Friday, September 18, 2015

The Take2 Guide to Lost is Here!


The Take2 Guide to Lost - The Ultimate Compendium!

LOST is alive and well!  As a contributing author, I'm excited to announce the release of The Take2 Guide to Lost- The Ultimate Compendium!  Longtime "Island" residents and new recruits alike will love and appreciate all that this extensive guide offers you.  This super-size guide gives readers and viewers insight on every LOST episode, themes, characters and so much more.  You will want to keep this definitive resource handy while living or reliving the LOST experience.

A handful of my Lost episode notes from Karen's LOST Notebook have been included in this eBook.   And again, I am humbled and honored to be a part of this awesome publication, and to be included on this list of very passionate and respected Lost bloggers and authors. 

The Take2 Guide to Lost is available at all the major eBook sellers.  More than 50 contributors, comprising established reviewers, academics, award-winning sci-fi authors, and lay writers, ask and answer all your questions in this ultimate eBook compendium  on one of the most successful TV shows ever.

I'm also thrilled to make a very special offer to my family, friends, followers and all readers with a 20% discount on your purchase of The Take2 Guide to Lost.

Click here for your 20% coupon code for your purchase The Take2 Guide to Lost 

Click here to purchase your Take2 Guide to Lost ebook via Amazon, iBookstore, Google Books, Kobo, Nook, and the Take2 Guide to Lost store.

Monday, July 28, 2014

LOST Celebrates 10th Anniversary at SDCC2014

 ... It IS my destiny, dammit! I can do this! It's destiny!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Spoiler TV: ONCE Upon A Time Finale Podcast... and Zombies!

Hello, Oncers!

I had the wonderful pleasure of being asked by the awesome guys over at Spoiler TV (@SpoilerTV)  to sit in with them and discuss the ONCE Upon A Time season finale. It was great to chat about the finale and tons of fun for me to jump once again into the podcast universe with my dear friends Anil (one of my two partners) of The ODI LOST Podcast (@TheODI) and CJ (@cjsonic) of Spoiler TV.

Not only did we discuss the magical ONCE Upon A Time finale, but we also dove into a debate about surviving a Zombie Apocalypse. Good fun! Plus Anil and I mention our plans to rejoin with our The ODI LOST Podcast partner, Danny, to give LOST fans a very special 10 year reunion podcast.

Here is the link for you to listen to this podcast: STV Podcast 73 - "What would you do in a zombie Apocalypse discussion, Once upon a time and more"

I can't thank the guys enough for the opportunity to hang out with them and discuss a couple of great TV shows.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Tower

He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” ― Aristotle
Emma looking like a Swan Princess.
** All photos posted here are chosen for a reason **

Toys in the Attic

First off this episode caused me to have a few of my own Flashbacks, but that's another story.

This week's episode tells of fears and how to beat them. Fear is created in one's own mind by one's own thoughts therefore the only one who can truly eliminate fear and negative thought is the one who created them. I felt the writers did a great job illustrating this concept. I also loved the haunting and creepy vibe of this episode. Fear can be debilitating for some.  Fear can be looked at sort of like a "memory ghost."  Locked up deep fear seem to appear like a dreadful ghost just to keep us scared enough not to move forward, a phantom poking its eerie and shadowy presence to taunt you.
The bottom line is there's no such thing as ghosts or monsters- It's all in one's head. But in this case, Zelena needs to use one's fear to gain their courage, or at least a symbol of it.

David fears he can't be a good father to his impending mystery child, as he feels he failed his daughter, Emma. We also see that feelings of disappointment are involved with this anxiety.

A grown Princess still living in her nursery is Emma. She may be a grown woman, but somewhere inside she's still holding on to the past, carrying the pain of her growing up without her family, and the subsequent choices she made through her life- add to that having her heart broken by people she loved and trusted. Emma may also fear that she won't be a good a leader as her own parents are back in The Enchanted Forest.  Emma needs to learn and accept that she has magic in her- it's who she is.

I will touch on Rumple's fear a little further on down into these notes.

The Dream

David is dreaming. He seems lost and confused as he makes his way through the (winter) castle. An infant's cries lead him to Emma's nursery; the carved wardrobe is there too.  He knows this is impossible, whispering, "This shouldn't be here... This is all wrong."  Grownup Princess Emma appears to him, "You're right- Full grown Princess still living in her nursery. I don't even have a proper vanity." David is very confused as Emma shares that she is looking for a place to practice because she is a little nervous about her first Ball, which is tonight.  She eagerly takes his hands revealing, "I don't even know how to dance. Teach me."  Yet Emma seems to know how, as she's the one who leads. David feels she's a natural just like her mother. And Emma feels he is the best teacher a daughter could hope for. They spin and twirl, and then David picks up and cradles Emma in his arms. "Oh, Emma, this is everything I ever hoped for you."
Emma says "Me too. It's a shame I never got it." Confused David wonders what she means. Emma reveals "I'm not really here. I was never here. I should be, but I'm not. All for one reason.... You failed me."  The room turns dark, thunder roars and light flashes around; all while the toys in the room swirl around and fall, seeming to be possessed. Emma is ripped off her feet and is being pulled into the swirling power of the wardrobe. "Goodbye, Daddy!"  Emma yells as she's holding onto one of his hands. David apologizes, insisting he'll save her. {Note the intensely spinning unicorn mobile looks more like a dream catcher for a moment.}
But Emma tells him there's nothing he can do, "Don't fail the next one," and she is separated from his hands pulled into the wardrobe.
David bolts awake.  I'm going to note that for this opening we do not get a card indicating this is nine months ago, or any time frame; we only get happy Snow White's news that she is pregnant.
She's worried David's not happy, but he says he's thrilled- but he looks petrified.

We do, however, get a card indicating it is nine months later in Storybrooke, meaning David had that dream a few months after being back in the Enchanted Forest. In Mary Margaret's apartment the group (MM, David, Emma, Hook, and Regina) try to figure out how to track the "green skinned witch."  Maybe there's some physical evidence they missed. Regina tells Emma she can run around playing Nancy Drew, but her concern is for Henry; they can't have him wandering around alone with that witch and her flying monkeys out there. Hook passes a comment that one of those flying monkeys could turn out to be his father. Regina offers to protect Henry.  Emma reminds her to keep up the story that she's there on a case. Regina smiles feeling Emma has gotten good at lying. Regina won't slip up, as she's well aware of how Henry sees her.  Hook hurries them along to find the "wicked" in their neighborhood.

Keeping up Appearances

On the outside we show the world one of the faces we wear, but there is another. We use a facade to hide our painful fears and insecurities somewhere else. David may claim to be afraid, but he still puts on a brave face.

Living a lie? David may be feeling the repercussions and some insecurities of being a shepherd boy who strayed too far from his farm. Remember, David is born a shepherd, who takes over the role as Prince for his twin brother; James lost his life and was known to the land as the son of King George.

And why are "appearances" so important to Zelena? What else is being hidden with that witch?! Are there others whose appearance is camouflaging something... something big?

The following scene between Zelena and Rumple has consumed me!

Zelena heads down into the locked storm cellar to visit Rumple who is busy spinning gold at his wheel. She feels it's a toy. {Note that we're shown Zelena's green eye many times; Rumple's a few times.}
"Spinning. It cleans the mind soothes the soul- cleans the mind soothes the soul- cleans the mind soothes the soul..." Rumple repeats.
Zelena remarks that he sounds as awful as he looks. "What, you're not enjoying your cage, Hmm? Not appreciating your jailer? Oh no. You look like you want to hurt me. Go on then, give it a go. Love to see you try..." She is enjoying mocking him. Zelena magically unlocks the padlock to his cage. She knows he can't hurt her especially because she now has possession of the Dark One's Dagger.  The last time we see that dagger is when Rumple plunges it into Peter Pan/his father, and now here it is with Zelena. Curious, right?!
"You're a slave to it, and to me," claims Zelena; as she's the only one who do any hurting. Rumple backs off. She speaks to him like a controlling parent and Rumple behaves. She sits across from him- face to face.
Rumple doesn't want to stop her, he says in a sing-song manner, "All the voices in my head will be quiet when I'm... dead." But she's not there to kill him; but he really needs to keep up appearances. He wonders why. All he wants to do is spin- "Spin the madness away..."  Zelena thinks the spinning is bringing the madness. She decides to shave the stubble from his face with the dagger. "You're probably wondering how I know (learned) how to do this... Did I ever tell you about my father? His hands used to shake from drink or worse. I didn't ask- He didn't tell me..." Father couldn't go a day without a shave, so she had to learn how to shave him. Father used to say that no matter what we were feeling on the inside, "we had to put on our best face. In our land, you and I never had a choice, did we? No matter what we did our outside showed exactly what was rotting on the inside. But... we're in a new land now, aren't we? A land filled with opportunity- the least of which is to look our best."  Zelena nicks his neck drawing a tiny amount of blood; which she keeps on her thumb/finger.
Rumple seems confused because he knows she doesn't care about appearances, because if she did she'd change his shirt. "What is it exactly is it you want (are)?"  Zelena is after something Rumple has spent a lifetime seeking, something that goes against his very nature- "Something that I can't afford to wait that long for... luckily I won't have to."
I can't help but wonder about Peter Pan/Malcolm at this moment.  Rumple was a slave to the pain his own father caused him, that in turn caused him to have an unstable relationship with Baelfire, and Rumple was a slave to the power of the Dark One- and now... here's Zelena. It is too bad we don't have Peter Pan/Malcolm around... if he was maybe he'd be the one who would want Snow & Charming's baby so he could live with a brand new pure heart of a true believer in a New Neverland of sorts. Is Zelena connected to Peter/Malcolm in any way or just a relative of Regina.

Belle is overseeing Mr. Gold's shop. Zelena, assuming she's Mrs. Gold, is there to buy a baby gift for Mary Margaret. Belle shares Mr. Gold died, and proceeds to help Zelena with a purchase. But Zelena magically freezes Belle so she can use red liquid {assuming it is Rumple's blood- or berry} on her left thumb to get into his safe and take a root.
David, Emma, and Hook look for potential missed physical evidence at Regina's disheveled office. David finds a partial footprint and red "Holly berry" residue on the floor; the red berry is initially mistaken for blood by Emma. David's expertise with this berry comes from his time working in the animal shelter; dogs track it all the time. This berry grows on bushes- in the North West corner not far from the Toll Bridge. He checks his cell phone; Mary Margaret needs him to go back to the loft to meet the midwife because she wants to meet the both of them. He seems apprehensive and would rather stay on track with the investigation. But Emma tells him to go and then meet them later when he's done.
In the Enchanted Forest David enters the stables and drinks from a small bottle. Robin Hood enters carrying gold tipped arrows; payment for helping the Queen break into the castle. He admits he used to hide a bottle too. Robin mentions that it feels wrong to break in somewhere. But the Queen must like him, and her castle is the safest place for his boy right now.  Both men understand the priority of keeping their families safe. Robin remarks that David looks like a man who needs more sleep than a drink. David would if he could; Robin's also been there. David opens up to Robin about always knowing things would work out for the best, but continues on about the last time he was in the Enchanted Forest and how he dueled a Black Knight and put his newborn in a magic wardrobe to flee a curse and never once did his confidence waiver- he doesn't know what's changed. "I just can't seem to escape this feeling of dread."  He's upset but he needs to be there for Snow and he can't be distracted by this... fear.
"So, don't be," Robin says simply. Robin shares about the time after his wife died. Friar Tuck told him of root that if digested would help one overcome any and all fears. It is said to grow under the white moss at the edge of Sherwood Forest- just south of here; it has flecks of crystal within its flesh, looks like stars. It's called Night Root. It doesn't seem Robin used it, as he doesn't really dabble in magic unless he has to. Robin warns they say that part of the forest is haunted; David may need the Night Root for the journey to the journey to stop his fear. But David isn't afraid of a ghost story- not when his family's at stake.

Zelena enjoys a lighthearted chat with Mary Margaret about the time Mary Margaret was caught in a net when she robbed his/Charming's carriage. The handsome devil, David Nolan, joins them for the meeting. Since Zelena is there to make their lives as easy as possible she prepares three cups of Chamomile tea (calms the nerves)- but she crumbles some sparkly root into David's cup.
Mary Margaret is impressed with Zelena, while David is cautious. He knows they can't ask for references from their missing year. Mary Margaret tells him Zelena knew Johanna her nanny; they were friends. She does tell him that if any part of this feels wrong they can always change their minds. Zelena feels since Mary Margaret's already gone through labor once she already knows what to expect; yet it's been almost 30 years. The second birth can progress much faster than the first. Mary Margaret feels that's putting it mildly as she seems to have gone from Zero to due date in the blink of an eye. Zelena adds knowing losing their daughter in the first curse is tragic, as Mary Margaret expressed an anxiety of it; plus the missing the year and ending up back in Storybrooke.
Zelena thinks its best to get these anxieties out in the open. "Feelings, especially those we keep bottled up can affect a pregnancy just as much as diet and exercise."  Just get those fears out in the open! David eventually takes a sip of his tea. Zelena basically excuses brave David to get back to his work.
Prince David heads in to the haunted dark forest finds and digs up the Night Root. He's distracted by a woman's calls for help. He throws the root on the ground and searches for the voice. He comes upon a very tall tower which he climbs. We see that he has used the women's extremely long hair as a rope. He discovers a woman there all alone. Prince David is the first person she's seen in a long time; she's lost count of the years. He notes her tiara, "Are you a Princess?" She says yes, "But you can call me Rapunzel." Her parents are the King and Queen of her realm, they're great leaders and adored by their people. (In a way she just described Snow White and Prince Charming.)
He asks why she left her Kingdom.
"For the same reason you did...I saw what you were digging up." Now, how the fuck could she have seen that?!
The Night Root. She tells the tale of  getting older and knowing she'd never be a good leader like her parents; she had an older brother who was next in line, but he died and she began to suffer from fear- nightmares crippled her sleep. She took the Night Root but it didn't work. Before she could return home a witch appeared, her face hidden under a cloak, she attacked her and chased her into that tower.
David will rescue Rapunzel! But she says the witch won't let her leave- just then, the candles blow out and a cloaked figure is seen on the ground approaching the tower.
"It's too late... She must know you're here," claims Rapunzel. David insists he can save her.
The faceless figure creeps its way up and eventually makes its way into the open window. David is tied up with the long hair while the figure inches closer to Rapunzel. David tells the Princess she must face the figure, as it is her.

*Note the actions of David seem to be happening simultaneously in both realms. And note David in the tower did not ingest the root.
We see David drive his Ford Bronco out to the woods; he's armed with his sword. In the side-view mirror we see a cloaked figure.
He finds red berries and makes his way deeper into the woods where his comes face to face with the cloaked figure. (David leaves a voice mail with Emma to give her a heads up to where he is, as he thought he was in pursuit of the wicked witch.)  He tries to fight the figure but is knocked down. Pretending to be unconscious David bolts up, sword in hand and attacks the figure. The figure is strong! David removes its hood to reveal himself!
"What are you?" David asks.
"I'm you." David begins to fight himself.
Simultaneous to this, David tells Rapunzel "It's not a witch, it's you!" He tries to explain that the night root worked; it allows you to overcome your fears by facing them. "She's your fear! Only you can defeat her!"

In Storybrooke Regina and Henry walk by a pond eating delicious ice cream. Henry recalls his mom taking him for gelato in Little Italy; but this is just as good.  Henry feels Storybrooke is nice. N.Y.C. is great but has so many people that it can make you feel... "Alone," Regina finishes his sentence. Henry agrees. Regina feels the best part of a small town is everybody knows everybody and it can feel like a big family.  Henry confesses that he feels it isn't just the case that brought his mom to Storybrooke; she needed to get out of NY for a while because of Walsh's (the boyfriend) proposal. Two days later Henry was taken out of school for some job in Maine- "She wouldn't take a job in Queens if it meant I'd miss school."  Henry admits he liked seeing how happy Walsh made his mom; plus it might be nice having two place settings during the holidays. Regina thinks one day he'll have more family than he'll know what to do with.

Hook shakes some red berries from a bush- knowing they're in the right place. He and Emma will start searching. Hook mentions that whenever Emma is around he seems to be trekking through forest or woods courting danger. And here Emma thought he wasn't afraid of anything, always looking for the next adventure. She wonders what he was doing the last year alone on that ship; figuring it was one swashbuckling tale after another until he decided to go back there and save her. But she feels he's lying and that there's more to his story.  In addition to giving Emma back her memories, Hook feels he saved her from a loveless marriage, "He was a flying monkey."   Emma didn't know that.  She admits she was considering his proposal because she was in love.  "As usual he wasn't who he said he was and I got my heart broken..."
{I'm just going to ask it... is Emma talking about Walsh only, or is there a Neal tale here too?!}
Hook is glad to hear it because if her heart can be broken... "it means it still works." They share a moment looking into each other's eyes and then Emma turns away.
They come upon an old farmhouse and they investigate. Emma notices a locked storm cellar. Knowing the difference between fear and strategy, Hook feels they should have some magical backup before descending into the one way cellar with no way out. As Emma's about to call Regina she sees the voice mail from David and goes to him.

Rapunzel, now free from her tower prison, shares the story of her swimming the river where she shouldn't have been, (Parents warned them to avoid it), she got caught in the rapids and her brother saved her but couldn't save himself. She didn't know if she could be Queen and if she didn't believe in herself, how could her parents believe in her?
David- "It's who you are. You can't hide from it forever..."  He's confident that she is their child of course they'll forgive her.
Prince David returns Princess Rapunzel to a crowed ballroom to reunite with her parents.  A few of our Enchanted Forest/Storybrooke residents are in attendance as well. David admits to Snow that he was out in the woods all night because he was afraid- because they lost Emma twice. "Because we lost her I was never her father." Snow insists he is a great father. But he knows he didn't raise her and he's worried about raising the new child. Snow assures him he can, "We're going to do this the way we do everything... together."
David wonders, "Now, how did I forget that? Now come on, we have a nursery to build."

In the woods Hook mentions they think they found the witch's farmhouse. Determined David wants to send that witch back to Oz.
Regina feels, "She's toying with us."
Hook asks David "Any particular reason why she would send a demon that looks like you?"  David shares with the group, "I was just there wearing my face, harping on my deepest fears;" it knew things he never told anyone, even Mary Margaret.  It wasn't until he admitted it that he was able to defeat it by killing it with the hilt of his sword. After the killing the hilt disappeared.
"When we face our deepest fears our true courage comes out. When you used the hilt of your sword to vanquish your fears your courage transferred into it," Regina says. The witch stole a symbol of David's courage and symbols can be powerful totems.
It is here we see Zelena readying to leave her meeting with Mary Margaret and she already has possession of the hilt of the sword in her purse. After hearing so many stories about Mary Margaret's courageous Prince, she just feels very lucky to have met them both. But it's Mary Margaret who feels that they're the lucky ones. Zelena smiles, "There's no reason to be scared. That's what I'm here for."  Mary Margaret hugs her goodbye.

Emma and the gang return to the storm cellar to find the lock is now busted.
They descend into the cellar. Regina claims there's definitely dark magic here. "Can you feel it?"  Emma's not sure, but knows whatever she feels it's not good. They wonder what could have been locked up in the cage that has now broken free. David turns on the light and finds a piece of spun gold/straw and the spinning wheel.
Regina seems pleased.
Things to Note...Questions to Ask...

๑ Where the hell is Neal?! Has he taken Simeon form and is flying around somewhere?
๑ What ever happened to Spencer/King George?
๑ We know Rumple was a slave to the Dark One's Dagger, power and the childhood pain from his father and the pain of failing Baelfire
๑ David faced David. Rapunzel faced Rapunzel. Rumple faces Zelena
๑ Dreaming David loses Emma into the swirling forces of the wardrobe.
   -Rumple lets go of Bae and he falls away into the swirling magic bean portal 
๑ The Wicked Witch takes brave David's hilt of his sword with the symbol of his courage. Rumple is losing his mind/head
๑ I can't put my finger on it but Hook has had a weird way about him the past few episodes
๑ Night Root. Dream Shade
๑ Queen
๑ Eye
๑ Teach/teacher. Learn. School.
๑ Sleep. Dream. Awake
๑ Pregnancy. Birth. Growth
๑ Drinking. Alcohol
๑ Opening a (blood) lock
๑ Root
๑ Communication
๑ Zelena knew Johanna, Snow White's own nanny
๑ Caught in a net- "Snow Falls"
๑ Episodes I found give some connection to The Tower:
 "The Outsider"
 Child of the Moon

Vocabulary and Research...

๑  "The Swan Princess": musical film based on the ballet "Swan Lake"
King William, widowed father of newborn Princess Odette, and Queen Uberta, widowed mother of young Prince Derek, decide to betroth their children in the hopes of uniting their kingdoms. Odette transforms into a (white) Swan
-Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale  by Odette Beane
The Tower: The Tower (XVI) (most common modern name) is the 16th trump or Major Arcana card in most cartomancy Tarot decks. It is not used as part of any game. The Tower is commonly interpreted as meaning danger, crisis, destruction, and liberation.
Upside down: To be currently in a harsh and chaotic situation but exiting in a good manner. Indeed you are falling but landing with your feet over the soil.

Golden LOST Thread Woven into the Tapestry of this Tale
✈ Alcoholic Desmond Hume shaved every day even though he was hold-up inside of the Swan Hatch with Kelvin Inman for three years. Episode "Live Together, Die Alone"
✈ In "Live Together, Die Alone" John Locke told Mr. Eko he was being a slave to the countdown timer (and pushing the button) just like he was. "It's not real! We're only puppets- puppets on strings! As long as we push it we'll never be free."
✈ Root
✈ Eye
✈ Eye
✈ Teach/teacher. School. Learn
✈ Sleep. Dream. Awake
✈ Pregnancy. Birth. Growth
✈ Drinking. Alcohol
✈ Communication
✈ Caught in a Net: Jack and Kate, Henry Gale/Ben Linus
✈ "It didn't work", but it did work

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Witch Hunt

"Someplace where there isn't any you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It's not a place you can get to by a boat or train. It's far, far away... behind the moon... beyond the rain." - Dorothy Gale
** All photos posted here are chosen for a reason ** (This episode's photos will be added over the next couple of days)

This episode of ONCE Upon A Time was great and wonderfully witty. I enjoyed it immensely.

I, I can't get these memories out of my mind, And some kind of madness has started to evolve.

Feeding the madness is feeding the monster! People come into your life to be mirrors, mirrors to show habits that you need to change and things you need to move on from. How can Emma and her family and friends end their suffering when they're constantly presented with new challenges and bits of their past rearing its ugly hurtful head? 

Some cope by securing feelings inside a bubble, shielding any future emotional trauma. And when they drop the shield some resort right back to old habits of hiding or fighting back. Either way these old habits must be changed in order to grow and move forward in life. They need to learn they no longer need that old pain.

I feel that in a way this episode is trying to tell us to keep the light in our heart lit, even when we're feeling broken- especially when we're broken.  And that we must also learn to extinguish the pain that burns inside preventing one to let go. They must find a way to learn there's always Hope and another chance for things to get better.  It is with open eyes one can see this- but it is important not to mistake a new opportunity for use in negative behavior, it should be used as a step in a positive direction. Owning past mistakes is part of the process of moving forward.

In the Enchanted Forest inside of Regina and Snow White's castle, Zelena rummages through the pretty things, dresses, and jewels (Onyx, Black Pearls, and Diamonds) that Regina left behind when she casts the Storybrooke sleeping curse. Zelena feels a family can live off of what those jewels are worth. She instructs her flying monkey to go find the Evil Queen and let her know that she's there; with no need to be gentle.

On their trek Ruby notes that it seems like old times, except now they're not running from Regina but with her.  We can see Regina has that old focused look in her eye. In many ways Regina has changed and she is always thinking about Henry. She's also thinking the tunnels that run under the castle may enable them to go beneath the spell; But not with an army- just Regina. At that moment the flying monkey dodges toward the ground and Regina shields and saves little Roland from the attack. Magically she turns this minion into a cute stuffed animal monkey, a toy she presents to the little boy.  Regina had a protective motherly instinct for Robin Hood's son.

"Who the hell was that thing?!" David asks. So, David knows that flying monkey is a "who"! Belle and Regina know that the only land that has creatures like that is Oz. This confirms it is the Wicked Witch whom has taken up residence in their castle. "East or West Witch?" Grumpy seems to know about Oz Witches too. David armies up the gang to fight who their up against, but Regina insists she can lower the protection shield on her own and the gang will wait for her on the other side.  Robin Hood insists on going along, noting he realizes that flying monkey was really after her. He wants to help her- owes her a debt.

There's a fire that burns in the center of the courtyard, as long as it burns the shield will stay up. Regina needs to put it out.  They make their way through some traps and come upon an open door- a door that should sealed with "blood magic." Apparently Regina's not the only one who can open it. The Wicked Witch is a formidable foe. They enter the crypt that also contains Cora Mills' coffin. Here Regina shares that her son isn't dead, he's just lost to her forever.

Regina mixes a sleeping curse and is interrupted by Robin Hood. Regina doesn't care about the witch; she plans to use it on herself, feeling no one will miss her. Empathetic Robin Hood shares about when he lost his wife and that he knows what she's feeling, like she doesn't want to go on. But he found a new reason to go on- his son. Unfortunately Regina already lost Henry. Robin explains that they all get a second chance she just has to open her eyes to see it. Regina claims this sleep isn't an end- it is  an "eternal middle" that can be broken by the only true love in her life and the only reason she would want to wake... "My son."  Regina will keep her word about lowering the protection spell so that Snow and Charming can be victorious- then she will go to sleep.

At the center, we see Regina lower the protection spell and the dome protecting the castle comes down. Charming then orders his army to move in on the castle.

Heartbroken Regina readies for slumber. "I'm sorry Henry, maybe one day you'll find me and wake me up... but until then..." As she's about to prick her finger with the needle coated with the sleeping spell she's interrupted by a green witch. The green witch magically takes the needle from her.
Zelena reveals the truth about them.  Regina shares that both Cora and Rumple are dead, but that's OK with Zelena, as Regina is the only one she needs alive because she is going to take everything away from her. She needs Regina to suffer; that's a fate worse than death. Regina isn't afraid and challenges Zelena to "bring it."  Newly energized Regina realizes the sleeping curse isn't the answer. She's found stimulation in the task of destroying someone.

Cora is quite the secret keeper! Zelena is the older half (blood) sister of Regina. My initial thought upon this revelation was that the girls were twins, but then Zelena goes on to tell the tale to Regina.  Zelena was born first before Cora wormed her way into the dregs of wealthy. "Our mother gave me up and sent me away. But you, you she kept- you she gave everything." Regina feels Zelena was lucky to escape Cora.  But abandoned Zelena is the one who had to grow up without a mother.

Is the baby we see Cora present in the episode "The Miller's Daughter" really Zelena and not Regina?  Zelena is Regina's "older" (half) sister. They share a "connection" to Rumple- Cora is mother to both girls. Rumple may have taught Zelena magic (as she implies Rumple had other students). We kind of got some fuckin' shenanigans with Cora's intimacy/love with Rumple before she weds. Remember Cora ripped out her own heart because she didn't want to feel certain feelings (what she felt with Rumple), and who knows, possibly distancing herself from the pain of parting with a child, etc..
Zelena may be green with envy that Regina is the one who was positioned to finally get into the life of royalty and riches, but more importantly is jealous Regina got to grow up with a mother and that Regina was the one who cast Rumple's curse.
If Zelena is Rumple's child, maybe he took her from Cora, or was able to acquire her through a loophole in their contract. Remember Rumple changed the contract so he would only get his own child; note Cora says any baby she has won't be his, which of course could be a huge lie. Or did Cora simply have a child before Regina with another man.  Also, maybe Zelena isn't telling the whole truth to their tale. And why was Zelena in OZ? Hmm...

One Year Later: In Storybrooke Regina is suffering knowing Henry doesn't remember her; and the rest of the residents don't remember the past year.

Henry is asleep upstairs while Emma, Hook, and her parents discuss what has happened. Pregnant Mary Margaret recalls Regina casting the spell to return them to the Enchanted Forest and then everything went black. The next thing they remember is waking up in their beds like it was any other morning in Storybrooke- except it clearly wasn't; as Mary Margaret is now pregnant.
"Almost harvest time but you can't remember the planting. It's bad luck, mate,"  Hook says.
Emma knows a year has passed as she was in New York.  Hook confirms the rest of them left Storybrooke as he was with them when they spent brief time with a Prince and Princess named Philip and Aurora, but he left the little community when they were making their way to Regina's castle. As he was sailing the realms a bird landed on his ship's wheel with a note (and a small vile of memory potion that was only enough for Emma and not Henry) instructing him to retrieve Emma and bring her back to Storybrooke. He assumed Mary Margaret sent the message. David thinks a message sent via a bird does sound like her.

Remember this... A bird brought a note/postcard to Neal in N.Y.. in the episode "Broken". That was sent by August.
Grumpy and Happy come in to inform the group that they lost another one; residents are being picked off and they are down to 4 dwarfs. Ever since they all woke up people began disappearing. Emma asks if Neal is there; and I noted an interesting look on Hooks face when she asked that. Neal isn't there but Hook feels he'll turn up, "He always does."

Henry is introduced to David and Mary Margaret at Granny's Diner as old friends from Phoenix and then "here."
"I thought you were only in Phoenix for being in that place?" Henry asks. Mary Margaret says that they were cell mates; she was in for Banditry. "People make mistakes. The important thing is to find a way to keep moving on."  Henry asks her if she knows his dad, but that question doesn't get an answer as David distracts and Regina is stunned to see Henry right there.

While turkey hunting with his stolen bow Little John is captured at the town line by a "Monster with wings." Emma warns Robin Hood and his Merry Men not to cross that town line. Hook shares that Emma almost married one of those "monsters" while in N.Y..  Later David, Robin and the men find a barely alive Little John. They take him to the hospital where he is cared for by Dr. Whale. Little John goes into shock and when he's about to be sedated turns into a flying monkey and escapes the hospital through the broken window.

Zelena has incorporated herself into the town of Storybrooke. She watches while the residents blame previously guilty Regina for their current situation. But Regina insists that although it looks like her fingerprints are all over this, she's clueless about this new curse.

Emma hatches a con to smoke out the perp with innocent Regina to find out who really cursed the town. They need to get their memories back and find out who took them in the first place- and find their missing town's people. In an effort to try and wake everyone up Regina tries to replicate the potion from the small blue vile- even though she tries she can't do it.

Mary Margaret reads and rabbit ears pages in an old baby book while Henry is focused on his hand held video game. Very concerned over babies getting Cradle Cap, Mary Margaret tries to get Henry to the Library. While Henry is away from the booth, Zelena meets Mary Margaret and claims to just be a supporting player back in their land; no one Mary Margaret would remember. And now we see that the convenient mid-wife Zelena will have access to Snow White's/Mary Margaret baby- will Zelena take Snow's baby?

Leroy gets the word out to the town that Regina's making a memory potion (as planned for the real perp smoke-out) and we see Zelena become concerned and exit Granny's.

While on the stake out of Regina's office, Emma shares with Regina some of Henry's new life in N.Y. and also admits she came back because she feels although Henry doesn't remember all of this, she does. Henry would say "A hero would come back."  Emma spots a shadow up in the window. Confident Regina sealed the room with "blood lock" ensuring a trapped perp. Once inside they see a cloaked figure in the corner, but it magically turns into green smoke and escapes. Shocked Regina says "No one can break through Blood Magic no matter how powerful they are."

Henry is still focused on his hand held video game when Emma brings Regina to the apartment to meet him. Emma introduces him to Regina Mills, the Mayor of the town. Henry likes school and is good at English. Emma's shared this info about him to Regina because she couldn't be prouder of him. Regina offers to take the boy a tour of the town one day; and some ice cream. He'd like that.

David and Hook tell the ladies that the taken town's people are being turned into flying monkeys. There's still no sign of Neal. The clues show Regina that the Wicked Witch (of the West) is the one who cursed the town. Note: It is Emma who uses the phrase Wicked Witch of the West. Emma wonders, "It's not like we're in Kansas. Why would the Wicked Witch of the West want to come to Storybrooke?"

Zelena brings a tray of food to caged Rumple. "You never should have brought me back," claims Rumple. Zelena tells him to eat up, "We've got work to do."  She leaves.
Alone, Rumple recites, "You feed the madness and it feeds on you. You feed the madness and it feeds on you.  You feed the madness and it feeds on you. {giggles}"

Regina, although taps into her evil side often, shows that she was able to leave all the riches behind when she cast the curse, only taking the things that were most important to her.  Regina even currently mentions in Storybrooke that she doesn't care about being in her (mayoral) house.

The mention of Kansas makes me recall that August/Pinocchio rode a motorcycle and the license plate is from Kansas; as seen in "The Return". 
I love the use of feathers in the costume designs, as they give us a great metaphorical visual to this story. Plus, I get a kick out of seeing Regina use Darth Vader's choke-hold on Robin Hood. We've seen Rumple/Dark One do this too.

I'll leave you with this... "A hero would come back" and yes, Emma has returned to Storybrooke, but we also see that Zelena has brought Rumple back. 

Things to Note...Questions to Ask...
๑ Henry is really attached and focused on the video game
๑ Didn't they previously want to go under Storybrooke to avoid curse in another episode?
๑ Where is Neal?
Monster (flying monkey) Emma was going to marry (in N.Y.).  And at one point she would have married Neal.
๑ Con
๑ Mirror
๑ People are being picked off and taken, like the others took the survivors. tunnels under the castle
๑ Zelena claims to be a midwife.
๑ Tunnels: Dig under Storybrooke to get under...
๑ It was great to see Red Riding Hood again
๑ Sleep. Wake up/awake
๑ Dream
๑ 4
๑ Monster/monkey with wings. Shape-shifting/transforming monkeys
๑ List: crossing people off the list
๑ Search grid
๑ Honor
๑ Coffin
๑ We've got work to do.
๑ Episode "Into the Deep"
๑ Episode nods to Oz: : "The Return",  "The Doctor"  and "Tallahassee"
๑ Video game/game

Vocabulary and Research...
๑  Zelena (Zeleny) in Slovic means green
๑ A witch hunt is when someone unfairly looks for and punishes another person who is accused of having opinions that are believed to be dangerous or evil

 ✔ Golden LOST Thread Woven into the Tapestry of this Tale
✈ Rebecca Mader played the role of Charlotte Staples Lewis; returning Island resident, anthropologist, later in the Flash-Sideways in S6 says she's an archaeologist. She succumbed to the side effects of "temporal displacement" due to the "Flashes" caused when Ben Linus moved the Island and made the wheel slip off its axis
✈ Jack discovers he has a half blood sister- Claire Littleton
✈ Con
✈ Tunnels under the stations, Dharma houses, Temple, Island, etc.
✈ Juliet was a researcher in the field of fertility and later a doctor of obstetrics
✈ Sleep. Wake up/awake
✈ Wheel
✈ 4
✈ Mirror
✈ Monster
✈ Search Grid
✈ Coffin
✈ Honor
✈ Jacobs lists: Crossing people off the list
✈ A bright light in the center
✈ I've/We've got work to do.
✈ Video game/game