What have we done to each other? What have we done to our son?Belle
Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, Colin O’Donoghue, Jared S. Gilmore, Rebecca Mader, and Robert Carlyle.
Episode 10: Wish You Were Here
Say what you like about Once Upon a Time, but they do know how to pull off good finales. The idea that we are given here, of the Wish Realm, is thoroughly entertaining. It allows us to spend a little bit of time with reinvented characters in a “What If?” scenario without it ultimately contradicting or ruining any character development.
In particular, this was a nice change for Emma. We’re always used to the idea that being the Saviour is a bit of a curse for her, or a burden, and that it ripped her from her family. Here, we learn that a huge amount of what makes Emma a great character is, unfortunately for her, built out of and informed by this massive trauma. Princess Emma is, respectively, a bit of a whimp. She doesn’t need any inner strength, as she’s never needed to fight for anything before. When she is faced with the Evil Queen, she simply cannot deal with it, and entirely gives up. The audience feels Regina’s frustration along with her, though it is wonderful for comic relief.
Other than seeing what could have been, and the vastly changed Emma, the alternate Enchanted Forest didn’t offer terribly much more. The rules were also poorly fleshed out. I would have imagined that if Aladdin had made Emma’s wish come true, surely that would have changed reality for all of our characters, and not just whisked Emma away to a different pocket universe. Is this plane actually real? Could it be travelled to with a magic bean in the same way they get to the regular Enchanted Forest? Was this universe always in existence, and Emma merely filled the place of the Princess Emma in this version? All valid questions, which are practically pointless asking as I doubt I will ever get the answers. I am grateful that it was just Emma affected though and sent away, as it made for a greater variety in the storytelling.
As predicted, Aladdin’s role as a genie supremely backfired, as the Evil Queen was able to use him against Emma. Quite why Jasmine didn’t immediately wish to go to Agrabah is entirely beyond me. I’m not sure by the end of the episode what precisely they were waiting for, but they seem to have been conveniently written out, and I imagine it may be a fair while until we actually catch up with them again.
Charming is showing that he, unlike Snow, is faring quite well during this curse. He shows himself to be a man of action when Emma vanishes, and decisively takes on the Evil Queen. There were some brilliant moments, but I can’t help but feel that they would have been much better to have come from Snow. Her character has really floundered since about Season 2, especially in the present day, and for her to have those independent and brave acts instead would have been much more appropriate and packed more of a punch for the audience.
Having said that, his reasoning for not using Aladdin to wish the curse away was flimsy. Perhaps this was why Charming was the one who was awake for this episode, as there’s little doubt that she would have woken Charming to have it all over and done with, while Charming may be thinking more rationally. I cannot see the downside of waking Snow up, but – as we know by now – magic comes with a price. For us, it’s having to hear about the price every time magic is used.
Belle and Rumple enjoy a rapprochement of sorts this week, as they unite in the wake of the news that their newborn son has been kidnapped by the Black Fairy. Now, I’m not being funny (or maybe I am, it comes incredibly naturally), but how come whenever the Blue Fairy is actually entrusted with any sort of meaningful task, she spectacularly fails. What is so great about her again? I seem to recall in Season 1 that fairies were actually meant to be quite powerful, but they’ve been varying degrees of useless ever since. Well, regardless, apparently the Black Fairy managed to attack the Blue Fairy – who was found in the forest, so I guess she didn’t actually get that far – and steal Gideon. This seems strange, and I definitely have follow up questions and I feel like this was just thrown away all too easily.
I was also frustrated by the degree to which Belle blamed herself and it almost went down the route of “we’ve both done terrible things, it’s water under the bridge”. Except, it really isn’t. Sure, perhaps Belle giving Gideon away to the Blue Fairy wasn’t the wisest decision, as the last children that Blue was entrusted with were sent to Hell and seemingly looked after in a draughty hallway, but Rumple has, objectively done much worse. Moreover, he has done much worse specifically to her. This is pretty much the only bad thing that Belle has done to him, and it’s not as if it was without reason.
He gave her more than enough justification for sending the child away and, if he hadn’t have placed a tracking band on her, then she would have been able to go with him. Bringing up the Black Fairy as if she’s been a real and present danger at all within living memory is ridiculous. It was impossible for Belle to predict that that would happen, and even more baffling that it actually did happen, but I’m sure that we will get answers on that front before too long.
The reveal that Gideon was, in fact, the hooded figure who is meant to kill Emma is also intriguing. I hope that the storyline plays out fully, as it’s bound to be traumatising for Belle to have completely missed out on raising her child, who she loved so much as to give away. That’s bound to leave a lasting mark, regardless of whether or not Gideon is truly villainous or not.
As for the Evil Queen? Well, after quite an amusing episode for her, in which she wandered around Regina’s office, and almost commanded Aladdin to have sex with her (“Ew”), she is transformed into a snake. Quite an unceremonious fate for the “Big Bad” of the first part of the season. I hope that it’s not the last that we see of her, as this doesn’t quite tie up all of the necessary loose ends, but it was certainly unexpected, and demonstrated how ludicrously powerful Gideon must be if he can do this without any trouble while our heroes have been chasing their tails trying to get rid of the Evil Queen all season.
On top of that huge revelation that leads us closer to resolving Emma’s fate, the end of the episode reintroduced Robin (Sean Maguire). Of course, it’s not quite the Robin that we know and love, but it’s enough to stop Regina from travelling through the portal back to Storybrooke and leaving her and Emma trapped there. I’m excited for what this may mean for Regina, but I’d be disappointed if she ends up with this new version of Robin. He isn’t her Robin, and it’d be an overly convenient way for them to forge forwards. Hopefully it gives her some closure over their relationship, however, and allows her to build bridges with Zelena once more.
So, by the end of the mid season finale, we are left with Belle and Rumple’s child being kidnapped by Rumple’s villainous mother, The Black Fairy and fashioned into some sort of cloaked assassin, who is fated to kill Emma, according to her prophetic visions. Elsewhere, Emma and Regina are trapped in Emma’s Wish Realm as Regina has discovered a remarkably unaged Robin Hood, while Aladdin and Jasmine are off to find Agrabah and the Evil Queen is reduced to a snake in a cage.
“Wish You Were Here” successfully advanced the plot, while also being quite entertaining in the alternate universe it portrayed. It didn’t do as good of a job at developing or furthering our characters as other episodes have, but sometimes a bit of action is necessary to thrust the plot forwards. The fact that Emma’s killer is Belle and Rumple’s child is sure to add a new dimension to the drama and won’t make it as simple as merely defeating the assailant.
You can watch Once Upon a Time Seasons 1 – 7 on Netflix. It is also available on home media and other digital platforms for purchase or rent.