- The hunt for the Author rises like the break of dawn. (And you thought the Frozen references were done…)
- In the Enchanted Forest, Snow and Charming convene with the Sorcerer’s Apprentice to protect their unborn child, but this comes with a cost for Maleficent’s egg.
Whoa nellie. There’s a lot to unpack here. As far as the Author is concerned, this is the meatiest episode all year long. But, before we dive into that, here are a few observations about what’s going on with the rest of our crew.
Gold’s solution for stealing the storybook page from Emma is to have Maleficent cast a sleeping spell. It succeeds for his purpose, but… why wasn’t this done earlier? Couldn’t this spell have solved a lot of problems before now? At least we got one of the evening’s most amusing lines out of this incident, courtesy of a Maleficent’s desire to impress Daddy, “I just put the town to sleep. I’m useful.”
Also in the category of characters with attention issues is Hook. In this episode, Hook begins to question the nature of Emma’s friendship with August. In addition to the legitimate justification that Emma has no romantic attraction to August and that he was simply her first friend in Storybrooke, there’s also the fact that, until about a week ago, he was a little boy. For Emma, any kind of relationship with someone younger than her is out of the question, and it makes much more sense for her to stay with a man who is a few centuries older than her.
Elsewhere, Henry shines in a way he has not for the entire series. As he gets older, it’s natural for Henry’s character to transition into participating in more mature scenes. When Gold says he knows a young man who is protective of the book and the camera cuts to Henry running to the Sorcerer’s mansion, I practically wanted to cheer at the television. This episode reinforces the idea that Henry is officially no longer a kid who needs saving; he is just as capable of initiating action as anyone.
The flashbacks show Snow and Charming acting, admittedly, on a double standard. In order to be labeled heroes, they make rather selfish decisions. However, instead of glossing over this intricacy, the show actually uses it as the central focus of Snow and Charming’s present-day inner monologue. It’s nice to see them back in the fray and it’s especially nice to see Snow handle heavy action sequences. Ginnifer Goodwin’s pregnancy last year restricted much of her (also pregnant) character’s ability to participate in action sequences. (As a side note, when Mary Margaret and David are discussing their plans in the loft, how the heck does everyone else not hear them when they are literally two feet away?)
As a whole, Best Laid Plans maintains an intense pace that drives its narrative well. This pace is helped by the fact that the mystery surrounding the Author has built up since the season opener all the way back in September. Now, in this episode, we get a lot of answers all at once. First, we learn the key to releasing the Author from his book is literally a key. Alright then. Next, we learn the Author is not just one person for all time, but rather a role passed on from generation to generation to someone responsible for recording history’s greatest stories for preservation. This doesn’t negate the existence of known fairytales in the real world coexisting with the OUAT cast, but rather explains it. (It’s kind of a big piece of the puzzle to the whole series that is just casually revealed, you know.) Many people were the Author through time, including “a man named Walt.” (Simmer down, it’s okay.) So, who’s the current Author? He’s someone we haven’t been introduced to until this episode: a man Snow and Charming thought to be a peddler a long while ago. For now, he’s nameless and we don’t know if he’s an existing character whose story we’re familiar with or just a random guy. Whatever that case may be, he found a way to make the stories he recorded more than just words on a page. He can make them reality (thus Henry’s book).
Yowza. That’s a lot. I am satisfied with all of this information. I’m glad the Sorcerer’s Apprentice is back in the picture, I’m curious as to who the Sorcerer is, and I am intensely intrigued as to what the Author will bring to the remainder of the season (or, who knows, even beyond that). I’m also content with the amount of information revealed in this episode; it reveals quite a heap of surprises, but also leaves things yet to be explained.
Among all of this are stronger hints of… DARK EMMA. Duhn, duhn duuuuhhhhn. We’ll see.
- The What-The-Heck Moment: When it is revealed that a previous Author was “a man named Walt.” My initial reaction was, “Oh, no they are NOT. They are NOT about to pull Walter Elias Disney into this show.” Then, I realized they weren’t and that, instead of appearing as a physical character, Walt Disney was just mentioned as an aside. So, while Walt Disney is, interestingly enough, actually involved in the mythology of the series, he won’t (I hope) appear in it. I either think this is insanely cool or insanely revolting. I’m not quite sure yet.
- The Magic Moment: You really feel for Maleficent when Snow and Charming steal her egg. The scene prompts a pause and makes the viewer think about Maleficent’s character, Snow White’s character, and the distinction between hero and villain (as this whole season has encouraged us to examine). We’re starting to see the depth. We’re at the point in the year when this show has built the foundation of its story and now invites us to ponder how its message has implications for our own lives.
- The Whoa Moment: Take your pick! The whole episode was a doozy. However, the biggest ‘whoa’ of the night has to be the identity of Maleficent’s baby. She is revealed as Lily, Emma’s friend from before she went into Ingrid’s foster home.
- The Author… wow. What do you think about all of that?
- Did you predict that Lily is Maleficent’s daughter? How do you feel?
- Do you think Tim Allen will knock the Author off his roof on Christmas Eve to become the new Author?
- Where the heck is baby Neal?
- Discuss the dynamic of hero and villain in relation to Snow and Maleficent. Who do you empathize with?
Sound off below. See you in two weeks when we return from Easter break!
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes