Reviews

‘Once Upon A Time’ Season 6 Premiere Review: Curse of the ‘Savior’

once-upon-a-time-jennifer-morrison
(ABC/Jack Rowand)

The Land of Untold Stories came to Storybrooke on the season six premiere of Once Upon A Time.

Here’s what we know so far: Untold Stories are dangerous. They’re unfinished because the characters are afraid to face the endings.

Kind of a great metaphor for life, if you think about it.

We’re all a little (or a lot) afraid of the unknown. We worry about the choices we make, the consequences of our actions, and we wonder if we’re on the right path.

Emma, Regina, Zelena, and Rumple faced those same questions, to various extents, in “Savior.”

After five seasons, a fair criticism of this show is to say the writers tend to put plot before character. There’s too much focus on experiencing crisis after crisis rather than letting viewers see the toll they take on the characters.

While the episode did tread its share of familiar, somewhat tired ground, the heroes managed to capture Mr. Hyde fairly early in the hour. Experience has taught us this won’t be the end of his reign, but pushing his plot to the backburner allowed the episode to center on the characters’ internal struggles.

AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER…

…Unless they’re a savior? The opening took us into Aladdin’s world. Turns out he’s a savior too, which might be a bad thing, at least according to Jafar. The baddie arrived to gloat over Aladdin’s shaky hand.

Fast-forward to present day Storybrooke and Emma’s suddenly developed the same tic along with visions of a fight. Hyde informs her she’s in trouble.

Emma blows off Killian’s concerns to follow Hyde’s suggested path: a bird that leads her to an oracle. The full vision reveals a fight between Emma and a hooded figure destined to kill her in front of her family.

Falling back into old habits, Emma keeps her pending death to herself rather than tell Killian the truth. Cue the grumbling about how Emma’s learned nothing over five seasons…except Emma’s human.

Humans are creatures of habit. We love our bad habits way more than our good ones, especially when we’re reacting to the worst kind of news. Emma burrows inside herself while Killian turns to alcohol. Both vices, both wrong choices (Spoiler Alert: TV characters making the right choices all the time equals boring television).

That being said, does anyone believe saviors are not meant for happy endings? Snow White taught us better than that, people. There’s always hope. Not to mention, as Henry pointed out to Regina, villains are lying liars who lie. As of now, they’re the only ones peddling this theory.

SISTER, SISTER…SISTER

once-upon-a-time-lana-parrilla
(ABC/Jack Rowand)

Henry’s words, along with Snow’s did get through to Regina as she continued grappling with Robin’s death (forever bitter, party of me). Seeing Regina devastated hurts. Her confidence in her magic faltered, her office remains a brutal reminder of her loss, and her messy sister misplaced the feather Roland left for her.

Despite her pain, Regina made good decisions throughout the episode. She followed Snow’s advice to be honest with Zelena. She blames her for Robin’s death. Zelena, in turn, is hurt over Regina ripping out the part of her that’s most like Zelena. Both fair points.

Unfortunately, moving out of Regina’s led Zelena straight into the waiting arms of the Evil Queen. To Zelena’s credit, she hesitated the queen’s invitation to dive right into trouble. It’s nice to see growth on Zelena’s part. Will she backslide into Team Villain? Probably (see the bad habit section above). In the long run, let’s hold out hope for a stronger sisterly relationship (with the good half of Regina).

For now, Regina deepened her bond with Snow. The two chatted about the not so good old days when Regina held the Worst Stepmother Ever title. Snow countered the claim by telling Regina she helped her become the person she is today. Great scene, minus the feather floating to the bench after they left. Would it have killed the writers to at least let Regina keep that piece of Robin alive?

A TALE AS OLD AS TIME…WITH A TWIST

once-upon-a-time-robert-carlyle
(ABC/Jack Rowand)

Elsewhere, Rumple headed to the Temple of Morpheus. He wanted to slip into Belle’s dream, remind her of their love, and encourage her to accept his True Love’s Kiss. Morpheus allowed him the hour and warned him against the manipulation. Rumple’s response? One last time…

“Skin Deep” will forever be one of the series’ best episodes. Rumple recreating it capped off with the Beauty and the Beast dance? Well played, show. Throw in Robert Carlyle’s incredible acting skills, and it becomes easy to forget all the damage Rumple’s done.

On the other hand, kudos to the writers for having Belle snap out of the trance when she recalled the way it ended the first time. We’re way past “fool me once” with these two. Belle deserves time to herself if that’s what she wants.

Morpheus ended up giving Belle the True Love’s Kiss because he was their son! Great twist to have him testing both of his parents. Belle passed and Rumple did not, which serves him right after everything he’s done.

Except it’s hard not to feel for him when he stood there, alone, rejected, not only by his wife, but his child. He never seems to learn the lesson that love is more important than power, but Carlyle’s way too good for Rumple to be a complete lost cause.

(See? Bad habits. Not just for TV characters).

ODDS AND ENDS

-Captain Swan getting frisky while Henry’s at Regina’s? I approve of A&E swiping this directly from CS Fanfic Rules 101 (minus the rude interruption).

-Is anyone else bummed Regina/Zelena’s odd couple roommate situation didn’t last longer? So many comedic possibilities…

-Hyde needs to talk a little faster. Maybe not Gilmore girls level, but normal human would be much appreciated, thanks.

-Seeing Pongo was way better than Archie (sorry not sorry, worst therapist ever)

-Charming needs more to do (#GiveCharmingAStory2K16)

About the author

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. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.