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ONCE UPON A TIME Recap: “A Wondrous Place”

By on April 3, 2017

ONCE UPON A TIME - "A Wondrous Place" (ABC/Jack Rowand) COLIN O'DONOGHUE

By Meredith Loftus

ONCE Princess Saves a Kingdom in “A Wondrous Place”

When in doubt, you can count on a princess to save the day. In the latest episode, “A Wondrous Place,” Captain Hook teams up with Aladdin and Jasmine to save Agrabah and find a way back home to Storybrooke. The three find themselves on Hangman’s Island pursuing Jafar. They not only found the villain but they discover him at Ariel’s tiki hut. Even though Jasmine enlists the help of three heroes, she is the true savior of her people by breaking the curse with the true love’s kiss from Aladdin. Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Emma attempted to cope and try to move on after Killian seemingly skipped town. Regina and Snow take her out to a new bar to try and get her to talk. Emma seems she is ready to move on, but she gets a message from Killian from a seashell and some mermaid magic telling her about Gideon sending him away, to which Gideon then recruits the savior of Storybrooke to aid him in killing the Black Fairy in exchange for allowing Killian back into Storybrooke. Will Emma and Gideon’s temporary alliance bring peace to Storybrooke? We will just have to wait and see, Oncers!

We Can Be Heroes

Once Upon A Time has a track record of introducing strong, well-rounded female heroines into their stories to save the day. This is not meant to lower a man’s capability but to create equals in their heroes, regardless of gender. In the beginning of the season, Princess Jasmine needed to find a savior for Agrabah, which she temporarily found in Aladdin. However, the hero that ultimately saves her people is herself. Jasmine has unknowingly been her people’s hero for quite some time. This princess historically has been headstrong and fervent in taking action in order to protect her kingdom. She seeks out Aladdin and helps him realize the savior he could be for the kingdom. Even after she begins to fall for the street rat, Jasmine chose duty over the call of her heart. She would do whatever it took to protect Agrabah, even agreeing to marry the vile Jafar.

In the flashback of the episode, Jasmine attempted to find a way to defeat Jafar without the help of Aladdin, after he left Agrabah. Jafar offered an exchange: Jasmine’s hand in marriage for the protection of Agrabah. She fought against it, but when it seemed like the only option, she relented. Her duty to her kingdom was not good enough for Jafar, so he still took Agrabah hostage. Jasmine felt helpless and defeated, believing she needed a savior to bring Agrabah back. Present day, Jasmine is scarred by Jafar’s manipulation and her own fear she has of him. She believes that because she failed in the past to protect Agrabah she needs to recruit saviors and heroes to win the day. After finding Jafar with the help of Aladdin, Killian, and Ariel, Jasmine finds herself in the exact position she did not want to be in: facing Jafar alone. Only this time it is different. She doesn’t let her past decisions freeze her in fear. She is the only person who is capable of stopping Jafar from walking away and keeping Agrabah trapped in the ring. Her duty drives her to stand her ground and courageously takes him on with his own magic.

It didn’t stop there: in order to save her kingdom, Jasmine realizes that her duty is also to her heart. True love can transcend realms and break any curse. Strength is found in the outward heroism and the inward vulnerability to matters of the heart. Once she wouldn’t dare express it, but now she allows her love for Aladdin to save Agrabah and herself. Princess Jasmine has always been the savior her kingdom needed.

 

Fighting On vs. Moving Forward

With the trials and obstacles we face, at some point we are left asking ourselves when we should quit. Something has to give at some point, right? How do we determine if giving up is really an attempt to be cautious or the result of weariness of the soul? Emma Swan faced this very question after Killian seems to abandon her. Remember, Emma and Killian have constantly fought for each other, traveling across time and realms, because their love each other is powerful and true. Exactly a season ago, Emma traveled to the Underworld to bring her pirate back home instead of letting Killian’s death be in vain. In this episode after one day of Killian being gone, she deals with her heartbreak by retreating to old habits: pushing away the pain and trying to move on, which felt completely out of character. We are six seasons deep into all of our favorite Storybrooke characters; now is not the time to fall into season one patterns. Plus, Emma’s family and friends did not appear eager to offer alternative explanations to Killian’s sudden disappearance. On the other side of the argument, though, we have to collect the pieces of our broken heart before it’s too broken to be fixed. Otherwise the heartache can hold us stagnant instead of moving ahead, for any reason why a loved one might leave. Emma’s family’s first priority is being there for Emma, to assure her that she is not alone.

If it were different characters, the opinion would change, but we are talking about this true love power couple. When a love is this real and transformative, you can’t walk away and move on after a day. To drive home the point, Killian did not abandon her. Gideon removed him from Storybrooke in order to carry out his sinister plan. That is why he’s fighting with every fiber of his being to return home to her. That is why he sends Emma a message through a seashell to tell her what’s happened and more importantly, that he could never walk away from the love he has for her. When Emma is listening to Killian’s voice that is when her true feelings are revealed. The savior’s love for this man of honor runs deep. It has been proven, like Snow and Charming, that Emma and Killian will always find each other. Gideon may have gotten a couple of tears from Emma, but it will take more than the distance of realms to stop a love like this.

 

Worth Mentioning

  • Quote of the episode belongs to our favorite little mermaid with a great aquatic pun: “Son of a fish.” On a side note, can we keep Ariel and her collection of dinglehoppers around forever? I vote yes.
  • If that line was quote of the episode, then favorite character of the episode has to be an inebriated Snow White. Only she can take down a group of Tangled-esque Vikings with her knife throwing abilities while she’s drunk. I didn’t realize how much I needed this, and now I demand we get one more intoxicated Snow scene before the season wraps. Cool? Cool.
  • Besides an obvious nod in the episode title name, the Aladdin references include: Jafar using the phrase “teeny tiny” in the Genie’s tone of “itty bitty living situation” and Jasmine, after saving Agrabah, says to her fellow heroes “Let me show you my world,” which is reference to the iconic song “A Whole New World.”
  • I’m just going to throw this out there, and hear me out: Gideon is such a millennial hipster. Disguised as Aesop, he calls himself a mixologist and serves artisanal beer. Maybe the Black Fairy’s realm is Portland, OR. That would explain so much.
  • Here is a spinoff suggestion: Captain Hook’s Love Connection, a game show where he helps pair various fairytale characters together. He would make bloody great matchmaker!

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