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ONCE UPON A TIME Recap “Street Rats”

By on October 24, 2016


By Meredith Loftus

A Tale of Two Saviors

Once Upon A Time has entered a whole new world. In “Street Rats” we are introduced to Agrabah’s savior, Aladdin, and his origin story. Princess Jasmine enlists Emma and the Storybrooke heroes to find the missing hero which they eventually do. It turns out that he’s been in Storybrooke since the first curse. The Evil Queen persuades Zelena to embrace her wicked side for the sake of being honest with her daughter. The Evil Queen also manipulates Emma into telling her family the truth about the visions she has of her death by disguising herself as Archie. Though she apologizes and promises not to keep secrets from them again, Killian proceeds to keep a secret from Emma by not telling her the real whereabouts of the golden scissors, an item that belonged to the Three Fates that can remove Emma’s savior magic.

Diamond in the Rough

Enter Aladdin. Similar humble backstory as the Storybrooke hero, Emma: orphaned, alone, spent most of his time surviving through theft, and a good heart. Aladdin of Agrabah didn’t think he was destined for greatness or glory; he lived off the street and cared for the people in the capital, but he was no one’s hero. So when Princess Jasmine asks for his help to find the Diamond in the Rough to defeat Jafar, he reluctantly agrees. Even while bantering with Jasmine about her oblivion to the reality of Agrabah’s state, long before Jafar came to power, he admits that he is still a selfish thief. He was aware of who he was but not to his potential. Aladdin held more power than he knew; he successfully opened the door to the Cave of Wonders and stopped the destruction the cave with magic he discovered he possessed.

Also like Emma, Aladdin didn’t initially choose to be a savior. Jasmine brought him on this journey to help him realize who he really was and who he could be as a hero. Magic doesn’t create heroes. In fact, this series has given us plenty examples of magic corrupting a person’s character; also being a savior does not guarantee an easy life. Jafar gives Aladdin a glimpse into his future, which appeared to be death, like Emma’s visions. With the knowledge he had, Aladdin could’ve easily taken the treasure in the Cave of Wonders and started a new life, but he doesn’t. Aladdin became a savior when he made the decision to fly into the palace on the magic carpet, stand up to Jafar, and destroy the staff that was controlling the sultan. He was battling an evil sorcerer backed by years of knowledge in dark magic, but the light conquers. Plus, it did not hurt to have the faith of a beautiful princess in his corner.

From there, he went on to defend Agrabah and be the savior it could count on… for a time. Somewhere along the way, the road got difficult; the battles began to take a toll on Aladdin; the tremors began. Jafar offered him a way early on to change his destiny through the power of the golden scissors. Ultimately he hit his breaking point, an event we will see later down the road, and he used his way out. Then instead of trusting the people he loved with the burdens he carried, he ran to the Enchanted Forest and eventually found himself in Storybrooke. It’s only a matter of time before the past catches up with you. He finally reveals himself to Emma and Henry, but even then, he is afraid to face Jasmine after the mistakes he’s made. Emma then tells him that it’s the people we love that make them strong; his biggest mistake was trying to keep the savior part away from Jasmine. Love is the strength we need to face our biggest obstacles; it also forgives. Jasmine knew he would become something more; and after seeing his resourcefulness and goodness in action, she believes more than just the prophecy; she believes in him. She still believes in him to come back to Agrabah now to make things right in their realm. He may not have magic now, but he is still a hero capable of making a difference, the one that Jasmine fell in love with many years ago.

The Consequences of Secrets

Now we jump to the other savior. For the past few weeks, Emma Swan has been burdened by the weight of facing her end. She went back into her default mode of trying to handle it on her own instead of reaching out to her family. It could only last for so long. Even though the Evil Queen manipulated the situation entirely, Emma finally tells her family the truth. Unlike secrets she has kept in the past, this secret affects the people in her life differently. For instance, Regina is slightly offended that Emma thinks she is the hooded figure that stabs in Emma, but she is determined to help Emma while she can. For her parents, Snow and Charming were hurt that when she got scared, their daughter chose to hold onto it. At the same time, Emma is their daughter who they instinctually forgive. Emma may have been keeping a secret before, but she is being honest now. Not only that, Emma tells them, as well as the rest of her family, that she is done keeping secrets from all of them. She wants to fight forward and find another way to change her visions. Emma may be a savior, but she will always be a part of a family; what happens to one of them affects them all. She is choosing to lean into that love and support around her to tackle obstacle.

Another person affected by the weight of Emma’s secret is Henry. For her son, his response is less about hurt feelings; he feels guilty. Henry was the one who knocked on her door five years ago on her birthday and brought her back to Storybrooke to break the first curse. He brought her on the path to become the Savior. Now that it seems her story might be coming to an end, Henry blames himself. When he tries to apologize, Emma in turn thanks him. Yes, he is the reason she is the Savior, but he is also the reason she has a family and love in her life. Henry has given her the greatest privilege to be his mom. She tells him that if she had to do it over, she wouldn’t change a thing. Emma has real magic in her life, and that magic is Henry. This series started out about the relationship between a mother and her son. Today, that bond has only gotten stronger. All they can do now is focus on the current journey of the story, enjoying the middle instead of fearing the end.

And then, there is Killian Jones. When Emma reveals her secret, it rocks him to his core, to the point where he hardly speaks throughout the episode. This man has gone to the ends of the world for her; he has sacrificed himself multiple times to ensure that she gets the happy ending she deserves. He has bared his heart for her, giving her complete faith and trust in all circumstances. By keeping that secret, it translates to him that she does not trust him enough. You can see the hurt in his face as she is apologizing to him for not trusting him. It is part of the reason he keeps the golden scissors and lies about its hiding place. Trust has to be earned back after it’s betrayed. This hurt goes even deeper from there. They are each other’s true love. She is his happy ending. So when she tells them that she isn’t getting a happy ending, he feels his slip from his fingers. After it appears Aladdin is dead, he is the last person to leave the crypt and takes his time looking at her, as if to memorize her face since their time is numbered. What is he going to do about it? He decides to take matters into his own hands. He is not going to give up his happy ending lying down or let his Swan sacrifice herself again. All he wants for his love to have is her heart’s desires. Part of what makes love so amazing is how we put someone else’s needs and happiness above our own. After everything Emma has gone through, Killian wants to give her that happy ending future they used to talk about in Camelot. Their future is now, and he is fighting for that. Secrets have the power to destroy, but trust and forgiveness can fortify any bond. Emma and Killian’s journey is far from over, but they have a ways to go to get back to that level of trust.


Worth Mentioning:

  • With a proper introduction of Aladdin, we also received a plethora of “Aladdin” Easter eggs. Visually, the magic carpet, the sultan’s dollhouse, and the apple trick were more than enough to satisfy. They went further still with casual slip of the phrase “I can show you the world.” Although, I will not be ok if that golden monkey figurine was supposed to be Abu. Aladdin needs his monkey sidekick! Plus, who is Aladdin’s genie? It better not Sidney Glass, who was originally a genie from Agrabah.
  • In typical teenage male fashion, Henry offers his Xbox to comfort Jasmine. Video games can only help so much. Also, how great was that scene between the two of them! Both of them are the catalysts of their savior’s stories as well as their true loves. I look forward to more bonding and paralleling each other throughout the season.
  • Did you notice that the Three Bears Spa in Storybrooke was named after the story of Goldilocks and the three bears? Do they offer manicures for too long, too short, and just-right nail length? Side note, it’s hilarious and semi cringe-worthy how the Evil Queen and Zelena spend their day gossiping about their unique relationships with Rumple.
  • Casual reminder that Baby Neal has either been alone all day during that episode or the Blue Fairy is keeping him hostage.
  • What was Aladdin’s cursed life like during the 28 years Emma was away from Storybrooke? Did he have a different name? What was his profession? Did he see the animated Disney movie about him? I don’t think he started up thievery until after the curse was broken. These are important questions that need to be answered.
  • Ok, so the oracle was not Jafar in disguise. Fine. It doesn’t change the fact that I still think he is around, spying on Aladdin and potentially manipulating Emma with those visions of her death.
  • Poor Archie: he is back to being a cricket. Will he be able to speak English? Who is going to take care of Pongo in his current absence?
  • For the rest of the week, I will attempt to open doors with the phrase “OPEN SESAME.” Go ahead and try it, too!

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