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Once Upon a Time - Street Rats - Review

Well, we got a lot of information in this episode and while things seem so be progressing, our heroes and villains are still at a standstill. Without Hyde and with no major villains pressuring the citizens of Storybrooke with immediate danger, the introspective nature of this season continues to come forth. The conflict is all internal, something I’ve been rooting for for a long time, and reveals how much of a slow burn this season will be. Emma is at odds with herself and I look forward to the insight that Aladdin will bring having been in her position before and choosing a different path. “Street Rats” was a fun episode, the Agrabah portions looks beautiful in both the costuming and the setting and payed just enough of an homage to the Disney version of Aladdin’s tale to remain familiar but interesting. I enjoyed the sprinkling of scenes with Zelena; she’s always good to lend some comedy to Once Upon a Time. Zelena’s scenes with the Evil Queen do seem to be setting up the plot for something bigger for her and her future. “Street Rats” does truly feel like a sequel to season one and what the writers are building in terms of exploring the consequences to earning your happy ending are what’s really captivating me in season six.

Jasmine continues to be fleshed out in this episode. The way she’s played, Jasmine is a head strong princess in a believable way. She’s confident and in control, not bratty. Present day Jasmine seems a bit wounded and there are still mysteries surrounding her and how she came to the Land of Untold Stories, so I appreciate that she isn’t just a guest star. Since Jasmine’s reoccurring, getting a feel for her in the flashback so early is great since we don’t have to waste time with that when the action gets more intense later on. Of all the reoccurring heroic females on the show in the past two or three seasons, Jasmine seems to be the one that is getting the most development.

Emma was the focus of “Street Rats” even if the episode’s backstory was all about Aladdin. She had significant interactions wither family, but most interestingly is her introduction to Aladdin and the idea of there being another savior. For the first time Emma has an ally that knows exactly what she is going through. And that could show her the consequences of a path she is currently unwilling to take. I’m intent on seeing what effects, if any, using the shears had on Aladdin. Emma’s destiny of bringing back the happy endings has been woven throughout Once Upon a Time, so to remove that would be dire and probably mean the fall of Storybrooke. And intriguing concept if the show goes on to a seventh season.

It’s refreshing that Emma is no longer hiding her troubles from her family, even if she was forced to reveal them via the Evil Queen’s manipulation. It just gets so tedious when a character hides something when talking it out would prove to be more beneficial, so I’m glad the writers resolved this. The Charming family’s indignation to the fact that Emma might die definitely shows the strength of their bonds. They are intent to find that third option. Though, there are still secrets among the family. Those involving Charming and his father which haven’t been mentioned in a while and could prove to be a major conflict brewing in the future.

I am very invested to know where Once Upon a Time in Wonderland falls in this timeline since Jafar appears to be all-knowing. How he got his knowledge of saviorhood and his continuing temptation of Aladdin with the shears sets him up to be a formidable foe, but for some reason I don’t want him to arrive in Storybrooke. It’s more satisfying to see Emma struggle against fate, rather than another outside villain. At this point, the Evil Queen isn’t a threat so much as an annoyance, which is funny considering how much of a big bad Regina was in the first two seasons. I’m looking forward to seeing where the Evil Queen’s story ends. I still maintain that Regina won’t have to die to get rid of her.

I love that Emma and Snow had their moment together, it seems so rare the savior gets a parental-type talk anymore. As much as I love Regina and Snow White scenes and the conversations and healing that come from them, Emma is Snow’s daughter and I’ve wanted to see the same level of discussion between the two of them. Hopefully there are more mother-daughter scenes like the one in “Street Rats” to come. Emma and Henry also had a heart to heart, with Henry’s guilt over setting everything in motion as a unique look at his role in the plot of Once Upon a Time as a whole. Not only is he the Author, able to change fate as he chooses, but he is the one that started the story by fetching Emma. Emma’s assurance that despite everything they’ve been through she wouldn’t change what being the savior has brought to her life is sweet and important. You can’t appreciate happiness without a little sorrow.

And just as Emma has her ally in Aladdin, we saw Henry and Jasmine discuss how it felt to be the ones to, in a sense, create a savior. I feel that we as the audience have taken the idea of “the savior” for granted and as Once Upon a Time progresses, what that title actually means continues to be explored. This keeps having a hero like Emma, one who is powerful and tied to so many characters’ fates, fresh and gives her new challenges rather than letting her be the quick “fix all” for their problems. Being The One, so to speak, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, we’ve seen that in many different stories. The Oncespin on this, the exploration of the humanity of these fairy tales and the curse, blessing, and sacrifice that comes with being the hero of your story, is what makes Emma’s tale so captivating.

I am very worried for Zelena, I feel as if the Evil Queen has her completely hooked and unless we see otherwise, we might get less of a struggle and more of a full blown reversal to the wicked status quo. And I really don’t want to see that for this character and I’d like to think Zelena has something up her sleeve or that her daughter has more of an effect on her, but so far there have been no hints to this. The Evil Queen has some truth in her manipulations; Zelena wants a family that accepts her. However, if she would just talk to Regina and quit being so complacent in the Evil Queen’s schemes, I think she could get what she wants. I will say, the spa scene cracked me up. I love seeing the Wicked Witch and the Evil Queen in towel turbans gossiping and acting like real sisters. These are the kind of scenes I long for when the action takes place in Storybrooke, they are the scenes that made me fall in love with Once Upon a Time.

Hook keeping the shears that could sever a savior from their destiny is troubling, though I understand his reasons. He cares for Emma and wants her to remain alive and well, even against her explicit wishes and even at the potential cost of the whole of Storybrooke. This is a selfish act, but one that comes from a place of love. It’s a very Rumpelstiltskin thing to do really, which is unfortunate because we saw how well that worked out for him and Belle. I’m not sure what to think about what will happen between Hook and Emma in the future. There was a storm brewing at the end of “Street Rats” and obviously there is a figurative one on the way as well. With so many pieces in motion at the same time, I’m intrigued at how everything will comes together in the end and how all these small conflicts will roll into one come finale time.

Tune in next week for “Dark Waters”!

About the Author - Ashley B
Ashley is as serious as a sleeping curse when she says television is her life. Professional event planner, avid movie viewer, convention enthusiast, and resident sass master, Ashley writes reviews for ABC's Once Upon a Time. She looks forward each week to the weird and wonderful world her favorite television programs provide.
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