Once Upon A Time 6×05 “Street Rats” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

A whole new world, a new fantastic point of view. (You all saw that coming.)

Episode Summary: In flashbacks, Aladdin (Deniz Akdeniz) accompanies Jasmine portrayed by Galavant’s Karen David on an adventure to find a weapon, and in doing so he learns that he’s actually the weapon — the savior. In present-day Storybrooke, the Evil Queen pretends to be Archie in order to learn Emma’s secret and then “he” ends up revealing the fact that she’s hiding something in front of her family prompting her to tell them about her visions.

Review | Analysis: “Street Rats” was yet another episode that brought to life one of Disney’s classics. It may be too soon to already adore Aladdin and Jasmine, but here we are wanting them to stay in our world forever. At its core Once Upon A Time has been a show about hope and “Street Rats” was a solid example of the fact that no matter what a person’s fate holds, where there’s hope, there’s everything. And over the years our characters have needed to learn a lot about the power of hope, but most importantly they’ve needed to believe in the fact that they deserve to have hope.

Hope is a powerful weapon, but in the world of Once Upon A Time our characters tend to believe that hope isn’t even an option. They’ve reached their last resort, but as we’ve learned, hope is a choice, and that’s something we have full control over.

There will never come a time in a person’s life when he/she will not be presented with some kind of a choice. And choices aren’t always what stands on the surface — sometimes they require a bit more thought instead of a simple yes or no. There will also come a time in our lives when the choices we make will not just be for our benefit, but for the safety of others. But sometimes our choices can also be selfish and it’s often those choices that spark up the most controversy because while they may go against certain things, the reasoning behind them can be justifiable.

“Street Rats” did a lovely job of revolutionizing the idea that the underdogs will always come out on top — the ugly ducklings. And it was beautiful to see that the savior’s title didn’t go to someone too different from Emma. I don’t particularly like calling anyone a street rat because it’s too much of a horrific insult to throw around so let’s use the term ugly ducklings instead. Emma Swan has always been an ugly duckling — the lost little girl that didn’t fit in anywhere not because something was wrong with her, but because she was special. Fate had a different story in mind than the one she had imagined would benefit her more. And though she was never chosen to be a part of a home like the other kids in foster care, her destiny had the perfect place in mind — the arms of her real parents.

And now while Emma Swan is a genuinely caring soul that wants to help those in need, she’s still a human being with too many burdens to bear on her own. Thankfully, she isn’t alone, but saviors have presumably prophesied a timely death at some point in their lives. A death that can only be cut through a magical pair of scissors. I was proud of Emma’s choice to apologize to her family for keeping the secret and taking Aladdin’s story as an example. As human beings, we go back and forth a lot in our lives. And as we’ve seen through Emma’s journey, taking off armor doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a gradual process that makes certain choices become easier the more we do them. But the thing we often forget about life is that sometimes, we wear certain goggles when making decisions. Sometimes, we keep things from those we love not because we intend to hurt them but because we believe with everything in us that we’re protecting them.

There are certain situations where a person’s actions aren’t justifiable for instance in the case of adultery. Because those are things we should never do and lie to our spouses/significant others about. There are some lies that are too terrible, but there are other secrets that can be understood. It broke my heart to hear Snow say that she and Charming don’t keep anything from each other when we all know he’s searching for the truth behind his father’s death. And while I’m not looking forward to the drama that’ll erupt after that, it’s the ultimate showcase that love isn’t perfect, but two people will always work hard to keep a relationship through forgiveness, adoration, and understanding. The thing is, I don’t disagree with her — she’s 110% right about the fact that we shouldn’t keep something from our significant others, but it all comes down to the detail that because we’re all incredibly flawed human beings, we’re prone to making such mistakes because we convince ourselves we’re making the right decision.

And while this isn’t okay, it’s human. It’s real. But those we love will always find the means to forgive us because they know our hearts better than anything. When our intentions are right, it’s easy to understand why the decision was made. And though it’s frustrating that we now have yet another secret to deal with because of Killian’s choice, it’s understandable. In the same way that Emma simply couldn’t let go of the fact that he was gone, Killian can’t bear the idea that Emma may potentially die. Killian and Emma mean the absolute world to one another, and because they’ve both lost too much in their lives, losing one another isn’t an option. It’s not even an idea they can ponder. We’re talking about the couple that’d go to the ends of the earth, time, and the underworld for each other. The couple who values the other’s happiness more than their own. The couple who’d give anything they could to make sure they’re happy. There’s absolutely no way either of them would let the other go. And as much as it pains me that this essentially goes against the two of them respecting the other’s agency, it’s so ridiculously understandable that I can’t be upset. I can be frustrated, but I can’t blame Killian — in the same way I couldn’t blame Emma for turning him into the Dark One. But really, we shouldn’t be surprised this is happening, they’re kindred spirits after all and that’s what breaks me the most. The look of despair and heart-wrenching agony Colin O’Donoghue exhibited all throughout the episode shattered my heart.

I almost wish he wasn’t such a fantastic actor because O’Donoghue does a pristine job of showcasing torment it pierces straight into the bones. And when Jennifer Morrison illuminated Emma’s haunting fears of death at the realization that Aladdin’s dead, it made all the more sense for Killian to break. Emma is the strongest person he knows and seeing her this vulnerable is the hardest burden he needs to bear. He’d happily share her burdens, but to know she’s afraid and to potentially lose her isn’t something he’s capable of.

Moreover, as decisions go, it was nice to see a heroic huddle where they all vowed to find a third, honorable way out that ensures Emma’s and the town’s safety. It was wonderful to see their vow to protect Emma and do everything the way she deserves because given what we experienced last year with secrets, this is the best way to go. And while Killian essentially goes against it, it wouldn’t be Once Upon A Time if there weren’t secrets. Jokes aside, I really hope that this secret and Charming’s secret come out together because we deserve a break involving rain, rum, pizza, or Chinese food.

Ultimately, “Street Rats” was filled with a lot of great moments, but it was Henry’s scene with Emma that reminded me of why I fell in love with this show in the first place. True Love isn’t just for romantic relationships, sometimes it’s platonic and it’s found in a mother’s love for her child. I found myself so impressed with Jared Gilmore’s work this week. It’s sometimes difficult to believe that he’s the same kid with a squeaky voice that showed up in the Pilot, only today his voice broke for different reasons. There aren’t many young actors that could strongly hold their own amongst the adults they work with, but Gilmore was unbelievable in his scenes with Jennifer Morrison this week.

When Emma said she wanted to be alone, she meant it, but because Henry had previously spoken with Jasmine, guilt was tormenting him too much to abide by his mother’s wishes. Henry’s belief that he doomed Emma to an early death was understandable, but I loved the fact that he had the opportunity to hear that she wouldn’t change a thing because he’s the greatest magic she has in her life. Henry has always been the heart of the series — the truest believer who’d stop at nothing to remind those he cares for of the greatness they’re capable of. And it’s that very belief that ceaselessly brings hope into Emma’s life.

Emma has regretted giving Henry up from the moment she said no to holding him, and to be given the opportunity to be his mother has been the most amazing gift she could’ve received. From the very first episode, their relationship has been the most special one. Henry’s belief in Emma has been the strength she’s needed in dark times — the hope and reminder of life’s most precious miracles. And Emma’s love has been a light in Henry’s life that’s helped him grow into a lovingly giving kid.

This scene reminded me so much of their very first talk in his “castle” because it was an ultimate showcase of two people who’d be completely different without one another. Gilmore made it clear that for once, Henry’s too afraid, too broken to believe in something bigger. The idea of losing his mother isn’t an option for him and it felt natural that he’d essentially place the blame on himself. And the innate vulnerability projected by Gilmore and Morrison was almost unbearable. The tears in both their eyes cobbled with the breaks in their voices showcased such a profound partnership.

But the scene was also the most accurate depiction of the significance of choices. Henry may have brought Emma to Storybrooke, but she chose to stay because she needed to protect her kid. She chose to stay because she chose to believe in him. He made the choice to go after her, but everything after that was governed by a mother’s deep love for her child and no matter what her future holds, every moment spent with Henry is something she cherished deeply.

Once Upon A Time is still as wonderful as it’s always been, but for me personally, it’s been lacking in familial scenes such as this one. It’s been lacking in scenes such as Snow and Emma’s conversation in “Lost Girl”. We needed more moments that exemplify how families should be with one another — they should listen, cherish, and understand. And I’m thrilled to have finally gotten a scene as profound as tonight’s for Emma and Henry.

Additionally, it felt right that this conversation would inspire Aladdin to come forth with the truth that he’s actually alive. After hearing Henry’s concerns and fears over losing his mother, he was inspired to reveal what really happened despite the shame he may feel. And it was a wonderful display of heart for we know that at the end of the day, the most selfless choices we make are in fact our most wise decisions.

On another note, the path toward True Love isn’t easy, and in the world of Once Upon A Time, there’s no love at first sight. But there’s something far more captivating — an enchantment from within that reveals the meetings of kindred spirits. While first meetings are often filled with arguments and sass, what lies beneath is belief — the hope that there’s something bigger, better for those in front of us. A magnetic pull that encompasses and brings out the most vulnerable sides of people.  In the same way, Killian saw endless potential in Emma in “Tallahassee,” and Jasmine saw the same potential in Aladdin. I’m certain I’m not the only one who was freaking out at the similarities between Aladdin and Jasmine’s first meeting to Emma’s and Killian’s in “Tallahassee.” The greatest love stories begin with adventures, right!?

Aladdin and Jasmine were adorable together and it was lovely to see yet another iconic couple brought to life gorgeously on our screens. And I’m probably never getting over the beautiful work that went into creating Jasmine’s outfit — simply breathtaking. I need that outfit just to sit in my closet.

In conclusion, Jafar is still out there and I for one can’t wait to see him in Storybrooke. And by the way, Regina’s trying to make amends, it simply doesn’t fit for her to be the figure behind the hood. It’s almost too redundant to have her once again go back to her old roots after attempting to make amends. Whoever it may be I have a feeling is someone that’ll be tied to both Aladdin and Emma.

Worth Mentioning:

  • I truly hope we never have scenes of Zelena and the Evil Queen gushing over “hooking up” with Rumple because this was enough trauma for one episode. And it’s so upsetting that the Evil Queen is essentially convincing Zelena to show Robin her wicked side, she’s come too far to be in this situation and it saddens me that all the progress made with Regina is thrown away like this.
  • I loved Regina’s kindness towards Jasmine — choosing to comfort a grieving woman felt right for her since she too just lost the love of her life. And their closeness in the background was lovely to see.
  • Best for last, we need to commend Jennifer Morrison for once again doing the impossible by making sure dramatic scenes are performed without over-exaggerating. I’m continuously impressed with how well she handles scenes that require her to physically showcase torment because the shakes could easily be overdone, but instead, Morrison’s ability to embody Emma only displays the utter turmoil she’s physically and emotionally experiencing.

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