Snow White turned out to have one of the darkest hearts, Rumpelstiltskin’s got his own secret and the author was nothing that we expected on Once Upon a Time Season 4 Episode 17.
Below, TV Fanatics Robin Harry, Amanda Steinmetz, Allison Nichols and Paul Dailly are joined by Gareth from Once Upon a Fan to discuss The Charmings dark turn, Rumpel’s big secret and which turn in “Best Laid Plans” surprised them the most...
On a scale of 1 to 10, how dark was Snow White/Mary Margaret?
Robin: Snow White was/is as dark as any villain that has crossed their path. She may not have enacted curses or wielded power, but the fact that she could sacrifice someone else's offspring in the place of her own is truly heinous. To make it worse, Snow and Charming did something terrible and hid it for decades, pretending to be this righteous couple when they were really just seeking redemption. It's going to take a LOT to make me like those two again.
Gareth: I was surprised by how far Snow and Charming were willing to go in order to ensure Emma’s goodness. The whole scenario just didn’t sit right with me. It felt really out of character for them to go ahead and do this and not in line with what we have seen of them over the past 4 years. It felt like the character’s actions were made to fit the needs of the plot rather than a natural development of their character arcs.
Amanda: Can I go with a number higher than 10? Usually villains do bad things for personal gain. They also tend to think their way of doing things is right. Snow and Charming fit this description. Sacrificing another child to ensure the pureness of their own is as villainess as anything any bad guy has done on this show. They were always annoying because they were overly noble, but I doubt this storyline was in the cards all along. It feels more like a way to shake up the heroes and villains.
Allison: Snow White went super dark. I appreciated Mary Margaret having the realization that the darkness entered her heart long before she killed Cora. I was a little annoyed that Charming and Mary Margaret continued the game of lying and doing whatever it takes to save Emma after their big moment in Emma's nursery back in the Enchanted Forest where they, especially Snow, were horrified as to how far they went for Emma. I expected there to be a little more caution and restraint in Storybrooke.
Paul: 10! I honestly didn't believe Snow would go THAT far. It shows that she will stop at nothing to protect her family, but at the same time, it has me excited by what she will do to the Queens of Darkness.
Any idea who Lililth/Lilly is in Storybrooke?
Robin: Lily is Emma's childhood friend, the one she shoplifted with and ran away with before ending up in the Snow Queen's foster home. It's nice that we already know that girl was trouble as a teen.
Gareth: As depicted in the episode, Lilly is Maleficent’s daughter and also turned out to be Emma’s old friend. Be interesting to see what has happened to Lilly over the years and how her eventual return will impact on both Emma and Maleficent?
Amanda: Lily is Emma's childhood friend/Maleficent's daughter. If all of Emma's darkness was put into Lily, then I'm really curious how she turned out after all these years.
Allison: I'm excited to see Emma's old friend return. As soon as we saw Maleficent's child enter the portal, I figured it was going to be Lily. We spent far too long on her for her to just be a one time character, plus Emma had mentioned her like ten minutes before this happened.
Paul: I agree that Lily is Emma's childhood friend. What an exciting twist that was.
Should they have released the author from the book once they found out what he’d done?
Robin: Yes and no. Knowing that he had willfully altered the fate of everyone should have made them a bit more cautious. Though I am curious to see what kind of havoc he'll wreak, or if we'll find out what everyone's original fate was had he not meddled.
Gareth: No. Emma should have been more cautious. I think her anger at her parents blinded her to the potential dangers. Who knows what crazy antics the author will get up to now that he is free? Perhaps he will start rewriting or wiping people’s stories.
Amanda: It's a yes and no situation. They had to meet the author to see if he could change their stories, but they should have taken better precautions when releasing him. They should have been prepared for someone they might not be able to trust.
Allison: They should have at least released him in a jail cell or in a more controlled situation. The author needed to be released, but not just haphazardly like Emma did.
Paul: No. He should have stayed in the book for the time being. He clearly can't be trusted. I love Gareth's observation about rewriting stories.
Mr. Gold told Belle that something is changing that might prevent him from coming back for her. Any guesses on what that may be?
Robin: My first thought was that he's dying - but then I remembered that he's immortal as long as he's the Dark One and has the dagger. However, maybe if he changes his fate so that he's no longer the Dark One, he won't be able to be with Belle? I have no idea.
Gareth: The Once Upon A Fan staff have a developing theory that Gold might just be the ultimate undercover villain. Perhaps he merely used Ursula and Cruella as a way to get back into Storybrooke. Maybe he is really working against them all to make amends. I hope some part of it is true. As it stands now, Rumple's character feels really unredeemable. I really hope something more is going on with him because I am beginning to lose any sympathy I had for the character.
Amanda: I really hope Gareth's theory is true. I've hated seeing him back in one-sided villain territory. I honestly don't know what Gold meant when he said that, but it should be interesting.
Allison: I definitely took it as a sort of apology to Belle. He is trying to explain why he has to do what he will do, but I'm not sure what that is. I found it interesting that he said he might not be able to return to Belle. I'm not sure if that's because Belle's heart now belongs to Will or that something terrible could happen to Gold and either kill him, trap him, or somehow affect his relationship with Belle.
Paul: I think Gareth's observation will ring true. That will be annoying though. He is far better as a villain and has went too far this time round.
What was the biggest surprise of the episode?
Robin: That Maleficent laid an egg! I could not get over the fact that her child was hatched. I was also surprised - and disappointed - at how far the Charmings were willing to go to protect their secret.
Gareth: Finding out about the author. I really thought they would have kept us guessing about that right up until the finale.
Amanda: I don't know if I found anything particularly surprising. The second Patrick Fischler came on screen, I knew he was playing a bigger role than just a peddler. He's been around for a while, so he was definitely going to have a more significant part.
Allison: I can't get over that Snow White and Charming didn't realize that the egg was going to be a baby. They were so in shock that a child was in there. Do they not teach biology in the enchanted forest?
Paul: That Snow and Charming were immune to the curse.
What was your favorite scene from this episode?
Robin: I loved the scene where Maleficent begged for the life of her child. There was such a stark contrast between the fair-haired villain pleading for her child and the dark-haired hero kidnapping the egg. I really felt for Maleficent at that moment.
Gareth: I really enjoyed August’s explanation of the author and the ancient lineage behind them. Like Slayers but more desk bound!
Amanda: I agree with Robin. There was something really sad about watching Maleficent have her child stolen her by the supposed heroes.
Allison: I immediately switched sides and began rooting for Maleficent. It's not hard to see that in that instance, she was the victim and Snow and Charming were the villains. I enjoyed that contrast. It was a great scene.
Paul: Favorite scene was the curse putting Storybrooke to sleep. Even with most of the town asleep, there is still lots of drama.
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C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.