Playing Catch-Up: ‘Once Upon a Time’ Season 3

Some shows just have this moment. The moment I know when I have gone from casual watcher to unrepentant fangirl. After that there is no going back. It doesn’t happen with every show, just those few special shows (cough cough Doctor Who) that invite me into their world and don’t let go. Once Upon a Time season 3 is where I officially crossed the line into fangirl territory. (Actually it started back with ‘Manhattan’ 2.14 but it wasn’t confirmed until the end of 3.3 “Quite a Common Fairy”.)

So to start off season 3 the motley crew (not to be confused with Mötley Crüe) of Emma, Charming, Snow White, Regina, Rumpelstiltskin, and Hook go off to save Henry who has been kidnapped by Tamara and Greg. Both die rather quickly which is great because I’m sorry, but they were the two worst villains. Thankfully, one of the series’ best villains is about to show up: Peter Pan (played by Robbie Kay who is 19  and I still find it weird that I think he’s cute).

Pan is smug. He likes to play games. And he is willing to do whatever it takes (even killing his only loyal follower RIP Rufio Felix) to do so. He remarks that it is easy to trick Regina because she has a weakeness for Henry, which is what makes her such a complex character, but Pan is a better villain because he shows no mercy, even to his own son. Oh that’s right, PAN IS RUMPLE’S DAD.  There you go again OUAT, delivering a twist I totally did not expect. The acting between Robbie Kay and Robert Carlyle is great, especially in the mid-season finale where Pan towers over a cowering and magic-less Rumple squirming on the ground. Kay can more than hold his own against the adults, especially since they’re all a bit of a mess this season.

The grown-ups are a mess because they spend most of the half season trying to figure out the best way to save Henry. Which means a lot of BIG CONVERSATIONS about good vs. evil and doing the right thing vs. just doing anything to save their family member. This of course leads to some great performances by our favorite ambiguous baddie Regina. In this season she has also started to teach Emma magic which I’m sure will have interesting consequences as the series goes on because as we know (say it with me now): all magic comes at a price.

Speaking of Emma, she’s been very busy this season. Besides looking for her newly found son and accepting her status as a savior/orphan, she additionally has to deal with two guys pining after her: Captain Hook and Neal/Bae. Que love triangle. I am very torn about the whole thing. I’ve loved Neal since we’ve met him, mostly because he’s Henry’s father and because of the history between him and Emma. But then there’s Hook. Full disclaimer: I have a weakness for bad boys/scoundrels with hearts of gold (see Aladdin, Dmitri, Chuck Bass, Tim Riggins, and the ultimate: Jess Mariano). Colin O’Donoghue’s Hook is not just the smarmy captain with the great one-liners we have come to love, but a person who displays genuine feelings and risks his life to save others. How very un-pirate like of him. He and Emma share possibly TV’s steamiest kiss so progress is definitely being made. But I’m sure the show’s creators will drag out this love triangle for as long as possible to cause fans undue amounts of pain and fanfiction writing.

Another (equally interesting) love triangle is the Phillip/Mulan/Aurora one. But the best part is Mulan loves Aurora! Yay! I have never been more happy to get something right. Even though it was a pretty sad scene because Aurora is pregnant and so our favorite kick butt girl can’t reveal her true feelings for now. We get to see them on Neal’s quick trip to the Enchanted Forest when he wasn’t actually dead (duh).  (Question: How did the Enchanted Forest Team save Neal/get the bullet out/know what a bullet is? I think I missed something.) One important thing we learn in the EF besides love triangle 2 is that Robin Hood has a lion tattoo! This is important because Tinker Bell took Regina to meet her One True Love (OTL) in a semi-pointless flashback and we saw that he has a lion tattoo! So Regina + Robin=love? If Robin is her One True Love does that mean Daniel wasn’t? Or can people have more than one? Regardless, it will be interesting to see what comes of this. Personally, I was hoping the guy with the lion tattoo (see what I did there) was King Arthur. Have we seen him yet?

The flashback revealing Regina’s OTL was one of the more interesting flashbacks the season had to offer because we’ve reached the point where the flashbacks no longer tell us anything new. Things that were important that we learned: Rumple’s past, Hook’s past, how Regina adopted Henry. Things that were not important: the newlywed Charmings trying to find Medusa, Regina being mean (again), Tinker Bell (except for finding out about Regina’s One True Love), and Ariel. Aurora, darling, you are off the hook. The new award for “most useless Disney character in OUAT” is now Ariel. Sure she swam across realms to get Pandora’s box that would eventually trap Pan (kind of), but I could have done without an entire episode dedicated to her back story and really obvious references to The Little Mermaid movie.

The stand out moments of the season pretty much all came in the mid-season finale. The Freaky Friday switch between Pan and Henry was another one of those things I didn’t see coming, but loved all the same. Both boys did a great job at playing each other, from Kay getting the softness of Henry to Jared S. Gilmore really capturing the evil glint in Pan’s eye. I will say I am sad to see Robbie Kay go. Also, I’m not even going to comment on the fact that Rumple “died” because let’s be real, you can’t kill off one of the best characters of the show, you just can’t. (Even though I did get teary at his goodbyes and Belle’s reaction.)

So now there’s a new curse that Pan enacted that is going to transport everyone except Emma and Henry back to the Enchanted Forest and of course Emma and Henry won’t remember any of the last few years or anyone else. What they will remember is the gift Regina gives them- memories as if Emma was the one raising Henry all along. The ultimate motherly sacrifice (cue full out sobbing). But if there’s one thing we’ve learned about this family it’s that they “always find each other.” So I am sure that it won’t be long before the Charmings/Swans/Mills are re-united again. Plus, in the last minutes Hook comes to warn Emma her family is in trouble!

Season 3 part 2 starts this Sunday which makes me extremely excited because I honestly don’t think I could wait any longer (sorry to all of you who actually waited 3 months). I know that they’re adding elements from the Wizard of Oz, but I know very little else and honestly I like it that way. My main worry is that the characters will spend the rest of the season trying to get Emma and Henry to remember them. My theory is that Emma will remember, but Henry won’t because that was Regina’s price (and will be much worse). I am looking forward to my next review/recap actually being current and one episode at a time (because I usually have a lot to say as you can see).

Final Words

  • The root of all the characters’ problems in this show comes from lack of communication. If they stopped hiding things from each other (like getting hit by a poison arrow) then everything would be so. much. easier.
  • Oh yeah forgot to mention hipster John and Michael and their reunion with Wendy. I guess she’s the little sister now?
  • Is it weird I wanted Wendy to get older when she got back to Storybrooke and get with Neal/Bae? (Yeah a little I guess.)
  • How did Hook find Emma so easily in New York? Also, why hasn’t he changed clothes yet, everyone else adapted to the normal world.
  • Ginnifer Goodwin was SOOO pregnant at the end of this season. Even coats can’t hid that bump. (Still so happy she and Josh Dallas are together IRL.)
  • They call Hook fans ‘Hookers’ so score one for #TeamHook
  • This  makes me die laughing:  ouat animated GIF

Favorite quotes:

  • Tinker Bell: Snow White? That’s her name? Even I think that’s a bit precious and mine’s Tinker Bell. (3.3)
  • Emma: Maybe it’s a tiny colander. Regina: Yes because preteen Baelfire probably made a lot of pasta. (3.4)
  • Ariel: You tricked me. Regina: You went to a long dead octopus for help and you blame me for your problems? (3.6)
  • Regina: I need a child Gold. Rumple: I’m flattered, but uninterested. (3.9)
  • Hook: There’s not a day that will go by that I won’t think about you. Emma: Good. (3.11)
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