Can you defeat fate? And more importantly, should you try? According to the Sorcerer (who is apparently a giant blue smoke monster; a hybrid of the Man in Black and Robin Williams's Genie from 'Aladdin' in my mind) Lily and Emma's fate remain entwined as they have been and always shall be, even in spite of Lily's banishment. So when Emma was a little fetus type thing and Lily was a dragon fetus type thing, they were tied together? Who put them that way? Is "FATE" just some sort of universal force that no one can control or wield and we are merely puppets on strings; or does the Sorcerer have a larger role to play in this? Let's face it: the entire way the Sorcerer was presented, pillar of smoke, talking in a disembodied voice to his supplicant who fears to appear before this entity? It's not subtle; it's Moses and God, or really any kind of prophet/servant of the Lord and Yahweh Sabaoth (Lord of Hosts if you don't know your ancient Hebrew). The Sorcerer seems to be the show's own God-insert which makes me wonder if the Sorcerer is some sort of omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent figure then doesn't He control fate? Doesn't he make up these rules about who is tied to whom? Doesn't matter who it is--Lily and Emma; Emma and Neal; Snow and Charming; Regina and Robin. The Sorcerer is the clockmaker. Everyone is a cog and together we turn and create life around us but only once the clockmaker has put all the pieces in and wound it up. If The Sorcerer is God and Controller of Fate, then we have to wonder why he set up Lily and Emma to be so fated together. Is Lily some sort of Anti-Savior--a force to drive Emma to her final monomyth-laden fate? All Saviors need someone or something to battle against--Cora, Pan, Zelena, and Ingrid might be good seasonal villains (well, less so with Zelena) but a True Savior, in all their archetypical glory, needs someone equally mythic and cosmic to prevail against. Moreover, does the Sorcerer have an outlet in our world? If he's controlling the wheel of fate (not to be confused with the chore wheel though Lily seems to have a particular disdain for that as well) then he has to be controlling the fates of Emma and Lily in our world: putting them in Minnesota, putting them in Boston. Even their stories seem eerily similar with the same symbols, like necklaces and boy/girl crime sprees. If the Sorcerer can dictate fate in our world, then what does that mean for us humans here on planet Earth? My point is this; how much of this is fated (and perhaps controlled by the Sorcerer) and how much of this is simply based on choices? And which matters more in this universe? Regina says that our actions are our own but fate pushes us, yet it seems like fate is doing more than just pushing our characters. It seems to be dictating them. You know, like throwing a wolf out into the road so that your car gets a flat tire and you end up meeting your very own Anti Savior at a coffee shop. And for a show that has harped on "evil isn't born, it's made" we have two episodes in a row now where two characters are evil more so because of their nature and how they were born and not because of their choices. Is there an actual mission statement? Maybe. And I'll get to that in a bit.
It's the oldest story there is--black and white, light and dark, good and evil. Except, even here on OUAT where things have reached soap opera levels of stupid (oh, we'll get there my friends. We'll get there) it's much more complicated. So I told you to put a pin in the Lily being just like everyone else idea and here's why. Emma has a choice: kill Lily or don't kill Lily. Lily has a choice: accept what happened to her and forgive or don't accept what happened to her and don't forgive. It's the same kind of choice we face every single day here on planet Earth (though, perhaps, without the theatrics). Lily isn't pure evil anymore than Emma is pure goodness and light. Even before learning about what her parents did and going down this darker path, Emma was given to fits of rage, jealousy, greed, selfishness, and has lied, stolen, and been violent. She is not some ray of light in a dark and abysmal world. Lily, by the same token, is not some dark and abysmal figure. She might have made wrong choices but she's also kind, sweet, caring, nurturing, forgiving, and helpful. She doesn't exist as a raincloud to Emma's sunshine. There are no heroes and villains; just real people with real problems (though, again, perhaps without all the drama). The entire point of this season wants to show (whether or not it's being executed well, I'll decide at the end of the season) that the line between heroes and villains is nonsensical and nonexistent. The Savior can go dark and the Anti Savior can be good. There is darkness in Emma and there is light in Lily just as there is in every single character on this show. What is going to matter more than what destiny says they are is who they say they are. Does Emma accept that while she is the Savior and responsible for the happy endings of everyone in Storybrooke, she might also have to be a little dark in order to understand the light? My answer is yes. The Savior (in all their mythic glory) cannot truly walk in the light until they understand the darkness. They must be tempted and tested and pushed to the point of no return before they reach their apotheosis and become the godhead or the ultimate Savior of the Universe or the Eternal Champion or the Prince that was Promised or the Dragon Reborn or any other fantasy/religious title you want to throw at me. That's Emma's journey right now.
One final topic and one that isn't moral or philosophical or archetypical but rather something so insultingly stupid that I laughed for 5 minutes solid. Of course Zelena is pregnant. Of course. Because while OUAT likes to dance with those deep questions that I've been putting forth in this review, it also likes its big shiny reveal and Tweetable moments. Zelena carrying her sister's soul mate's child? Daytime soap opera at it's finest (worst?) It is so unbelievably cringe worthy that I really hope everyone sees how simply ludercrious this is so I don't have to explain it. In an episode that had some pretty heavy quandaries, the fact that it ends with the most cliche and squicky reveal in this show's history pretty much sums up the show as a whole. It tries to be something deep and meaningful and offer commentary on life and the universe...and then your sister reveals that she's carrying your boyfriend's love child. Just when you think there is substance, the flash returns. I will say this; I think it's very likely that Zelena is lying about being pregnant because it's how she plans to keep Robin with her and cause Regina pain. Though, what's her end game? In nine months even stupid, straw-headed Robin is bound to notice that there is no baby being born to Zelena. And honestly, how far does your code really take you, Robin? The woman raped you and is carrying your child in order to torture another person and still you think you should stay. Your code is often frustrating but nevermore so than now. If Zelena is not lying and she really is carrying Green Hood Baby then, obviously, we're not getting rid of Zelena this year. Doesn't that just beat all? Here's hoping no one tries to cast the darkness from little Green Hood into another living soul! God, ain't fate a bitch?
--Some of the dialogue between Young Emma and Young Lily was tortuously bad and cheesy. "It's like my whole life is darkness and when you're around, things are brighter." Not only is that full of the worst kind of cheese, it also feels pretty Queer Bait-y.
--Rumple's speech to Belle was quite nice but I'm not so sure this was the end of Rumbelle. I think at the very least, it's the end of Scarlett Beauty. Which is such a shame because it's totally been developed in the show to be believable and poignant (I'm holding up a Sheldon Cooper-esque Sarcasm sign). Do I ship Rumbelle again? Nope. But, I have to admit, I had some pretty Rumbelle positive feelings during that final shop scene.
-- Seriously, little children...do not follow strangers just because they offer you food! Stranger! Danger!
--I'm not touching the hot button ethnicity issues of Adult Lily with a ten foot pole.
--Emma is inside Neal's apartment for the first time since his death and she has no emotional reaction whatsoever. I would rage about this but Emma, while undergoing a cosmologically significant journey, is still Pod! Emma.
--Could someone please tone down Maleficent's lipstick? It blinds me. Though, in other makeup news, at least Emma has gotten over her case of Ebola Eyes.
--Zelena is pregnant. I really need to end on this hilarity.