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ONCE UPON A TIME Recap: “Mother’s Little Helper”

By on April 10, 2017
ONCE UPON A TIME - "Mother's Little Helper" - (ABC/Jack Rowand)
JENNIFER MORRISON, ROBERT CARLYLE

ONCE UPON A TIME - "Mother's Little Helper" - (ABC/Jack Rowand) JENNIFER MORRISON, ROBERT CARLYLE

By Meredith Loftus

 

“Mother’s Little Helper” Helps the Black Fairy Enter Storybrooke

 

In a new installment of Once Upon A Time, Emma and Gideon agree to work together to bring Killian back in exchange for defeating the Black Fairy. Unfortunately while trying to open a portal to her pirate, Gideon unleashes a giant spider to trap Emma and gain her power just enough for the Black Fairy to enter Storybrooke. Unbeknownst to the heroes, the Black Fairy is controlling Gideon with the classic rip-out-the-heart method. Rumple and Belle place their allegiance to their son’s redemption while Emma plans to defend herself next time Gideon comes knocking.

Meanwhile, Killian swindles Blackbeard into giving him another magic bean but because of the protection spell keeping him out of Storybrooke, they are transported to his favorite place in the world, Neverland. Last but not least, the Author powers start to overpower Henry. The former Author, Isaac, explains to him and Regina that this is because the storybook is about to start its final chapter. This is the end of the storybook, and the final battle is about to begin.

 

Taking Heroic Steps

Heroes and villains are not born; they’re made. There is more than meets the eye when it comes to the hooded figure from Emma’s visions. Belle named her newborn son after the protagonist of her favorite book, “Her Handsome Hero.” Her Gideon, however, has faced obstacles in becoming the hero his mother believes he can be. In this episode, we learn about Gideon’s upbringing under the care of the Black Fairy. She used fear and condescension to make him believe he was a coward and coerce him to be mother’s little, loyal servant for years. However, as we learn, heroism does not have an expiration date. Years later, Gideon stood up to the Black Fairy after a reminder of how brave he really is, and subsequently got his heart ripped out by her. Gideon is still being used by the Black Fairy to get her into Storybrooke, but what he has told Emma and his parents is truthful. He wants to save the other realm from her dominion. When she is not calling the shots, Gideon is fighting against her. Currently to the majority of Storybrooke, he does not appear to be trusted but his moment is coming where he will have the chance to stand against the Black Fairy again. Only this time, he won’t face her alone.

Even though currently at odds with each other, Gideon and Emma have similar stories. Both of these heroes were separated from their parents after they were born due to dark circumstances. They grew up in different realms where they did not have loving families to raise them. They finally reunited with their parents after 28 years of separation. Ultimately, they both had to become their own heroes, but it took time. Remember, Emma Swan was not ready to be the Savior once she crossed the town line into Storybrooke. Neither was Gideon when he was put to this test as an adolescent by the Black Fairy. She recognizes the hope in Gideon that she saw in Henry those years ago. Once the truth is exposed, this Savior is going to help make another savior out of this handsome hero.

From the very beginning, Rumpelstiltskin is the wild card in every arc and plot. His motives are usually hidden and self-serving, but he has acted as a hero in the past. With the current tension between Emma and Gideon, Rumple has stepped to help others around him so he might protect and hopefully save his son. For instance, he saves Emma from becoming the giant spider’s dinner without any incentive of personal gain. Rumple actually wants to work with Emma to help Gideon defeat the Black Fairy for good. Even Belle has seen a change in him that their relationship begins to reconcile through mutual love for their son. He tells Emma that he will do what is necessary to protect Gideon even if he has to protect him from her. After he learns how his mother is domineering over her grandson, Rumple might have to sacrifice everything in order to save Gideon. The fight for goodness does not come with easy decisions. Rumple has laid his life down before to protect others from his father. With the current trajectory, it would not be a stretch for Rumple to do something similar in order to protect his family from his mother.

 

The Beginning of the End

We tell stories to know who we are in order to help us understand ourselves and our place in the world. From fantasy to dramas, they all stir our imaginations, allow us to experience a variety of emotions, and help us process the world around us. One good story can impact millions. However, there is a truth we must face. Even in the midst of the soft reboot/sequel/serialized medium in which we consume stories today there is a beginning, middle, and end. All stories end. They can’t last forever. In the context of Once Upon A Time, there are a finite number of pages in the storybook that Henry was holding when we were first introduced to him. Interpretation and speculation of the series’ ending aside, there is a beginning, middle, and end to the current narrative. Full disclosure: There has been no official confirmation of the series’ renewal or cancellation and there is a high possibility that the final verdict will not be announced until mid-May.

Once upon a time, Rumpelstiltskin was visited by Snow White and Prince while locked away in a prison cell. The Dark One told the expecting couple that the Evil Queen created a dark curse that will transport them all to a place where time stands still and their happy endings are taken away. The only one who can break such a curse is their unborn daughter, Emma, but only after she returns on her 28th birthday; then, the final battle will begin. Six seasons later, Henry is informed that he is entering the last chapter of the storybook where the Savior will fight this prophesized final battle. This may be the end of story of how Emma Swan brought back the happy endings, but this could be the chapter to start the happy beginnings.

Until there is confirmation, the question remains: how do we face the end of a story? Some dread it and choose to avoid it in order to keep the story from finishing. Others try to rush through just to get it over and done with. In the case of Henry and Emma, they know that this story’s end is near. In fact, Emma started the season plagued with visions of her own death. In the following five weeks, we are going to see these characters grapple with what this means for them. If this is the end of Emma’s story, and potentially life, she has already told Henry earlier this season that she would not change a thing. Emma told him instead that they should focus on the middle, their journey, because the endings usually suck. It is with that sentiment the characters, and the audience, should proceed as the final battle draws nearer. Celebrate the incredible story that’s been told, enjoy the current journey, and face the end with no regrets.

 

Worth Mentioning

  • The license plate of the station wagon that Isaac drives out of Storybrooke contains a big Disney Easter egg. The license plate number is WED 1901; the Author before Isaac was Walter Elias Disney, who was born in 1901. A great little nod to the genius that is Mr. Disney.
  • On a separate note, yeah Isaac, no one’s magic is powerful enough to score Hamilton. Why would you even ask? Oh well, enjoy your life back in the Big Apple!
  • Line of the episode goes to the Black Fairy after she squashed Gideon’s friend: “This is on you, Gideon, and my boot.” Cold-blooded.
  • The last time we were in Neverland, the entire realm was in perpetual darkness. When Killian and Blackbeard land there in this episode, it’s daylight. Did Pan’s death bring back the sunshine to Neverland? I know this does not matter in the grand scheme of things, but I want to know!
  • Forget Spider-Man, Emma! Did that giant spider remind anyone else of Aragog from Harry Potter or Shelob from The Lord of the Rings? Regardless, why couldn’t Gideon use a giant butterfly to do his bidding?!
  • While it was nice to see Rumple come in and save Emma from the giant spider, it should still be pointed out that this is another “Rumple ex machina” being added to the tally. Again, I promise to include a final score of these in the Worth Mentioning season finale review.
  • Even if we get Baby Neal back into a scene, I am losing faith that there will be an episode where every living member of Henry’s insane extended family is in the same scene. Is it too much to ask for? We do have about five episodes left to make this happen!

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