Will The Real Savior Please Stand Up (Please Stand Up? Please Stand Up?)
I have pros and I have cons. Let's start with the pros, shall we? The main thrust of this episode is explaining why Fiona, aka Future Black Fairy, gave up her only child, Rumplestiltskin. It comes down to a messy prophecy about how Rumple was destined to become a Savior (yes, this is a big what the f....moment) but accompanying that is that fate of Rumple, the Savior, is to face off against a truly evil force with a crescent shaped birthmark and die defeating them. Because Fiona loves her son--putting it rather perfectly that this tiny babe can make you soft and sharp all at once--she tries like mad to prevent her son's ultimate fate by finding the child with the mark upon its skin. I'm surprised the show didn't go for broke and make the mark a 666 on the forehead, but I digress. All of this is of apiece with other parent/children relationships on the show in which parents are willing to sacrifice anything to make sure their children grow up loved and protected. Everything, as it usually tuns out, except their power which has long been used as a drug metaphor on OUAT. It doesn't take a genius to figure out where this iteration of the story ends up going. It's almost Greek in its conclusion: by trying to prevent the prophecy from coming to pass, Fiona turns herself into the Black Fairy, complete with a crescent shaped scar, and consequently into the great evil Rumple was supposed to face down. Unable to live with this idea, Fiona uses the Sheers of Destiny on Rumple and cuts his Saviorhood from the young baby rather than giving up her power, claiming she needs it to protect Rumple. The sudden appearance of the scar on Fiona's arm is a nice literal representation of the often quoted tagline from the show that "evil isn't born, it's made." Fiona made herself the Black Fairy by going to extremes to prevent a prophecy that never would have come to pass if she hadn't tried so hard to get around it. Like I said: it's all rather Greek. If this push and pull of parenthood vs power sounds familiar, that's because it is supposed to feel familiar. It's a very clear and neat parallel with Rumple and Baelfire or Cora and Regina or Rumple and Gideon. Power corrupts on OUAT; the more you have the more it corrupts until the character is addicted to it and can't see the forest for the trees. This circular storytelling isn't a bad thing largely because Robert Carlyle and Jamie Murray act their socks off to sell what really is a six year old story. It also reminds the audience that Rumple's strongest stories have always been as a desperate father; he's not truly evil and while he has qualities of a trickster trope, it's not his ultimate arc. He's become addicted to the darkness but everything he did was for his son, to prevent Baelfire (and Gideon) from having to suffer a worse fate than growing up with a Dark One father--death. It's villainy and it's heroism all wrapped up in a confused, angry, abandoned package (complete with a yellow knit blanket). It add another dimension to Rumple's angst that instead of just having a mother who abandoned him, he has a mother who changed his life, cut him off from "good" and because of that, Rumple's made choices to walk in the darkness.
--"That’s the problem with Saviors, isn’t it Ms Swan? Not quite as helpful as advertised."
--Emma talking to Rumple about the pain of abandonment was well done. It brought to mind some moments from Manhattan when Neal tried to say the same thing.
--To wit: "No curse, no monster, is ever going to be as terrifying as finding out why you were abandoned."
--Storybrooke has an Ikea?
--Every time the writers say “many years ago” it basically means “we don’t know nor do we care”
--Tiger Lily's dress might be the ugliest of all the fairies.
--How is “Rumplestiltskin” a perfect name for this situation, Malcolm?
--“It’s a vile, dangerous world, son.” “Because of villains like you. And me.”