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ONCE UPON A TIME “Heartless” Recap

By on November 7, 2016
GINNIFER GOODWIN, JOSH DALLAS

(ABC/Jack Rowand) GINNIFER GOODWIN, JOSH DALLAS

By Meredith Loftus

ONCE Casts a Familiar Curse with a Twist in “Heartless”

In the latest episode of the season, the Evil Queen continues her battle with the original true love power couple, Snow White and Prince Charming.

During Snow’s early days on the run from the Evil Queen, Charming saves her from a bounty hunter and a spark from the two touching hands, not actually seeing each other, creates a plant that sprouts out of their true love.

In the present, the heroes search for that sapling to use against the Evil Queen; she finds it and destroys it before they get the chance. Both Zelena and Belle find out that Rumple and the Evil Queen’s partnership has a steamy side. Snow and Charming attempt to sacrifice themselves for the town, but the Evil Queen instead puts a sleeping curse on their shared heart.

This means at all times one of them will be awake while the other one is asleep; true love’s kiss will only switch their positions, keeping them separated for the foreseeable future.

Snow & Charming: the OG of True Love

Once upon a time, a princess-turned-bandit and a shepherd disguised as a prince met and their lives were never the same since. While on an adventure together, the two fell in love. Unfortunately, there were many in the way of letting them be together, one of who was an evil queen who happened to be the stepmother to the princess. The obstacles continued to pile up. However, no matter what they faced, the princess and the shepherd always found each other. Their love was so pure it could transcend realms and break any curse; in fact, the product of their love created the Savior to all the realms.

At the heart of the story of this series is the love story of Snow White and Prince Charming. Without their story, there would be no Emma Swan breaking the Dark Curse, no Captain Hook becoming a hero, no chance of redemption for Regina, no Henry, no Storybrooke; the list could go on for days. Part of the success of that first season was in large part due to the interest of Snow and Charming’s story, both in Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest. Their love gave people something to believe in; it set the bar for what other couples on the show hope to achieve: curse-breaking true love status. They are the original gold standard.

In this episode, the magic of their love was recaptured by audiences as we were reminded of how pure their love has been throughout the series and will continue to be. In the past, it turns out Snow and Charming briefly met each other before their legendary first meeting. It was in the beginning of new chapters in both of their lives, filled with uncertainty. Charming feared the future of his family farm, and Snow was looking for a way out of the realm to escape the wrath of the Evil Queen. She had no faith in herself to survive on her own on the run in the Enchanted Forest; it did not help that she got captured by a bounty hunter that was going to take her back to the Evil Queen for a reward. But then, some traveler, Charming, helped her escape. He even went on to praise her resourcefulness. This confidence from a total stranger reminded her that she was not alone. Just knowing there is at least one person who believes in you can be a powerful thing. Faith in each other is at the core of the most legendary relationships in all the realms, and this was before Snow and Charming officially met face-to-face.

Subsequently, the trust they have for one another grows and strengthens across many adventures, realms, hardships, and curses. They are each other’s equals and best friend; in fact, they literally share a heart. Their family grows and their love for each other continues to abound. This brings us to the present where their long-time rival, the Evil Queen, threatens to destroy the people of their town if they don’t willingly surrender their heart to her. After all of the fighting and saving, Snow was really looking forward to bringing back some normalcy to her and her family’s life. However, it took touching a sapling of true love with her husband to be reminded of the power of the love they share. Their true love created a plant’s life before they even saw each other’s face; their love brought to life Emma and Neal. Their love is the power and strength that has defeated the Evil Queen before and it can defeat her in the present day. Because of this, Snow and Charming willingly surrender their heart to protect Storybrooke. Even though the Evil Queen decided to place a sleeping curse on their heart which will keep them separated, Snow and Charming’s love for each other will always connect them and guide them home. Their belief in each other has given the people of Storybrooke something to believe in, and now it is up to the people to help break the vicious sleeping curse cycle.

Building Up Trust

The foil to Snow and Charming’s relationship is the one between Belle French and Rumpelstiltskin. Their relationship was not founded on trust, and it has been plagued with deception and secrets along the way. It’s not to say that there never was love there; there is still some love between the two of them. When the romance and chemistry is gone, what is there holding up their marriage? Belle has been burned too many times by the lies that it outweighs the spark she had for Rumple. She has always believed in the good man she sees in him; it’s what makes it all the more sad to her that he wants to use the golden sheers of destiny to alter their unborn son’s life. Rumple would rather take the easy way out than to earn his son’s love and respect. Belle is not even fazed by the knowledge of Rumple and the Evil Queen’s “friends with benefits” relationship; she wants her estranged husband to believe in his goodness the way she does for the sake of their child. When he begins to do right by their son, perhaps then forgiveness and trust can begin to grow again between the beast and his beauty.

Faith and trust in another is a cornerstone of any relationship. Just as it was emphasized in Snow and Charming’s relationship, this episode also highlighted the continued growing trust between Emma Swan and Killian Jones. Though these two have not been the best at sharing their burdens with one another, they consistently believe the absolute best in each other. Emma has grown wary over her recurring visions of her supposed end; the Evil Queen going after her parents is not helping her emotional state. In a quiet moment, Killian takes the opportunity to remind her who her parents are and who she is. He literally pulls out the storybook and retells the legendary love story of Snow and Charming. Because of their love, Emma became the Savior and inherited the power and strength their love carries to overcome anything. She is the product of true love. Things may be uncertain, but Killian believes in her and the power she carries with every fiber of his being. It’s that unyielding faith in our darkest times that gives us the support we need to take the next step out into the unknown; in Emma’s case, a day closer to her battle with the hooded figure.

Worth Mentioning

  • Hands down, the standout star of the episode is Wilbie the sheep dog. The loyal dog came through for Charming and helped save the day. What happened after that adventure? Is he somewhere in Storybrooke or is he still in the Enchanted Forest fighting crime as a dog vigilante? I smell a spinoff series!
  • Though it may have been done selfishly, Zelena did offer to be honest with Belle about Rumple’s alliance with the Evil Queen. Could this be the beginning of a new understanding and partnership between Belle and Zelena? Best frenemies forever.
  • I hope Granny is paid a premium plus interest for all the babysitting she does for Storybrooke, on top of running a hotel and diner.
  • Does this mean that from now on when the Storybrooke heroes require a certain skill set for battling the Evil Queen, Snow and Charming can just tap each other in and out with true love’s kiss? This should be interesting.
  • The Evil Queen threatened the people of Storybrooke with water from the River of Lost Souls, to remind the audience that the Underworld arc was only half a season ago.
  • Snow and Charming were both on their way to a port city in the Enchanted Forest called Longbourn. That happens to be the name of Elizabeth Bennet’s house. With a season dedicated to untold stories, is it really too much of a stretch to want a Pride and Prejudice crossover with the show? Ok, too much. I’ll stop.

 

 

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