This week’s episode was the mid-season finale meaning we’re left with these cliffhangers until January 6th. Last year’s winter finale was one of the best episodes of season one so I had high hopes this week – and I wasn’t disappointed. Let’s get into it…
Fairytale Land That Was
The flashbacks returned this week as we learn Hook had met Regina before. It’s worth noting that she was sporting a flock of seagull’s hairdo and an absolutely fabulous dress during this meeting with Hook. Anyways, she told Hook that she was enacting the curse and Rumple would be in a world without magic, i.e. ripe for the killing. She promised he could come to this world too, in exchange for killing her mother who was in Wonderland and was revealed, anticlimactically, to be the Queen of Hearts.
When Hook goes to try and kill Cora, she bests him and says she won’t kill him if he brings her body back to Regina so she can pretend she’s dead and then do her daughter in. You know, just typical family bonding. But when Regina says over her “dead” mother’s body that she did this because she loves her and that love would make her weak Cora rethinks her strategy. She decides to bubble off a part of Fairytale land that was safe from the curse so that she could find Regina when the curse was broken and help her pick up the pieces.
Fairytale Land That Is
The gals arrive in Rumple’s old cell but can’t seem to find the squid ink. They do find a scroll with Emma’s name written in some kind of ink, but find this completely irrelevant. In the meantime Cora and Hook show up and lock them in the cell. After they steal the compass, Hook and Emma have a moment where he says he wouldn’t have left her as she left him on the beanstalk, but the time for making deals has passed.
As Hook and Cora scamper away to the restorative lake we saw earlier in the series to create the portal, Emma throws a pity party saying she’s a poor savior. Snow has unrelenting optimism though and then, FINALLY, realizes the squid ink is what the scroll is written in. They use the ink to dissolve the cell bars and find Hook and Cora. Side note, how did they even know where to go? Whatever, OUAT, I’m not going to question it.
An epic battle ensues as somehow Emma’s sword prowess is now on par with a 300 year old pirate. Their battle, ripe with sexual innuendos, ends with her punching him in the face with the compass. And just as Snow and Emma are about to escape Cora throws her hand into Emma’s chest – but she can’t steal her heart! And in a horribly cliché, but pretty awesome, moment Emma declares “love is strength!” knocking Cora away and allowing the mother and daughter duo to jump through the portal.
Regina is trying really hard to resist magic but Gold is an awful, awful influence. He manages to convince her to help him seal the portal so that even if Cora makes it through she’ll likely die in the process. Henry had actually started to have faith in his mom, but then he caught wind of her scheme, which she says she was doing to protect him from Cora. Henry is NOT having it and starts screaming at her, finally getting her to change her mind when he says her removing the seal is how Henry could have faith in her again.
And so she rescinds the seal, just in time for Emma and Snow to get through. Snow runs to Gold’s shop immediately to revive Charming from the sleeping curse and I guess they kind of just made out while all the dwarves watched? They went through their whole “You did it!” “Did you ever doubt I would?” spiel in a scene that was reminiscent of the first scene in the pilot.
Emma steps aside to confront Gold about her destiny, since he created the curse and made her the savior. He tells her that she isn’t just a pawn in his game, she’s the product of “true love” and that’s very powerful.
Then everyone decided to go to Granny’s to celebrate but left one person way out – Regina. I felt for her here, but then I remembered her mass murdering tendencies and the fact that she brought this curse upon everyone. She’s definitely going to have to redeem herself a little more before she’s chowing down cheeseburgers with the gang.
And in the cliffhanger ending we find that a dead portal opening bean Hook stole from the Giant when mixed with the regenerative lake can become magic again. We then see Hook and Cora on Hook’s ship right off the coast of Storybrooke.
Is it January 6th yet?!
Alexa Hoyle can be reached at email@example.com.