once upon a time

once-upon-a-time-page-23

While Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) does some soul searching after Emma (Jennifer Morrison) discovers the pirate’s secret, the main focus of “Page 23” is the end of the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) storyline. Retrieving the Shears of Destiny, the Evil Queen uses them to separate herself permanently from Regina allowing the pair to duke it out one last time. While I’m not surprised that neither woman ends up dead, I always expected Regina to reabsorb the Queen back into herself. I’ll give the writers credit for finding a third option that allows each character to get their own happy ending and allows Regina to perform one of the most heroic acts seen on the show. Points for tying the whole thing back to the mysterious “extra” page in the storybook as well.

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once-upon-a-time-murder-most-foul

While “Murder Most Foul” focuses on Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) being the noble one and preventing an obsessed David (Josh Dallas) from taking revenge on the man responsible for his father’s death, the episode ends on a twist which just may undo all the good the pirate has done since meeting Emma (Jennifer Morrison). Hook may have one won the blessing of his girlfriend’s father, but what happens if either of them learn his secret?

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once-upon-a-time-wish-you-were-here

The season’s mid-season finale will send Emma (Jennifer Morrison) to the Enchanted Forest, see the end of Jasmine (Karen David) and Aladdin‘s (Deniz Akdeniz) tale (at least for now), and finally reveal the identity of the villain who kills Emma in her visions. Getting control of the magic lamp, the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) sends Emma to a timeline where she never became the Savior, grew up in the Enchanted Forest as a princess, and was never forced to become Storybrooke’s hero. Realizing that she too has control of the lamp, Regina (Parrilla) makes a wish to send herself to the reality where she is immediately mistaken for the Evil Queen (a role she is forced to resume in order to force Emma to realize the truth). Despite accomplishing the goals and finding a way home, the pair remain in the alternate reality in the first of two big twists as Regina comes face-to-face with someone she never expected to see again.

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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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