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ONCE UPON A TIME Review: Questioning Trust in “Siege Perilous”

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 8 years ago

ONCE UPON A TIME Review: Questioning Trust in “Siege Perilous”

By Meredith Loftus

In the third installment of this season, “Siege Perilous” shook the balance and flipped who we think we should trust on its head. While the motives are still entirely unclear, power plays have been made, and the players are setting up their next move.

Arthur has Charming’s trust and Dark Swan has Rumple. Meanwhile, Lancelot returns and tells Snow to be wary of Arthur. Even with the external trust in question, there was also an emphasis of doubting yourself. The constant question for this season’s arc: who do we trust and can they trust themselves to do the right thing?

Charming faces his own sets of trust issues, but rather with himself more than with the people around him. He feels as though he failed his daughter and therefore doesn’t believe in himself anymore. This doubt makes him question if he really does have what it takes to be the hero people have believed him to be.

Sometimes the most damage we can do to ourselves is to lose our confidence. When we begin to doubt who we are, we grow fearful and wary of ourselves and the world around us. If we don’t believe in ourselves, who will? So when Arthur provides him an opportunity to be that hero in Camelot and in Storybrooke, Charming quickly accepts the opportunity.

From there, we see Charming’s confidence begin to grow again, getting back into his element of going on a quest. By fighting off the undead knights in Camelot and finding the Crimson Crown mushroom in Storybrooke, Charming gets his groove back. He is affirmed by the Storybrooke heroes, as well as Camelot when he is knighted to join the Knights of the Round Table and gets seated at the Siege Perilous, the place of honor for heroes of the purest form.

In Arthurian legend, the knights seated there would later quest to go after the Holy Grail; only the pure and worthy would be able to find it. While it’s too early to tell if this arc will go into Grail mythology, this honor resonates with Charming. He is now one of Arthur’s trusted knights.

Unfortunately, that trust might be misplaced.


Another character who struggled with trust this week was Captain Hook, with regard to Emma. It’s such a contrast compared to the open love and affection between the pair in Camelot; but then again, so much has happened between the events of Camelot and present day Storybrooke that we are only beginning to figure out.

When Hook goes to meet Emma on the Jolly Roger, he’s tense. This ship should still be a place of comfort for him, but it isn’t anymore. He gave up the Jolly Roger, his home, the thing he loves most, to find Emma and reunite her with her home in Storybrooke way back in Season 3. The Jolly Roger is no longer his home; Emma, the woman he fell in love, is.

Emma appears and tries to put him at ease by reminding him of their first date, like nothing’s changed. However, everything’s changed and even though she puts on her pink dress from their first date, it still doesn’t mask the fact that the darkness is manipulating the situation. She is trying to use him for her own ulterior motives, and Hook, who has been battling darkness for centuries, can see past the ruse. He calls her out on the lies and starkly addresses the darkness for what it is, making it clear he will not be a pawn for the Dark One’s games. Was his delivery harsh? Yes, and it was necessary. When going to battle with the darkness, there can’t be any room for wavering, otherwise the enemy will attack and win. Hook is not a weak, vengeful pirate; he’s a strong hero determined to save the woman he loves.

We have to remember that Hook lost his memory of the last six weeks. To him, a couple of days ago, he was just walking into Camelot alongside Emma, who had just won a battle against the darkness in her. Now standing before him is the Emma who has fully embraced the darkness. Hook’s love for her has not changed; in the last episode, he told Belle that he would fight for centuries to save the woman he loves. What has changed is the darkness that has manifested itself in Emma. When he tells Emma that he loves her, he is addressing the darkness head on, not the woman he loves with all of his heart and soul. That woman is still in there; we’ve seen glimpses of it when Emma is with Henry and Hook. Right now, the darkness is outweighing the savior in her.

Love requires us to unselfishly think of another person rather than ourselves. Emma may be free to act impulsively on her passion for Hook, but Hook is putting Emma first by telling her no. He’s seen the real Emma, and he knows that she would want him to be the hero that he is and resist the darkness.

Hook made a promise to Emma that he would choose to see the best in her. He’s seen her at her best, and now is has to see her through her worst. The balancing act for him this arc is showing his love for Emma yet not affirming the darkness that has taken hold in her life. Emma did that for him by not judging him for the man he was but by believing that he was capable of more than he settled for when they met. Now he must be her anchor, the one to remind her who she really is and what she is capable of, specifically her love and ability to put others ahead of herself.

To those who are saddened by the events between Emma and Hook in this episode, please don’t be. Their story is far from over. It’s going to get hard before it gets any better, and the payoff from all the angst will be worth it, in terms of the epic love story between these two characters. So we hold on to the hope that the writers have given us and wait expectantly for what lies ahead. If this show has taught us anything, it’s that true love isn’t easy but it must be fought for.


Worth Mentioning

  • One of the many things I was looking forward to this season were scenes between Robin Hood and Captain Hook. The scene in Granny’s looking at the sonogram was a light moment between the two and absolutely hilarious! I’m looking forward to the pirate and the thief work together this season. These two men are so similar and they both could really use a guy friend for support.
  • Robin and Regina continue to have saccharin moments sprinkled into a dark season. From their adorable dance at the Camelot ball last week to that kiss in this episode, it’s been wonderful to see this couple enjoy these cute moments.
  • So Lancelot is alive? Great. There needs to be A LOT of explanation for this, considering we assumed Cora killed him way back in Season 2.
  • I know Charming is a huge fan of Arthur, but I would never let a person who’s never driven a motored vehicle behind the wheel during a jousting match.
  • I loved the Bewitched reference, “wiggle my nose.” Classic.
  • Quote of the night belongs to Grumpy: “We’ve been violated.” Seeing the dwarves in action this season is something long overdue. I’m looking forward to their comic relief as well as their valiant contributions to help the heroes save Emma.
  • I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that RUMPLE HAS BEEN AWAKENED! In an interesting move, Emma kidnaps him, wakes him up with his cutlass from before he was the Dark One, and informs him that he is going to become her hero and champion of the purest form. Emma needs him to pull out Excalibur, but Rumple is without magic and a coward. Will he rise up to be the hero Emma needs him to be, or the hero Belle believes him to be — one that will refuse the Dark One’s pull?


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