What? No flashback in this episode? Well, that’s unusual. But then again, it’s not the first time this happened. ‘Broken’ was the first episode that broke that mold. Sadly, there wasn't too much to talk about in this episode, but I'll do my best.
Our heroes surmise that they can use the fact that both Henry and Aurora can enter into the Post-Sleeping Curse netherworld in order to swap messages with Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold, in the hopes that he knows of some way to get them back to Storybrooke. Because while they have the compass, they have no plan on how to get the wardrobe ashes from Cora. Gold suggests that they try using the squid ink that was used with the magic quill that got him imprisoned way back in ‘The Price of Gold,’ which should paralyze Cora. But before Henry can instruct Aurora to visit Rumpelstiltskin’s old jail cell in order to find the squid ink, the Enchanted Forest posse are attacked by Cora’s army of heartless zombies. In the chaos of the zombie attack, Aurora is captured and taken to Cora. Not only that, but the discovery that Henry got a severe burn from his last visit to the netherworld leads to David/Charming and Regina deciding that it’s too risky to send Henry back. What follows is a rather touching moment when David/Charming volunteers to be put under a sleeping curse so he can communicate with Mary Margret/Snow. It’s just really a perfect demonstration of how connected these two are, because David/Charming simply KNOWS that Mary Margret/Snow will plan to enter into the netherworld in Aurora’s place. You can’t help but adore these subtle ways they illustrate how these two are the very essence of True Love, and how they know each other so completely, they can simply anticipate what the other is planning to do, even when they’re in separate worlds. And their interaction in the netherworld was just perfect. Not to mention the timing of their reactions was just spot-on, particularly in regards to Mary Margret/Snow. She was all ‘You’re here! Oh, I’m so happy to see you. Waitaminute… how are you here? Oh, no! Tell me you didn’t!’ That right there is one of the moments when you just feel that these aren’t just fairy tale characters but a real married couple, and I adore it. Although, was anyone else reminded of Phantom of the Opera when David/Charming was in the Hall of Mirrors? Because I was, and I don’t pretend to know why.
We also get a wedge forming between Mulan & Emma and Mary Margret/Snow, particularly after Aurora gets captured by Cora. Mulan’s loyalty has always been first and foremost with Aurora and Phillip’s final instructions to protect her. So when it comes down to saving Aurora or making sure Emma and Snow get home, she’s of course going to choose Aurora. But my real question is, how’d she manage to get the compass off of Emma without her noticing? I realize Emma was kinda focused on her mother and how she was trying to reenter the sleeping curse netherworld at the time, but even so. I just always got the impression Emma was sharper than that. There was also that nice little scene with the captured Aurora and Cora, when the latter tried to sever Aurora’s loyalty to Emma and Mary Margret/Snow with the promise of information on how to get Phillip back. Aurora might not be fighter strong like Emma, Mary Margret/Snow and Mulan, but that scene did show she had her own brand of strength.
There’s also the issue of Hook realigning himself with Cora in this episode, which involves him taking Aurora’s heart (not sure how he accomplished that without waking her up in the process, but oh well) and giving it to Cora so she can use the princess as a mole. To be honest, seeing this is not too surprising, as he said a few episodes back that his loyalty was with whoever got him to Storybrooke. At this point, his only goal is to get Rumpelstiltskin, and it’s quite possibly the only thing that’s kept him going for the past few centuries. I tend to think his preference would have certainly been to go to Storybrooke with Emma and company, but his effort to prove his trustworthiness to them didn’t exactly work. What more could he have done to prove his loyalty to Emma and the others? He'd already given it his best shot and all it got him was getting shackled up in Anton's treasure hold for 10 hours. So, he didn’t really have any other option open to him at this point.
Great Sleeping Beauty reference with the spinning wheel they used to place David/Charming under the sleeping curse. I mean, we already knew Aurora, Phillip and Maleficent are real, so obviously the spinning wheel was a thing, too. Still was awesome to see.