ME: But the thing I love about Rumple is that at the end of the day, his whole plan is to get his son back. He's a father looking for his little boy. What wouldn't a parent do to get their child back?
FRIEND: Not rip holes in the fabric of the universe.
ME: Really? What about Snow and Charming? They put Emma in a magic tree; but what if she was taken from them, or they lost her through their own selfish act, like Rumple and Bae?
FRIEND: Snow and Charming would never tear a world apart to find their daughter.
ME: Well...then what does that say about them as parents?
This conversation never seemed more appropriate than after this weeks episode, "Best Laid Plans." I must admit that this episode shocked me. Good shock or bad shock? Don't know yet. But what does stick out is that the flashbacks, in particular, really fit with one of the most repeated themes on this show, parents doing whatever they must to give their child their best chance and damn the consequences. It's not something we've heard uttered in awhile, but that motif has always lurked around ONCE since the pilot. Snow and Charming giving up Emma; Emma giving up Henry; and even in his own twisted, selfish way, Rumple becoming the Dark One for Bae (and of course, even more twisted than this are Cora/Regina and Malcolm/Rumple). The question I'm supposed to be asking now, at the end of this episode, is are Snow White and Prince Charming really heroes? And did they do the right thing? Grab your magical unicorn horn (Plot Device #235621) and let's go!
"She turned into a heinous dragon and laid an egg." Ladies and gentleman, Once Upon A Time. This episode was designed to get me to question, honestly and sincerely, how I feel about the Charmings. I have a serious issue with the idea that in order to redeem a villain or make them sympathetic, you first have to lower the heroes to the level of the villains and make them the impetus for the villains actions. Snow White and Prince Charming stole a baby dragon egg (that had a human inside....that was confusing and creepy) and emptied their daughter's darkness into it because they couldn't possibly have a daughter with darkness and who has the potential to be evil. Does this feel in line with the characters of season one? I honestly don't know. Snow (and yes, I am going to talk mostly of her because Charming has always been her sidekick and never anything more substantial) was the one who pushed David to put Emma in the wardrobe because they had to give Emma her best chance. But Snow's also the one who felt guilty over what she "did" to Regina (she was 10!) and also knew the burden of leadership passed on from her mother and knew that she had to be brave and kind and not selfish--like saving her mother, Queen Eva, would have been because it would have cost another life in return. This is the same Snow who only banished Regina once they retook the kingdom; when offered the chance to execute the former Queen, Snow decided that it wasn't the right way and preferred "peace." So how do I reconcile these very different Snow White's? I guess I don't, but neither do Adam and Eddy. On the one hand, Snow going to extraordinary lengths to protect her daughter seems to fit; but I also don't see Snow truly believing that her daughter was doomed to darkness--that there was no choice on the daughter's part in the matter. Snow doesn't once stop to think about how her daughter has a choice in her darkness and that it's Snow's job to help guide her child down the right and light path, something that does feel out of character. The hardest part here is knowing that some poor innocent baby suffered because of the Charmings. Who knows what sort of future--happy, sad, normal--that baby could have had if the Charming's hadn't interfered. The heroes are now responsible for multiple villains suffering; in Regina's case it's a perceived slight (no one will ever convince me that Snow did something *super horrible* to Young! Regina) but in Mal's case, it's an honest to heaven evil act. Maleficent pain was palpable and I did feel very bad for her. Who are the heroes and who are the villains? Isn't that the overarching theme of this season and arc--that the lines between those two seemingly black and white dichotomies are anything but?
I'll save all the Author talk for the present day so let's move on to Storybrooke where everyone ran in circles like little chickens and there was a whole lot of "WTF" going on.
I Was Right?
--I never really answered the question about if I liked this episode or not, did I? I don't know. I think it's going to rank fairly high for this arc, but for the season and series? I'm not so sure. There was a lot of character disappointment but at the same time, we did met the Author! That's kind of big--even if also a let down. Oh, ONCE. You make me so conflicted.
--Alright, let's do it. Rumple. So the speech Rumple gave to the sleeping Belle (poor Emilie de Ravin. You poor soul) was interesting. Well, interesting in that I think it solidifies that Rumple is going to die. Let's look at part of the speech, "And I have racked up so much debt I can never be clear of it…unless I find a way to change the rules. But now… [his hand on his heart] here’s the hard truth. Something else is changing. So, if I’m gonna change the rules, I’m gonna have to do so quickly." Guys, he's going to die. The clutching of the heart gives it away. There is something wrong with Rumple and he knows it. He knows that if he doesn't change the rules soon, his life is over. How when he's immortal? Dunno. The writers will do a thing; they always do a thing. Be free, Bobby. Be free.
--Snow whispers to Charming about keeping secrets from Emma while she is right there and Emma doesn't hear? Really?
--Bad dragon CGI strikes again!
--An entire conversation about missing children and Rumple doesn't bring up Bae at all. Keep trying, writers. I am not going to forget him no matter how much effort you put into it.
--You can cast a sleeping spell over an entire town? Or was it a sleeping curse? How did everyone wake up? And Henry WAS put under a sleeping curse/spell back in Season 2!
--I do like Snow's forest outfit and Emma's new red coat.
--Hook...back the heck off. Emma is allowed to have a male friend. (twitch)
--August was the rare exception to Emma not being able to make friends. Who is Neal again?