Welcome to Once Upon A Time Observations — your weekly observations, easter eggs and connections guide for the ABC‘s fantasy series. This week we put “The Stable Boy” under the Seriable microscope.
- The clue for this episode is a young Snow White being galloped through the Enchanted forest of Enchantment by her wild steed, foreshadowing her fated encounter with Regina.
- The One Ring represents Regina’s motivation for initiating the curse. In many ways serving as a metaphor for the interconnectedness of the fairytale characters.
- This scene is also interesting as it represents one of the few Storybrooke flashbacks. The plan to incriminate Mary was indeed Gold’s idea. But what’s the price of Gold?
LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER
- Cora uses magic as a way of controlling young Regina — abuse, much? Regina disapproves, but little did she know she’s go down that same path herself.
- Through her wickedness, Cora wanted Regina to be “good,” which is rather ironic. But then ‘good’ and ‘evil’ can sometimes be skewed concepts.
- Regina’s instinctive ‘goodness’ led her to save young Snow. She taught the moppet to overcome fear and how to love. Snow’s formative years were, in part, shaped by the best (and worst) of Regina, which is interesting.
BY GEORGE, IT’S GEORGE!
- As noted in our character guide, we’re introduced to King George’s Storybrooke counterpart — District Attorney Albert Spencer.
MIRROR TO THE WORLDS
- A reflective ‘bridge’ between the present and past serves as a window into Regina, but also helps link the two worlds thematically, allowing the story to unfold seamlessly, while informing the message.
- We get curious insight into Cora when she warns Snow to be gentle with the flowers. “flowers are delicate things [..] we want it to grow and not pluck it before its time.” Perhaps she used to be more gentle with Regina.
- Following her encounter with Jefferson, Emma is starting to believe. The pages of the One Book callback to previous episodes.
- The case for August being the narrator continues when the rogue element advises Emma to change her perspective. We’ve already seen August fiddle with Henry’s book, so this furthers the possibility that he changed parts of the narrative.
- This might imply that his outlook on the story changed. Whether this actually changes FTL history, or simply alters Emma’s perception of the land that was, remains to be seen.
- He admits that he doesn’t know Emma that well, could this be because when he devised the character, her arc only went as far as the magic wardrobe which transported her to Earth?
PIN & NEEDLE
- We seemingly get another clue as to August’s identity when he suffers leg cramps when approaching where the heart burial spot.
- This could point to him being Pinocchio (as some of our readers have suspected), given that Marco’s son has yet to be seen in SB, and was presumably made from wood. Is this why he didn’t let Emma take a look, because he’s got wood?
- Indeed, Pinocchio’s manifestation into a ”real boy’ could explain his absence from Storybrooke, since the curse may not have considered him to be human/creature.
WHAT MATTERS MOST
- Regina’s present-day cruelty seems proportional to the amount of love she has for Daniel, underlined by these worlds: “all I care about is you.” Her love was completely focused on Daniel, so when he was taken away from her.. well..we know the rest.
- The people in Regina’s life must have been a factor in her descent — a wicked and controlling mother, directly responsible for Daniel’s death, and a selfish step daughter, projecting her own insecurities.
- Much like Rumples, it’s a story of an oppressed individual desperate not to return to a position of weakness.
- Regina tells Mother that she’ll have to imprison her and Daniel in order to stop them from leaving, which echoes Regina’s curse many years later.
- Regina could have killed the FTLies, just as Daniel was lost to her, but she chose to trap them without their memories. This speaks to something deeper than just revenge, it speaks to control and the need for something..family?
- It’s a hollow victory in some sense, but Regina must rationalize it as ‘happy ending’ because she at least remembers her beloved. This is sort of like the opposite of Snow wanting to rid herself of those Charming memories.
- Cora proceeds to remove Daniel’s heart. At least we know where Regina gets it from.
- Perhaps the most interesting moment came when Regina discovered that Snow’s betrayal led to Daniel’s death. She could have flipped out, taken her heart, done all manner of things. Instead she caught and composed herself.
- More so than Daniel’s death, this discovery seemed to turn Regina. But at the same time, having someone to blame, someone she was more powerful than, seemed to evoke a twisted strength: role-playing the doting mother to conceal her true intentions.
- This is magnified when she figures that Mother may have planned whole wild steed rescue. From here, I suspect it becomes a game for Regina, who acknowledges her first mistake: “I should have let her die on that horse!”
WE GOT HER
- Back in Storybrooke, Regina speaks to Daniel as though he’s with her in spirit; an ally in her war on Snow. While it’s unlikely Daniel would want all of this for his beloved, it illustrates how love is still fueling Regina.
- In a sense, it’s intriguing that the character perhaps capable of the most hate in this story, is equally the character capable of the most love. It’s of course very subjective in context, but nonetheless, this could be a big statement on Reggie.
MORE UPON AN OBSERVATION
- Gold: “I really don’t plan on spending anymore time locked up in a cage.” A nod to his assault on Mr. French and his incarceration in the land that was.
- Gold: “[Mary] and her, charming friend, keep finding ways to be together.”
- Gold: “We all know what happens to people that attempt to leave town.”
- I guess ‘Firefly Hill’ is the hot-spot in fairytale land, right Daniel?
- Daniel: “True love is the most powerful magic of all..” Danny boy echoes Rumples. Its apparent ability to “overcome anything” might provide further context for Rumples’ quest to make the love potion.
- Parallel: Both Young Regina and Henry tried to run away from home.
- King Leopold tells Regina that there’s “no way [for him] to repay that debt,” in reference to saving Snow’s life. The word “debt” is just so synonymous with Rumples.
- Cora accepts Leopold’s marriage proposal to Regina, as though she’s the one getting married. She says “yes” twice, such is her desire to live vicariously through her daughter.
- “Snow, do you know what a secret is?” Uh oh, now if only someone could stop her right there!
- I love Snow’s response about keeping the secret: “I think so.” That’s of course played for drama, but I’d like to think it says something about her lack of commitment. Snow eventually promises, but only once Regina noted the deception involved (i.e not telling Cora).
- Emma continues to rattle on about her so-called super powers. I get why this keeps cropping up, but it’s a touch contrived, and they don’t work (including when confronting August in this episode).
- August: “let’s be honest, it was my idea.” He seems fond of ideas and inspiration. Writing credit?
- Cora mentions having to make “deals” to get her power. This seems primed for a Rumples tie-in, further complicating the Regina/Gold axis.
- “This is my happiness..” Hearing that clarifies that Regina’s quest has been pretty consistent throughout.
- “This is your happy ending”. The notion of a happy ending is interesting in itself as it implies a kind of stasis (an ever after), which is what Storybrooke is in many ways (for Regina, at least). Of course, this is now being challenged by Emma’s arrival — which Regina is currently using to her advantage.
- Cora was a miller’s daughter, hence Regina’s surname: “Mills”. Is it odd that she identifies herself with that name in Storybrooke? Perhaps it says something about what became of their relationship? This in turns raises the question of what happened to Cora?..
- Mr. Gold tells Emma to have faith, much like August.
- So..Kathryn’s back. Quick, somebody check her pulse!
Previously on Once Upon A Time Observations: 1.17 “Hat Trick”