So much happened during this past Sunday’s episode of Once Upon A Time, I don’t even know where to begin. I laughed. I cried. I lived. I died. It was a true emotional rollercoaster. Check out the supersized Top 7 Moments (because I couldn’t pick just 5) from OUAT’s “The Miller’s Daughter”.
Snow White and the Candle
Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and David (Josh Dallas) helped Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle), Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Neal (Michael Raymond-James) return to Rumpel’s pawnshop in once piece. Rumpel ordered Emma, Neal and David to prepare for battle, because he knew Cora (Barbara Hershey) and Regina (Lana Parrilla) were on their way. He asked Snow to stay behind and get him a warmer blanket before joining the others.
When Snow opened the cabinet door to retrieve the blanket, she found the black and white candle of life and death from her past. Rumpel informed Snow the candle was the only way to save him from dying. A terrified Snow asked Rumpel what made him think she would use the candle to save him, when she couldn’t even do it to save her own mother. Rumpel replied she was all grown up now, and they have similar interests in this scenario. Rumpel teased if Snow didn’t use the candle, all her loved ones would die.
Rumpel informed Snow that Cora’s heart was not in her body. If Snow cursed Cora’s heart with the candle, and put it back in her body, Cora would die. In response to Rumpel’s instructions, Snow suggested another plan. She would keep Cora’s heart and force her to do the right thing.Then, Rumpel and his magic would die. Rumpel fired back that he would hate to see the look on Henry’s (Jared S. Gilmore) face when he finds out his grandmother let his grandfather die.
A determined Snow White ended up in Regina’s heart vault. She found Cora’s heart, and hesitated for a bit. Then, Snow took a few deep breaths and lit the candle over Cora’s heart. She whispered Cora’s name over the heart and blew the candle out. Has Snow White’s heart turned black as coal?
Snow and Regina’s Heart to Heart
As Snow exited the heart vault, Regina caught her. Snow admitted she intended to give Regina her mother’s heart. Snow informed Regina the reason she has never felt Cora’s love is because Cora never had a heart. Snow suggested maybe if Cora’s heart was returned to her body, she could truly love Regina. Regina knew her mother removed her heart to protect herself. Snow replied Regina could give Cora her heart back for a chance to feel real love, or she could let her turn into The Dark One. Snow White, I never knew you could be so sneaky!
In order to shield Rumpelstiltskin from Cora and Regina, Emma had to cast a protection spell on the pawnshop. There was just one problem: Emma didn’t know how to use her magic.
Luckily, Rumpel still had enough strength to teach her. She tried to do it alone, and failed. Rumpel angrily told her to stop thinking, and use her emotions to cast the spell. Emma took Rumpel’s advice to heart, and successfully spelled the pawnshop against the evil of Cora and Regina. How powerful is Emma’s magic?
Rumpelstiltskin’s True Colors
As Rumpelstiltskin felt life fading from his body, he decided to call Belle (Emilie de Ravin) one last time. In one of the most heartbreaking scenes of the episode, Rumpel poured his heart out to a confused Belle over the phone. He told Belle she was a hero, who saved her people. Rumpel informed Belle how beautiful of a person she is, inside and out. He confessed she made him want to go back to the best version of himself. Rumpel tearfully hung up the phone, as Neal and Emma (and me) held back tears of their own.
Neal, also known as Baelfire, admitted he didn’t know his father had true love in him. Rumpel admitted he did, and apologized to his son for going back on their deal. Rumpel reached out for Neal’s hand, and he eventually took it. The father and son finally reunited. By this point in the episode, I was a blubbering mess. I’ll just leave it at that.
Cora’s Backstory Part One
In the Enchanted Forest, a young Cora (Rose McGowan) was forced to handle the affairs of her household due to her father’s always drunken state. One day as she passed the then Princess Eva (Eva Allan), the royal deliberately tripped her. Cora attempted to stand her ground against Eva, but the princess was bitter and unremorseful. Due to Cora’s lowly status as a miller’s daughter, she was forced by King Xavier (Joaquim de Almeida) to kneel and apologize to Princess Eva.
With revenge on her mind, Cora dressed in the best ball gown she could find, and crashed the Prince Henry’s (Zak Santiago) masquerade soiree. The naïve prince didn’t recognize Cora’s true identity, and danced with her. However, the king knew exactly who Cora was, and exposed her to the party’s guests. He knew she had nothing to offer the prince, but Cora told him otherwise. Cora swore she could spin straw into gold. The king did not believe her, so he made her a deal. Cora was to stay in the castle all night and spin straw into gold, in exchange for the prince’s hand in marriage. If Cora failed, the king would kill her. Cora accepted the challenge.
In the tower, a distraught Cora tried to formulate a plan to turn straw into gold. She knew couldn’t do it, and contemplated jumping from the castle window, presumably to her death. Enter Rumpelstiltskin. He offered her a way out of her troubles. He would spin all the straw into gold for her, if she agreed to give him her first-born child. Cora signed Rumpel’s contract on the dotted line, but wanted him to teach her the magic as well. Rumpel obliged, and the lessons sparked a twisted, yet deep love affair between them.
Cora’s Backstory Part Two
Cora showed the king her newly learned talent, and became engaged to Prince Henry. She and Rumpel continued their affair, and even altered the original deal so Cora would bear Rumpel his own first-born child.
The day before Cora’s wedding to Prince Henry, Rumpel and Cora had a conversation about love. They agreed to run off together, but Cora wanted revenge against King Xavier first. She desired nothing more than to rip his heart out of his chest and crush it.
Cora visited the king to rip his heart out, but he had a few choice words for her instead. He knew she was going to run off with Rumpel, and warned her love was weakness. It is a weakness far too petty for such a strong woman like Cora. The scene soon cut away, and Cora was shown leaving the room with a heart in a box.
Cora met with Rumpel with the heart in tow. Almost immediately, he knew something was amiss with Cora. Cora agreed, and told Rumple she could not go with him. It turns out, she didn’t remove the king’s heart, she removed her own. She felt she had to do it, in order to get what she truly wanted. Rumple became infuriated, but remembered their contract. He could get his revenge by taking her baby. However, The Dark One forgot they altered the contract to state Rumple would get his own first-born child by Cora. Cora married Prince Henry, and the rest is history. Cora-1, Rumpelstiltskin 0.
Cora’s Final Act
Cora managed to break the protection spell on the pawnshop to get to Rumpel. Emma and Neal attempted to protect Rumple, but Cora banished them to the forest with the wave of her hand.
Cora approached Rumple as he mumbled about foreseeing this event in the past. He asked Cora if she ever loved him. Cora replied he was the reason she had to rip her own heart out. Rumpel was the only man she ever truly loved. As Cora raised her arm with Rumpel’s dagger to stab him and take his power, Regina inserted Cora’s heart back into her chest!
Cora genuinely smiled and laughed with tears in her eyes. Regina did the same, because she could finally feel her mother’s love. However, Regina had no idea the heart was cursed and Cora fell over into Regina’s arms. Cora and Rumpel traded wounds due to Snow’s earlier act with the candle.
Through shallow breath, Cora admitted Regina would have been enough (love) for her. Cora died in Regina’s arms, and Rumpel told Regina her mother did her no favors. Regina started to come unglued, and shouted Rumpel stole Cora’s life. Rumpel confessed he did no such thing, as Snow and David burst into the shop. Snow yelled for Regina to stop, but she noticed it was too late.
Without hesitation, a livid Regina realized Snow White set her up! How will Regina get her revenge on Snow White?