To quote the 80s classic, The Princess Bride: “death cannot stop true love, it can only delay it for a while.”
Episode Summary: In Flashbacks, while Emma’s searching for her birth parents, a Bail Bonds woman, Cleo, manages to convince her to let go and after her death, Emma pursues the same career. In the underworld, True Love’s kiss restarts Hades’ heart and the quest Killian and Emma are sent on doesn’t go as planned forcing the heroes to once again say goodbye as they return home without the man they set out to rescue.
Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time deals with incredibly real situations with fantastical elements, but despite the fact that magic and myths are a prodigious part of this series, the issues our heroes face can often be unbearably difficult at times. Nevertheless, we’ve come to learn that the hard path is always the right path and in the midst of the journey, it’s key to remember that the choices made today, pave the road for tomorrow. Emma Swan is the character that’s made her way into countless hearts for a number of reasons and the love story she’s a part of needed to be just as unique as her role in this fantasy world. “Firebird” tragically epitomized what it truly means to be brave revolutionizing the notion that where there’s bravery, there’s always love. It is apparently possible to have an episode even darker and more heartbreaking than “Swan Song”, but Once Upon A Time is a series about hope, and when it comes to Emma and Killian’s love, there’s never a single doubt that it will prevail.
“Firebird” explored a theme we don’t often see on Once Upon A Time, and it’s the importance of letting go. As human beings we have a tendency to hold on too tightly and while there’s strength in determination, sometimes, we must let go in order to let the universe take its course. Sometimes, we need armor in order to get through the things that burden us. And sometimes, armor isn’t about protecting ourselves, but rather protecting those we love. Ultimately, it all comes down to selflessness and the fact that while it’s okay to choose ourselves every once in a while, we must be able to tell which of our choices will lead us towards the good life we’re destined for.
It’s not enough to have others forgive you, you have to forgive yourself, too.
Episode Summary: Flashbacks reveal the terrible deal Liam took with Hades to ensure his and Killian’s place in the King’s Navy. And when Liam doesn’t choose to see the best in Emma, she needs to put her heartache aside to fight and make sure Killian forgives himself. The heroes go on a quest to find the underworld’s version of the storybook, but in order to keep his secret hidden, Liam does Hades another favor by tearing his story from the book. However, when he’s caught red-handed, sacrificing himself after revealing the truth to Killian and the crew gives him the chance to finally move on.
Review | Analysis: Once again, the series beautifully magnified the significance of forgiveness and true heroism reminding its viewers that the honorable road is the honest one. As human beings, desperate times call for desperate measures, but the secrets that are kept and the inability to forgive ourselves can haunt in unbelievable ways. A hero isn’t someone who’s free of all sin, but rather the person who’s learned from their mistakes. “The Brothers Jones” reminded viewers of the fact that there’s a clear difference between selfishness and self-love, one dooms us, while the other frees us. And most importantly, a hero is someone who lends a hand. Once Upon A Time has continuously illuminated the idea that selflessness will lead to a far better future than constant greed.
Jennifer Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue
Oh, we’re off to see the … Hades?!
Episode Summary: In flashbacks we learned that when Regina chose to test Killian, she had him confront his father after he’d abandoned him and Liam. In Storybrooke, we learned that in order for a soul from the underworld to be brought back, someone living must die. And a hero’s sacrifice saves the day, but because our town savior isn’t okay with losing her love, she’s on a journey to the underworld in order to split her heart. Neverland 2.0 here we come.
Review | Analysis: There’s a reason we don’t often theorize here at MGcircles and it’s because this series always ends up blowing us away — even when we know that certain things are coming. That said, this finale may have been one of the most captivating hours on Once Upon A Time history for it served as a prime reminder of what this series ultimately is: hope. And though we’ll have to wait until March 6 of next year to find out what’s happening, we’re confident in the fact that it’ll be beautiful. As per usual, we’re left with a number of questions and a ridiculous amount of plot holes, but nonetheless, we’re pleased, and we’ve got a lot to discuss.
This season finale was a hero’s journey — Killian Jones’ “Swan Song” where he finally conquered the darkness in a way only his true love Emma Swan was able to. “Swan Song” was Killian’s justified fight against the darkness. “Swan Song” was his ultimate win and proof that we are the authors of our own fate. Love is a profound part of everyone’s journey — Killian and Emma are each other’s light, just as they are each other’s person and the anchor who’ll always bring them home.
It’s a dark, dark world out there.
Episode Summary: In Camelot, we see an upset Killian enact the curse through Nimue which then forces Emma to wipe everyone’s memories in order to take care of everything on her own. In Storybrooke Killian takes away Emma’s memories and resumes his revenge while the heroes attempt to figure out his plot.
Review | Analysis: The episode’s left a good majority of viewers puzzled, but in a way, that’s a good thing — a “penultimate” episode is supposed to be a massive conundrum. And while we’re on the edge of our seats as well, we have to believe that this is a series about hope. We have to believe that at the end of the day, true love always wins and darkness can never come close to being as powerful. “Broken Heart” was meant to break viewers. It was meant to make us feel angry and hurt, but thankfully, this isn’t where it ends, and with a climax this intense, we’re bound to see a lovely resolution. Once Upon A Time is a series that’ll always remind us of the importance of families, friends, forgiveness, and love — it’s the series where good always wins. It always comes down to the power of choices and they are what define us. As much as this series is a fantasy, the flawed characters add the realism we all need in order to connect with them, and in this story, even the heroes make mistakes.
If this were any other show, we’d without a doubt be addressing the episode differently, but for five seasons Once Upon A Time has taught us to have hope, and it’s what we’ll choose to do. That said, this review features theories and we normally hate writing without valid context, so please take things with a grain of salt.
Still haven’t caught our breaths enough to write something creative here.
Episode Summary: In “Birth” we learn the truth about what transformed Emma into the Dark One, but we also learn that she’s not the only one in Storybrooke. Because Emma refuses to lose Killian, she tethers his soul onto Excalibur making him the Dark One as well. After she speeds up Zelena’s pregnancy in order to keep the baby away from her plot to give Zelena all the darkness, Killian learns the truth about what’s happened to him through the dream catcher meant for him. In “The Bear King” we learn more about the day Merida’s father passed and her fight to rightfully earn the title of Queen. Mulan (Jamie Chung) and Ruby (Meghan Ory) return to help Merida in her quest.
Review | Analysis: It’s a bit unfortunate that “The Bear King” came after such a heavy episode because we wish we could’ve had it to cool off next week instead. However, we do understand that because of the AMA’s, they had to air tonight, but truthfully, it’s a little difficult to try to combine both episodes into one review. And the reasoning is not only due to intense emotions (lol!), but the fact that there’s been so much past/present storylines, it almost feels foreign though we’re so used to it. Ultimately, we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be on hiatus because nothing’s ever been as intense as this season thereby, stick with us as we attempt to cohesively put our thoughts and feelings together without spiraling out of control into a novel about how we’ve been emotionally compromised.
While both episodes focused beautifully on the importance of inner strength, “Birth” exhibited the significance of romantic love and “The Bear King” tackled the prominence of friendships.
Trees. There will apparently be lots of them this season.
Episode Summary: In Camelot, our heroes go to a ball where one of their lives is in severe danger due to Regina’s lie of being the savior. Although Emma succeeds in saving Robin, darkness creeps up in her. In Storybrooke, Emma tries to get Regina to take responsibility for her actions and in the end we learn that with the help of everyone, she could defeat the fury.
Review | Analysis: Tonight’s episode has left us with a lot of mixed feelings. There were some beautifully magical moments we’ll be gushing over for a very long time but there were also moments that made watching very difficult. Additionally you all may have noticed that our style has changed, but due to the fact that Camelot memories need to be discussed in depth, we’re temporarily going to be using the same method we use for our other reviews.
And most importantly as you all have heard by now, the Once Upon A Time fandom has lost a very beloved member because of an awful illness. Adriane was a kind and wonderful soul who’d always support our reviews and used her time on the internet to continuously spread love. We’re dedicating this review to her — just as this episode was for her. #WatchForAdri. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this devastating time of need. Her absence is deeply felt. She would’ve loved the moments between Captain Swan (Killian and Emma) and Swan Believer (Emma and Henry) so much. Bonus: let’s talk about Emma Swan’s hair.
| May 10 – 17 |
It’s been an eventful week on Television and while this is only week one of the finales, we’re certain we’re in for promising season returns. Unfortunately, the only series not returning is ABC’s Revenge and you could read all our finale thoughts here. And now, without further ado, here are some of our favorite things.
And just like that Once Upon A Time reminds us of the fact that Emma Swan is one of the greatest fictional characters in history – “Operation Mongoose” Parts I and II were a solid two hours of fantastic television. Between the gorgeous costumes, exceptional performances, and nerve wrecking storylines, it’s been an epic ride leading us into a torturous three month long hiatus.
Episode Summary: Isaac rewrites everyone’s stories into a best selling novel called Heroes and Villains. However, the stories in the book will only ever become a permanent reality if things aren’t made right before the loud tolling of bells at sunset. Because Henry wasn’t born in the Enchanted Forest, he remains in Storybrooke with his memories and finds the author (by driving?! What!). At this point he traps them both into the book and when convincing Regina that she’s his mother doesn’t work, he seeks Hook’s help in order to find Emma. Snow and Charming are an evil duo. Regina’s a miserable bandit with Robin as her competition engaged to be married to Zelena. And Rumplestilskin is the noblest knight of them all. A heroic sacrifice from Regina allows new author Henry to use her blood as ink and all’s restored back to normal. The only problem is, in the world of Once Upon A Time, happiness is short lived, and as Rumplestilskin dies, the dark one needs another soul to consume to which Emma boldly sacrifices herself for everyone else.
Review | Analysis: It’s pretty evident by now for frequent readers that we’ve changed our style for this particular episode. Since there’s so much to discuss in both worlds, we’re writing our Once Upon A Time reviews the same way we do for other series. Tonight’s episode delivered incredibly shocking and inimitably heartfelt moments that’ll be talked about for a while. Cliffhangers are never fun but in the world of Once Upon A Time, we know that the heroes always win. And as much as we’ve been dreading what occurred, we’ve got a great amount of hope in us that it’s going to be fantastic. For the first time since the series aired, we aren’t being introduced to new characters and we’re looking forward to getting to know the ones we have now. Without further ado, let’s get to discussing shall we?
“Poor Unfortunate Soul” served as yet another reminder that our conscious choices are what have the greatest affect on our happy endings.
Enchanted Forest Flashbacks: While searching for ways to get his revenge on Rumple, Hook and his crew hear a mermaid’s gorgeously haunting voice while sailing away from massive rocks and learn that she has no intentions of harming them. However, while having drinks with his crew, Killian sees the same mermaid singing and recognizes her voice. The two share drinks and confide in one another and he plans to help her leave from father. Poseidon finds Killian and tells him that if he takes Ursula’s voice instead, he’d give him squid ink that’ll paralyze Rumple. Wantingto keep to his code, Killian asks Ursula to steal the squid ink but an argumentwith Poseidon forces him to make the wrong choice by stealing Ursula’s voice.Filled with hatred towards humans and anger, Ursula turns herself into the legendary goddess and leaves her father’s home for good.
Present Day Storybrooke: While attempting to find out where Regina and the villains took Pinocchio, Regina takes over Snow’s body and tells them their location along with the fact that Rumplestilskin is back. And when the Charmings visit Belle to summon him with the dagger they learn that he had disguised himself as Killian to take it from her. After he fails to give Ursula her voice back and she throws him overboard the Jolly Roger, Killian’s saved by Ariel and the two of them bring Poseidon back in order for him to remove the shell’s enchantment. Ursula chooses to keep her promise, and therefore, before she leaves with her father, she tells Killian that Rumple’s agenda is to fill Emma’s heart with darkness.
Tonight’s episode is without a doubt our favorite since “Shattered Sight” and if there’s anything we love more than a beautiful backstory, it’s a fantastically driven plot that’s bound to make the rest of the season incredible.