This first edition of “Further Thoughts” for Season 6 of Once Upon a Time is all about parallels and connections we have seen so far in episodes 1 and 3, and the possible future ones we may see play out in Season 6.
Captain Swan Connected Kisses:
I think it’s rather beautiful, and appropriate, that their last shot of Season 5 was Killian kissing Emma and lifting her up, and the first shot of Season 6 was Killian and Emma kissing and him setting her down on the couch in their house.
Sweet and Gentle Affection:
It always moves me when I see Emma and Killian, who are both very strong and tough in their own right, who were once very closed off emotionally, who rarely showed any kind of physical affection with others, be so loving, sweet and gentle with each other. These affectionate nuances capture my heart in a special way, and the scene where Emma asks Killian to move in was a perfect example of this kind of tenderness. The way she softly plays with his hair, and the way he holds her face while they kiss and gently caresses his thumb over the cheek was just so beautiful. They just look so happy and in love.
And the way he sweetly rubs his nose back and forth against hers. As many have pointed out, this is like an Eskimo kiss and it makes my heart overflow. Seriously, what could be more beautiful?
Aladdin & Jasmine vs. Killian and Emma:
Aladdin is the perfect character to bring in at this point of Once Upon a Time, as we are exploring what it means to be a Savior, Emma’s identity, and then how this relates to many things including her romantic relationship. In OUAT Emma and Aladdin are both Saviors, which is a natural connection for the writers to portray with their version of the character as there are so many similarities between Emma and the character in the Aladdin film:
- Both Emma and Aladdin are inherently special individuals- in the film, Aladdin is a “Diamond on the Rough” and the ONLY one who can enter the Cave of Wonders, and on OUAT Emma is the ONLY one who can break the Dark Curse in Season 1.
- Both are orphans who dream of a better life
- Both are thieves, but basically only steal food and what’s needed to survive, with the exception of the yellow bug.
- Both are resourceful and smart.
- Both are very generous and often put the needs of others above their own comfort or happiness, i.e. Aladdin giving children his bread, freeing the Genie, Emma offering her jacket to Aurora, becoming the Dark one to save her family.
- Both have issues of self worth and not feeling good enough.
- Both lie to the person they love- Aladdin about being a Prince, Emma now lying about her tremors/vision.
- Both are called “Street Rats.” Aladdin is called this by Prince Achmed, Palace guards and Jafar , while Emma is called a “dirty street rat” by Regina in a deleted scene from “There’s No Place Like Home”, called a “pathetic street rat” by Lily’s dad in a deleted scene from “Breaking Glass.”
- Interesting enough there are also some parallels between Killian and Aladdin. He is often called simply “a pirate” as an insult. Killian also struggles with issues of self worth, i.e. not feeling like he is a good a man as his brother, feeling he needs two hands for his date with Emma, not feeling as if he’s worthy of forgiveness yet.
- Killian and Aladdin are also great at surviving. This is one of Killian’s trademark characteristics, and Aladdin survives three murderous attempts by Jafar: at the Cave of Wonders, when he’s thrown into the ocean, and when he’s sent to the Ends of the Earth. Jafar even says “How many times do I have to kill you, boy.”
There are also quite a few parallels between the two couples:
Moments of asking for trust
Falling into each other’s arms
Father’s placing the women into the arms of the man they love
There are even more! See these in this great gift set by tough-lass
Let’s not forget, interrupted romantic moments, especially kisses. There’s quite a few.
Their love stories are about choosing each other
And lastly, don’t these moments of shoulder leaning and hand holding remind you of Emma and Killian?
Season 4 and Season 6 Parallels:
6×1 “The Savior” began with some striking parallels to 4×1 “A Tale of Two Sisters”: Regina grieving Robin, Rumple and Belle having a dance to “Beauty and the Beast” where she is in a yellow dress, and Emma and Killian having an important moment interrupted. The last one is what I am focusing on because in both episodes Killian knows something is not right, she is not telling him something, and is avoiding talking to him about it.
In both episodes Emma gives Killian a soft kiss to assure him, but in 4×1 she leaves him, while in 6×1, she comes back. And in both she keeps what is troubling her inside and does not reveal it yet. In both cases, it is because Emma has the “weight of the world on her shoulders” and it can be hard to let people in despite the love and good intentions between them, as Elsa tells Killian in 4×3 “Rocky Road.” Killian then confronts Emma wanting to be trusted, saying he understands how she feels.
Moreover, in both instances, this is not about trust- it’s about fear. And in both cases it’s about fear of mortality. In 4×3 what Emma reveals is that she is afraid of losing Killian- that he will die just like everyone else she has ever been with. As we know, in our current season Emma is afraid of revealing to Killian about her own mortality- that she will die- and take away both their happy endings, something he has revealed great fears about losing.
“The Other Shoe” paralleled this greatly. Emma admits that she fears telling Killian because she knows their happy ending won’t happen if this vision comes to pass:
“He deserves a future and I can’t give that to him. I feel like a fraud. This happiness is an illusion. I went and fought for everybody else’s happy endings and I don’t get mine.”
Emma’s Identity as The Savior:
It seems as if Season 6 will deal a great deal with Emma’s identity- what it means and how it relates to her past, present and future. As you can see being the Savior has become an important part of her persona. She has embraced it. But now she is questioning if this part of her identity and who she is beyond that.
If she is not the Savior does she fear she will no longer have a place, be loved by her family and Killian? That remains to be seen but this sets up a very introspective, meaningful and poignant storyline, one I hope is explored deeply, and one that a character as extraordinary as Emma Swan deserves. I so look forward to this arc, which I hope is the Season’s main storyline.
I also think it’s interesting and significant how Killian has referred to Emma as the Savior for the most part in times when he is trying to build her up, help her believe in herself or as a sign of capability. In 3×4 “Nasty Habits” he had just learned that is what she is and asks her to help open a cave in Neverland, in 3×17 “The Jolly Roger” he is encouraging her to embrace the power inside of her that “makes her the Savior” (ie her specialness is because of her, not the other way around), and in 3×22 “There’s No Place Like Home” when he says she can regain her magic, to which she does when she admits Storybrooke is her home. Also important is when her refers to Emma as simply herself or other important parts of herself, especially when she was the Dark One. In 5×4 “The Broken Kingdom,” she comments on how Henry lied to her being the Dark One and Killian says “You’re his mother,” most definitely a very important part of her. And in an significant moment from 5×8 “Birth,” Killian tells her she is more than the Dark One- “You’re still you,” and imperatively that she saved him not saying that was “The Savior,” but that she “was Emma.” No matter what persona she is embodying, Killian loves her. Whether she is the Savior or the Dark One, both or neither, as Colin O’Donoghue says “she is everything that he loves because she’s Emma Swan.”
How Does Emma’s Story End:
I am finding it extremely significant and intriguing that this season has brought up that concept that we are all stories, and then Emma sees a vision of the end of hers because there have been two very crucial moments where the same sort of dialogue and concept was employed. And these were two of the most important moments and pieces of foreshadowing for Emma the show has done.
In 1×20 “The Stranger” August takes Emma to the tree where they both entered this world. He is telling her about her story, and that they are writing the ending as they speak, hoping she will finally embrace who she is.
She doesn’t believe at the moment, In fact she says “Not gonna happen!” But she does end up believing a few episodes later, just not in the way August was hoping in this moment.
In 4×19 “Sympathy for the Devil” Snow and Charming confront the author, Isaac, about what Rumple has planned for Emma.
Isaac: Even I couldn’t see the end of this story!
Snow: What are you talking about? How does the story end?
Isaac: With The Savior, turning Dark.
And Emma does end up turning dark a few episodes later- just not in the way the villains wanted. Instead of Emma succumbing to darkness, she took it on to protect everyone and became the Dark One.
Now in 6×1 “The Savior” we have these scene:
Oracle: What you saw, was a small piece of the end of your story, Savior.
Emma: There has to be another way.
Oracle: You can change the path to the destination, but the destination is the same. On the day you saw, and the battle you saw, you will die.
If we are to believe the pattern then Emma will end up dying. But before you bite my head off, I don’t think she will actually die because just like the other two instances, how her story ends always ends up being different than what they expected. Emma’s death will not real or permanent. She will win this battle! And I truly believe her story will end with Emma and Killian living a happily ever after, growing old together and raising a family. Their story will end up in the book just like their trip to the past and it shall be beautiful.
Parallels to Star Wars and Back to the Future:
OUAT has done their fair share of Star Wars parallels and allusions and when the Oracle tells Emma about her vision I immediately thought of what Yoda tells Luke in The Empire Strikes Backs.
Oracle: The future is always in motion, always changing, but also inevitable.
What I find interesting is that if the future is always changing and in motion how can it be inevitable? Is that not a contradiction? Is it just the destination that can change? I think the end can be as well, which ties into the way in which they have paralleled Back to the Future and how I suspect they may do so again.
The Season 3 finale is still my favorite episode of OUAT and the ways in which it parallels BTTF is sweet and fun and made such an amazing adventure for our characters. It’s remarkable just how similar these are:
- In BTTF Marty travels back to the time when his parents fall in love, but his encounters with them alters history. They do not meet the way they are supposed to and so he must repair the damage and make sure his parents end up together so he does not cease to exist.
- In OUAT 3×22/23 Emma & Killian travel back to the time when Snow and Charming meet and fall in love. They too interrupt her parents meeting, altering history, and they must work to make sure her parents fall in love, or Emma will cease to exist.
- In BTTF there is a significant dance- the Enchantment under the Sea Dance. In the OUAT Emma & Killian attend a King Midas’s royal ball and this becomes the new place her parents meet- and in almost the same way.
- At one point in BTTF 2, past Marty and present Marty are on screen at the same time. In OUAT, past Killian and present Killian come face to face and one punches the other.
- In both BTTF and OUAT, Marty and Emma witness the ultimate moments their parents fall in love and in both cases they know things are set right when what had disappeared returns- Marty and his siblings in a photograph and Snow and Charming’s wedding in the Storybook.
In both, everyone returns home, through dramatic and magical methods, with things sets right.
Thanks again to tough-lass for this amazing gif set!
It is also to amazing to think that others things can be interpreted as allusions to BTTF. Think about what both the film and the show have:
– Both have significant Clock Towers
– Both have a child and their parents being in a time when they are the same age.
– And both have characters that must help another believe and find courage within themselves in order to save the day. Marty must do this with his father, and Henry and Killian must do this with Emma in S1 and in S3.
Which brings me to Season 6 where Emma believes she is going to soon die. The fact that they did such an important episode with so many allusions to this film series makes me believe they may do so again. In BTTF Marty tells Doc he will be shot so Doc makes sure to wear a bullet proof vest and save himself. But even more significant is the possibility of a OUAT version of what happens in the third film. If you recall, in BTTF 3 Marty discovers that Doc Brown has died, and he travels back in time to stop that from happening. That is the entire plot of the film and in the end they succeed. And when he visits Marty and Jennifer at the end of the film and she asks why a letter she had from the future had erased, he says “Of course it erased!”
I would not be surprised in the least if OUAT revisits these the BTTF allusions with Emma’s loved ones fighting to make sure her future can change. I would love it actually. And if that included an episode where they travel into the future somehow- then sign me up!!
Emma’s Hand Tremors:
There is another very significant parallel worthy of note. The tremors that Emma is experiencing in her hand in 6×1 “The Savior” are almost identical to the ones she experiences when she first becomes the Dark One in 5×1 “The Dark Swan.”
If you recall, in 5×1 this was her new dark magic which she didn’t even realize was happening at first and then had trouble controlling it. Her becoming The Dark One is was triggered these tremors. Flash forward to 6×1 and once again she is experiencing them. What triggered these is not known yet, but it has to be something brought from the Land of Untold Stories. It’s also important to note that when Killian approached her in 5×1 saying “We can find another way together” she gained control and the shakiness stopped. Methinks when she tells Killian an her family about everything this time around, these tremors will be alleviated considerably. There is definitely a connection here in my opinion, and I thinks it makes the theory that some form of Emma (the Dark Swan or a manifestation of her fears, insecurities, or guilt) is the hooded figure in her vision even more plausible. Not to mention that this hooded figure resembles what the Dark Ones in Storybrooke looked like in 5×11 “Swan Song.” We shall see if this parallel ends up being as significant as I suspect it may be.
But one thing I thought would come true has done so in “The Other Shoe”- that when Killian took Emma’s hand her tremor’s would be alleviated. And that happened. When he held her hand the shakiness subsided. Her magic was still not working, but this moment led her in the right direction. As always their connected hands provided strength and comfort.
Sweetness Towards Children:
I think many would agree that when we see how others interact with children it can really warm out hearts. I know for me personally, a man will become more attractive if I see him being sweet and kind with a child. And if it’s a person you desire or love that can be even more meaningful. The moments Emma witnesses in “The Other Shoe” between Killian and Alexandra and Henry were not only sweet but you could see in her eyes how much it affected her. And seeing him trying to make any child laugh is heartwarming in itself, but seeing how he has interacted with her son for quite some time now, and in this past episode really showed not only how much he cares for Henry, but how much that means to Emma. Any mother who sees the person they love being good with their child I think will fall in love with them even more. And I think in these paralleling moments Emma’s great love for Killian may have grown even stronger. The way she lovingly looks at him says it all.
Waiting for “The Other Shoe” to Drop and Parallels to “The Price of Gold”:
The title for this latest episode is, like many of their titles, is very clever. Of course it refers to Cinderella famously losing her glass slipper. But more importantly, it is about the phrase “waiting for the other shoe to drop,” which means that when things are good you are just waiting for the next bad thing to happen. You can apply this to many of the characters- Cinderella herself kept waiting for that after Rumple told her he wanted her first born. But I think no other character embodies this phrases more so than Emma Swan. She has trouble letting people in and letting down these walls because her entire life is an example of the other shoe constantly dropping whenever she was letting in love or close to finding a home or family:
- With her first foster family,the Swans, she was sent back to the orphanage when she was 3 after they had a child of their own.
- With her second foster family, Lily causes problems and they no longer trust her so she leaves.
- With Ingrid, she was ready to adopt Emma and give her a home, but then tries to convince Emma she has magic by putting her in front of a moving car. Emma understandably runs away.
- With Neal, she was ready to make a home with him in Tallahassee, but then is set up and sent to prison for his crime.
- With Graham, she starts to open her heart to the possibility of love, and then he dies in her arms.
- With Walsh, after spending 8 months with him, and considering his marriage proposal, she finds out that not only were her memories false, but that Walsh was too. He not only didn’t love her, but was a flying monkey!
- With Killian, she admits that she does want a future with him and lets go of her fears, ready to let go of the Darkness. And moments later, Killian lay dying and she must turn him into the Dark One to save his life.
- And finally, after overcoming darkness and death, ready for that future with Killian, she gets a vision that tells her she will soon die.
The other shoe is always dropping for Emma. It’s no wonder she is struggling and not telling Killian about this vision yet. She doesn’t want the other shoe to drop for him and preserve the happiness between them. When she finally tells him, I am sure he will be angry, but he will forgive her. What was beautiful is that in this episode Emma is learning that she must live her life despite the future being uncertain.
I must admit, I never thought about it until a recent re-watch of “The Price of Gold” just what an important episode this was for the series. Not only was Ashley’s the first happy ending that Emma ever returned but this is the episode where Emma decided to not only stay in Storybrooke in a more permanent basic when she accepts as job as deputy, wanting to put down some roots, but also where she gave one of her most inspirational lines.
There was also the line Mr. Gold says about Ashley to Emma which was clearly a foreshadowing connection to how Emma gave birth: “It would be a shame if that baby was born in prison.” My mind was blown when I heard that.
In “The Other Shoe” we saw some important callbacks and parallels to “The Price of Gold”:
- Emma’s “This is who I am speech”
- Emma deciding to put down some roots in 1×4 is a lovely parallel to Emma doing so with Killian asking him to move in with her.
There are also some possible parallels that were set up in this episode that are worthy of note:
- “The Price of Gold” is about very much about a child being conceived and preserving that family. In “The Other Shoe” there are definite clues that children are in Emma and Killian’s future. Emma watches lovingly as Killian tries to make Ashley’s daughter laugh, she implies she wants a family with him, and now that they will move in together, a child could be conceived because they will finally be able to make love.
- In “The Price of Gold” Rumple wants Cinderella’s first born child. We still don’t really know why, but they make a deal to trick him and save their child. She lies and says she is having twins and gets him to sign a contract that he can have them in exchange for a good harvest for their kingdom. But the quill he uses paralyzes him and they are able to capture him. Now that we are where we are with the story, the possibility of a callback to this baby story sounds possible. Also interesting, twins run in Emma’s family!
Season 6 has presented some may amazing stories, parallels and potential that I so look forward to seeing develop. And I cannot wait!
2 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time: “The Savior” and “The Other Shoe” Further Thoughts”
As always, I really appreciate your thoughtful meta’s on this show. Two things you said that struck me is when they have talked about “how this (or that) story ends” especially when it comes to Emma (believing with August…going dark with the Author), maybe that is what is important here. THIS story for Emma will end with her getting stabbed and maybe even dying. But that is not necessarily THE END. Last night we saw Emma save Ashley from a stabbing that looks like it is in a similar spot that Emma got stabbed in her vision. Whose to say Aladdin or Regina or someone with magic can’t “save her”. It may be the end of THAT story but the beginning of another. We don’t have ONE story of our lives…we all have various stories in our lives.
I’ve also thought another theme this season is that Emma is NOT responsible for everyone else’s happiness just because she is the Savior. She doesn’t need to be the Savior to “help people” which she obviously has a heart to do. After all, we should ALL be helping our fellow man and none of us are really Saviors or heroes. What kind of a world would it be if only Saviors could help people?
Finally, regarding their first time or not…I don’t think we’ll ever get confirmation one way or the other. It seems purposeful that they have never given any sure recognition that they have or haven’t and I can see that continuing. Some would say that they would never agree to live with each other unless they have already taken that step. Others will say, they just haven’t had the time…the desire was there so they know it’s safe to take that step…but it’s just been timing why they haven’t. And I think whatever you think, you will continue to be able to think so as when we do get confirmation that they are being intimate…we will not be privy to whether it’s the first of 400th time. Just my opinion. I would love it if that’s how they did it…it sure has brought on some heated conversations on both sides. LOL
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