1. What are your thoughts on Red's character arc and her relationship with Dorothy?
Amy: I was literally about to jump out of my seat when that smooch finally happened! I LOVE that it was written as any other True Love story we've seen so far. No one batted an eye or thought anything about it. Even Red's best friend Snow was like "Girl...honey baby child....you're in love" LOL! I thought it was lovely and wonderful that a perfectly normal relationship was added in. I am proud to show this episode to my kids and even prouder that they don't bat an eye or find it as anything but a great story.
Teresa: I was one of those that was disappointed in the story-telling aspect of the episode. The seeds were supposed to have been planted last Fall according to the creators, and I felt it made sense that those seeds were Mulan and Red. Dorothy was not in their episode. Moreover, Mulan and Red's time together after "The Bear King", and falling in love in the process, would have made for a legitimate "plausible off-screen moment." On the other hand, people can fall in love at first sight, so that route with Dorothy works on a certain level, and I believe both actresses did a fine job with what was essentially a one-shot. I suppose the contrived feel, especially the "surprise" factor of it being Dorothy threw me out of the story. Surprises for their own sake are not interesting to me.
Joanne: The show creators promised a LGBT relationship a while ago, and people have been waiting for it. Now it has finally happened. I wasn't to sure about it when it did finally happen. There didn't seem to be much foundation to the relationship. They had a brief conversation and Red had a heart-to-heart with Snow, but I was never clear on Dorothy's feelings. My question is what happens to the couple now? Are they never to be seen again or will their relationship be featured from time to time? And what about Mulan? Where is her Happy Ending?
Lori: I think it was very lovely to show how Red was really searching for the missing piece in her life, which she thought was her pack initially, but wound up being true love with Dorothy. We've seen true love with men and women (Snow and Charming, Beauty and the Beast), and with parent and child (Henry and Emma), and now with two women - it just reinforces the fact that love is love, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, etc, and comes in many types of relationships. I think it's a wonderful lesson and I'm glad OUAT decided to incorporate it into their true love theme. My one caveat is that I was a little sidelined by Red's attraction, because it does seem to go against her character as typed in Season 1. But then again, maybe we have to imply that this is her growth as a person.
Mauri: I ended up loving Red’s character arc, but at first I wasn’t so sure since Red’s character had always been obviously attracted to men. Then, as she and Dorothy got to know each other, they found common ground. They both had been cast out with no fault of their own by their peers, and both had one family member that supported them through out their trials. It was the conversation between Snow and Red that explained what Red was feeling and validated those feelings. So, then yes, I could see them as a couple that made sense and not just thrown together. Our fellow staffer, Ashley wrote an excellent article this week about Red’s arc, and I liked the point she made about "Skin Deep" Rumple and Belle’s love story. Rumplestiltskin had never met Beauty in any of the storybooks. They were separate stories. Yes, Rumple represents the beast on OUAT and we all know the Beauty and Beast story, but on the show those characters met, fell in love, and had true love’s kiss in one episode. So, did we just accept Belle and Rumple being together because we already knew the Beauty and Beast story? RubySlippers also showed the couple's past and build up to their relationship, and ended with True Love’s Kiss.
2. What do you think of Belle's actions this week? Was using a sleeping curse the only option?
Teresa: I think they were ridiculous and illogical, considering the massive development she made last week--the first superb Belle episode since "The Outsider". These repetitive negations are just getting weird now. What is the point of immediately undoing story development? There were a gazillion ways Belle could have been put under a sleeping curse, and I'm not convinced this was her only option. There are always other ways. Why did her plot unfold in a manner that made it appear she'd lost her mind?
Joanne: I'm thinking pregnancy hormones have made Belle crazy. I understand her desire to protect her baby from Hades but she seemed to be running amuck. Her actions weren't logical. She runs to Zelena for advice instead of trusting in Rumple? She put her baby and herself in possible jeopardy with the sleeping curse. She has no idea how it will effect the baby. She wants her father to deliver the True Love's Kiss to awaken her, but what if they can't get her back to Storybrooke? I thought from the last episode she would have learned that her way isn't always the best. Rumple may be self-serving, but he loves her and the baby. She needs to trust that he will find a way to save them.
Lori: I can only blame the hormones because her actions and speech seem like a complete 180 turn from last week. And the fact that this was filming at the time that Emilie de Ravin was in her last trimester? It's a convenient way to get her off her feet.
Mauri: It’s like they go out of their way to have Belle make the most illogical choices going totally against character. She’s supposed to be smart. She was smart last week on the show; what happened? Her decision to go to Zelena, the person who tortured her husband, Rumple, and cold-bloodily killed his son, Nealfire, for help was just the dumbest thing ever. She goes out on the slim belief that Zelena could help her by convincing Hades to tear up the contract for her and Rumple’s baby. There’s Snow, Charming, Emma, Robin, and Regina... that’s five people that she could have asked for help. She doesn’t even give Rumple a chance to figure things out on how to save their child before she pricks her finger with the sleeping curse. This why everyone is frustrated with this couple. Their marriage should be more stable than this by now, and other influences like the deal with Hades should give their story ups and downs but not to the couple themselves. Especially, why rehash old issues that were resolved in Season 3 when Belle declared, “I love him--all of him--even the parts that belong to the darkness"?
Amy: I'm so conflicted about this. I can see making a desperate decision to protect your child, I think any parent can. I just feel like this kind of conflicts with last week where Belle and Rumple were both so strong and had such great interaction. I think timing wise this may have been more motivated by Emilie's pregnancy in real life, which I can understand. I love strong-willed, dark impy Rumple, but occasionally lately, he's just been a flat out ass.
3. Hook changed the name on the tombstone so Snow could return to her baby. Does this strengthen or weaken the Charmings?
Joanne: I think that it will strengthen them. They were so worried about the baby. Now they can focus on the task at hand. Snow will still find a way to help from the other side.
Lori: Strengthens them as well as their theme that they will always find each other. They can part ways for the good of the family with faith that they will be reunited.
Amy: Strengthen. One of them needed to be with Baby Neal. I love that in their parting they had total faith that they would be reunited again. And Charming is right, who better to defend Storybrooke than badass Snow White.
Teresa: I too believe it strengthens them. It's nice to have our original "I will Always Find You" at play. I love Snowing and I wish they were used more. I am also biased; this allows Charming to have that anticipated show-down with his brother. I think Josh Dallas will knock it out of the park!
4. Zelena and Hades seemed to join forces. What do you think are the true motivations of each?
Lori: Zelena wants her baby. I think maybe she is going along with this for now with that in mind. I also think she hopes that he is sincere but is taking everything he says and does with a grain of salt.
Mauri: I don't trust either of them.
Amy: I find Zelena completely enthralling. Bex and her portrayal of Zelena have really become favorites of mine. Zelena is devious and completely wicked but having a child has given her new motivations. You can see she is conflicted. I hope she gets her happy ending but doesn't lose that fantastic attitude. I cannot get a read on Hades. I think in their own way both truly love the other and wish for they could be happy, but neither actually believes it is possible for them.
Teresa: I think she is playing him like a violin...as much as he is her. That's what makes their twisted relationship so interesting for me. Playing dirty and making no apologies. Frankly I hope both of them win and we see this cat-and-mouse game continue into next season. It's fresh and both actors are up to the task.
Joanne: Zelena is undercover for the Charmings. I don't think that she is really joining forces with Hades. She doesn't trust him. How could she trust someone who is in love with someone like her? She seemed conflicted about Hades pouring Aunty Em into the River of Lost Souls. Normally, she would be gleefully dancing around as he did it. I'm still not sure if Hades actually loves Zelena or he wants something from her. I still think he is after a baby to invoke the time travel spell to get his revenge on Zeus. If he can't get Belle's, then he may try for Zelena's baby.
5. Favorite Moments
Amy: Oh the RubySlipper kiss for sure. A++++ Love is Love, and it is for everyone. True loves kiss is the greatest magic.
Teresa: CaptainCharming! I've missed their interactions!
Joanne: Snow's heart-to-heart with Red. She gave Red the confidence and reassurance she needed to move forward.
Amy, Teresa: I know this land has a lot of singing. I saw it in a movie once back in Storybrooke.~Red
Joanne: "So you finally see the beast behind the man. Maybe you can understand why I'm not rushing to Hades with open arms." ~Zelena
7. Anything Else?
Teresa: Where, or where, is Robin Hood? Just hanging in the forest trying to find creative ways to feed the baby without a wet-nurse or formula? (A funny scenerio thoroughly discussed all over the net!)
Joanne: Still wondering where the writers will go from here in terms of the Ruby Slippers relationship.
Amy: I've already gushed about the lovely way this episode was written so not much more I can say... although...can you imagine the twist of Toto had been Dorothy's true love's kiss...LOL Riots I tell you!!!