Once Upon A Time 6×11 “Tougher Than the Rest” Recap

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“Tougher Than the Rest” was a solid season premiere that finally addressed something we’ve all been wanting to know.

Episode Summary: In flashbacks, we learn that a little last-name-less Emma was about to burn away pages of The Ugly Duckling story in order to keep warm after running away, but a kind stranger talks her out of it by telling her she’s capable of changing her fate. Back in the Evil Queen’s wish realm, Emma seeks August’s help to rebuild the wardrobe that sent her into our world while Regina seeks out Robin to learn if he’s happy in this land. Killian and Charming do everything in their power to find the hooded figure who’s after Emma while Rumple and Belle attempt to figure out their infant son is suddenly standing before them as an adult.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is truly at its best when its focus is on telling our heroine’s story. And perhaps that may appear to be a biased opinion to some, but the truth is, while it’s engaging to get a twist on our classic fairy tales, it’s inexpressibly beautiful to watch Emma Swan’s story unfold. At its core, this series is about self-discovery and understanding the importance of our choices. It is a series that often highlights the prominence of rising after tremendous falls and persevering while climbing the steepest hills. While “Tougher Than the Rest” had its flaws, it was thematically exquisite.

“If we believe in something strongly enough, we all have the power to change our fate.”

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Once Upon A Time 5×21 “Last Rites” Recap

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“Keep your chin up, there will be happiness again.”

Episode Summary: When our heroes return to Storybrooke, Zelena is hesitant to believe Hades has actually teamed up against them, and after replacing the Olympian Crystal, Hades attempts to use it to kill everyone in order to create a new kingdom with Zelena. Back in the underworld, a newly deceased Arthur teams up with Killian in order to help the heroes defeat Hades. One soul dies, while another returns.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is a show about hope — a reflection of the real world, only with fairytale characters. And much like in the real world, there are genuinely dark, hopeless times. To be quite honest, when a series like this leaves us in a hopeless state, it isn’t easy to write. And it’s not something that happens often, which is what makes it so jarring and too emotional. Funny thing is, Once Upon A Time is a show that knows how to kill people with closure — especially when it’s a character we’ve grown to truly care for. But perhaps, we’re simply meant to believe that sometimes, there is no closure.

“Last Rites” was simultaneously satisfying and emotionally numbing — two juxtaposing mindsets that feel incredibly wrong together. But that’s life: where there’s childbirth, there’s also death somewhere else. Where there’s happiness, there’s also deep sadness. But on Once Upon A Time though there may not always be hope, True Love is always strength, and where there’s strength, there is always a natural desire to be selfless. True Love is sacrifice.

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Once Upon A Time 5×16 “Our Decay” Recap

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Love is enough … or at least for some.

Episode Summary: In flashbacks we learn that at the time where Zelena was first concocting her time travel spell, Hades was there to help her; only instead, he fell in love, but Zelena chose to carry on with her plans. In present day, Belle, “baby green bean”, and Zelena are teleported to the underworld where Hades and Zelena unite and Henry’s time as the author isn’t as peachy as imagined.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is always here to remind us that love is not only a choice that’s always possible, but it’s also always enough. And in “Our Decay” we were given the opportunity to see two men take two completely different routes in their journey of love allowing us to fully understand that at the end of the day, if love is true, it’s eternal. No matter if it’s romantic or platonic, love and only love is the strongest force of all. In what may have been one of the most surprising episodes in Once Upon A Time history, “Our Decay” did an astounding job of baring characters in a way that’s bound to permanently alter things.

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Once Upon A Time 5×11 “Swan Song” Recap

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.

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Once Upon A Time 5×03 “Siege Perilous” Recap

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Bromances, darkness, and more mysteries.

Episode Summary: In Camelot, Charming and Arthur bond while in Storybrooke Robin and Hook plot a mission of their own. Dark Swan tries to find the hero that’ll pull Excalibur from the stone, but things go south when Hook refuses to give in to the darkness. Gold’s awaken and Arthur is insane.

Review | Analysis: Tonight’s episode was yet another reminder that we stand where we do because of the choices we make. While evil forces have power, at the end of the day so does light, and when we find ourselves lost, the people we love never give up on us. It’s interesting to note however that it appears this is the first time all our heroes have found themselves disagreeing most. And while we still don’t know what betrayal led to Emma embracing the darkness, we can be certain that there will be a rift amongst them depending on which knight they choose to believe.

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Once Upon A Time 5×02 “The Price” Recap

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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. 

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Once Upon A Time 4×21-22 “Operation Mongoose” Recap

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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?

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Once Upon A Time 4×17 “Heart of Gold” Recap

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Moment of appreciation for the fact that no series does plot twists the way Once Upon A Time does.

Enchanted Forest Flashbacks: We see Robin’s first acquaintance with Zelena as he attempts to steal a potion from her for Rumplestilskin. And during his journey to her castle in OZ, he meets Will who tells him about his broken heart form grief. The flashback concludes with a beautiful scene of Marian assuring Robin that she’s in it for the long haul with him.

Present Day Storybooke and New York: While Robin, “Marian”, and Roland are trying to get used to their new lives in New York, Rumplestilskin pays them a visit, but things go south when he has a heart attack. And once he’s bedridden in a hospital, he asks Robin to find an elixir that can fix the heart from Walsh’s apartment by assuming that Zelena wouldn’t send him into our world empty handed. However, what he doesn’t know is that the elixir was switched out for cold medicine (probably DayQuil since it was non drowsy and everything), and Zelena has the real one. As it turns out, Zelena’s still alive and thanks to a six-leaf clover necklace that can transform a person, she’s Marian.

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