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Zuleikha

S03.E07: Dark Hollow

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On the plus side: better writing for Ariel. Nice use of and reveal of the Darlings. Progression of the Henry/Pan plot. 

 

On the down side: Make the Rumpbell stop. Please! I can't take it. I'm fine with pretending 2B never happened as the writers so badly want me to except that Lacey/Rumple was one of the few things I actually liked! They made sense, and I thought I finally got the underlying Rumple/Belle relationship. Except apparently not? Neither Rumple nor Belle care about the reveal that Rumple has zero interest in trying to be a better, changed person? Belle doesn't care at all about Rumple's glee in going around town tormenting people with Lacey? And Belle is supposed to be neither traumatized nor an idiot? I'm supposed to still see them as truly in love? I know it sounds juvenile to say that expressions of love makes one sick, but I did literally feel ill during all that "our love will lead you" crap with Rumple's sand dollar message.

 

But to end back on the positive, I am all aboard the Captain Swan ship. It felt to me like even Neal was just surrendering to the obvious. I HATED Hook/Emma back in S2, but this revised version based on respect and reciprocity? Sign me up! I was also glad to see Snow calling Charming on his crap (and in awe of Ginnifer's ability to glare even with her back! I need to learn how to do that)

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Captain Swan is the one relationship (outside of Snowing) that actually makes sense in the way they are writing it.  I hadn't boarded the ship (God I feel so cheesy saying this) yet at that point.  I really liked them and I wanted to cry for them by the winter finale, but shipping couples is always risky and Once is not the best written show ever.  I really wanted to enjoy the show for what it was, but let's be honest, I kept coming back because of Emma, the captain and the budding romance.

 

No one will convince me that she didn't have Hook in mind when she managed to light that candle, especially after the conversation they had right before the ish hit the fan.

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I always found the candle lighting fight a bit embarrassing because Nealfire and Hook turned into 5 year olds. I wasn't too fond of that scene. It started fine with tensions boiling over because they needed to light the candle and skedaddle out of there, but still...this is also where I saw the "love triangle" (that never really was) plot basically end (except maybe like one small scene in an upcoming episode). Honestly, that whole plot lasted like, 2 eps?

This is also where my secret dream of Rumple teaching Emma magic took form. You could see how Regina's methods didn't really work with Emma, because Emma did much better when conjuring it up due to wanting to protect people, which is how Rumple had guided her back in season 2.

Also, I did like that we finally actually got to see a different part of the island besides a bunch of plants and a treehouse or two.

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I always found the candle lighting fight a bit embarrassing because Nealfire and Hook turned into 5 year olds. I wasn't too fond of that scene.

 

There were for sure better ways for the writers to get across the point that the fighting over the lighter was just symbolic.  It was completely juvenile especially in a life and death context.  But this is like the way Emma grabbed Hook during Tallahassee.  Yes, show, writers, we get it!

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I love this episode for CS development.  The lighter was juvenile and ridiculous, but Hook's speech to Emma about never seeing her lose and being there when she decides to choose him. I remember turning to my husband when we saw that the first time and saying, "omg, that's hot - how is there even a question here over who she would choose? rewind it, I need to see that again." *swoon*  I may rewatch that scene sometimes, occasionally, for science. 

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The lighter fight was so stupid and out of character for both Neal and Hook. Two men, both with a few centuries of living -- most of it spent dealing with the dangers of Neverland -- fighting over a lighter in a life or death situation. This made me worry about how bad the Triangle of Doom was going to get. Thankfully, Emma spoke for the audience and told them off and we were done with grown men acting like two year olds.

On a separate note, Neal's bitchface after Emma used magic to save his ass will never not piss me off. I wonder if he thought innately magical Emma would just shut off her magic if/when they get together again.

Meanwhile, Hook was all I want you to want me for me and I totally believe in you and your magic. Hook is so Team Emma and I love him for his complete support of every part of her.

Edited by KAOS Agent
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The fighting I think actually began in Neal's old cave-dwelling. I thought Hook threw down the gauntlet when he brought up the kiss. Then he called Neal daft when he said they could capture the shadow with a coconut. It just escalated from there, but I'm glad Emma shut that down pretty quickly. I think Hook and Neal could see that it wasn't making them look very good.

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I think this was the episode where I realized that Emma and Hook was where the writers where leading us. I shipped them before, but this episode made it really obvious what the show WANTED us to ship, just by comparing Hook and Neal's declarations to Emma. With Hook, they find a dumb pretext to have them completely alone (why did Neal need to go hack some leaves alone, again?). The camera is right on both their faces and we see all their reactions. With the Neal "secret" in 306, part of it is filmed over their shoulders from Hook's POV and it's a lot less zoomed in. The CS scene was about CS, the Neal/Emma scene was about Hook's mainpain angst watching them from the bushes. Also, YMMV, I don't know if it's an acting choice or what, but Colin just pulls off the big romantic declarations better. MRJ plays Neal as too much of a "real world" guy for any fairy tale love confessions to be believable.

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Neal left so that Hook and Emma could talk and Hook could explain what his intentions were.  The show was never subtle.  Neal is looking for the dark hollow all pissy, meanwhile, Hook is basically wearing his heart on his sleeve even more so than he was the day before and telling Emma that not only does he want her, but she'll end up wanting him too.

 

Meanwhile, Neal comes back hoping those two aren't making out again.

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Eh Neal needed to get some of his aggression out on some leaves and Emma got to call Hook out on the snark between the two guys. Too bad neither thing helped keep the idiots from their male posturing and the lighter stupidity.

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Yeah--by Dark Hollow, it seemed obvious that the writing was more focused on the Hook/Emma angle than on Neal/Emma.

The lighter-fight made Neal look particularly irresponsible, because his son was in danger. So, it was good that he apologized to Emma later. Emma did shut both Hook and Neal up, but she did it in typical Emma fashion. She used Henry as an excuse to slam her walls back up. I think she got freaked out in Dark Hollow when she specifically yelled out Hook's name after the shadows attacked. I think that incident, following on Hook's speech, made her realize that she felt something for him. And so she hurried to shut it down.

As for Hook, his "win your heart" speech is one of my favorite moments in the show! He too acted like an idiot over the lighter, but he looked really contrite when Emma yelled at him and Neal. I definitely think the love triangle aspect was way overplayed.

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No one will convince me that she didn't have Hook in mind when she managed to light that candle, especially after the conversation they had right before the ish hit the fan.

 

Eh. I remember the endless discussions of that on TWOP, and I came out of it feeling like: well, would the scene play out any differently if Hook hadn't been there? Would The Savior have been unable to light the candle if had just been to save Neal, or if had been Neal and  Snow or David or Regina or Rumpel..or Tink or Belle or Granny or Happy or Pongo? Would Emma not have been able to light the candle to save herself so that she could rescue Henry, which was, after all, the whole point of the exercise? I just feel like it's putting more emphasis on the CS relationship than it warrented in the moment.

Or now. Emma still seems to expand as much effort (or more) rescuing random Disney characters than Hook.

  

 

The lighter fight was so stupid and out of character for both Neal and Hook. Two men, both with a few centuries of living -- most of it spent dealing with the dangers of Neverland -- fighting over a lighter in a life or death situation.

 

It was clunky and cringe-inducing and made no sense for the two people who should have been experts on the workings of Neverland -  but I did appreciate that Colin and Mikey committed to it. They totally nailed the "whip 'em out and measure 'em" nature of romantic/sexual rivalry between guys, just as Jen nailed the "I'm not f--king either of you morons" nature of any intelligent women upon viewing this horrifying display of idiocy. And I frankly enjoyed the idea of out-and-out rivalry Hook and the Son of Crocodile more than this idea that their past relationship was so deep or meaningful that it would have somehow been an impediment to competion.

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The lighter fight was so stupid and out of character for both Neal and Hook. Two men, both with a few centuries of living -- most of it spent dealing with the dangers of Neverland -- fighting over a lighter in a life or death situation.

It was clunky and cringe-inducing and made no sense for the two people who should have been experts on the workings of Neverland -  but I did appreciate that Colin and Mikey committed to it.

Instead of having Hook and Neal verbally lash out at each other (which would have cut way worse than any punch to the face), the writers went the slapstick Marx Brothers route by having them squabble over a lighter. So pathetic. Colin and Michael would have really sold some intense verbal sparring, too.

 

Those two characters have years of history together and could have gotten some harsh truths out in the air for Emma and the audience to hear. We could have heard Neal yell at Hook for stealing away his mom (and Henry's grandmother) which forced him to grow up alone with his crazy Dark One father, for selling him off to Pan's crew in Neverland, and could have called him a violent, depressed, and drunken pirate and how a person like that doesn't deserve someone like Emma. Hook also could have thrown some harsh truths back at Neal, like how Emma clearly got over his death rather quickly (rubbing the kiss in again) and the fact that Neal ditched Emma in the past (I don't know if Hook knew that at this point, but I think he's smart enough to put two and two together about why Emma and Neal weren't a thing when he first came to Storybrooke) clearly didn't bode well for them as a couple. Oh, what could have been. 

 

Spoiler for Season 4:

It's sad that the writers decided to go this route again later in the Shattered Sight episode. Instead of having these characters legitimately call each other out verbally and have those words actually hurt, they go the slapstick humor route and everyone comes out laughing about the experience.

Edited by Curio
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On a separate note, Neal's bitchface after Emma used magic to save his ass will never not piss me off. I wonder if he thought innately magical Emma would just shut off her magic if/when they get together again.

I thought that was Nealfire's worried face, actually, which makes sense because he's has only ever seen the bad side of magic. Although I am stiff miffed at Neal for doubting Emma's thing with lies (even though her thing with lies is very inconsistent), and saying that Emma can't make decisions about Henry anymore. Handwaving her confrontation with, "we're all messed up".

 

I guess that could be a starting point for character growth into a relationship where Nealfire can learn to accept and respect Emma, even though that would be one-sided because I don't think Emma had anything to learn from Nealfire that would make her a better person.

 

Meanwhile, Hook was all I want you to want me for me and I totally believe in you and your magic. Hook is so Team Emma and I love him for his complete support of every part of her.

 

Yes, also meanwhile there is that. I mean, that, how can that I cannot even.

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I thought that was Nealfire's worried face, actually, which makes sense because he's has only ever seen the bad side of magic.

 

Yeah, I was interested in the show exploring that.  

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Yeah, I was interested in the show exploring that.  

Bwahahahaha

my laugh is an evil laugh because that never happens.

Well, okay, maybe with sending the badinaging bird to Hook and then begging Emma to separate himself and Rumple while they were in the same body...? But that was more of a reaction than a realization that, hey, Emma can actually be pretty awesome.

Hook knew that right off the bat.

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Eh. I remember the endless discussions of that on TWOP, and I came out of it feeling like: well, would the scene play out any differently if Hook hadn't been there?

 

I must have been projecting because I honestly thought Emma was able to light the candle due to her pissed-offness at how the two of them had been behaving. 

 

MRJ plays Neal as too much of a "real world" guy for any fairy tale love confessions to be believable.
I think that's the core of my issues with his portrayal in general. Baelfire is one of the least "real world" characters. His formative years were altered and marked by magic, and on top of that, he's centuries old. There's just none of that there in Neal. The only times I buy him as Bael is when he does his quiet burns of Rumple speeches because I think he plays it in a believable and nice way that he was so hurt by Rumple he just can't even care any more. But it's possible I'm biased by being so grateful for SOMEONE actually calling Rumple out.

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I must have been projecting because I honestly thought Emma was able to light the candle due to her pissed-offness at how the two of them had been behaving.

I think that's the core of my issues with his portrayal in general. Baelfire is one of the least "real world" characters. His formative years were altered and marked by magic, and on top of that, he's centuries old. There's just none of that there in Neal. The only times I buy him as Bael is when he does his quiet burns of Rumple speeches because I think he plays it in a believable and nice way that he was so hurt by Rumple he just can't even care any more. But it's possible I'm biased by being so grateful for SOMEONE actually calling Rumple out.

I think that was a problem for a lot of us -- that Neal did not seem to be the same person as Baelfire. There was too much of a disconnect. Bae was passionate and righteous. Neal is low keyed and murky for lack of a better word. I used to wonder if Neal was so beaten down by his experiences of being abandoned and being in Neverland that he lost his passion and became very detached to everything. After finding out his mother abandoned him, Bae seemed to lose his ability to discern. Look at who he trusted - August, Tamara and he believed Pan about his Father, though I don't blame him for that one. Sadly he turned his back on a sincere Hook (who I believe would have treated him like family) and Emma.

To curio's point upthread, the insult that Hook could have thrown to Neal: he had grown up to be his father's son, willing to run away from love and not fight for it (when he abandoned Emma) and that he had lost all of Milah's Fire.

And I frankly enjoyed the idea of out-and-out rivalry Hook and the Son of Crocodile more than this idea that their past relationship was so deep or meaningful that it would have somehow been an impediment to competion.

I've always wondered how long Bae was on the Jolly Roger. For me it seems like it could have anything from a few weeks to a century, given the nature of Neverland. It was long enough for Bae to get an outfit tailored for Bae and to learn how to sail the Jolly Roger, and to learn how to use a cutlass.

I was more interested in the Hook/Rumple/Bae triangle. How would Rumple react to knowing Hook had saved his son's life and took the boy in? He lost a wife to Hook and to know that Hook took in Bae after Rumple's abandonment would have been meaty drama.

I fully expected to see 2 of this trio having to work closely together to rescue the third during this half season. Hook and neal needing to rescue Rumple, with Hook helping because hook owed it to Neal after what happened with Bae. Hook and Rumple working together because as much as they hate each other they both love Bae. If they had gone that route their could have been great discussions between the two about their very different perspectives on life. I think Rumple and Hook have such different world views about love and power. And, the audience could always wonder if and when one would turn against the other with Pan always agitating things. Rumple and Neal because the pirate once saved Bae's life and A part of Neal still cares. Any one of these could have brought great drama and tension.

Edited by kitticup
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I used to wonder if Neal was so beaten down by his experiences of being abandoned and being in Neverland that he lost his passion and became very detached to everything.

 

See, Neal always strikes me as the opposite of detatched.

 

Bae's final days in the EF were spent trying to figure out how he and his father could get to a place where they could live a normal, magic-free life. That goal was derailed by magic. When he meets the Darlings, he wants to stay there and have a normal, magic-free life. That goal is derailed by magic. When we meet him, maybe hundreds of years later, in 'Tallahassee' that's still his dream: to get to a place where he and Emma can live a normal, magic-free life. That goal is derailed by magic. Years later, he meets Tamara, who holds out the promise of a normal, magic-free life. That dream is derailed by magic.

 

Through all that, he hasn't been beaten down to the point where his heart is closed to the possibility of love and happiness. (Even with Rumpel, you can see beyond the pain and loss that Neal still loves him.) Nor has he lost Bae's penchant for diving headfirst into dangerous situations to protect people he loves.

 

As to him being too "modern" seeming....YYMV, but I felt like Bae is a suvivor, and we survive by adapting to our environment. If your goal is a normal, magic-free life, you try to live a normal, magic-free life. 

 

 

 

I've always wondered how long Bae was on the Jolly Roger. For me it seems like it could have anything from a few weeks to a century, given the nature of Neverland. It was long enough for Bae to get an outfit tailored to me, for Bae to learn how to sail the Jolly Roger, and to learn how to use a cutlass.

 

I'm sure they wrote it ambigously on purpose, so they could shape the story however they wanted later on. That said (and spoiler tagging just in case)

I don't think it matters if Bae spent months/weeks/years on the JR, because it's clear by this point in 3b that it's not going to be a major part of the story. I think their connection was one of those patented OUAT Shocking! Twists! that was never critical to either character's development. Critical to connecting the dots of the plot - what's a cool way to get Gold home from NYC? How do we get Hook to turn around and offer the JR for the trip to Neverland? -  but ultimately not adding much to our understanding of either man.

 

There's no point at in the story in 2b or 3a where Hook and Bae/Neal show any love or deep understanding towards each other or about each other (even in the "hug" scene in 3x15, is out-of-the-blue and not something Neal seems to need or appreciate). It was clear in S2 that there wasn't going to be any competition between Rumpel and Hook in Neal's mind. The millisecond Hook hurts Rumpel in The Queen Is Dead, Neal is 100% Team Papa, leaving Hook hog-tied in the basement and stealing his ship, knowing full well that this was to save Hook's mortal enemy.

 

Now...I don't think that Neal would let Rumpel hurt Hook, but again, I don't think the show laid a foundation for something like that to be an act of love or affinity for Hook. More along the lines of him stepping in to stop Gold from pounding on Whale - because he hates Gold bullying those who can't fight back.

Edited by Amerilla
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I'll be that lone crazy person in the corner who liked the stupid slapfight between Hook and Neal over the lighter.  Yes, it was stupid, and yes, it was silly, but the last time the two of them actually saw each other was when Neal was still a preteen Baelfire, right? It somehow seemed fitting that even when they met again as grown men (well, both grown) that Hook would revert to treating Neal like a child again, even just for a moment, and they'd have a silly, childish pissing match. Also, with all the history between them and all the reasons they have to hate each other, 

that's the worst they really ever do to each other. They never get into any sort of real fight or rivalry even though Neal and Hook probably have more reasons that any one else to be enemies.

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So, I understand that it's all fairy tale handwaving at this point anyway, but I still find it a little gross that Hook had this great love affair with Bae's mom (Rumple's wife), and now Hook likes Emma, who is Bae's ex...a little strange to be fighting a guy for a girl, when the guy previously had an affair with your mom...

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So, I understand that it's all fairy tale handwaving at this point anyway, but I still find it a little gross that Hook had this great love affair with Bae's mom (Rumple's wife), and now Hook likes Emma, who is Bae's ex...a little strange to be fighting a guy for a girl, when the guy previously had an affair with your mom...

 

 

Responding in the relationships thread...

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From the Ariel thread but more relevant to Dark Hollow:

 

So we have Snow spending half an episode pissed at Charming but never once does she seem to stop and think, "Gee, if I'm this upset about Charming's secret, maybe Emma's upset about my secret. I should ask her if she's okay."

 

All of the episodes are blurring together for me, but didn't Snow/Charming and Emma/Hook/Neal split off from each other pretty quickly? I remember it as Snow and Charming having most of their post-Caves conversation on the walk to Tink's house with there not being much time for Snow and Emma to talk.

 

But I also feel that this is something that should go both ways. Snow's been trying to make overtures to Emma and Emma hasn't been very receptive. I get that technically Snow's the mother and Emma's the child, but they're functionally the same age. If Emma wants a parent/child relationship with Snow or Charming, she needs to be more inviting. (However, I think it makes sense for all involved to give up on that and focus instead on forging their strong, unique relationship)

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I remember it as Snow and Charming having most of their post-Caves conversation on the walk to Tink's house with there not being much time for Snow and Emma to talk.

 

Oh they talked. Instead of Snow asking how Emma was holding up with all the drama of Echo Cave (and I don't mean just Snow's confession because pretty much everything said in there was really hard on Emma), Snow bitches at Emma for being just like her father when Emma expresses that perhaps she needs to stop with the silent treatment because her 11 year old son is being held captive by a psychopath, so how about we work on getting him back. It was just really, really badly done.

 

Snow's been trying to make overtures to Emma and Emma hasn't been very receptive. I get that technically Snow's the mother and Emma's the child, but they're functionally the same age. If Emma wants a parent/child relationship with Snow or Charming, she needs to be more inviting.

 

Snow has been trying to be a mommy to Emma and Emma does not want or need a mother. Emma needs her friend Mary Margaret and once the curse broke, she lost her. There is a major disconnect between Snow & Mary Margaret with regards to Emma because Mary Margaret seemed to understand her and knew how to get her to open up while Snow is stuck in some weird mommy mode and it doesn't work with Emma. I think it's that Snow wants everything to be like she always dreamed it would be with her daughter and just can't get past the fact that it's never going to happen. It's why her confession was all about everything she'd missed with her daughter. She focuses on her baby dreams instead of adjusting to the crazy circumstances she finds herself in with her daughter. In her mind, having a do over baby will make it all better.

 

Meanwhile, Emma has a hard time with relationships in general and finding herself with same age parents, parents she spent her entire life hating for dumping her on the side of the road, is difficult. When Emma asked for some time to process in "Broken", Snow just pushed on and demanded that they talk which kind of caused Emma to shut down. It's hard to blame Snow for her excitement at finding her daughter, but it's easy to see why a person like Emma wouldn't respond well to this push for an instant relationship. Jennifer Morrison explained that her take on it was that these people were essentially strangers to Emma, so the idea of instant family and a happy relationship is off the table for her, while Snow & David are excited and eager to bond with their daughter. It makes for a very bumpy entry into a relationship. Add all the other stresses on Emma and she's just not in a good place to meet Snow's sky high expectations how their relationship would go.

Edited by KAOS Agent
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Snow bitches at Emma for being just like her father

 

I took that line as amusing.  I didn't feel angry on Emma's behalf at all, and the way it was played, Emma was tickled she was being compared to her dad.  Yes, the whole Echo Cave stuff was just horribly done but one of the reasons why I like Emma is how she doesn't blow everything out of proportion even though it wouldn't be hard to blame her if she did.  She doesn't usually take it personally and even if she does, she moves past it instead of dwelling on how she's always neglected and never everyone's number one priority, etc.  They've never made Emma a whiny character and I hope they never start.

Edited by Camera One
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One of the reasons why I like Emma is how she doesn't blow everything out of proportion even though it wouldn't be hard to blame her if she did.  She doesn't usually take it personally and even if she does, she moves past it instead of dwelling on [it].

 

I greatly appreciated how Emma was all business in this episode and just let everything that happened in the cave roll off her back which is a pretty typical Emma reaction. I wasn't angry on Emma's behalf because Snow didn't have some emotional moment with her daughter (that's fully on the writers and their complete lack of interest in writing for Snow/Emma), I was annoyed that Emma was stuck telling Snow to suck it up because she's reacting just like Pan wanted her to react and Henry and the team need Snow to deal. Emma had just been told she's not enough for her mother, her father can never leave the island, Hook's in love with her and told her ex that she'd rather he be dead than deal with how painful it is to have him around. If anyone has the right to be a bit off, it's Emma and yet she's the one who has to tell pissy Snow to knock it off.

Edited by KAOS Agent
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All of the episodes are blurring together for me, but didn't Snow/Charming and Emma/Hook/Neal split off from each other pretty quickly?

 

They were, but how long does it take to ask, "Are you okay?" We see Snow and Emma have a conversation before everyone splits off, where Emma's trying to cajole Snow into actually, y'know, speaking to Charming. Instead of snapping at her about inheriting her father's tunnel vision, if Snow didn't really want to talk about it, maybe she could have changed the subject and asked Emma if she was all right post-Cave. Even if Emma said, "Yeah, fine," at least the effort would have been put forth.

 

There is a major disconnect between Snow & Mary Margaret with regards to Emma because Mary Margaret seemed to understand her and knew how to get her to open up while Snow is stuck in some weird mommy mode and it doesn't work with Emma.

 

This. And this is what bothers me the most. Snow gets upset because she doesn't know how to comfort her own daughter, but somewhere within her, she does. Because she has. Mary Margaret Blanchard was absolutely wonderful with Emma. She knew when to push and knew when to just let things stand. She just knew how to get past Emma's walls, and I remember wondering if that was because somewhere in the deep recesses of her subconscious memory, she recognized Emma as her daughter. If Snow could just get past "baby girl I never got to watch grow up" and see "Emma," I think she'd have an easier time with it, and I'm sorry, but that's on Snow to figure out how to do. She's never going to be able to watch Emma grow up, so she needs to find a way to deal with that if she ever wants to make things better.

 

(I don't mean to sound harsh. I can't even imagine the loss Snow and Charming must feel every time they look at Emma and see the precious baby they only knew for five minutes, but nothing can rewind time. Charming seems to have done a decent job of being able to see "Emma" and not "baby girl I never got to watch grow up," so it can be done. If Snow really wants to have a relationship with Emma, she needs to find an approach that works with her. She's done it before as Mary Margaret, so I know she can do it, which is why I have less patience with her.)

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I took that line as amusing.  I didn't feel angry on Emma's behalf at all, and the way it was played, Emma was tickled she was being compared to her dad.  Yes, the whole Echo Cave stuff was just horribly done but one of the reasons why I like Emma is how she doesn't blow everything out of proportion even though it wouldn't be hard to blame her if she did.  She doesn't usually take it personally and even if she does, she moves past it instead of dwelling on how she's always neglected and never everyone's number one priority, etc.  They've never made Emma a whiny character and I hope they never start.

I recognize this behavior, she is compartmentalising. Stuffs it behind one of the many walls and leaves it there to fester while she deals in the present. I do this. It really is not healthy in the long run and leads to exactly the kind of explosion the SNow Queen was able to get out of her. I guarantee you, we haven't seen the last of Emma's breakdowns. It really is only a matter of time. When the plot needs it Emma will drop a wall and bad stuff will spew.

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I've wondered how much Snow sees Emma as her daughter and if in her mind she doesn't have baby Emma that she lost and adult Emma as two completely different people.  I know she seems to have a difficult time reconciling the two.

 

Also, it seems a lot of us aren't over the Echo Cave.  I mean everytime we get new fuckery with Snow and Emma, all I can think of is this moment where things went completely off the rails.  I still don't understand the motivation behind this confession to be honest.

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If Snow really wants to have a relationship with Emma, she needs to find an approach that works with her. She's done it before as Mary Margaret, so I know she can do it, which is why I have less patience with her.

 

I feel like part of this is on Emma, too, though. With Mary Margaret, Emma was warm and friendly. With Snow, she's cold and shut down. I think the difference was that Mary Margaret was often seeking life advice from Emma, so Emma felt protective. I don't think either of them has done a good job adjusting to the role reversal. Emma didn't have a relationship with David Nolan, so she and Charming can build something fresh. 

 

It doesn't help that Snow is really bad at giving people emotional space. That's a consistent character trait. She's botched things with Regina that way, too. It's sad, but maybe Mary Margaret and Emma were just a better personality match for friendship than Emma and Snow are. 

 

ETA:

I still don't understand the motivation behind this confession to be honest.
Yeah, I'm perplexed by the set up, too. Because I knew about Ginnifer's pregnancy from you all, when Snow first started her speech, I expected it to end with a pregnancy revelation. I don't know why the show didn't do it like that because that would have made Charming's confession more heartbreaking. Edited by Zuleikha

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I don't know why the show didn't do it like that because that would have made Charming's confession more heartbreaking.

 

I think they only had Snow's confession the way it was because it was supposed to make David's confession hard. Snow said that she wasn't fulfilled with her life and wanted a baby and now David knows he can never give her that because he's stuck. If she was already pregnant, Snow could take one of the 18 million ways to travel between worlds and just go back and forth so she'd age and have the baby. "Ariel" had to have been written before Ginny confirmed her pregnancy given when it was filmed and when she gave birth. They set up the possibility of a Snow pregnancy because the writers were aware Ginny was trying, so they opened the door to writing a real life pregnancy in if they wanted. Then again, it's not like anyone believed that Snow & David will remain in Neverland forever while everyone else goes home, so it wasn't really all that big of a deal as a confession.  It was just one more layer of guilt and angst for them to work through in their trek back to Tinkerbell's house in this episode.

 

Obviously, a pregnancy in Neverland wasn't a possibility and it's not a topic Snow & David would be randomly discussing on their one week trek through the woods to save Henry. If they wanted to lay the groundwork for it, this was a way to do it without it seeming really, really weird and opening up awkward speculation about Ginny's personal life. As it was I think the pics of Ginny filming episodes 3.10 & 3.11 (they'd been mostly filming on a sound stage prior to then, so no one had seen the change in Ginny) being published at the same time as the Echo Cave confession aired pushed her into announcing earlier than she'd have liked.

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I feel like part of this is on Emma, too, though. With Mary Margaret, Emma was warm and friendly. With Snow, she's cold and shut down. I think the difference was that Mary Margaret was often seeking life advice from Emma, so Emma felt protective. I don't think either of them has done a good job adjusting to the role reversal. Emma didn't have a relationship with David Nolan, so she and Charming can build something fresh. 

 

It doesn't help that Snow is really bad at giving people emotional space. That's a consistent character trait. She's botched things with Regina that way, too. It's sad, but maybe Mary Margaret and Emma were just a better personality match for friendship than Emma and Snow are. 

I think that observation about Emma feeling protective of Mary Margaret makes sense and fits their relationship in the first season.  It would likely have been a role Emma was slightly more comfortable with, because it would not have made Emma feel as vulnerable, even though she was actually opening up.  Plus, "friendship" is something Emma had more familiarity with. 

 

But then their relationship took the dramatic jump to parent/child.  "Parent/child" is usually a completely different relationship.  Emma heard "family" and shut down, because that is not a safe idea for her, while Snow heard "family" and had expectations.  Snow wanted Mommy/Daughter, and she had expectations about what that relationship would and should look like.

 

I think it was honestly a case of incompatible expectations and comfort zones.

 

Now, I tend to blame Snow just a little more, because Mommy/Daughter is not a reasonable relationship plan for someone you didn't raise--especially when the person is someone with attachment issues.  I realize that the way Emma grew up was not Snow's fault, but in season 3, Snow seems to have unrealistic expectations, and then shut down when she doesn't get what she wants.

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I feel like part of this is on Emma, too, though. With Mary Margaret, Emma was warm and friendly. With Snow, she's cold and shut down.

Well, I don't quite see it as Emma being cold and shut down. Yes, Emma has never been an outwardly affectionate person, but she's still an empathetic person and actually rather emotional. She's just not one to go around announcing to the world how she feels, especially when she's been hurt.  And she's especially not anywhere near outwardly affectionate as Snow would like her to be because Snow wears her feelings not just on her sleeves, but bejeweled and framed with neon lights. But Emma in her own way has been trying to accept Snow and David, but she just can't instantly get over a lifetime of hurt and pretend that none of this is painful to her or that she's not still angry just because Snow might prefer it that way.

 

Emma is often understandably distant with Snow because that's what happens when someone grows up alone, abandoned, and neglected and they are met with the person(s) (despite the best intentions on Snow's part) who was the cause of that hurt. For her whole life, Emma only knew that her parents threw her out like trash on the side of the road.  Snow (and David) could have all the altruistic reasons in the universe, but that doesn’t mean their decision didn't result in a very painful life for Emma. And though Emma now knows the true reason why she was "abandoned", Emma's not a light switch. Emma can't just stop feeling like an orphan or hurt because it's what perhaps Snow would prefer. And no relationship is built instantly and out of nothing but shared DNA (and loads of seriously painful baggage) no matter how much Snow wants it to be that way.

Snow, prior to “Lost Girl”, thought that she could create an insta-bond with Emma by just telling her “Oh Honey, we had great reasons for sending you away! It was your best chance!” and everything would be okay. As if imparting that information to Emma would absolve Snow of any guilt she may feel for sending Emma away, and she (Snow) could have her “baby” back and all would be right in her world. But “Lost Girl” was when the Anvil of Truth got dropped on Snow’s head and she realized, “Well, crap, apparently, knowing the reason we sent her away doesn’t change Emma’s miserable life experience. I guess 28 years of being an unwanted orphan doesn't go away overnight.” No. No, it doesn’t Snow. It’s not that easy. It will never be that easy. (well, realistically, it's not that easy but as most of you know, it's this show, yada, yada, yada...) But instead of reassessing her approach to Emma, what Snow does is essentially give up on Emma, tells her she’s not what she wanted, and makes plans for baby do-over, and when that fails makes plans to stay with her (only?) True Love in Neverland. I mean, wow, talk about over-correction. ( I’m sorry, but that whole Echo Cave confession was just shy of Snow metaphorically throwing Emma away again. “Sorry, dear, you’re not doing it for me. I want a new unused model so that I can feel like a mother.” Yikes.) 

 

Snow loves to lament how much she missed out on (and she's absolutely entitled to that feeling of loss and pain that she doesn’t know how to comfort her daughter, she missed her first steps, her first words, blah, blah, blah [fishcakes]), but she’s not very cognizant of what that choice cost Emma. Just because Emma knows Snow's reasoning for sending her away, doesn't change Emma's past or her emotional reality.  It was hurtful to Emma. That’s the simple truth of it. And while, yes, it has also been traumatic for Snow (because she basically loses a baby, and when that baby finds her again she’s an angry and kinda damaged adult woman), Snow needs to get her head out of her ass. Yes, fine, go have another baby since that’s what she wants and believes will make her feel like a mom, but Snow needs to realize that if she really wants to have a true relationship with Emma, if she’s really and truly interested in being a parent and not just the warm and fuzzy parts of motherhood of cuddling a happy baby and fawning over it when it gurgles at her, then Snow needs to realize that her actions (yes, even though they were for the greater good), resulted in a lot of hurt for Emma and as a result distrust and fear of being hurt again. 

Emma was able to connect with Mary Margaret not only because they clicked as friends, but also because there was no shared baggage between them. But Snow White is the person who had Emma shoved through a magical wardrobe as an infant and resulted in Emma living 28 years as a neglected, abandoned orphan. Ya, that’s an obscene amount of baggage to deal with for both of them, but for Emma that means that she is distant with them. Emma is distant with them because people who have experienced nothing but hurt and abandonment over and over and over in their lives, are wary of trusting again because they don’t want to be hurt again, and that especially extends to trusting people who they see as someone that hurt them before.

So if Snow wants to have a real relationship with Emma beyond the piece of paper that says “Hi, I’m your biological mother”, Snow needs to earn it. If she wants to feel like Emma’s parent, then she needs to act like it, and learning to deal with your child (whether they’re an adult, teenager, or toddler) involves not giving up on them even when you feel like they are pushing you away. The easy part is when they are happy and all is right with the world. Anyone can deal with that. The real stuff happens when the road gets tough and you show your kid even when they are hurt and angry and they push you away that you will stick around because they are worth it. And that’s where Snow (IMO) is falling down dead failing.

 

It doesn't help that Snow is really bad at giving people emotional space. That's a consistent character trait.

That's very true.

 

 

She's botched things with Regina that way, too.

I don't know about anyone else, but I think Regina spending the better part of her adult life trying to kill Snow, her husband, and her daughter (and successfully having her father murdered) is probably what botched that relationship, and not so much Snow's issues with personal emotional space. It's probably just me, but I'm just not that cool with someone who's tried to kill me more times than I can count, put me in a coma, murdered my father, cursed my family for 28 years (and as a result my own daughter is a stranger to me and consequently a very painful life for my daughter), and is the root cause of my family's serious traumatic issues and dysfunction. But hey, we all get our kicks somewhere. 

 

ETA:

I wrote all of the above (in regards to Emma and Snow) with the complete understanding that the writers officially wrote off all the problems with Emma and Snow in episode 4x08. LBR, y'all, the writers, in 4x08, crapped out a "resolution" to all their relationship problems with a cheesy and cheap throwaway line "Please don't change" and a hug that fulfills the family feels quota. They then sprinkled magical BS dust on that superficial "resolution" with Snow handing Snowflake over to Emma in episode 4x09 (even though Emma was basically the last person Snow could actually give Snowflake to, so the "power" of the moment is completely diminished (to the point of worthlessness) by the complete lack of recourse on Snow's part. I mean, Snow basically didn't have anyone else to keep the baby safe, so...ya). All that was the writers putting the Unicorn Sticker of "It's all magically solved and perfect between them! Move along, nothing to see here because we've magically solved all their relationship issues because we have no interest in them!" And just like that I washed my hands of this show.

Edited by regularlyleaded
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Plus, while Snow says she wants a relationship with Emma, she doesn't actually listen, really, to Emma.

 

People get stuck on the Echo Cave speech, and it was bad--not because Snow feels that way, but because she didn't give even a fig and a half that it might have hurt Emma--but the conversation that I find particularly telling is the conversation they had on the way to the Echo Cave.

 

Emma tried to open up to Snow about how she was feeling, and what happened with Hook.  Snow blew right past what Emma was trying to talk about to blindly assure her that Neal would forgive her for cheating on him.  That right there, shows you how much Snow has actually paid to how Emma feels about things, instead of how Snow feels about things.

 

Good relationships involve paying attention to more than your own ouchies when you didn't get what you wanted.  That's not Snow's best skill.

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Emma tried to open up to Snow about how she was feeling, and what happened with Hook.  Snow blew right past what Emma was trying to talk about to blindly assure her that Neal would forgive her for cheating on him.  That right there, shows you how much Snow has actually paid to how Emma feels about things, instead of how Snow feels about things.

 

Snow was also glaring daggers at Hook for whatever reason when she was making rope even though he had done nothing to anger her.  But then he saved David and she's all smiles.

 

I really hate Snow sometimes.

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But instead of reassessing her approach to Emma, what Snow does is essentially give up on Emma, tells her she’s not what she wanted, and makes plans for baby do-over, and when that fails makes plans to stay with her (only?) True Love in Neverland.

 

Which, might I add, flies in the face of, "It's the truth. You were an orphan. It's my job to change that." So ... "I want another baby" and "I would happily build a treehouse and spend the rest of my days dodging poisoned arrows and Lost Boys as long as I had you (Charming) by my side" ... this is how you're going to change that, Snow? Really?? (I was going to throw snarky quotes in there but I used the real ones for emphasis.)

 

Because that also flies in the face of "Get used to [someone putting you first]" and "We go home together. That is the only way. Do you understand?" Three broken promises from mother to daughter. Broken promises are probably par for the course for Emma but at the same time, that's exactly the kind of stuff that would make her pull away.

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But Snow White is the person who had Emma shoved through a magical wardrobe as an infant and resulted in Emma living 28 years as a neglected, abandoned orphan.

 

Snow sent Emma through a magical wardrobe in order to literally save Emma from a very real, dangerous curse, which Emma knows. I believe better of Emma than to think she holds Snow/Charming's decision against them, especially after her trip to the Enchanted Forest and seeing her childhood nursery. 

 

I do understand that Emma can't turn her trauma off like a light switch, but she's not the only person who's been traumatized. Snow's mother died when Snow was a pre-teen, and her father was murdered by her stepmother when Snow was barely an adult. She was then hunted, forced to live on the run, cursed, and... at the moment when it seemed like she may finally have a moment's peace, cursed again. Her homeland has been destroyed, and Snow's attempt at a way back to rebuild it was thwarted. I think that just like Emma's so walled because of her history, Snow is so pushy because of hers.

 

I don't know about anyone else, but I think Regina spending the better part of her adult life trying to kill Snow, her husband, and her daughter (and successfully having her father murdered) is probably what botched that relationship,
Ha, much as I love Regina, I wasn't intending to say that Snow is the reason the relationship failed in general. What I meant to be referencing were the moments on the show when we saw Snow want to reach Regina and botch it because of dictating to Regina how Regina should feel instead of giving Regina the emotional space to admit to her regrets and desire to change. 

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Snow sent Emma through a magical wardrobe in order to literally save Emma from a very real, dangerous curse, which Emma knows. I believe better of Emma than to think she holds Snow/Charming's decision against them, especially after her trip to the Enchanted Forest and seeing her childhood nursery.

 

(Save her from a dangerous curse and from Regina and her knights that invaded the castle intent on murdering infant Emma.)

 

Ya, I’m not saying that Emma hates Snow and David for it. She doesn’t. But intellectual understanding and emotional understanding are two different things. In her head Emma gets it. That’s what the nursery scene is essentially about -- Emma coming to an intellectual (and some emotional) understanding. But that doesn’t mean Emma doesn’t have some unresolved anger towards them and the resulting situation, and still has insecurities about them no matter how intellectually understanding she is of their actions.

 

Some part of Emma wonders "Was sending her away truly the only choice her parents had? Was there really and truly no other way or was sending her alone through the wardrobe just the best way to save not just her but everyone else too? [she has now seen magic beans, hats, shadows, and all manner of things that cross realms so she must wonder if sending her away alone was the only way]. Was I sacrificed for not only my good, but for the good of all? Am I valued by my parents mostly because I'm The Savior and less so for being just me?"

 

And all these questions arise not because Emma wants to mistrust them, but Emma’s reality is that people use her as a means to an end. That's all she really knows. They get what they want from her and they throw her away. Yes, Snow and David sent her away to save her from Regina and her curse, but when all you've known your entire life is  that people use you and then toss you aside, Emma,deep down inside, questions the authenticity of their feelings for her. She wonders, "Are these people genuinely in it for me, just Emma, or ???" It’s not really an intellectual issue Emma’s struggling with but an emotional one.

Yes, Snow has suffered as well, but Emma lived her entire life unwanted, neglected, constantly abandoned and has no concept of what it is to be loved unconditionally. She doesn’t trust it or even quite recognize it because she’s never had it, and so she truly struggles to accept it. Snow, OTOH, does. Snow, no matter how brief, had a loving mother, and a doting father well into her late teens (if not early twenties) that cherished and loved her (and apparently a beloved nanny as well).  Snow was raised with love and affection and that is critical for children. Snow had lots of people and lots of love in her life. Yes, later in life, Snow was on the run from a homicidal Regina bent on killing her and everyone around her, but even then she was only alone only until she met Ruby, and the Dwarves, David, and other people and friends who rallied and supported her along the way. Even when times were tough for Snow she wasn't alone for long. Snow and Emma’s situation while traumatic for both are apples and oranges. That the writers attempted to compare their life experiences in earlier episodes rings rather false because their situations are not the same.

Snow is also the parent in their relationship (even if only on paper, at the moment) and the one with the experience of how loving, unconditional relationships work. And like it or not, she (and David) chose to bring a life into the world, Emma, and Snow (IMO) does owe Emma that effort to try and reach out to her and not give up because 28 years of estrangement -- Emma's entire life -- is too hard to deal with. Particularly if Snow wants to be a mother as desperately as she’s been claiming. Snow has to deal with the repercussions of everything that has happened -- not just what happened to her and lament her own traumas -- and learn to work around and with Emma’s own issues. Giving up shouldn't even be an option, and yet, that's essentially what Snow has chosen (IMO).

If Snow has another child and that child decides to start pushing Snow away, Snow doesn’t get to say “This is too hard. I don’t feel fulfilled. Let’s have yet another baby!” No, if she really wants to be a mom, she’ll have to work, and keep working at it even when her child is being difficult. And yes, dealing with Emma is difficult and painful because Emma has a tendency to pull away, but it’s really because Emma doesn’t really know how to cope better. She's never had the foundation of a loving and emotionally stable childhood and doesn't know how to trust. Based on information we have been given on the show Emma never spent longer than six months in any home growing up. That's obscene, and yet, someone who is emotionally distant with others is exactly what you get (at the very least) when someone grows up moving home to home over 30 times during their childhood and into their adolescence. It’s tragic and truly unfortunate, but learning how to accept Snow and David's love and support (and that of others) is going to be a learning curve for Emma. Yes, Emma will have to put work into their relationship too because it’s not something only Snow can do, but again Snow is the parent and like it or not, fair or not, the heavier burden falls on Snow.

I don’t mean to make Emma sound like an emotional invalid, but emotionally she has been stunted by her life long experiences of abandonment (and other issues. Though, without getting into spoiler territory, Emma does recognize her own deficiencies and these defense mechanisms that make it difficult -- though not impossible -- to connect with people, so she's not ignorant of her problems). So like it or not, if Snow really wants to be a mother she’s going have to pull on her mom jeans and work for it. And calling it quits because she finds it too painful and unfulfilling is a cop-out for someone who's just that desperate to feel like a mom. What it says to me is less that she wants to be a "mom" and more that she just wants a baby and that's not the same thing.

 

Ha, much as I love Regina, I wasn't intending to say that Snow is the reason the relationship failed in general. What I meant to be referencing were the moments on the show when we saw Snow want to reach Regina and botch it because of dictating to Regina how Regina should feel instead of giving Regina the emotional space to admit to her regrets and desire to change.

Ah, I follow. Hehe :) Ya, sometimes I'm not sure how Charming puts up with Snow. Perhaps he simply likes the pushy, clingy type? Then again, it kinda took me a while to warm up to Charming so maybe they deserve each other. ;)

 

In Snow's defense though, Snow wanting any sort of relationship with Regina is more magnanimous than Regina deserves since Regina is the violent aggressor who victimized Snow and her entire family and

doesn't regret it

. And frankly, I think their "friendship" or whatever the writers want to call it, is well beyond absurd. That Snow, Charming, Emma or anyone who's suffered for years at Regina's hands is cordial let alone friendly with Regina (or Rumple too for that matter) is the real fantasy on this show. Especially considering Regina has never once apologized and in fact feels that her bloody quest for revenge against Snow was validated because Snow, as a 10 yr old child, told a secret that resulted in Cora killing her boyfriend. Disproportionate. Response. Regina should be happy that Snow talks to her let alone hasn't strung her up on a rack or simply dumped her into a deep dark whole in the ground to rot. Regina should be examining her life choices and pondering all the regrets she should have from a dungeon and not living high and free as a bird.

 

(ETA and on a totally unrelated note:  I'm enjoying this discourse, Zuleikha, but it's also reminding me of the many reasons I can't stand this show anymore. No spoilers, but after 4 seasons, the writing for this show drives up the wall and down the other side. I'm afraid my bitterness comes through almost all the time now. )

Edited by regularlyleaded
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Snow blew right past what Emma was trying to talk about to blindly assure her that Neal would forgive her for cheating on him.

That's one of those "makes me stabby" things. How in the world could Emma have cheated on someone who ditched her, made no effort to stay in touch with her, and was engaged to someone else up to about five minutes before the last time she saw him, and that engagement only ended because he found out she was evil? Emma was under no obligation of fidelity to Neal. Emma was a free agent. There was nothing for Neal to forgive. If anything, Emma was the one who was in a position to forgive Neal. Even if we set aside the ditching and letting her go to prison, if we're having any expectations of fidelity, then being engaged to someone else rather tops one kiss with someone else.

 

So, basically, Snow was siding with someone other than her daughter instead of actually backing her daughter up. What mother would say something like that instead of something like "Well, you know, he was engaged to someone else, so it's not like he can say anything"? She can disapprove of Hook without being on Team Neal vs. Team Emma. I'm still baffled by both Charmings being so totally okay with Neal, in spite of the fact that he got their unmarried, teenaged daughter pregnant and then was totally out of her life for the next 11 or so years.

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To be fair, Snow said that she was sure Neal would understand, not that he would forgive her. There is a difference. Just yesterday or whatever, Emma had told Snow that she loved Neal and upon leaving Echo Cave Snow looked all excited for Emma since she had Neal back. It was pretty obvious in this episode that no one had heard Emma's confession to Neal because if Snow had, I don't think she would have acted the way she did. 

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Agree, I think Snow was trying to set Emma's mind at ease about Neal, given that Emma did tell her that she loved him when she thought he was dead. I don't know if Snowing was so much Team Neal as they were just wanting their daughter to be happy.

I think Emma only figured out that she didn't want to go back to Neal in reality once the possibility was definitely there.

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Scenes like Belle and Ariel tied up at gun point by Michael and John Darling is why I'm glad OUAT exists. Also Ariel asking "What's a gun." still makes me laugh.

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Oh man, the episode where everyone is pissy and fighting about things not related to their mission. I really love Emma for basically telling everyone to get over it and get back to saving Henry. I despise the lighter fight so much -- although it did result in Hook's pretty speech, so maybe it wasn't a total loss. I really like the support and encouragement that Hook gives Emma in this episode because it's something that Emma has never had in her entire life. That it remained in character for Hook to say it and was entirely sincere made it all the better.

Edited by KAOS Agent
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Funny thing about the lighter scene: I just noticed on this rewatch that the same thing happens earlier in the season when they're in Neal's cave. Hook goes to try to light a torch using his flint (or whatever low-tech thing he has), and David steps in with a lighter (since on TV, everyone, even people who never smoke, carries a lighter in case they need it). I wonder if they were being accidentally repetitive or if it's a deliberate callback here. If it's deliberate, it might somewhat explain Hook's frustration and anger -- it's not just about competitiveness with Neal, but also that he got shown up by David earlier, doing the same thing. That kind of flint thingy might be harder to do with just one hand, so it may also be an issue of his disability hitting him.

Though I suspect I've now put more thought into it than the writers did.

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This episode features my favorite Hook declaration. This scene from dark hollow was the very first and only time I experienced actual toe curling 😂. Hook was so sincere and intense. Fantastic scene.

Colin and Jmo really were lightning in a bottle, it’s a shame this show wasted that so many times.

You really can see how panicked Emma was at seeing Hook getting his shadow ripped right in front of her.

I think of the scene with Rumple here when she lights the candle because she was obviously thinking about protecting people and not using her anger like Regina was teaching, goes to show Rumple was a much better teacher knowing what would motivate each of those he was teaching and modifying his instruction.

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2 hours ago, daxx said:

This episode features my favorite Hook declaration. This scene from dark hollow was the very first and only time I experienced actual toe curling 😂. Hook was so sincere and intense. Fantastic scene.

Colin and Jmo really were lightning in a bottle, it’s a shame this show wasted that so many times.

You really can see how panicked Emma was at seeing Hook getting his shadow ripped right in front of her.

I think of the scene with Rumple here when she lights the candle because she was obviously thinking about protecting people and not using her anger like Regina was teaching, goes to show Rumple was a much better teacher knowing what would motivate each of those he was teaching and modifying his instruction.

It also makes sense since Rumple had previously taught others magic while Regina never taught anyone before.  

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As someone who didn't have any problem with Snow's Echo Cave revelation, I do have a massive problem with the fact that Snow treats it as a matter of course that she will stay on Neverland with David forever.

And, on one hand, I get it. Snow knows that Emma is her daughter, and has come to have a certain affection and respect for her, but they haven't built up a relationship over the years, whereas she and David have. But at the end of the day, Snow and David are Emma's parents. They brought her into the world. Sending her through the wardrobe may have been the best thing they could do under the circumstances, but Snow has to recognize, on some level, that it is her decision not to end Regina that led to her daughter growing up alone and miserable. Yeah, Emma is an adult, but it is Snow's responsibility to do what she can to make it up for her. Emma's a good person, so I'm sure if Snow declared she was going back with her rather than staying with David, Emma would give her permission to stay, and I wouldn't blame Snow for taking it. But the fact that, after telling Emma just days earlier that it is her job to make Emma not feel like an orphan anymore, Snow sees staying with David -- thereby never seeing Emma or Henry again -- as the obvious and only choice, is pretty awful.

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