Once Upon A Time 6×01 “The Savior” Recap

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Welcome back to season one. Oh, wait no season six. It’s going to be an incredible ride (like season one).

Episode Summary: Resuming right where we left off in the season five finale, our heroes are disturbed with a dirigible from the Land of Untold Stories, but when they finally capture Mr. Hyde, it turns out he’s actually going to be usual to Emma, leading her on a journey where she learns what her visions mean. Gold wakes up Belle and in her sleeping curse, the two meet their son, Morpheus (Giles Matthey). And while Regina’s made the decision to make proper amends, the Evil Queen has a plot to turn her sister against her.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time’s sixth season premiere has set up a promising arc that’ll focus on the power of our choices beautifully. No person changes overnight — day-by-day human beings grow into better versions of themselves simply by choosing the direction they want to take. And sometimes, the closer they get to progress, the farther back they go, but with persistence, growth can be achieved. Our favorite Storybrooke heroes have continuously found themselves at crossroads and it finally appears as though this season will explore their temptations with great depth. If “The Savior” promised anything, it’s the fact that people are always responsible for the choices they make. And it appears it’s finally time for every character to learn that.

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Once Upon A Time 5×22 “Only You” and 5×23 “An Untold Story” Recap

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Episode Summary: Gold uses the Olympian Crystal to save Belle and tethers all of Storybrooke’s magic to it, but when Henry runs off to New York in order to destroy magic, Gold, Regina, and Emma must change course in order to stop him. After they send the Camelot folks back home, Snow, Charming, Killian, and Zelena are taken through the portal to the Land of Untold Stories.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time from the very beginning has emphasized the importance of choice. There’s great power in all of us and it is the ability to decide where we go once we’ve been hurt. While it’s never easy to choose the hard path, it’s almost always the right one, and this show’s rightfully presented us with both the difficulties and the ramifications. It’s also reminded us of the importance of forgiveness. Essentially, life and art are one in the same — nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy, but in the long run, it’s always the best choice. “Only You” and “An Untold Story” dealt with choices and the power of hope beautifully reminding us all of why we fell in love with this show.

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Once Upon A Time 5×21 “Last Rites” Recap

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“Keep your chin up, there will be happiness again.”

Episode Summary: When our heroes return to Storybrooke, Zelena is hesitant to believe Hades has actually teamed up against them, and after replacing the Olympian Crystal, Hades attempts to use it to kill everyone in order to create a new kingdom with Zelena. Back in the underworld, a newly deceased Arthur teams up with Killian in order to help the heroes defeat Hades. One soul dies, while another returns.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is a show about hope — a reflection of the real world, only with fairytale characters. And much like in the real world, there are genuinely dark, hopeless times. To be quite honest, when a series like this leaves us in a hopeless state, it isn’t easy to write. And it’s not something that happens often, which is what makes it so jarring and too emotional. Funny thing is, Once Upon A Time is a show that knows how to kill people with closure — especially when it’s a character we’ve grown to truly care for. But perhaps, we’re simply meant to believe that sometimes, there is no closure.

“Last Rites” was simultaneously satisfying and emotionally numbing — two juxtaposing mindsets that feel incredibly wrong together. But that’s life: where there’s childbirth, there’s also death somewhere else. Where there’s happiness, there’s also deep sadness. But on Once Upon A Time though there may not always be hope, True Love is always strength, and where there’s strength, there is always a natural desire to be selfless. True Love is sacrifice.

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Once Upon A Time 5×19 “Sisters” Recap

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“Sisters” is one of Once Upon A Time’s most beautiful and thematically powerful episodes.

Episode Summary: Flashbacks reveal that there was a time where little Regina and Zelena got along incredibly well only to have their bond broken by Cora and their memories of one another completely wiped. In present day, once Regina overhears Hades’ plans to leave the underworld and make a living with Zelena in Storybrooke, she seeks out her mother in order to stop Zelena from giving Hades “True Love’s” kiss. James switches places with Charming and attempts to kill those closest to him. A heartfelt apology finally allows Cora to move on, but before Zelena could happily take her sister’s advice, she’s taken captive by Peter Pan and Rumplestilskin.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is a show about family. It is the show where despite how ridiculous it sounds to those who’ve no idea what it’s about, each and every character is connected to one another in deeply intriguing ways. And “Sisters” managed to make a strange connection absolutely beautiful. When you say it out loud, it sounds bizarre to think that the Evil Queen and the Wicked Witch of the West are sisters. However, after this week’s episode, it’s a relationship a lot of us care greatly for. Despite it’s unique and wonderful ridiculousness, Once Upon A Time tells real stories and while some stories are bound to have a happy ending, other’s simply just aren’t given the chance. Sometimes, it’s too late. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to change someone, it doesn’t work out. And “Sisters” not only illuminated the serenity found it forgiveness, but it showcased the rage that’s built up from the refusal to let go.

Anything and everything requires love. In order to move forward you must open your heart to those in front of you. In order to forgive, you must choose to hold on to love . The greatest strength doesn’t come from magic or physical versatilities, but rather love, for love and only love alone could change lives in impeccable ways. And at the end of the day, it all comes down to a choice. 

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Once Upon A Time 5×17 “Her Handsome Hero” Recap

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Once again, do not make the deals with the devil, kids — there’s always a trick with him.

Episode Summary: Flashbacks reveal Belle and Gaston’s first meeting followed by an adventure that showcased what a powerful team they could’ve been if their story evolved further. However, when they’re reunited in the underworld, Gaston reveals she was a weakness and his quest to kill Rumple is the unfinished business he’s doomed with. And unfortunately, when Rumple’s involved, souls don’t move forward to eternal bliss, instead, they decay in the “River of Lost Souls”. In an attempt to stop the men from destroying each other, Belle accidentally pushes Gaston into the river, but despite the fact that a soul departed in Hades’ preferred way, because it wasn’t Rumple’s doing, he will not allow Belle to keep the child. Emma believes her dreams are visions leading to Snow’s death, but what the heroes come to find is the fact that a beloved friend has found her way into the underworld — now whether dead or alive, (hopefully the latter) next week’s episode is bound to be extraordinary with Red and Mulan.

Review | Analysis: From an early age, fairy tales were meant to paint gorgeous pictures of the significant lessons, except sometimes, instead of dragons and witches, the demons are internal battles. Once Upon A Time and this arc especially, emphasize the vitality of hope in a masterful way. It’s been scientifically proven that positivity and laugher can play an enormous role on a person’s physical health. In the same way, negativity can do the exact opposite. “Her Handsome Hero” touched on perspectives inspiring us to once again be certain of the fact that though a hero’s life isn’t always easy, it’s not only always worth it, but it strengthens hope and ensures happiness in beautiful ways.

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Once Upon A Time 5×16 “Our Decay” Recap

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Love is enough … or at least for some.

Episode Summary: In flashbacks we learn that at the time where Zelena was first concocting her time travel spell, Hades was there to help her; only instead, he fell in love, but Zelena chose to carry on with her plans. In present day, Belle, “baby green bean”, and Zelena are teleported to the underworld where Hades and Zelena unite and Henry’s time as the author isn’t as peachy as imagined.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is always here to remind us that love is not only a choice that’s always possible, but it’s also always enough. And in “Our Decay” we were given the opportunity to see two men take two completely different routes in their journey of love allowing us to fully understand that at the end of the day, if love is true, it’s eternal. No matter if it’s romantic or platonic, love and only love is the strongest force of all. In what may have been one of the most surprising episodes in Once Upon A Time history, “Our Decay” did an astounding job of baring characters in a way that’s bound to permanently alter things.

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Once Upon A Time 5×15 “The Brothers Jones” Recap

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It’s not enough to have others forgive you, you have to forgive yourself, too.

Episode Summary: Flashbacks reveal the terrible deal Liam took with Hades to ensure his and Killian’s place in the King’s Navy. And when Liam doesn’t choose to see the best in Emma, she needs to put her heartache aside to fight and make sure Killian forgives himself. The heroes go on a quest to find the underworld’s version of the storybook, but in order to keep his secret hidden, Liam does Hades another favor by tearing his story from the book. However, when he’s caught red-handed, sacrificing himself after revealing the truth to Killian and the crew gives him the chance to finally move on.

Review | Analysis: Once again, the series beautifully magnified the significance of forgiveness and true heroism reminding its viewers that the honorable road is the honest one. As human beings, desperate times call for desperate measures, but the secrets that are kept and the inability to forgive ourselves can haunt in unbelievable ways. A hero isn’t someone who’s free of all sin, but rather the person who’s learned from their mistakes. “The Brothers Jones” reminded viewers of the fact that there’s a clear difference between selfishness and self-love, one dooms us, while the other frees us. And most importantly, a hero is someone who lends a hand. Once Upon A Time has continuously illuminated the idea that selflessness will lead to a far better future than constant greed.

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Once Upon A Time 5×14 “Devil’s Due” Recap

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Don’t make deals. Don’t ever make deals. Don’t make deals with Rumplestiltskin. Don’t make deals with Hades. Don’t make deals with Cruella. Just don’t make deals okay?

Episode Summary: When a rare snake in flashbacks threatens Bae’s life, Milah and Rumple seek a man who can magically help him, but they cannot afford his asking price. Milah asks Rumple to kill him in order to steal the elixir, but instead, his naiveté inspires another decision instead: their second born child will be given away. We also see Milah and Killian’s first meeting after he defended her from a drunken man at the tavern. In Underbrooke, Regina is given the opportunity to see that Daniel has moved on to a better place. Rumple seeks Milah’s help in order to get him and Emma into Hades’ lair where Killian’s held. Milah and Rumple discuss how her unfinished business in Bae, but instead of giving her the opportunity to reunite and move forward with their son, Rumple takes a deal with Hades, sends her into “the river of lost souls”, burns their ride home, and lies to the heroes. Killian and Emma reunite, but because Killian would not choose souls to stay behind, Hades took matters into his own hand trapping Emma, Regina, and Snow. In the end, it turns out Belle is pregnant and when the child is born Rumple must give him/her to the man he once killed in order to get out of the contract.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time at its core is a series about redemption and this arc especially is focused on the importance of doing good, honorable deeds in order to help others. “Devil’s Due” was perhaps one of the darkest episodes Once Upon A Time has done because it focused primarily on just how far man is willing to go in order to seek what he desires. Surely we weren’t the only ones hoping the episode would have ended with Milah being given the opportunity to move on, but something tells us this isn’t the end of her story. What this episode has fundamentally done is revealed the truth behind a villain’s agenda — it’s never black and white. It is complicated, it is messy, it is heartbreaking, and it is disgusting. However, it has once again reminded us of what clearly distinguishes heroes and villains. While tonight’s episode did not leave us hopeful like the past two have done, it has beautifully revealed that teamwork is truly the key to success.

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Once Upon A Time 5×13 “Labor of Love” Recap

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Snow White is back and all’s well in the world again.

Episode Summary: Bailee Madison reprised her role as young Snow as she became a better warrior due to the help she received from her demigod friend, Hercules (Jonathan Whitesell). In the underworld, Killian helps Megara (Kacey Rohl) escape in order to give Emma a message, but the three headed beast Cerberus goes after them forcing Mary Margaret to retire her Storybrooke alias because in order to win, she needs to channel bandit Snow. Hercules, Snow, and Megara slay the beast and the two dead souls are finally given the chance to go to Olympus. While trying to find a map of Storybrooke in Regina’s office with Robin, Henry comes across Cruella (Victoria Smurfit) who tells him that much like the living souls, the quill he destroyed is in the underworld. The quill also has infinite powers and she wants to be written alive again. And in the end, Hades reveals to Killian that with every soul his friends save, he needs to choose which one of them to stay.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time knows how to write real, complex women who are strong because they’ve been weak — women who find themselves again after losing battles or falling apart. And it’s no wonder so many of us are in love with this series. Who doesn’t adore heroines who’ve not only taught us so much about ourselves, but who’ve inspired us to continue striving towards better? “Labor of Love” showcased the very fact that bravery isn’t the absence of fear, but rather it’s taking risks in spite of the overwhelming thoughts that say failure is more probable than success.

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Once Upon A Time 5×12 “Souls of the Departed” Recap

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100 episodes. 100 beautiful stories told.

Episode Summary: In flashbacks we learn about the time Cora took Snow White’s heart only to have Henry Mills Sr. return it, which then sends Regina into a fury, and she shrinks her father. In the underworld, we learn that the souls of the departed found each have unfinished business. Cora tells Regina to leave or she’ll send her father to the worst part, but when Henry Mills Sr. convinces Regina to do the right thing by helping her friends, he finds himself finally free to rest peacefully in the best place.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time has always been a series about hope. It’s been there time and time again to remind us the fact that even in the darkest hours, hope is never lost. It’s reminded us that even the vilest of villains could find redemption when they finally choose to make honorable choices. It’s reminded us of the fact that forgiveness is possible. And most importantly, it’s shown us that where there is love, whether platonic or romantic, there’s always hope.

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