Episode Summary: When the Evil Queen uses Aladdin, she wishes that Emma’s wish to have never been the savior be granted sending her into an alternate universe where she grew up as a princess in the Enchanted Forest. In order to bring her back, Regina wishes to be sent there as well. And just as the two are about to return home, a fan-favorite thief stops them. The hooded figure is revealed and new twists await.
Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is generally masterful at creating heartwarming alternate universes with their characters, but in “Wish You Were Here,” we actually wish we weren’t there. And that’s probably the point of such a ridiculous universe. But there are a few issues that rise up in defending this idea. “Wish You Were Here” may not have been the strongest finale to date, but it had its moments of great humor thereby, resulting in a few enjoyable moments. That said, let’s jump into what may very well be the shortest review we’ll ever write given the fact that there’s not a lot to discuss. It happens right?
What ultimately made “Wish You Were Here” a thrilling episode wasn’t the adventures or the plot, but rather the callbacks to the Pilot. And specifically Emma Swan’s adventures as a princess. Or is she Emma Charming now? (We’ve given up trying to figure out the proper last name and timeline at this point.) No, but seriously, Emma Swan humming in the forest with an adorable dress? Lovely. But also, I personally loathe the idea of Emma ever being as cowardly as she was.
There are more similarities between her to her parents today, despite the fact that she’s only spent a few short years with them than in the alternate universe and that’s a bit peculiar. And while we can argue that the fight in her is due to the fact that she’s had to learn so much on her own. And it’s clear that even in this universe things haven’t always been easy. While it was lovely to see her blow out her candles and say that she wishes for nothing, it wasn’t fun to watch her be so dependent on her parents. It was almost as if she didn’t know who she was apart from being a princess, but clearly, she’s been through a lot since she was old enough to have a teenage son. It was great to see that even Emma wasn’t a fan of this version of her. Because even if she grew up in the Enchanted Forest, something tells me that if that were an actual reality, she’d still grow up a fighter. She’d grow up as a princess with a fight in her for justice and righting the wrongs in the kingdom. The point being, this dream state was a ridiculous hot mess but Jennifer Morrison looked like a beautiful ray of sunlight in her enchanting wardrobe. And of course, it’s evident now that even as they age, Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas will still be an unfairly good-looking duo.
While I’m normally not a fan of Regina’s snarky comments here and there, I loved watching her interact with the Charmings while they still believed she was the Evil Queen. And I may have laughed way too hard when she was disappointed in the fact that Emma brought her the keys to their kingdom. And now that the two are stuck in this ridiculous universe, I’m hoping they leave it quickly because I can’t imagine how more damage won’t be done with their stay there.
But what I find the most fascinating is the fact that in the two alternate universes we’ve seen so far, both Emma and Killian have once again mirrored one another. Granted that it was more of a curse in Operation Mongoose, it’s interesting that two of the strongest characters have resorted into lily-livered versions of themselves. Characters who do what they must to get by and are strangely happy with the lives they led. And perhaps this is just further authentication that they’re made for one another. Though they didn’t meet again this time, something tells me Goat’s Milk-loving Killian and Singing Princess Emma would make an adorable couple.
In Storybrooke, it was fantastic to see Charming fight once more to save his daughter because it reminded me of his state in Season 2 when Snow and Emma had gone through the portal. And Josh Dallas broke me with his worn-down demeanor and physicality throughout the episode — refusing to sit for even a moment because he couldn’t bear the thought of telling Snow their daughter was missing. But this state of Charming was in resulted in a great moment between him and Killian. It was nice to see Killian remind him of the fact that his mistakes don’t make him imperfect or less heroic, but rather human. They all have viciousness and anger in them but it’s how they react to those emotions that matter. And right now, they’re reacting in a way that’s understandable. Because saving Emma was a priority, it was understandable that Charming would be tempted to go through darker paths. And that brotherly (or future father/son-in-law. Whatever.) pat on the shoulder felt just right in a scene like this. These men have come so far in their journey and I’ve always loved how one is always the voice of reason when the other is shaken over Emma’s life is in danger. Much like Charming calming Killian down in “White Out,” in “Wish You Were Here”, it was Killian’s turn to keep Charming grounded.
Also, there will probably never come a time when Rumple will be able to atone for his mistakes. And there will probably never come a time when I won’t ache for Belle’s life. However, the twist with Gideon wasn’t one I wasn’t expecting. What on earth could’ve happened to have him stand as the man behind the hooded figure? How on earth did the Black Fairy manage to tarnish him and speed up his growth? And why would he want to kill Emma? Also, why do timelines never make sense?
Lastly, while this episode wasn’t thematically enriching as Once Upon A Time episodes tend to be, the performances were top-notch reminding me and certainly others of what an incredible cast this series is filled with. Jennifer Morrison’s childlike performance when Emma has scenes with her parents are always riveting. Morrison’s ability to project the innate innocence of a child in her eyes is perfection and I’m always in awe of the scenes where she’s given the opportunity to showcase it because once fighter-savior Emma comes out, the clear difference in her expressions is remarkable. That’s why when Emma snapped out of the “wish state”, you knew right away the truth dawned on her. You knew right away, the savior was back.
And speaking of superb performances, it was wonderful to see my favorite version of Rumple (“Looney Dark One Rumple” as I like to call him) come back because Robert Carlyle plays him impeccably. The voice and nuances he’s layered this version of Rumple with is perhaps one of the most entertaining aspects of Once Upon A Time, and one of the things I miss most about Season One.
- Eduardo Castro has once again outdone himself with the costumes because I may rewatch this episode again just to marvel at all the work he’s done. The headpieces alone were breathtaking.
- Did anyone else laugh at Grumpy’s “call Charming” line once they left Granny’s?
- Or did anyone else squeal at Aladdin’s “Always, princess.”? I can’t wait to see Aladdin and Jasmine come back and how their journey in Agrabah will play a role in the lives of Storybrooke characters.
- It was lovely to see Sean Maguire reprise his role as Robin Hood and I cannot wait to see how this version of him plays into the series and Regina’s life. Will this version of him be able to come back with them? Will Regina finally be able to let go? Whatever it may be, I’m certain a great deal of growth is in her future.
What are your thoughts on the mid-season finale? We’ll see you all in March when the series resumes. Happy Holidays and have a wonderful New Year!