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ONCE UPON A TIME “Awake” Review

By on April 17, 2017

Pictured: Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White, Josh Dallas as Charming. Image © ABC

By Meredith Loftus

 Couples are Reunited and a Curse is Broken in “Awake”

 In last night’s episode of Once Upon A Time, Snow and Charming take new action to break the sleeping curse put on them by the Evil Queen earlier this season — ten episodes ago to be exact. Regina and Zelena try to remove the curse only to expedite the process, making both Snow and Charming fall asleep at the same time. Fighting against time, Snow and Emma find a pixie petal flower that has the power to reunite true love. Killian uses his shadow to send Emma a weapon to help her defeat the Black Fairy. When Snow realizes Killian is also in danger, she gives Emma the pixie petals to retrieve him and figure out another way to save her and Charming. Emma is able to save her pirate from Neverland, and in turn, Killian wastes no time and proposes to Emma again to which she accepts. Together, Emma, Killian, Henry, Regina, and the rest of the town break the sleeping curse by each taking a sip of the cursed potion in order to lessen its power. Snow and Charming are free from the sleeping curse, and now they have a wedding to plan!

The Sacrifices that Save the Day

Great love, in its various forms, requires sacrifice, therwise, it’s a relationship based on selfishness over self-giving, and what you can gain from a person rather than what you can give. From friendships to marriage, the best relationships balance the give and take on both sides. The small ways we sacrifice our daily wants prepares us for the big stuff, the laying-everything-down-for-someone-else sacrifices that aren’t about self-promotion but about love. For the battle between good and evil, it requires sacrifice. Are you willing to give up something that can make you happy for the greater good of what lies ahead? Snow White and Charming have been faced with this question before. Sometimes they made mistakes. Other times not. The flashback in this particular episode was another example of great love and surrender that not only saved their people, but would later save them.

About ten years into the original Dark Curse, Snow and Charming are able to wake up from their personal curses in Storybrooke. They remembered who they were and were on the road to reunite with their daughter. They had the chance to get Emma out of the foster system and become the family they always dreamed they would be. They got to see their beautiful little ten year old. Could you imagine being in their shoes and giving that up? What on earth could give them the strength to do that? Love, of course. Snow loved her friends still trapped in Storybrooke enough not to want to leave them trapped with no hope. The only person who could break the curse for everyone is Emma, and she needed to come to Storybrooke and find her family when she was twenty-eight. Snow and Charming gave up more time they could have had with Emma for the sake of letting her become the Savior that Storybrooke so desperately needed.

The sacrifices Snow and Charming made in this episode did not stop in the flashback. After Emma receives a message from Killian via his shadow, Snow makes a personal sacrifice for the sake of her daughter. Snow decides to give Emma the pixie petals to find Killian and risk eternal slumber with no one to wake her or Charming. Once again, she did that out of the great love she has for her family and their happiness. Little did she know that her heroic sacrifice would be the key to saving her and Charming. Regina, Emma, and the entire town have seen the heroism displayed through Snow and Charming’s actions over the course of many years. Like it was said before, Snow White and Prince Charming set the standard for true love and being heroes. This couple has done so much for these people that now they are able to pay it back. Many of the people of Storybrooke drink the sleeping potion to lessen its effects, potentially sacrificing their lives, and this decision was an easy one because of what Snow and Charming had done for them. That’s what saved the day in the end. This is what we root for.

Making Each Second Count

When Charming is getting ready to tap Snow back into action to find the pixie petals, Emma stops and asks him how he and Snow keep fighting through. He simply replies that he knows that Snow is fighting for him as much as he is fighting for her. It’s that same fighting spirit that he has identified in his daughter’s relationship with Killian. Charming is confident in this because he knows both of them, the lengths they’ve gone to be together, and the current battle they face. Emma does not know where Killian is or how she can get to him, but she loves him and she knows that he is aggressively doing everything he can to get home to her. A few episodes ago, Killian flirted with the idea of joining Captain Nemo in order to rediscover the man that Emma believes him to be. Unfortunately, Gideon made that journey a reality when he sent him to another realm. Since then, Killian has spent every minute trying to get back to his Swan. His time away taught him that his home is no longer on the open seas nor is his personal hell, Neverland. Killian’s home is Emma and his personal torment is being separated from her. True love is not easy and it must always be fought for. Once you find it, it can’t be replaced. The strength of their love transcends curses and realms; they always find a way back to each other.

All those tireless days spent fighting to get back to each other finally paid off. Once Killian and Emma both come back through the portal from Neverland to the Snow and Charming loft, he refuses to waste a single moment. Killian first and foremost apologizes for not telling Emma the truth about her grandfather’s death and even entertaining the idea of leaving Emma. After she forgives him, he gives his Swan the moment she really deserved: a proper proposal. Unlike the proposal a few weeks ago, this one is unburdened of secrets and all walls down on both sides. There are no more obstacles standing in the way of a moment dedicated to true love.

The pacing of the scene slows down to give it everything this has been building to. There are no flowers, no string quartets, no one hiding in a bush recording and taking pictures. Killian expresses his love and commitment to Emma with a simple yet powerful statement: I will always be by your side. Remember, this is Emma Swan we are talking about. This orphan girl had been burned by multiple people abandoning her when she needed someone most. Yet here is a man, a pirate and dashing rapscallion, who kneels before her and pledges to stay by her side. Not only does she say yes, but the real beauty of this proposal is when Emma herself gets down on Killian’s level looks into his eyes and tells him yes. This physically symbolizes the equality in their relationship as well as getting down to where the other is and being there in the midst of the low times with them. That is the kind of love we all hope to find.

Get the wedding bells ready: The Savior and Captain Hook are officially engaged.

 

Worth Mentioning

  • The other major component of the episode was the Black Fairy reuniting with her son, Rumple. She makes it clear to her estranged son that he will want to align himself with her before the final battle begins; she even gives him back the Dark One dagger. Rumple is smarter than that and deduces that she is controlling Gideon’s heart. There may be a final battle between Emma and the Black Fairy coming, but the war between the Black Fairy and Rumple could be the real game changer when everything is said and done.
  • Line of the episode goes to Archie after Pongo starts acting up: “He’s not happy because I switched his food to gluten-free.” Poor Pongo!
  • Audiences were introduced to Tiger Lily in this episode. She not only had history with Killian (insert hopeful Skull Rock story here) but also had connections to the Black Fairy because she herself was a fairy back in the day. Her presence only brings up more questions. Will we see her in a Black Fairy flashback? How did she get the wand that banished the Black Fairy and know about the Savior? Were Tinkerbell and Tiger Lily roommates at one point on Neverland? Narratively and selfishly, we really need Tiger Lily to pop up again before the finale.
  • While there was no “Rumple ex-machina” in this episode, Archie and some of the townspeople picked up that mantle during the flashback scene in the forest before Regina exposed Snow for waking up from her curse. Seriously, where did Marco and the rest of the people come from?
  • We are very elated that Snow and Charming are awake and curse-free. Now when are they going to pick up Baby Neal from fairy babysitting company?
  • Henry still needs to figure out what the symbols in last week’s episode mean. I smell a team up between him and his paternal grandmother, Belle. Plus, with their two brains working together, they could unlock the key to saving Emma, Gideon, and the happy endings of Storybrooke.

 

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