once upon a time

once-upon-a-time-changelings

Refusing to lose another child, Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) threatens to speed-up Belle‘s (Emilie de Ravin) pregnancy while ordering the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) to kill Zelena (Rebecca Mader). Neither plan works out in his favor as Regina steps in to save her sister, and the Evil Queen’s decision to force a reluctant Gold’s hands means the Dark One watches as his newborn son is lost to him… at least for now. Babies play a major role in the flashbacks to the Enchanted Forrest as well, as time in Rumpelstiltskin’s castle reveals a bit more about the Dark One’s past including introducing his mother (Jaime Murray) which helps explain the character’s hatred of fairies. If the larger plan is to turn Rumpelstiltskin into a full villain once again, the groundwork is laid here by isolating him completely from family and friends and giving him a quest (finding his son) he will stop at nothing to achieve.

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once-upon-a-time-ill-be-your-mirror

Following the curse, Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and David (Josh Dallas) settle into a new routine with only one of the awake at a time. Meanwhile, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Regina‘s plan to trap the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) in the mirror world backfires leaving them on the other side of the mirror and Henry (Jared Gilmore) alone with the Queen. Thankfully for all involved, Henry is able to quickly recognize the Queen for who she is and give his mothers the opportunity they need to escape.

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once-upon-a-time-heartless

With “Heartless” Once Upon a Time falls back on an old reliable (albeit with a twist). Threatening to expose Storybrooke to the destructive waters of the River of Lost Souls, Evil Queen‘s (Lana Parrilla) gives Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and David (Josh Dallas) just 12 hours to voluntarily turn over the one thing she craves more than in all the world – Snow White’s heart. Offering a feint hope which is dashed by the villain, the episode does allow for a flashback between David and Snow revealing they actually met far earlier than either remembered. As for the Queen’s revenge, it takes the usual course of a sleeping curse but with a Ladyhawke-like twist as in cursing the heart which they both share she may have finally found a way to keep Snow and Charming separated (at least for now).

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once-upon-a-time-dark-waters-1

While the Aladdin (Deniz Akdeniz) storyline gets pushed to one of the episode’s subplots, “Dark Waters” picks up a thread of Hook’s (Colin O’Donoghue) past as the pirate confronts the appearance of Captain Nemo (Faran Tahir) and the Nautilus in both the present and in flashbacks. Tying in the theme of the Evil Queen‘s (Lana Parrilla) attempts to sow dissension among the heroes, the villain reveals Hook’s refusal to destroy the shears to Henry. Bringing the kid’s resentment to the pirate’s growing role in his family, the pair eventually come to an understanding as Henry helps Hook deal with one of his biggest regrets which has coming calling.

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once-upon-a-time-street-rats

Once the Oracle turns up dead Jasmine (Karen David) is forced to reveal herself to Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and her family beginning a search for Aladdin (Deniz Akdeniz) and revealing the secret Emma has been keeping concerning her visions of the future. While the heroes of Storybrooke search for the lost Savior in the present the episode offers us flashbacks to Aladdin’s first meeting with Jasmine, their journey to the Cave of Wonders, and Aladdin’s first step on the road to becoming the Savior of Agrabah. Although Aladdin is eventually found, his method for avoiding the fate of all Saviors isn’t one Emma wants any part of if it would lead to Storybrooke facing the same fate of Aladdin and Jasmine’s home.

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once-upon-a-time-strange-case

Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Henry (Jared Gilmore) return to school as Once Upon a Time concludes the Dr. Jekyll (Hank Harris) and Mr. Hyde (Sam Witwer) storyline and teases the start of Aladdin by introducing Galavant‘s Karen David as Snow’s new teaching assistant (who just so happens to also be Disney Princess). I’m not surprised by how Hyde and Jekyll exit the show, although it happens much quicker than I expected. As for Jasmine, we don’t see any flashbacks to her previous life, but from her conversations with Snow it appears she didn’t leave Agrabah under the best circumstances.

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once-upon-a-time-the-other-shoe

Having already explored the origins of Cinderella in the show’s First Season, “The Other Shoe” takes a look at untold story of Ashley‘s (Jessy Schram) stepsister Clorinda (Mekenna Melvin) who, along with her evil stepmother (Lisa Banes), has been brought to Storybrooke from the Land of Untold Stories. Aside from delving a little more into Cinderella’s tale, the story’s main focus is to showcase an example of how the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) plans to used the strangers brought into Storybrooke to sew the seeds of destruction. In much the same way David (Josh Dallas) continues to obsess about his father’s coin and the truth about his passing which it turns out is more complicated than he always believed.

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once-upon-a-time-a-bitter-draught

After being mostly absent from the season premiere, “A Bitter Draught” focuses on the Evil Queen‘s (Lana Parrilla) arrival in Storybrooke. Using the Count of Monte Cristo (Craig Horner) in both the present and in flashbacks to try and kill Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and David (Josh Dallas), the Evil Queen’s true purpose to corrupt Regina‘s (Parrilla) soul and destroy all the hero’s happy endings by exposing untold stories no one wants told is revealed.

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The Fifth Season of Once Upon a Time offers trips to the Enchanted Forest, Camelot, and the Underworld while also delivering Emma Swan‘s (Jennifer Morrison) far-too-temporary time as new Dark One. Season Five is somewhat frustrating as it explores some interesting ideas only to forcibly reset the status quo by the end of the season. I equally enjoyed Emma in the role of reluctant villain and Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) forced into playing hero, but shoving both characters back into their boxes by mid-season destroys all the momentum heading into the Underworld arc.

Highlights include Amy Manson‘s recurring role as Merida, the return of Mulan (Jamie Chung) and Ruby (Meghan Ory) and their adventure in Oz, events in Camelot finally explained, the introduction of the first Dark One, Rumpelstiltskin’s reunion with his wife, the introduction of Gaston (Wes Brown), and the truth behind Henry‘s (Jared Gilmore) heartbreak.

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once-upon-a-time-only-you-an-untold-story

Given last week’s wrap-up of the Hades‘ storyline, the purpose of the final two episodes of Once Upon a Time‘s Fifth Season is to set-up next season. Introducing the characters of Dr. Jekyll (Hank Harris) and Mr. Hyde (Sam Witwer) when Zelena (Rebecca Mader), Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), and the Charmings are all accidentally transported to a new land filled with characters whose stories remain untold, lays the foundation for next season’s conflict. The introduction of Jekyll and his ability to finally succeed in splitting his dark half from himself sets up the return of another major villain for next season as Regina (Lana Parrilla) expels the Evil Queen thinking she has finally found a way to destroy her evil half for good.

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