ONCE UPON A TIME “I’ll Be Your Mirror” Review
By Meredith Loftus
ONCE Mothers Team Up in “I’ll Be Your Mirror”
“I’ll Be Your Mirror” explores a new realm of the ever-expanding world of the series. The Evil Queen traps Emma and Regina in the world behind the mirror and tries to replace their roles in Henry’s life. While there, the two run into the Dragon, who was taken prisoner by the Evil Queen back in New York City; together they work to communicate with Henry and escape their prison sentence.
Meanwhile, Former enemies, Belle and Zelena, team up and hire Aladdin to steal back the Sorcerer’s wand in order to create a new portal out of Storybrooke.
However, Rumple thwarts their plans and puts a tracking cuff on Belle so he can always find her when she tries to run from him.
Snow and Charming take turns throughout the day taking care of their son while trying to just live out their lives in spite of a new curse threatening to break their spirit, and Rumple uses his unique alliance with the Evil Queen to request for her to kill Zelena for interfering with Belle.
Working with Wicked
One of the more surprising team ups to come out of this season is the alliance between Belle French and the Wicked Witch of the West. They don’t have the greatest history. Way back in Season 3, Zelena kept Rumple prisoner at her farmhouse when she was creating her time-travelling spell; she would torment Belle by flaunting her control over him and give the illusion that Belle would succeed in freeing Rumple but it would just be a ploy. Plus, Zelena did make out with Rumple. Last season, Belle protected Baby Robin from Zelena when she and Zelena fell through a portal to the Underworld. Now, Zelena was originally working with Rumple and the Evil Queen, while Belle stood with the heroes and has tried to keep herself separated from Rumple to protect their unborn son.
In the last episode, Zelena offered Belle a helpful hint about Rumple’s new partner in crime as well as the location of the golden shears. It was that good gesture that prompted her to ask for her help in this episode. Belle and Zelena have a painful thing in common: they both have been burned repeatedly by the same people, people they keep giving second chances to. Zelena has craved sisterly love from Regina but she keeps getting neglected. To a deeper level, Zelena needs a friend, and maybe she can find that friend in Belle. Also, Zelena’s heart has been softened by the maternal love she has for her daughter. Seeing another mother who just wants to protect her child starts to break through her wicked heart.
Brains and wicked sass prove to be a winning combo. They convince Aladdin to steal back the Sorcerer’s wand. Zelena begins to open a portal to the Enchanted Forest for Belle, but then Rumple comes in and takes away their victory. Zelena sits and watch the beast put a golden cuff on Belle that tracks her every movement so she can never escape him. Rumple’s justification for his actions is his love; ironically, his loving actions are pushing his wife away. It’s a mask for his cowardice. Rumple then attempts to choke Zelena, but thanks to a nifty deal where she saved his life from a heart attack, Rumple can’t harm her without his heart attack returning. Belle is determined more than ever to find a way to escape her husband. Even though Zelena can’t be killed by Rumple himself, she sees the anguish this brainy beauty is being put through. These two mothers might be the friends they need to fight their battles with the Dark One, especially now that Zelena has a hit on her wicked head.
Resisting the Dark Side
Before Emma Swan entered his life, Henry Mills spent most of his childhood under the care of the Evil Queen of the Enchanted Forest. Storybrooke was frozen in time for 28 years, but Henry wasn’t. This episode reminded the audience that the Evil Queen was there for Henry when he was seven and thought there were monsters living under his bed; she was there when Henry saw Star Wars for the first time. Regina was operating more as the Evil Queen during the curse, so that was the emotional ammunition the Evil Queen used against Henry in the vault. She gets his Star Wars reference to Darth Vader and his complexity; she helped Henry conquer some of his childhood fears. Deep down, the Evil Queen is Regina and loves her son, even though her ideas of love are completely skewed.
In true Luke Skywalker fashion, Henry has a moment where he is tempted by the dark side. He had to choose between one man’s life or the lives of Emma and Regina. He has seen both of his mothers struggle with their own darkness in the past five seasons. In fact, the fairest of them all, Snow White, has her own dark spot on her heart. It’s part of his family’s history. What’s also part of his family’s history is their strength to overcome it. Staring at his two options, Henry uses his quick-thinking brain and heart of hero to find a third option in using the hammer of Hephaestus to break the mirror and free Emma and Regina. In his moments of temptation, Henry remembers who he is and the love he has from his family. That’s the difference between Henry and the Evil Queen. The Evil Queen was trying to lure Henry with the acts of selfish love when she was a part of his life; she believes that love is weakness. Henry has experienced the selfless love from Emma and Regina, and it’s the greatest strength in the world. It reminds us that we are never alone and we can do anything because there’s someone who loves us. The Evil Queen might have an alliance with Rumple, but her interests are self-seeking and they won’t satisfy in the end. Good will triumph over evil.
- There were way too many Aladdin Easter eggs in this episode and all of them must be mentioned. First, there was a cymbal monkey in a purple vest wearing a small cap in Gold’s shop that helped distract Rumple from finding Aladdin. Aladdin thanked the monkey, clearly giving a nod to Aladdin’s mischievous sidekick, Abu. After successfully stealing the wand, Jasmine commented that he helped a friend in need, which is awfully close to the hit song “Friend Like Me.” Then, Aladdin pulled out a magic lamp and gave it to Jasmine; she asked if there was a genie in there, to which he responded that his pal, the genie, has moved on and he’s free now. Not only is that a great Genie shout out, but you can’t help but believe that it was also meant towards the late Robin Williams, who voiced the iconic character. Rest in peace, sir. Last but not least, how adorable were Aladdin and Jasmine in this episode? Honestly, they were so cute trying to explain to Zelena that they weren’t dating as well as walking down the street with smiles just for the two of them.
- A few months ago, I asked one of the showrunners, Adam Horowitz, what his favorite John Hughes movies are; The Breakfast Club is one of his top picks. So it only makes sense that Henry would start with this beloved classic for his John Hughes marathon with Violet. You thought I would forget, Adam!
- Two cute couple scenes with non-score music. “Colours” by Donovan played during the Snow and Charming montage of their new cursed lives; Henry and Violet danced to “In My Dreams” by Ruth B in Granny’s diner. I must say, I’m happy Henry and Violet have branched away from Yazoo. Go ahead and add these to your OUAT playlists. Yes, we know you have them, and you’re welcome.
- Can we continue to let Dragon-ex machina be a thing? I vote yes.
- In Greek mythology, Hephaestus is the god of blacksmiths and served as a blacksmith to the Olympians. Although a hammer is one of the symbols associated with him, there was no special hammer that gave mortals magic. However, there is a hammer of Hephaestus in the multiplayer game, God of War: Ascension that can knock enemies away. Well, I know what the writers were playing late at night while writing this script.
- A few weeks ago, The Flash introduced a new rogue villain, Mirror Master, a metahuman who can travel through mirrors from one place to another. Barry Allen was trapped in a mirror by Mirror Master, and it took freezing the mirror in order to break it and get him out. Coincidence? Probably. Would it have made an epic crossover considering the main plot of this episode? We shall let you speculate on that.