Once Upon A Time – Tougher Than The Rest
By: Kelly Kearney
How Emma Swan Got Her Name
When we last left the world of “Once Upon a Time,” Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) missed their portal home thanks to the wish realm version of Robin (Sean Maguire) and his penchant for robbing the rich and keeping it for himself. When the mid-season premiere begins we get a flashback to a young and homeless Emma (McKenna Grace) and a familiar young man (Rustin Gresiuk) who teaches the impressionable girl that much like ugly ducklings who transform into swans, if you believe hard enough you can change your fate. This lesson stuck with Emma, when we find out she came up with the last name Swan as an homage to choosing her own path in life.
Flash forward to the wish realm and Regina and Emma just forked over their valuables to an unaged and shady Robin of Locksley. That’s right, he isn’t Robin Hood who steals from the rich and gives to the poor – he’s the master thief Robin of Locksley and he steals for himself and nothing more. After handing over their jewelry, Regina barely has a moment to ponder why Robin hasn’t aged while everyone else in the wish realm had when their son Prince Henry (Jared Gilmore) shows up vowing vengeance on the Evil Queen. Regina is a wanted woman and Emma tells her they need to stay out of sight until they can find a way home – one Emma already has a plan for.
As Emma and Regina brainstorm a way back home, Charming (Josh Dallas) is in Storybrooke racked with guilt over bringing Emma’s fated murderer to town on a careless wish. If only he hadn’t wished the Evil Queen got what she deserved Gideon (Giles Matthey) wouldn’t have shown up, sealing his daughter’s fate as the doomed savior.
Speaking of Gideon, he’s at Gold’s shop having a surprising chat with dear old mom and dad. The two are shocked that the baby they gave up less than a week ago is the 28-year-old cloaked figure standing in front of them. Even more shocking is when he tells Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) where he’s been. The Black Fairy (Jaime Murray) kidnapped the boy and spent years trying to turn him evil to no avail and now he’s here to prove his heroism by killing the savior and taking her place. Gideon says there are other worlds that need saving from the Black Fairy and he’s just the man to do it. Emma has become collateral damage in the savior game.
An old friend
Without a portal, Emma and Regina need magic to get home and who better to ask than the son who carved the wardrobe that sent baby Emma to her destiny? Emma finds Pinocchio (Eion Bailey) and after some explaining about the wish realm and Storybrooke, her old friend has some bad news. He dismantled the wardrobe after the queen left the enchanted forest. Regina is getting sick of hearing how great everyone’s lives are without her in it and before Emma can ask her, “What now,” Regina bolts – leaving behind a letter about finding Robin. Apparently, Regina can’t go home without knowing if Robin’s life was also better having never met her.
It doesn’t take long for the Mayor to find Robin when she goes to the pub she was fated to meet his alter ego and her soulmate. Completely forgetting about the fact she is a wanted woman, Regina saunters into the pub and the patrons scurry yelling, “THE EVIL QUEEN!” Unfazed is Robin, who thinks the Queen is there to take back what he stole from her and is surprised when she bluntly asks if he is happy. Before he gets a chance to answer, the two are arrested by The Sheriff of Nottingham (Wil Traval) who even in this realm is still after Robin the thief.
While Regina is trying to find some resemblance of her Robin in wish realm Robin, Emma and Pinocchio head to the woods to find a magical tree so he can carve a portal hopping wardrobe for the princess. As Emma is explaining to her friend what a savior is and why it’s important for her to get home, she gets interrupted by a sword wielding, portly, old pirate who has come to save the missing princess. Emma is shocked to realize the drunken, old fool is none other than Hook (Colin O’Donoghue)! Instantly she stops him and poofs him back to the Jolly Roger while muttering under her breath about someone switching from rum to water and skipping desserts altogether. Before she lets that disappointing reality sink in, Pinocchio has some bad news. During the scuffle with the pirate his father’s wood working chisel broke as did his faith that he could even build the wardrobe. He sulks off telling Emma that she should’ve never put her trust in him.
Familiar Familial Strife
If there is one thing Rumpelstiltskin is good at it is disappointing family. That’s why it’s no surprise that Gideon blames him for his kidnapping and horrid life with the Black Fairy. Rumple tries explaining to him that Gideon comes from a long line of men who disappoint their children and if he’d like to get some payback they can start with a father/son slap session. Angry, Gideon tries to summon the power to strike his father but can’t, leaving Rumple to ask how he plans on killing the savior when he can’t even slap the man he hates? He offers his help, if only to channel his son’s misguided hero attempt, but Gideon leaves and Rumple knows all too well how blindly seductive power can be.
Back in the wish realm, Regina and Robin are getting hauled off by the sheriff when Rumpelstiltskin steps in to save them, only to inform Regina that he’s come for a little payback of his own. Regina told wish Rumple that Belle was locked in the Queen’s dungeon, but when he finally reached his beloved she was dead and what was left was just her bones. Now The Dark One wants someone to pay so he throws Regina and Robin into his castle’s cell to await their punishment. With not much to do but wait, Regina and Robin start talking about her world and her Robin. Wish Robin seems jealous of his counterpart’s life until Regina tells him Robin is dead. With that sad news, Robin hops up and picks the jail cell lock, freeing them both and giving Regina hope that maybe a part of her love is inside this Robin.
With the two escaped prisoners on their way to find Emma, the savior is still trying to find a way home now that her friend all but lost faith in his carving skills. At the tree and brainstorming, Emma sees a carved box and inside it is a toy Swan! She remembers the young man who taught her about choosing her own fate and confronts Pinocchio about the box. He admits it was a gift for her and Emma reminds him of the Ugly Duckling story. She convinces her puppet friend that if he believes he can do it, he will. Faith is all it takes and Pinocchio starts on their way home just in time for Regina to show up with Robin who’s ready for a tearful goodbye. Emma says not so fast, if she can change her fate so can Regina. Thanks to this Robin gifting Regina with a feather to remember him by, Regina takes Emma’s advice and asks Robin to go back to Storybrooke with them. The thief agrees since he’s a wanted man in his realm and the three make it safely back home.
The safe return only lasts for a moment when Emma is thrust into a sword fight with Gideon. With her friends and family frozen and watching on in horror, the two battle it out on main street until Emma takes her own advice. The savior starts to believe she can not only change her fate, but defeat it! It works and Emma blasts Gideon, shattering his sword and attempts to slit his throat with one of the shards. Rumple begs her to spare his son and Gideon vanishes before Emma can even make the decision. Emma might have stopped Gideon, but his parents both know this isn’t the end. As their son smashes the Storybrooke clock tower, Rumple tells Belle that if their son is anything like him this is far from over.
Will Gideon prove his father right and bring war to Storybrooke? Will Snow forgive Charming for letting her sleep through their daughters most important fight? Will wish realm Robin be a great stand in for the real deal or is there more to this thief than Regina knows? Find out next week on “Once Upon a Time.”