Once Upon A Time Recap

Once Upon a Time Recap: Twisted (Step)sister

Just when you thought Once Upon a Time had spun Cinderella’s tale to completion, Sunday’s episode reopened her proverbial storybook for another dramatic reveal — and a delightfully campy showdown.

It turns out Ella — or Ashley, pick your poison — has been carrying around a pumpkin-load of guilt over getting her happily ever after. She blames herself for spoiling the happiness of her stepsister Clorinda, who was apparently a closeted nice girl with a secret boyfriend (Prince Thomas’ footman!) whom she planned to marry behind Lady Tremaine’s back.

With the best of intentions, Cinderella handed Clorinda a key capable of turning any door into a portal to the Land of Untold Stories, where Lady T. couldn’t possibly find her. But after a few demeaning quips from her wicked stepmother (“You look like a trash bin and have the education of my cat!”), Ella folded like a napkin and revealed every last detail of the betrayal.

Not only did Lady Tremaine stop Clorinda from running away with her beloved, but she also forced her daughter to join her in the LoUS, damning both Clorinda and her fiancé to an eternity apart — or so she thought.

Cut to present-day Storybrooke, where a gun-toting Ashley walked unknowingly into a trap set by her scorned stepsister, only to be ambushed and stabbed by Lady Tremaine. (It was an ugly family reunion, even for Once Upon a Time standards.) And it would have been lights-out for Ashley, were it not for an eleventh-hour save from Emma, who managed to stop her hand from shaking long enough to heal her.

HOME SWEET HOOK | But calming those tremors wasn’t Emma’s only major step forward this week. After a particularly intense session with Archie — who could probably use a good psychiatrist of his own at this point — Emma finally accepted that her happiness with Hook is more than an “illusion,” and that it was time to move him into Chez Swan. “I have a closet full of red jackets,” she told him. “I think I can make some space for some black leather.”

‘LET IT GO’ | Is David going from Prince Charming to… Prince of Darkness? After learning the truth about his father’s death, that the “cart accident” was actually a covered-up murder, David promised Mary Margaret he wouldn’t go all Emily Thorne on the unknown killer. But rather than burning the only shred of evidence, like he said he would, David pocketed the item behind Snow’s back.

CHECKMATE? | Regina’s other half continued to run amok this week, first attempting to convince Emma that her role as the savior was pointless, then making nice with — and releasing! — Mr. Hyde. She’s even forming a pretty decent wedge between Regina and Zelena, not that it takes much to get those two at odds.

Additional Thoughts…

* I appreciate Snow’s vision for a better Storybrooke, but I’m siding with Regina; I wouldn’t hire anyone at the school without first opening the candidate pool a bit. (“Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Frankenstein. Do you know what that sounds like?” / “The world’s scariest sounding pediatrician’s office.”)

* Live-action versions of Cinderella’s mice always remind me of how crazy and unsanitary it is for a grown woman to be playing with wild rodents.

* I’m not sure which surprised me more: seeing Grumpy lash out at Emma (“We don’t all just wait around for you to fix things!”) or learning that Dopey, who’s no longer a tree, is apparently off getting his masters degree.

Are you excited to see Emma and Hook under one roof? Could David’s father’s killer be someone we already know? Whatever’s on your mind, drop it in a comment below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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41 Comments
  1. fictionredhead says:

    This episode was absolutely incredible. Can’t wait to see what comes next.

  2. steven says:

    So does this take place during the Cinderella episode back in season 1? Does that explain why the Fairy Godmother wasn’t shown?

  3. Nicky Aiuto says:

    Well now that we know that Charming’s father’s death was no accident and he did not die drunk, it was official that someone stabbed him. Regina and Rumple are off the Hook (which I doubted it would be any of them. I don’t think it is King George either. Because he would be too busy raising James, and there was no announcement of his actor returning. Looks like it is down to Hook for now.

    • Butch says:

      It seems it should be Hook so there will be another obstacle for Hook and Emma with him having killed her Grandpa. There will probably also be a twist eventually to redeem him.

      • Nicky Aiuto says:

        Most likely it is to save Emma from certain death. I mean since this link: http://tvline.com/gallery/fall-tv-predictions-walking-dead-micheonne-dies/#!22/undefined/
        I don’t think Emma will be the one, maybe he might take her place to save her, just like how Lincoln did for Daisy in Agents of Shield.

        And after all, One often meets his/her destiny on the road they take to avoid it (similar quote from Kung Fu Panda). And when there is death, there will always be death (quote from MIB 3)

      • Nicky Aiuto says:

        The only way for him to show redemption, is probably to do a noble sacrifice to save Emma from her foretold death. I mean since it was somehow predicted/spoiled that one of the nine regulars will leave the show, it sounds related to Emma’s vision and what is coming in ep 10. But it will not be Emma who dies. It would probably be Hook who takes her place. And that hooded figure might be the evil serum version of him. And the only way to stop him, is to sacrifice himself (just like how Jekyll did it in the real story to stop Hyde).

    • LeGal says:

      I actually thought it would be a savage twist if Emma actually had something to do with Charming’s death, when she went back in time to the EF with Hook. It would certainly infuse the show with much needed drama.

  4. Once>Upon>a>Time>Season>6>Episode>3

  5. LNS008 says:

    Loved the episode. Cinderella backstory.
    Emma with her boys – Henry and Hook. They are her strength and more. Her happy ending, she will have it. I am glad finally Hook is moving in with her, the house he chose for them with Henry.

  6. JenE says:

    I have not watched the first two episodes of the season because Regina x2 is my idea of torture. One of her is bad enough. But tonight brought me back thanks to some incredibly beautiful moments between Hook & Emma and some more great family moments with Henry. If we can add Snow & David to those three and have more of those scenes then I am fully back on board! Great job tonight.

  7. GJ says:

    Has anyone forgotten that for Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, that it was the Red Queen/Anastasia who was one of the stepsisters?

    • I think Anastasia was a third stepsister and had already left for wonderland when the Ball happened. I can’t be certain but I’m pretty sure the same actress played the mother in wonderland.

    • Jane says:

      Adam tweeted this week that Anastasia as as a stepsister is not canon.

      • Then what is the Canon for Anastasia’s family supposed to be? Forget about the land of Untold Stories it’s more like The Land of Retold Stories.

      • GJ says:

        Ahh! Thank you Nicolas & Jane! I was wondering if Adam had mentioned anything. Shame though — even if Will Scarlett was still in Storybrooke, it would be a tad bit confusing with his storyline.

  8. Julie says:

    Why is Emma losing her magic?

    • Butch says:

      We will probably find out during the Aladdin story in a couple of weeks since he had the same problem per the premiere episode.

    • LeGal says:

      I thought it was kinda-sorta explained that saviors are weakened/destroyed/lose their happy endings because they waste themselves helping/saving folks. I won’t indulge in a diatribe about the criteria not applying to Emma, but I’m pretty sure Jafar said something along these lines. I’m not sure if all saviors have magic, or maybe only some of them, but from the description they would probably all experience a weakening of all of their skills.

  9. Rita says:

    This season set an amazing so far!REALLY LOVED it. Had a few General laugh out loud moments like when Regina mention the world’s scariest pediatrician office. The stuff between
    Emma and Killian so sweet. Love the interactions between snow and charming, snow and Regina and of course Archie and Emma

  10. Amy says:

    This episode had that ‘fairy-tale’ happy ending feel that I love about this show. The flashbacks were well done and the main cast fit nicely into the story and I always love to see Emma save the day

  11. James D says:

    better episode tonight. it still feels like a lot of rehashed plot lines but I did enjoy seeing Jessy Schram again. And I’m glad they are finally giving Charming a story line this season.

  12. Mary says:

    Such a good episode! After the dullness of the last one I was looking forward to this. It really felt like a classic episode of the show and it put a smile on my face.

  13. Al says:

    “But after a few demeaning quips from her wicked stepmother (“You look like a trash bin and have the education of my cat!”), Ella folded like a napkin and revealed every last detail of the betrayal.”

    The recap makes it sound so simple & foolish the way Cinderella had to give up the info.. Lady Tremaime was using the glass slipper as leverage, threatening to break it (which she did anyway) so Ella was forced to betray Clorinda

  14. So…Anastasia is what now?

  15. MattySi says:

    I’m confused. Maybe I just don’t remember but who is Charming’s father? Are they talking about King George or his birth father? I don’t remember what happened to either.

    • LeGal says:

      His birth father, who I’m pretty sure has not been introduced yet. The consensus seems to think Hook had something to do with it. I’m not so sure. The EQ was absolutely giddy to dole out that bit of information; I’m thinking whoever it was, learning it would devastate him. I do think whoever did it either was only kinda, sorta involved & maybe it was an accident, not really murder. Also, whoever did it most likely did not & does not now know that it was Charming’s father.

  16. ninergrl6 says:

    Surprised you didn’t mention Rumple’s tape for his baby. I hate Rumple and even I thought that was sweet. That was a Robert Burns poem, right?

    I also like Snow wanting to bring some normalcy to her life by going back to teaching. Let’s see these characters functioning in some semblance of reality again. Uniting Jekyll and Frankenstein might not be wise, but it was a great nod to the fact that life in Storybrooke does go on for these characters even if we don’t see them all the time. That’s why I liked Grumpy’s rant at Emma so much too.

    I don’t know why Cinderella hasn’t been an integral part of this show all along. We’ve had dozens of redundant Snow/Evil Queen flashbacks, not to mention the numerous one-off episodes with characters we never see again. Certainly there’s room for a little more Cinderella in the OUAT mythology. With that said, I don’t know what this particular episode accomplished for the overall arc of the season. Emma still has the hand tremors, though she was able to power through and save Ashley, but she still hasn’t told any of her loved ones what’s really going on. I suppose the step-sister angle was a good example of an “untold story” that could find resolution in Storybrooke. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the episode (much more than last week’s) but I don’t know that it advanced the plot much.

    I loved the CaptainSwan scenes (Daddy!Hook, working together, moving in together), but I’m still irritated that Emma isn’t being honest with him. For that matter, why is Hook the only one asking questions? Henry saw Emma’s melt down too — why didn’t he rush to her side and/or ask what was wrong?

    • LeGal says:

      Love your comments on Rumple & Snow! And I agree with you regarding Cinderella. All things being equal, Cinderella is as popular as Snow White, maybe even more so. I always thought it was strange that Cinderella wasn’t a regular, or at least a bigger part of the overall story. And it didn’t advance the plot at all; we’re still stuck in the same place.

      Didn’t like any of the scenes between Emma & Hook. However, I thought Hook’s scenes with the kids – Alexandra & Henry – were lovely. And I thought there was something cool about he & Belle living together on the Jolly Roger. I would’ve liked to have seen some interactions between those two, talking & becoming friends. I liked, I think it was last season, when he was working on something & did it everyday in the library with Belle. They’re unlikely friends, but kindred. Plus it would really, really piss off Rumple if Hook & Belle became good friends! I think that would be fun to watch!

  17. LeGal says:

    Thanks for the review! I actually thought the Cinderella spin was terrible. Moreover, they just re-purposed the original Regina/Snow story. One girl tells a secret, which leads to the other girl losing her true love just on the verge of escape from an evil, controlling Mother. And the girl that lost her true love carries around hatred & a consuming revenge plot for eons. On a show that started with wild, thoughtful & provocative imagination, this storyline felt stale.

    “After a particularly intense session with Archie — who could probably use a good psychiatrist of his own at this point — Emma finally accepted that her happiness with Hook is more than an “illusion,” and that it was time to move him into Chez Swan.”

    I don’t remember Emma’s session with Archie as being particularly “intense”, just the same old whining. While you are on point with calling the house Emma is currently living in “Chez Swan”, I find that entire situation irritating and frustrating. It’s not really Emma’s house. Hook picked out that house to ask her to move in with him, but she usurped him when she moved in as the “dark one” and then simply never left. It’s not her house, it’s his house. And, even though this is a fictional TV show, I can’t understand how either one fo these characters wants to live in that house, considering it holds only bad memories for both of them. Strange that the show has them embarking on a romantic life together in that house. And we’re way past the point of him being patient & having her move the relationship at her pace and her’s alone. They’ve handed every single important moment in their relationship to Emma. She’s told him she loves him. Give the poor b@stard something else to do in the relationship besides standing around being patient, with nothing else to do but be her boyfriend. He’d planned on asking her to move in with him. They should’ve let him had that one – throw the b@stard a bone.

    “I’m not sure which surprised me more: seeing Grumpy lash out at Emma (“We don’t all just wait around for you to fix things!”) or learning that Dopey, who’s no longer a tree, is apparently off getting his masters degree.”

    I completely loved this scene! Grumpy’s one of my favorites. I think he’s funny & I dig how he calls all the women “sister”! I’m not sure I’d consider what he said “lashing out” – Grumpy pretty much talks to everyone that way. Plus, it was true. She’s the “savior” but didn’t lift a finger to help Dopey. I like that he had words with Emma. If you stand back & look at the story as a whole, Emma really doesn’t do too much saving, helping or fixing. Making her line in Granny’s comical. When a new character from the LoUS enters the diner, Henry goes to talk to her & asks Emma if she wants to help. “It’s what I do kid.” That was hilarious!

  18. Imzadi says:

    You forgot the sweet little bit when Belle listens to Gold’s poem. And Robert Carlyle got to do it in his Scottish brogue! I almost cried. I also got a kick out of Ella at the ball sending Gus (as her escort? footman?) to the cheese buffet!

  19. RedReddington says:

    Favorite part of the episode was the sweet poem Rumple recorded for Belle and the baby. Such an “Aww” moment.

  20. Butch says:

    Maybe Snow White’s mother caused Charming’s father to be stabbed. We still don’t know how Snow’s Mom went from a selfish b***ch to the kindly Mom Snow remembers. Maybe she was somehow responsible and that is what changed her.

  21. hopemullinax says:

    Here’s my joke response:
    Victor can’t be the science teacher. He’s the only doctor in town! Everyone will die!
    Real response:
    Leave it to Jane Espenson to renew my admiration of this show. I’ve always liked her episodes, and this one was stellar. This balanced both the ensemble with the main players, while we knew the story the flashbacks still felt new, and we moved the main plot along. This was absolutely fantastic.
    Plus one of my favorite characters, Victor, was back in his coat. Jane has said before how much she loves writing Victor.
    My only real grip wasn’t in the actual episode. As a Once: Wonderland fan, I’m pretty bummed Emma Rigby wasn’t in the episode. They so heavily hinted that Anastasia was Cinderella’s step sister. Jane Espenson said they were, and since Wonderland, Anastasia’s last name WAS Tremaine and only changed last night on all the Wikias. They lead it on all through the show’s run, and it feels like they lied to us Wonderland Loyal. Hearing Adam confirming earlier in the week they weren’t sisters was pretty disappointing. Especially since it would have been a nice tie for the main show and the spin off to have Will Scarlet be the footman and Anastasia run away with him like we know she does.
    Other than that, I loved The Other Shoe!

    • LeGal says:

      This is awesome – thank you! Frankenstein made the episode for me last night! I dig every time he makes an appearance! I don’t see how last night’s episode moved the main plot along. I still feel like the plat’s sranding still.

  22. Paul says:

    The poem is called sleep well by murdoch mclean