Once Upon a Time Review: Love Could Have Been Enough

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I was truly impressed with "The Miller's Daughter," as Once Upon a Time made me sympathize with Cora, something I hadn't thought possible.

Rose McGowan was perfectly cast as a young Cora and I felt her rage when Eva tripped her and the King made her stay on her knees. When she told Rumple that she wanted their necks to break from bending, I understood her desire for vengeance. 

A Young Cora

What I never expected was the relationship between Cora and Rumplestiltskin. There were moments when I speculated that Regina could actually be Rumple's daughter but that was not meant to be. 

Rumple has certainly had his heart crushed when it comes to love. His wife and Cora both left him and he may have lost Belle due to her amnesia.

In an episode full of incredible moments, the most emotionally moving was Rumple's phone call to Belle. He told her she was a beautiful woman who loved an ugly man and how she created good where none existed. How she was the only person who had made him want to go back to the best version of himself. 

He spoke from the heart as he believed he was dying and his words not only moved Belle but Neal who admitted he didn't know his father had the depth of those feelings in him. Rumple had to remind his son that he'd spent a lifetime searching for him all to say he loved him and he was sorry. If that didn't push Neal to give his father a second chance I don't know what will.

Despite all the drama, Emma was able to bring in some much needed humor. When Neal questioned her magical abilities she was quick to shoot back in this Once Upon a Time quote.

Are you being judgy about this? Because you're not allowed to have opinions about surprises, son of Rumplestiltskin. | permalink

But the biggest shocker of the night went to Mary Margaret. Still reeling from watching another loved one die at Cora's hand she was certain that the only way to save her family was for Cora to die. When David tried to remind her that she's always been pure of heart, Rumple was quick to interject the reality of Cora's vengeance.

Mary Margaret: There's no coming back from murder.
Rumplestiltskin: There's no coming back from death either and that's what will happen to your loved ones. | permalink

I was truly in awe of Mary Margaret's ability to emotionally manipulate Regina but using her longing for her mother's love to convince her to put back Cora's heart.

Mary Margaret: She can't love you, you know. She doesn't have her heart. | permalink

I really never saw that one coming. I was both impressed and horrified that she embraced such a dark path. If only she hadn't tried to stop it at the last moment. Then perhaps Regina wouldn't have realized the truth.

Heartbreaking was the only word to describe Cora's death and Regina's reaction. For the first time in her life Cora realized that love could have been enough. It could have meant more to her than power but unfortunately that revelation only came as she lay dying in her daughter's arms. At least she told Regina that she would have been enough before she died.

But what does this mean for Henry's family? Is Henry's love enough to stop Regina from eviscerating Snow? Will Rumple's words improve Belle's memory or will she continue to flounder? And how will David, Emma, and Henry react to Snow's actions? I'm guessing Storybrooke will never be the same.


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (178 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.


Great episode; every episode written by Buffy alum Jane Espenson has been great at taking the storyline in different directions. I hope she continues to write great episodes for Once Upon a Time


@KansasGuest But I think it's with Regina and Rumpel you see actual regret. You see a genuine reflection of their evil deeds and attempt at reconciliation. You see it with Regina withdrawing from magic, and Rumpel attempting to be "good" for Belle. With Cora, there is no remorse, there is no regret, there is no attempt at redemption, which seeds the greater evil. Without a heart, she is completely amoral. With Regina and Rumpel, with their hearts, despite their actions, can still lead to redeeming themselves to the ones they love: Henry and Belle, respectively.


Boy, a lot of discussion about Cora, Snow, goodness and the like. Another twist to ponder though...consider that while Cora does all her evil deeds minus her heart (because she doesn't want her emotions to influence her judgement), Regina & Rumple manipulate, scheme, curse, and kill *with* their hearts fully involved. If Regina was indeed her mother's daughter, I doubt making Cora feel love would result in happy endings all around town. Regina feels love for Henry. But, that hasn't influenced her enough to spread joy & sunshine around Storybrooke. Similarly, Mr. Gold & Belle. All you need is love...not. At least that's how it plays in OUAT. Maybe what they all need is love and forgiveness, received and extended.

Kitanishi h mcdonald

I think with the intention of "protecting her family", she paved the way to her own hell. What's that age-old addage? "Sometimes the hardest thing, and the right thing, are the same thing."

THIS SO MUCH. Especially since we see an intentional parallel of Cora doing EXACTLY THE SAME when convincing Regina


continued....life of a king: LOVE. And I agree with the reviewer that the best moment of the night was Rumple's phone call to Belle. That had me in tears! So well enacted and so beautiful!
I have to say that I am not a fan of Robert Carlysle, after seeing his work in Hamish Macbeth and Stargate Universe, I felt like all he could play was "wee pissed off Scotsman" and nothing else. However, during this episode of OUAT, I saw him play Rumple as a seducer and a lover of a gorgeous young woman, and was surprised that he actually pulled it off, so much so that I believed he was sexy in that turning straw into gold scene. Color me amazed.


I was glad that this episode, as heart-wrenching as it was (pun intended) lead to the death of Cora, whom I have little sympathy for. Yes, she was treated like dirt by the crappy royals, yes, she wanted revenge for that, but in any Monarchy there are the royals and the peasants, and there are always a lot more peasants than there are royals. It's a caste system that is still in place to a certain extent, in England. Yes, the royals are figureheads, but look how eagerly the peasants await news of any problems or divorces or missteps in the royal family! There's practically an entire tabloid industry based on royal-watching. So she was the miller's daughter and had a hard childhood, big deal. I'd be willing to bet there are thousands like her in the fairy-tale kingdom. The only thing that differentiated her from them is her lust for power and revenge. And she seems to have thrived on such things for her whole life, giving up the one thing that makes the life of a peasant better than the life of a king: LOVE.


@San I think with the intention of "protecting her family", she paved the way to her own hell. What's that age-old addage? "Sometimes the hardest thing, and the right thing, are the same thing." Snow rationalized to herself that it was the best shot, knowing full well it wasn't, otherwise she would not have regretted it and attempted to stop it from happening. Snow knew she committed an act of evil, going against her mother, and was partly responsible for tearing a daughter from her mother, a feeling she knew all too well. I don't believe this was Snow's best shot, and she knew it too.


@San Crushing the heart, while taking a dark path, isn't as dark as what Snow actually decided. That would have resulted in Cora's death, Rumpel's death, but that would still leave Regina seeing Snow taking a life. But what Snow actually did was to let Regina be the final cog in Cora's ultimate destruction. Playing Regina's heart with love to accomplish a dark task was, perhaps IMO, the darkest path that Snow could have taken, and she did.


@San Letting Gold die without returning the heart would've allowed a great evil to pass, but that would mean Cora and Regina remain with their influence, and cause further heartache down the line until, eventually good would prevail.


@San But I think that's the whole point of being "good". It's doing something and having faith in the other person that they also do the right thing. Snow's "Charming" option would've been to give Regina Cora's heart untainted. As Cora was shown to admit that "love was enough", her pursuit of the Dark One's powers would not have been forefront. This in-turn would've left the Dark One's curse to fade, to never curse anyone again, it would've allowed Cora and Regina's reconciliation to happen, Regina would've accepted love, and the blood fued between the family would've finally died. Regina would see that Snow acted altruistically, and the healing of old would could finally begin.

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