At first, it looks like the “Lost Girl” of the title is going to be Belle. But it turns out to be Emma. In this character-driven episode, which could be subtitled “The Truth Will Set You Free,” or “The Key to Your Present Lies in Your Past,” Emma, Snow, and Rumpelstiltskin must learn to accept who they really are.
Snow and Rumpelstiltskin both find the courage to do the right thing instead of the easy thing. Charming uses a trick to help Snow learn she has the courage to stand up to Regina. A vision of Belle helps Rumpelstiltskin accept the pain he felt when his father left him, which lets him move on and find the courage to stand up to Peter Pan. (And we find out that the mysterious doll was the last thing his father gave him before his father left.)
Emma accepts that she felt and still feels like an orphan. At first it seems a sign that she, like Rumpelstiltskin, will be able to move ahead by getting past the pain from her childhood that has been holding her back. Or does it foretell something more sinister, as Pan wants her to believe?
Meanwhile, the Evil Queen wears two fabulous new outfits while terrorizing the peasants; Hook and Charming start to get along; and there’s still a lot of sexual tension between Hook and Emma, which could prove interesting (or not, depending on whether you like or hate love triangles) when they discover that Neal is still alive.
I think the show is getting back on track, and Season 3 looks like it’s shaping up to be better than Season 2.
Maybe the show’s creators, just like their characters, have found the courage to move on from the quagmire of Season 2 by getting back in touch with a piece of their past — their past as LOST writers, that is. There were some very LOST-like elements in this episode — the creepy island jungle, with its narrow twisty paths, and the mystery of Rumpel’s doll, which seems to have a life of its own and keeps on popping up even after it had been destroyed.
The writers have also gotten back in touch with the past of OUAT itself, going all the way back to the original Pilot’s opening scene of Charming galloping down the road — and finding something genuinely new to tell us.
I think the writers, like Emma, have found their map. And not to drive this poor analogy into the ground, but I think that this season the writers have discovered they have the courage to do the right thing, instead of taking the easy way out. Now if we only had some pixie dust to make sure that’s how it will happen …
What are your thoughts about the episode? Do you share my optimism about Season 3?