Ok, Once fans. I have to warn you what I’m going to be writing is going to sound like a bit of a rant, but the truth is, I am really only reflecting sentiments in line with more than one character on the show itself. Let me make it clear; I really liked this episode. Where it may sound as if I’m getting irritated I am sure the writers are pushing me – and the people in Storybrooke – in that direction on purpose.
To put is simply, Regina’s obsession with revenge is really reaching the point of a tiresome, cloying hypocrisy. Is she really that much of a one-trick pony? Personally, I think the story was written – and acted – to elicit that exact response. I’ll get into this after I highlight some points in the episode that particularly stood out for me. That will help when I come back to this.
First of all, I’m sure the fandom is already awash with Groundhog Day jokes. So I’m going say instead that this episode put me in mind of the Fringe episode White Tulip. It was one of the best time-loop stories ever done. Just like this Fringe episode, not only did each day “repeat,” each was slightly different. One thing for sure, we know now why Rumple let his memory go during the curse period and built a “wake up” for when Emma came. Having to go through the same day for 28 years would have been maddening. And while the curse did take away their happy endings, the fact that it was just the same day over and over quickly robbed any sweetness from Regina’s revenge. Actually, the curse really highlighted the emptiness of revenge and even Regina ended up admitting her revenge wasn’t real. It’s a real shame that she forgot this lesson after 28 years of reminder.
And that’s where it starts to get a bit “cloying,” as I phrased it earlier. What she seems to be forgetting is that she has been on a decades long obsession to kill or destroy everyone around her. Her mother has been busy at it even longer and makes Regina look like an amateur. Regina not only had thought she had already killed Cora, but she had personally killed her father. So what’s with her?
“Nobody better dare kill my parents but me!”
Come on lady! Hang it up, already! Rumple’s advice is frank and good. There is a time to cut your losses. Besides, as we’ve already seen, the evil shtick really isn’t your thing and frankly you’re not very good at it. Try being yourself instead of a cheap imitation of your mother! But as Regina tells Snow, her problem is she never learns from her mistakes.
On the other hand, it was nice to hear the Evil Queen theme again.
Rumple is back to being a complete enigma again. Clearly his paying of respect to Cora was sincere, though again Regina needs to consider that if Cora wasn’t trying to kill Rumple she wouldn’t be dead.
What I found most interesting about him is that his words did not match his actions. Or did they? True, he could argue that he fulfilled any debt in warning the Charming family not only of Regina’s plans but really getting into the why. There was a bit of misdirection too, by the writers. We are left with Gold telling them that he didn’t have to help. Clearly he’s not able to be bullied into helping and his “casualties of war” comments were pretty cold. What I caught though, was that said he didn’t HAVE to help; he never said he would not help them. I for one was certain that he’d be there when Regina came for Snow. I also caught the response when Regina warned him that he couldn’t be Snows “guard dog” forever. His “wanna bet?” sniff was great.
My big question, then, is why he keeps up what is becoming something of an act. Of course, he may not realize himself that it is a bit of an act himself. I am beginning to suspect that he has a bit more understanding of how Henry will be his undoing, though. I think he has figured out that it doesn’t mean his death, but the loss of the Dark One’s powers. Perhaps we are seeing the first steps in his finding the answer to the question Snow asked, “How do you live with yourself.” It was obvious his answer still hadn’t worked for him.
In fact, getting rid of magic seems to have become quite a focus. Henry is certainly focused on it. And while Regina can’t (not won’t) get rid of magic I’m beginning to think something is going to happen that at least moves in that directions at least in some degree. Not only am I sure that Rumple will lose his magic, but I’m beginning to suspect Regina will, as well. Don’t forget that book of spells she has hidden. A rainy day item, eh? In fact, I think the only one to keep their magic may be Emma. Ok… and maybe the Blue Fairy.
The question, then, is how will magic be taken? I think I have the answer to that, as well. Remember that wraith in the beginning? I’ve been saying for some time that we shouldn’t forget about it. It is hard to believe that they would introduce a plot line like that and not follow it up. If the idea of the wraith being responsible for the loss of Rumple and Regina’s magic isn’t crazy enough, I can take it one step further into a real wing-nut theory.
What if Tamara is the wraith in our land? At least the part without magic. After the reveal that Greg Mendel has ties back to Storybrooke’s initial appearance, I’ve gone back on my thought that Tamara is just a normal girl. However, who could she be? I just never bought into the idea that she would be anyone from the Enchanted Forest. Then it hit me. What about the Wraith? What would it be like in our world outside Storybrooke? I know it sounds crazy, but let’s just see how it plays out. We’re certainly seeing a foreshadowing of events back in New York and a getting rid of magic. And we still haven’t had this war that Rumple prophesied.
Also, while Henry is being something of the voice of reason with his anger about magic, I wonder if he’s aware that Emma has magic as well? Or that hers seems to be driven by something different than the anger and hatred that drives Gold, Regina or Cora’s? What kind of difference is it going to make? Perhaps people will start acting like heroes again. Maybe, even, before the end of the season, we will also see some rather surprising heroes. Regina did destroy the curse, even though the idea that she even considered it is a bit more of wedge between her and Henry. At least Emma is trying to take the right steps to patch things up with Henry. A bit of real honesty will go a long way.
Speaking of doing the right thing, I’ve got a bit of a problem with what the fandom likes to call “Snow Black.” Let’s get this straight. Everyone is redeemable and forgivable except her? Rumple and Regina have a path back to the light, but Snow is condemned for doing the just thing, even if it was though evil means and method. That just seems weak.
But is it?
Remember that this show tends to drip with Christian doctrine. One of those doctrines is an idea called the depravity of man. Is short, man is a fallen creature with a sinful nature that cannot redeem himself. Thus he is in need of a savior. All brought about by the original sin of eating a forbidden fruit; traditionally considered to be an apple. Am I the only one seeing a few parallels here? The question then becomes who is the messianic figure that pays for her redemption? Obviously the innocence is gone, but the goodness is still there. She wouldn’t have such remorse, otherwise.
Finally, Owen/Greg. Has he spent all this time looking for Storybrooke? I’m wondering about the little dongle he wove. Was that more than just a Star Wars reference and a bit of foreshadowing of that battle that is coming? Also, where is Kurt? I’m assuming that he’s not being kept in the MCP and Greg will not need a light cycle to reach him. I’m guessing that he was in one of the cells next to Belle and Mr. Glass. There is one more aspect to the crazy Tamara theory. Has anyone considered that Tamara might be “Her?” I know it’s all a long shot, but it is one way that pulls all the threads together rather neatly.
Well, that covers my thoughts for tonight. Another well done episode completed and only 5 more in the season. Tune in next week for more! I would really love to hear your comments.