Monday, October 31, 2011

The Thing You Love Most

This week's tale for all ages gives us a bit more insight into Regina-the Evil Queen. The story actually tells us to pay attention to signs and read between the lines.  There are deep and important lessons in this fairy tale.  I am really enjoying the depth and realism of these characters.  I also love seeing the Enchanted Forest environment represented in Storybrooke with things like wallpaper motifs of trees and flowers, connecting both realms.

First off, it's important to note that Storybrooke seems to find ways to keep Emma there until she accomplishes something.  This neat little game is heating up with Regina, the con-woman, refusing to lose.

Regina has the apple tree that she claims she's tended to since she was a little girl. Hmm...A little girl in Storybrooke or The Enchanted Forest?  Regardless of which realm this tree is really in {or at all}, the stone cold person herself is need of some thawing out.  Although The Evil Queen and Regina seem in control and all powerful, they also seem tortured by negative emotions they continue to feed.

The Evil Queen is EVIL! Hell- it's literally in her damn name!  She is heartless.  Her angry selfish power for revenge and jealousy and her fears was stronger and more consuming than the "love" for her father and the unconditional love he felt for her.  But don't be fooled!  We can't ignore the fact that the only thing The Queen-Regina truly loves is herself and the power she believes she possess.  Should it have been her own heart that she cut out?
Even Maleficent seems to have some understanding of love and what deep emotional pain is; and what price one pays crossing the line and feeding into the emptiness of the darkness.  She actually warns the Queen to halt with her new quest to destroy everyone with the dark curse.

We see that Rumpelstiltskin and Mr. Gold have a sense of knowing.   Crafty Rumpelstiltskin was sure he worked in a loophole for himself when he gave Regina further instructions to enact the curse. Is Mr. Gold-Rumpelstiltskin the bridge between the two realms? 
Mr. Gold is the person who "brought" Henry to Regina, so, Mr. Gold must be aware of Emma and that she plays a role in their rescue.  Keep in mind Henry "brought" Emma there.

On to Henry- Is Henry a pawn in this crazy game, being brought in to aid Mr. Gold alone or is it for the greater good?  Henry is a lost little boy too. You can see he gets excited when talking about the fairy tale world and his quest to break the curse and lead his friends back to their happy place.  There is something I can't ignore, his words to Emma..."I knew you were here to help me." 

All of the characters are indeed lost.  They are stuck in redundancy as well as being kept under the thumb of Regina. They all have been walking around in haze, not aging, with screwed up memories and stuck in a cursed town that has kept them oblivious for decades.  That is not the existence they want and they are confused.  Even Archie seemed to not let his conscious be his guide when it came to Regina's plan to set up Emma.   They don't realize they all have the power to start over.

Regina/Evil Queen is incapable of letting go of her darkness; with her many deep emotional scars and her insensible need to have power over people.  She needs to learn how to love and feel love again.  But at this point she may have a long road to travel to get there, although it seems that things may be in play to help her.

People are making deals and conning to gain advantage with things. I think it's awesome that Henry's own code phrase for his plan is Operation Cobra.

Although we are watching residents of the Enchanted Forest living life in 'our world', there are moments that bring me back to The Wizard of Oz, where it's Dorothy's friends and family of her real life that are presented as new versions/characters of themselves in her dream world.  Of course in Dorothy's story her dream manifestations are there to help guide her back home.

Things to Note...Questions to Ask...
* Magic Mirror is a Looking Glass
* Dark/Black Smoke
* Sleep. Wake up
* Games
* Deals
* Staff
* Sidney/Sydney
* Code Name- Code
* Not aging
* Therapy. Shrink
* Transform. Transformation. Change

✔  Golden LOST Thread
Do I still see a golden LOST thread woven into the tapestry of this tale?...oh yes, indeed I do.
  • Wheel
  • 8:15
  • 4
  • Stuck people
  • "Cobra"- Episode Expose
  • Loophole
  • Therapy. Shrink
  • Sleep. Wake up
  • Games
  • Deals
  • Staff- Medical Station
  • Sydney
  • John Locke spent time in Foster Homes
  • Jack notes that Kate doesn't like to sit still
  • Not aging- Richard Alpert
  • Transform. Transformation. Change
  • Hurley and Sayid have a brief conversation about Post Traumatic Stress
  • In Because You Left Hurley says "I need a cool code-name"
  • Michael throws the comic book into the fire in Special
  • Shannon is one of the Castaway said the line "You have  no idea what I'm capable of"
  • Start over-Tabula Rasa
  • The Forbidden Fortress reminds me of Castaways' going to The Dark Territory where the Black Rock sits in Exodus Part 1
  • "There's a line"- is also mentioned by Mr. Friendly and Christian Shephard in The Hunting Party
**Click the Pics! All photos posted here are chosen for a reason.**


We begin with Henry looking out his window in the evening toward the library clock tower.  He smiles as the big hand on the stuck time moves forward and then moves around the dial and stops on 7:53.
While looking out her window, Mary, eating, notices the change on the clock.
Sleeping Emma wakes up looking a bit confused for a moment; she gets up to look out her window.
7:55- Sheriff Graham drives by Archie walking his Dalmatian past the Marine Garage. Archie passes by suave Mr. Gold  crossing the street.
Ruby/Red readies the diner by placing the sign out on the sidewalk, as Granny arrives carrying a sac of bread; the Sheriff enters the restaurant.
Henry seems pleased and hopeful.
The song Don't Be Shy is heard while the citizens of Storybrooke start the day.
Regina is engrossed reading the fairy tale book.  She stops for a moment on the page illustrating the Evil Queen; she turns the page to discover the last few pages have been torn out.   She asks Henry where they are.  Henry has an attitude toward her even though she claims his labeling her an Evil Queen hurts her.  "I'm your mother."
Henry-"No you're not."
Regina wonders who is- "That woman you brought here?"  She doesn't like what the book is doing to Henry.
The clock tower tolls; Regina seems stunned as Henry bolts out of the room.

Out on the street Regina sees the time at about 8:23/8:24.  Archie stops and notices the clock and says to her  "Hey, how 'bout that...I guess those rusty ol' innards are finally working themselves out."
Then Regina notices that Emma's car parked across the street.
Room #4
Regina shows up at Emma's room bearing a basket full of Honeycrisp Tree (the most vigorous and hearty of all apple trees) apples.  The tree can withstand temperatures as low as 40 below and keep growing; they can weather any storm.  Regina has one that she's tended to since she was a little girl.  She thinks Emma would enjoy them on her ride back home, but Emma admits she's staying for a while. This troubles Regina as she feels that Henry has enough issues and doesn't need Emma confusing him.
Emma informs her that the fact the Mayor has threatened her twice in the past twelve hours, makes her want to stay even more.  Emma prides herself in being able to read between the lines.  Emma just wants to make sure that Henry is OK.  Regina feels Henry is getting taken care of; she has him in therapy.
Emma agrees to Regina's remark about only one of them knowing what's best for Henry. Regina tells stubborn Emma to go.  Emma has no idea what Regina is capable of.  This warning comes directly from the horse's mouth.

The Enchanted Forest
We're brought back to The Evil Queen grandstanding at Snow and the Prince's wedding; threatening to destroy their happiness, "If it is the last thing I do".  The Prince throws the sword at her and she disappears into black smoke.  The thrown sword cuts its way through the black smoke and exits the black smoke into the wall of the Evil Queen's dark room.  It seems to be able to pierce through a magic veil from one place to another.
An old man enters her room and offers the Queen a drink; he was only trying to help and thought she may need it.  Regina takes the glass and thanks him.
"Now that was an awfully big threat" says the magic mirror on the wall.  The mirror wonders how she plans on accomplishing destroying everyone's happiness.  As the Queen takes a sip from the glass she reveals "The dark curse".   This troubles the old man and the mirror.
The old man- "Are you sure, your majesty?"
The Mirror- "But you said you'd never use it."
The old man- "You made a deal when you gave away that curse."
The Mirror- "You traded it away."
The old man- "She won't be happy to see you."
The Evil Queen- "Since when do I care about anyone else's happiness but mine."
She instructs the old man to prepare the carriage; she's going to the forbidden fortress.

The Evil Queen meets with Maleficent (from Sleeping Beauty) in her grand castle, to discuss the dark curse. Both women share similarities in their stories and evilness; an evilness that was heightened when they both lost when another beautiful woman got the best of them.
Evil Queen- "Enough games. I want my curse back."
Maleficent feels a deals a deals.  After all she traded her sleeping curse for it; which the evil Queen feels failed and was undone by a simple kiss. Maleficent explains that even the unholy power of the dark curse can't bring the Queen's loved one back from the dead.  Maleficent instead suggests the comfort of getting a pet.
The Evil Queen feels the only comfort for her is Snow White's suffering.
Maleficent inquires as to who is the one who created such an evil curse, but The Queen isn't telling. The Two women fight over Maleficent's staff that contains the curse in its orb. The Queen traps Maleficent but won't kill her, as she feels she's her only friend.
The Evil Queen, feeling that love is weakness, wins the curse back, but not without some moral words of wisdom from Maleficent-
"Don't do this. This curse...there are lines that even we shouldn't cross. All power comes with a price. Enacting it will take a terrible tole. It will leave an emptiness inside you. A void you will never be able to fill."
But alas The Evil Queen is fine with that.

In the forest The Evil Queen gathers around her other evil friends (old blind witch, Gnome, Ogre, etc.) to put an end to their misery and constant state of losing.  "Today we claim victory and move to a new better realm. A place where we can finally win."   The old blind woman asks "And we'll be happy?"  The Queen guarantees it.  Her fellow band of evil-doers don't necessarily seem all that interested in taking part in the spell-casting and are trapped by the cage the Queen creates using the vines and limbs of the trees, forcing them to take part in it.  She retrieves locks of their hair (the ones with the darkest souls) and the prized heart of her childhood steed.  The heart is presented to her in a fancy wooden box. The Queen feels his passing will fuel their victory.

The Queen proclaims- "Let my wrath be unleashed" as she throws the heart into the fire.  But after some whipped up smoke and wind, nothing happens.  The Gnome laughs and mocks this, so The Queen turns him into stone.

A stone Gnome resides in Regina's Storybrooke backyard.  Regina picks apples from her prized tree.

"The mirror strikes again!"  Proud newspaper man Sidney feels it's his best hatchet job yet. But that's not what Regina asked for.
Sidney shares what he learned about Emma- "Truth be told, there wasn't much."  She spent a lot of time in foster homes, got into some trouble as a kid but the details are locked up pretty tight. But since then, she's clean. Bounced around all over. The only thing he really learned is that she doesn't really like to sit still.  Regina notes that  fact appears to have changed.   Sidney also shares that Emma had Henry when she was in Phoenix and wonders how he ended up here in Maine.  Since Regina feels Sidney found nothing of value therefore he holds no value. She warns that things that hold no value to her get thrown away. Intimidated Sidney will keep looking.
Emma sits in the diner reading over the headline about her. As she is just about to bite into a red apple  Ruby the waitress delivers a cup of cocoa with cinnamon, topped with whipped cream. Apparently Emma has an admirer. Emma mistakes that the sheriff is her admirer, when in fact the cup came from fellow cocoa with cinnamon fan, Henry.  Emma asks him "Don't you have school?"

On their walk to school, 10 year old backpacking Henry fills Emma in on his plan to break the curse.  When Emma asks him about the deal with him and his mother her, Henry reveals "It's not about us. It's about her curse."
"Step 1. Identification. I call it operation Cobra."
He picked that name because it has nothing to do with fairy tales and it's a code name to throw the Queen off the trail.  He explains that the residents of Storybrooke are cursed fairy tale characters and are frozen in time-until Emma got there; they don't know their fairy tale characters or their past. As they walk by the clock shop Emma is about to bite into the red apple she got from Regina when Henry stops her.
So, for decades people have been walking around in haze, not aging, with screwed up memories and stuck in a cursed town that kept them oblivious. Henry's happy that Emma "gets it".
Emma is the only one who can stop her curse because she is Snow White and Prince Charming's daughter.
Henry is happy his mother {Regina} doesn't know these things and is happy this gives them the advantage.  He presents the pages he took out of Emma from the end of the book.  He knows the hero never believes at first; if they did then it wouldn't be a very good story.  For proof he encourages her to take the pages and read them, but whatever she does don't let "her" see these pages. "They're dangerous. If she finds out who you are...then it would be bad."
As they approach the school, happy Henry knew that Emma would believe him- otherwise why else would she be there.  He'll find her later and they can get started.

Mary tells Emma she's happy to see Henry's smile back and feels it's because Emma stayed. Emma also learns more about the Mayor's deal.  She's not a great people person and she's been mayor for as long as Mary can remember.  No one is brave enough to run against her as she inspires quite a bit of fear.  Mary also fears she may have made that worse by giving Henry that book, "Now he thinks she's  the evil queen."   Mary reveals that Henry thinks she is Snow White and asks Emma "Who does he think you are?"
Stunned Emma- "I'm not in the book. Can I ask you a favor? Regina mentioned the kid's in therapy. Do you know where I can find the doctor?"

Emma visits Archie the therapist at his office. {Statues of heads}  He shares that he was just reading about her and guesses she's there for a little help with her Post Traumatic Stress; by the way his diagnosis was free.  Emma inquires about Henry's fairy tale obsession and what's causing it.  Archie advises not to talk about things like being "crazy" to Henry. "The word crazy is quite damaging."  These stories are his language.  He has no idea how to express complex emotions so he's translating as best he can this is how he communicates.  He's using this book to help deal with his problems."  But it is revealed that Henry has been seeing Archie longer than the month he's had the book.  Emma feels the issue must be Regina.  Archie feels Regina is a complicated woman whose attempts to bring Henry closer to her only backfire.  He gives Regina the file "See what I mean".   He's doing that because Henry talks about Emma a lot and is very important to him. "See that I get it back. OK?"
He also advises Emma to be careful how she handles Henry's belief system. "Destroying his imagination would be devastating."
Archie calls Regina the moment Emma leaves with the file, confirming she was there. Regina knew Emma would go to Archie because it is Regina who gave her the idea. {Hmm. She's a con!}

Sheriff Graham shows up at "alone" Emma's room and interrupts her reading of Henry's file.  He shares that Archie said Emma stole the files; evidently Archie's telling a different tale.  Accommodating Emma gives Graham the files.  He arrests Miss Swan again; although she knows she's being set up.

Regina interrupts Mary's outdoor classroom lessons. {Water synthesized} She wants to speak to her son.  Regina breaks the bad news to Henry.
"The woman that you brought here...she's been arrested. She broke into Dr. Hopper's office and stole his files. She's a con-woman. She's trying to learn about us in order to take advantage of us. That's why she's sticking around. I'm sorry."
Henry knows she's not sorry, yet Regina claims to be protecting him and that all this will be good for them.  Henry just heads back to class when the bell rings.
The Sheriff is taking Emma's mug shots.  He directs her to face left and then right.
Emma- "You know the shrink is lying, right?"   She feels the Mayor put him up to this. She thinks the Mayor must have something on him as he must be afraid of her, like everyone else in this town.  Graham feels although Regina maybe a touch intimidating that she wouldn't go as far as a frame job.  But she is the Mayor, so she has her hands in everything.
Emma wonders "Including the police force?"
Just then happy Henry enters with Mary.  Henry sees the current event as a genius move by Emma. "You were gathering Intel...for Operation Cobra."
Confused Graham says "I'm sorry. I'm a bit lost."
Henry informs the sheriff that all he needs to know is that Miss Blanchard is going to bail her/Emma out.  Mary will bail her out because "I uh, trust you."
Emma- "Well. If you could un-cuff me, I have something to do."

Emma cuts down a huge tree limb from Regina's prized apple tree with a chainsaw.  Regina thinks Emma's out of her mind.   Emma warns her that if she comes after her one more time she's coming back for the rest of that tree, "Because sister, you have no idea what I'm capable of...Your move."

In the Dark Forest
The old man tells the Queen "Maybe it's for the best. The forces you're summoning are darker than can conceive."
The Queen- "Oh now you're trying to protect me?"
The old man- "It's what I do."
The Queen knows this and feels he's the only one who does. The loyal old man feels helping her is his life.  He advises the angry and desperate Queen to go back to the one who gave her the spell in the first place, to find out why it didn't work.  He also warns her that "Revenge is a dark and lonely road, once you go down it...there's no heading back."
"What is there for me to head back to?" asks the Queen.

A gray mouse is eating a red apple while other mice scurry around the dark cell that houses Rumpelstiltskin.  Rumpelstiltskin assures her they're alone and she can show herself.  The gray mouse transforms from the mouse into black smoke and then the Queen.  The Queen tells him about the curse he gave her not working.

Rumpelstiltskin shares with the worried Queen, that worried and anxious Snow and the Prince already paid him a visit about the Queen's impending new curse.  He told them the truth "That nothing can stop the darkness! Except of course their unborn child. You matter how powerful- all curses can be broken! Their child is the key.  Of course the curse must be enacted first"
Of course he will help her with the curse- for a price.  The Queen will grant him comfort and a good life in the new land.
He adds, "In this new land...should I come to you for any reason- you must heed my every request. You must do whatever I say. So long as I say...'Please'.  Ha."
The Queen reminds him that if she succeeds with the spell he won't remember any of this.
Rumpelstiltskin feels "Oh well then...what's the harm?"    The Queen happily agrees to the deal and gets further instructions from him to enact the curse to end all curses.  She needs to sacrifice a heart. She informs him she already sacrificed her prized steed.  He grabs her by the throat to indicate the importance of getting his point across.
"Great power requires great sacrifice. The heart you need...must come from something...far more... precious!"  She needs to sacrifice the heart of thing she loves most.
The Queen- "What I love most died because of Snow White."
Rumpelstiltskin- "Is there no one else you truly love? This curse isn't gonna be easy. Vengeance never is, Dearie. You have to ask yourself a simple question...How far are you willing to go."
The Queen will go as far as it takes.  Rumpelstiltskin tells her to stop wasting time; she knows what she loves, so go kill it

Back at room 4
Granny informs Miss Swan that she wants her to leave, as they have a no felon's rule; it's a city ordinance. Emma surmised the Mayor's office called Granny to remind her of this rule. Granny takes Emma's room key back.

The sheriff approaches Regina as she picks up the fallen apples. She demands he arrest Emma again, for destroying city property. The sheriff doesn't think that's the right plan.  He's not talking about the tree and admits they both know Emma didn't steal the files.  He also feels she was set up which would mean Dr. Hopper was also lying.  Regina thinks his schoolboy crush is clouding his judgment.  After all, she made him sheriff and she can take it away just as easily.  Regina believes this is what's best for her son. The sheriff can make the arrest again, but knows this will be a constant back and forth between the two women. He fears that if this escalates the only person who will get hurt is Henry.
Emma sees that her car has been booted, leaving her unable to leave Storybrooke. Regina invites Emma to drive or walk over to her office to make peace.

In Regina's light and dark tree lined wallpapered office, Regina apologizes to Miss Swan. She thinks Emma's there to take Henry away from her. Emma makes it clear she's not there to take him away from anyone. She's not the mother type.  But she's there because he got in her head and she wants to make sure he's OK.  She confesses she's worried about him being troubled and about his connecting people in the town to fairy tale characters. "The poor kid can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality. It's only getting worse. It's crazy."
Henry overhears her. "You think I'm crazy?"  The hurt boy runs off.   Regina knew Henry would be there (at 5 pm) and be able to overhear their conversation.
Regina- "Your move."
Emma accuses her of having no soul and asks how she got like that.

The Evil Queen's Castle
The Evil Queen marches down the hall with the mirror following her moves to ask her what happened. "Did you get your answer?"
She storms into the room where the old man is lighting candles.   She shares that Rumpelstiltskin told her what she needed to know and now she's conflicted.
"I have to cut out the heart of the thing I love most."
The old man answers "Me."
The conflicted Queen says "Daddy, I don't know what to do."
Her father tells her she doesn't have to do this and to move past this. "I know this may sound self serving- you don't need to enact the curse."
The Queen feels she can't keep living like this. "What Snow did to me, what she took from me...It's eating me alive, Daddy. Her very existence mocks me. She must be punished."
Daddy- "If the price is a hole that can never be filled, why do it? Stop worrying about Snow White and start over. We can have a new life."
All the Queen finds important is that all the power she's built up will be gone; and they already think she's nothing.  Daddy feels power is seductive, but so is love. "You can have that again."
The Queen cries in her father's embrace and claims "I just want to be happy".  Daddy is sure she can be.  He believes that given the chance they can find happiness together, but the choice is hers.   The Queen thinks she can be happy- just not here. She plunges the dagger into her father, "I'm sorry."

In Storybrooke
Emma arrives at Mary Margaret's humble apartment to thank her and payback the bail money.  Mary Margaret notices troubled Emma may need to talk.  They chat over hot cocoa with cinnamon.  Mary Margaret feels that she's met Emma before.  Emma tells her she's leaving; feeling that is the best for Henry. But Mary Margaret wonders "What happens if you go? I think the very fact that you want to leave is why you have to stay. You care about him. Who will protect Henry if you won't?"

Henry sits in session with Archie, but apparently doesn't want to talk about it.  Archie tells Henry the umbrella is his good luck charm.  He asks Henry "Is that why you think I'm Jiminy Crickett?"
Sad Henry says "I don't think you're anyone."
Emma enters and Archie tries to explain Regina's earlier plan. Emma doesn't care, she just wants Henry to understand she's there to get to know him.  She thinks the curse is crazy, (not Henry), but that doesn't mean it isn't true. "It is a lot to ask anyone to believe in. But there are a lot of crazy things in this world..."   She told Regina what she needed to hear. What Emma does know- if the curse is real the only way to break it is to trick the Evil Queen into believing that they are nonbelievers. That way she's not on to them. "Isn't that what Operation Cobra was all about? Throwing her off the trail?"  This perks Henry up and again feels she's brilliant. Emma's read the dangerous pages and throws them into the fire.  Now they have the advantage.  Relieved Henry hugs Emma, "I knew you were here to help me."
The Dark Forest
The Evil Queen stands at the raging bon-fire as she readies to complete the curse to end all curses.  Not present at this ceremony is her circle of fellow evil-doers and their locks of hair. She's flying solo at this one.  She throws the heart into the fire and unleashes a giant column of black smoke, thunder and lightning.  It looks very much like a violent twister.
The Queen places a {black} rose on the grave and says "I love you, Daddy."
Mr. Gold pays a visit to Regina and notes the mess around.  Regina is in high spirits because she's just rid the town of an unwanted nuisance.  Mr. Gold breaks her bubble revealing that he just saw Henry and Emma on Main Street looking thick as thieves.  He feels Regina should have gone to him "Miss Swan is a problem you can't fix. I'm only too happy to help-for a price, of course."   Regina isn't in the business of making deals with him anymore.
Mr. Gold- "To which deal are you referring?"
Regina- "You know what deal."
Evidently Mr. Gold procured the boy for Regina.  He thinks the name Henry is a lovely name and asks her however did she pick it?
Suspicious Regina asks him if he wanted Emma to come to town. "You wanted all this to happen, didn't you. You finding Henry wasn't an accident, was it?"
She wants to know "Where did you get him?"  Regina thinks he's involved in the current events but Mr. Gold fluffs it off.
Regina- "Who is this woman, his mother, this Emma Swan?"
Mr. Gold- "I would say you think you know exactly who she is."
He's not at all intimidated by Regina and gets her to excuse him by saying "Please".   As he walks away he takes a bite of her apple and tosses it to the ground.

Cat Stevens song-
Don't be shy just let your feelings roll on by
Don't wear fear or nobody will know you're there
Just lift your head, and let your feelings out instead
And don't be shy, just let your feeling roll on by
On by

You know love is better than a song
Love is where all of us belong
So don't be shy just let your feelings roll on by
Don't wear fear or nobody will know you're there
You're there

Don't be shy just let your feelings roll on by
Don't wear fear or nobody will know you're there
Just lift your head, and let your feelings out instead
And don't be shy, just let your feeling roll on by
On by, on by, etc.

Once Upon a Time

When I was a little girl growing up in New York City, I read a lot.  I read anything I could get my hands on; comics, sci-fi, mysteries, fantasy and fairy tales.  My life growing up was extremely rough and reading was my way of escaping that place.  I would read those stories and imagine myself in those worlds- fighting and beating the monsters, discovering gold, solving an ancient mystery and finding my knight in shining armor.  Reading gave me a sense of adventure and cultivated my own imagination. Although at times that escapism was a mechanism to cope with life, it is a special gift that I have taken with me in to adulthood.

Fairy tales give us epic stories of adventure, the struggle between good and evil and the battle and fortitude that lies within.  They can be moral tales and legends; that many times ask us to believe in the stories as if they are truthful or fact.  So, technically a fairy tale is a misleading statement, lie or account or belief.

The thing about being a little girl and reading fairy tales, is that for me, it gave me and taught me to hold on to hope.  Even now as a grownup I still hold on to the magic of fairy tales, with it's motifs of dreams and wishes that can come true; more importantly along the way the main character ends up discovering who they really are inside and that they can be heroic, and on to finding their true purpose and place in the world, all the way through their destiny and happy ever after.   I have to believe that dreams and wishes can come true and I have to believe in happy endings, after all, at times the real world can be a pretty hostile and horrible place.

I was enthusiastically drawn into this newly written fairy tale mash-up.  I was transported back to my own childhood where fairy tales reined important to me, where my creative mind could imagine me not only living in a fairy tale, but fairy tale characters crossing over and living in the "real world".

The show is brilliantly shot and really makes it feel like the fairy tale pages come to life.  The colors are spectacular and the imagery is wonderful.  The cast is dynamic and assume their enchanted role and their real world role counterparts with richness.  I totally adore little Henry.  I especially loved following the magical characters with the concept of existing in more than a singular realm.

The cool part is that I felt like we were allowed to step into the story and that left me excited to see where the adventure will take us next.

I can't help but notice a golden thread of LOST in this new enchanted story.  As I watched Once Upon a Time I felt that I could experience it much like LOST; maybe that's due to the fact that I spent six seasons absorbed in that wonderful mysterious and puzzling world where I had to read between the lines to discover its secrets.  While watching I could imagine myself writing about Once Upon a Time in the vein of my Karen's LOST Notebook site; bold typing clues and nods to things we need to pay attention to. The current show reflected many of the ideas, themes and layers I witnessed with LOST.  I guess I will have to fight very hard to not watch this show and feel like I'm watching another book in the LOST saga- or will I?
Nonetheless LOST fans will love and appreciate the acknowledgment and connections in Once Upon a Time to our time spent on the "Island".  And I can't help but be curious if we'll experience even more of them...I think we will. 

Once Upon a Time brings us a story revolving around some serious mommy issues and it's also about stuck people in need of finding their way back home and back to the ones they love.  It is wonderful that the writers chose the fairy tale genre in modern time to deliver the timeless account of struggle.  I love that Once Upon a Time brings us the human side of the fairy tale characters we've grown up with; to see them enduring the same emotional and insecurity issues real people face on a daily basis. These characters are dealing with pain, hurt, abandonment, loneliness, anger, jealously, greed, sacrifice and not remembering who they truly are.  They are lost.  They are in need of healing, and to find what and who they're looking for so it can help them find their way back to their happy place.

As always, I welcome another trip down into the rabbit hole, where the quest brings us through many strange places and experiences and even more strange people, but the journey teaches us a great deal and there's always a goal...whether you realize it or not.

Here are some notes taken from the pilot episode.  I will share my thoughts specifically on Pilot at the end of this post.  By the way, I have a full version of my notes from this episode that I will keep for future reference or possible updating.
Once Upon a Time
Snow White is found by her white horse riding Prince Charming; as she lays in pause in her glass coffin.  He's informed by the Seven Dwarfs that he's too late; she is gone.  Price Charming breaks the spell that's been cast onto Snow White with a magical kiss. They marry in a grand affair.  It is a nice touch that Snowy's gown in decorated in white feathers.  The Evil Queen crashes the wedding and apologizes for being late.  She warns the happy couple that while she's giving them a gift of not ruining their happy day, she announces to all that she is hell bent on causing all of them suffering; by taking away all that they love...forever.  Out of their suffering will come her victory. The pissed off protective Prince Charming throws the giant sword at Her Evilness, but she disappears into black smoke.
In "our world" we meet 10 year old Henry.  Henry has no problem traveling on long bus rides alone. He carries along a Fairy Tale storybook; that he feels is more than just a book.
Orphan loner Emma is a hot chick.  Emma, the birthday girl has family issues.  She has conned her "date" into the meet up so she can do her job as a bail bonds person; she calls him out on all of his crimes. Once caught he inadvertently calls her out on her "family issues".

When you wish upon a star...
Celebrating her birthday alone, Emma closes her eyes and makes a wish upon the star candle that tops her white frosted cupcake.
A knock at her door reveals that Henry, her son, has made a surprise visit.  I love that the door to her apartment has written word on it; illustrating she is written into a fairy tale.

At first, Rubik's Cube owner, Emma, denies the boy.  Henry wants her to "come home with me", but she just wants to return him to his adopted parents in Storybrooke, Maine.  I love that Henry guzzles orange juice right out of the bottle.  Emma and Henry seem very much alike.  Emma claims to possess a super power; she can tell when people are lying.

In the Enchanted Forest
A bird flies away from pregnant Snow White.  The Prince tries to comfort stressed out Snow by telling her she's letting the Evil Queen get in her head; she needs to let that stuff go.
"They're only words."
Snow shares with the Prince that she wants to talk to "him".  The Prince feels it's too dangerous (as there's a reason "he's" locked up), but Snow feels he "sees the future".  She feels that since the Prince can't guarantee their child's safety that "he" can.  The Prince agrees to a meeting.

 "Just because you believe something doesn't make it true."- Emma
Henry feels that's exactly what makes it true.

On Emma and Henry's ride to Maine, Emma inquires about the book Henry holds.  Henry feels she's not ready for the book yet; but assures her that the stories aren't fairy tales- they're real stories and she's in it.  Super power mom realizes Henry must not be lying.  Henry informs her she is going to fix the "problems".

The Enchanted Forest

Snow and Prince are giving the guidelines to meeting the prisoner.
"Don't look into the light. And whatever you do, do not let him know your name. If he knows your name he will have power over you."
As they approach the slithering imp, Rumpelstiltskin, he reveals that he already knows their names.  Rumpelstiltskin appears welcoming and encourages them to step into the light and take off the ridiculous (hooded) robes, to which the happy couple don't hesitate in breaking the rules.
"Fear not. For I can ease your mind. But...its gonna cost ya something in return."
He wants the name of Snow's unborn child.  Snow doesn't hesitate to make a deal.  He knows the Queen's powerful curse will imprison them all; just like him only worse.
"Your prison...all of our prisons will be time. And time will stop... and we will be trapped- someplace horrible. Where everything we hold dear, everything we love will be ripped from us while we suffer for all eternity. While the Queen celebrates victorious at last! No more happy endings."
Closed eyed Rumpelstiltskin claims that the infant is their only hope. "Get the child to safety and on its 28th birthday the child will return- the child will find you and a final battle will begin! hahaha!"
As the couple walk away Rumpelstiltskin demands "her name"; after all they had a deal.  Prince catches that Rumpelstiltskin mentions it's a girl and he corrects him by saying it's a boy.  Snow gives him the name "Emma".

Good hearted naive Snow White seems a bit, uh, let's say...amendable for coercion.

Over in Storybrooke

Emma and Henry arrive in the cursed "frozen in time" Storybrooke.  Henry claims the clock  that is stuck on 8:15 hasn't moved his whole life.   They come upon Archie Hopper {Jiminy Cricket} the shrink, who informs Henry that he missed his session today.  Henry reveals his field trip but Archie feels he's lying; evidently Henry, the Mayor's kid, has issues with lying.  Henry assures Emma "I'm not crazy".  He goes on to explain that the characters of the Enchanted Forest have been banished and are trapped to life in the unpleasant real world where they have forgotten who they really areThey can't just leave because if they did- bad things would happen.

The Enchanted Forest
The Prince, Snow White, Jiminy Cricket and many other fairy tale characters are having a round table discussion about devising a plan to fight the Evil Queen.  Snow feels its useless because she feels the future is already written; a sentiment the Prince refuses to believe.  "Good just can't lose."
If Snow believes Rumpelstiltskin about the curse, then she must also believe that their child will be the savior.
Just then the Blue Fairy enters accompanied by soldiers dragging in a large portion of a tree.  She informs them if the enchanted tree is fashioned into a vessel it can ward off any curse; but its limited power can only protect one.  Gepetto and Pinocchio will fashion the vessel and everyone agrees to have hope and faith that this will work.

Back in Storybrooke 
Emma meets Henry's evil mom, the mayor. Henry shares with Emma that he feels Mayor mom only pretends to love him.  The mayor invites Emma inside for a glass of the best apple cider ever; Emma asks for something stronger.
Henry was adopted by Regina when he was three weeks old.  Mother Mayor apologizes for Henry dragging Miss Swan out of her life, as she doesn't know what's gotten into him.  She also confesses that after becoming Mayor that balancing things has been tricky.  The strict Mayor Mom is also unaware of Henry's passion and connection with his fairy tale book.

On Emma's sleepy ride back home, she sees that Henry has left his beloved book in her car.  It appears as though Storybrooke has a mission- to keep Miss Swan in Storybrooke.  A beautiful white wolf distracts her causing her to crash right into the Storybrooke sign.  While Emma is passed out, the pages of the book flips in the wind, from The Wizard of Oz and then landing on The Caterpiller in Alice in Wonderland and then flips to the tree carving in the Enchanted Forest.
At the castle
Gepetto and Pinocchio work diligently on the tree wardrobe.
Snow White confesses to the Prince that she doesn't want to do it (leave in the wardrobe for 28 years as to not be cursed with the rest of them).  But the Prince reminds nervous Snow White "It has to be you".  The Prince is fine with the 28 year time lapse because he as faith in eternal love and believes they can find each other again.  They kiss and Snow announces the baby is coming.

While standing guard, buzzed Grumpy warns the rest of the guards and a fellow sleeping dwarf to "Wake up! Wake up!"  He tolls the bell because the curse is here!

In Storybrooke
Emma's eye opens to the sound of whistling; the tune Whistle While You Work.  She is in a jail cell.  She awakes to LeRoy (Grumpy), whom is in another cell doing the whistling.  Emma seems to have a bit of a headache or something. Gepetto commends Emma for being back in Henry's life, but Emma confesses she is just dropping him off.
The Sheriff arrives to let LeRoy out; but warns him to behave. The Sheriff hints to Emma that she was drunk on Regina's cider. Emma shares how she really crashed.  Regina enters worried that Henry's run away again, and sees Emma in the cell.  Emma learns that Henry doesn't have any friends and is kind of a loner.   Emma suggests they check Henry's emails for clues.  She also offers her help and in return they let her out.
"Finding people's what I do"- Emma

Emma and the old fashioned scruffy Sheriff look through Henry's computer for clues to where he may have gone and to what he's been up to.  The trick to getting into Henry's email-a hard disk recovery utility Emma likes to use.  Note-the Sheriff gets a salary and Emma gets paid by delivery.
Henry bought membership to a site called Who's Your Mama?.org. It's financed by his teacher Mary Margaret Blanchard.  The cost- $265.50

Miss Blanchard is building bird houses with her students.  She reminds them that they are making them a home and not a cage, and also enlightens them to how a bird is free and will do what it will.
"This is for them-not us. They're loyal creatures" and she releases a blue bird out the window.  "If you love them and they love you, they will always find you".
As they break for recess she warns them not to run.  A student gives the teacher a pear-not an apple.

Henry's two mothers enter the classroom and the Mayor asks Miss Blanchard where Henry is and if she gave him the credit card so he can find "her".   Confused Miss Blanchard asks Emma "I'm sorry, who are you?"
Evidently special, smart and creative Henry took the card from Mary's wallet.  Mary feels she never should have given Henry the book about fairy tales. She confirms Henry's loneliness and felt he needed it. But the Mayor feels Henry needs a dose of reality and storms out.
Emma asks Miss Blanchard "How's the book supposed to help?"  Miss Blanchard explains the reason we all know these classics; they're a way for us to deal with our world.  {That is exactly the thing I can relate to.}  She also shares that Henry struggles with his being adopted.  "Why would anyone give me away?"   She also admits she gave the book to him so he can have hope. {Another thing about fairy tales that I understand and relate to- completely.}   Miss Blanchard informs Emma she can probably find Henry in his castle.

The Enchanted Forest
Snow and the Prince are waiting the birth of the baby as the black cloud, the dark knights and the Evil Queen's carriage approaches the castle.
Snow White is instructed by Doc to "push".
Happy Gepetto enters announcing that "it's ready".   But Doc feels it's too late "We can't move her".
Infant Emma is born.  Hearing the castle being stormed by the black knights, the Prince feels their plan has failed, but at least they are together.  Snow is motivated to put Emma in the wardrobe, believing she will come back for them, "We have to give her her best chance".  So the Prince grabs a sword and the baby and makes way to the wardrobe. Snow cries.

The Prince fights off two black knights while holding on to the baby; but he is wounded.  He manages to kick in the door and put Emma safely into the wardrobe and says to her "Find us".  The two black knights enter the room to continue the fight and stab the Prince.  He collapses to the ground and before going unconscious sees the black knight open the wardrobe to retrieve the baby, but she has disappeared.  This brings a gentle smile to his face.
Emma meets up with backpack wearing Henry at his playground castle by the water.  She brought him the book.  They can see the clock tower with its time stuck on 8:15.  Henry was hoping it would move and things would change when he brought Emma back, "That the finale battle would begin".   Emma simply tells him "I'm not fighting any battles, kid".   Henry tells her she is, as it's her destiny to bring back the happy endings.  Smart Henry also says "You don't have to be hostile. I know you like me, I can tell. You're just pushing me away because I make you feel guilty. It's OK. I know why you gave me away...You wanted to give me my best chance ".    Henry knows this because it's the same reason Snow White gave her away.
Emma feels she's not in any book and she's no savior, but Henry's right about one thing- "I wanted you to have your best chance. But it's not with me."
Henry begs for her not to take him "back there" and begs for her to stay with him for one week and she'll see that he's not crazy. Henry is getting upset trying to explain how much his life sucks. Emotional Emma comes right back at him sharing that her parents just left her on the side of the freeway and how she was turned back over to the foster system when she was three when her foster parents had their own child.
Henry informs her that her parents didn't leave her on the side of the freeway; that was where she came through when her parents were trying to save her from the curse. 
Emma takes Henry's hand and they leave.

The Enchanted Forest
New mother, Snow White makes her way to the wardrobe room and discovers her Prince stabbed on the floor.  She tries to kiss him back to consciousness but to no avail.  The Evil Queen struts in and smirks "Oh, don't worry- In a few moments you won't remember you even knew him...let alone loved him."   She did this because this is her happy ending.   The black knight informs her Evilness that the child is gone from the wardrobe, never to be found.  This makes Snow very happy as she believes "She got away. You're going to lose. I know that now. Good will always win." 
The Evil Queen replies "We'll see about that."   Just then the ceiling opens up and the darkness and wind swirls inside the room.
Snow holds her Prince and asks the Evil Queen "Where are we going?"
The Evil Queen informs her "Somewhere horrible...Absolutely horrible. A place where the only happy ending will be mine."
Emma returns Henry to his large white house and is greeted by Regina. Regina thanks her and mentions that Henry has taken a shine to Emma.  Emma tells Regina of her birthday wish of not being alone on her birthday- then Henry showed up.  Regina makes it clear that Emma is not to take all of this as an invitation back into Henry's life.  In the last 10 years since Emma's decision to toss him away, its been her who took care of him so he is her son.  Regina will make sure Miss Swan is held to the legal agreement she made for no rights to Henry.  She suggests Emma get in her car and leave this town; because if she doesn't, Regina destroy her.
Emma asks Regina "Do you love him?"
Regina replies "Of course I love him."
Henry's lays in his bed with his eyes open.  Regina is in his room with the book. She takes the book downstairs and looks at herself in the round mirror, holding the book close to her.
Miss Blanchard is making the rounds at in a hospital ward. She is a volunteer who is delivering white flowers to the patients.  A male patient holds up his hand for her to hold for a moment.  Then she enters a glass room where they are keeping an unconscious handsome John Doe.  Miss Blanchard places the white flowers on his bedside table.
Henry looks out his window toward the clock tower with its time stuck on 8:15.

Emma seeks a room at Granny's Bed and Breakfast.  The establishment seems to not have housed a guest in a very long time...if ever.   Granny, who apparently has had a heart attack at some point, is willing to wave the upgrade fee for a room with a view.
Emma also meets Little Red Riding Hood (who, by the way, is quite tall) and Mr. Gold.  Granny pays Mr. Gold a wad of cash.  Mr. Gold tells Emma to enjoy her stay.   Emma wonders who that was.
Red Riding Hood reveals "He owns this place."   Apparently he owns everything including the town.
Emma let's them know she will be staying with them just for a week.  Granny gives her the key to her room and welcomes her to Storybrooke.
Henry, still watching the clock, smiles a big smile when the clock's big hand moves forward.

Pilot is a great episode!

Snow White gives up her daughter in the hopes of giving her a better chance and to insure there will be a way for Emma to return to the Enchanted Forest and restore all the happiness in the land.
These events seem to all be part of destiny; all part of a plan to ensure that all the players paths are destined to cross again and the battle over the Evil Queen and her curse of banishment and misery over the rest of the characters is overturned.

Snow White and Emma both gave up their children.  The choice to do such a thing was for the greater good- to bring happiness back to Fairy Tale Land.
In "our world"- Henry is adopted by Regina (The Evil Queen in the Enchanted Forest) and now is in contact with Emma; the very child Snow and Prince sent away to keep her safe from the curse. Yet here Emma is...right in the Evil Queen's eyesight.

The story shows us elements of how fear and things you let get in your head; and what things and who you give power to.  Curses are only powerful if you believe in them; otherwise they are just words. With that I'm brought back to a quote we learned on LOST..."We are the causes of our own suffering".

The moral of this episode- "Giving into ones dark side accomplishes nothing."

✔ Golden LOST Thread
Here's just a few (as there were many) of the LOST connections to mention:
Regina (Evil Queen) is Greta in the Looking Glass Hatch.
Geronimo Jackson
Emma Swan drives a (yellow) VW Beetle
Orange juice
Black smoke
John Doe (no identity)
Possible psychology/ emotional issues
Emma's eye opening.
"He sees the future"- Desmond was thought to be that way too.