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Once Upon a Time – Mother’s Little Helper - Review

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“Mother’s Little Helper” was a good episode, but not a great one. It had many moments that stood out to me, whether due to the visual effects or the dialogue in the scene, but I feel that it was lacking tension overall. I attribute this to the Black Fairy who, as we explored her character further, didn’t bring forth enough malice or threat that I feel was warranted after such a buildup. However, Regina and Henry’s plot did bring tension by addressing a possible end to the stories we know and love. The note of finality that has danced around this show for the past few weeks has finally made its way to the screen and it could very well be that season six is the end of the show all together. Even if Once Upon a Time doesn’t end with season six, too much weight has been put on the end of The Book and the fact that some stories will be wrapping up for good to not leave the show irrevocably changed going forward. The manner of such a change remains to be seen.

Regina and Henry’s plot to seek out answers from Isaac did bring more tension to the plot, as I said above, but only in the last few minutes they were on screen, when the idea the The Book could be coming to an end. Before that the gravity of what was happening really didn’t hit and the story didn’t add much to the rest of “Mother’s Little Helper”. That being said, this must be set up for future episodes, so I can’t begrudge the writers introducing the end of The Book now in order to use more screen time later to flesh out the consequences surrounding this. I’m very interested in how The Book ties in to everything else on Once Upon a Time since it played such a big, though symbolic, role in the first season. Also, with Henry’s Author powers kicking in, I’m looking forward to seeing more from this character, and hopefully some more independent plotlines. I didn’t care for Isaac’s line about the Hamilton tickets. A line that topical is good for a quick chuckle, but takes me right out of the story. Storybrooke, and by extension Once Upon a Time, are meant to be timeless, so to date the show with such a reference comes across as very jarring.

I really enjoyed that Hook’s adventures getting back home felt very pirate-y. His interactions with Blackbeard were lighter without being out-right comedic. Unfortunately, Hook’s parts in the episode just didn’t do anything for me. They didn’t add anything in my mind. It could be that reintroducing Neverland as they did in “Mother’s Little Helper” was a way of setting up other lands Once Upon a Time could focus on if the show gets renewed and goes in a different direction. Whether this is the case or not remains to be seen, but I will say Hook better reunite with Emma soon because the plot of the two of them being separated is beginning to wear thin. There are supposed to be dire things happening in Storybrooke, I’d rather not have the focus diverted from them.

Emma and Gideon’s adventure with the gigantic spider in the Sorcerer’s mansion was interesting, but not wholly captivating. The audience had to feel that The Black Fairy would make an appearance in Storybrooke eventually, so Gideon had to succeed somehow. My confusion last week in regards to Gideon’s change of heart (heh, see what I did there) was answered in this episode, though clumsily in my opinion. The explanation for Gideon asking Emma to join him didn’t make sense, and by the time I had pieced out what the villain meant, he was already betraying the savior. I did love the CGI on the spider; I hate spiders and this one looked good enough to make me uncomfortable, there was an incredible amount of detail. The Spider’s entrance by jamming it’s leg through ‘Her Handsome Hero” and burying it into the table was unexpected, and looked amazing. Definitely a moment where one shouts an expletive at their screen. My favorite part of the present day storyline was right at the end. Rumple and Belle’s heart to heart on the couch in the mansion was part of it, but more so the subtle drawing of battle lines between the Charming family and the Stiltskin family. It wasn’t aggressive, it wasn’t bombastic, and it ended with a simple “Let’s go home” from Snow, but something about these two groups squaring off against each other really interested and excited me. It had to have been the simple realization between Rumple and Emma that they were truly at odds. The implied message from both parties was “you try what you’re thinking, go ahead, and see what happens” and this threat hanging between them showcased some incredible acting on the cast’s part. It was a natural choosing of sides, not an overtly dramatic one, and it makes me really look forward to what will come next within this family.

Finally, we come to the Black Fairy. There has been much to-do surrounding this character, she’s become a living boogeyman of sorts on Once Upon a Time, with tales of her darkness and power arcing over many seasons. And here, in “Mother’s Little Helper”, we get a taste of that. We see her affably evil side; however we haven’t seen anything yet to make us truly afraid of her. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to see more of the Black Fairy, but with the sweetness there has to be more steel, something to make us back up and reassess our perception of this character. Retelling the story Gideon told Rumple a few episodes ago at the beginning of this episode was a mistake in my opinion. It lessened the horror of hearing what the Black Fairy did to her grandson and allowing our imagination to fill in the blanks with just horrible things. I expect incredible things from the Black Fairy. A creepy, super evil female villain is something that Once Upon a Time does best. So I’m hoping that when the time comes, she will pull out all the stops and make the audience’s jaw drop. The Black Fairy needs to be a villain befitting The Final Battle, an even Rumple foretold all the way back in the pilot. Once Upon a Time has been so good this season with reaching back and remembering its roots, bring back elements in its stories that the audience love and connect with the most, they need to be sure to keep that up in the homestretch.

Tune in next week for “Awake”!

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