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REVIEW: Once Upon a Time: 6×01 “The Savior”

It feels like agony during those few months between seasons for you favourite so, but at long last, the sixth season of ABC’s Once Upon A Time has arrived in fantastic fashion with it’s premiere episode “The Savior”. Though I found the first half of season five to be very clunky, poorly written, and only saved by great acting, I loved the second half and was super excited about the final two-parter episode teasing a whole boatload of new potential stories and characters coming to Storybrooke. Though the sixth season’s opening episode mostly teased what was to come, it certainly delivered in other areas. So, let’s jump right in and go on a magic carpet ride.

Speaking of carpets, the episode immediately kicks off with a lone flashback to presumably Agrabah, as Jafar (now played by Oded Fehr) tracks down Aladdin (Deniz Akdeniz) , who looks like he is on his last legs. It turns out Aladdin is actually a Saviour like Emma Swann, but has been one a whole lot longer, and it has taken a toll upon him judging by his shaking hands and withered appearance. Jafar gloats about this, hinting at their history, before departing to presumably head for Wonderland for the spin-off series. We also see an unnamed girl attending to Aladdin, who we shall see again later on in the episode.

Cut to present day Storybrooke, where Emma and Captain Hook are trying to get it on, only for a giant dirigible from the Land of Untold Stories to fly over town. Well at least it wasn’t Leroy ruining the party this time. Storybrooke’s residents flock to watch the new arrival, as newly appointed town owner Mr. Hyde (Sam Witwer) taunts our heroes about their inability to stop the arrival of his friends or his unexplained evil schemes. Emma and Regina try to take him down with magic but he just brushes it off. The dirigible randomly crashes in the forest, but by the time Emma and co. reach it, everyone onboard have scattered to the winds. To capture Hyde, Dr. Jekyll (Hank Harris) suggests replicating the fancy stun gun of Hyde’s former orderly to capture him.

Emma also begins to experience horrifying flashes of the future, causing her hand to start quivering like Aladdin’s. And in typical Emma fashion, she pretends it is nothing and hides her fears from her loved ones. Emma, Regina, and the gang confront Mr. Hyde, using Jekyll as bait, before Emma successfully zaps him with the stun baton after hesitating, and our new big bad is immediately out of the game and locked up in the hospital’s psych ward. Well, that was quick. Heck, Zelena even points that out.

Speaking of which, Regina still hasn’t got over the death of Robin Hood and has even allowed Zelena to move in with her baby. This obviously is bothering Regina to some extent, but since she exorcised her evil side, she isn’t as quick to snap at her. With some encouragement from Snow White, Regina decides to come clean with Zelena, admitting that she blames her for Robin’s death, quickly putting an end to the bond they had formed at the end of the fifth season. It is quite fitting their union is broken in the same place where it was made, namely town hall where Robin and Hades both died.

Emma grows increasingly concerned about her visions and new shaky hand, but good old Archie Hopper makes a surprise return to offer her some advice. Emma immediately goes to speak to Hyde, playing a game of wits with each other. Hyde attempts to bond of sorts with Emma over their time as prisoners and they even have a weird heart-to-heart. Hyde quickly terrifies Emma, exposing her fears, but he reveals he brought a friend to Storybrooke who can help her with her troubles and advises her to find and follow an enigmatic red bird.

After ditching Hook, Emma chases the bird through the forest and comes across the girl who was attending Aladdin. At first, I assumed she was Scheherazade, but it turns out she is the unnamed Oracle from Aladdin and the King of Thieves. The Oracle explains that Emma’s visions are of her future and the end of her story. The red bird shows Emma a more extended glimpse of the future, showing her in a swordfight with a cloaked adversary while her loved ones look on. The adversary kicks Emma’s ass and then runs her through with a sword. Speculating, I’d say it was either the Evil Queen or Rumplestiltskin (since Emma’s sword disintegrates in red smoke which is his trademark). Emma is understandably spooked by this, but the Oracle vanishes before Emma can get anymore information.

Emma returns to Hyde for answers, who reveals that she isn’t the only Saviour in the world, and cryptically hints that her unnamed nemesis could be anyone. Rather than breaking down, Emma seeks out Hook and they have a drink together, though she doesn’t reveal to him about her recent discoveries. Through all of her trials, Emma still does have a habit of bottling things up and not trusting others. I suppose such psychological things can stay with a person for a lifetime. Meanwhile, Snow and Regina have a lovely chat on a park bench. Regina finally apologises for being such a lousy stepmother, but Snow reveals that the reasons she stayed so hopeful during her years as a fugitive thanks to Regina. Regina decides to start a new story for herself, believing it will have a better ending than her last one.

In the episode’s subplot, we turn back to Rumplestiltskin and Belle, our “golden” couple. In the fifth season, a pregnant Belle put herself in a sleeping curse, tired of Rumple’s scheming and he made a deal with Hyde to find a way to awaken her. What I thought would be an ongoing arc for Rumple, the whole thing resolves itself in a whole episode. Rumple seeks out Morpheus, the God of Dreams, using his magic sand to transport himself into Belle’s dream world. Morpheus (Giles Matthey) shows up, guiding him to a replica of Rumple’s castle, where Belle is reliving her time as his servant.

Rumple figures he can simply win Belle back by replicating a more positive version of their time together in Season One. He is kinder to Belle, dances with her, and even opens up to her about Baelfire. It is like the greatest hits of Rumbelle in ten minutes. However, when it comes to the all-important kiss, Belle ends up remembering all the hell Rumple has put her through and rejects his love. Ouch, talk about karma. Morpheus waltz in and drops the bombshell that he is actually Belle and Rumple’s son! Or their son is just using Morpheus as a form to convince Belle not to let Rumple destroy their family like he did with his first one. Belle agrees, sadly leaving Rumple to lick his wounds as she walks through a portal back home.

There is also a minor subplot involving Snow and David tracking down some of Hyde’s friends to gain their trust and help them adjust to Storybrooke. Hey, they need some screentime somewhere, and Snow’s interactions with Regina are really sweet. In the episode’s final scene, a rejected Zelena returns to her farmhouse, only to find she has a visitor: The Evil Queen, who has plans of her own.

“The Savior” is a pretty good episode and a decent season premiere. I like it focuses on our key characters and dealing with their issues before the main plot gets rolling, but I think the things set up at the end of the fifth season were wrapped up way too quickly. Mr. Hyde gets locked up, when I thought he’d be stomping around town to rattle everyone’s cages, and Rumple’s journey to awaken Belle ended way too quickly. Well, here is hoping the sixth season continues to be this fun.

Final Grade: B

Pros and Cons:

+ Loved the scenes between Snow and Regina. They were very moving and it shows there are is no longer any hatred between them.

+ Archie is back. Hooray!

+ I hope Aladdin and Jafar make some more appearances very soon.

– Mr. Hyde was locked up way too quickly. I know the Evil Queen is likely to become the big bad for this season, but is seems a little redundant setting Hyde up as the new villain if he is just going to be defeated right off the bat.

– Rumple and Belle’s scenes were charming but the story arc was wrapped too quickly, and I don’t really understand if Morpheus was actually their son, or their unborn child somehow knows the hell his mother has been through.

Extra Thoughts:

-Where did Emma get the visions of the future from? I assume it is from her time as the Dark One, inheriting the trait from Rumplestiltskin. Or is it just a thing that the Saviours get over time. Does Aladdin have them too?

-Everyone in Storybrooke look positively terrified of an airship flying overhead, and this is the town invaded by dragons, giants, snow monsters, Chernabog, and more curses than I can count.

About the author

Mark Russell