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Once Upon a Time - I'll Be Your Mirror - Review

“I’ll Be Your Mirror” evokes an interesting reaction from me. It had all the elements that I want in a Once Upon a Time episode: fairy tale characters dealing with mundane situations, unlikely team ups between characters that normally don’t interact, the progression of relationships between former foes. And somehow this episode didn’t satisfy. Perhaps it’s because the Evil Queen once again seems to be demoted to a non-threat (I’d love to see a character shoo her away whenever she hovers trying to menace). Or it might be that the season has spread itself a bit thin. There’s always so much going on in each episode and not a lot of progression. And it’s moments of normalcy stand out more than the fantastic elements in “I’ll Be Your Mirror”. I was more interested in Henry’s dance or Snow and Charming’s curse routine than what was happening with Emma and Regina in the mirror. That aside, I did enjoy seeing the Mirror World, I thought the look of it was fascinating and the detail of Sydney Glass having made a camp there was just the right touch for this new realm. I know some thought that the “half season format” clipped story lines a bit too short, but with three more episodes to go before a holiday break, I’m just wondering now where these plots are going.

Despite Regina and Emma being at the center of the action, this was definitely a Henry episode. Jared Gilmore’s acting continues to improve and he really stood out in this episode. One of my favorite moments is when he realized that his mother wasn’t who she said she was and his crafty plan to get him and Violet out of the diner. It’s very intriguing that despite “winning” against Snow and Charming the Evil Queen still wants to mold Henry into some dark version of a son. She won’t succeed, there is too much surrounding Henry and his role with in the Once Upon a Time universe to allow her to. I am glad Violet was brought back and helps to show that Henry is attempting to be a normal kid despite facts like having famous fairy tale characters as grandparents.

Back to Regina and Emma, I was all about the co-mom vibe that this episode had. I never thought I wanted to see them actually be friends given their history but them working as a team, a more natural team, was pleasant. Emma did seem to be laying it on a bit thick regarding her fears of not seeing Henry grow up. She seemed to mention it ever few minutes which came off as so defeatist to me. I think that’s what my issue is with this episode and maybe this season. This threat of the prophecy is supposed to be looming over everything and in a way it is, but our characters have literally been to Hell and back so thwarting a prophecy doesn’t seem outside their realm of abilities. Again, I am grateful that the thing I had been hoping for, the rise in interpersonal and mundane conflicts and stories, is here but at the same time there just seems to be a lot of plates spinning with not a lot of urgency.

The Evil Queen seemed to show shades of emotion outside of maniacal glee which brings promise of her becoming a contender against our heroes again, but in “I’ll Be Your Mirror” she also lost that snap that made her so sinister in the last episode. Her ultimate disguise of becoming Regina was seen through in moments and her threats don’t hold the gravity they are meant to. Hook chased her off at the end of the episode like it was nothing. If the Evil-Queen-As-Regina charade had been kept up a bit longer or maybe tweaked a bit it might have had a lasting impact. The idea of your enemy mascaraing as your mother is chilling, but with “I’ll Be Your Mirror” it didn’t hit the mark. I will say though, the Evil Queen’s wardrobe was incredible this episode.

I did enjoy Snow White and Charming’s methods of dealing with their new cursed reality. Naturally by the end of the episode it was shown that they weren’t as content as it seemed, but their positivity and proactive-ness at working through their situation was fascinating to see and offered sweet moments between the couple. Snow and Charming are old pros when it comes to curses and I like the idea of this one lasting over the course of a few episodes. I also am enjoying the sort of alliance that’s formed between Belle and Zelena. Granted, it’s because Zelena is being a bit petty, but Belle wasn’t wrong when she pointed out the similarities between them. This is a combination of characters we haven’t really seen, which struck me during the scene at Granny’s with Aladdin and Jasmine. I’m looking forward to seeing more of these two women in the future, especially since Rumple is now harboring a massive grudge against Zelena.

In regards to Rumple, I have to say I found him to be disturbing in this episode. He came across as blatantly abusive, restricting Belle’s movements and almost threatening her all under the guise of it being for her protection and the good of their son. I don’t know what’s going on with this character. Belle was always Rumple’s conscience. Yes, he did horrible things but he never directed that anger or manipulation at those he loved, he did it for those he loved. Here it felt as if Rumple was pouring his frustration and anger over Belle; that her feelings and safety didn’t matter because he wanted something. I do root for this couple, I liked them together, but how are they going to recover from this?

Join us in two weeks for “The Changelings”!