'Once Upon a Time' Review: 'Tougher Than the Rest'


Welcome back to Storybrooke

For three months we waited to find out who was under the hood. Now, we’ve waited another three months to find out if he would indeed be successful in killing our beloved Savior. Thankfully, the answer to that question is no. However, I found myself left with many questions. That's a good thing though. That's what keeps us coming back!

One thing that caught my attention during the midseason finale was when Rumple told Regina that every savior needs a villain. Could it be that Gideon was “created” to fill that purpose? I mean, I know the Evil Queen is there, but she's really more of Regina's self actualization. Anyway, do you think it's true that if you kill the Savior you get her powers, like the whole Dark One mythology?

Let's take a second to look at this. Gideon claims that the Black Fairy tried to make him evil, but failed because of his prenatal memories of Belle. He wants to save the realm under the reign of the Black Fairy, but wants to kill the Savior to become a Savior in order to do so. That doesn't quite sound like the heroic thing to do; it sounds kind of evil to me. I guess Belle was right when she said he's confused. Do you guys think there's any saving him? Also, does anyone else think it’s ironic that Gideon returns at age 28?

On a side note, I feel bad for Charming that he blames himself for his wish that the Evil Queen would get what she deserved. He admitted as much to Hook in one of the 6x11 Sneak Previews. I kept thinking the whole time, there’s no such thing as a harmless or fail safe wish. Maybe he's right that his wish brought Gideon to Storybrooke. Then again, I suppose Gideon would have found a way regardless.

I have to admit that I was concerned when Rumple offered to help Gideon. Then, when Belle went to Charming and Hook for help to try to stop (and essentially save) Gideon, I was put off by their over reluctance to work with her. It made me remember Snow's speech to Emma about doing things the hard way, the right way.

Speaking of the Charming Hook bromance, what's up with next week's promo? What does Hook do that could possibly keep Charming from waking Snow ever again? Or did I completely misunderstand that montage?

The Ugly Duckling

Long ago, in Minneapolis, little Swan wasn’t reading fairy tales, she was using them to stay warm…hmmm… is there some psychoanalytical material there or what? Who’s the dude who saves the stories? None other than teen-aged Pinnochio. According to him, he was keeping tabs on her throughout her childhood. Anyway, The Ugly Ducking is very apropos, and could be a nod to the group The Ugly Ducklings, which was started as a result of the character Emma Swan.

Teen Pinnochio tells little Swan that “all the best fairy tales are about the same thing, transformation.” (Is that what she is going through with Gideon?) He continues with “if we believe in something strongly enough we all have the power to change our fate.” Perhaps this episode should have been titled "Change Your Fate," but that might have given the ending away.

Speaking of "little Swan" and changing her fate, it appears that she chose that last name Swan for herself because of The Ugly Duckling story. If that's true, then what was her last name before that, and why didn't the police know?

All magic comes with a price, especially wishes!

Let me just say, I’m really impressed that Emma isn’t angry as hell at Regina for missing the portal. I think I would have grabbed her and jumped! Emma, on the contrary is totally calm. She's even the one who suggested they bring alternate Robin back with them. I'm not sure how good of an idea that is, but we'll see. It just seems to be too "good" to be true.

Poor Regina felt like everyone was better off without her, and in a way I guess they were. When she sought Robin out at the tavern, I thought it was funny that his comment was "One doesn't usually come to a tavern for talking." I mean, yeah you go to drink, but what other reason is there to go except to talk? She's perplexed that he didn't age, and at how easily he believes her about an alternate reality or dimension. She's also surprised that he thinks he's accomplished nothing with his life, and finds out that he's just a "common thief" seeking to get rich, not give to the poor.

Once Upon a Time, Tougher Than the Rest
Photograph by Jack Rowand/ABC

I'll tell you what surprised me about the Robin story line: Marion died before they had a chance to get married. I realize it's a different version of things, but much of it is based on what happened in the real Enchanted Forest, at least up until the Evil Queen locked Belle up. At that point, Marion was pregnant with Roland. If she didn't die then, she would have died at the Evil Queen's hands when Emma wasn't there to free her from jail. Either way, she was already married to Robin.

A few more musings: How much fun do you think Jared Gilmore had playing an angry Henry? I hope we see more of that, but I'm afraid we may be completely done with the wish realm. Although, how crazy would it be if wish realm Henry came to Storybrooke and met real Henry? And, what did you think about old Hook and his pillow of a rum belly?

Once Upon a Time, Tougher Than the Rest
Photograph courtesy of ABC

While we're at it, Pinnochio also seemed to believe Emma a little too easily, but I did like his comment that it only took one person believing in him for him to become real. I also liked his suggestion that she leave the sword fated to kill her there. After all, if she doesn't take it with her, it can't be used to kill her. If she does take it (which she did), she's playing into the fate, right?

Emma's fate

It was near the end of the episode that we finally got to see the highly anticipated sword fight between Gideon and Emma. He was so sure of himself, and yet he failed. It was supposed to be fate that she would die, but then throughout the episode we watched as many of the characters took their fates into their own hands. You can change your course, but can you REALLY change your fate? Is being able to change your fate contrary to the idea of true love? I mean hasn't true love been presented here as being with the person you're fated to be with?

All of these questions got me to thinking about the differences between the vision and the actual dual. For me, a big visual difference was Emma's clothing, but there were other differences too. How she loses the sword, and obviously the lack of tremors are just a few more examples. (Yes, she looks at her hand, but rather than her hand and arm trembling, she moves her hand in such a way as to activate her magic.) Anyway, now I'm worried that this sword fight was not a version of her vision at all. What if that fight has yet to come? Could we still lose Emma?

What's next

Share your ideas with us in the comments section below and be sure to check out the next episode, "Murder Most Foul." Here's a Sneak Preview to get you started, and it makes me wonder if David's confession about feeling guilty for his wish will have a negative impact on his relationship with Hook. I wonder if Hook murdered David's father? Or maybe the Evil Queen wants him to think that. What do you think?

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed

Carissa Shuman

Carissa is a writer, editor, and artist with a love for science and science fiction.

Chris Godwin Womens Jersey 
Riley Dixon Authentic Jersey