1. The Evil Queen lashes out at Storybrooke after discovering a weapon that can defeat her. She gains possession of Aladdin's lamp, granting Emma's wish of never becoming the Savior. What did you think of Emma's alternate reality in the Wish World?
Joanne: The Wish World was very interesting. It obviously didn't follow the regular Enchanted Forest timeline. Baelfire apparently never left for Fictional England and Neverland, yet still met Emma somehow so that they could have Henry. It was fun to see Snow and Charming as aging grandparents. My question is where was Hook in Emma's Wish World? Did he never go to Neverland, as well? Did he age?
Sam: Wish World is pretty interesting. It feels like a dream world constructed from Emma's subconscious. I don't expect for everything or everyone in Wish World to make sense and that's okay with me.
Teresa: It was a little too sacharine sweet to be real. While fun to see, it was just wrong, so wrong. These characters are who they are because of the Dark Curse. On the other hand, Regina stirred things up by the end and made it awesome! I also like how Regina was able to "wake" Emma by showing her love for Henry.
1. Rumplestiltskin's missing mother has been revealed to be the Black Fairy. After luring her in with an innocent child, Rumple wants to know why she abandoned him. She replies that she chose power over love. Will Rumple find out more about his mother's choices?
Joanne: I am hoping that we find out more about the Black Fairy's backstory. Why did she abandon her child? Did she do it out of choice or was she forced to? Was Malcolm really Rumple's father or was Rumple left with Malcolm as a changeling? Questions, questions, so many questions left unanswered. Now, after meeting both his father and mother, I believe the cards have always been stacked against Rumple.
Sam: I do want to know more about the Black Fairy. I wonder how long Rumple knew his mother was a fairy? This revelation makes me wonder about the role of Fate in Once and how all the tales are woven together.
Teresa: Rumple having fairy blood to me explains a lot about his life and his choices. I agree with Joanne that this revealed the deck was stacked against him from birth. He has always had conflicting magic warring within him, and his addiction to magic, like a crack baby, was sadly given to him biologically from his mother. Never has he been seen on Once receive the help he needed with this. It can also explain why Belle demanding cold turkey has never worked. Him going through the 12-Steps and also how the Black Fairy and Malcolm hooked up is one awesome story waiting to happen!
1. Regina and Emma tried to imprison the Evil Queen behind the mirror, but she turned the tables on them. What is the EQ's ultimate plan and how can they foil it?
Joanne: I think that if the Evil Queen really wanted to kill them, she would have done it already. She always seems to be one step ahead of them. She wants Regina to accept that dark part of herself as being her passion and strength. The only way to defeat her is for Regina to find a way to merge the two parts, light and dark, back together, and control her from within herself.
Sam: I'm not exactly sure what the EQ's ultimate plan may be. I think she just likes to be evil. She likes being the queen and have people bow down to her. She needs someone, like Snow, to be the target of her evil schemes. I still think the only way to get rid of her is for Regina to re-absorb her and control her from within.
Mauri: I have no idea what her plan is or what the point of the whole Evil Queen arc is. It's gone on too long.
Teresa: It does seem odd. If her goal is that of Season One, well, been there, done that. I think she is just a very strange manifestation of one part of Regina who hasn't gotten over hating Snow. I think, like most, that she will be defeated when Regina accepts the Evil Queen back into herself.
Mia: I think the Evil Queen is trying to show Regina that no matter how hard she tries to be good, she'll always have that darkness inside of her. Only she doesn't realize that Regina does have the strength to fight against it. The EQ is also trying to do whatever she can to destroy the Charming family. She wants Henry to herself and have others fear her once more, the way it was in the Enchanted Forest. Regina can foil this plan by continuing to fight against the darkness. She needs to remind herself that everyone has darkness in them or can end up in that state, but everyone has the strength to fight against it.
1. How did you react to the retelling of Cinderella's story?
Amy: I have always loved Cinderella. I was excited to see a new twist and to see Jesse Schram come back to the show. I'm always a sucker for a good royal ball scene as well. The only thing I was unhappy about was how directly the Clarinda/Jacob story seemed to mimic the Anastasia/Will story from Wonderland, now that we've been told that Anastasia is not Ella's stepsister. The majority of Once Upon a Time In Wonderland fans who I have spoken with all left with the same impression from OUATiW, that Ana was Ella's step sister and I was a little heart-crushed to see that go by the wayside.
Teresa: I enjoyed seeing her again, especially the ball when she meets Snow White and Prince Thomas. That was the scene I missed from her first backstory. Like Amy, I saw the parallels with Clarinda and Jacob's story and Will and Anastasia's. The latter was one of the most mature and satisfying romances Once has given us. I miss them.
Joanne: It was great revisiting Cinderella's story from Season One and seeing it from a different point of view. I was a little disappointed that Anastasia from Once Upon a Time Wonderland was not the stepsister that she had wronged. Clarinda's story was a pale imitation of Anastasia's adventures with Will. I did think that Lady Tremaine did a fantastic job as the stepmother.
Mia: I enjoyed the retelling of Cinderella's story. We've only seen Cinderella before the ball and then after once she and Thomas were married, so it was interesting to see how their first encounter went. I was glad to see that her happy ending worked out and that she could mend the bond that Cinderella had with her stepsister Clorinda.
Lori: I remember her episode so fondly from Season One with Emma's iconic quote (which I was glad to hear again in this episode). I thought this was a great re-telling, filled with the twists and turns that make classic OUAT.
1. Emma discovered that she is the latest in a line of Saviors, including Aladdin, all of whom are destined to die without getting their happy ending. This revelation was accompanied by body tremors and flashes to the battle in which she appears to die. What is happening to Sheriff Swan and will she truly meet a tragic end?
Joanne: Emma has been through a lot as the Savior and she's had very little time to process what has happened to her. I do remember that Jafar told Aladdin that he could have avoided his fate, so maybe the same thing could be true for Emma. I don't think that she will die.
Ashley: There is no way Emma will be meeting her end. I feel that she is at the heart of Once Upon a Time, it would do a disservice to a show about hope to have its main character meet such a fate. Emma and her tremors and these revelations kind of reminded me of people who find out that they have a chance of contracting a fatal disease . . . how they fight against what some say is the inevitable.
Mia: I'm not quite sure what is happening with Emma, but I'm not happy about whatever is going on with her. It made me sad to see Emma with walls up again, as she kept her visions a secret from everyone else. She worked so hard to break her walls down, only to have this new problem force her to rebuild them. I do not believe she will meet a tragic end. She'll find a way to change this prophecy. I have a feeling that as the season continues Emma will realize she needs some back-up and will confide in Killian and her parents, so that they can help do whatever it takes to make sure she doesn't end up getting defeated by a dark force.
Sam: I really wish that Emma would learn to not trust villains and everything they tell her. Everyone dies eventually, except Scully, but that's a different story. I think the idea of a line of saviors may lead us to learn that in the end we are each our own savior.
Amy: I believe what were are seeing is Emma battling herself. This is a very Empire Strikes Back in-the-cave thing coming I believe. There is a strong theme of duality and two halves of self this season so I believe this is the culmination. One side will be defeated, but Emma won't die. It will be either the side that wants to give up and give into fear, or the side that wants to go on being savior.
Teresa: I like that idea of it being Empire Strikes Back-like! Emma has in many ways been fighting herself for many years and so this would be it in physical form. But yea, as Sam said, quit listening to the bad guys, or believing the worst so quickly! I hate to say what WON'T happen on a show so emphatically until it happens, but I think on this one it's ok and safe to predict: no tragic ending for Emma!
Zach: Emma's not going anywhere. I can't subscribe to the idea that she's going to die permanently. There may be some resurrection action going on (she's called the Savior, hello biblical allegory) but she's not going to really bite the bullet. I think the key to this situation is the fact that Emma is the product of true love. It's true that there have been other Saviors in the past but we don't know what makes a Savior a Savior, and if none of them were the products of true love then Emma would be the one to break that curse and survive her supposed death
There's also something about the person who stabs her in this vision. It's notable that Emma grabs the person's arm before the vision ends and I think that shows that she knows her attacker well enough to feel comfortable doing that. This makes me think it's the Evil Queen. Having said that, it could also be Jafar, or Hyde, or even the Dark Swan version of Emma herself, stripped from Emma's body like the Evil Queen was from Regina. Only time will tell, but no matter who it is, Emma will still be victorious.