This week’s episode of Once Upon a Time is a healthy balance of flashbacks, Storybrooke, and present-day fairytale land. While Henry and Charming are desperately searching for portal, Emma and Snow are doing the exact the same thing — but in a totally different realm. Emma, who is usually so fearless, is completely out of her element as she encounters new problems like untrustworthy witches, ogres, and bat-shit crazy princesses. Plus, “The Lady of the Lake” introduces us to one of Snow’s dearest friends: Lancelot. Of the roundtable you ask? Yep!
Mommy (in-law) Dearest: Charming’s (Josh Dallas) attempt to take back the kingdom from his “father” King George is put on hold when their camp is raided by the king’s nights. Leading the charge is a secret weapon known as “The Leviathan,” but Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) quickly learns that the true identity of this masked knight is Lancelot. He brings Snow to the castle and we then listen to king’s monologue. It basically went like this, “Blag blah blah — my kingdom — blah blah — I was in love once — blah blah blah — now you can’t have babies.” That’s right, George cursed the water that he so graciously offered Snow so that Charming will feel the pain of knowing that he will never be able to make a family. Dick move, dude.
So now it’s about time we meet a mother who is actually, you know, motherly. Charming’s mom Ruth is as sweet as can be, and she is beyond thrilled to be meeting her future daughter-in-law. Unfortunately King George sends his knights to attack Ruth’s cabin, and even though Charming tells his mom to stay inside, she is shot in the chest with an arrow. Snow and Lancelot arrive a few seconds too late and they quickly determine that this arrow is poisoned and deadly. This is too dark for fairies to fix so Charming suggests that they travel back to Lake Nostos so that the magical waters may heal his momma.
But of course it’s never that easy. Since Charming killed the siren of the lake last season, there has been no one around to protect the precious water, so all that’s left is a bed of dust. While the men are searching for water, the ladies are doing their best to create some mother/daughter bonding and Snow tells Ruth about her can't-have-a-baby curse. Lancelot finds enough water for one person to drink and although it looks like Ruth gulped it all down, Snow unknowingly drinks the magic elixir in an impromptu wedding ceremony. (I know that sounds weird but it was quite cute.) Once Mama Charming passes away, Snow learns that her curse has been broken and that someday she and her new husband will have a baby girl.
Lancelot Lies: We first see the ladies where we last left off. Snow is unconscious and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) is chatting it up with Cora, who is desperately trying to play the “I’m not evil” card. Snow wakes up and goes into mama bear mode telling Emma that Cora (Barbara Hershey) cannot be trusted. Before we see another good versus evil showdown, the Storybrooke girls are summoned to see the leader of the camp. Surprise, surprise, it’s Lancelot! The knight explains that the Curse stripped Cora of her powers and for some reason this part of fairytale land remained untouched by the evil magic. Snow is determined to find a portal back to Maine and she believes the wardrobe (the one that sent Emma away) may still have some magic left in it. Lancelot agrees to let his old friend go but insists that Mulan (Jamie Chung) goes with them because the ogres have returned. Yikes!
At one point on their travels, Emma — like an idiot — fires her gun and the loud sound causes an ogre to attack. Just as it looks like Emma is going to be killed, Snow bellows, “Back away from my daughter!” The princess channels her inner Katniss and shoots the ogre straight in the eye. It’s been 28 years since she last held a bow and arrow, but when you’re a true badass, none of that matters. Snow, Emma, Mulan, and Aurora (yeah, she tagged along too) arrive at the castle and Emma is stunned to see everything that her mother gave up to save her. Snow whispers, “I was going to teach you how to walk in here, how to talk, how to dress for your first ball.” It seems that Emma is finally starting to open up to her newfound mother, but their connection is interrupted when Lancelot enters the room.
Lancelot, who is obviously very intrigued by the wardrobe, masks his lust by saying, “I just want you to get home to your husband and son Henry.“ At that point Snow knew that her friend was an imposter because Emma only mentioned her son’s name to one person: Cora. Yes, it appears that Cora killed Lancelot long ago and has been posing as him until she found a portal to Stoybrooke. Emma starts a fire and the wicked witch flees, but unfortunately the wardrobe (and their only hope of getting home) is now engulfed in flames. Mulan gifts Snow with the title of their new leader and ladies leave the nursery, but once they exit Cora returns and scoops up some of the wardrobe’s magical ashes.
Daddy Issues: Henry (Jared Gilmore) is bummed when Charming says that he is not allowed to help him search for a portal to fairytale land. “All magic comes at a price,” he reminds his slightly annoying grandson. But does Henry listen? Of course not! But it’s alright, I’m not mad because Henry leads us straight to the best character of the show: Jefferson (Sebastian Stan). The Mad Hatter is currently perfecting his sexy brooding look on the pier and he quickly brushes off Henry’s requests for help. “I’m the wrong person to talk to kid, magic is not my thing try your mother. Maybe she’s got something in that vault of hers,” he mumbles. To thank Jefferson for this nugget of information, Henry encourages the Mad Hatter to reunite with his daughter. Grace and Jefferson have a sweet embrace and once again we get to witness a beyond adorable fairytale reunion.
Now that Henry knows that Regina’s vault is actually in Storybrooke, he calls up his mom for a lunch date and a very excited Regina quickly leaves the house. (Side-Note: Being stood up — even if you’re an evil queen who probably deserves it — sucks. Not cool, you little brat.) Henry steals Regina’s keys, moves a stone coffin (that appears to weigh nothing) and hops down into the super secret vault. He picks up a random box and somehow the very first key he tries (out of a huge keychain) opens the lock and two very angry snakes rise gear up to attack.
Luckily, Charming pops out of nowhere and saves his grandson just in time. Henry gets out of all punishment by playing the sympathy card. “I just want them back. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I’m supposed to be there with them, riding horses and learning how to sword fight,” he wines. The episode ends on a cute note when Charming presents Henry with his very own wooden sword. “You’re the grandson of a prince I think it’s about time you learn how to use a sword,” he beams. The two begin perfecting their sword fighting skills but across the street King George is glaring at them from his car.
What did you think of “The Lady in the Lake”? Cast your spell in the comments below!
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[Photo Credit: ABC]
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