Monday, April 10, 2017
In Which I Review Once Upon a Time (6x16)
Gideon and Emma are the same person. Maybe I should be more specific because on this show that little joke could actually turn out to be true (looking at you Zelena and Marian from season four!). The writers are going to some great lengths to draw parallels between Gideon and Emma; it's no small coincidence that Gideon returns to Storybrooke right after his twenty-eighth birthday. Emma, of course, did the same. Both Emma and Gideon had what can only be described as a rough childhood and while those specific circumstances might be different, the emotional trauma behind them is the same. Emma was shuffled around, moving from place to place, never having a proper home or a real family. These experiences left her with feelings of low self-worth, someone undeserving of love and acceptance. It took Henry, Mary Margaret and a belief in herself to really knock down those long standing beliefs. Gideon, unlike Emma, did not migrate from place to place; his stationary existence was an equally hellish one that fueled the same self-loathing. Unable to truly be the hero Gideon read about in his book, he hid behind the Black Fairy's magic and power, grasping at it to assuage his own feelings of low self-worth. The way Gideon clung to the Black Fairy, ready to do her bidding, calling her mother and swallowing lock-stock-and-barrel her lies reminded me of how Emma clung to anyone who would offer her even the any love and affection--Ingrid, Lily, Neal--until it was invariably taken away through varying circumstances. Just like Henry showed up on Emma's doorstep with a woe-begotten face and a sad story, asking Emma to face her past actions, so too did Gideon have to look someone in the eye--a childhood friend he swore to protect--whom he had wronged and own up to his life choices. All of this is nicely rounded out by the fact that Gideon wants to be a Savior, or rather to channel Emma's own unique power into ripping a hole in the fabric of realms so that Mommie Dearest can come through to town. The parallels here are tricky because this is where Gideon and Emma do diverge. While the former wants to be the Savior but it going about it all wrong the other dreams of a life not being the Savior even though she's constantly stepping up to the plate when asked. Gideon is being manipulated by the Black Fairy by way of a ripped heart, I don't think his desire to be a Savior lies solely in that manipulation. Despite turning a blind eye to the pain of the children in the mines and acting as the Black Fairy's henchman, it was obvious that these actions were distasteful to Gideon and that he could still remember the suffering of his childhood. The Black Fairy never quite broke him, even if she does hold his heart. And that is perhaps more like Emma than anything else. Think back to season one; Emma Swan might have been jaded and had a massive chip on her shoulder but some part of her still believed and had hope for things to get better, that she could find her place in this world. If Emma had truly given up all hope, she would have left town the second Henry was back with Regina; she'd have driven off even when she believed Regina did not love Henry. She wouldn't have cared; get back in the bug and forget this experience ever happened. But Emma stayed; she got to know Henry and the town and, moreover, opened herself up to love because some part of her believed it was all still possible. Despite his heartless condition, I think the conversations with Rumple and simply being around Belle are having an affect on Gideon much the same way Henry did to Emma.
--Along with all the parallels between Emma and Gideon, the writers are going back to some season one iconic moments like revealing that the Black Fairy created the Dark Curse and that she gave Snow White the magic powder that turns people into bugs.
--I really have no idea why the Black Fairy created the Dark Curse, however. Also are we to believe that the reason she did not cast it was because she does not love anything at all?
--The Black Fairy called Gideon “Dearie.” Nice little inside joke
–“Freedom. Sports car. Big Apple. And Hamilton tickets.” I mean, I would honestly demand the same.
--The Black Fairy has Gideon’s heart. Thank god; a logical, no-nonsense canon compliant answer to why Gideon’s plans and understanding of Saviorhood makes zero sense.
--According to Emma, portals take extreme magic and do not just pop out of thin air. I call massive lies, writers.
--Snow White's hypocrisy is unnerving. In front of Belle, a person who has never wronged her, Snow declares that she'll help Emma kill Gideon because it's mother-daughter bonding. Didn't Snow learn anything from the incident with Mal and the dragon-egg-baby?
--Emma Swan, you have magic. When a giant spider is chasing you, do not run around the house. Poof out!