Once Upon A Time 2.03 “The Lady Of The Lake” TV REVIEW(opens in new tab)
Writers: Andrew Chambliss, Ian Goldberg
Director: Milan Cheylov
THE ONE WHERE In the past: we discover how Regina and Rumpelstiltskin met and how Charming and Snow got married. In Storybrooke: Jefferson is reunited with his daughter. In the Enchanted Forest: Emma has difficulty adjusting to life in a land of fairy tales and Lancelot isn’t nice after all (because he’s really Cora).
VERDICT There are two themes running through this week's episode: the love that mothers have for their children, and the fact that the fairy tale realm is hugely dangerous. We have to say that the latter theme is handled rather poorly, with Emma repeatedly doing stupid things to show the audience that she's out of her depth, and Mary Margaret coming to her rescue to show that she's at home there. Okay, so firing a gun to break up a scuffle isn't a good idea when there are ogres around; we get that, and now Emma does too. But having her fall over while running away doesn't really highlight that she's out of her depth, does it? It just means she's crap at running. And why doesn't she get up and run again when the ogre approaches her? Silly bugger. (Also, it's a good thing the ogre stopped to roar at her dramatically – twice – because it gives Mary Margaret enough time to get in place to kill it. Stupid ogre.)
The other theme is handled well, luckily, and is also wonderfully emotional. Mary Margaret and Emma share a lovely little scene in which they both realise how much they've lost by not growing up together; the setting being Emma's unused nursery is a deeply sad touch. In Storybrooke, Henry reconciles Jefferson with his daughter in a cute little sequence (although you have to wonder if the writers ended the Mad Hatter's story rather too quickly here, simply because they knew Sebastian Stan wouldn't be available for filming for much longer). And poor Charming loses his mum to a poisoned arrow, when she sacrifices her own life to ensure that Snow is healed from a spell preventing her from having children. Gabrielle Rose is magnificent as Ruth, and the fact that she gets to see her son marry Snow before she carks it is really sweet.
One thing, though: if they hadn't stopped to weave a pretty trellis filled with flowers for the ceremony, perhaps mother Charming would have lived to congratulate the bride and groom rather than dying as they kiss. Just saying...
PG-RATED HOMAGE OF THE WEEK Mary Margaret snaps at the ogre, “Back away from my daughter!” Every inch of her screams Ripley's “Get away from her, you BITCH!” quote from Aliens , but this is a family show.
BOO! HISS! Alan Dale reprises his role as Charming's fake-father, King George, and is so evil you want to reach into your TV and slap him around the chops. Tricking Snow into drinking a poison is so dastardly that he's threatening to out-evil the wicked Cora. We'd love to see those two face-off... or get together.(opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab)
SUNBEAM FRENZY! Once Upon A Time spends a lot of time shooting in forests, and the crew fill the air with smoke first to make the sunbeams stand out in the background (thus making for artier shots). Above are three gorgeous examples from this episode.
DERRING DO After last week's rather talky episode, this week we get to see Charming win an impressive sword fight, even somersaulting from a cart at one point like a gymnast. He's much more interesting in the Enchanted Forest than he ever is in Storybrooke, isn't he?
HELLO, GOODBYE We meet Lancelot in this episode but, just as we're starting to like him, we discover that he's dead and Cora has been impersonating him. It's a shame, because he had a lot of promise and the addition of Arthurian legends to Once Upon A Time might have been a cool idea.(opens in new tab)
COULD THAT BE...? We also get a glimpse of what could possibly be Arthur's round table, although what King George is doing with it is a puzzle.(opens in new tab)
A MOTHER'S INSTINCTS When Cora appears at the start of the episode, Mary Margaret instinctively pushes Emma behind her. She's her daughter, after all, and she's protecting her. Nice touch.(opens in new tab)
DEJA VU The ogre staggering through the trees in the middle of the night seems very reminiscent of a similar scene in the film Troll Hunter . Accidental or not, it reminds us that you really should watch Troll Hunter if you haven't already.
APPLE REFERENCE OF THE WEEK Emma gasps, “You're Regina's mother?” to Cora. Fibbing madly, Cora replies: “You have nothing to fear from me. The apple fell very far from the tree.” There's also a bowl of apples in Regina's house.
THIS WEEK'S OPENING CREDITS IMAGE... A knight walks towards the camera (probably Lancelot)
Emma: “Ogres? As in 'Fee-fi-fo-fum'?”
Mary Margaret [exasperated]: “Those would be giants.”
New episodes of Once Upon A Time air in the UK on Channel 5, Sundays, 8pm