One heart, one curse, and perpetual weeping by all fans until these are resolved.
Episode Summary: In flashbacks, we’re taken back to a time when Charming and Snow met without ever knowing who the other was. In present-day Storybrooke, the Evil Queen finds a new way to torture the couple when she comes and accepts that they’re willing to lay down their lives for the sake of the town.
Review | Analysis: Belief has often been an incredibly powerful theme in the world of Once Upon A Time and in “Heartless” it serves as a gorgeous reminder of hope. It’s this very belief that has strengthened our characters to the core reminding viewers that encouragement is a weapon we must all use to brighten up the days of our loved ones. Come what may, the Charming family has always found a way to happiness — no matter how brief it’s been, their adventures have been worthwhile. And with this new challenge arising in their paths, is bound to make them even stronger. Snow and Charming were once on their own, but today, there’s an army behind them. There’s an army believing with intense faith that they can break the new curse bestowed by the Evil Queen.
It was lovely to learn about this meeting prior to “Snow Falls” because while Once Upon A Time’s timeline can be a mess, this was a wonderful little gem that’s officially become one of my favorite moments between the two. Snow and Charming were easy to fall in love with. They were easy to root for. They were easy to understand. And in “Heartless” it’s revealed that long before David took Prince James’ place, he had an encounter with a woman who helped save his mother’s farm. And who would’ve ever imagined that the two would share a heart one day?
First things first, everyone knows Dan Scott shouldn’t be trusted. And let’s be honest here, I wasn’t the only one who was unable to see Paul Johansson as anyone other than One Tree Hill’s noted villain. I almost hoped Johansson’s character would be honorary on Once Upon A Time, but because we didn’t see the face of Snow’s attacker, it was clear that Johansson’s character would somehow be tied to him. On a side note, Paul Johansson is really great at playing the villain.
Though one of the most heartbreaking episodes on Once Upon A Time, “Heartless” has also been one of the most romantic. And it’s because the love between Snow and Charming still serves as the prime paradigm of what True Love should look like. It’s easy to love this show because at its best, it uses classic fairy tales to tell stories that’ll leave an even greater impact while allowing us to appreciate the past that much more. The Princess Bride has always been one of my favorites, but somehow, Once Upon A Time has made me love it even more. And as if we needed another gorgeous man dropping the “as you wish” line to make us swoon even harder. As it turns out before any of this even began, Charming uttered those exact words to Snow.
“As you wish” is an iconic, irreplaceable saying. It not only showcases great character from whoever’s uttering the words, but it deepens the level of respect between two people beautifully. It’s special. And while I may be guilty of overanalyzing it, at this point and with this show, it’s impossible not to. When Killian used “as you wish”, it was a reminder to Emma that his entire quest down to Neverland was to help her through whatever she needed. And Charming’s use of the word was to make sure this great stranger who’d helped him knew she was respected. (If anyone needs me I’ll be crying in the corner for another century.)
The idea of soul mates has been explored frequently on Once Upon A Time, but somehow, it’s never enough. And this show does a remarkable of job of showcasing the fact that whatever’s meant to be will find its way. Two people who are meant to be cannot be kept apart for too long. It doesn’t matter how or when or why, when two people are meant to be together, the stars align and things always work out in their favor. And that’s what makes this show special — it’s a fantasy interwoven gorgeously with realistic elements. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I will always believe in the idea of soul mates and that two people who are meant to be will find their way to each other. Additionally, a grand showcase of this was the fact that even though Emma and Killian slightly altered their first meeting, Snow and Charming going on an adventure together continued to impact their lives profoundly.
Metaphorically, the two have shared a heart long before it became a literal thing. And belief is the core reason behind it. Snow and Charming come from a world where they’ve been reminded of the fact that they’re brave enough to conquer anything. Before all hell broke loose, Snow was loved by her family. And though raised alone, David never once doubted that he was wonderful in his mother’s eyes. They came from a world where no matter what life throws, encouraging the person in front of them will always matter more than how they feel on the inside. They’re both forgiving, incredibly generous, and fiercely loving souls whose bond was something written in the stars. And long before they fell in love, they believed in each other. They chose to believe in a perfect stranger who selflessly wanted to make their lives a little easier. I’m going to be that person who quotes Taylor Swift right now — “one step, not much, but it said it enough.” Because that’s what it took. A simple choice to team up that’d showcase both their character admirably.
And in later years, with that same faith, Snow and Charming believed in their child. They believed in the fact that prophesy or no prophesy, one day, Emma would find them. Time and time again they’ve believed in the town. They’ve believed in villains. They believed in each other. And that belief is infectious. It’s in Emma. It’s in Henry. It’s even in Regina now. And it’s most definitely in Killian.
Snow and Charming are revolutionary. They’re the couple that started it all and their adventures have done the best job of reminding us why they’re so easy to adore. It’s in little moments. And Snow’s excitement about sharing another adventure with Charming was as lovely as can be. Ginnifer Goodwin was born to play Snow White and there’s never a moment where her expression alongside Josh Dallas doesn’t showcase absolute bliss. But this little moment was more than just a delightful little scene, it was the exhibition of the fact that no moment is ever dull when it’s shared with the person we love most. Their adventure may be dark and their future may be bleak, but because they’re still on this earth together — because they’re still able to hold hands, it’s magic.
And Ralph Hemecker’s directing shines brilliantly in the Enchanted Forest as the camera pans to their hands brushing each other’s as Snow drops the gem into Charming’s hands. There’s great power in a simple touch between two people who’re meant for something more. A simple touch is able to effortlessly send wavelengths through our entire body. And in what has become one of my favorite scenes between the two, the cinematography and Mark Isham’s gorgeous theme for it reveals that this moment would change their lives for the better. Though a barrier stands between them, the two have never been more intertwined. Though they have no idea of who the other person is, for a moment, everything’s okay. For a moment, there’s magic in the air. For a moment, they’re experiencing something completely and incandescently unexplainable. And the encouragement Snow received would be easy to carry. She believes she’s resourceful because someone chose to point out a strength she carries. The kindness Charming experienced from a stranger would be something that’d move him.
But one of the things I loved most was that this is a memory they had no idea they shared up until this very moment — henceforth, fortifying their love even more. Today, Snow and Charming may temporarily have to be apart, but this isn’t a curse that’ll break them. And because neither will ever give up on the other, their belief in the fact that they’ll conquer the Evil Queen will pull through. Snow may be falling and doubting, but the reminder of this memory is what’ll undoubtedly fuel her quest to save their daughter and each other. The same goes for Charming — knowing just how fiercely the other’s beliefs in them will serve as a profound reminder of what they’re capable of.
And in present-day when Charming was comforting Snow as they stood in front of the baby’s cradle, my heart melted a little. (Just kidding, it was a lot. It melted a lot.) Charming kissing the back of Snow’s head standing as her backbone and strength was yet another breathtaking scene serving as a reminder of the fact that when Once Upon A Time couples are together, there’s magic in the air — their scenes are unparalleled. And the two of them gushing over the power they felt in the spark was Dallas and Goodwin at their finest. Portraying True Love in all its blissful, exceptional glory.
“Heartless” was yet another wonderful reminder of why season one was epic, and why we all fell in love with it in the first place. When Charming found Snow in the same spot he found her in the Pilot. I was in tears. I never expected this show would take us back to that iconic moment but it did so beautifully. It did so with Snow and Charming surrounded by people who care immensely for them and the visuals were breathtaking.
This is a show that glorifies True Love all while reminding its viewers of the fact that human beings carry great strength within themselves alone as well. And that’s what makes this episode a work of art — unsurprisingly one of Jane Espenson’s works of art that is. When a person knows someone believes in them with a fire that cannot be put out, everything becomes easier. And everything becomes better.
Emma’s frustrations and sadness at the realization her family’s now in danger aren’t easy to deal with. And while in the past she was able to hide it, the physical outcry isn’t going unnoticed by Killian. Killian’s always been perceptive and because of recent events, watching Emma fall apart hasn’t been something he’s taken lightly. That said, it was lovely to watch him take control because Emma’s never been in such a position where she’s this vulnerable. And the choice to remind her of the great things she’s accomplished because of who she is was perfect. So was “shush! It’s story time.” I imagine Colin O’Donoghue got a kick out of that one as well.
Emma is the product of True Love — despite how many couples have shared the kiss, Snow and Charming are unbeatable. And for this reason, Emma’s strength is unparalleled. Even when they couldn’t find each other, Emma was there to make sure they did. Killian’s choice to remind Emma of the fact that she can break any curse possible because of who she is was wonderful. It doesn’t matter how many times he’s done it because the reality is, he’ll never shy away from uplifting her. And that’s what true love is — the ceaseless choice to guide someone through their dark days by reminding them of the greatness that’s within. The choice to never give up.
Killian has believed in Emma from the very beginning — the moment they climbed the beanstalk together, his perceptive nature led him to understand that the woman in front of him is extraordinarily special. He saw right through her tough exterior and came to the realization that whatever abandonment she faced in the past had made her stronger. Her walls may be high up, but she carries great wisdom and strength inside of her — she merely needed to be loved enough to trust. She needed to be fought for. She needed to believe that this time, she’d be chosen through everything. He understood her. He cherished her. He fought for her. He was courteous of her feelings for a number of reasons, one of them being the realization that not many people in the past were. There are very few that have seen Emma Swan for who she is and Killian Jones is one of them. And his belief in her has always crystallized the fact that his love for her would effortlessly prevail through everything. She’d seamlessly challenge him to rise to his highest potential while he’d adore the walls and scars away. For so long they were both alone, but today, because someone believes in them, much like her parents, they’ll never be alone.
In another instance where the holding of hands showcases unparalleled comfort and serenity, Killian kisses Emma’s with a grace Colin O’Donoghue showcases masterfully. There are no two scene partners on-screen at the moment who exhibit emotions in the way O’Donoghue and Morrison do. And this scene was a wondrous showcase of the amount of faith Killian holds in Emma. On another note, I loved the fact that Killian tells Emma to look at him because it was as though he needed her to see that in everything he says, he believes with every fiber of his being. There was absolutely no doubt in him and she needed to see that. He’s always believed in her “superpower” and she needed to believe his words the same way she believes she can read people when they’re lying. She needed to see with her very eyes that this is the truth that was coming straight from his heart. This is the story he believes in fervently — her parents’ story and their story.
What I personally love about this arc with Emma is that her vulnerability is on full display. And that allows viewers to understand that even the strongest fall. Additionally, it doesn’t alter the improvements she’s made through the years, but it showcases a real, human emotion that comes from a challenge can feel overwhelmingly difficult. No matter how strong or capable a person may be, there are moments in life when it’s too much. And it’s in those moments where those closest us to hang on even tighter to remind us of the fact that though we may have fallen, they still believe with electric, unwavering fervency.
In the same way, Killian and Emma were meant to find each other. They were meant to live and live and fight through every battle together. Kindred spirits from day one — in the midst of haunting times where her mind takes her to a place where she’s powerless, he’s the anchor who guides her back home. When he’s lost in a world where he cannot seem to forgive himself, she’s there to remind him of the heroic title he’s nobly earned.
Killian is the strength whose faith is an immovable force of nature that’s reminded Emma of who she is from the very beginning. A force who’s reminded her of the fact that even though she believed she wasn’t capable of being the savior, it runs in her blood too. She’s too strong not to prevail. Her parents are too legendary to be separated. (And these bonds that have been formed are ones even Zeus is a fan of.)
The two hearts dilemma with Charming and Snow is bound to take an interesting turn this season, but if there’s one thing we can be certain of, the Evil Queen won’t reign for too long and that’s comforting.
We live in a world where we use our tongues to curse more than to encourage. We hear it so often, but for reasons beyond my understanding, human beings choose to disregard quotes such as “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” We don’t tell people we love them enough. We don’t encourage people enough. Perhaps a part of us believes it’ll get redundant or perhaps we don’t feel like it at the time, but “Heartless” reminds us of the fact that it’s those small words that can make the greatest impact. These are words people carry with them. And this is why Once Upon A Time continues to shine as one of the best things on TV right now. It’s ceaselessly choosing to remind viewers of the fact that positivity and kindness go an immeasurably long way. It heals and inspires in ways we can’t even fathom until we experience it firsthand. And even then we can’t put it into words. Remind people of their strengths. If you have something nice to say, say it don’t hold back for you never know just how much the person in front of you may be moved by it.
- As always, we’re such huge fans of Belle standing up for herself, and the fact that she’s continuing it still is a breath of fresh air. Her character has been known to go back and forth often, but the stand she’s been taking this season has been remarkable.
- Now that Zelena’s been betrayed by the Evil Queen, I’m hoping she comes to the realization that Regina’s the one who’s been believing in her sister far more than the Evil Queen ever would.
- Also, did the tree remind anyone else of Guardians of the Galaxy’s baby Groot? No? Just me? Okay. Do not break Groot, Queen Queen.
- Regina’s ecstatic face after Snow was awakened from the kiss was a gorgeous turn of events considering once upon a time, she was the one who had put her in that position.
- Again, no one needs visuals of Rumple and the Evil Queen together. Ever. Never. Not in a million years. Not when pigs fly. Not when there’s absolutely nothing else to watch on television.
What are your thoughts on this week’s episode?