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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Aurora Snow’s Once Upon A Time: Season 3: Ep. 1 “Heart of the Truest Believer” Review


“Heart of the Truest Believer”


Every child wants to wish upon a star with a heart that believes in magic. As we become adults reality sets in and we lose those fantasie,s which is why I find Once Upon a Time to be a very special series. It adds some of the magic and wonder back into our adult lives. Disney fairy tales retold (and twisted) in adult language that doubles as kid appropriate. In this season premiere our misfit cast of characters journey to Neverland in a quest to save Henry, the quintessential golden child.

This season premier kicks off with a flashback to 11 years ago in a delivery room. Emma gives birth to a little boy and gives him up without even trying to see him. She couldn’t handle becoming a mother then. Now it’s that little boy that she’s fighting for like a protective momma grizzly bear out for blood. It’s her son, Henry, that drives her forward.

Emma is the real adult on the show, she has to see it to believe it. She lacks a fairytale alter ego, so she’s the most identifiable. With her firm grip on reality I think she’ll make an excellent leader for her assorted group: the Evil Queen AKA Regina, Captain Hook, Snow White AKA Mary Margaret and Prince Charming AKA David. It’s so rare to see the villains (Regina & Hook) working together with the good guys (Snow & Charming) – that’s just one of the perks of this show, the bad guys are full of surprises.

Mermaids made an introductory splash though it didn’t feel warranted. Yes, they attacked the ship and created a scenario for our ragtag group to work as a team, but why they attacked the ship is unclear. Maybe they attack anything in their waters, perhaps they are territorial fish, there are a lot of possibilities to ponder, but no clear answers other than the writers wanted to set up a mermaid meet n’ greet so we can expect Ariel later in the season. If Ariel is anything like the mermaids we just met, it might be safe to assume she won’t be on the side of good.

Emma was the only one with a clear head to see that the tempest was caused by their tempers, thanks to a mermaid’s “signal” on a conch shell. She took matters into her own hands just as a good leader does. Jennifer Morrison really shines as Emma, and I think this will be the season to see her character grow in new ways.

New villains materialize this season, in particular Peter Pan. Fascinated with how the writers have twisted the classic Disney version into something with more meat. In this retelling, Peter Pan and his lost boys take on ominous qualities made darker by the fact that they are so young. Kids need parents to guide them with a moral compass in order to reinforce what is right from wrong, but all these lost little boys have is the sinister Pan.

I wonder if in this retelling Peter Pan may turn out to be darker than Rumpelstiltskin. Rumple, played by Robert Carlyle, is one of my favorite characters on the show in part thanks to Carlyle’s rendition of the “Dark One.”  His mannerisms are never over the top, his character is perfectly ostentatious while also holding his true emotions back, except when it comes to his boy. Rumple has an emotional break when one of the lost boy’s tosses him a remnant of Neal’s past, it’s in these moments that the Dark One becomes an almost loveable character.

In previous seasons Rumple has always been the most powerful, but that may change. Seeing Rumple on the losing end of a power struggle is almost unimaginable, however it was hinted that Peter Pan may be more powerful than he. Pan is currently a mystery – is he boy or evil shadow? Not really clear on how that works just yet. As far as I know his only power is ripping out shadows, and that seems potentially avoidable for a skilled magician. Curious to see how this pans out.

Neal didn’t die! What a great reveal in the season premiere. He woke up in the Enchanted Forrest with Aurora and Mulan, not terribly thrilling in terms of a storyline. Neal’s on a quest to find magic, the one thing he’s run from his entire life and now to get back to those he loves he must use it – what irony. Nonetheless the more interesting storyline is back in Neverland, let’s hope Neal returns to the action soon.

Over all I’m  pleased with the season premiere even though it wasn’t the strongest start (at least it had an intriguing setup). Looking forward to jumping back into fantasy land this fall with the third season of Once Upon A Time.

Aurora Snow Says:

Episode Rating:



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  1. I haven’t seen this but it sounds rad. As far as Peter Pan, I think this version of the character is very interesting. Fairy stories weren’t originally happy and pleasant. They were more like horror stories with fairies in them.

    • I love this show! It’s one of my favorites. The twists the writer’s come up with are both clever and fascinating. In a way it becomes “un-Disney-fied” but only in a small way.

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