Once Upon a Time: “The Broken Kingdom” Further Thoughts

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This week’s Further Thoughts are, like last week, a bit shorter as I was able to cover a lot in my Nerd Machine review. A lot of this is basically reliving the glorious moments of my favorite episode of Season 5 thus far. I loved every single moment!!

The Meadow Kiss:

I don’t think I will ever grow tired of watching or discussing this beautiful scene. It’s the most gorgeous, romantic, fairy tale perfect moment I have ever seen Once Upon a Time! I spoke a lot about the symbolism of the pink blossoms in my review, but I stumbled across this amazing post on tumblr which has some additional, and very apropos thoughts. Bravo to justalilblondemama for your research and thoughts!!

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I am also reminded of a paper I wrote in college about the symbolic use of nature in Pride and Prejudice. In that I discussed when the characters are outdoors they are more free and honest with their feelings, as opposed to when they are inside where they are more repressed. This feels quite similar to the way this scene played out. Away from the confines of the castle she is able to breathe again. Outside, Emma is honest and able to share and trust Killian, helping quiet the darkness inside of her. Moreover, this further reiterates the difference between the ways the flowers are presented for Emma and Killian and Arthur and Guinevere. Inside the castle tower, Arthur creates a bouquet for Guinevere with the sands of Avalon and takes always her freedom to choose. Inside the castle she is living a repressed, false life.  But for Emma and Killian they are outside in a glorious meadow created by nature, where they both are choosing to believe and trust in each other and their love. It is no wonder, this special moment garnered such stunning direction to match the beauty of what this means for this true love couple.

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Lovely Parallels:

Speaking of Pride and Prejudice, although the Captain Swan moment was unique and lovely, I could not help but be reminded of the scene from 2005 version with Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen, also known as one of the most resplendent films in history. The scene where Darcy walks across the meadow towards Elizabeth and the two share a romantic moment as the sun rises behind them is simply glorious, and when the sunlight was peaking through the trees behind Emma and Killian it was so reminiscent of the Darcy and Elizabeth moment. The sunlight represents love, renewal of feelings, and a promise of fidelity. The sun always rises each day, and the love for these couples remains as constant.

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This scene on the meadow was also reminiscent of another sweet, beautiful fairy tale like moment. When I watched the show with my Mom it was the first words out of her mouth. She said “It’s just like Pushing Daisies.” And she was right. Both pan to a felid of flowers as a couple shares a sweet romantic moment. I still miss this show every day.

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The Look of Love:

Jennifer Morrison is such a remarkable actress for many reasons, one of these being her consistency. She does gestures and expressions consistently for Emma. Any time Emma is rendered speechless and her love is as clear as the look on her eyes, so gives an expression where you can see her try to say something but simply cannot, so she lets her eyes (and often her lips) do the taking. We have seen this many times, but was there any more beautiful than the one on this episode. Similar to Jennifer, Colin is also a brilliant and consistent actor with his portrayal of Killian, and I think we all swoon anytime he arches his eyebrow. This moment in particular is wonderful because it is a combination of recognition of what she means with her words “Now that we’re alone,” and love, as his affection for her is shining right there in his eyes.

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Unity in Speech:

Although they have done it before, this episode seemed to be the first time that both Emma and Killian used so much dialogue that referred to them as not only a united couple but one that has a future together. We can see that they are not only together (which we already know), but for the first time on both their parts that they want this to be forever. “We” can get back to the white picket fence life. I will never stop fighting for “us.” Emma and Killian are strong individuals but together they are unstoppable and more importantly they are united and joined by the bonds of love, and want to be forever!

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Gentle Affection and Passion:

One of things I have always loved about the development of the Captain Swan relationship has been the gentle, tender affection between the two as well as the intense passion they share. They are the ideal combination of the two, and what I find true is that you can see the passion they share in these gentle signs of affection. There were so many in the episode- his soft touch of her arm, the way she strokes his hand, the way they hold hands, the tilt of their heads to deepen their kiss, and finally the way Emma puts his arms round his neck, pulling him closer in that last final moment. All of these feel like they are saying “I love you so much and I always will. Let me hold you forever. I don’t ever want to let go.”

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The last moment especially makes me think of this beautiful quote:

“I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”- James Joyce

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Family Dynamics:

I just had to mention this adorable scene between Emma, Killian and Henry again. They are going to have such a cute family dynamic- heck they already do. Emma will be the supportive but cautious mother. Killian will be the playfully teasing “That’s my boy” kind of step dad. It’s all kinds of adorable and sweet and I hope we see more Captain Cobra Swan scenes in the future because they’re golden.

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Wedding Foreshadowing:

The wedding foreshadowing seems to be in overdrive this season, first with “The Price” and now in “The Broken Kingdom” and I do not believe we are reading too much into it. We are seeing things that are common marriage, wedding and happily ever after visuals and aspects. Emma and Killian ride off into the sunset, she is wearing a white dress and cloak with a long train, she holds a flower (while they are surrounded by flowers) while they kiss after promising to always fight for their future together. I think the question is not if Emma and Killian wed, it’s only a matter of when.

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“Hearts that beat as one”:

I found Arthur’s line to Snow and Charming about himself and Guinevere  so interesting. He says, “You’re not the only couple whose hearts beat as one,” and it makes me wonder if this is a foreshadowing clue. We know that Snow and Charming share a heart, but we also know that what Arthur is claiming about him and his wife is far from the truth. And I doubt it will ever be the case. I wonder if it is a hint that Emma and Killian may end up sharing one. It is just interesting that we hear this line in the episode where Emma shares her burden with Killian and it helps her quiet the darkness. The love they share can defeat anything, it seems like the possibility that they may share a heart even more likely.

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Lancelot’s Fate:

The fact that we have not seen Lancelot in Storybrooke is alarming and I hope his character has not died, mostly because I really love him. His love for Guinevere feels true as he was able to tell she was not herself and under a spell, something only a true love would be able to recognize. I already adored him because without his (and Ruth’s) actions Emma would never have been born. I hope nothing has happened to this gallant knight.

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Is Arthur the rightful ruler of Camelot?:

What I find intriguing about Merlin’s prophecy that Arthur is the one to pull Excalibur from the stone and be the rightful ruler of Camelot, is that it is only from Arhur’s perspective. Right now we have only heard Merlin say his warning to Emma as a child. As far as his other prophecies they are all though Arthur. Did he misunderstand or assume things? Is Arthur even the rightful ruler? He is not acting very kingly because a true ruler would not have to use magic to fix his kingdom.  Could Merlin’s prophecy be referring to somebody else?

Once Upon a Time: “Siege Perilous” Further Thoughts

This week’s addition of Further Thoughts is a bit shorter as I was able to cover most everything in my Nerd Machine review. But there are still some interesting things to discuss.

Parallels:

I touched upon the poignant parallels a bit in my review but they’re worth mentioning again because it shows just how well structured the show truly is. Going all the way back to 2×6 “Tallahassee” Emma and Hook’s conversation on the beanstalk revealed how he could read her like an open book. He could see that she is scared and recognizes the lonely look in her eyes. He says it’s because he knows the Lost Boys, but we know that he too has seen that look when he has looked at his own reflection. Their first adventure established them as kindred spirits. The fact that very much the same dialogue is employed in the current scene, and the fact that Emma says she is no longer scared, is was a way of connecting these two scenes in a meaningful way, and creating a long thread to their story.

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It is also no coincidence that this current storyline came after Killian’s ordeal with Gold in Season 4 where his heart was taken and he saw that Gold was trying to have both power and love. In “Fall” Killian makes the wise statement that Belle truly loves Gold and he could have her or power. Gold says he can have both, but the point is that love was not enough for Gold. He refuses to give up one. Emma is now doing the exact same thing. She wants to be the Dark One and wants Killian to be with her. But he knows better and know this is not the real Emma. Love is more than enough for the both of them, and that is what he wants her to remember.

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Coincidentally, and beautifully, all 3 episodes were written by Jane Espenson. She clearly likes to connect her stories together.

Lastly, this parallel does not require much explanation. It is just an exquisitely poignant one. Emma has always been described as having walls that protect her heart. When the line about breaking them down was played over their passionate kiss in the season 3 finale it was a moving way of showing how they have finally come tumbling down. And Killian loved being the one to break them down because that meant she not only was finding courage to let love in and return it, but that she chose him as the one who finally could break down those walls. Only someone she could truly love would be able to do so.

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Music:

The music of Once Upon a Time is one of the things that adds to its depth, beauty, and caliber. Movie scores are probably what I listen to more than anything and the best are memorable, evocative, and reflect what is going on in the scene while still being beautiful on their own. Mark Isham’s score for Once is brilliant and I love the recurring themes. But in “Siege Perilous” I was impressed not only hearing new themes but also music just a bit different than we’ve heard before. In the Captain Swan scene on the Jolly Roger, the music is somber and melancholy with still a hint of romantic undertones. Most especially, it is restrained and delicate reflecting the tension and intimacy of the moment. Watch the scene below to hear this lovely music.

Similarly, the chilling scene with Arthur and his squire was elevated by its score, in particular the high pitched, somewhat frantic use of violin. I have never heard music like this on the show before and it made the scene even more gripping. Listen below and be amazed!

Cinematography:

Stephen Jackson’s cinematography is another crucial aspect of the show that deserves attention and praise. The best lighting is not only beautiful but can give you visual clue to what is happening in the scene, even if it’s on a subconscious level. The scene of the Jolly Roger is a lovely example. The scene is dim and the color is muted, a stark contrast to the bright lighting and saturated color from the Emma and Killian’s first real date. The lighting here reflects that this date is not the same. It’s an illusion. Moreover, I love the way the lighting mirrors the nature of their relationship in the two shot and individual close ups. The scene may be dim but in the shot with the two of them in frame, the window behind them is very bright. This is to show that together they are strong. When they are united they are a beacon of light and love. In the close ups, however, we see that while Killian still has light behind them, Emma does not. There is no light behind her, only darkness. So while Killian is in the light, Emma is in the dark. But the important thing to remember is we are neither all dark or light. We have both. Still, these were lovely visual reflections of their characters in this moment.

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The same visual clue can be said for some scenes with Lancelot and Arthur. When Lancelot appears to Snow, they are standing in a dark corridor, but he is literally standing in a pathway of light. Is this light a sign of his trustworthiness? The contradictory and perplexing nature of Arthur is reflected in the lighting on his face while he watches his squire die. Half in light, half in shadow, Arthur literally has two sides to him. Which is the truer one remains to be seen.

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Killian’s Heart:

The line the Dark One Rumple says to Emma about Killian is very intriguing: “You crushed his heart even more…” Even more suggests she already has in the past. Was his heart crushed to cast the curse and he is now sharing Emma’s? That is certainly a possibility. I do know that dialogue is specifically chosen, so I truly believe there is something to this line. It is also lovely to see that Emma appears to touch Killian’s chest when they are speaking, the way she often does. That is a glimmer of the real Emma.

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Excalibur:

The idea that Emma is going to create a hero out of Mr. Gold so he can pull the sword from the stone feels not only like a misdirect but also disingenuous. If Gold is ever going to show the kind of heroics necessary (the kind he displayed when he defeated Pan), it must come from within. Emma can’t make him a hero.

An interesting thing about Excalibur is that I wonder if you not only have to be worthy to pull the sword from the stone, but also to wield it. Perhaps only a true hero can do so, much like Thor’s hammer, or your fate will be that of Sir Kay.

Off Screen Conversations:

Although we would love every single conversation to happen on screen, it is simply not possible. That is why I appreciate when they reference ones that have happened off screen. Hearing that Killian told Emma about the first time he met Rumple is moving. It shows that he has been very honest with her about his darkest days, and that like he does with her, she loves him for all his scars and imperfections. Neither would condone his dark past, but Emma does not condemn him for it. She recognizes how he has changed for the better and loves him for who he truly is. After all, she likes when people find their good hearts along the way.

Jousting:

I cannot get over the fact that David turned a car chase into a jousting match. This is one of those things you would only see on Once Upon a Time, and I love it! Also, he is the most trusting person ever when it comes to letting people with no driving experience get behind the wheel. First Henry and now Arthur. He certainly has faith!

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Screencaps Source: Screencapped.net