1. Emma discovered that she is the latest in a line of Saviors, including Aladdin, all of whom are destined to die without getting their happy ending. This revelation was accompanied by body tremors and flashes to the battle in which she appears to die. What is happening to Sheriff Swan and will she truly meet a tragic end?
Joanne: Emma has been through a lot as the Savior and she's had very little time to process what has happened to her. I do remember that Jafar told Aladdin that he could have avoided his fate, so maybe the same thing could be true for Emma. I don't think that she will die.
Ashley: There is no way Emma will be meeting her end. I feel that she is at the heart of Once Upon a Time, it would do a disservice to a show about hope to have its main character meet such a fate. Emma and her tremors and these revelations kind of reminded me of people who find out that they have a chance of contracting a fatal disease . . . how they fight against what some say is the inevitable.
Mia: I'm not quite sure what is happening with Emma, but I'm not happy about whatever is going on with her. It made me sad to see Emma with walls up again, as she kept her visions a secret from everyone else. She worked so hard to break her walls down, only to have this new problem force her to rebuild them. I do not believe she will meet a tragic end. She'll find a way to change this prophecy. I have a feeling that as the season continues Emma will realize she needs some back-up and will confide in Killian and her parents, so that they can help do whatever it takes to make sure she doesn't end up getting defeated by a dark force.
Sam: I really wish that Emma would learn to not trust villains and everything they tell her. Everyone dies eventually, except Scully, but that's a different story. I think the idea of a line of saviors may lead us to learn that in the end we are each our own savior.
Amy: I believe what were are seeing is Emma battling herself. This is a very Empire Strikes Back in-the-cave thing coming I believe. There is a strong theme of duality and two halves of self this season so I believe this is the culmination. One side will be defeated, but Emma won't die. It will be either the side that wants to give up and give into fear, or the side that wants to go on being savior.
Teresa: I like that idea of it being Empire Strikes Back-like! Emma has in many ways been fighting herself for many years and so this would be it in physical form. But yea, as Sam said, quit listening to the bad guys, or believing the worst so quickly! I hate to say what WON'T happen on a show so emphatically until it happens, but I think on this one it's ok and safe to predict: no tragic ending for Emma!
Zach: Emma's not going anywhere. I can't subscribe to the idea that she's going to die permanently. There may be some resurrection action going on (she's called the Savior, hello biblical allegory) but she's not going to really bite the bullet. I think the key to this situation is the fact that Emma is the product of true love. It's true that there have been other Saviors in the past but we don't know what makes a Savior a Savior, and if none of them were the products of true love then Emma would be the one to break that curse and survive her supposed death
There's also something about the person who stabs her in this vision. It's notable that Emma grabs the person's arm before the vision ends and I think that shows that she knows her attacker well enough to feel comfortable doing that. This makes me think it's the Evil Queen. Having said that, it could also be Jafar, or Hyde, or even the Dark Swan version of Emma herself, stripped from Emma's body like the Evil Queen was from Regina. Only time will tell, but no matter who it is, Emma will still be victorious.
2. Snow and Regina's bond strengthened in this episode, particularly during a poignant and emotional scene towards the end. What did you think of these moments between the Mayor and the Bandit?
Ashley: The very final scene with Snow and Regina really sharing with each other was the best. The music, the voice over over scenes of the other heroes, it was masterful. If Emma is the heart of the show, this relationship is its soul.
Mia: This was a very sweet scene in the episode. Looking back at Season One I never would have guessed Snow and Regina would be able to casually sit together on a bench and talk. I think Snow really helped comfort Regina and Regina is grateful for this. They can give each other advice. I hope to see more interaction between the two of them this season.
Sam: I love these quiet heart-to-heart moments. The few we have had between Regina and Snow are always the best. These two characters have such a long and complicated history and I love to see them air out the past and grow from it.
Amy: Everything. These scenes were everything. As much as I adore my villains, to me, the heart of this show is that core story of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" which includes the Evil Queen. Those moments of Regina and Snow, talking like a step-mom and daughter, just gave me ALL the warm fuzzies.
Teresa: This was the best scene in the episode, and ended with some happiness! I was riveted every time Regina and Snow had a scene. How I have missed them. The more we see, the better! Needless to say, when the feather fell from the sky . . . that was pure magic!
Zach: I lost my mind during that scene on the park bench and it may be the finest Snow/Regina scene of the entire show. It was a quiet moment where the two of them could stop and share their feelings about what's happened to them. The fact that we've been witness to the deaths of Snow's mother and father, and the fact that Regina's mother was responsible for one while Regina herself was responsible for the other, contributed to the emotional power of this scene in a profound way.
And then, as Regina admitted that her story was one of many stories in her life, we saw the montage of the people in Storybrooke who make up Regina's family, and the emotional weight dropped on us again. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the foundation of the show is built on Snow and Regina's relationship more than any other on the show, even Emma and Henry, and the transformation of the two characters, the performances from Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parrilla, are absolutely incredible.
Joanne: It was a beautiful and touching moment between Snow and Regina. They are finally at peace with one another. I love how Snow told Regina that she taught her to hope. That is what this show is all about. Hope.
3. We got to revisit some classic Rumbelle in this episode, with both the timeless high and the familiar crash to the low. Thoughts on these scenes and the "Morpheus" twist?
Sam: I have said before that I have watched "Skin Deep" more times than any other television episode or movie. It was kind of breathtaking to watch the characters relive it. I liked how Rumple was trying to remember what he said the first time. Personally, I am okay with Belle going her own way. I like Rumple best when he is plotting to rule the world and not just trying to please Belle.
Amy: Mixed feelings! The dance, OMG, and the call backs to "Skin Deep" were gorgeous. When that beautiful "Beauty and the Beast" music started I legit teared up. I think it was kind of jack-assy of Belle to listen to the advice of a child who hasn't been born yet and doesn't truly know what his father would do. Rumple, even at his most impy wickedness, loved his child. He spent lifetimes looking for him. Sure he made some poor choices, but he LOVED his child.
Teresa: It's been two years since we've had a scene of pure joy with the Tale As Old As Time and it was nice to get a taste of that again. And what a gift Once has in Robert Carlyle and Emilie de Ravin! They are masters of their characters, and it was a delight to see them make magic again onscreen. "Skin Deep" is a masterpiece for a reason.
I also thought it was lovely to see Rumbaby's love for Belle wake her up, though I was acutely disturbed to see him seem to hate his father so. But then maybe the reason Rumbaby seemed so intensely hostile is because he is a baby, and what his parents were doing scared him? Things between Rumbelle are full of complex issues a baby can't understand and he only saw them through Belle's own frightened filter. So what does the child do? What children do. Run, hide, and scream at the top of his lungs the first thing he thinks of that has to happen RIGHT NOW to make him feel safe: secure his mother's promise to keep the man that scares him away. So I decided he doesn't hate Rumple, if only for my own comfort, and I hope for some healing between the father and son. As for Rumbelle, its direction, now that there's a baby involved, is too dark and triggering for my taste.
Zach: Well obviously I loved the dream sequence. I thought it was a very creative way to include the essence of the fairy tale flashbacks without actually showing one, and the re-enactment of "Skin Deep" reignited hope for Rumple and Belle's story. I really don't know what to make of the Morpheus part though. I didn't understand that the baby took the form of Morpheus but wasn't really Morpheus, and even after re-watching it twice and having Ashley explain it to me on the Once Upon A Fan Podcast, I still don't get it. Otherwise, I rather enjoyed it!
Joanne: The Rumbelle dream scene was so reminiscent of the "Skin Deep" episode. I loved it! It is everything that should have happened to them the first time through, then "Morpheus" ruined it. Well, maybe not "Morpheus". Belle was the one who pulled away from True Love's Kiss this time, instead of Rumple. I think that "Morpheus" is not their baby, but an extension of Belle's own subconscious. I think that she knows that Rumple has lied and tricked her too many times for her to get over it. She needs time to heal.
Ashley: I liked the revisit to "Skin Deep" and especially how Belle had her bit of deja vu, realizing she had done all this before and then remembering how Rumple had treated her. I didn't see these scenes as that romantic just because Rumple is once again doing things for the wrong reasons. Though I did like the dance sequence; I felt it was less fan service-y than the one in Season Four. I will say, I found it interesting that Rumple and Belle's son felt so strongly that he needed to speak via Morpheus to Belle and test her.
Mia: I'd have to say my favorite moment in the episode was watching Rumple and Belle dance together. This Rumbelle scene was romantic, lighthearted, and it brought me back to Season One. The new plot line with Morpheus as their son is very interesting, but I was confused as to whether or not that was actually him, or just a manifestation. It was a shocking twist that I wasn't expecting, but am very intrigued and hope to see more of him.
4. The Evil Queen has arrived in Storybrooke and offered Zelena a sisterly bond. Will the Green Menace really go WickedEvil?
Amy: Along with this whole duality theme this season I think Zelena will have her own internal struggle between her darker tendencies and her legitimate desire to have a family with Regina and Peanut Robyn.
Zach: I think she'll walk the line similar to Regina in Season One Storybrooke but will ultimately choose Regina over the Evil Queen. I think motherhood is going to change her in unexpected ways and I'm looking forward to seeing her story continue.
Joanne: Zelena can relate to the Evil Queen more than Regina at the moment. Regina forgets that Zelena lost her love too and is in mourning for Hades, the one person who could accept her for herself. The Evil Queen will also be accepting of Zelena, but ultimately, Zelena will realize that there is a better way to live and she will turn back to Regina, her sister.
Ashley: I'm not sure, though I like the idea that she might simply because it seemed too easy for her to become a "goodie" and it makes more sense for her to slip into the evil behavior. Now, since the Evil Queen's menace isn't tempered by Regina's feelings, Zelena might find her new ally a bit too wicked.
Mia: I believe Zelena will want to go for WickedEvil. I felt bad for her, because all she wanted to do was bond with Regina, but since Regina is in a bad headspace right now she pushed Zelena away. I think this opened the door for Zelena to forget about bonding with Regina and start tearing things up in Storybrooke with The Evil Queen which doesn't seem like it'll be a safe idea (although it will be awesome to watch).
Sam: Zelena is a tough call. She is still tempted by power and she is still in pain over her relationship and loss of Hades. For the sake of the baby I hope she makes some good choices. I suspect she may help the Evil Queen stir up trouble for a while before she has another change of heart.
Teresa: This is one that I could really see go either way. Zelena seems to still have the green-eyed monster ruling her, and I can see her allowing it to lead her WickedEvil, crashing and burning in a way that only Zelena can! On the other hand, I'm a sucker for redemption and Happily Ever After, so that part of me wants her to choose the better half.
5. Favorite quote?
Joanne: "It may be a trick, but my love for Belle is real." -Rumple
Ashley: When Zelena was coo-ing over baby Robin's crib saying she had to go BBQ that mean old Mr. Hyde
Teresa: "What I choose to believe in is faith. Hope that when a hero's story is over there's a special place for them." ~Henry
Zach: "I'm going to start a new story." - Regina
6. Favorite Moment?
Joanne: I'm a sucker for the Rumbelle dance and moments. I especially loved seeing and hearing Rumplestiltskin is all his Enchanted Forest glory. Robert Carlyle does a fantastic job bringing Rumple to life with subtle characteristics. It was funny when Rumple was speaking with his high-pitched accent one moment and then switched to his normal Mr. Gold's voice the next. A startling contrast in a flash.
Ashley: That Snow and Regina scene at the end. That is what Once Upon a Time is about!!
Sam: I 100% agree with Ashley!
Zach: What Ashley said.
Amy: The Regina Snow talk and the Rumbelle dance. Both really lovely.
Teresa: What everyone said! Those two scenes, Rumbelle--fairy tale magic--and especially the Snow/Regina moments, contained the elements of what made me fall in love with Once.
7. Anything else?
Teresa: Shout-out to the scene with Henry and Regina. I loved what Henry said to her, and I enjoyed how quiet and mature Jared came across, showing Henry as a thoughtful young man. Also great to see Archie back on our screens. And maybe it's time to stop separating the characters in heroes and villains? There is too much grey in all characters now, and this labeling doesn't seem to fit anymore.
Zach: Sam Witwer is perfect as Hyde. The slow speech pattern combined with the way he changes his tone of voice makes him a real stand-out villain among the many within the Once Upon A Time pantheon. I love that he's seemingly the Land of Untold Stories equivalent of Rumplestiltskin, with knowledge that the Hero Brigade doesn't have. It heightens the mystery of the season and teases the audience with the possibilities of what's to come from this whole new world. I'm really looking forward to the great war to come.
Amy: I agree with Zach that Sam Witwer is a fantastic Hyde. He inhabits that role and genuinely makes me want to know what Hyde is up to. I feel like these Untold Stories hold SO much potential and I have high hopes now that we have heard that some of our favorites have a connection to it. More than just about anything I want to see Ashley/Cinderella meet up with her step-sister Anastasia again. (For those who don't know, Anastasia is one of the main characters in Once Upon A Time in Wonderland) I reeeeealy want Ana and Will to have a little girl and Ella to give them a tiny pair of slippers for her. (Sooooo specific I know, but a girl can dream)