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REVIEW: Once Upon A Time 6×08 “I’ll Be Your Mirror”

Last week’s episode was fantastic, though while this one tries to keep the ball rolling, it sadly feels a little lackluster. Two episodes ago, I praised Henry, but this episode seemed determined to try and grind his character into mulch. I emphasize the word “try”. Admittedly as Jared Gilmore has grown older, it seems his character has had difficulty adapting from child to teenager, and at times Gilmore’s acting has come off as very wooden or awkward, like the dreadful speech he did at the end of the fifth season. Egad. Thankfully though, my problems with the episode and Gilmore’s acting are minimal at best.

Following the Evil Queen cursing Snow and David, both now try to cope with out each other, taking it in turns to sleep, while finding alternative ways to communicate like notes and stuff. However, Snow realises the Evil Queen is likely watching them and starts smashing up mirrors in the house. We go through a montage of Snow and David getting on with life, yet seeing their waning loneliness in the process. However, both characters are completely irrelevant to this episode and may continue to be in the background for some time to come until both can be awake at the same time.

Emma and Regina decide to try and contract the Dragon, since he aided in splitting Regina and the Evil Queen to separate to begin with. Emma tries to contact the Dragon in New York but is unable to get hold of him. Was she actually calling numbers and asking for someone called “The Dragon”? With that plan out of the window, Regina suggests imprisoning her alter go inside a mirror, within the mirror world where Sidney Glass once resided. Henry is worried about an upcoming dance at school, since Violet has been standing him up recently, but Regina takes his mind off it to help capture the Evil Queen.

Henry acts as bait to lure the Evil Queen to the beach, sent away when the trap is launched. Regina tries to suck the Evil Queen into a mirror, but her alter ego reveals she has the real hand mirror, and instead turns the tables on Emma and Regina. The mirror world is quite cool, Emma and Regina able to view those on the other side but unable to communicate with them. However, they hope Henry can help. The Evil Queen disguises herself as Regina and informs Snow, Hook, and Henry of Emma’s success, even faking a phone message claiming Emma is leaving town for a few days. And no one finds that suspicious at all.

Meanwhile, Belle enlists Zelena’s help to break into Rumple’s shop so she can steal the late Merlin’s magic wand and escape Storybrooke. Zelena is uninterested until Belle reminds her they have both been let down by loved ones. They recruit Aladdin to break into the shop and steal the wand. Jasmine objects, but Zelena points out because of Aladdin’s selfishness, the Shears are now in Rumple’s possession. The Evil Queen visits Rumple, at first hoping to get kinky with the Dark One, but instead asks for the Hammer of Hephaestus – how did Rumple get his hands on that? The hammer can apparently give the user magic and the Queen intends on giving it to Henry to make him “great”.

Hook walks along the beach sending a dozen voice messages to Emma, only to discover her phone in the sand. In the mirror world, Emma and Regina search for Henry, remembering he is meeting Violet at Granny’s. They try to get his attention by banging on the mirror, which he appears to hear, until the Evil Queen shows up and helps Henry get ready for his date. She reminds him he is a prince and should act like one. Violet arrives, Henry quietly informing her that he is on to the Evil Queen’s plan and both make a staged exit.

Emma and Regina get a surprise when the Dragon appears in the mirror world, revealing he too was imprisoned by the Queen. The Dragon scolds Regina for letting her evil side out, informing her everyone needs balance in their life. He then reveals that Sidney may have created a way out of the mirror world using a portal made of glass. Emma asks about her parents but the Dragon reveals he cannot break their curse. Henry sneaks into his mother’s vault to free them, only for the Evil Queen to show up, tempting him to join her, and they have a brief Star Wars moment. Henry refuses to join the dark side, so the Evil Queen produces the Dragon’s heart and transforms him into an awesome Chinese dragon to kill Emma and Regina.

While the two mothers plot to escape the mirror world using the Dragon’s fire to damage the Evil Queen’s mirror. The Queen tries to tempt Henry to save his mothers, using the hammer to kill the Dragon’s heart. Henry appears to struggle with the decision judging by his attempts to express angst, but instead does what Henry does best, smashing the mirror with the hammer to free Emma and Regina. The mirror explodes as the Dragon’s fire blasts through it, Henry grabbing his heart to save him. Or at least I think he does, since we don’t see what happens to the Dragon after that. Is he still in the mirror world?

Hook arrives in time to apprehend the Evil Queen, but she departs, saddened by Henry’s decision. Later, Henry meets up with Violet at Granny’s, where Violet admits she has troubled adjusting to school and doesn’t know what clique she fits in (after watching The Breakfast Club, but Henry tells her she is perfect the way she is. Cue the adorable dancing, with Emma and Regina watching outside, Emma glad that Henry will at least have one mother to rely on when she meets her prophesized death. They are so not totally going to find a way to avert or reverse that plot point.

Meanwhile, Aladdin sneaks into Rumple’s shop and obtains the wand, using a toy monkey with cymbals to distract Rumple. Nice reference to Abu. Speaking of references, Aladdin finds Jasmine outside and presents her with the Genie’s lamp, claiming their friend has been freed. It hadn’t occurred to me until now that this was likely a nod to the late Robin Williams. What a touching thought. However, Aladdin implies someone else may have replaced the Genie and could help them discover what happened to Agrabah. Gee, I wondered who could be in the lamp. Hopefully not a certain evil vizier who got turned into a genie at the end of the Wonderland spin-off.

Belle and Zelena celebrate the possession of the wand, only for Rumple to pop in and grab the wand. He places a golden bracelet on Belle so he can keep an eye on her, and turns to kill Zelena, only to have a heart attack. Zelena points out she saved his life back in the fourth season during his exile from Storybrooke, and if he tries to harm her, he will have more heart attacks. Returning to the shop, Rumple and the Evil Queen reunite and outright tick me off by making out, the Queen implying she wants Rumple to get her pregnant (I could have misunderstood), but Rumple agrees only if the Queen kills Zelena, which she does not seem very thrilled with as an idea.

So, in honesty, not a bad episode but not a very progressive one. It had some cool moments, but I think the handling of Henry’s temptation was poor. And seriously, Rumplestiltskin, you can sod right off. He used to be my favourite character but now he has become a despicable asshole with no redeeming qualities, and if they are able to give him redemption again, it better had be worth it. And this stupid shipping between him and the Evil Queen. He had sex with your mother for god’s sake, Regina. Which, if you think about it, the Beast had had sex with the Evil Queen, Belle, and the Queen of Hearts, and I’ve just gone cross-eyed!

Final Grade: B-

Pros and Cons

+ Nice to finally give some attention to the Dragon even if it was all too brief. We learn he had a daughter but his arrogance led to her death. Now, that’s a story why I’d like to see, rather how much of a wanker Rumplestiltskin can be in the next episode.

+ The mirror world is an interesting location.

+ The nice nod to Robin Williams.

– If they spend any more time with the Evil Queen and Rumple making out, someone else may have to review this season as I will tear my own eyes out in rage.

What did you make of “I’ll be Your Mirror”? Let us know in the comments section below or send us a Tweet!

About the author

Mark Russell