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“…what I choose to believe in is faith; hope that when a hero’s story is over, there’s a special place for them.” – Henry Mills

Sunday was a special day for me and the reason, Once Upon A Time returned for it’s season 6 premiere on ABC!

This is a series I have followed since it began…six years ago and even though there were some weak moments with either the flow of the story, themes, out of character moments and the most annoying, drop of storylines that seemed important in the start but found a way to make it irrelevant, I still stick around to see how the mythos with fairy tale characters in the real world have to offer for my weekly night soap opera.

Last year’s season ended with some changes occurring for our heroes. Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) and Regina Mills (Lana Parrilla) traveled to New York to find Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) and his love interest, who had the thought of ridding magic from Storybrooke.

His grandfather, Gold aka Rumplestiltskin aka The Dark One (Robert Carlyle) didn’t take this lightly given Belle (Emilie de Ravin) put herself under a sleeping curse due to finding out he lied over being the dark one (again) and not give up her unborn child due to a deal he made in the past. For the gist of it he needs magic and Henry wants to get rid of it.

With that going on Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) Charming (Josh Dallas), Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and Zelena (Rebecca Mader) wind up in trouble while sending some residents from Storybrooke back to the Enchanted forest when word got out magic could end. The doorway sucked up the four to the Land of Untold Stories where they wound up captured by Mr. Hyde (Samuel Witwer). Getting help from his other self, Dr. Jekyll (Hank Harris) and trying to find a way back home.

Henry goes about his mission to rid magic from Emma and the rest but unfortunately without said magic Snow and the crew can’t get back. With a little pep talk from Emma Henry convinces regular people to believe in magic which works albeit them thinking it’s a stage production (to his chagrin) but his Emma convinces him that even though that was the case, for a moment he did make them believe and bring back their family.

With Gold concocting machinations with Hyde, who winds up split from his good side thanks to a potion he made, the dark one promises Storybrooke is his to due with while he gains information to save Belle from dreams.

Regina, who has been through the ringer of losing Robin Hood (Sean MaGuire) over the incident involving Hades, she soon reveals to Snow over how she feels pulled in both directions between her “Evil Queen” persona and the “good” part of her. With some extra potion courtesy of Jekyll, she takes it and with help from Emma keeping her dark side locked in chains, Regina “destroys” it but unknown to her the evil is still alive and kicking.

The evil side proclaims that she is back while killing the Dragon before the season ends.

With that out of the way time to enter the plot of the episode.

What makes a savior a savior? They give and give until something happens to them until they are nothing but a shell of their former selves. It was never said a savior lives happily ever after…

This rings true as Jafar taunts Alladin over being a savior and we see how the latter’s right hand keeps shaking. What happens then is left ambiguous as we soon shift to Emma and a revived Hook making out. I guess they have a lot of stuff to catch up on giving the circumstances.

As it looks like they are about to get it on, the house shakes and we soon see a flying contraption heading towards the forest of Storybrooke which rises our heroes to scope it out.

Shockingly Hyde winds up meeting them there and declaring how he has “friends” on the blimp along with declaring he owns storybrooke via the pact he made with Gold. Of course this goes without some force as Emma takes charge and tells Regina to prep to blowing “muttonchops” out of the sky!

Regina worries over that since her magic came more from the evil she casted out, she worries that she could be weak which Emma refutes that isn’t what made her strong to begin with. In a shocking even their magic doesn’t work which “Muttonchops” laughs off and warns them of “the dangers of when it comes to an unfinished story”.

The story soon is breaking up as such, from Regina and Zelena learning to get along as the latter lost the feather Roland, Robin Hood’s son, last year which is an issue Regina takes offense to but keeps locked up. It is soon shown in the course of the scenes that they have a blowing out which Regina blaming Zelena over Robin’s death. Z tries to rebut that she (Regina) was the one to travel to the underworld with R saying it was her choice to do so, not the choice to shack up and free the God of the Underworld (paraphrasing on my part). Z also has words with her sister over not telling or explaining the splitting of the evil side and telling Snow over her own flesh and blood. They soon part ways.

Regina’s storyline also gets resolved for the episode where she talks with Henry over the circumstances surrounding Robin’s death over “his soul being obliterated”. Henry is able to sooth his mom’s aching heart with Hades could be lying just to hurt her.  He believes that Robin is in a good place which sparks hope for her and later, while talking with Snow, about being a bad step-mother towards her, Snow is able to tell her, despite the circumstances, she was able to find hope through it all thanks to Regina and that she should always hold on to it. As they leave a single feather is seen floating.

Gold’s storyline involves him finding a place to go into Belle’s dream world and release her from the curse by pouring special sand over her and entering. There he is shocked to see a mysterious guy be a kind of guide and explaining that if she isn’t freed by the time the sands in the hourglass finish feeling she will forever be trapped. Being surprised by this Gold goes to the place her heart feared the most; his castle when he had her be his prisoner.

It is soon revealed that Gold looks like his Rumplestiltskin image while in the dream and makes the plan to make her fall in love with him again, due to her blocking out what happened while in the underworld. He recreates the “Beauty and the Beast” moment while putting her in the yellow dress and he in that blue outfit as soon it looks to be working.

However (and thankfully) Belle’s memories start to return and she does not fall for his lies. The broken promises and lies are the reasons she remembers that she can’t just fall for him again. The mysterious man, who goes by “Morpheus” in this realm soon reveals that time is up and another startling revelation, he is their unborn son. When Gold put the sand over Belle’s body the dust linked to the child’s dream as well giving him the appearance of his future form. Morpheus pleads to his mother not to fall for his father’s lies over what happened to his last family tragedy. As the dream ends Belle returns to the real world not without some backbone in promising that for the sake of their son, she wouldn’t be with Gold anymore as he too returns to the real world leaving his future and unborn child in question.

Emma’s plot is somehow the real heart of the episode over her being the savior and how she is experiencing shaking in her right hand, just as Aladdin before her experienced. This with having flashes of some event lead her to distance herself from her family and Hook, who takes it hard over being rejected. The blond goes to Hyde, who mentions her shaking and fear she is experiencing. He reveals that he knew plenty of saviors in his life and warns that there was always an exact opposite to wind up cutting their story short. In other words, saviors die by an “ultimate enemy”. This shocks Emma and Hyde just tells her to follow the red bird to find out more. Eventually Emma is able to find the bird which leads her to meeting an Oracle, the same one that was in the beginning of the story with Aladdin before being knocked out by Jafar. She made her way on the flying blimp and now is wandering in the forest. Emma soon asks her what she knows to which she obliges. The flashes that Emma has been experiencing are glimpses in the future…of where her story ends. It is implored to us that savior’s meet their end and how Emma meets hers is when she is fighing an unknown assailant in a sword fight (something which she will eventually learn from her father at some point) which shows the sword stabbing her in the stomach while in the vision, Hook, Henry, Snow and Daniel are there staring hopelessly.

Emama is left floored by this and declares that future won’t come to pass as she has survived a lot of things in the previous season but the Oracle refutes saying “though the point of getting there can be changed what can’t be changed is the destination”.

Left with this Emma soon reconciles with Hook and keeps about what she learned…if wheater her fate can be changed by will alone.

The episode ends with Zelena and  her daughter going to the outskirts of the town where she once lived while her time terrorizing everyone as the Wicked Witch to which she is soon brought face to face with the “evil” side of Regina, The Evil Queen. Evil Regal will soon be bonding with her sister and with everything correlating with the fate of the savior uncertain, it seems the Evil queen is here to stay.

I enjoyed the plot with for the episode and introducing a new aspect over the “role of the savior”. Some characters were fleshed out well and the pacing for the scenes were well handled.

It will be interesting how this plays out with Regina vs. her evil self along with the sister she spurned. The hope aspect that Robin is probably living in peace and not vanished from existence was something I found very good since it seemed like a disservice to declare “oh he’s gone and his soul is gone as well!”

I am also hoping with the course of the episodes whenever it involves Belle that she will start hardening her stance with being with Gold for the sake of her son. She’s been annoying in season five being “oh he’s changed” and always falling short with any characterization over being nothing more than Gold’s sobbing wife. May this put an end to being purposely naive and “woman up” that she will be a mother to a child, particularly a son. I feel very strong for this with me being raised by a mother myself and I see there needs to be a kind of inner strength when it comes to (for maybe the time being) taking on a single parent aspect but who knows. OUAT is known for always having her fall back into being stupid and not “smart” as her character intels.

Now for me, I’m a big fan for Emma and seeing what could happens makes me worry over the fate of our favorite savior but this also gives some key intel; that she is the ONLY savior for Storybrooke and it’s not just in “title” only as it happened when it came to Regina taking on that role in season 5 when Emma became the dark one. Along with who is Emma’s end? Will it be the Evil Queen that she was somehow to fight in the beginning of the series? Or is it someone we don’t suspect? The only clue is that the teleportation magic the unknown used while in Emma’s vision had dark red smoke.  If you pay attention and keep noted, key figures with access to that magic have distinct colors. Regina’s is dark purple, Snow Queen was a snowish white, Zelena sports green while Gold is the same darkish red hue. However I can’t think Gold is Emma’s big bad over the fact he’s been on the back and forth since this series started. I hope it’s someone else though…of course now that I think about it, there is a possibility that Lily, who hasn’t been seen since season 4’s ending, floating around…

Nothing I really disliked or that I can think about, I actually enjoyed “Muttonchops” and wonder what he will do. I hope they don’t let his character fall in the hole of no return and never finish.

For characterization, progression and themes, I give the episode an overall of 8 out of 10. For an actual grade purposes a B.

Here’s looking forward to this season of Once Upon A Time!

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