Episode 2.03 “Lady of the Lake”
Emma gets her come-uppance this week, as she figures out just how out of her element she really is. We get introduced to Lancelot, learn a little more about the surviving Fairy Tale Land, and see that Cora isn’t as helpless as we first thought.
AND THERE ARE SPOILERS!
So, Emma is experiencing a little culture shock — you know, with the whole “being in Fairy Tale Land” thing — and her people skills are suffering because of it. She’s still got it in her head that she’s a real person in the real world, and the gun in her hand will make a difference. Little does she know… I mean, what happens when she runs out of bullets?
Turns out Lancelot is in charge of the camp in which Snow and Emma find themselves, and he offers them any help they need to find a portal back to Storybrooke. Of course, there are the ogres to deal with… Their history goes back to when Lancelot — a disgraced knight-for-hire — kidnapped Snow for King George, who curses her so she wouldn’t be able to have children. This is in the midst of Charming’s war with George for control of the kingdom.
Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke, Henry’s trying to do the whole Mission: Impossible bit, sneaking into Regina’s office to get her skeleton keys and making his way to the vault to find some piece of magic something that can cross him over so he can be with his mother.
Parallel to this: Charming has returned to his mother’s cabin, where he gets ambushed by George’s men. A stray arrow catches Mom in the chest, and Lancelot — who has since rescued Snow from George — and Snow arrive at the cabin just in time to be a little too late. There’s poison on the arrow, and Charming figures he can take her to Lake Nostros — conveniently located only a day’s ride away — to use the water to heal his mother.
Except the lake’s gone. Because remember, Charming killed the Lady of the Lake. Oops.
But there’s just enough left for Mom to drink. Only she doesn’t, instead convincing Lancelot to put the last bit of Lake water into the marriage chalice for Snow and Charming. Knowing about the curse on Snow, Charming’s mother sacrifices herself to save Snow’s unborn children. There’s a lot of back and forth in the dialogue that sets up the parallel between Snow not knowing a thing about motherhood to being the experienced mother in the present day.
Speaking of mothers… Snow really doesn’t want Emma to trust Cora, because … well, that whole evil thing just runs in the family, don’t it? And to see Snow White being her old self, standing in front of Emma to protect her… kudos to Ginnifer Goodwin, who continues to impress me with how quickly she can shift through personalities.
This shift in roles is good to see, after a full season of Mary Margaret being a doormat. Those moments when she stands in front of Emma, you see her determination to protect her daughter at any cost. Fighting Aurora, fighting ogres, fighting Cora…
Because Snow’s right about Cora. As they make their way to Snow’s castle only to find the place in shambles, Lancelot mysteriously comes in behind them, and Snow realizes that he’s not Lancelot. Instead, it’s Cora in disguise! Trying to find a portal to the Storybrooke world. For revenge on Regina? Maybe. Except Emma manages to destroy the wardrobe to prevent Cora from crossing over.
And the look on Snow’s face as she takes one last look at the nursery, where Emma was never able to grow up… Ginnifer Goodwin deserves an Emmy nod. Seriously.
Regina, in the meantime, is still doing her good girl act, packing up her office because the town asked her to vacate the role of mayor.
Jefferson, after getting a stern talking-to from Henry, and letting slip that the vault was on this side of the reality fence, finally works up the gumption to reunite with his daughter. So be looking for that arc to start playing out over the next few episodes, as Grace and Jefferson have to come to terms with their separation and Jefferson’s guilt.
And what of Mr. Gold? We didn’t see him this episode, but King George has been featured quite a bit so far. Could we be seeing the setup to a new villain in Storybrooke?
One quibble: this is the only time we’ve seen “Present Day” on a Fairy Tale Land scene. Really, it’s not necessary. Between the costumes, hair, and cinematography, it’s easy enough to tell Fairy Tale Land Past from Fairy Tale Land Present. I mean, the pixie cut hairdo on Mary Margaret is a dead giveaway. Not to mention… uhm, Emma’s a grown-up in present day. So yeah, it’s easy to tell them apart.
Fun bit: Aurora tries to go all billy on Snow, only to get flipped in the grass. And Emma, see, still thinks her being a sheriff with a gun is like all that and a bag of chips and stuff. But the look on her face when she realizes her gunshot has attracted the hunt-by-sound ogres? Yeah. Priceless.