As usual, Once Upon A Time delivers. The end of the second half of the season is phenomenal. While it is not as climatic as the Peter Pan story at the end of the first half, it does well to develop the stories of the characters we love rather than just setting up an epic showdown with the Wicked Witch of the West. The ability of the creators of the show, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, and their team of writers to tell a story and develop the characters is the reason this series is great. The second half of Season 3 continues to progress two of the show’s most intriguing characters, Captain Killian Hook and Regina Mills/ the Evil Queen. In addition, I really enjoy learning more about Regina’s mother, Cora. She is a great character because she is a ruthless villain but her redeeming quality is her love for Regina. Even though Cora makes Regina a victim and warps her daughter into a power hungry villain, she does it out of the belief that it is the best thing for Regina. While I always assumed Cora was a misguided villain, characters are rarely black and white in Once Upon a Time. Accordingly, it is compelling to understand the circumstances that turned Cora into a villain. Of course, her origin ties directly to the Wicked Witch/ Zelena story arc since she is the source of the fighting between her daughters, Zelena and Regina. While the actual final battle against the Wicked Witch could have been more intense, the development of her story is very well done. Naturally, the Witch’s story includes Dorothy. I also like that the show contrasts the contrasting perspectives of predetermination and free will through the Wicked Witch, Regina, and Rumplestiltskin (“Rumple”). The show also does a superb job in developing the romantic relationships: Emma Swan and Captain Hook, Belle and Rumplestiltskin, and Regina and Robin Hood. In addition, the season finale is an entertaining time travel two part finale that has a Back to the Future feel. The first half of this season with the Peter Pan story is phenomenal and the second half with the Wicked Witch is on par.
Colin O’Donoghue has been brilliant as Captain Hook. He is the charming, scoundrel pirate that reminds me of Han Solo. When he was first introduced into the series, he was consumed by vengeance against Rumplestiltskin. However, his love for Emma has changed him. A good man has surfaced from the rough exterior. After he is separated from Emma after the curse was ended at the end of the first half of the season and during the missing year in the Enchanted Forest, he is left with a void in his life and he returns to piracy. Although he tries to return to business as usual as a feared pirate captain, he clearly misses Emma and is heartbroken. When his men purchase the company of a woman for him, he pretends to be excited and leaves the bar with her. However, he pays the woman and instructs her to tell everyone that he showed her a good time. This moment is excellent in demonstrating the inner conflict in Hook. He knows he has changed because of his love for Emma but he cannot afford to show weakness because of his reputation as a ruthless captain. If he is seen as soft, he will lose the fear and respect of his men and other pirates that he needs to maintain his authority and reputation. Hook’s struggle is further tested when he encounters Ariel. She mistakenly attacks Hook believing he kidnapped her prince, Eric, since he was captured and brought aboard the Jolly Roger. Of course, Hook is no longer in command of the Jolly Roger since another pirate took it while he was in Storybrooke. To his crew’s dismay, Blackbeard is now in command of Hook’s beloved ship. While his crew wants to avoid a confrontation with Blackbeard, Hook is not concerned since he has his own notorious reputation. When Hook catches up to and battles Blackbeard on the Jolly Roger. Hooks outmaneuvers his rival. Blackbeard challenges that Hook has become soft. As a result, he tries to expose it by offering to disclose the location of the island where he dropped Prince Eric in exchange for Hook surrendering the Jolly Roger. In reality, Hook is a changed man. As such, he knows he should give up his ship and help Ariel find Eric. However, he is still unable to accept the truth that he is no longer the cutthroat Captain Hook. He has a need to fill the void left by Emma with his occupation as a pirate and the love for his ship. Another factor is his pride as a man. As men, our egos can be used against us at times and we cannot stop ourselves from indulging our egos even when we know it is against our better judgment. I believe they are the reasons Hook decides to throw Blackbeard overboard and seemingly condemning Eric to death.
Naturally, Ariel is furious with Hook. She rightfully criticizes him as “heartless and selfish”. She warns him that those traits will bring him “endless torment” and he will never be happy. She turns back into a mermaid and jumps overboard to search for her prince in the vast ocean. Even against all odds, she attempts to find her true love. Her words cause Hook to feel a lot of shame. While he is too afraid to admit it, he regrets his decision. Since Zelena is aware of the situation, she eventually manipulates it in her favor. In Storybrooke, she masquerades and shape shifts as Ariel in order to use Hook’s guilt against him. She tricks Hook into swearing on his love for Emma and curses his lips to take Emma powers if he kisses her. While the Witch assumes that Hook cannot resist trying to kiss Emma, he loves Emma too much to betray her trust. Accordingly, he languishes as he keeps his distance from her and bears the burden of the Witch’s curse alone. His decision proves that he is no longer the “heartless and selfish” pirate captain he once was. In Storybrooke, he also develops a relationship with Henry. Since Henry has no recollection of the past, he has no idea why Emma has brought him back to Storybrooke. Naturally, he is curious, suspicious, and upset that he is kept in the dark. In order to keep him entertained and occupied, Hook spends time with him. Of course, Henry really likes to hang out with Hook since it is much more exciting to be with a one handed, cool pirate than his old, boring grandparents who he believes is only old friends of his mom. Matters get complicated when Hook continues to refuse the orders of the Wicked Witch to kiss Emma and the Witch threatens to harm Henry. Hook decides to not tell Emma or anyone else of the threat. Instead, he chooses not to alarm them and tries protecting Henry on his own. There are definitely merits to his decision. Emma is already worried enough about figuring out how to defeat the Witch. The safety of her son will always be her first priority. As a result, Hook tries to save her from the burden and handle it himself. On the other hand, Emma is Henry’s mother and deserves to know the truth so she can decide what is best for him. Accordingly, Hook’s choice backfires when Emma finds out and is furious.
One of the most intriguing characters in the series is definitely Regina. She started as the hated, despicable Evil Queen. The development of her character story arc has been one of the best in the series. She has been on a slow road to redemption. While there have been definitely bumps in the road along the way, she proves she is now a hero during the season. First, her quarrel with Snow White is completely over. In fact, she is trying to help Snow. Since the Wicked Witch threatens to take the Charmings’ son immediately after his birth to use him as an ingredient in her spell, Regina casts a protection spell to protect the baby. It is in a total contrast of when she was the Evil Queen trying to take away Snow’s happiness at all cost. Regina’s heart is also another ingredient the Wicked Witch needs. However, Regina is clever and denied the Zelena her heart by ripping it out herself and giving it to Robin Hood for safekeeping before she faced and lost to Zelena in battle. Regina’s tactic only delays the inevitable. While Zelena distracts Regina, she sends Rumple to combat Robin Hood and his Merry Men to get Regina’s heart. Hood fearlessly tries to fight Rumple. However, the Dark One is too powerful. When Hood shoots an arrow, Rumple redirects it at Hood’s son. Naturally, Hood surrenders Regina’s heart to save his son’s life. He still feels terrible about it since Regina trusted him. In the past, Regina would be enraged by Hood’s failure and be unforgiving as the Evil Queen. After her experience as Henry’s mother, she understands the love of a parent for her child and knows nothing is worth the loss of a child. Consequently, she is very understanding and does not blame Hood. It is a great moment that proves Regina has changed as a person and is no longer the Evil Queen.
Of course, Regina’s mother is the root cause of her dark past. Cora emphasized power over love. In order to ensure that her daughter would choose power, she kills Regina’s first love who was a simple stable boy named Daniel. Without love as a distraction, Regina focused on power. In addition, she was also fueled by revenge for Snow White since a young Snow inadvertently tells Cora about Regina’s plan to run away with Daniel. While Cora’s love for Regina is a redeeming quality, it is misguided and causes Regina great pain. It also made Regina the Evil Queen. While I have been sympathetic to Regina after understanding the facts, I saw Cora as the true, despicable villain. Of course, few things are black and white in Once Upon a Time. Unbeknownst to me, Cora experienced similar tragedy in her life that caused her to become a villain. Cora was already a great character. I really like that the show expands on the character and adds more depth to her. Of course, it also fits in perfectly with the rivalry between Regina and Zelena. In the episode “Bleeding Through”, Regina casts a spell that brings Cora’s spirit back to the living in order to get some answers about Zelena. Since Snow killed Cora, the ghost attacks Snow and possesses her body. During this time, Snow learns the truth. Cora grew up as a miller’s daughter. A gardener tricks her into believing he is Prince Jonathan. In reality, he is a disgusting pig that wanted to manipulate the beautiful Cora into bed. It results in an unplanned pregnancy. Of course, the baby is Zelena. In her despair, she runs into Prince Leopold who is Snow’s future father. While he is engaged to Snow’s future mother, Princess Ava; it is not by choice since it has been an arranged marriage. He has never even met Ava. Cora and he have instant chemistry and they fall in love. Although Cora is headed to a happy ending and marrying into royalty, she has a problem with the pregnancy. The scumbag father wants a bribe to keep his mouth shut. Princess Ava also learns about the truth. Since she wants to marry the prince to become the queen, she tells Leopold about the secret. Since Cora also tries to lie about it, Leopold has no choice but to cancel the wedding and marry Ava instead. Snow always idolized her mother Ava. It is very difficult for Snow to realize that a younger Ava was petty and jealous. Due to Ava’s actions, it causes a lot of pain to Cora. Since Cora realizes her dreams to be royalty will never be accomplished with an unplanned baby, she gives up Zelena to give herself her best chance.
Earlier in the episode, Regina forgives Snow for killing Cora. She realizes that Cora killed Snow’s mother, Ava, when Snow was young. Accordingly, it is complicated. The revelation about Ava directly hurting the lives of Cora and Zelena makes it even more complicated. Throughout the episode, Regina valiantly protects Snow from Cora’s ghost. When Cora takes possession of Snow’s body, Regina uses all her power to pull Cora’s spirit out and send it back to the afterlife. These actions are another example of Regina transforming into a better person since she is fighting desperately to defend a woman she once hated and tried to kill at all costs. Naturally, Snow is very grateful. Afterwards, they have one of my favorite conversations in the season. Snow acknowledges the obvious that Regina is still fighting her darkness. On the other hand, Snow also knows that Regina feels things deeply even without her heart. Regina has suffered a lot in her life. Accordingly, she has been afraid to try to be happy again which is demonstrated when she refused to enter the bar to meet Robin Hood in the first half of the season even though she knows he is destined to be her soul mate. That decision has clearly been the wrong one since she became the Evil Queen and has endured a long road to redemption. As the saying goes, “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Since she refused to love, the void was filled by hate and it corrupted her. However, she has a second chance to correct her mistakes. After Snow witnesses Regina’s heroics and good deeds, Snow sees the good person Regina once was when she saved Snow’s life during their first encounter. Accordingly, Snow advises Regina to not allow anything to hold her back anymore. Regina’s takes the guidance to heart. She waits no longer and goes straight to Robin Hood to kiss him. It is a beautiful moment for Regina. She has been through a lot of heartbreak and pain. She caused great pain to others as the Evil Queen and has worked hard to redeem herself. After this long road, it is about time she deserves some happiness too.
Due to the information obtained from Cora, the heroes understand Zelena’s plan. She wants to cast a spell to go back in the past and kill Ava. Without Ava, Cora would have never given up Zelena. She would have also married Leopold. It is definitely a better life for Zelena. On the other hand, the change will erase Regina, Snow, Emma, and Henry from existence. Of course, time travel is lunacy. Even the most ambitious wielders of magic know not to cross that line and break that law of magic. As we know from earlier in the season, Zelena has control of the Dark One’s dagger so Rumple is a slave who does her bidding. She discloses her plan to him and presents him with an offer to travel to the past to save his son. While he appears to be thrilled with the plan and confesses his apparent love for Zelena, it is a ploy for him to get close to her in hopes of stealing back his dagger so he can stop her. Rumple has spent lifetimes getting to our world to find his son. The death of his son is devastating. However, he knows his son is dead and he should not change that fact by trying to alter the past because the consequences to reality can be devastating. Nevertheless, Zelena is no fool. She protects the dagger with a spell that repels Rumple when he makes a move to grab it. Nevertheless, the situation proves how green with envy Zelena truly is of Regina. Even Rumple will not consider altering time to save his son. As a result, Zelena’s attempts to do so for her selfish desires are very telling of her poor character and complete lack of responsibility in order to get her way like a whiny child. On the other hand, it is also very sad that she has lived a trying life. Being abandoned by her birth mother and unwanted by her adopted father is very devastating. While one can tell her to suck it up and move on, her wish that things were different is not crazy. However, chasing the power to do it and threatening the fabric of reality is lunacy.
Of course, the heroes understand the urgency of stopping Zelena and suspect that the answer resides in their memories during the missing year in the Enchanted Forest. As such, they know they need to break the curse. During the first curse, the fairy tale storybook appears out of nowhere to Snow. She gives it to Henry for hope since he is lonely. As we know, it leads to him understanding the truth. He searches and finds Emma. Then, he spends most of the first season convincing Emma that fairy tales are real. Eventually, she believes and kisses Henry. The kiss breaks the curse and restores everyone’s memories. Accordingly, the heroes deduce that Henry must be the key to breaking new curse. They find the storybook again. When they give it to Henry, it restores his memories. However, Emma’s love for Henry is no longer the key to breaking the curse. Instead, it is Regina kissing Henry that breaks the new curse. I really like this twist for a couple of reasons. First, it is ironic because she casted the original curse so the fact that she is a key to ending another version of the Dark Curse is an ironic twist. Next, the moment is another example of Regina’s transformation during the series. When she was the Evil Queen, she was consumed by the darkness caused by hate and a thirst for vengeance. She has been touched by her love for Henry and the compassion of the other characters. As such, she has a story of redemption but it is not finished quite yet.
When their memories return to the characters, they recall the key to defeating Zelena. During the missing year; the Charmings, Regina, and Belle visit Rumple in his castle. He instructs them how to find Glinda, the good witch of the South. When the Charmings speak to her, she tells them that only the strongest purveyor of light magic can defeat Zelena by taking away her pendant. The Charmings realize that Emma, who is born of their true love, has that power. Unfortunately, the Dark Curse is over and there is no link between the real world and the fairy tale world. There is no way for the Charmings to reach Emma to help without using the Dark Curse to bring them back to Storybrooke. Consequently, they come to the difficult realization that they need to cast the curse again. Since the thing that Regina loves the most is Henry and she would not kill him even if he was in the Enchanted Forest, she cannot cast it. By default, Snow has to cast it by taking David’s heart. It shows the selflessness of the Charmings. Most characters would not give up the one they love for the sake of the greater good. However, the Charmings are pure good and do it with great pain but little hesitation. Of course, the show cannot end its premiere love story. Accordingly, it finds a clever way to save David. Since they have the ultimate true love, one of their hearts is strong enough for both of them. Despite warnings from Regina that the stunt could kill Snow too, Snow instructs Regina to split her heart in two. Naturally, it is strong enough for David and her. I think it is a nice touch by the show to demonstrate how strong their true love is. While the curse is cast and not even Zelena is strong enough to stop it, she “spices” it up by throwing in a forgetting potion into the pot. It explains why the characters have no recollection of the past year in the Enchanted Forest.
Of course, the story of the Wicked Witch is not complete without Dorothy. The episode “Kansas” does an excellent job explaining the destiny of Oz and how the Wicked Witch and Dorothy play roles in the prophecy. When Glinda first meets Zelena, she sees a good person rather than the Wicked Witch. Even when Zelena admits to turning the Wizard of Oz into her flying monkey, Glinda notes that the Wizard deserves some punishment for selling false hope to the people of Oz. Glinda recruits Zelena into the sisterhood of witches who reside in the heart of Oz. They comprise of four witches. Three of them are the witches of the South, North, and East and represent their respective virtues of Love, Wisdom, and Encouragement. Glinda is the Witch of the South. The fourth spot is vacant for the Witch of the West who represents Innocence. The Book of Records has foretold that this Witch will be the protector of Oz and arrive via a cyclone. Since it matches Zelena’s origin, Glinda believes that Zelena is the fulfillment of the prophecy. Consequently, Glinda provides the pendant that harnesses Zelena’s power as a gift. While it is difficult for Zelena, she gives up her jealousy of Regina to accept the offer. In my opinion, human beings are motivated more by the positive feelings associated with the belief of doing good as opposed to being driven by hate and malice. I like that Zelena wants and chooses to be part of something special by joining the Witches instead of being jealous.
Nevertheless, we know Zelena will become the Wicked Witch of the West. Shortly after she joins the witches, another cyclone appears and brings Dorothy from Kansas to Oz. When Zelena reads the Book of Records for herself, she realizes that Glinda left out a significant detail that the book also prophesizes that the sorcerer will defeat the greatest evil. Since Zelena believes she is that evil, she becomes envious of Dorothy and corrupts herself again. Glinda tries to reason with Zelena that prophecy is vague. More importantly, Zelena still has control of her fate. However, she will be evil if she believes she is evil. It brings up an interesting thought about predetermination and free will. Without a doubt, we are born with certain abilities and limitations. While not everything is in our control, I believe a lot of things in our lives are still in our control. From my perspective, it is a self fulfilling prophecy for Zelena. She made a decision to be good. However, she reverts back at the first sign of adversity. She is pessimistic and assumes the worse in herself. Accordingly, she never gives herself much of an opportunity to be anything else. This theme is also developed well in the final confrontation with Zelena in Storybrooke through the decisions of Regina and Rumple. Eventually, Zelena forces Emma to touch Hook’s lips by ordering Rumple to drown Hook. Accordingly, the only way to save him is for Emma to perform CPR. While Emma has resisted Hook’s advances and been very upset with him at times, she is a hero and she cannot allow him to die. Unfortunately, it strips Emma of her light magic. With Emma’s magic out of the picture and Rumple in her back pocket, Zelena runs loose unopposed.
While Regina has magic, it is dark magic which does not hurt Zelena. As a result, Zelena easily kidnaps the Charmings’ newborn son as soon as he is born for her final ingredient to open a portal to the past. While the situation looks dim, Henry truly believes in Regina. He knows she loves him and that there is good in her: “Once upon a time, you were a villain, mom, but you’ve changed. You’re a hero now and defeating bad guys are what heroes do. I believe in you and now you need to believe too”. Moreover, Regina has the support of her love, Robin Hood, who also believes in her. She allowed herself to be vulnerable instead of fearing love. It made her stronger and a better person. When she confronts Zelena again along with the other heroes, she is able to yield light magic and finally defeat Zelena by taking away her pendant. It has been a long and rewarding story in regards to Regina. She was the villain who progressed to anti-hero then a hero. I also like that it is her turn to be the hero in the series. Lana Parilla has been brilliant as Regina. She makes you hate her when she is the Evil Queen, feel empathy for her when you learn about her tragic past, root for her when she tries to reform, and love and cheer for her when she finally becomes a hero. When she yields light magic, Zelena is shocked since she believes Regina was born to be the Evil Queen and destined to always be evil. However, Regina triumphantly declares that her fate is in her own hands and that Zelena cannot to tell her who she can or cannot be. Of course, I completely agree with this statement and the series’ point that people have free will and can overcome dispositions they are born with to lead a good and positive life. Regina further proves she is a hero when she decides to spare Zelena’s life. In the past, she would have killed Zleena without second thought. Later, she talks to Zelena in her jail cell. She explains that she was given a second chance and that she has learned that “Evil isn’t born. It’s made and so is good.” As such, she is deciding to give her older sister a second chance to create a new destiny. If Zelena elects not to take the offer, Regina will put her down for good.
Regina also stops Rumple from killing Zelena. She tells him that they have hurt many people in their attempts to get what they want. They have been given a second chance for redemption and to be happy. Zelena deserves the same opportunity. Of course, Rumple is unwilling because Zelena killed his son. In the end, Regina took control of the dagger and simply forbids him from exacting revenge. However, Regina eventually entrusts the dagger to Belle. Belle is sweet and innocent. As a result, the power is too much for her and she presents it to Rumple. In a loving gesture, Rumple hands it back and tells Belle that he trusts her with it. Nevertheless, he is always tricky and performs a sleight of hand to give Belle a fake duplicate. Consequently, there is no one to stop him from killing a powerless Zelena. In reality, most parents would find it difficult not to take vengeance against any person that murdered their children. As such, I do not really see it as Rumple becoming a villain again. It is definitely an evil act. I do not condone it but it is also understandable. Rumple’s decision also proves t that we do have control of our fates. He chose to be a hero and sacrificed himself in the first half of the season. He also chooses to kill again. He has the capacity to be good and evil. It is not predetermined. His dark side will always be a part of him but so will his good side. While the love of Belle has changed him drastically into a better man, he will always need to battle the darkness similar to how a recovering drug addict will struggle with his addiction for the rest of his life. When he kills Zelena, she turns to glass before cracking. Green smoke also travels back to her pendant, which Regina locked up in her vault. I am not really sure whether her power returned to the pendant and she is dead. It would not surprise me if the Wicked Witch surfaces again in the future. For now, she is assumed dead. Her death also sparks her powers to open the time portal.
The two hour season finale is very entertaining. While I thought the Wicked Witch would make a return for one last battle similar to Peter Pan in the first half of the season, the finale is Wicked Witch free. Instead, it is a fun and entertaining episode involving time travel. Emma also makes a direct reference to Back to the Future which is the most famous time travel movie. Emma gets sucked into the time portal. Hook follows because he loves her. They journey to the moment her parents met. Of course, they accidentally alter the moment. Accordingly, they need to fix the situation to prevent devastating changes to the future which includes Emma ceasing to exist if her parents never met. It is a fun episode because they alter one thing after the other in a domino effect and scramble to set things back on track. It also includes an entertaining moment when Emma needs to distract a younger Hook by flirting with him. Eventually, the older Hook becomes jealous and punches his younger self out. Luckily, the younger Hook will just blame it on the rum. There is also a meaningful point to the season finale. Earlier in the season, Emma wanted to break the curse then run back to New York with Henry. However, it is not really for his good. She has been running her entire life since she was orphaned as a newborn. She even admits that she will continue to run until she misses something. Not even her parents make her feel strongly enough to stay in Storybrooke. The trip to the past helps to set her straight. First, watching her parents fall in love is a very emotional moment for her. Of course, the young Snow White does not recognize Emma when she sees her. Due to the alteration of the events, it also appears that Snow is executed by the Evil Queen and Emma is powerless as she watches her mother presumably burned alive. It brings her to tears that her mother will never know her. In this moment, she realizes that she must be causing the same pain to her mother in Storybrooke. Emma did not know Snow until she was well into adulthood. More importantly, Emma still chooses to run rather than be with her mother. While the younger Snow finds a way to escape death, Emma finally realizes that she has taken things for granted and that Storybrooke is her home because she will miss it, her friends, and her family.
During their trip to the past, Emma and Hook also need to find a return trip back to the future. Of course, the only person who can help them is a younger Rumple. Despite his disdain for Hook at the time, he understands the consequences for changing the past and agrees to help them. While he works on recreating the time portal to return them to Stroybrooke in the future, he stays out of correcting the events. After the past is fixed, Rumple finds a wand that can recreate any spell. Unfortunately, he cannot use it since only a person that uses the spell can recreate it. Since Emma no longer has magic to activate the wand, they are stuck in the past. However, Rumple needs to protect the future. Accordingly, he puts them in his vault, where he puts the darkest of magic that he does not even dare to use, so they cannot do any more damage to the past. He also drinks a forgetting potion to remove any knowledge he obtained that could change the past and future. On the other hand, Zelena’s spells expire upon her defeat. Once Emma accepts who she is and that Storybrooke is her home, her powers return that allows her to open the time portal back to the future. The season finale does a great job closing out Emma’s story arc as an abandoned orphan, who has been running for her entire life. In the end, she is finally happy and has found a home.
The season also does an excellent job developing the relationships in the series. The first relationship is Hook and Emma. She has resisted his advances throughout the series. While she definitely has some attraction to the dashing and charming Hook, she also knows that he is a pirate and assumes he is bad for her. With a young son, it is no wonder she also does not want any bad influences around him. However, Hook turns out to be a good person who lost his way when he wanted revenge. He has completely turned his image around and has proven he is a hero. At the end of the season finale, he also reveals that he gave up the Jolly Roger in exchange for a magic bean to get to her at the beginning of the season. Emma is touched by the gesture because she knows he loves nothing more than his ship. She also appreciates the lengths he has gone throughout the season to take care of her. Even his choices that she was mad about are made with her wellbeing in mind. Consequently, she knows he truly loves her. She finally drops her guard, embraces him, and kisses him. Their story reminds me of Han Solo and Princess Leia in Star Wars. Like Solo, Hook is a sweet talking scoundrel. Fittingly, Emma also masquerades under the name of Princess Leia when they travel back to the past. They have a contentious relationship throughout the series but you can see the spark and sexual tension. Like their Star Wars counterparts, they eventually fall in love. The relationship between Rumple and Belle also comes to a fitting end with marriage. Their vows are brilliant in describing their relationship and are the best lines of the season. Belle starts by noting “This thing we have has never been easy. I’ve lost you so many times. I lost you to darkness, to weakness, and finally to death. But now I realize… I realize that I haven’t spent my life losing you. I’ve spent my life finding you.” Rumple’s vows include thanking and appreciating her for changing him and being able to see the good man behind the monster. Belle responds by acknowledging that he has defeated the monster inside. While he still has flaws, every person does and she loves him for them: “Sometimes, the best book has the dustiest jacket but sometimes the best tea cup is chipped [alluding to his first nice gesture to her when he gives her a cup she chips]”. Of course, there is more darkness left in Rumple exemplified when he secretly kills Zelena. While he will battle it, Belle is the hope that he eventually overcomes it.
As I noted earlier, the relationship between Robin Hood and Regina is also well done. They have a rocky beginning in the Enchanted Forest. They slowly but surely fall for each other. I have truly enjoyed watching Regina’s redemption. As such, I also like that she finally gets to be happy with Hood and his son. She has had a difficult time with love after her own mother killed her first love. As such, she was afraid and found it easier to hide from it. Now that she is a hero, it is nice to believe she gets her happy ending too. There is a touching scene at the end of the episode showing Regina walking down the street with Hood and his son happy. They fall in love because they see each other as their second chance. For Hood, he has never loved another woman since the lost of his wife. It fits perfectly into Regina’s story. Unfortunately, it does not last long. Even Rumple understood the importance of not altering the past even though it could mean saving his son. However, Emma could not stop herself from trying to help an innocent woman in the past. She was sentence to death by the Evil Queen for helping Snow White. Emma believes she can circumvent the rules by bringing the woman to the future. The mysterious woman turns out to be Robin Hood’s long lost wife, Marian. It is sickening to see Regina in tears at the sight of Hood and his son reuniting with wife and mother respectively. Regina cannot even hope that she finds someone else because Hood is destined to be her soul mate. I was infuriated when I saw the scene. She has suffered a lot and redeemed herself. She deserves to finally be happy but has it taken away due to the actions of someone else. Emma repeats the mistake made by her mother, Snow, by accidentally taking away Regina’s happiness. However, I do not think that Regina will be a villain again because of the unfortunate turn of events. She still has her love of Henry. Moreover, I think the writers of the show will have a much more complex, intriguing story for Regina going forward with Robin Hood than her simply being bitter and reverting to a villain. While she is clearly upset with Emma not considering the consequences of her actions, she does not attack Emma. She only hopes and warns that Emma did not bring anything else back. Of course, Emma did and it is Elsa the Snow Queen from Frozen. I have not seen the movie yet but I will now before the start of next season. I am intrigued to see what the show does with the character. No season or villain has not disappointed yet. Season 3 is great and I expect more brilliant storytelling next season.