The Queen is Back

Once Upon a Time returned last night and I saw the episode today … don’t ask me how. I will watch on Netflix on Wednesday as well, because I don’t want netflix to believe that they shouldn’t add it. Anyway, I avoided tumblr, so I wasn’t spoiled beyond normal set spoilers/promos. I still haven’t gone on tumblr so I don’t know what other people thought but I bet it wasn’t very charitable.

I said a few times when blogging season five that it felt like I’d slipped into an alternate dimension where nothing made sense.¬†I couldn’t fathom why characters were acting in certain ways because it didn’t fit with who they had been established to be in the earlier seasons. I had the last few months to think everything over, and to establish headcanons which explained away all the inconsistencies of season five.

Well, the premiere blew those carefully crafted headcanons out of the water so I’m going to have to begin again. It’s no matter, I live for this kind of thing ūüôā

Right spoilers under the cut for season six, episode one.

General episode comments
I always knew they would do Aladdin, it was one of the few big Disney things they hadn’t done. I think every single prediction post I’ve made has included “they are going to do Aladdin one day”. I haven’t seen Once Upon a Time: Wonderland Edition because they didn’t show that in the UK, and it’s not on Netflix. I don’t think it’s on DVD either, it’s like totally out of reach. Anyway, I knew that Jafar had been in that, so I figured maybe they might have considered Aladdin done, but I’m glad that they didn’t. It’s going to be fun watching it play out.

Bit random considering Aladdin didn’t say much but his accent? I am terrible with accents but the first thing that popped into mind is “that sounds a bit like Belle’s accent”. I figured that was the accent of Avonlea but maybe her kingdom had links with Agrabah. I’m in favor of anything that brings Belle more into the storyline and she does need her adventure with the female guest star, which I’m guessing will be Jasmine.

In the forest when the all the lanterns lit up and they were shadowy people – that was kinda creepy. If I’m honest it reminded me of when the dark ones were roaming Storybrooke. Perhaps it’s an indication that these people aren’t going to be friendly/can’t be trusted? Seems about right, especially given Hyde’s cryptic comments.

“Nothing more dangerous than an untold story and the people that don’t want them told.” – is what Hyde said. That begs the question, who doesn’t want them told? Is it the people the stories belong to or someone else like Hyde? Were they trapped in that world, or did they banish themselves there?

To be honest with the general story arc of the season I’m guessing it’s the latter. This season should be all about facing your fears, self-acceptance etc. and so people being afraid of their stories and running from them, would be a good backdrop to the self-doubts and internal conflicts of our main characters.

The savior
Emma hasn’t looked well for some time, even predating her turn as the dark one. It’s in¬†her eyes, they are always red and her face is so pinched and sad. I suppose her breakdown was inevitable. My headcanon reasons for it, were that her life is so unreal now, magic is real and therefore it’s like life has no boundaries. She also lost Neal and she did still love him, she said so, and even if they never got back together he would always be an important person in her life.

However, rather than pick up on any pre-existing issues Emma might have, they are giving her a new one. Apparently what she has is something all saviors get. I’m not keen on that angle because it lacks depth. I mean why not build on things that have already been established? I digress, it is what it is.

I loved everything Archie said to Emma – he talks such sense. I really want more Archie but to be honest I think his efforts are doomed to always be wasted. He told Emma there was no shortcut and what did she do next? She went straight for the shortcut – typical. Plus I’m afraid to say I laughed at Archie’s comment of “Years?” because really? They haven’t shown time to have moved, in fact the opposite, so I would have thought it couldn’t have been much more than two years since Emma landed in Storybrooke. The first season took place over several months, and then there was the missing year, but the intervening times never seemed to be more than a week or two.

I’m wondering if Emma inherited Rumple’s¬†premonition ability when the darkness was sucked out of him. I always figured it had gone with the first dark curse. He’s made no mention of having the power since then. I thought maybe it had been something he’d had to give up, once he got near his goal – all magic comes with a price after all.

They are trying to suggest it’s something to do with Emma being a savior, and her story coming to an end. However, I don’t trust that ‘oracle’ and not just because Hyde sent Emma out to find her. Wasn’t she the one that was with Aladdin at the beginning? That has fishy written all over it. Plus isn’t it convenient that this is all coming out now? Yeah Hyde is manipulating this. I don’t know why.

I’m not too sure what¬†Hyde’s¬†game is but one thing I am certain about, is that if Jekyll dies, then he’ll die as well. This was a theory of mine that I included in The War Within (my season six fanfic) and Hyde instantly appearing the moment Regina threatened Jekyll’s life, is just another hint that I’m right. Plus it appeals to me because of the whole “we are both” thing. They are still connected, two halves of the same coin, one can’t live without the other – it’s all about that journey of self-acceptance.

I did have to roll my eyes slightly at the CaptainSwan stuff. I don’t mind it so much, I just mind a little bit how it’s¬†portrayed. To me relationships should be based on mutual respect. Their makeout scene at the beginning, it looked better in context than when I watched it on the promo but it still could have been improved. It would have only taken a tiny thing, Hook pulling back for a second and asking Emma if she was alright, and then her pulling him back down – thus proving she was right there with him. Otherwise it seemed like she was searching for any possible excuse, he was dismissing them all and physically pressuring her. Just a small change but it would have made it feel so much better.

Their scene in the woods was also not great. Hook and Zelena have something in common, they try and make everything about them (more about Zelena later). Hook said “you’d do anything to avoid taking to me” and “you can lie to others but you can’t lie to me” and I don’t know when Hook got elevated to Emma’s ‘person’. She had people in her life before him (her parents, Regina, Henry etc.) and they are still there for her.

Sometimes when you love someone, you have to acknowledge that you aren’t always what they need. What is most important is that the person you love gets the support that they need, if that isn’t from you then it’s no matter, so long as they have it. This is why it’s good for people to have different people in their lives, because they’ll need them in different ways and at different times. It’s unhealthy for someone to try and be all things to someone, which I’m going to add to in the Rumbelle section. This problem isn’t unique to CaptainSwan, but it’s done for different reasons.

I suppose in a way, they are at least being true to Hook’s character because they haven’t changed him. He isn’t what he claims to be, but then actions speak louder than words. In Emma’s dream Hook was sheltering Henry from watching his mother die. I got no problem with that, about time they protect him, especially as he isn’t as old as he looks. However, my big question is – where is Regina. I bet this is the key to how Emma survives because we all know Emma isn’t going to die.

I have one final point about this. “Whenever there was a savior, there’s a villain that brings them down.” – isn’t that saying that villains win? I thought season 4 was all about how they always lost. That’s interesting.

The Evil Queen and the Wicked Witch
Zelena playing happy families really creeps me out. It’s like she had a personality transplant but then every so often, tiny flashes of her true self peek through. I really do try and not be a hypocrite. Rumple and Regina are my favorite characters, and so I really shouldn’t deny Zelena a chance at redemption. It’s just it happened too quickly and I guess I just don’t believe in it. She’s never shown any remorse for what she has done and I would have thought that would have been step one on her path to redemption.

In my fanfic (yeah I promise to not keep mentioning that) I theorized that Regina was handing Zelena redemption, just giving it to her because deep down she thought “if the wicked witch can have another chance, so can the Evil Queen” and I suppose that still could be true. Maybe it’s also because Regina is aware of how many second chances she was given and doesn’t want to be a hypocrite.

Either way, Regina wanting a relationship with her sister, I can understand and to be honest I think they handled it quite well. When Zelena said that she had lost the feather and asked if Regina wasn’t angry,¬†Regina didn’t look angry, she looked like she was about to cry. She told Snow she was fine, but she is so not fine.

“You of all people should know heroism comes first” – was a really nice avoidance tactic and actually so poignant because don’t they all do that? It’s not just Regina, and not just on this occasion. This applies so much to Emma as well. She just keeps throwing herself into the fight, so maybe she doesn’t have to think about how crazy life has become.

Back to my fanfic (cringes) I said that Regina had problems with the split because she hadn’t just cut out the ‘darkness’. She had also cut out some of her grief about Robin, and her mixed up feelings about everything, which made Regina herself very emotionally unbalanced. She felt some things keenly, but others were muted because those feelings now belonged to the Evil Queen. That also gave the Evil Queen motivation for what she was doing, because she was an emotional maelstrom without anything to balance it out with.

When Zelena walked into the mayor’s office my first question was “who is looking after the baby?” I also want to know who was caring for baby Neal when Snow and Charming were hiking all day in the forest. These might be little details but they matter. I have a horrible suspicion that Zelena at least might have left baby Robyn home alone. She said “go down for a nap and let mommy barbecue Hyde” which kinda implied she was going to leave her sleeping. You can’t do that with babies!

Oh and interrupting where Robin died! This was actually quite in character for Zelena because she didn’t seem to understand she was intruding, and then she tried to make it all about her. If Zelena had an ounce of compassion, she would have heeded one of Regina’s requests (and there was more than one) to leave her alone. I mean seriously,¬†Regina is entitled to some time.

Besides when Regina admitted she blamed Zelena. Yes that wasn’t very nice to hear but it isn’t entirely wrong either. Here is where I would have thought, if Zelena truly wanted redemption, she would have acknowledged her part in the mess. After all Hades was her true love, and he claimed that what he did (i.e. killing Robin) was done for Zelena.

Adding to the complicated situation is baby Robyn – why do they not ever deal with this? It’s like it’s been completely forgotten and I know it was some seriously disturbing shit, but it’s canon and pretending it didn’t happen is just weird. Anyway, I heard the self loathing in Regina’s voice. I don’t think she actually does blame Zelena really, I think she blames herself. She made choices, one of which was to pursue a relationship with her sister, and that is what got Robin killed.¬†Her feelings aren’t going to be simple.

I loved the scene between Henry and Regina. He told her exactly what she needed to hear at that moment, it was very mature of him. Plus, Henry isn’t wrong. Villains do lie because they are self serving and it would have suited Hades for people to think he wielded that kind of power.

At least they haven’t forgotten about Robin. In fact I was thrilled by how often he was mentioned because he was very important to Regina. However, I’m thinking they probably won’t mention him much after this because that feather at the end, it seemed like Robin’s blessing to Regina’s words and maybe also a final goodbye.

I loved Regina and Snow’s talk. Regina acknowledging her past mistakes is something I love to see. However, I do want to speak in her defense slightly. After all she wasn’t really old enough to be a step mother and she was¬†kinda forced into it. Regina made her own choices, and she chose to become the Evil Queen but we’ll all creatures of our own experiences and Cora had manipulated her for years.¬†There are mitigating factors, it doesn’t erase what happened, nor does it excuse it.

“You were the one that taught me that hope is a choice.” – I liked this! Snow and Regina have an important relationship, one with deep history and it feels right that they are using that now. Plus I like that kind of cynicism from the usual perpetually positive Snow. Hope is a choice, not just something she feels, and that gives her a layer that she was missing.

“I want to start a new story, one where the evil queen doesn’t get a part and I choose to believe this story will have a better ending than my last.” – oh wow, the importance of this can not be overstated. I mean, when Regina lost Daniel she became the Evil Queen. Now she has lost Robin and she is choosing to move on and be better, not try and make everyone else hurt as much as she does. That is what I call progress and a real redemption arc.

While I don’t like this split because it takes the easy way out. I choose to believe that this arc is about self-acceptance. Regina is going to end this arc by accepting the Evil Queen back. She is going to accept her past and choose to be better in the future. I find this battle somewhat unnecessary because Regina had already gone through that but given Robin’s death, her own self-doubts etc. maybe it’s just going to prove what we already know. The Evil Queen is part of her and always will be – it’s her past, but that doesn’t have to be her future.

In the end scene when Zelena looked at the Evil Queen. To me Zelena looked hateful, kinda vengeful, like “my sister gets everything!” but I’m thinking her expression was supposed to be uncertainty. She doesn’t know what path she is going to choose, maybe this will be the start of a true redemption arc for her. I don’t mind if she does get redeemed, I just want to be able to believe in it and that will take time, and have Zelena admit past mistakes. She can’t just claim to be better and that is that.

Love in the Dark Castle
First I have my priorities – the floof! That wig has no life in it and I’m kinda glad it’s not sticking around. It didn’t move the right way, it kinda just sat there.

Oh and quick continuity question wasn’t Belle wearing a coat when he put her in the box?

Right now down to the actual important parts. Morpheus had an agenda from the start, phrasing everything in a very negative manner. “She is still a servant and you are still a beast” – I was so glad when Rumple pointed out that is when she fell in love with him! He might have looked like a beast, but Belle¬†didn’t mind that form, she saw that it was just ‘skin deep’ and that there was more to him than appearance, reputation or even first impression. They had true loves kiss while he looked like that, yes it failed because Rumple rejected it. I have written so many words about why he did that, it wasn’t personal against Belle. It was about his own issues and about Bae, none of the reasons detracted from the fact that they were true love.

Morpheus your biases were showing. Constantly saying to Rumple “if you love her?”¬†Did you not listen to his words? Rumple has always loved her. The whole hour thing was decidedly fishy. Why can’t he just use the sand again? I’m guessing it’s a limit of magic, I mean magic should have limits so that is fair enough.

Ooooh another potential continuity question. The fiery red room was post-sleeping curse! However, I guess it’s possible that if Belle was locked in the curse forever, then she might transition to post-curse but whatever happened to “all curses are made to be broken”?¬†I mean think about it – “True loves kiss is the most powerful of all magic, the only magic that can transcend realms AND break any curse”. So surely there can’t ever be a permanent curse. All things must come to an end.

Rumple is right, he said nothing but the truth the entire time. In all the dark castle flashbacks we ever saw Belle always seemed cheerful. I don’t think she did see it as a scary place, at least not after the first few days. Rumple’s declaration about how he would always love Belle and their child. You know this is where the complexity of the show comes in. On one hand the narrative tells us one thing, and then the characters show us another, this gives me tremendous hope because they haven’t forgotten what is truly important to Rumple – his family.

Oh wow –¬†did anyone else notice the cage in the corner? That was where he was kept when Zelena imprisoned him during the missing year. Plus that was some incredible acting, as his accent kept swapping from Gold to imp.¬†That dance was amazing, but far too short. Mind you it could have lasted the entire episode and I would have still thought it could have been longer.

“For you I will be the best man I can be.” – I love this! It’s so honest and it’s accurate. It calls back to his declaration before he pulled Excalibur from the stone, about how he wanted to do right by Belle. It has echoes of what he said in the underworld, that he’s a better man but still not a good man. I mean, he’s changed over the years. He’s never going to go back to being the spinner he was because his experiences have changed him. He is the complex character we love because he isn’t just a villain. I’ve always said villains turned hero are the best kind of heroes, because they know how to take care of business and don’t let anything get in their way.

Morpheus being the Rumbelle baby is a theory I’ve seen knocking about for weeks. So let me get this straight. He was testing her, because he didn’t want her falling for his lies again, he didn’t want Rumple to destroy them like he did his last family. Then there were Belle’s own words of “I remember broken promises” and “I love you but being together causes nothing but heartbreak.” and the final statement of “our son gave us a warning and I’m going to heed it.”

Oh where do I begin?

First theory. There was no flash. With every true loves kiss in the show, there has been a flash of light spiraling outwards, that was tinged with rainbow colors. That didn’t happen, ergo I’m thinking maybe it wasn’t exactly true loves kiss. If it wasn’t true loves kiss, then that erases all proof that Morpheus is who he claimed to be – their son.

Which means he could be anybody, and he could have who knows what kind of agenda. Clearly it was to keep Belle away from Rumple, but that could be for revenge purposes, or to make Rumple easier to manipulate down the road. To be honest we just don’t have enough information at the moment.

This is of course assuming that Belle was even woken. She didn’t interact with anyone in her “walking past the shop” scene in Storybrooke. Second theory – she’s still in the dream world. Actually potentially they are both still in the dream world. Morpheus claimed that it was Belle’s dream, and that the dark castle was as ‘dark’ as it was because that was her perspective of it. However, what if it was Rumple’s perspective? To him, it was a dark place – he nailed the curtains down and everything. Plus there was his cage in the corner, and that didn’t disappear when everything else brightened.

Even if I take it at face value. Yes that was their son speaking, and yes that is how he feels, and that is how Belle feels etc. I’m still not worried. I know how Rumple feels – he was so honest about how much family meant to him in this episode. It’s established and family has always been Rumple’s motive. He did everything for Bae, and then everything he’s done for the last several episodes has been for Belle and their child.

Belle has always been impulsive and driven by her emotions. However, this arc is about self-acceptance. I think Belle, just as much as all of the characters, is going to need to take a good look at herself and be honest. It’s not going to be pretty. She’s lashing out because she’s hurt. I mean I suppose if I think about it, Rumple lied to her throughout their marriage.¬†They never had time to resolve that really, and then when she decided to give him another shot, she later was hit with a series of revelations “pregnant, dark one, Hades has a contract on the baby”

She probably regretted ever thinking she would give him another shot. It’s a big overreaction but emotions can be like that. I can’t blame her for it, she’s reeling and it’s a lot to deal with and that’s before taking into account the hormones and well the “warning from her unborn child” which is one hell of an emotional manipulation. She wants to do what is best for her child, so listening to them seems like the most natural thing in the world.

Also, I said I was going to bring this up – being all things to one person. I think Belle tried to do that for Rumple, and she did say that she¬†‚Äúlost herself‚ÄĚ so maybe this arc of self-acceptance, is about finding herself again. Only then, can she be sure about what she wants, and enter into a proper partnership with Rumple. So this is a good thing really.

Conclusion
Wow, that was one hell of an opening episode and it leaves me with so many questions. I really can’t wait for next week! I’m hoping Archie is going to make another appearance. I’m eager to see more of Rumple and Belle, to further develop my theories. I can’t wait to see what is going to happen with Regina, Zelena and the Evil Queen. This arc has so much potential. It’s going to give us so much more new material to work with, so that even if the show doesn’t execute it properly, we can fic it!

So yeah, I’m not worried at all. I’m just excited. I get to see my characters on screen again! Ooooh and maybe next week we’ll see Rumple with his new haircut and learn the ‘in show’ reason for it. That’s going to be fun.