Choice and circumstance seem are the themes of the "Lady of the Lake." Choice led to Lancelot's circumstances as a hired sword in King George's army. Choice led to Emma's lonely circumstances of the first 28 years of her life, which created pent-up angst against her mother and father for leaving her all alone. Regina's mother ended up in the pit because she terrorized the Enchanted Forest with her magic, which is why Snow points a sword at her throat. Charming chose true love over King George, which led to the attempted raid on Charming's mother's cabin and her subsequent death via poisoned arrow. Actions have consequences. The unifying factor of the characters whom chose to go against someone or something is love. It's nothing new in Once Upon A Time--the importance of love--but it's good to see continued emphasis. Love's going to be the solution to whatever Ultimate problem arises in the final season of the show, whenever that may be.
"Lady of the Lake" jumps between three stories, two of which happen in The Enchanted Forest. One is a fairyback detailing the story of how Snow and Charming learned they would have a child one day, under what circumstances it happened, and the kind of magic love alone creates between people who are meant to be together. Snow dominates the action in both Enchanted Forest stories. Emma watches her mother kill an ogre, overpower a knife-wielding Aurora, figure out Coral's shape-shifting magic before her and her mother are killed. Their experience in The Enchanted Forest, leading to their moment in Emma's nursery, bonds the women as mother-and-daughter. Emma senses the sacrifice Snow made 28 years ago and tears up in expression of her gratitude. Snow looks around the nursery and remembers the way it was before the curse changed everything; she weeps, too, when thinking about the years she lost of watching her daughter grow up in the nursery, surrounded by love. Snow, in the fairyback, bonds with Charming's mother over motherhood. They meet after Charming's mother's wound. She thinks of Snow as an excellent woman with an open and honest heart because she gave her son someone and something to believe in. Snow's cursed by King George to never bear a child, which she tells her future mother-in-law about. Charming's mother asks Snow to use the magic water for the sake of a future child, but Snow wants to see Charming's mother live.
Motherhood is a sore spot for Snow. Growing up she had Coral in her life as the mother-figure and Regina as a sister figure. Coral manipulated her, betrayed her feelings by using them to hurt her own's daughter by killing the man she loves. Snow was tricked into telling Coral about the stable boy, which destroyed her bond with Regina. Snow never experienced the opportunity to be a mother. She had a day with Charming's mother, in which she learned about the heart and soul of a true mother. Once Upon a Time succeeded in depicting the maturation of Snow's maternal instincts without shoving it in the audience's face. The 'we are both' speech of Charming's echoed in my mind during Snow's two stories; her experiences, good and bad, created the woman we see with Emma in The Enchanted Forest. Snow is whole, for the first time in her life, just as her daughter is.
Choice and circumstance for the characters pay off in the scenes which show how choice and circumstance didn't break them down, but rather built them up. Aurora seems destined to become strong from her loss. The vengeance phase is over. Lancelot continued to do good. Emma embraced her destiny, found her mother, and her own calling to be mother to her son Henry. Charming's loss motivated him to overtake the kingdom with his wife and future child. The lack of portals and magic doesn't discourage either Snow or Charming in either place. They'll find a way to each other, regardless of laws or the supply of the convenient magic stuff. The water in the lake didn't work, because the magic disappeared the night Charming killed the siren. Choices, consequence and circumstance. But they've empowered to overcome the injustices and have their happy endings.
The C story in Storybrooke touched on Henry's role from last season and where it's at in season 1. Basically, he was the Desmond of Storybrooke. The comparison depresses me to write as much as it depresses you to read. Henry is 11 and as dynamic as a spoon. Desmond, meanwhile, is one of my all-time favorite characters, who was portrayed masterfully by Mr. Henry Ian Cusick. Henry still feels responsible for what's happen, guilt for not being with his mother and grandmother, and desperate to find a solution. Solutions to the current problem aren't found in the book, though. Solutions are people's powers, like Jefferson's, but he's messed up from his memory of leaving his daughter behind. So, Henry brings Jefferson together with his daughter by giving him a push, and he also begins learning how to sword fight.
Of course, when one problem is solved, another surfaces. King George is in town, and he's still pissed.
-The effects in this show are horrible. The post-production team does the best they can. The ogre wasn't bad looking. The epic scenes in towers, though, are a mess because of the green screen use and the way it's lit. The actors look like they're standing in a room lit like a dance club for underage high schoolers, if they were standing in front of a green screen too. The post-production schedule must be hell. I wonder what the budget is for the show. The effects are costly, the writers are among the best in TV, and the actors they pull in must demand a high salary; plus, the crew must be paid, too.
-Andrew Chambliss & Ian Goldberg wrote the episode. Milan Cheylov directed it.
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