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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Once Upon A Time: The Miller's Daughter Recap

The Miller's Daughter

Best...episode...of the season! This recap is very close to just being the word "wow" over and over again! It was so good I half expect them to go on another four week break! The writers really turned what was becoming a predictable storyline on its head, spun it around, then punted it over the fence. Tons of misdirection and suspense, as well as a few revelations, and some of the best acting of the series made this one fantastic episode.

Warning! Unless you're Rumplestiltskin and can see the future, you might want to avoid the rest of the recap. There be spoilers!

Power versus love has been a theme of the show since its inception. We've seen each character make that choice over and over again, but never has it been so on display as this episode. When it came to Cora, the choice was clear. In order to prevent the humiliation she endured at the hands of Snow's mother, she would make everyone bow to her whim. And nothing, not even true love, would stand in her way.

Rose McGowan
She could be the queen of my heart any day!
Young Cora was sublimely played by Rose McGowan. Unlike Regina, Cora never seemed to be a perfectly innocent youth who was corrupted after a devastating loss. Rather, she knew her place in the world, hated those who kept her there, and wanted nothing more than to see them suffer. But she couldn't do it alone. She needed help from someone with the power to make her darkest desires come true.

Once Upon A Time
You rang, dearie?
What followed was probably one of the most deliciously evil pairings of the entire show. Rumple and Cora's romance was a match made in...well...not heaven. The scene where he teaches her to spin straw into gold using her bloodlust was played with a sensuality not often seen on the show. You could almost feel their evil souls feeding off of each other.

And, of course, I'm sure we all took in a collective gasp when Rumple amended their contract so that Cora wouldn't give him just any old first would be their child! Something fans had long suspected was unfolding right before our eyes! Could Regina actually be Rumplestilskin's daughter??!!

The answer was...shockingly!....amazingly!....incredibly!..............NO!

Once Upon A Time
"So here's the deal. I help you spin straw into gold, and you help me make the audience's head spin."
Cora, after ripping out her own heart (a fan hunch finally confirmed!), once again chose power over love. She had used the King for the throne, and she had used Rumple for his power. I have to say that I'm glad Regina isn't his daughter, the family tree was getting a little too twisted. It was a bold direction for the writers to take. And so, the ramifications of Cora's act would reverberate several years later, in a land far away from their own.

Back in Storybrooke, it was cool to see a dying Rumple act like a general preparing for war. Even as the poison raced to his heart, he was able to set up the defenses in his shop. Ever the teacher, he showed Emma how to properly use the magic within her, something that I'm sure will come into play as the season draws to a close. And, ever the trickster, he convinced Snow White to do something she swore she'd never do.

Once Upon A Time
Watch "Red Widow"?
Ginnifer Goodwin, I think, was at her absolute best as she convinced Regina to take her mother's heart and put it back into her body. She displayed a coldness and wicked cleverness that we hadn't seen in Mary Margaret before. Again, it was another fantastic twist by the writers. I mean, it's Snow White right? She wouldn't do anything this cold-hearted? Right? She didn't even do it to save her own mother so surely she wouldn't cut Cora down to save Mr. Gold? Right??!!

And then she lit the candle, held it over the heart, and whispered the name....Cora.

Once Upon A Time
"Hm...did I leave the stove on?...or....ya know, my heart unprotected?"
And in that moment the Snow we knew was gone. While she tried to prevent Regina from doing her bidding, it was too late. She had been corrupted just as Cora had planned, tricked into committing the darkest of magic by the Dark One. How this will affect her and her family going forward remains to be seen.

One thing's for sure, Regina has one hell of a reason to hate her now. She finally got the mother she always wanted, only to have been deceived into killing her. And so The Evil Queen is back and badder than ever!

Before I conclude, can we just go head and start the petition for Robert Carlyle to win every award next season? His portrayal, both as Rumplestiltskin and Mr. Gold in this episode, was absolutely incredible. As Rumple, he was every bit the devilish imp we were introduced to in the pilot. All grins and high-lilting laughs covering up an malevolence and desire to do the most evil. As Gold, we saw a man who had come to terms with the choices he had made, and wanted to make things right. His phone call to Belle was heart breaking, and his final moments with Baelfire were very touching. There was a moment where I really thought he was going to die before Cora could kill him, thus releasing the power of the Dark One forever. I grew more and more nervous with each letter that disappeared from the dagger. 

Even sadder, I think, was to see him realize that Cora truly loved him, only to have her die in front of him due to his own machinations.

Once Upon A TIme
"I'm so happy. Good thing matters of love always work out for me!"
Well, dearies, this was really my favorite episode of the season and I cannot wait to see how it all plays out! What did you think? What can possibly happen next now that the story we thought we knew has been chucked out?

Til' next time!


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