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

Spoilers Ahead

Welcome back to season one. Oh, wait no season six.

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.

Once Upon A Time has tackled the power of choice quite frequently, but there’s something different about the way it appears showrunners will be handling it this season. For example, it’s clear at this point if you’ve read our reviews that we’ve often voiced our frustrations with Regina’s inability to take proper responsibility for her actions. And while in the past she’s put the blame on other people, in “The Savior”, Regina’s been more honest than ever revealing what’ll potentially be her best arc yet.

Snow and Regina’s relationship has involved fascinating growth from the end of season two. At this point, it’s safe to assume that Regina’s probably come to the conclusion that blaming a 10-year-old for revealing a secret with good intentions wasn’t the best way to go. And while blaming the Evil Queen isn’t exactly the route I’d personally take, perhaps one day at a time she’ll come to the conclusion that they are both. On that note, hearing Regina boldly state that she was a terrible stepmom was commendable. It’s about time Snow hears this.

Essentially, how she chose to behave towards Snow wasn’t the Evil Queen’s doing, it was her choice to let anger and resentment create a home within her until they turned her heart dark. And it was her choice to continue giving in to the darkness even when she knew she had the power to turn the other cheek. But the best part of this conversation was Snow’s response — she continued to have hope despite how horrific her life turned out because she refused to let Regina’s darkness tell her story. It was Regina’s choice to be unkind, but it was Snow’s choice to continue believing that one day, she’d make a great escape. One day she’d have her kingdom. One day the Evil Queen would be destroyed. The horrors in her life taught her one of life’s greatest lessons: we are responsible for our happy endings and the hope we carry can only be altered if we let it.

Snow’s unwavering kindness stemmed from the constant choice to fight against the temptations that would tell her to give up. And it’s this very choice that’s brought her to the place she is now. The moment Snow saw potential in Regina, she couldn’t give up on her. And as the fairest of them all, that’s what Snow White has continuously done — she’s given people chance after chance even when they haven’t deserved it.

So often Regina’s placed the blame on other people and so often, that’s been an extremely frustrating part of her character’s traits, but as mentioned above, it seems as though this time, she’s learning to take responsibility for the choices she’s made. That said, honesty is a great part of a person’s character and it was fascinating to see Regina voice her frustrations with Zelena. Although once again putting the blame on someone else wasn’t the wisest of choices, I want to believe that she’ll be able to make it up to Zelena because at the end of the day, placing blame on one another is never the way to go. Zelena isn’t responsible for what Hades has done, and as unfortunate as it is that she lost Roland’s gift, surely it’ll turn up somewhere when the mess is cleared up. And with Zelena, despite the fact that she feels she has more in common with the Evil Queen than Regina, I hope she comes to the realization that she’s made too much progress to take a step backward now.

This season is evidently going to focus heavily on our choices and especially Emma’s. As we see from the beginning, she has savior shakes similar to Aladdin’s revealing that a Savior’s time eventually comes to an end. However, this is Emma’s story and as Regina states during her conversation with Snow, she’ll choose to make sure this story has a better ending than her last. Emma’s time as the savior hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park, for more often than not, she’s put everyone else’s happiness above her own sacrificing quiet moments and time for herself. And although Emma’s grown immensely from the woman we met in the “Pilot,” what Once Upon A Time does beautifully is showcase realism.

Again, no one changes overnight — as human beings, though we know the areas we need to make improvements in, we make mistake after mistake until one day it becomes second nature. It took Emma three years to be comfortable enough to call her parents’ mom and dad. It took her another two years to feel safe enough to tell Killian she loves him without a crisis in front of them. That said, Emma knows very well that she carries too much on her plate, but it’s still not easy for her to share her burdens with other people because deep down she firmly believes she shouldn’t inconvenience them when she can handle it.

In “The Savior,” Emma learns that her shakes and visions are essentially premonitions that will lead to her eventual death during a battle with a hooded figure. Now, while most of us fans know Emma Swan will not die (this has always been her story), at the moment, Emma doesn’t know that. During a little meeting in the woods, Archie states that “when it comes to fixing our biggest problems there are no shortcuts.” We’re so incredibly flawed as human beings it’s not even funny. Some of us, myself included, have been dealing with the same issues for far too long. At the end of the day, Emma knows she should tell Killian and her family the truth, but I imagine she feels as though after everything they’ve gone through, they don’t need another heartache on their plate. But it is only when she shares her burdens where she’ll be able to learn that she can choose to rewrite her happy ending by winning the battle against the hooded figure instead. And while it’s uncertain when that moment will be, even the choice to see Archie regularly is incredibly admirable on Emma’s part. At the end of the day, we all fall — even the strongest people will need help sometimes, and as it’s been said by Jennifer Morrison as well, it takes great strength to be vulnerable.

Emma has come a long way from the woman whose walls were through the roof, but just because she’s been able to let them down, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t carry fears and heartaches within her. It’s going to take a little bit more time for her to be reminded of the fact that though she was once alone, today, there are people in her life willing to carry her burdens with her.

And number one on that list is Killian Jones. Killian has seen through Emma since the moment they climbed the beanstalk together in season two. And better than anyone else, he’s understood what it means to take on battles alone thereby, ceaselessly making sure she’s aware of the fact that he’s on this journey with her. From the moment Killian noticed her hand shaking, he kept his eyes on her patiently waiting until she’d say something. But when Emma refused to admit that something was wrong, Killian chose to confront her reminding her of the fact that he is her partner in this world, and though she can pull off lying to others, he sees right through her. It’s unfortunate that Emma didn’t tell him the truth, but when it’s revealed, the qualms they face will undoubtedly only make their relationship stronger. And by extension, it’ll make them stronger as individuals. Sometimes people refrain from telling the truth because they don’t know how to ask for help, and in this case, after everything they’ve been through, Emma doesn’t want to worry those closest to her. And through his persistence, one of these days Emma will learn that sharing battles is a part of life.

At the end of the day, Once Upon A Time is reminding its viewers that real changes come from constantly making mistakes. Sometimes, the reality is we don’t realize that we’re doing the very things we hate because we have different intentions at heart. Emma isn’t lying to Killian because she feels like it, she’s keeping the secret because she wholeheartedly doesn’t want to burden him with the fears that she’s now facing. Saying she isn’t okay out loud will make the situation feel more real, and as someone who’s often dealt with her battles alone, she still has a difficult time involving others even though doing it alone may backfire.  Deep down, Emma knows the choice she’s making is wrong, and I don’t doubt that in later episodes we’ll get to watch her be conflicted with her decisions and what she should have actually done. Ultimately, it’s these back-and-forth battles that make these characters feel more real. Plus, Jennifer Morrison does an exquisite job of revealing the depth of Emma’s struggles and though it’ll be unfortunate to watch Emma go through this savior journey, we’re certain it’ll bring out phenomenal performances that layer the character further.

But listen, this entire review would be cheating if we didn’t mention the very first scene we watched with the lovebirds. (Just let them live for a second, writers! Please and thank you.) Killian and Emma take sometime to unwind in their new home. Although because this is happening in Storybrooke, peace never lasts for more than .25 seconds. (Sigh) And though their hopes to spend some quality time on their couch are cut short, it’s simply lovely to see the season start off this way when season five began with darkness. Killian’s overwhelming apprehensiveness and Emma’s exhausting battle with darkness are now replaced with transcendent laughter which gorgeously showcases the profound level of adoration that runs through their veins for one another. Killian and Emma have needed a moment like this for a while now — a moment where two people could resort to a puddle of giggles as their bodies speak where words can’t.

Killian and Emma have been through more than any couple should, and that is why their journey’s the most fascinating to watch. They grow together and that growth comes from the mistakes they make in and out of the relationship. Killian and Emma are undeniably in it to the end together, but as in all successful relationships, there will be bumps in the road and the choices they make will pave those roads. While Killian will most definitely forgive Emma’s choice to take on this burden alone, she’ll once again have proof that in the future, she doesn’t need to. And tirelessly choosing to fight for one another is what they do best. This season may hold a lot of angst, but it’ll be fascinating to watch them take these issues on. Plus, even if Emma does die, Killian can split his heart with her. (Option One.) As we’ve learned with these two, not even death can separate them.

Now while one couple will always fight for each other, another’s giving up. And maybe this is exactly what Rumple needs to finally decide that he needs to choose between love and power. After Belle’s awakened by True Love’s Kiss from their son Morpheus, she tells Rumple that though she’s going back with him, she isn’t interested in finding a home with him. Ouch. And while a lot of us have been tired of the way Rumple’s treated Belle, I can’t deny that their second Beauty and the Beast tribute was incredibly enjoyable. There will never come a day when references to Disney’s animated film won’t resort me to tears and in the midst of heavier plot lines, it was nice to see a recreation of a time when they fell in love.

Belle brought light into Rumple’s life but he made the choice to follow darkness instead. Once again showcasing that the route our life takes is solely based on the choices we make. I’m a firm believer in the fact that while destiny sets things in motion, we determine what we want to do with the options we’re given. Rumple could’ve easily destroyed the dagger but instead, he decided he couldn’t live without power. He decided he didn’t want to, and in doing so, by inviting darkness back into his life, the light Belle had brought in slowly diminished. However, it appears as though this time, Belle is serious about walking away from him and perhaps now he’ll be able to actually turn his life around in order for history not to repeat itself with another child resenting him.

We’re excited to see what this season has in store because the more Once Upon A Time explores real life elements, the more it inspires its viewers. And with the addition of Aladdin, we’re in for a remarkable journey in a whole new world. (C’mon, I had to.)

P.S. I’m still terrified of Hyde. And again, kudos to Sam Witwer for that voice and the makeup department for that eye. But seriously guys. I’m terrified. Ask me how I feel about him next week.

Worth Mentioning:  

  • Captain Charming arresting Hyde was perhaps the best scene of the episode. And if there’s one thing the series has always been lacking, it’s more scenes between these two. Because seriously, I’d take a crime show spin-off with those two any day.
  • Did anyone else adore Zelena’s mommy outfit? That adorable bow in her hair and the green shirt were too precious for words. But serious question, how many pairs of green clothing does this woman own?
  • While we don’t usually theorize on here, I can’t help it today. I don’t trust seers. I never have and probably never will. And for this reason, I had a lot of difficulty trusting the Oracle Girl. Follow the red birds? You know who else has a red bird? Jafar. His name is Iago. And Iago is no sweet pea. Additionally, for those of us who have read Shakespeare’s Othello, Iago is the ultimate betrayer. Now while I’m not saying the red bird was Iago, I also don’t believe it’s a coincidence that Emma was told to follow them when we’re dealing with Aladdin during this arc. And who knows, Jafar could have shape shifted into the girl in order to lead Emma astray.

What are your thoughts on this week’s episode?

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