Once Upon A Time 4×09 “The Fall” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

Tonight’s episode felt like a fantastic mix between the Pilot, And Straight on to Morning”, “Good Form” and “Going Home” – each of them being episodes we’ve adored.

Arendelle Flashbacks: When we left off with the Snow Queen, what she had done with Arendelle wasn’t apparent, thus as it turns out, she froze the entire kingdom until this very moment where they were finally brought back to life. With Hans ruling now that Elsa’s trapped in the urn, Anna and Kristoff set off to find Blackbeard in order to ask for the wishing star. Also, since we were wondering who Hook traded his ship to, it’s interesting to know that it’s Blackbeard, and we’re hoping to maybe get a glimpse of that moment. As they’re locked in a box together, Anna attempts to marry Kristoff before they die, but he doesn’t let her stating that he’ll do it when they make it out alive. Swoon. And tears.

Present Day Storybrooke: Hours before the Snow Queen’s curse of Shattered Sight hits Storybrooke, the townspeople must either find Anna to create a counter curse or use the necklace. Because Elsa chooses to find her sister with little time remaining, controlled by Rumplestilskin, Hook steals the power of all the fairies leaving the town defenseless to the curse – with the exception of the Snow Queen, Elsa, Emma, Rumple, and Anna.

For starters, anger doesn’t do our frustration with Rumplestilskin justice. It’s unfortunate that he believes he can have both all the power in the world. It’s unfortunate that for Rumple, love isn’t enough, and especially the kind of ceaseless love that Belle’s shown him. Hopefully, as the season progresses, we get to the see the gradual shift in his heart. Hopefully, we get to see him slowly understand that love is the most powerful form of magic. And we aren’t exactly sure how the Sorcerer’s hat works, but we’re wondering if those inside the hat are gone for good, or if there’s a way to release them eventually. On the plus side, though the what he’s doing is horrid on so many levels, it’s good to know he at least cares for Belle and Henry to a point where he doesn’t want them to be affected by what’s to come. It is however, very silly of him to believe that Henry would ever respect him in any way knowing that he’s responsible for the destruction of a town and the people he cares for. Henry’s one of the wisest children on television right now, hence, there’s no doubt in our minds that he’d figure out what’s occurring.

It’s interesting that after two seasons, we’re now seeing the differences between Captain Hook and the Crocodile side by side. Each episode since “The Apprentice” has shown us that unlike Rumple, Killian’s a changed man – even without his heart he feels the deep remorse of inflicting pain on the fairies. Because Emma’s pure heart inspired him, he made the choice to become a better man. Rumple too has had the same choice, but because he didn’t choose love he destroyed himself.

O’Donoghue delivered Killian’s genuine remorse in an expression so deeply moving there can’t be anyone who believes there’s a bad bone left in the man. While no one is perfect, Killian tries every day to be worthy of the heroic title he’s been given.

The final moments in this week’s episode broke us – there’s basically no other way to state the heartache it’s caused. Thankfully, the superb scenes Kristoff and Anna shared were the lighthearted cherry on top we needed in order to not crawl into a corner whilst weeping. Tag teaming Hans and his brothers was brilliantly entertaining – the things we wish we would’ve gotten in the animated film because scenes like this, authenticate just how well the two work together as partners. Episode by episode, Elizabeth Lail and Scott Michael Foster’s performances stun us, they are nothing short of exquisite and this week, they were added onto the list of people who could easily make us tear up. Kristoff and Anna share a great moment under water as believing they’re about to die, Anna tries to marry him, but his response is that she doesn’t get to unless they’re alive – exhibiting a kind of strength that always shines brightest when one party is at their weakest. Anna’s always the most optimistic one around her loved ones, but for the first time in forever (pun sort of intended), she’s the one who’s left hopeless. She’s the one who doesn’t believe she’ll find Elsa or that she and Kristoff will make it out alive. And this is a moment where Kristoff can finally show just how deeply he loves her by being the strength she needs in a moment of absolute weakness. It showcases how beautifully true love couples are able to be there for the other person in ways no one else can be when they need them the most.

In a loving and tearful embrace before Elsa makes a wish on Anna’s necklace, both actors showcase immeasurable love and heartbreak as their characters delve into a chaotic and emotional state of fear.

Moreover, let’s talk Kristoff and Anna’s reunion with David because those were also amusing scenes an episode like this undoubtedly needed. David and Kristoff’s reunion results in them ecstatically bonding over the fact that it’s not only been a while since they’ve seen each other, but the fact that they both now have short hair.  In her sprightly spirit, Anna too makes note of David’s hair, the fact that she isn’t really Joan, then questions how on earth Emma could be their daughter. It’s sad enough that we don’t get to keep the Frozen cast on the show for good, but if there’s one thing we’d love before they part, it’s a Thanksgiving dinner with each of them talking over one another about all things wonderful – that isn’t too much to ask for, is it?

After the understanding that she may never see her sister again, Elsa unknowingly makes a wish holding Anna’s necklace to be reunited with her, and because it’s the wishing star, it comes true. Georgina Haig’s tearful delivery of the realization that the search is over made the reunion even more poignant than it could’ve been. The sheer look of disbelief that her sister is actually in front of her was beautiful – it’s precisely how we imagined it’d be for after all this time. The magnificent display of adoration aside, the characters then made an anticipated reunion both touching and full of comic relief. We can’t decide what was more incredible, Anna and Elsa talking over one another about trying to find each other or Kristoff voicing the perplexity over being frozen for thirty years. In a scene excellently delivered by the entire cast, there isn’t one we can choose for a favorite. What was interesting however, is that even though both instances were different, Elsa, like Hook, lied to everyone by not giving the object they’re in possession of. In both cases however, they both chose to do the right thing in the end.

Elsa’s faith in finding Anna is something we see most often with the Charmings – you don’t give up on those you love. A lesson Once Upon A Time has continuously chosen to remind the audience of. When you don’t give up, you succeed, and just like that, Elsa is finally reunited with the one person who’s loved and believed in her the most. It’s beautiful that we were shown just how far the sisters are willing to go for one another – boldly differentiating them from their mother and aunts. With Anna and Elsa, their love is stronger than any form of fear one of their abilities can inflict. Full of profound gratitude, adoration, and serenity, their lovely embrace was just as perfect as it was in the animated film – perhaps even more. We’re pleasantly thrilled with the way not only Frozen, but now Once Upon A Time emphasizes the importance of familial love and that just like romantic love, it’s the greatest thing in existence.

Now that we’ve covered most of the best parts, it’s time to delve into scenes with the Charming family because as you all know by now, they tend to leave us emotional wrecks. Once upon a time, Charming and Snow had to “lock” their daughter in a magical wardrobe, and now, almost three decades later, she’s locking them up in a cell to protect them from another curse as they give their infant child to her to take care of. It’s difficult to believe that Goodwin, Dallas, and Morrison aren’t a real family as the brilliant chemistry between these actorsalways reveals itself in their scenes as the Charming family. Jennifer Morrison has an incomparable gift of bringing out Emma’s inner child in times where she’s supposed to be parted from her loved ones. And our tears began to fall the moment Emma expresses her uncertainties with herself and her ability to break this particular curse. It’s then Goodwin’s way of playing Snow’s natural optimism with the absolute horror of once again having to part with both her children that contributed further to the heartache. Dallas’ confident stance should also be appreciated as fear and heartbreak exudes from his eyes while he lovingly encourages his daughter. It’s incredible that the Charmings were once again given the opportunity to show their daughter just how much they care and believe in her. Their speech in this week’s episode compared to the one last week was filled with so much more pride and joy – Emma’s their world, the one treasure they’ve wanted to know most, but weren’t given the opportunity to, and they’ll now continuously praise her at every chance they get because they know what it’s like to mess up. That’s the most admirable thing about the Charming family – they learn from their mistakes. They don’t give up on the ones they love most, and they uplift each other whenever they can. After years of feeling as though she isn’t enough, it’s inexpressibly gorgeous to watch Emma’s parents tell her that she’s not only enough, but that no one is as special as her – no one can do what she can, and that’s just one of the many reasons why they adore her so deeply.

What else is capable of making the heart sore like Charming encouraging Snow that their hearts are the strongest in all the realms – one heart, two halves, and the truest love that exists. Oh right, watching Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin playing love interests while knowing they’re actually married in real life. There aren’t many things on television as beautiful. Dallas manifests an indescribable form of love in his expressions when Charming’s with Snow, and in this scene particularly, just as Kristoff was being strong for both he and Anna, Charming was being the light for he and Snow. How much destruction can two people sharing a heart cause? Something tells us that no matter how bad, when it comes to these two, their love will evidently overcome anything.

If you don’t cry every time Snow cries as she lets go of a child, check to make sure your tear ducts are working fine. There are two characters on this show who can make us feel the most sadness with their sadness – Emma and Snow. Goodwin and Morrison are irreplaceable, talented beyond words, and so incredibly realistic with scenes like this it’s impossible not to feel deeply for them.

It’s difficult to say which broke us most honestly because while the scene with the Charming family is too emotional to even write about properly, there’s also the heartrending scene with Hook and Emma. As Rumple told him, this is Killian’s last day, no matter who survives, he won’t, and believing this is the last time he’ll ever see the woman he loves more than anything in the world, Killian’s goodbye essentially hurts the most. Actions speak louder than words and Killian’s have always said an abundant amount – the choice to not tell Emma what’s really going on with him is understandable, at a time like this, he’s a man who doesn’t value his life as much as he does hers. And the unfortunate thing is that even though he promised her he excels at surviving, it seems that deep within, there’s a part of him who believes Emma would be fine without him. As long as they get their final moment, he believes she’ll be fine. What’s heartbreaking about that conception is that he has no idea just how much Emma cares for him – while “I love you’s” haven’t been exchanged yet, the bond they’ve shared is without a doubt true. True love is about challenging each other, bringing out the best in one another, and healing the wounds that have been left behind from the past. With Killian, Emma’s been able to try new things, to trust, to dance at a ball, to believe in her powers, and to do tearful goodbyes. When it’s real, there are no boundaries, and that’s exactly what this moment showcases – there’s not much that Killian and Emma hold back from each other anymore.

When Emma first approaches Killian, there’s anger in her, just like in “Rocky Road”, she’s upset that he’s there because she needs him to stay safe. And it’s the heavily winded state where Emma voices she’s not a “tearful goodbye person” that allows the audience to see how intensely she cares for the man in front of her. Once again, Morrison’s performance left us completely speechless. Emma’s expression was filled with a remarkable amount of magic as she looked to Killian once more with the realization that she may not see him again – the moment before she made the choice to kiss him is what manifested the most beautiful form of care. It was a moment filled with the inability to figure out what to do that’ll be enough to embody the profound feelings within.

So far, each of their kisses and embraces have been different than the one before. And frankly, there hasn’t been another duo on the show to say as much with their actions as Killian and Emma do. This kiss, like most, played with the juxtapositions of selfishly taking and selflessly giving – it was nothing close to ones they’ve shared before because while they were treasuring one another as they always do, this held the breathless desire to hold on for dear life – to hold one another as tightly as they could in order to completely take the other in during the short time they’re given. Much like Snow and Charming’s goodbye kiss prior to the original curse, it was filled with the indescribable heartbreak only parting from one’s person can bring. There cannot be something more tragic as this, and for us, the performances were a marvel to watch. As though Morrison’s portrayal of Emma’s heartbreak wasn’t enough to crush us, O’Donoghue’s ability to attempt a collected posture while breaking internally was goosebumps inducing. We were given the sight of Emma’s expressions as Killian dug himself further into her embrace to see that even for a brief moment, when the world she loves is falling apart, she’s able to feel at home in his arms. While Morrison showcases Emma’s temporary state of comfort through the poignant serenity she manifests while unwinding into his embrace, O’Donoghue validates the evanescent absence of Killian’s broken state through the still sigh of relief in the arms of the woman he adores more than anything in the world. Even without his heart, there’s no place he’s the best and happiest version of himself than in Emma’s presence.

With every passing episode we hope that we’ll get closer to respecting Regina again, but it only ever goes backgrounds. Regina’s comments this week were almost as out of line as they were in “Breaking Glass”. And while neither of us are blondes, on behalf of them, we felt offended over the comment about not trusting them. The comment merely felt extremely unnecessary in terms of writing. Regina doesn’t seem to think before she speaks and we’re essentially a bit tired of her playing the victim role when she continuously brings others down. At this point, the snark isn’t as entertaining as it used to be so we’re hoping for a change in heart with her. And while we’re at it, it’s difficult to watch her and Robin together when Marian is still frozen but no one’s doing anything about it. Yes, their entire worlds are falling apart, but it’s heartbreaking that it’s as though we’re pretending she no longer exists. It isn’t fair to the character, Roland, or the audience – so truly, we hope that she won’t be killed off once more. We are however most certainly looking forward to seeing the Evil Queen again next week.

Despite the destruction that’s to come next week, we don’t doubt that it’ll be one heck of an entertaining episode with everyone stating exactly what they think about each other. It’s definitely going to be emotional, but we also feel it may be one of the most fun episodes to date. And one more important thing before we end this week’s recap, do you guys think we’ll see the message in a bottle resurface again? We surely do, and something tells us it’ll be a good one.

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