Hey guys! Let me start off by apologizing profusely for this review being so late. If you follow me on Twitter, or read my other Blog, you know I am starting a new website. Don’t worry, it’s a not a scifi news competitor for Three if By Space, it’s about independent film projects. But anyway this week I was in Toronto, Ontario, meeting with some production companies and some investors. And, of course, Once Upon A Time is not aired in Canada, and I couldn’t stream Hulu while in a foreign country. Enough of that, on to the review!
I really enjoyed (most) of this episode. One thing I can say is I am very glad they are back to surprising us, after predict-a-fest that was Child of the Moon. While there were some predictable bits here and there, for the most part this episode kept us guessing, and had a big shocker at the end. If, like me, you are a Cora and Killian fan, you will like this episode. Regina continues in her new attempted maternal track, eschewing magic for the most part. We see a lot of character growth in Aurora. No flashbacks in this episode, which is a welcome change of pace, just transitions from Enchanted Forest of Present to Our World.
We start out with a little intrigue between Cora and Killian. Cora confronts Killian for his betrayal of her, which Killian insists wasn’t really a betrayal. Cora doesn’t believe him and says she is stranding him in the Enchanted Forest, where he will never get his revenge, and going to Storybrooke without him. Cora then, via the magically removed hearts, raises a group of zombies from the slain members of Mulan and Aurora’s safe haven.
Now that it has become clear that Henry and Aurora can communicate via the Netherworld, things progress swiftly, and start to see a new side of many of the characters. Emma and Snow become borderline obsessed with using Aurora to talk to Charming and the rest of Storybrooke.
After using this Netherworld communication to warn Charming, Regina, and Rumple that Cora is coming to Storybrooke, the group decided it is too dangerous to send Henry back there, as he is being physically burned by the flames there. Rumple says that there is still some of the ink that was used to de-power him in Season 1 in his cell under Snow and Charming’s castle, and they must use that to defeat Cora before she can cross over. Charming volunteers to be put under a sleeping curse so he can give the ladies this message, planning to have Snow break the curse by giving him True Love’s Kiss in the burning room. He manages to deliver the message, but they discover as they aren’t actually present in the room, the Kiss won’t work. He must wait until Snow and Emma return before he can be awoken.
Mulan steals the compass so she can give it to Cora and save Aurora, fulfilling her promises to Prince Phillip before he died.
The group is attacked by the enchanted henchmen of Cora. Mulan, Emma, and Snow escape, but Aurora is nowhere to be found.
Aurora has been captured by Cora, who tries to manipulate her into giving up the location of the compass. Cora tells her that Phillip, Aurora’s lost love, can be brought back from where the Wraith took Phillip’s soul. Cora also sends word to the rest of the group that she has Aurora and will kill her if Cora doesn’t get the compass.
When Aurora refuses to betray her new companions, Cora leaves. Killian appears and offers to help Aurora escape, telling her she needs to tell Emma that his offer to help them is genuine. We see Aurora relaying this message to Emma and the group. However, it is concurrently revealed that Killian stole Aurora’s heart and Cora is using it to control Aurora, and lead the others into a trap (the shocker I mentioned).
All in all, this was a very good episode. Lots of great character development and story progression ahead of the next episode, the mid-season finale. Keep an eye out for my review of that episode this week!