ONCE UPON A TIME “Wish You Were Here” Recap
By Meredith Loftus
ONCE’s Midseason Finale: Be Careful What You Wish For
In Once Upon a Time’s midseason finale, “Wish You Were Here,” Emma gets the chance to see how her life would’ve turned out if she was never the Savior when the Evil Queen grants her wish and transports to an alternate wish realm.
Regina uses a wish to transport herself to the realm while Charming, Killian, and Henry fight to defeat the Evil Queen in Storybrooke. At first the EQ appears victorious, until a hooded figure arrives to Storybrooke and turns her into a rattlesnake(!)
We soon discover that Rumple and Belle’s son, Gideon, was taken by the Black Fairy, raised to be evil, and has returned as the same hooded figure that Emma fights in the vision of her demise.
Meanwhile, Jasmine becomes the master of the lamp and wishes for Aladdin to take her to Agrabah.
And finally, Regina sees Robin Hood in the wish realm which distracts her while the portal closes, leaving Emma and Regina trapped in Emma’s wish realm.
Now all we are wishing for is March to get here sooner!
Fighting Through the Pain
There is no such thing as an easy life. Nowhere does it say we will be exempt from hardships. For going on six seasons, our favorite Storybrooke characters have been pushed to the limits, facing various curses, trials, and tragedies along the way. Snow White lost both of her parents because of the Evil Queen; her family is constantly under attack or in battle with a villain; and she is cursed from being with Charming again. Instead of giving into the weariness of life’s trials, she remains a beacon of hope, choosing to operate out of love.
Abandonment, anger, and multiple tragedies turned Killian Jones into the vengeful Captain Hook. For centuries, he poured all of his pain into his revenge. It took a second chance at love to help him fight through the pain, restoring an angry pirate to a man of good form.
Prince Charming, in this episode alone, loses his daughter to the Evil Queen’s manipulations and almost gives into his own darkness by trying to kill the Evil Queen. After all she has done over the years to wage war against his family, he was tempted to end the pain in cold blood. It didn’t come to that, and his family reminds him that it never has to come to that. The reason why Charming will never be his terrible twin, James, is because the love he has for his family, and the love they have for him, will always fortify him to push through the pain. It takes strength to do the right thing even when it’s easier to lash out in anger, drown in the pain, or even try to erase the tragedy.
Regina Mills let her pain define her as the Evil Queen for many years. After losing the loves of her life, she dealt with the pain by letting her darkness consume her. Turning pain into anger seemed like the easier solution. When she lost Daniel, Regina descended into her own darkness and became the most evil version of her, lashing out from innocent bystanders to the people she believed robbed her from her happy ending. She slowly allowed herself to heal as motherly love changed her. Over time, she earned the forgiveness of those she wronged as well as forgiving herself; she became a hero. Regina let love enter back into her life with Robin Hood, but he was also taken from her after Hades completely ended his existence. Instead of succumbing to her personal darkness again, she physically separated herself from it by letting the Evil Queen become its own manifestation. It was a good temporary fix until her pain found a new outlet: Zelena. Instead of forgiveness, Regina ascribes the blame to her half-sister, choosing to let the pain live on in her anger towards Zelena. Regina’s anger gives the Evil Queen power over her, but choosing good in the midst of pain makes Regina stronger than the Evil Queen could ever be. It’s why the Evil Queen ultimately lost and got exactly what she deserved. The question remains whether or not her anger will create a new monster in Zelena. Plus, seeing Robin in the wish realm brought back all the recent pain of losing him back to the surface. Maybe she will be allowed the chance for a proper goodbye to help ease the pain as she continues to fight be the better version of her.
The Savior Princess
All Emma Swan ever wanted was a family. She was denied that when she was sent away to escape the Evil Queen’s curse. Out of that sacrifice, she became the Savior, a hero that never gets a day off. After entering Storybrooke, she has jumped from one threat to the next, winning many battles and losing some friends and loved ones along the way. She has watched Killian, the man she loves, die multiple times in different realms and still had to fight on and save the people around her. Just last year she became the Dark Swan, and even then she fought in her darkest place to protect her family. Of course she has wished that she was never the Savior, so when she gets her wish, her life becomes seemingly perfect. She gets her family, her son, and a peaceful life as a princess in the Enchanted Forest. Yes, it was lovely to see Emma frolic and sing through the woods carefree. Who wouldn’t want to know a life that was not marred by scars?
The problem is this wish realm version of her isn’t our Emma. The Evil Queen tries to use this wish realm to keep Emma from embracing everything that makes Emma, Emma. However, it does not take Emma long to remember who she is, as well as Storybrooke and her actual life. She is a princess, but she is more than that; she is a Savior. The wish realm version of her is more timid and quick to surrender than defend in a fight; however through the timidity, her fierce love of her family continues to shine through. Love is strength. Through all the pain and sorrow, love allows us to hold on to the good moments as we soldier on through the tough ones. It’s a key factor to Emma. The other side to her is her resilience and endurance to continue on when the battles are the hardest. Heartbreak and loss can knock us down, but they do not have the power to keep us there. Because she continues to fight through the pain, she spreads hope to her family, friends, and town. The agony she has endured and the fights she has fought make her the Savior. It’s what makes her Emma Swan, the leather clad, well-rounded heroine we all need; and at the end of the midseason finale, she realizes she wouldn’t have it any other way.
- I wonder which of our Storybrooke heroes will be lucky enough to explain to Snow, whenever she wakes up, where exactly her daughter is. My money is on Henry. Baby Neal will get a kick out of this from his crib in at the fairy nunnery.
- Line of the episode goes to Leroy hands down: “We’ve been ‘portal-ed’!” Can we get this on a mug or a t-shirt during hiatus? Please and thank you.
- Although Regina didn’t find Emma’s singing amusing, it was adorable listening to her sing “Someday My Prince Will Come,” the song Snow White sang about finding her Prince Charming in the original animated classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”
- Is someone going to explain how Gideon aged about thirty years when he was born less than 48 hours ago? Or did the Black Fairy, his grandmother, teach him how to travel in time?
- While the heroes were fighting the Evil Queen, I bet Zelena was just starting to read a good book after putting Baby Robyn to bed. That, or she was making herself a green appletini.
- Regina crushed Snow and Charming’s hearts in the wish realm. Now that she’s stuck here, does that mean Henry is going to be leading the hunt to capture her? Also, we haven’t seen Killian Jones yet. Did he still become Captain Hook? Will they find each other and fall in love in the wish realm? Did anyone else see that diamond ring in the promo for the second part of the season? Who is proposing to whom?! I expect all of these questions to be answered when the show returns in March! Take care, Oncers!