Once Upon A Time, Ep. 2.03, “Lady of the Lake”: A mother’s love

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Once Upon A Time, Season 2, Episode 2: “Lady of the Lake”
Written by Andrew Chambliss & Ian B. Goldberg
Directed by Milan Cheylov
Airs Sundays at 8pm (ET) on ABC

The third episode in season two of Once Upon a Time starts off with yet another punch. Opening in the past fairytale world, we find Red, Snow, Charming, and several others preparing for a battle against King George. The brief opening takes little time ushering in Sinqua Walls as Lancelot (who does a fantastic job throughout the episode). After he captures Snow, we jump to present day in the fairytale world.

We now pick up where we were left off last week: Snow unconscious on the ground and the delightful Barbara Hershey back as the wicked Cora. It’s fun to watch Ginnifer Goodwin come into mother mode. She’s no longer the quiet school teacher Mary Margaret. Her return to fairytale world has brought her around full circle. We get to see Goodwin shine as she argues not only with Cora, but sternly tells Emma why Cora can’t be trusted. The showdown between the three is interrupted, as the leader of the group, who we come to see is Lancelot, requests an audience with Snow and Emma. After a touching reunion between Snow and Lancelot, he explains that the world has changed since Snow has been gone and that a particularly nasty kind of evil, ogres, has returned. The information gives Jennifer Morrison and Ginnifer Goodwin a brief comedic moment. “Ogres? As in fee-fi-fo-fum?” “No, honey, that’s giants.”

The episode flows pretty freely between three different perspectives. Charming and Henry are in Storybrooke trying to figure out a way to get Emma and Snow back while Snow and Emma are in the present day Enchanted Forest trying to get back to them. The third storyline is between Snow and Charming in the past Enchanted Forest, pre-curse. The writers take on a lot this week, jumping between all three stories, but because this episode is heavy on Snow/Charming, it works in their favor. There are times when we quickly switch between the past and present Enchanted Forest, but we usually take a detour through Storybrooke first so that we don’t get too confused.

In the present Enchanted Forest we follow Emma, Snow, Mulan, and, eventually, Aurora, making their way to the castle to see if the wardrobe is still intact. We get a nice dose of jitters when Emma fires her gun and the Ogres come a-calling. Emma, as well the audience, gets a nice in your face shot before Snow comes and kills it. Again it’s nice to see Goodwin back in her ‘take no prisoner’ mode.  The creators made a great decision in not keeping Snow a damsel in distress.

After Snow saves Emma from the Ogres, the girls make their way to the castle, where we eventually have another run-in with Cora. Emma ends up being the one who saves Snow this time, and Cora disappears, promising that they aren’t through yet and leaving the door open for Hershey to return later, which is always a plus.

The other two storylines are basically there to move the story along. We get to see the bonding of Henry and Charming, which is nice and heartwarming. And the past storyline that we follow shows us just how Charming and Snow were married. Of the three of them, the past storyline feels the most like filler. It’s clear that this episode is aimed at furthering Emma and Snow’s mother/daughter relationship. We get to see some tension when Emma disobeys Snow with the Ogres and a nice heart to heart towards the end when Emma realizes just how much Snow gave up for her. It’s good to see Morrison giving some more emotion to Emma. Perhaps a crack in Emma’s hard shell is actually breaking through?

All in all, the third episode of the season doesn’t disappoint. Whereas the first two episodes were more mystery-based and had a little more action in them, this one is clearly about a mother’s love. However, that doesn’t mean questions aren’t raised right and left, just like in normal Once fashion. Why does Cora really want to go to Storybrooke? And what is she plotting with that dust she took? Why is George watching Henry and Charming in Storybrooke? He’s clearly up to something. And just how is Snow going to do as the new leader for the survivors in the present day Enchanted Forest? We will find out in the coming weeks as the second season of Once Upon a Time continues its hot streak.

Josh Bouye

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