There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

This episode basically exemplifies the worst and best things about the show, and I find that fascinating. Lily’s part in this was fairly well put together, and I knew as soon as her name was mentioned where this was going. But that was fine, because it means that they’ve been planning this for awhile, and I appreciate good planning. On the other hand, you have something clunky and irritatingly obvious like the Author. There are few things I love more than morally ambiguous characters, and the fact the show seems to be actively destructing heroic tropes is impressive. But then I wonder if that’s what they intend, or if they really do believe in the good vs. evil absolutes. I know a lot of people are mixed on what to feel about the Charmings here, but I personally like the idea that heroes can do evil. The show has been so gung ho about redemption for villains, so it’s nice to see that they’re also saying ‘but heroes aren’t all that either.’ Where this is going, I have no idea, but I’m intrigued. Previously on Once Upon a Time, all the villains want to get the Author of the book to force him to write them a happy ending. August was brought back as his adult self, and he knew that the author was being held magically behind a story book page. Regina has been pretending to work with them. Long ago, Emma befriended a girl named Lily, and after feeling betrayed by her, she shut people out of her heart for a long time.

It’s important to note that Emma herself makes the comparison with Lily and August here. It does annoy me she doesn’t note the fact that she was friends with Graham and Mary Margaret before August, but whatever, Graham apparently doesn’t exist on this show ever. Still, Emma and August did have a deep connection, and he encouraged her to believe in herself in a way she wasn’t used to. You would think her parents would remember that Emma has serious trust issues, but apparently not. In any case, the truth is revealed. Terrified that they would have a villainous child, Snow and Charming are told by the Sorcerer that he can take all of her darkness and put it on another vessel. They are told by a mysterious Peddler (COME ON THIS IS OBVIOUS AND ANNOYING) that Maleficent’s laid an egg. Snow decides that obviously that egg isn’t a “real” baby, even though she lives in a magical realm and has seen Maleficent switch forms, so come the fuck on of course she knows. Still they decide to steal the egg. Maleficent begs them not to take her child, but Snow says they’ll bring the egg back. After they just put all the darkness in it, of course. Because that’s … somehow okay? Guys, you are changing this unborn child, you are effectively destroying her child regardless. So stupid. Of course it just really shows how arrogant and prejudiced the “good” can go, a fact I appreciate from a narrative perspective. Once the sorcerer does the spell however, he sends the egg to another world where it cannot harm anyone. Our world! Ursula and Cruella arrive to try and stop them, and they’re send into this world as well. So at least that was properly explained. But why didn’t they raise the baby themselves? The baby’s identity is revealed to be Lily (duhhhhh), Emma’s childhood friend. She didn’t act naturally evil at all, so I’m sure there will be plenty of commentary on what dark and light really entails.

Once-Upon-a-Time-4x17-Best-Laid-Plans-Emma-holding-the-Author-page-with-August-720x480Maleficent puts the entire town into a sleep spell so they can get the door. Rumplestiltskin figures out immediately that the door is hiding magic. Regina persuades Henry to give her the page, although she pretends she’s forcing it from him. He gives her the fake one, and she’s discovered, but Henry does have the time to figure out where the key to the door is. Charming and Snow arrive, and Charming plans on destroying the page entirely, thinking it’ll take away the villains’ options. But Snow points out it’ll take away everyone’s options, and they’re not acting like heroes. Especially not by lying to their daughter. Duh! They tell her the truth, and she is horrified. I think a huge part of it is because they lied to her. Like 75% of that. But one thing I really love is that Emma says she isn’t worried about turning dark. She has more faith in herself now than she ever did before, and it’s true, she’s gone through a lot of grief and came through a good person. This may change when Lily returns or gives her back her darkness, but even then, Emma’s not having that “well he might turn me evil” mindset. Good for you, Emma! Instead she opens the door and lets the Author out so she can get some answers.

Before that August goes on a ramble about how there are tons of authors and they’ve been around for generations. They’re supposed to just write down what they see and not purposely mess with things, but the last Author did change things, and that’s why he was trapped by the Sorcerer. He’s of course the Peddler, groan, and immediately flees. They make a wink toward Walt Disney, which made me eye roll, but it’s their property, they can do what they want. I’m disappointed with this reveal, although I’m intrigued to know where they’re going with him.  I was really hoping it would be someone we already knew or maybe a woman. As soon as he popped up it was incredibly obvious, and that’s irritating. But now the Author is free, the question is what type of power does he have. Can he still change things? Would he? What made him start changing things in the Enchanted Forest? How did August know all of this? Also where is Lily and when is she coming back? Have they already cast her and I missed it? I know there are people who don’t like that Snow and Charming went so dark as to destroy someone’s child. I get that. The important thing to note is that the two of them were ignorant and didn’t even think they were destroying her child. As arrogant “good” types they believed Maleficent’s child was naturally going to be dark and having more darkness wouldn’t matter. I like having heroes who are extremely flawed, and at least Snow seemed to get it by the end. If we’re able to forgive these villains for doing so many terrible things, it makes sense we should be able to forgive the heroes when they also make bad decisions.

Also let’s give Henry more to do. He was great this episode! Go Henry! And Gold was being creepy some more around Belle. I don’t think I was the only person who cringed when he held her hand. She’s unconscious and not consenting to your creepiness around her, Rumple. All your ‘sweet’ gestures now come off as icky. He’s cryptic about things changing and he’ll come back for her if he can. What does that even mean? I’m not sure what his happy ending plans are, or if he wants to be the author next. Who knows. I just hope this season ends with getting rid of him. I loved the character but he’s served his time and needs to get gone.


  1. drush76 says:

    [“But why didn’t they raise the baby themselves?”]

    The Charmings had no intention of raising Maleficent’s baby. All they planned to do was steal the baby, allow the Apprentice to transfer Emma’s evil potential to within it and return it to Maleficent. The Apprentice’s decision to send the baby to our world took them by surprise. His decision also took him by surprise, until he realized who was responsible.

    As for why Ursula and Cruella didn’t raise the baby . . . how do you know that they had ended up in the same place as the baby? Or whether someone took the baby before they arrived in our world?


    • Dee says:

      I definitely didn’t think the Charmings had any intention of raising the baby. I was talking about Cruella and Ursula, since the baby fell at the same time they did. I assumed they might have shown up in the same spot, but you’re right, they might not have.


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