Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Once Upon a Time- Episode Analysis (Kansas)

So, Snow has gone into labor and has to be rushed to the hospital.  But there’s still the matter of Zelena, who has everything she needs to complete her Time Traveling spell- a symbol of Charming’s courage, Regina’s heart, and Gold/Rumple’s brain (or a representation  of it).  The only thing she needs is Snow’s baby.  To make sure this won’t happen, Emma and Regina set up a protection spell around Snow’s hospital room, but Emma decides to make doubly sure Zelena won’t get her hands on her baby sibling and heads off to face Zelena herself.  However, before she could leave, Charming convinces her to let Killian accompany her.  I do kinda like how Charming’s now showing an attempt to be in Killian’s corner, which I’d like to think means he’s regretting how quickly he turned on him last episode.  But I still notice we don’t actually get to hear an ‘I’m sorry’ from Charming.  So I still hope there was a real apology later.  Emma agrees to let Killian come with her, but does so reluctantly.  I suppose it’s only understandable, as not much time has passed since the last time they spoke, so she hasn’t had much time to calm down, particularly since the baby is currently being born.   But we do get some confirmation that further backs up my theory about why Killian hadn't told Emma about him being cursed.

Emma: If you really wanted to help, you would have told me when Zelena cursed your lips.
Killian: I had no choice. She threatened you and your family. I was trying to help.
Emma: Telling me what was going on would have been help.
Killian: And the death sentence for your boy.

If that exchange is any indication, he believed Zelena would immediately go after Henry if he went and told Emma about the curse.  And Emma’s response to that seemed to be more of her clutching at straws then her continuing to be genuinely mad at him.  I think that in that moment, she realized how much Killian cared about Henry.  So, true to her nature, she pulls back and throws up her internal shields.  And Killian, showing his ability to read her, picks up on that.  He even calls her out on that during their trek to the farmhouse Zelena had claimed as her headquarters.  Still, when Emma started talking about how she and Henry were always in danger in Storybrook, I do wonder why Killian didn’t point out they weren’t safe in New York, either.  Come on, Emma.  Don’t forget that Zelena had sent Walsh to keep tabs on you.   Danger FOLLOWED you to New York last time.  If you go back when this is all over, it could follow you again!

However, he does do the next best thing, and we get the following exchange:

Emma: I’m his mother. I know what’s best for him.
Killian: What’s best for him? Or for you?
Emma: Excuse me?
Killian: You’ve taken care of the boy quite well here. You can talk about danger all you like, but it isn’t that. So, tell me, what is it? Why are you so scared of staying? I think it’s because you can see a future here. A happy one.

First off, this does seem to be a call-back to an earlier exchange between Emma and Mary Margret, WAY back in ‘An Apple as Red as Blood,’ which occurred after Emma attempted to run away from Storybrooke with Henry in tow.

Emma: I want what’s best for him.
Mary Margret: And running is what’s best for him? Or, is that what’s best for you?

The parallels really illustrate how Killian has taken up the role in Emma’s life that Mary Margret held before she regained her memories of being Snow White and Emma’s mother- a best friend and confidant; someone who will always have her back but won’t hesitate to pull her back when she starts to swerve.  But even more than that, he sees Emma’s reactions and rationalizations for what they are- her tendency to cut and run when things start to get too real and personal for her.  As frustrating as it is to see her revert to this state, it’s only to be expected as that was how she survived for 28 years.  Bad habits can be hard to break.

Of course, once Emma and Killian reach the farmhouse, Zelena gets the drop on them, getting Gold/Rumpelstiltskin, who is still under her control, to magically hold Killian down in a nearby well filled nearly to the brim with water.  Emma only manages to pull him out after Zelena and Gold teleport away, but by then, Killian has lost consciousness and appears to have drowned.  And it’s here that Emma reveals her true colors in regards to how she really feels about Killian.  Emma can snap and snipe at him as much as she wants to, but when it looks like he might have died, she quite nearly panics, resorting to trying to shake him awake while screaming his name.  In the end, she makes the choice to resort to CPR (even though you’re really supposed to perform chest compressions before the mouth-to-mouth bit) knowing that doing so would result in Zelena’s curse getting activated and removing her magic.  She chooses to sacrifice her magic and what she believes is their one chance at stopping Zelena, all to save Killian’s life.  And after the deed is done, she continues to stroke his face, whispering for him to ‘come back to me.’  If that’s not enough to convince you that Emma really does care deeply for Killian, try looking back at a certain scene in ‘Snow Falls,’ when Emma, Mary Margret, Henry and Graham are searching the woods for David (who was still a John Doe at that point) and come across his unconscious form lying in the water.  Just like Emma, Mary Margret also utilized CPR to revive David (except she did it correctly).  And she even whispered ‘come back to me,’ just like Emma did in this episode.  Once again, Emma and Killian are paralleling Snow and Charming, the couple who are supposed to be the very representation of True Love.  What makes this even more touching is when Killian regains consciousness.  The very instant he realizes that Emma triggered Zelena’s curse, he is horrified at the thought that Emma had to give up her magic, and that she can now no longer protect herself from Zelena.  The last thing he’d wanted was to put Emma into harm’s way.  And now she is in danger, all because she chose to save him instead.

While this is going on, Zelena and Gold/Rumple storm the hospital, with Zelena mowing down each line of defense without batting an eye before bursting into the hospital room, where Snow has just given birth to a baby boy, who she successfully abducts.  As one would expect, this puts Charming on the war path, but there is that little question of how they’re going to stop Zelena now that Emma has lost her magic.  It’s Henry who points out that Regina might be the one who can defeat Zelena.  As was proven last episode when Regina was able to utilize True Love’s Kiss with Henry, she is able to conjure Light Magic.  After a brief power struggle at the Witch’s Farmhouse, Henry’s idea proves to be correct, as Regina is able to wield Light Magic and takes Zelena’s magic gem from her, rendering the Wicked Witch powerless.  (Did anyone else start grinning at the fact that Regina’s potential for Light Magic visibly manifested itself after she saw Robin had retrieved her heart?)

That brings me to the final flashback of the Wizard of Oz arc.  This one shows how Zelena met Glinda, and how the latter took Zelena under her wing, inviting her to join the four Witches of Oz and be the Witch of the West- the one that was supposed to represent the Element of Innocence.  The other three witches inform Zelena that an old legend stated that the role would be filled by a powerful witch who would reach their land by a cyclone.  And we’ve already seen that Zelena fit that specific criterion.  At first, Zelena is hesitant to believe she could be the representation of innocence, given her past, but Glinda tells her that ‘innocence reclaimed can be just as powerful as innocence born.’  She then goes on to explain that it’s not the past that Zelena should be focused on, but rather her future.  That’s really sage advice, and it can apply to so many people.   And for a time, it seems to work on Zelena, who is able to let go of her jealousy of Regina.  But the lesson sadly doesn’t stick after Dorothy Gale’s appearance in Oz.  Zelena quickly grows envious of Dorothy, particularly after stealing Glinda’s Book of Records, which is said to chronicle the entire past, present, and future of Oz and seeing that the prophesy of the Witch of the West spoke of a great evil that was to be overthrown.  Glinda warns Zelena not to jump to conclusions, as there is no real way to correctly predict what the prophesy actually means, and in the end, only Zelena can shape her destiny.  Again, I have to agree with Glinda.  Besides, there was nothing to indicate Dorothy was a sorceress, as she’d shown no magical ability of her own.  And it was only when Zelena acted on her jealousy that she became the ‘great evil.’  As Glinda said, it’s much more important to focus on your future rather than the past.  And that’s exactly how Regina was able to defeat Zelena during the main storyline.  She finally was able to put her past behind her and focus on being one of the good guys, which was proven when she chose to stop Gold/Rumpelstiltskin from killing Zelena in retaliation of everything she’d done and instead offer Zelena a chance to start over.

Too bad Regina’s words don’t sink into Rumpelstiltskin’s thick skull.  We see him reunite with Belle, who once again professes her undying love for him, and he ends up proposing marriage, giving her the Dark One’s Dagger as proof of his intention of trusting her with his heart.  But in the final moments, it’s revealed that he gave Belle a fake dagger, which left him free to ignore Belle’s request to spare Zelena’s life, and he breaks into her jail cell, killing her.  To make matters even worse, Zelena’s death seems to trigger her Time Travel spell, somehow.

The episode wraps up with Charming returning to Snow’s hospital room, with their newborn son safely in his arms.  As they watch Snow and Charming celebrate the safe return of their son, Killian thanks Emma for saving his life, and expresses his sympathy that Emma’s magic doesn’t seem to have returned.  However, the moment is spoiled by Emma, once again being a dingbat, announcing she still intends to go back to New York.  Really, Emma.  I know you’re content in being the mayor of Delusional-ville right now, but what makes you think Henry’s going to agree to leave now that he’s got his memories of Storybrooke back?  For that matter, what makes you think Regina’s going to let Henry go again?  She’s his mother, too, remember?  More importantly, how can you just walk right into the hospital room to join your parents and new brother with that big smile, leaving poor Killian standing in the hall with that devastated look on his face?  You CLEARLY can see how the knowledge you still plan to go back to New York is breaking his heart again.  After everything that’s happened, you should realize that this man loves you with every piece of his heart.  Why are you so reluctant to let him in?  Is this really because of your long-time fear of being betrayed again?  What happened to what you said a few episodes ago, when you said you were tired of living in the past?  Even if you weren’t, he’s more than proven he’s not Neal.  No matter how many times you try to push him away, he’s still right there at your side, regardless of what sort of danger you might be facing, and while he hasn’t hesitated to make his feelings for you known, he’s never pushed you into returning them.  And it’s all because he’s the type of man who loves passionately, with no holds barred.  How many years did he spend mourning for/trying to avenge the last woman he loved?  If that isn’t pure devotion, then I don’t know what is.  Seriously, Emma, this guy is the exact opposite of everything you’ve objected to in the past.  He even shares your love for Henry.  So what’s your excuse this time?

Thankfully, there’s still the two-part season 3 finale, which will resolve all of this quite nicely.

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