in the urn, she snaps out of her trolden funk with a classic, “Wait… What?

And at the end Emma creates an Aurora…

The Magic Kingdom

…that morphs into fireworks.

fireworks

Enchanted

A DEnchantedisney-esque princess travels through a portal from fairyland into the big city.

Both Ingrid and Giselle enter in full fancy dress.

 

 

Tron

It’s 1982, and this foam rubber and computer animated classic is in the theaters.  Hopefully Ingrid chose to chill with one of the most fascinating movies of the decade before setting up her foster home.

Kingdom HeartsKingdom Hearts

Okay, I suppose I have to admit that this might be a bit of a stretch.

There’s plenty of portal fiction to draw from with homeless doors sitting in lonely landscapes.  The Dark Tower and The Chronicles of Narnia both come easily to mind.

But the darkness of the cave and the absurdity of the door’s colors and patterns, despite being kind of Arenedellian seem like an intentional and intentionally cartoony reference.  And the conceit of the game, a mash up of all the company’s trademarks adventuring together really makes it seem like this is what they were pointing to.

 

 

Fantasia

Every instance of the hat technically counts, but we got a very good look at the colors going on inside it and stretching out from it.  I gotta say it looks a lot like some of the frames from “Night On Bald Mountain.”  I wonder if we’ll see Chernabog.

Bald Mt

BackCat Hat in our post about “Family Business,” I made a quip about the cat with the hat, referring to Rumple.  I even wondered if something like, “A lot of good tricks. / I will show them to you. / Your mother / Will not mind at all if I do.” could be teased out, but it felt like I was going to far. But, but, but:

“My tricks are not bad,” said The Cat in the Hat.

Paradise Lost

One of the Charming parents is in dark grey at all times now.  And they keep letting their judgement be clouded by rationalization and negativity.

This evil from good theme is so deeply interwoven by now that it’s getting difficult to tease out individual threads.  Mary Margaret blurred the line between grace and indecency during her pep talk with Regina.  Robin’s code is nowhere to be found.  Henry ended up injured for trying to help.  Rumple’s using an artifact that was only attainable via an act of goodwill for the most dire of purposes.  Hook’s love for Emma has been subverted.  And the Arendelle parallel was the perversion of Anna’s (apparently not so) indomitable optimism.

Marvel Comics

Regina and Henry read Wolverine and Hulk comics while they avoid talking about Emma.

Once Upon a Time

Henry was first seen reading Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk in 1×09 “True North

Page XXIII of (which might also be a Lost reference) of the Once Upon a Time book depicts the scene from 3×03 “Quite a Common Fairy” where Regina walks away from true love.

The shard of mirror Ingrid uses to cast Shattered Sight on Anna is exactly the same shape as the piece she was missing in 4×05 “Breaking Glass

Shattered Sight 2

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Will: “She’s really something, all right. If evil queens are your type.  Which I get.”

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

Outlaw Queen

This is the best Outlaw Queen episode ever.

  • outlawqueensmoochRegina’s getting her shoes on. Robin walks in half dressed. Robin: “That was the best…sleep…I’ve had in a very long time. How would you like to come back to my camp and let me cook you breakfast?” She remains all dour about their chances to find a happy ending. He finally makes her smile. Robin: “There’s that satisfying but elusive smile I think about every time I close my eyes.” Regina: “I should have listened to that stupid fairy.”
  • She shows the book to Robin, a sign of trust. Her admittance of failure a sign of vulnerability. They do it again on outlaw logic.
  • Robin goes to Will for help. Will’s answer: Under the magical clocktower? “A libe’ry.” Wherein Robin magically finds alternate page XXIII in his satchel, depicting the meeting that Tinkerbell attempted to make happen but that Regina walked away from.
  • Robin shows her the new page and she starts to believe what Mary Margaret said, that she just has to believe grace is there for her if she makes good decisions rather than evil ones. Robin: “I take it as a sign. Hope.”

altpagexxiii

Captain Swan

I can’t help but be a little perturbed that Robin and Regina got to have the sex (twice!) before Hook and Emma even got to second base.

  • Hook spends much of the first part of the episode looking very, very worried. Until, of course, he realizes that she’s going to use the hat, and has “trusted the crocodile.” Nice moment: he calls himself Killian on her voice mail.
  • hookpainHook, desperate to save Emma, finally comes clean on her voice mail. “I wanted to be a better man for you, Swan. But I failed… I hope you never forgive because that means you’ll have got this in time to save yourself.”
  • Gold: “Don’t worry. You’ll get over her. Just like you did Mila. That only took how many centuries?”
  • Hook gets his heart ripped out by Rumple. Afterwards, he runs in to find Emma, the look of concern and the knowledge of his own corruption and demise all over his face and actions. Emma, being the lukewarm fish she is, pulls away from his kiss. Emma: “Easy tiger, we’ve got company. I didn’t realize you were such a fan of my magic.” Hook: “Why would you say that, Swan? I’m a fan of every part of you.” Emma: “If you look at me any harder, you’re going to drill a hole in my head.”
  • Unfortunately, no one is ever going to notice that Hook has his heart ripped out, because it becomes ever clearer that there is a love imbalance in the Captain Swan pairing. Hook has far more attention and care for Emma than vice versa. For instance, after Hook and Emma are reunited at the end of the episode, she fails to notice that he doesn’t leave the house with them to be together and enjoy the fireworks. The least the writers could have to done was tag it with some line about him needing to use the “head” or something.

Emma/Elsa = Ice Swan?double-swans

Ingrid: “They really are quite wonderful together…”

  • Elsa saves Emma from giving up her powers, being the one who understands her and is willing to risk her life to save her. Their hands touching make the “true love’s kiss” light show and cures Emma of her overclocked power. There are fireworks.

elsaemmalightshow