TV Recaps

‘Once Upon a Time’ Review: Can a ‘Lost Girl’ learn to believe in herself?

ABC/Jack Rowand

“He may look like a boy, but he’s a bloody demon.”

In tonight’s episode, Captain Hook nicely summed up why Once Upon a Time’s group of would-be rescuers should fear Neverland’s ruler, despite his seemingly harmless physical appearance. Last week, Peter Pan fooled Henry and now he has turned his mind games on Emma as she desperately searches for her son.

Lost Girl” heavily focused on Emma and her insecurities, which is exactly what Pan wanted. He got inside of her head and reminded her of all the times that she wasn’t good enough and how she spent most of her life alone. But Emma isn’t alone anymore; something Snow fiercely tried to prove to her daughter throughout the episode.

“Maybe who you think you are isn’t who you really are.”

While this episode had a lot of emotional moments, Snow encouraging Emma, no matter how much she tried to push her away or do things on her own, was a beautiful thing. It obviously hurt Snow when Emma admitted that she didn’t want to call her ‘Mom’, but like any good mother, Snow put aside her feelings and kept doing what was best for her child. Her gentle prodding for Emma to admit who she was – an orphan – was exactly what Emma needed to finally win Pan’s game and see what was on the map.

ABC/Jack Rowand

ABC/Jack Rowand

The flashbacks to the Enchanted Forest provided a lovely parallel while all this was happening to a time when Snow had lost her confidence. Not long after Charming had broken the sleeping curse, Regina had offered Snow a simple deal: she and Charming and the dwarves could live in exile as long as Snow admitted that Regina was the true ruler and everyone should follow her. Snow was seriously considering it; she wanted to keep those she loved safe and she was having trouble believing she could ever defeat Regina.

Charming refused to let his love go down without a fight and he turned to Rumple for help; not caring about the consequences. The sword and the stone reference was a nice touch; even more so because it all turned out to be fake in the end. It was just a way for Snow to see that she had what it takes all along. Sure, it sounds a little corny, but lack of confidence is something we all face on a daily basis. One of the best things about this show is how something completely fictional (magic, fairy tale characters) can draw the audience in and let us make a connection to our real lives while enjoying the fantasy the story provides.

“Letting go of the past is the first step.”

Speaking of fantasy, Emma was not the only one struggling with her past on the island. Rumple began the episode by asking his shadow to keep his dagger safe. It was a pleasant surprise when Belle showed up out of the blue, even if it was obvious that she was a figment of his imagination. But the real interesting part was when she explained that he had brought her there, not one of his enemies, and she reminded him that despite his wardrobe choices, he wasn’t completely transformed back into the Dark One just yet.

It was heartbreaking to learn the true meaning behind the doll – it had been the last thing his father had given to him. Belle tells Rumple that letting go of the past is the first step and he starts by throwing the doll off a cliff. It’s a great moment and a sign that this man who became so deeply evil has a chance to change. But then the creepy doll came back! This time, Rumple set it on fire. As hard as he’s trying, it seems like Neverland is working just as hard to make him evil. Don’t worry, Rumple; we’re rooting for you.

“Is rum your solution to everything?”

ABC/Jack Rowand

ABC/Jack Rowand

On the less serious side of the episode, how much fun were Hook and Emma in this episode (or in all the episodes)? His curiosity over his ‘storybook’ character was adorable and the look on his face after Emma mentioned a ‘bad perm’ was hilarious. But it was also great to see Hook stepping up and leading the team, even if his directions were a bit outdated. His warning to Charming proved important and we’re definitely curious to learn more about his history with Peter Pan.

Our favorite moment of the night was, of course, Hook sharing some rum with Emma and trying to find out what she’d learned about herself. “Wouldn’t you like to know?” was her, dare we say it, flirty response. The writing is on the wall for these two, at least we think it is, and we are waiting with popcorn to watch their banter turn into something more.

Additional Musings

-Was anyone surprised that Charming kept his injury to himself and pretended it wasn’t that bad? It’s typical of him and it’ll probably end up costing him. We’re pretty sure he’s not going to die, but he’s not going to be able to help the group if he starts showing symptoms like Rumple did from the poison.

-Peter Pan made the snide comments about wanting to make Emma a real orphan and turn Henry against her. We can’t help thinking there’s more to his game than meets the eye. Why Henry? And what’s his problem with Snow and Charming? Or does he just want to hurt Emma?

-Regina’s impatience cracks us up every week. But we think it’s time for our favorite Evil Queen to get to win one for a change. Make it happen, show.

-The dwarves hating on Charming was hilarious and it was even better that they apologized right before Snow came back, ready to kick his ass for lying to her about the sword. The little moments of humor were appreciated.

What did you guys think of the episode? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Mandy Treccia
Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that.

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  1. Love your review. Thanks for always being awesome, Mandy!

  2. I hope they are able to save Charming. I don’t want him to die.

  3. You absolutely may share. All are welcome in the fangirl gushing.

  4. Aw, thank you!

  5. It was awesome! And i just love your review!!!!
    #CaptainSwan <3

  6. Can i share popcorn with you in watching Hook-Emma all the time :D

    Captain Swan feels

    And Snowing and Captain Swan parallels :)

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