ONCE UPON A TIME Review “The Other Shoe”
By Meredith Loftus
“The Other Shoe” expands upon the Cinderella story in true Once Upon A Time fashion.
Ashley adds to her happy ending by repairing the untold story of her stepsister, Clarinda. Emma Swan takes a huge leap and asks her pirate boyfriend to move in with her.
Meanwhile, the Evil Queen breaks Hyde out of the asylum in exchange for help stopping Jekyll and the Storybrooke heroes.
Charming makes a desperate deal with Rumple in exchange for the truth about the death of his alcoholic father. He delivers to Belle a cassette where Rumple recites a poem to his unborn son.
And Snow White wants to be a teacher again and begins plans to rebuild the faculty and bring some normalcy back to Storybrooke.
Not sure how normal you can get in Storybrooke, but let’s hope the town gets close!
From Cinders to Savior
The show’s spin on the beloved fairytale of Cinderella gives us more to love this week. In the early days of the first season, we learned that Cinderella went to the ball after making a deal with Rumpelstiltskin, not a fairy godmother, exchanging her night at the ball for her first born child. In Storybrooke, Emma taught Ashley (Cinderella) that you have to punch back against everyone else’s opinions and make them see who you really are. She also helped the new mother keep her daughter from Rumple for a chance at a family with her boyfriend and newborn daughter. Happy ending right? Almost.
In this episode, we get this story fleshed out. Yes, the stepmother was still terrible, treating Cinderella poorly, breaking the glass slipper, and locking Cinderella away from finding the prince. Yes, Cinderella met Prince Thomas at the ball and the two fell in love based on recognizing something special in the other. However, we saw the untold story of Clarinda, one of Cinderella’s stepsisters. Clarinda manages to find her true love Jacob, a humble footman to the prince. Cinderella attempts to help Clarinda and Jacob escape to the Land of Untold Stories, but her stepmother forces the information out of her. Because of this, the stepmother stabs Jacob and drags Clarinda with her to the new realm while Cinderella goes off to marry Prince Thomas, with a little help from a familiar princess, Snow White.
Ashley has made her own happy ending with Thomas and her daughter, Alexandria, in Storybrooke where she runs the local daycare while still being a full-time mom. All of this happened because Emma inspired her to fight for her happy ending and gave her another chance for that happy ending in Storybrooke. So when Ashley finds out Clarinda is one of the new arrivals in Storybrooke, she takes a page out of Emma’s book and goes to help give her stepsister a second chance at her happy ending. Emma tries to help, but Ashley wants to do this alone. She feels responsible for Clarinda’s fate; therefore she decides to be the savior of this untold story. Once you’ve seen and experienced sacrificial love, the response is to extend it to another. Ashley shields Clarinda and Jacob from the wrath of her stepmother and gets stabbed in the process, but not fatally. Just as Ashley was given a chance to be a mother, Clarinda and Jacob now get the chance to start their happy endings together because of the savior to their story. In turn, Ashley gets her full happy ending from repairing the damage she caused years ago. She has come a long way from sweeping floors and being defeated by the opinions of naysayers. Emma, you taught Cinderella well!
The Savior’s Support Team
Speaking of Emma, our Storybrooke hero has gone through the ringer physically and psychologically since taking up the mantle as the Savior. With these new tremors in her hand and visions in her head, Emma’s default setting is to bottle up what’s bothering her and try to figure it out on her own. However, she’s grown a lot since she drove her yellow bug across the town line to Storybrooke. First, besides becoming the Savior, she became the mother her son needed her to be. Henry believed in Emma and her destiny to bring back the happy endings long before she ever did. He has always been and will always be a rock for her; he is one of her true loves after all.
In this particular episode, Henry continues to show unyielding support for his mom. He offers his help on finding Ashley for some mother-son bonding; finding Ashley was one of their first missions together in Operation Cobra. After the Evil Queen sends Emma, Henry, and Killian near the edge of town, Henry encourages Emma to find Ashley the way she used to find people before her magic, as a bails bondsperson. Later when Emma’s hand tremor prevents her from healing Ashley, her son simply tells his mom that she can do it and with that reassurance, Emma’s magic fights through the tremors and she’s able to heal Ashley. Though she hasn’t told Henry what has been going on, his love and support uplifts Emma.
Another form of support in Emma’s corner this season is Dr. Hopper. The town therapist has been a healthy outlet for Emma to verbally express everything she keeps bottled up inside of her. In the last episode, she confided to Archie about her visions. In this episode, she confesses to him that she wants Killian to move in with her but she thinks that she can’t give Killian a future because she won’t get her happy ending. Archie proceeds to give her some wisdom. He uses the example of getting hit by a bus and walking out the door to remind her how we can’t live in fear. We are not guaranteed a single day; anything can happen in an instant. We can’t let fear hold us back from living our lives. Besides, it’s the details in between that make life worthwhile. Archie offers Emma this thought: maybe it’s not how you end things; maybe it’s about how you live them.
The other anchor in Emma’s life is Killian Jones. He continually reassures and believes in his Swan. He never pressures her to move forward into something she is not comfortable with. For instance, Killian has expressed that he wants to move in with Emma, but he waits for her lead. Also, she still has not told him about the visions of her demise, but he knows that she will tell him whenever she is ready. At the docks in this episode, Emma’s hand starts to tremble and he just simply takes her hand and wraps her up in a hug. When Henry tells Emma not to use magic to find Ashley, Killian agrees and tells her to use her expertise as a bails bondsperson. He wants to help ease her burden and protect her heart. It’s one of the many qualities of love. So after her session with Archie and watching Ashley put love before life, Emma takes a big step in not living in fear of her fate by asking her dashing rapscallion to move in with her. Their journey together has taken them to ends of several realms for each other; now that journey has led to a shared roof. It’s a quieter step in their relationship, in comparison to becoming Dark Ones, sacrificing themselves, saying goodbye multiple times to each other, and taking the test of true love. This instead opens up a new chapter of vulnerability for each other individually and as a couple, one that will strengthen their love to face the darkness that lies ahead.
- Charming makes the decision to find his father’s murderer and not tell his wife about it after she tells him not to. Charming is a man of missions and quests; he gets a thrill out of it. However, he is now on a slippery slope. He told Belle about his father’s dark past and how it was slightly better when he was around over not being there. By pursuing this mission alone, he risks repeating history in not being there for his son. Tread lightly shepherd, tread lightly.
- Rumple tries to mend his relationship with Belle by sending her a mixtape of him reading a poem to his unborn son, Morpheus. It is the small moments like this that remind audiences of the love Rumple has for Belle. Their relationship has been tainted with manipulation and lies, but true love can find a way through the darkness.
- It was wonderful seeing Killian and Henry bonding. Their relationship to each other is important, especially since Henry does not have many male role models in his life. It’s part of what makes Emma, Killian, and Henry a family. Also, how adorable was it when Killian played with Baby Alexandria?!
- Oh yeah, where is Baby Neal?
- The line of the episode belongs to Snow: “Is this our lives: defeat and repeat?” Regina’s line about Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Frankenstein creating the world’s scariest pediatrician office is definitely a runner up.
- Only on Once Upon A Time will you find an evil stepmother in a hoop dress threatening Cinderella with a gun in the barn of a pumpkin farm.
- Now that Regina knows Zelena has interacted with the Evil Queen, will she trust her sister to do the right thing or will she keep her at arm’s length? We’re hoping these sisters are able to get on the same side and work together.