I really am loving Once Upon A Time this year. Last year felt like a chore to sit through but now I feel like the show is finally tapping into its full potential. It’s exciting, touching, and frequently badass. I really couldn’t ask for more.
First off, the episode did an excellent job of juggling the various worlds without making things convoluted (so far at least). With three worlds to keep track of: Storybrooke, The Enchanted Forest in the past, and The Enchanted Forest in present day, the show still managed to make them all compelling while operating under one recurring theme: parents sacrificing for their children.
What made the episode for me was the highly moving and layered relationship between Snow and Emma. Their dynamic has really invigorated both characters and supplied them with a new sense of purpose. Not only were both women tough and resourceful (Snow shooting the ogre dead and Emma lighting the cabinet with gun powder), they managed to have an extremely emotional scene at the end. Jennifer Morrison was especially amazing as she broke down, amazed by how much her mother loved her. I’m looking forward to seeing more of these two against the odds.
I also have to mention that Charming is slowly becoming one of my favorite characters. He was dreadfully boring last year but pairing him with his grandson Henry is turning out to be an inspired move. Actually he was even great in The Enchanted Forest as he desperately tried to save his mother and gave her one last joy by marrying Snow during her final moments (another stunning sequence).
And finally, Cora is infinitely more entertaining than Rumpelstiltskin and Regina as the show’s villain. I loved her posing as Lancelot (a twist I didn’t see coming) and trying to obtain the cabinet. I can’t wait to see what plot she hatches next and what the King’s involvement will entail as we saw in the episode’s final moments.
A wonderful hour of Once Upon A Time that deftly balanced action with real heart.