Jump to content
Forums forums
PRIMETIMER
yeswedo

S02.E16: The Miller's Daughter

Recommended Posts

 

Cora and Regina try to overpower Mr. Gold; dark magic tempts Mary Margaret; Rumplestiltskin offers his services to Cora.

 

Note: please use spoiler tags when referring to major events that happen after this episode to allow new viewers to choose to be spoiled.

Share this post


Link to post

This is my second favorite episode of S2.

For one, it's a Cora-centric. This is her story. I found the fairybacks with Rumple more interesting than the battle in the pawn shop. Cora's undoing wasn't as awesome as it should have been, but the candle twist was pretty brilliant.

I really miss Cora.

My only major gripe with this episode is that it was the catalyst for the dark heart plot.

Edited by KingOfHearts

Share this post


Link to post

In general, I find Cora to be overrated (what a nasty woman... I don't consider a mass murderer fun to watch at all), but I definitely agree with KingofHearts in finding the fairybacks much more interesting than the battle in the pawn shop.  They did a great job with casting for Young Cora and I liked the twist on the Rumplestiltskin and the Miller Daughter's story.  By this time in Season 2, they had really abandoned doing one-episode twists on established fairy tales, and I missed that.

 

The present-day stuff was severely underwhelming as usual.  What's the point of creating magical protection around the pawn shop when Cora and Regina broke down the door so easily?  It's typical of the huge imbalance of power between good and evil on this show.  It just sucked out the suspense.  I did not like Rumple so easily manipulating Snow.  It's just another example of the good guys being so gullible and led by the nose for everything and not given the chance to find the solution themselves.  If this episode had been framed differently, showing Snow to be a real hero for the candle plan, this could have been fun to see Cora get her comeuppance.  But instead, it was framed as if we should feel sad that Cora was being killed and Regina was losing her mother.  

Edited by Camera One

Share this post


Link to post

I've always wondered about Rumple and Cora.  Rumple really seemed like he had fallen for her hard.  I find they fit better together at least than Belle/Rumple and I would have been totally down with some villain on villain action. 

 

I knock Rumple a lot because he's a real shitbag, and that's fine because he is a villain, but Cora is just one batshit crazy, selfish, self-involved, no self-awareness woman. 

between de-hearting herself and not feeling love for her daughter and abandoning her first born to give herself her best chance...she truly is the mother of the year

Share this post


Link to post

This was my favorite episode of the entire series. I loved the Rumple and Cora twist, why its the 2nd deal Rumple has ever changed, and the last conversation between Cora and Rumple was perfect. Hell I even liked the Belle phone call. I also loved the contrast bewteen Rumple teaching Cora and Rumple teaching Emma. I figured it was the start of Rumple teaching Emma magic and an arc with Emma, Rumple and Neal. I liked the Snow candle thing for a hot second before she busted in and went right back to acting like an idiot and prostrating herself at Woegina's feet.

of course after this episode was also the point when the series went to total crap.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Loved this episode but it showed how shallow and short-sighted Cora was.

 

As we know, Regina’s father was only minor nobility and Cora had to concoct another “marry-up” scheme for her daughter to get her up the ladder to someone of real consequence. Rumple was already someone of real consequence, not to mention a perfect match. If it was power she craved, Rumple was more powerful than any King. Rumple may not have any desire to be a King himself but could have installed any child they may have had as King or Queen of any sized realm they pleased (up until modern times, conquest were how all dynasties were started) and that could be made into a new deal.

 

Crushing foes beneath through their combined magic would surely be more satisfying than whoring herself

as we know, this was not her first attempt, the product of which was Zelena.

and her daughter up the social ladder inch by inch. So why? For the minor recognition in the short term, gowns, baubles and masquerade balls? That’s not the mark of someone who understands the path to true power (something she fancies herself to be), that’s just being a glorified social climber. Poor Cora, she was so obsessed with compensating for her low birth that she didn’t even understand herself.

Share this post


Link to post
As we know, Regina’s father was only minor nobility and Cora had to concoct another “marry-up” scheme for her daughter to get her up the ladder to someone of real consequence. Rumple was already someone of real consequence, not to mention a perfect match. If it was power she craved, Rumple was more powerful than any King. Rumple may not have any desire to be a King himself but could have installed any child they may have had as King or Queen of any sized realm they pleased (up until modern times, conquest were how all dynasties were started) and that could be made into a new deal.

 

I disagree. Cora not only wanted power for herself - she didn't want anyone to have real power over her, and Rumple did it in both the obvious way (no matter how strong a sorceress she was, the Dark One is always better) and in the other, more subtle way by being the man she loved. When she chose to marry Henry, she didn't just choose one suitor over the other - she chose mastery over herself and her feelings and her surroundings over being tethered to the Dark One. 

 

Also, we all know Rumple, and so did she. Do you honestly think he wouldn't one day turn on her for some reason? I mean, he claims to love Belle, but has no problem constantly lying to and manipulating her. Cora was smart enough to foresee this.

 

Now, why did she chose this path to power... She was clearly obsessed with royalty, and it's possible she didn't trust her magic to always be there to support her, thus her choice of getting married. Also, it's pretty clear that the Enchanted Forest, or at least a part of it, was a pretty patriarchal culture, so getting married was probably the easiest/most common way to take care of herself for a woman.

 

Crushing foes beneath through their combined magic would surely be more satisfying than whoring herself  

as we know, this was not her first attempt, the product of which was Zelena.

 

I consider the spoilered events an unashamed retcon, so I'm not sure we should ever take them into consideration while discussing the episode.

Edited by FurryFury
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I feel like I have so many questions about the writer's choices after this one. Question #1 is why on earth did Cora not summon Rumple and then stab him with the dagger as we saw Rumple do with Zoso? Question #2 is why did Cora not put a protection spell over her heart as we saw Rumple do with his shop or otherwise magically protect such a valuable object (especially once she knew Rumple had time to try to counter her). Question #3 is once Cora made Regina an accessory to murder and otherwise direct enemy to Snow, why didn't Regina just start magically disintegrating people or turning them into animals since there was no way she was getting Henry back without magical persuasion? Question #4 is why didn't Regina just apparate out of Emma's grasp? Question #5 is whether the contrast between how Regina and Neal are unable to stay away from their dangerous, abusive parents and how Henry could not care less about Regina is meant to say something about Henry as a character or reflects the show's creators attitudes about adoption vs. biological parentage.

 

And the biggest question for me is: will Rumple ever have to suffer the consequences of his actions for longer than a single episode? Seriously... Belle's completely rational breaking up with him doesn't even last for an episode. Now Neal's awesome speech in "Manhatten" is undone in his next interactions. I am so tired of Rumple getting away with everything. 

 

The Cora flashbacks were golden. Everything about it fit (minus Henry being a prince, which I think contradicts one of the earlier Regina episodes). Cora/Rumple had so much chemistry, it makes Rumpbelle even more ridiculous to me. Although I thought Rumple was ridiculous with questioning Cora's love for him... she ripped out her freaking heart! Of course she genuinely loved him. And far more genuinely than Belle, who is completely deceived about who Rumple really is! 

 

The way Emma/Snow/Henry act towards Rumple compared to Regina make them seem like huge hypocrites to me. I actually find the hypocrisy good writing and emotionally true because Rumple is generally nice to them and has helped them on occasion, but he's done everything Regina's done and more. To me, it seems like the issues with Regina are more about Emma and Henry than Regina's actual crimes. It cracks me up that Rumple manipulated Snow out of the most intelligent plan Snow's ever had with an appeal to his blood relationship to Henry when Rumple's possibly thinking about how he's going to be killing Henry. OTOH, Snow's second-most intelligent plan was still fairly brilliant.

 

Despite my Regina love, I loved Snow's manipulation of her. Snow owed Regina nothing there. It was sad, though, that the only time Snow's ever known the right thing to say and the right attitude to take with Regina was when Snow wasn't genuinely trying to give Regina a chance. I often wish Emma was not a character on this show because I'm so much more interested in Snow/Regina (and Regina/Rumple). But at least Regina did get to see Cora love her before Cora's death. 

 

I'm having a tough time imagining where the show can go next. I know Lana Perilla has to stay on the show, but I don't know how they can bring Regina back from this arc.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Rule #1 Never question why magic users don't do something on this show. Magic has no rules. The way it works is that the villain du jour is always the most super powerful person ever...until they're not. So when they don't do the most logical thing ever, it's just best to assume it's their time to not be powerful anymore so they can die. That said, long live Cora!

 

 

The way Emma/Snow/Henry act towards Rumple compared to Regina make them seem like huge hypocrites to me. I actually find the hypocrisy good writing and emotionally true because Rumple is generally nice to them and has helped them on occasion, but he's done everything Regina's done and more.

 

Emma, Henry and even Snow don't really know about Rumpel's many crimes. They also weren't generally directed at them. At least not that they know of. Rumpel totally would've drowned Henry in the East River if he hadn't discovered he was his grandchild and the perfect carrot to keep Neal in Storybrooke. Regina has tried to kill Emma and her family multiple times and is also responsible for Emma's miserable childhood and Snow's losing her baby, so it's very personal. Also, Henry didn't know who Mr Gold was from the book. I believe most of Rumpel's history is known only to those who lived 300 years ago (his origin story is not in the book). Emma knows he killed Milah, but I don't believe she knows that Milah was his wife and that it involved him ripping out her heart and crushing it. Other than Neal, who is not going to share fun memories like the time his father murdered and possibly ate the mute maid, Hook is pretty much the only guy who really knows just how sick Rumpel is and he's currently locked up in the closet for actors who broke their legs. 

 

 

I'm having a tough time imagining where the show can go next. I know Lana Perilla has to stay on the show, but I don't know how they can bring Regina back from this arc.

 

You are about to embark on the epic suck of late Season 2. Like you, the writers didn't know where to go with things either and the ratings completely tanked  I quit watching around this point because I was so fed up with the lack of emotional payoff from Season 1. What's to keep me interested if nothing a character does has long term consequences? Your frustration with Rumpel getting everything and not paying for it goes double for me because Regina hasn't paid for anything she did either. So there are two characters on this show who literally get away with murder and it happens way too often for me to believe that anyone would actually have any kind of relationship with either of these two characters. And now Regina's on the warpath and wanting to kill everyone. Again. 

Edited by yeswedo · Reason: added spoiler tags
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

This was probably my favorite episode of season 2. It had my favorite fairybacks and the candle plot was awesome. The chemistry between Rumple and Cora was insane! Also, this episode is the one I deem as "the heroes got lucky" episode. If Regina hadn't been swayed by Snow, everyone would be dead. And yeah, you can argue that all future villain clashes end with the heroes getting lucky, but this defeat didn't feel nearly as contrived.

Cora is still probably my favorite villain of the entire series and i miss her.

Share this post


Link to post
Emma, Henry and even Snow don't really know about Rumpel's many crimes. They also weren't generally directed at them. At least not that they know of.

 

Henry may not be (Rumpel's not in the book? I forgot about that), and Emma may not be aware of the extent of them, but Snow certainly is, which is why she considered letting Rumpel die. It's clear in the fairybacks that the denizens of the Enchanted Forest know how dangerous and evil Rumpel is. Emma is aware that Rumpel is violent and untrustworthy, but at this point, I can't remember how much she knows versus what I know. Like I feel like her scene with Rumpel after she and Snow returned from the Enchanted Forest established that she knows Rumpel is behind the curse, but I can't remember how she could know that. 

 

I think it's more that the crimes weren't directed at them. That's why I said I think they're hypocrites for how they deal with Rumpel vs. Regina but that they're hypocrites in totally understandable and human ways. They do often need Rumpel as the only counterforce to Regina. It's too bad the writers didn't have Snow and Charming talk about using the Cora/Regina threat as an opportunity to keep Rumpel's dagger for themselves because that would have been very smart. They should be trying to get the dagger; it's the only way to have any kind of safety or control for Storybrooke (I think it would also be a really good arc for Rumpel and Robert Carlysle). 

 

Also, this episode is the one I deem as "the heroes got lucky" episode. If Regina hadn't been swayed by Snow, everyone would be dead.

 

This is one of the few that doesn't seem like the heroes just getting lucky to me. Regina was swayed by Snow because Snow was smart! If only Snow had appealed to Regina's desperate need for love and acceptance that well in the cafe, Snow may have swayed Regina earlier. 

Share this post


Link to post

I believe the consensus is that this episode is the strongest of 2B, and I don't disagree. It's genuinely good. My favorite part is the take on the Miller's daughter fairy tale, making it twisted while maintaining its original themes. Even when the show did things like remove major plot elements (such as having to figure out Rumplestiltskin's name), it could still pull off the adaptation because the essence was still intact. The Miller's Daughter was still a desperate woman, Rumplestiltskin was a maniacal imp, and the story revolves around spinning straw into gold. Other stories such as Hansel & Gretel were done similarly. As the show went on, however, the writers started using fairy tales as namedropping instead of actually retelling them.

Spoiler

I'm looking at you, Little Mermaid.

Cora and Rumple is still an awesome villain ship and the only good one on the show. It's sick, gnarled, and immoral on every level. But I love it because the chemistry is so great.

Spoiler

Zades is so laughable by comparison.

I do think Cora's "you would've been enough" was genuine, even if it was a selfish love.

Spoiler

Cora's attitude in 5B sort of confirms it, in my opinion.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
25 minutes ago, KingOfHearts said:

I do think Cora's "you would've been enough" was genuine, even if it was a selfish love.

A&E has confirmed in interviews it was definitely genuine and how it was such a great moment, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Camera One said:

how it was such a great moment, etc.

Ew. Why don't they ever leave anything up to interpretation? They always put their characters in boxes, never letting them just be themselves.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

FOR THE BENEFIT OF SLOW VIEWERS, THIS WAS THE TAKEAWAY FROM THE EPISODE:

Feel sad for Cora and Regina, damnit.  Snow should be ashamed of herself!  She became just like Regina with her emotional manipulation.

Thank you for watching.

This has been a message from A&E.

Edited by Camera One
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
9 hours ago, Camera One said:

FOR THE BENEFIT OF SLOW VIEWERS, THIS WAS THE TAKEAWAY FROM THE EPISODE:

Feel sad for Cora and Regina, damnit.  Snow should be ashamed of herself!  She became just like Regina with her emotional manipulation.

Thank you for watching.

This has been a message from A&E.

I felt and still feel that Snow did the right thing. It's still ok if she feels bad about it but no one should judge her for it they should understand they were between a rock and a hard place. She did the hard thing, she chose life for the town.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, daxx said:

I felt and still feel that Snow did the right thing. It's still ok if she feels bad about it but no one should judge her for it they should understand they were between a rock and a hard place. She did the hard thing, she chose life for the town.

If Snow had been portrayed up to this point as "pure" and had never taken a life before, I could see her having some kind of breakdown. That would fit her character since Snow White has always been a symbol of chaste innocence. But that's not what happened. She was a bandit who killed random red shirts in S1. And unlike The Cricket Game, this was not some formal execution with a protection spell. This was self-defense with no other way of dealing with the issue. They couldn't incarcerate Cora or neutralize her powers. I don't understand how you can corner a character, forcing them to make a decision, then make that character feel responsible for it. All the little pieces, like Rumple having the candle, Joanna being murdered, and Cora getting the Dagger had to fall into place in order for it to work. Snow literally had no choice, so why is it on her at all?

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
42 minutes ago, Camera One said:

She was supposed to accept death and be a sacrifice and have faith that Regina would choose to do the right thing.

Right that's one thing you can always count on Regina to do is the right thing. That will comforted all of Storybrooke residents in Heaven Cora murders them all or hell after Regina murders them all. 

Edited by andromeda331

Share this post


Link to post

Cora and Rumple would have made an awesome evil couple. I still don't see why Cora even in the flashback would have settled with marrying into royalty but waiting for her daughter to be Queen. She'd be murdering her way to the top. 

I never believed Cora's last line to Regina. I always thought it was one last attempt to mess with her or to cause problems. Regina was never enough. If she had been Cora would have abandoned all her plans after giving birth to her daughter.

I still hate the ending with Snow being blamed for murdering Cora. Even after they set up and show Cora about to become the Dark One and murder everyone, no Snow is the one who ends up "bad" for murdering her. Regina of course once again gets off scot free for her part in it all. So Snow is wrong for murdering the villain even though it was self defense and to save everyone from Cora. Meanwhile, Regina joins her mother, who she is well aware of is an villain who's murder who knows how many people including her boyfriend, follows her to Gold's shop to partake in helping the villain become the Dark One. But no she's not responsible for anything. No, let's weep for poor Regina. Her evil murdering Mommy is murdered. Screw you A&E. You are two really messed up people.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Despite clearly setting up a Snow-shaming arc in which her very understandable and actually heroic killing of Cora is framed as a bad thing, this is one of my favorite episodes, and I think one of the best the show ever did. I love Manhattan, for instance, but that's an example of an episode that is so good because of something massively consequential to the plot and characters happening. The Neal/Emma and Neal/Rumple reunions are well done, but the situation is so inherently dramatic that it is kind of a softball for a writer. Whereas I don't think the Cora backstory had to be anything special, and it is totally down to the writing and acting that it is. 

What is great about Cora is that she has a somewhat sympathetic backstory without being a sympathetic person. In the episode where we find out how Rumple became the DO, he's presented as this meek, even kind of pathetic person who has the intrinsically sympathetic motivation of wanting to save his son, which - while that is complicated in other flashbacks -- is a fairly easy way of purchasing a viewer's sympathy for a villain. But while Cora has the outline of a sympathetic story -- lives in poverty, humiliated by rich woman, shows up to the ball disguised, a la Cinderella - there's the sense that her seething anger is always rooted in a far more venial ambition. We sympathize with Cinderella, or even Rumple or Regina, or countless other poor characters trying for something better because their goals are worthy: these characters want to find true love, or protect their families, or fight tyranny. Cora just believes that she is too good for the life she is living, that she deserves nice things and the power to get them - and the power to make her enemies pay. There may be something admirable in her sheer nerve and intelligence in getting there (her immediate "Don't show me, teach me" when Rumple shows her he can spin the straw into gold is perfect), but there's no pretense that even pre-evil Cora was anything but a vicious social climber. That being said, Cora clearly does have the capacity to love, and I do believe her "You would have been enough" to Regina; part of her complexity is that she can be a bad person without being OTT evil - she becomes that after removing her heart, but even terrible people can love. See also: Rumple; when he tells Neal, after the phone call with Belle "I'm full of love," his tone is bitter and sarcastic, but he's not exactly lying, and Neal knows it.

Cora would have been a much better match for Rumple than Belle, though he probably would have been even more destructive under her influence. The fact that he tells her his own story of humiliation, which I can't imagine him telling Belle, is significant, as is her embrace of his darkness. The juxtaposition of the phone call to Belle as the woman who moves him to be better against Cora the woman who matches him at his worst might be intended to suggest how good Belle is for Rumple, but given how bad she is at actually restraining him from doing anything he wants to do, I think that rings hollow. Cora's also more of an intellectual match; Rumple should be with the woman who can con him into revising a deal, not the woman who he can con time and time again into thinking he is better than he is. Even the fact that he meets her in a situation in which he has to draw on his past as a weaver suggests the greater emotional authenticity of their relationship.

Then in the phone call scene, there's as usual a level on which Rumple is being sincere, but also one in which he is staging it for Neal. I think he means the things he says to Belle, and he certainly loves her - but I think he's very aware that Neal is listening, plus, even as he's saying it he knows , having engineered Snow's killing of Cora, that there's at least a reasonable chance that he's going to survive this. And it turns out to be successful as a manipulation of Neal, which I buy without thinking it makes Neal an idiot. He thinks his father is dying, and Rumple is acting very differently from the megalomaniac imp he last remembers - much closer, in fact, to the loving father he grew up with for thirteen years. His "I'm still mad at you" sounds so childish, also giving us the sense that he's very much inhabiting his teenage self at this moment. 

By the way, earlier in the episode while Rumple is manipulating Snow, he is 100% right when she says "There's no coming back from murder," and he says "There's no coming back from death."

While I will always hate the show's criticism of what Snow does here, I will say that though she isn't wrong to kill Cora, she does do it in a particularly manipulative way, and I think there is some reason for her to feel uncomfortable with it. I don't blame her for wanting revenge on Regina, too - but what she does, I think, does go beyond defending everyone into what is a particularly vicious act of revenge. Which Regina totally deserves, but still makes it a morally gray action on Snow's part, as I'm not convinced she absolutely had to kill Cora in that particular way. 

One negative: Snow and David's total non-reaction to Neal, or even to Emma and Henry's return. I know it was a busy episode, but there should have been at least some reaction to the emotional dynamics of the situation beyond Neal's awkward "That would be me" after Henry refers to "my dad." The closest we get is David asking "Is everything OK?" when he walks in on Neal and Emma in the shop, but we needed an immediate reaction when they first see each other as well. If not a reaction to Neal, they should have at least been registering more concern for Emma's state of mind.

Share this post


Link to post
34 minutes ago, companionenvy said:

While I will always hate the show's criticism of what Snow does here, I will say that though she isn't wrong to kill Cora, she does do it in a particularly manipulative way,

I know that is a common sentiment, but I always wonder what other alternative she had.  By the time she opened the box to try to control Cora's heart, Regina would have poofed the box over.  There's no way Snow could run out the door and get to the pawnshop, much less get close enough to Cora to stuff it into her chest.  If Snow wasn't trapped in the basement with Regina right there, she would have more options, but her back was literally against the wall given the situation as it was presented.  She needed to come up with a way for Regina to want to put Cora's heart back, so that was the only way I can think of.

I still think what Snow did was one of the few examples on this show of heroes thinking on her feet.  I don't disagree that she shouldn't feel bad about doing it.  But it was either that, or hope for the best.  She had already tried convincing Regina the previous episode.

Edited by Camera One
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Camera One said:

I know that is a common sentiment, but I always wonder what other alternative she had.  By the time she opened the box to try to control Cora's heart, Regina would have poofed the box over.  There's no way Snow could run out the door and get to the pawnshop, much less get close enough to Cora to stuff it into her chest.  If Snow wasn't trapped in the basement with Regina right there, she would have more options, but her back was literally against the wall given the situation as it was presented.  She needed to come up with a way for Regina to want to put Cora's heart back, so that was the only way I can think of.

I still think what Snow did was one of the few examples on this show of heroes thinking on her feet.  I don't disagree that she shouldn't feel bad about doing it.  But it was either that, or hope for the best.  She had already tried convincing Regina the previous episode.

That's the question I've always had. I've heard people say that was cruel of Snow and that she should have found another way. When I've asked them what other that would be, what other options Snow had they've never answered. Just repeat she should have found another way. Great, but how? Regina had magic, Snow didn't. What else was Snow suppose to do? 

Share this post


Link to post

I actually mostly agree with you, but it didn't seem that she was trying that hard to find another way. Emma also has magic, and Rumple - who knows more about magic than anyone on the show -- was all about plan kill-Cora, even if we assume he wasn't well enough to take an active role himself. Plus there are a bunch of fairies living in town. Between last episode and this, it also seems clear that there's a part of Snow that really wants revenge; it isn't simply a matter of doing what she has to do to protect herself and her loved ones (note the "Yet Regina's family vault hasn't gotten any new bodies" line). Again, I find that understandable, and don't remotely blame Snow for it. But it does at least  take what she does into the category of moral grayness, I think, as it seems to me that on some level setting up Regina to be the one to do it was a feature rather than a bug of the plan. 

Spoiler

Unlike, for instance, Emma killing Cruella, which was not gray in the slightest, and was really the only thing she could have done. 

 

You are pointing out, however, the real problem of magic in the Once-verse stacking the deck way too far in favor of magical villains, which makes it particularly odd when non-magical people are not allowed to take extreme measures against them. Like, in the real world, arguments against the death penalty for even the worst people are predicated on the idea that we are already capable of containing and punishing these people through life imprisonment. If all the guys in Supermax actually had special magic powers that made it virtually impossible to contain them for longer than it took for them to find a magic workaround, I think almost everyone would concede that killing them was the only option. 

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, companionenvy said:

it didn't seem that she was trying that hard to find another way. Emma also has magic, and Rumple - who knows more about magic than anyone on the show -- was all about plan kill-Cora, even if we assume he wasn't well enough to take an active role himself. Plus there are a bunch of fairies living in town.

On the other hand, Emma barely knows how to use her magic. She barely manages to activate the protection spell. There's no way she could have defeated both Regina and Cora, especially if Cora had become a Dark One. Rumple was dying. The fairies apparently used their only real trick when they captured Regina, so it was unlikely to work again. And didn't Regina and Rumple use up all the diamond/fairy dust power to try to block the portal? The fairies didn't have access to a lot of power. They don't seem to have a supply of squid ink or any of the things they used to capture Rumple (and Rumple actually wanted to be captured). Otherwise, they haven't had any luck going up against a Dark One. There was no obvious other way, and they didn't really have time to do serious planning. Coming up with the candle that Cora had given her was really a rather brilliant solution that saved a life (that they wanted saving for Reasons) while eliminating a threat. If they'd done anything else, Rumple probably would have died, and the show was framing that as a bad thing.

1 hour ago, companionenvy said:

You are pointing out, however, the real problem of magic in the Once-verse stacking the deck way too far in favor of magical villains, which makes it particularly odd when non-magical people are not allowed to take extreme measures against them.

That's the real issue. The villains are omniscient, able to know everything about the good guys and what they're planning. They're just about omnipotent, able to do anything (except when they can't). Their powers haven't been well-defined, and they don't generally have known weaknesses, so the audience can't know what the good guys can and can't do against the villains. Everything is set up so that there's no apparent way for the good guys to win, and then when they do something desperate to win, they're treated like they're the worst evil ever. The only way for the good guys to win and not be judged is to do nothing and then have some random magical object appear, but that's a writing cheat because there's no setup, so there's no way for the characters or audience to be certain that the "do nothing and hope" plan will work.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

"When you can see the future, there is irony everywhere." Still one of my favorite lines in the whole show, and, ironically, its double true now that we have already seen where this show ends. 

I still really enjoy this episode, I love Rose McGowan as young Cora, and its a compelling backstory for Cora, and an interesting variation of the original Rumpelstiltskin story, giving The Millers Daughter more agency in the story, and fitting it into the established backstory of the characters. I do wish they had fit in the name stuff, but we got most of the other highlights, so I cant complain much, especially knowing what comes later in their "re-imagining" of fairytales. It is also a backstory that allows us to feel some understanding for Cora, but doesn't go out of its way to make us feel bad for her, or excuse her later actions. Yes, she was poor, had a drunk for a father, was humiliated by rich people, and had to wear really ugly clothes, but she was also seething with rage and bitterness, and choose ambition over love, which makes her understandable, but not really sympathetic. 

On the other hand, everything with Snow and Regina is just a hot mess. I can see them framing this as morally ambiguous, as the way she killed Cora was rather manipulative and cruel, and leaves us wondering what would have happened if Cora had her heart. BUT, I still dont think that killing Cora was some evil act that requires endless abuse and punishment. Cora was a super powered threat, and there was no way to guarantee what Cora would do with a heart, and she could easily continue her killing spree, but now with more power. As much as the show will love to bleat about "another way" later on, we never saw any other way. No other way to defeat Cora and Regina, no other way to stop their threat, no other way to keep more people from dying, like poor Johanna just last episode. And, its not like Snow has never killed anyone. She and Charming have killed plenty of random mooks, and I bet that plenty of them were way less threats and have caused WAY less pain and damage than Cora. So, while I can see why killing her this way was tough for her, it works as a hero making a choice they struggle with, and not as Snow going full on dark side. Its especially ridiculous considering the person who is so pissed is Regina, a woman who has killed so many mothers over the years, she is basically an anti-mothers day Santa Clause. 

Neal's expression at Rumple having a girlfriend was kind of funny. You know, Emma and Neal are less interesting together than I might think they would be. I dont know, there just isnt much chemistry, either as exs with a rocky history, unresolved love, or even good old fashioned UST. There just isnt anything there. And, of course, Tamara is on the horizon...

On 10/6/2018 at 7:26 PM, Shanna Marie said:

Their powers haven't been well-defined, and they don't generally have known weaknesses, so the audience can't know what the good guys can and can't do against the villains. Everything is set up so that there's no apparent way for the good guys to win, and then when they do something desperate to win, they're treated like they're the worst evil ever.

Thats really one of the big problems with this shows inherently lazy world building. We dont know the rules, we dont know if there are other ways to fight Cora, and we dont know how Cora's powers even work. When you have magical rules, it means that you can figure out ways for the heroes to get things done, or figure out what the villains can and cant do, and that allows for creative, interesting ways to solve problems. So, instead, we get super villains who can do anything, and the second a hero actually does think outside the box, they're suddenly the worst people who have ever lived. Truly, its the villains who are always the real victims, not the actual victims. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
6 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

You know, Emma and Neal are less interesting together than I might think they would be. I dont know, there just isnt much chemistry, either as exs with a rocky history, unresolved love, or even good old fashioned UST. There just isnt anything there.

This is why, even though I hate triangles, I wish they hadn't

Spoiler

killed Neal, and instead let Emma choose Hook over him. Killing him was such a cop-out and of course led to the stomach-turning Neal-was-such-a-hero retcons. I'd have much preferred to see Emma able to work through her past trauma by realising that her first love just wasn't right for her, not because of anything either of them did exactly just that they had outgrown each other. They could still have coparented Henry, and the Hook/Neal dynamic would also have been ripe ground for drama. 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post

I have a really hard time rewatching this one, mostly because of what I now know comes later. I spend a lot of time shouting at the TV.

But this time around, I kept feeling like it didn't entirely fit with what came before. We've been hinting in some of the past episode threads about how Cora's story doesn't make a lot of sense, and now we can discuss this without spoiler tags. So, according to this episode, she was in love with Rumple, but she wanted power (or to be royalty?), so she ripped out her own heart to enable herself to marry Henry Sr., even though he was fifth in line for the throne and a lot of blood would have to be shed for her to get to be queen.

But when we saw how her life turned out in "The Stable Boy," they seemed to be living on a nice country estate. No one referred to her as "Princess" as they do at the end of this episode (you'd think Leo would have addressed her that way, or Snow would have). Regina is related to the king of another kingdom, so you'd think there would have been some diplomatic negotiation going on to have a marriage between her and a king of another kingdom, but that doesn't seem to be a factor at all here. Cora doesn't seem to be anywhere near the court or the center of power the way she is at the end of this episode, where everyone's kneeling to baby Princess Regina. Is Leo traveling in Henry's dad's kingdom, or are Henry and Cora exiled into Leo's kingdom?

It's hard to imagine that Cora would have been content to just hang out as the wife of the fifth in line to the throne, waiting to be able to one day marry her daughter to a king. She has magic powers now. She could have arranged some "accidents" or illnesses. Otherwise, why bother ripping her heart out to marry Henry Sr.? Wouldn't she have had more wealth and power as the partner of the Dark One? With Rumple's help, she could have picked a kingdom and made herself queen of it, and she would have been a lot happier.

Also, did Henry shrink due to a lifetime of henpecking? Young Henry is shown as being tall and lanky, but wasn't Regina taller than the older version of her father?

As for things revealed later

Spoiler

Zelena's existence doesn't fit into this at all. Rumple talks about how Cora's first-born will be important. If he saw the future and knew that, then wouldn't he have known that Regina was a second-born? I don't think Zelena did much of anything that would have had her show up as "important." And Cora wouldn't have had to con Rumple into changing the contract because she'd have known she already had a first-born, so Rumple wouldn't have had any rights to any child she had with Henry, and she didn't much care what happened to Zelena. She'd have laughed at Rumple trying to collect on the contract and told him he was welcome to her first-born, if he could find her. And if Cora married the 5th in line so that one day she could kill Eva and have her future daughter marry Leo, then that may be the dumbest revenge scheme on the show.

I think that scene between Rumple and Belle, the deathbed phone call, would have been more powerful if she'd been herself and had split from him because of learning he murdered his wife. The memory plot is just so pointless.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
31 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

So, according to this episode, she was in love with Rumple, but she wanted power (or to be royalty?), so she ripped out her own heart to enable herself to marry Henry Sr., even though he was fifth in line for the throne and a lot of blood would have to be shed for her to get to be queen.

But when we saw how her life turned out in "The Stable Boy," they seemed to be living on a nice country estate. No one referred to her as "Princess" as they do at the end of this episode (you'd think Leo would have addressed her that way, or Snow would have). Regina is related to the king of another kingdom, so you'd think there would have been some diplomatic negotiation going on to have a marriage between her and a king of another kingdom, but that doesn't seem to be a factor at all here. Cora doesn't seem to be anywhere near the court or the center of power the way she is at the end of this episode, where everyone's kneeling to baby Princess Regina. Is Leo traveling in Henry's dad's kingdom, or are Henry and Cora exiled into Leo's kingdom?

It really doesn't make much sense at all.  They clearly wanted to portray Cora as lusting for power in the flashbacks, so it's weird how they didn't explain how she ended up as some minor noblewoman.  Unless they planned to connect the rest of the dots in some later flashback but then totally forgot about it?  They made Henry Sr.'s father seem like a big deal.  It's clear they never bothered re-reading the script of "The Stable Boy".  

Edited by Camera One
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
43 minutes ago, Camera One said:

It's clear they never bothered re-reading the script of "The Stable Boy".  

And/or they didn't have anything about Cora's background planned when they did "The Stable Boy," which is odd, since Regina's last name has been "Mills" all along, so the connection with the original Rumpelstiltskin story seems to have been there from the beginning. There was speculation during season one that Regina was going to turn out to be the miller's daughter helped by Rumpelstiltskin to marry the king. I wonder if maybe that was the original plan and they changed their minds when it came time to show Regina's backstory. But then you'd think at that time they'd have realized it was going to have to be Cora and set things up accordingly. Even if she's only a minor noblewoman, they'd have been using titles and referring to Cora as "Lady Cora" and Regina as "Lady Regina." Snow being a princess would have made that even more likely. She doesn't get out of courtesy because she's a princess. But I guess that would have been setting up something and spoiled the later surprise, and if Regina's a princess, then we'd know that her marrying the stableboy is even more impossible, so her whole vendetta is that much more ridiculous if she's mad that Snow stopped her from getting to do something she'd never have been able to do anyway.

It feels like there's a flashback missing, where Cora gets caught scheming and she and Henry are exiled, or where Henry realizes Cora only married him to get his title, so he has a rare burst of spine and renounces all his titles and claim to the throne, which makes Regina lose her title, and then there's no point in her killing her way through his brothers because it wouldn't do her any good if he's unable to take the throne. Or the king found Cora's declaration that Regina would be queen to be treasonous and he stripped his brother of his titles and exiled them.

Otherwise, love plus power and wealth and a castle and the potential to get more power and wealth seems like a no-brainer choice opposed to marrying fifth in line for a throne and hating it so much you have to rip your heart out to be able to go through with it.

I wonder where Henry Sr.'s family's kingdom ended up during the curse. Are they in Storybrooke and we never saw them, or were they under the Coradome?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

They really don't. Cora's so power hungry she'll reject the power of the Dark One to be 5th in line to the throne. She'll wait a couple decades so her daughter can be Queen? Why not marry or shack up with Rumple and be the ultimate evil family? She could have just straight up murdered Eva or still ruined her life. Or gotten over it and been happy with all her power. 

3 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

And/or they didn't have anything about Cora's background planned when they did "The Stable Boy," which is odd, since Regina's last name has been "Mills" all along, so the connection with the original Rumpelstiltskin story seems to have been there from the beginning. There was speculation during season one that Regina was going to turn out to be the miller's daughter helped by Rumpelstiltskin to marry the king. I wonder if maybe that was the original plan and they changed their minds when it came time to show Regina's backstory. But then you'd think at that time they'd have realized it was going to have to be Cora and set things up accordingly. Even if she's only a minor noblewoman, they'd have been using titles and referring to Cora as "Lady Cora" and Regina as "Lady Regina." Snow being a princess would have made that even more likely. She doesn't get out of courtesy because she's a princess. But I guess that would have been setting up something and spoiled the later surprise, and if Regina's a princess, then we'd know that her marrying the stableboy is even more impossible, so her whole vendetta is that much more ridiculous if she's mad that Snow stopped her from getting to do something she'd never have been able to do anyway.

It feels like there's a flashback missing, where Cora gets caught scheming and she and Henry are exiled, or where Henry realizes Cora only married him to get his title, so he has a rare burst of spine and renounces all his titles and claim to the throne, which makes Regina lose her title, and then there's no point in her killing her way through his brothers because it wouldn't do her any good if he's unable to take the throne. Or the king found Cora's declaration that Regina would be queen to be treasonous and he stripped his brother of his titles and exiled them.

Otherwise, love plus power and wealth and a castle and the potential to get more power and wealth seems like a no-brainer choice opposed to marrying fifth in line for a throne and hating it so much you have to rip your heart out to be able to go through with it.

I wonder where Henry Sr.'s family's kingdom ended up during the curse. Are they in Storybrooke and we never saw them, or were they under the Coradome?

Or the King could have been a wee bit nervous after that scene with Cora. Worried she might start whacking her way to his throne. Or mysterious illnesses and stripped them of their line in the succession. Although why Cora would just accept it who knows. Maybe she murdered someone higher up then her and got them all exiled. Although again why Cora would accept that?

Share this post


Link to post
15 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

And/or they didn't have anything about Cora's background planned when they did "The Stable Boy," which is odd, since Regina's last name has been "Mills" all along, so the connection with the original Rumpelstiltskin story seems to have been there from the beginning. There was speculation during season one that Regina was going to turn out to be the miller's daughter helped by Rumpelstiltskin to marry the king. I wonder if maybe that was the original plan and they changed their minds when it came time to show Regina's backstory.

I wouldn't be surprised.  When they come up with stuff like names, they seem to go for cleverness without thinking through the details.  They might have decided to incorporate Cora into Season 2 and make her the original Mills because they were impressed by how well she turned out in "The Stable Boy".  

Spoiler

And then there's the BS with A&E insisting that you could tell from "The Stable Boy" that Cora and Leopold had a romantic past.  I mean, give me a freak'in break.  They hadn't even thought up "The Miller's Daughter" yet, much less "Bleeding Through".

They decided to use the next Rose McGowan appearance for Zelena's origin story (and how Eva was so mean!) instead of filling the blanks between the end of "The Miller's Daughter" flashbacks and the Older Cora we saw when Regina was a young woman.

Edited by Camera One

Share this post


Link to post

Of all the missing scenes this show really needed, I can live with fanwanking that something happened between "The Miller's Daughter" and "The Stable Boy" to get Cora's family sent out to the further reaches of the kingdom and reduced in power. If I had been any of the other people in line for the throne, just having her name her daughter Regina would have been enough to make me want her far away. In any case, TMD is such a good episode that I think it is worth the retcon, which isn't egregiously huge as Regina's family is depicted as at least being wealthy. The one thing it really contradicts is Henry being Queen Regina's valet, which didn't make that much sense even by the time "The Stable Boy" rolled around. Henry Sr. wasn't functioning as a courtier, he was functioning like an upper servant. This might be understandable if Regina had really been a lowly commoner; it doesn't if she is anywhere in sniffing distance of nobility. 

Spoiler

The later Zelena retcon, however, really is a problem for the show, in part because TMD is such a good and important episode that the show shouldn't have been willing to undermine it, but also because it is patently absurd that Leopold would marry Regina after that. In that case, there's no easy fanwank, because it is not something that any reasonable person would do.

If they were so committed to making Zelena Regina's sister, they should have had Zelena as Cora and Henry's first-born, given away by Cora because of some perceived imperfection that interfered with Cora's hopes of her family attaining power. Like, maybe Zelena could have been born green, thanks to some EF disease with a lot of stigma attached. So, Cora, figuring that the family isn't going anywhere if Henry's heir is a freak with an embarrassing condition, she pretends the baby died. Or Zelena could have been the product of an affair between Cora and someone else, and as her skin makes it impossible for Cora to pass off the kid as Henry's, she has to get rid of it.

 

My take on why Cora wouldn't decide that she can be more powerful marrying the DO than marrying Henry is that she wants a specific type of power. A poor person deciding they have no use for nobility and setting themselves up in opposition to them is a well-worn type of narrative, but that isn't what Cora is interested in. She wants to make these people pay by forcing them to accept her as one of them, rather than by exerting brute power. 

Share this post


Link to post

The Miller's Daughter story connection was definitely planned when The Stable Boy happened. Not only was Regina's last name Mills, but Daniel mentioned her mother "was the daughter of a miller".

Share this post


Link to post

The connection might have been planned, but I doubt the specifics of the backstory were, as while it is true that the miller's daughter from Rumpelstiltskin does marry royalty, the show is liberal enough in its adaptations that they weren't necessarily planning on playing it entirely straight. My  impression from "The Stable Boy" was that Cora was a social climber who had married into the gentry, not someone who had made it into the royal family. If Regina is the granddaughter of a king, that entire episode should play at least slightly differently on a lot of levels. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
22 hours ago, andromeda331 said:

Although why Cora would just accept it who knows. Maybe she murdered someone higher up then her and got them all exiled. Although again why Cora would accept that?

Yeah, if she got exiled, she'd be really wanting revenge. She just doesn't strike me as the kind of person who'd patiently play the long game and wait for her daughter to get the position she wanted for herself.

Something else that I realized: Why didn't she use the main play from her own book and rip out Regina's heart instead of killing Daniel? She could have controlled Regina that way and made it so that Regina cared less about being with her true love and was more okay with marrying the king. She could have done it with the attitude that she was doing Regina a favor and sparing her all the weakness that comes from love. Having her heart removed would then have explained the abrupt switch from seemingly nice young woman to sociopath, and having her heart restored later would explain her abrupt evil-to-hero transition -- like if she was the one who set up the failsafe to kill everyone but Henry, then she got her heart restored and suddenly she was able to love again and realized what it would do to Henry if her plans came through. I guess that would kind of give her an out for all her evil, but she gets that anyway. This way, at least there would be an explanation.

One other thing that doesn't really fit with previous episodes: Earlier in the season, Rumple was outright terrified about the possibility of Cora coming to town, and he acted like she was a nemesis who'd be gunning for him. But as far as I can recall, this episode was their only interaction in the past, and he parted hurt and angry from her, but because he cared, and she was just cold and pragmatic. There didn't seem to be any real animosity. There certainly wasn't a reason why he would be afraid. It's a little ridiculous how overpowered she is, considering that she got a few days of magic lessons to help her use power she'd never even noticed she had. At least Regina had years of lessons. But why would the Dark One be so afraid of someone he gave a few lessons to years ago?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
7 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

Something else that I realized: Why didn't she use the main play from her own book and rip out Regina's heart instead of killing Daniel? She could have controlled Regina that way and made it so that Regina cared less about being with her true love and was more okay with marrying the king. She could have done it with the attitude that she was doing Regina a favor and sparing her all the weakness that comes from love. Having her heart removed would then have explained the abrupt switch from seemingly nice young woman to sociopath, and having her heart restored later would explain her abrupt evil-to-hero transition -- like if she was the one who set up the failsafe to kill everyone but Henry, then she got her heart restored and suddenly she was able to love again and realized what it would do to Henry if her plans came through. I guess that would kind of give her an out for all her evil, but she gets that anyway. This way, at least there would be an explanation.

I like that idea, but I think the Writers stayed away from that because they write complex characters and complex characters need to have free will and make choices.  

Quote

But why would the Dark One be so afraid of someone he gave a few lessons to years ago?

Are we supposed to believe that Rumple was afraid of his own feelings for Cora?  Because Cora was one of the few people who bested Rumple in a contract?  

But I totally agree it was ridiculous how Rumple was supposedly afraid of her.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Camera One said:

I like that idea, but I think the Writers stayed away from that because they write complex characters and complex characters need to have free will and make choices.  

Did you manage to type that with a straight face?

I don't think that the heart ripping necessarily means no free will, unless someone is specifically using it to control a person. Cora was certainly making choices all those years without her heart when she was scheming to make Regina a queen, when she coerced Hook into faking her assassination, when she decided not to kill Regina, after all, when she decided she wanted to be a Dark One. The heart missing just meant no sentimental attachment to things, no love.

Spoiler

Unless you're Regina and you feel so deeply that not having a heart doesn't keep you from falling in love.

What I envisioned was Cora initially ripping Regina's heart and making her break up with Daniel (maybe make her kill Daniel, which might explain the over-the-top need for vengeance) and agree to marry Leo, then putting the heart in her vault and telling Regina she did her a favor because love is a weakness. That would then backfire on her when it meant that Regina had no qualms about shoving her through the mirror. Regina then might realize that maybe her mother was right, so she decides to leave her heart where it is because that will make it easier for her to get her revenge on Snow for blabbing. And then after that, nothing really has to change other than Regina getting her heart back at the time she turns hero.

1 hour ago, Camera One said:

Are we supposed to believe that Rumple was afraid of his own feelings for Cora? 

Or he was afraid of Belle meeting his ex. Or his ex meeting Belle. Didn't that come up in one of the discussions, that now he has a weakness Cora could attack?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×