Once Upon A Time 6×08 “I’ll Be Your Mirror” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

Awkward — tonight’s episode was awkward, but nonetheless fascinating.

Episode Summary: It’s rare that an episode of Once Upon A Time doesn’t feature flashbacks, but “I’ll Be Your Mirror” needed its platform to tell a new story. When Regina and Emma’s plan backfires, and they’re sent behind the mirror, they meet the dragon there who’s controlled by the Evil Queen. But as she attempts to turn Henry’s heart dark, he makes the wiser choice and breaks the mirror instead freeing his mothers and setting the Evil Queen’s plans back.

Review | Analysis: At its core Once Upon A Time is a show about families and when darkness attempts to tarnish that, it’ll always win. “I’ll Be Your Mirror” proved that very sentiment beautifully in tonight’s episode giving Henry the opportunity to showcase what a brave individual he’s grown to be. And as the shining star in this week’s episode, it felt right for Henry, the truest believer, to set his moms free. “I’ll Be Your Mirror” gave the series the opportunity to allow families to outshine the villains but even though there’s more danger ahead, knowing this belief is embedded deeply in these characters instills hope in us all.

There were a lot of moments throughout the episode the audience could’ve most definitely gone without, but it was fascinating to watch Henry fight through the dark temptations, and his scenes with the Evil Queen actually reminded me of Emma’s struggle as the Dark One. In a number of ways, mother and son are greatly alike — they’ve found the family and love they’ve always wanted, and they’ll do everything in their power to keep it close. And much like Emma, Henry’s been pulled through the wringer. He’d do anything for his loved ones.

It wasn’t easy to watch Henry struggle between wanting to save his moms and refusing to darken his heart. It’s a struggle Jared Gilmore showcased wonderfully. His scene in front of the mirrors wasn’t easy to watch because for a moment, it felt as though Henry would do anything to save his parents — including darkening his heart, which would go against their very wishes. It couldn’t have been easy to see them struggle with a dragon and absolutely no weapons, but Henry needed to find the hope within which has always been present amongst the Charmings. And it’s that very hope which has served as strength in the midst of dark times.

Wherever they are, whatever they do, as long as they’re together — it’s worth it. As long as they’re together, they can get through the struggle that’s between them. And to save that love and preserve the goodness that’s within them has always been incredibly important for the Charmings. It made complete sense for Henry to break the mirror — it was a risk, but it was one he needed to take because at the end of the day, murdering someone would change him and his family in a way that isn’t worth it.

And it worked — between the plan the women had constructed and Henry’s choice to break the mirror, everything worked in their favor. It’s teamwork at its absolute finest. Somehow, someway, things will always work out for those who are doing honest work. Things will always work out for those who’ve got good intentions at heart. But prior to this all happening, Regina and Emma needed to understand that they weren’t going to sacrifice themselves because Henry needed both. And it’s beautiful that they’ve come this far in their quest as parents because putting their differences aside has improved their lives in a number of ways. I was also surprised by Emma telling Regina to stop wallowing because now’s most definitely not the time to lose hope. They needed strength.

My heart broke for Emma when the Dragon told her he didn’t know how to help her parents. But I also appreciated the fact that he stated that all hope is not lost. Because for Emma especially, it isn’t easy to watch her parents in this situation. She’s still suffering with the belief that her end is near and no one else should suffer.

And while the arrangement is truly heartbreaking, the montage at the beginning of the episode was one of the loveliest things the show’s done. Donovan’s “Colours” playing as they wrote letters and made videos with the baby for one another was brilliant. It made the scene a little less heartbreaking and a little more bearable. They may not be together, but their love’s never been more encompassing. The little notes, flowers, and breakfast were gestures straight from the heart showcasing that there’s no way their love could ever die. Whatever challenge is in front of them, they’ll make it work. They’ll make the other feel incandescently adored. But it didn’t last too long and it shattered me to see Snow refuse to write a note because she missed him too much. But Charming wasn’t broken by it because he understood that it was because she misses him. That she can’t live like this forever because she needs him by her side. Snow and Charming are everything to each other. It was sweet of them to leave things to look forward to, but it was also nice to see that this wasn’t an arrangement they were okay with. No matter how temporary, revealing their heartaches felt right.

And speaking of understanding our True Loves, when Emma didn’t pick up her phone, Killian automatically figured that something wasn’t right. He’s not one to stand down waiting. Killian will do anything and everything in his power to make sure Emma’s safe because once something’s off, he makes it his priority to set things straight. He also makes it his priority to make sure Henry picks out the right tie for a dance. (Although I’m a little disappointed the Evil Queen interfered with this. Dammit, Queen Queen.)

The best part of tonight’s episode however was the brief moment Aladdin and Jasmine shared in the end with the magic lamp. And as Aladdin mentioned his pal being free, I’m certain many of us choked up a little remembering the legendary Robin Williams. It feels right that Once Upon A Time wouldn’t bring in their own genie after Williams’ death because some roles are too great to touch. And while the genie essentially belongs to Disney, I appreciated the series subtly giving Williams the homage he deserves. It’s the little things that tend to be the most beautiful, and this moment, whether intentional or not was immaculate.

And now that leaves us wondering who can be in the lamp. Jafar perhaps?

Last but most certainly not least, what made this episode one of my least favorites was the amount of focus the relationship between Gold and the Evil Queen got. Say what you will, it feels wrong on a number of levels. But this isn’t going to turn into a hate post — it’s merely an opinion to which we’re all entitled, too. That said, what I refuse to stand for is Rumple putting bondages on Belle and taking away her agency once more. For all I care, Rumple can do whatever he likes, but the moment he harms his unborn child’s mother by putting emotional and physical restraints on her that evoke fear and a sense of imprisonment, I draw the lines. But I most definitely appreciated learning that if Rumple ever tries to harm Zelena, he’ll suffer from a heart attack — because at the end of the day, despite the fact that she didn’t want to help, Zelena understood Belle’s struggle and chose to be of use resulting in an unlikely friendship I did not know I needed.

“I’ll Be Your Mirror” dealt with adventures and revealed man’s true power. We are not weakened by the dark voices that attempt to tempt us, but we are weakened by the choices we make. And love is most definitely not a weakness. The choice to believe in a family is not a weakness. Henry’s adventures with Violet and the pure honesty in their conversations are what make Henry such an amazing kid. It’s rare to be that open and honest, and it’s precisely what makes him one of the strongest, wisest kids on TV. It was interesting that the series dealt with mirrors because sometimes, it’s not about our reflection in some object, but it’s our understanding of ourselves. Who we are beyond our appearance — posture is vital, but it’s what’s on the inside that matters most. And Henry stood up to the Evil Queen reminding her of the fact that there’s great strength in him because he chooses to find hope in his loved ones. I’m proud of this show for promoting such wonderful messages.

Worth Mentioning:

  • Zelena’s lipstick was on point this week, wasn’t it!?
  • The concept of mirrors was ridiculously entertaining this week and I almost wish we just got an entire episode of watching people do strange things as Emma and Regina rolled their eyes waiting for help.
  • I don’t know what was going on with the soundtrack in this week’s episode but the excellent usage of songs was lovely.
  • Emma’s red coat is beautiful, isn’t it!? Be sure to visit JenniferMorrisonStyle.com for all the details.

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