Once Upon A Time 6×09 “The Changelings” Recap

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Episode Summary: In flashbacks, we learn about Rumple’s mother after he steals a baby and summons the Black Fairy. And in present day Storybrooke, Aladdin becomes the Genie, Emma finds a weapon from her visions, and Belle gives birth to her son then sends him away for a better life.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is often great at maintaining an engaging speed with its storylines, but sometimes, there is such a thing as slowing things down, and pregnancies are one of them. Frankly, it’s disturbing and this should be the final time it’s ever done. Please and thank you. That said, Once Upon A Time’s “The Changelings” was a solid reminder of how much strength these characters, especially the woman, walk with.

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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 5×17 “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 5×14 “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 5×11 “Swan Song” Recap

Oh, we’re off to see the … Hades?!

Episode Summary: In flashbacks we learned that when Regina chose to test Killian, she had him confront his father after he’d abandoned him and Liam. In Storybrooke, we learned that in order for a soul from the underworld to be brought back, someone living must die. And a hero’s sacrifice saves the day, but because our town savior isn’t okay with losing her love, she’s on a journey to the underworld in order to split her heart. Neverland 2.0 here we come.

Review | Analysis: There’s a reason we don’t often theorize here at MGcircles and it’s because this series always ends up blowing us away — even when we know that certain things are coming. That said, this finale may have been one of the most captivating hours on Once Upon A Time history for it served as a prime reminder of what this series ultimately is: hope. And though we’ll have to wait until March 6 of next year to find out what’s happening, we’re confident in the fact that it’ll be beautiful. As per usual, we’re left with a number of questions and a ridiculous amount of plot holes, but nonetheless, we’re pleased, and we’ve got a lot to discuss.

This season finale was a hero’s journey — Killian Jones’ “Swan Song” where he finally conquered the darkness in a way only his true love Emma Swan was able to. “Swan Song” was Killian’s justified fight against the darkness. “Swan Song” was his ultimate win and proof that we are the authors of our own fate. Love is a profound part of everyone’s journey — Killian and Emma are each other’s light, just as they are each other’s person and the anchor who’ll always bring them home.

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Once Upon A Time 5×10 “Broken Heart” Recap

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It’s a dark, dark world out there.

Episode Summary: In Camelot, we see an upset Killian enact the curse through Nimue which then forces Emma to wipe everyone’s memories in order to take care of everything on her own. In Storybrooke Killian takes away Emma’s memories and resumes his revenge while the heroes attempt to figure out his plot.

Review | Analysis: The episode’s left a good majority of viewers puzzled, but in a way, that’s a good thing — a “penultimate” episode is supposed to be a massive conundrum. And while we’re on the edge of our seats as well, we have to believe that this is a series about hope. We have to believe that at the end of the day, true love always wins and darkness can never come close to being as powerful. “Broken Heart” was meant to break viewers. It was meant to make us feel angry and hurt, but thankfully, this isn’t where it ends, and with a climax this intense, we’re bound to see a lovely resolution. Once Upon A Time is a series that’ll always remind us of the importance of families, friends, forgiveness, and love — it’s the series where good always wins. It always comes down to the power of choices and they are what define us. As much as this series is a fantasy, the flawed characters add the realism we all need in order to connect with them, and in this story, even the heroes make mistakes.

If this were any other show, we’d without a doubt be addressing the episode differently, but for five seasons Once Upon A Time has taught us to have hope, and it’s what we’ll choose to do. That said, this review features theories and we normally hate writing without valid context, so please take things with a grain of salt.

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Once Upon A Time 5×06 “The Bear and the Bow” Recap

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Adventures and fierce ladies always make for great episodes.

Episode Summary: In Camelot, Belle convinces Merida to courageously fight for her kingdom without the use of magic. In Storybrooke, while still under the Dark Swan’s control, Merida attempts to bring the courage out of Rumple by threatening Belle. Arthur lies to the group about making contact with Merlin and when they learn the truth, they get Henry to do it — only they reach his “voice mail”. Rumple manages to pull Excalibur from the stone. And unanswered questions leave us at the edge of our seats.

Review | Analysis: “The Bear and the Bow” featured some fantastic performances, but most importantly it showcased women at their best. It reminded viewers that although we all have our weaknesses, at the end of the day, there’s courage inside everyone. And when there’s someone to believe in you, it’s always easier to see the strength within you as well. What we’re forever grateful for is great moments of females supporting females and Once Upon A Time does that remarkably well. “The Bear and the Bow” not only gave us wonderful relationship developments but it once again illuminated the power of choices and the importance of nobility.

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Once Upon A Time 5×05 “Dreamcatcher” Recap

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You can’t just end an episode there!

Episode Summary: In Camelot, Emma resorts to the drastic decision of taking Violet’s heart in order to use Henry’s heartbreak as a way to free Merlin. Killian, Robin, Belle, and Regina break into the Dark Swan’s house and find Excalibur there. In Storybrooke Emma also makes amends with Henry and Violet, but it’s too late when Henry’s learned the truth by listening in on Regina and Robin as they watch a flashback through a dream catcher.

Review | Analysis: Tonight’s episode wasn’t exactly our favorite, but then again, who wants to watch their favorite character do something so devastating like break a child’s heart (even with good intentions)? Generally episodes that focus too weightily on the plot don’t leave a lot of room for discussion and in this case, they’ve left us with more questions. We’re anticipating next week’s episode as opposed to wanting to elaborate further on this and that’s not exactly fun. It did however, once again reiterate the theme that all magic comes with a price and the fact that there’s always a choice.

“Dreamcatcher” may have featured Emma Swan doing the worst thing she’d probably ever do, but it gave Jennifer Morrison the opportunity to do some brilliant work.

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Once Upon A Time 5×04 “The Broken Kingdom” Recap

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Darkness is getting stronger and alliances are being tested.

Episode Summary: In flashbacks we watch Arthur’s obsession with becoming King overrule his rightful thinking while in present day Snow and Charming showcase what it truly means to be in a partnership with your spouse. Killian tries to take Emma’s mind away from the voices inside her head. Sands of Avalon is used for all the wrong reasons. And the Dark Swan’s got a new puppet.

Review | Analysis: Tonight’s episode did a wonderful job of contrasting real love and forced. It reminded viewers of the fact that selfishness ultimately leads to nowhere and once again, our choices dictate whether we are a true hero or not. Real happiness and strength isn’t a kingdom or an object — it’s choosing love above all things. “The Broken Kingdom” reveals that true completion is a status achieved when you’re surrounded by people with unwavering faith in you. The greatest measurement of strength comes from the ability to trust, love, and believe in someone when all else is lost. At the end of the day however, we’ve still got tons of mysteries ahead of us waiting to be solved.

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