Oh, man. I’m having so many complicated Disney feels today. I’m really glad I get to re-watch this episode and recap it and dwell in all the happy, lovely moments between Snow and Charming. I mean, really, just that gif. It’s like puppies and kittens and sunshine and happiness.
As if you couldn’t tell, this third episode centered on more Snow/Charming backstory, which continues the theme of this season mirroring the first. In 1×03, “Snow Falls”, we saw Snow and Charming’s first meeting, and here in “Lady of the Lake” we see them working as a couple, a team (and also being really frakking cute). Of course there was some sad as well, and a killer ending, but I’m going to focus on the happy. Mondays can always use a little extra happy.
Also, I’m going to try something out on this one, and you tell me how you like it. This episode in particular jumps around between three different space/time plot-lines, and with two in the Enchanted Land I feel like it’s confusing, so I thought maybe some color coding might help? The key is after the jump. Or maybe you all are way smart and it’s not necessary. We’ll see.
So color key: Navy blue = Storybrooke. Forest Green = Past (Pre-Curse) Enchanted Land. Purple = Present Day (Post-Curse) Enchanted Land.
Previously: Emma and Snow jumped/fell through Jefferson’s magical portal hat and ended up back the the Enchanted Land, but in the boonies, which escaped the curse. However, Regina lied when she claimed the rest of the Land was destroyed; it’s still there, it’s just… kind of wrecked. When Emma and Snow got to the boonies and the Land, they were found by the worst possible versions of Mulan and Sleeping Beauty (who somehow knew who Regina was, but not Snow) who brought them back to their “haven” on an island and locked them up in a pit, where Evil Fucking Cora was chilling as well.
So, we start of in the Enchanted Land, but in the past. Chronologically, this takes place after Snow and Charming got engaged on the beach in 1×22 (which was after he woke her up from the poisoned apple curse), but before their fancy castle wedding that Regina crashed in the Pilot.
Basically, King George is still pissed at Charming for not marrying Princess Abigail and I guess humiliating him with King Midas (only I think Midas would probably be pretty cool with his daughter marrying Fredrick now that he’s not, like, solid gold, so I think King George just has a bug up his royal ass) and continues to pursue him to kill him (or make him suffer pain, I guess). But now Snow and Charming seem to have built up some semblance of an army for the whole “take back the kingdom” deal.
Anyway, Red comes running through the camp and into a tent where Snow, Charming and two others dudes are battle planning to tell them that they need to move out, ASAP. Charming’s sick of running and wants to fight and then makes an unintentionally hilarious wolf joke.
Red’s like, ‘oh Charming. So pretty and so dumb. King George hired a new general, a ringer they call the Leviathan’. “They say he attacks like a monster striking from the depths of the sea. You never see him coming and you never survive.” It’s pretty damn melodramatic for the actual result, and also I’m a little bit confused about the nickname, which doesn’t seem to actually make any sense/have any meaning.
But there’s no time for nickname speculation!
They all go out to fight, splitting up. We hear (but sadly, don’t see) Red turning wolf-y. Snow’s about to head away from the battle, but when Charming doesn’t follow, he tells her they’ll meet up at “the cabin” in a couple of days. “The cabin? Where she is? Are you sure?” From that you’d think it was someone bad (I guess it depends on how you feel about your in-laws). Since they’re engaged, he thinks it’s probably about time Snow meets Mama Charming.
So they kiss and Snow goes running off and a dude on a horse with a chain-mail mask creeps on them and clotheslines Snow as she’s running. She thinks masks are for cowards, not generals, and calls him Leviathan, asking who he really is. “Leviathan? That’s what they’re calling me?” He takes off his helmet mask, and it’s Boyd! He and Ruby should totally hang out and share wolf-y stories, complaining about Granny and Derek.
Okay, just kidding. It’s actually Lancelot. “Of the Round Table?” “Not anymore”. Snow is captured! Opening title card with Lancelot walking!
And now, since it is getting sort of confusing, we get chyrons! They’re ugly chyrons, but still, we are confirmed to be in “Present Day”, but still in the Enchanted Land. Snow’s out cold in the pit and Cora’s touching her head. No! Get away! She reassures Emma that Snow will be fine. Emma and Cora chat: Cora explains that they’re on an island the people think of as their Haven (oh, come on. Both Storybrooke and Haven are in Maine, after all. I bet Emma and Audrey would be great BFFs).
Cora claims to be wrongly imprisoned, that she’s there because she’s being blamed for Regina’s curse. I’m so sure. She claims there’s nothing to fear from her, that “the apple fell very far from the tree.” HA. Cora immediately starts her machinations, figuring out that Emma’s from “over there” and asking how they got back to the Enchanted Land.
Thank god Snow wakes up before Emma can make a huge mistake and is able to warn her. “As bad as you think Regina is, this woman is worse.” Cora tries to claim that whatever Regina told her was a lie, but Snow saw Daniel’s grave; she knows that Cora preyed on her mother void weakness as a child for her own evil gains, and knows what it/Cora did to Regina (namely: it fucked her up).
Emma thinks they have no other option but to see what they can get from Cora. “Right now we are at the bottom of a hole with no other options, and Henry is back in Storybrooke, with Regina.” Lots of faith they have in Charming, eh? Cora’s evilness perks up at the name Henry:
Snow’s like “shut upppppp!” But thankfully before Emma totally fucks them over by trusting Cora and telling her everything, Haven’s leader summons them.
In Storybrooke, Charming tries to send Henry off to school, but Henry’s already thought up code names for the operation to get back Snow and Emma, among them “scorpion” and “viper”. He’s still on the “looking for Jefferson” part of the plan, but Charming says been-there-done-that-dude’s-still-loony-tunes. Charming wants to keep Henry away from the whole deal, because of the “magic always comes with a price” and wants him in school where it’s safe. Of course he turns his back before Henry actually gets on the bus, so Henry runs off to get some shit done. Charming still needs to work on the grand/parenting stuff.
Snow and Emma bicker on their way to the leader’s abode. Emma thinks she knows what’s up and can take care of herself, but Snow’s lived there and knows what’s up; she knows how evil Cora is. Emma asks if Snow came through the portal because she thought Emma would be helpless in the Enchanted Land, but no. “I came here to be with you.” Emma grants her a smile. Aw.
Snow recognizes the leader as he steps out, because it Lance! She’s overjoyed to see him and they hug and he resolves my issue of nobody recognizing Snow. Emma continues her “wtf”-ness: “Lancelot? Of the Round Table?”
Off to the side, Fake!Aurora bitches to Mulan about Lance and Snow being friends, because she still blames them for Phillip’s “death”. Mulan tells her to cool it: “You’re new here. Phillip trusted Lancelot. So must we.” Fake!Aurora wants “justice”, but Mulan tries to put a lid on that:
Yeah, also IT WASN’T THEIR FAULT, but this Fake!Aurora is a dumb child and can’t understand basic shit, and she pulls a knife out of NOWHERE. Also her cape is stupid.
It’s BBQ time! On the menu is Chimera: one part lion, one part serpent, one part goat. Emma: “Like Turducken?”. I’m guessing it tastes like chicken, and also that Ron Swanson would approve. Emma skips that, but Jennifer Morrison does some great background acting while Snow and Lancelot exposit; at one point she takes a sip of something and make a “not bad” face. I’m guessing it was booze. Expositing: “How did you all escape the curse?” “It is a mystery. The curse struck and when the smoke cleared most of us had been torn from this land, but some of us here, in this particular region, were left behind. We don’t know how and we don’t know why. Finding this safe haven wasn’t easy; it took some spilled blood.” Also the ogres (the ones that Belle saved her village from, the ones that caused the war that prompted Rumple to get his Dark One on) are back.
Emma: “Ogres? As in ‘fee-fi-fo-fum’?” Snow’s like, no dear, that would be giants. Ogres are worse. But Snow’s determined to find a portal to get back to Storybrooke, and thinks their best shot is probably the wardrobe they sent Emma (and Pin) through. That means trekking back to the ole castle. She doesn’t actually reveal the details of the plan, because Cora’s near and Snow’s not an idiot, even though Lance reassures her that the curse stripped Cora of her powers. I’m so sure. Lance does agree to let them leave, as long as they take Mulan with them. Emma’s all we can take care of ourselves, but Snow’s cool with it (and Ems gives her a pretty great ‘Mom!’ look at that). Snow has absolute faith in Lance, because he’s always looked out for her.
Only not quite always. After he captured her, he brought Snow back to King George. He compliments her on how well she looks (despite being a fugitive and at war since like, forever). By the by, this might be my favorite Snow costume yet. It looks like a skirt from the back but it’s actually got pants (I love that they make her fighting clothes practical), and the bodice has just enough design without being overkill. And her wig has looked wonky in the past, but now it’s got pretty braids and a big ponytail. Also, here eyelashes are amazing, as are her red lips.
King George blathers on about pain, about he’s felt pain, from Actual Prince James 1.0 dying “before his time”, and also about how he once had true love of his own, only she drank a curse potion that made her infertile. “Family is everything, my dear. Losing all hope of having one: there is no greater misery.”
He thought Charming could give him some happiness, but because he rejected the blackmail, and “for that death is too good for him. First he must know pain. My pain.” Snow looks at the chalice of water Lance had poured for her and that she drank from (I don’t buy that. Snow would never) and realizes that she got tricked into drinking the same infertility curse potion. Lance is not so cool with that crappy behavior. I mean, it would be really tragic at this point, except we know she does have a child, so. Actually I thought maybe it was just going to be the “magic” of Charming’s “sword” (if you catch my drift) that would fix it, but, you know, Disney show.
Mulan offers up a chest of weapons for Snow and Emma. All Emma grabs is a dagger that she sticks in her boot, and asks Mulan for her gun back.
Snow takes a sword and a bow and quiver of arrows. Mulan: “Follow my lead, step where I step, do exactly as I say and we might survive.” I’m going to take every possible thing that I can and assume it’s a shout-out/reference. You just try to stop me!
Emma thinks she’s so badass cause she just killed a dragon last week. ”Have you ever seen an ogre?” “Pretty sure I’ve dated a few.” Mulan gets the melodrama on her, “Legend has it that when they kill you, the last thing you see is yourself dying in the reflection of their eyes.” Snow, in the background, does the biggest eyeroll in the history of eyerolls.
They head out, with Snow promising she’ll protect them, and she shares the plan about the wardrobe.
Snow has no idea if it survived The Curse, or if they can get it to work, but it’s a shot, and they’re headed to Snow’s place. “You want to see where you’re from, Emma? That’s right. We’re going home.” Fake!Aurora lurks in the background, watching them leave.
Storybrooke: Jefferson sits on a bench by the marina, looking at a picture of a potato. I mean, a missing poster his daughter Grace made that says “have you seen my Papa?” Henry comes by to work his magic; he asks again about the hat, but that’s a no go. He does tip Henry off the Regina’s vault, the one under the crypt where she keeps her wall of hearts and other various tchotkes. Henry notices the potato-head drawing and figures out Grace is looking for him and urges him to go to her. He’s wracked with guiltttttt, but Henry drops some knowledge on his crazy ass.
Henry’s on to his next thing right away. This kid is on a mission and it’s making me feel kind of lazy. He calls Regina (who’s packing up her mayoral office, because duh) and get her out of there by saying he wants to have lunch at Granny’s together. Just the look on her face when she sees that he called her is a little heart-wrenching. But it was a set-up, because Henry sneaks in and snags her giant ring of skeleton keys.
Snow, Emma and Mulan decide to make camp in a clearing, and we learn that ogres her are blind, “they hunt by sound alone.” “Right, because that’s something everyone would know about ogres.” Snow gets her mother on, asking Emma to guard the campsite (“you mean the big, empty clearing?”) while she and Mulan get firewood and water.
After her de-fertilization, Snow got dumped back at the army camp (and her pretty white costume gets all muddy!), which is nicely burned and destroyed. She hears a horse coming back, grabs a stick and hides behind a tree. She totally gets Lance back for the closelining earlier by whacking him hard enough that he falls off his horse. Turns out, he still has “a shred of honor” left, and isn’t down with what the King did. He’s there to help her, and tips her off that the King already knows where is Mama Charming cabin is, and his assassins are already on their way.
Mama Charming is super sweet and wants the place to look perfect when she meets Snow, but the soldiers arrive first. Charming instructs her to go inside and bolt the door and stay inside, whatever happens. The bad guys come, like a whole five of them, so Charming is appropriately all:
Swash Swash, buckle buckle, cartwheel over a dude’s shoulder, neck snap, done.
Only Mama Charming comes out with an arrow in her chest. That’s why you always leave a note! Actually, that’s why you do what Prince Charming tells you. She came out because she thought he was hurt (wha? And what would she have done, with no weapons?) He does the typical, “you’ll be fine”, and then Snow and Lance show up. Nice timing, y’all. Not the best way to meet your future mother-in-law.
Present Enchanted Land: Fake!Aurora sneaks up and gets a dagger to Snow’s throat, but her teary “Phillip’s gone because of you” means that badass!Snow throws her down and tells her what’s what: “You listen to me, princess. You think I don’t know what it’s like to be separated from the people that I love? What happened to Phillip was not out fault, so I suggest you find another way to channel your anger.” Mulan pulls Snow off her and tells her not to talk to her like that, even though she tried to murder Snow.
Emma shoots her gun in the air, trying to protect Snow, but it’s a big mistake with the whole ogres hunting by sound thing. They all take off and split up into pairs, but Emma trips over a root and biffs it, getting approached by some terrible CGI. I mean and ogre. She tries using her gun, but the ogre grabs and crumples it before she gets off a shot. “Seriously?” She gets a face full of ogre roar, which I’m sure just smells lovely.
And then the best thing happens.
Emma: “When was the last time you shot an arrow?” Snow: “28 years ago. Guess it’s like riding a bike.” Yeah, except not really 28 years though. “But how did you know you could hit that?” Because she’s been practicing with Merida, duh (warning: EXTREME Disney nerdiness there). Snow has another Mom moment – “next time listen to me” – and Emma’s sufficiently convinced now.
Mama Charming is dying, because the arrow was also poisoned. Snow suggests fairy magic, but that apparently isn’t strong enough (?), so Charming comes up with Lake Nostros, where he defeated the siren and got the water to save Fredrick (1×13). They prepare a wagon to go.
On the road, Charming questions Lance about what must be a “curious tale” of his “fall from grace”: “The same way you ended up running from King George. A woman.” So, Guinevere? I wonder if we’ll ever get more info on that. The dudes scout ahead, giving Snow and Mama C a chance to talk. Mama tells her that all Charming’s “ever dreamt of was having a wife and a son.” Snow’s “oh shit” face makes Mom backtrack with a “daughter’s cool too, long as it’s healthy.” She shows her the spelled pendant, one that predicts the sex of your first born, even if you’re not preggers yet. Handy, that. Mama guilts Snow into doing it, and of course it doesn’t move.
Snow admits about the King’s shitty curse, but Mama has hope about the magic lake water and assures Snow that she’s going to be a wonderful mother. Cut to Emma. Blammo.
Fake!Aurora’s being terrible some more, a slow-poke, complaining about the cold. Emma offers her her jacket.
They arrive at the bluff overlooking the castle, only it’s less castle and more ruins. The curse took its toll. But still: “That’s our home.”
Charmings and Lance arrive at Lake Nostros, only much like the castle, it’s a bit different than before. Namely, there’s no lake. Aw shoot.
Back home in Storybrooke, Detective Henry is on the case, matching an illustration from his Book of Regina in front of her vault to the vault in the town cemetery. He gets inside, notices to scratches on the floor and manages to shove the coffin over to reveal the stairs to the crypt (he also sees the plaque on Regina’s dad’s coffin, aka his namesake). He approaches the wall of hearts, loudly thumping away and then goes into the second chamber and decides to open a box at random. Too bad it’s got a two-headed poisonous snake in it, the same one that killed his great-granddad. Thankfully, Grandpa Charming is there to save Henry. “Maybe we should have gone with Operation Viper.”
Apparently Regina really is on a nice streak, because when Henry stood her up for lunch, she figured out her keys were missing and where he had gone. She called Charming because she figured Henry wouldn’t go if she went. Aw. Henry was just so caught up in wanting to be in the Enchanted Land with his mom and Snow, “riding horses, learning how to swordfight.” Charming agrees that they’ll work together to find a solution, and sends him off to school, while he figures out how to keep the vault hidden.
The Sandpit Formerly Known as Lake Nostros: Charming finds the siren’s crown and figures that the lake dried up when he killed her. Lance knows lakes, and he finds a tiny shell still full of lake water, enough for one sip. “God in his mercy and her grace.” (Is that the first mention of God we’ve gotten?)
Mama Charming wants Snow to have it, because babies. Snow couldn’t possibly let her die, but Mom is insistent.
Charming comes to give his mom the water and she drinks from the flask, and tells Snow to have faith in finding another way. Charming and Lance bro!hug.
Snow and Emma arrive in the castle nursery. Emma recognizes it from Henry’s book, while Snow pretty much loses it, and it’s heart-breaking.
“This room, it was your nursery… you never even got to spend a night. This is the life I wanted you to have. I was going to teach you how to walk in here, how to talk, how to dress for your first ball. We never got to do any of it. We never got to be a family.”
Emma reminds her that they have a family back in Storybrooke, and they need to get the wardrobe to work to get back to them.
Mama Charming’s still dying; Charming think’s it wasn’t enough water and runs off to find more, but Mom stops him and hands the flask to Lance. If she’s going to die, she doesn’t want to die with him running around like a dope.
She would gladly die for his happiness, but her only regret is not getting to see him and Snow get hitched. But wait! Apparently even disgraced members of the Round Table can perform weddings. Sure, yeah, why not?
They took the time to make a really pretty flower arch-way, so thanks for dying really slowly Mama C. The wedding ceremony in Lance’s kingdom involves the bride and groom sharing a cup of water. “There is a legend of a cup that has the power to grant eternal life.” (Holy Grail?) “And so may the love between you may always be strong, true and eternal.” Mama C looks so happy. and like I wasn’t going to gif the shit out of this.
So that’s nice that their actual wedding wasn’t the one that got crashed by Regina. It was still kind of sad though, because after they kiss, they look over and Mama has left them. Charming says goodbye and cries and Snow holds him.
Snow and Emma investigate the wardrobe. “Where’s the on switch?” Snow’s plan is to take the thing back to the island, where hopefully someone has enough magic to make it work. Emma wonders how they’re going to carry that thing when Lancelot appears. He heard about the ogre attack and wanted to make sure they were alright. He gets really interested in the wardrobe, which Snow asks him about. “I just want you to get home to your husband, and son, Henry. They must miss you.”
Snow recognizes the mistake right away and draws her sword, because Emma only told one person Henry’s name: Cora. Crap. She purple smoke shifts back into herself, which Emma reacts to again with an appropriate ”seriously?” look. Cora killed Lance awhile ago and has been posing as him ever since (and nobody noticed when she mysteriously disappeared from the pit?), because “besides, every kingdom needs a hero, don’t you think?” But only someone crappy like Cora would think that a kingdom’s hero would be a man. She magics Snow up against the wall and is choking her, while tossing Emma back (and also wrapping a carpet around her like a snake (which reminds me of Aladdin and Snake!Jafar).
So Snow ended up leading Cora right to the portal anyway; she wants to see Regina again and Henry too. Evil Monologuing always gets you though; Emma empties the gunpowder out of a bullet and uses her knife to strike a fire in the wardrobe. Cora attempts to throw a fireball at Emma, but is blocked by Mulan. Cora figures she ought to cut and run, “We’re not done,” and magics herself on out of there. Snow and Emma watch as the wardrobe burns.
Charming’s buried his mother and Snow apologizes, because his Mom was all the family he had left. But no, he has Snow and they love each other, and together they’re going to start a new family. Snow’s so sad about the womb curse, especially when he brings out Mom’s sex-predicting pendant. She’s about to break the news, but then looks down at the pendant above her hand.
I can’t tell if that means they have been getting it on or not, but either way it’s hilarious. She assures him it’s going to happen someday. He can never remember which direction corresponds to which gender (he’s still hoping for a boy, which I would be a little miffed at, only it kind of makes his time with Henry even more nice). She decides to keep it a surprise (at least until the visit to Rumple).
Charming repeats the promise they made to each other when he proposed:
He runs off the send a signal for the army to re-group, and Snow and Lance share some secrets. She figures out that Mama Ruth only pretended to drink the water and had Lance put it in the wedding chalice for Snow to drink, but Lance adorably (and transparently) demurs. He asks about the future baby Charming, and she admits it’s going to be a girl.
And cut right to Emma. Snow opines that Lance was “one of the most noble knights [she] ever knew” while Mulan beats herslf up for not seeing that it was Cora. Emma: “Let’s be fair, the whole shape-shifting thing threw me too.” Except Mulan spent way more time with Cora-as-Lance than Emma did, so. They try to figure out what to say back at the island village, and what to do now that Cora’s loose, especially without a leader. Mulan nominates Snow. Awesome.
Snow is honored, but her and Emma’s ultimate goal to getting back to Storybrooke. Mulan and Fake!Aurora say that they’ll help; “perhaps it will help me channel my anger”. They leave so Snow and Emma can have a moment. Emma apologizes for “torching their ride home,” but she couldn’t let Cora get to Henry. Snow understands; she put her child first.
Aw, man. This show and these ladies. Just compare that hug to the one at the beginning of the premiere, with Emma so awkward and stiff and now she’s hugging back and smiling. And then this face.
They move out, but as Snow collects her bow and arrows, she takes another look at the nursery. And for a moment, she sees it as it once was, as it might have been with her baby Emma, before it turns back to rubble.
And she cries again, because it’s heartbreaking, and leaves.
Then Fucking Cora magics up in there again to collect a vial of ash from the burned wardrobe, which glows red in the bottle.
And just in case you haven’t cried enough this episode: Jefferson was convinced by Henry to go to his daughter.
(Okay, now Seb Stan, can you stop looking like such a junkie addict now?)
Henry watches this reunion from his Mom’s car across the street. Charming comes to interrupt his sad though. He thinks that if Henry’s going to help, he needs to be trained, so he bought them some wooden sparring swords. After all, he’s the grandson of a prince; “think it’s about time you learn how to use a sword”. Charming admits he can’t get Snow and Emma back without him. “Can you teach me how to fight a dragon?” “Let’s work our way up to it.”
And they are freaking adorable with their play swordfighting. Of course what’s a moment of Charming family adorable-ness without an evil lurker (remember Regina’s creepin’ on Mary Margaret and David’s kiss outside the diner)? Yep, but this time it’s a baddie from Charming’s side: evil King George/Charles Widmore/Bradford Meade/Alan Dale. Aw, shit. I don’t even want to know what would happen if he and Cora ever teamed up.
Bits and Other Various Tchotkes:
- Seriously though, guys. I definitely think the RL Ginnfer/Josh totally shines through in their scenes as Snow and Charming. If they ever break up I might lose it.
- Snow/Charming and Amy/Rory (from Doctor Who) should really get together and talk about… stuff. I don’t want to spoil anyone for that, but… yeah.
- So the Round Table was/is a thing in this canon? I wonder which version? Also, I feel like there’s supposed to be some sort of meaning or connection with the episode title (“Lady of the Lake”) and Lancelot’s appearance. Is the siren Charming killed in 1×13 THE Lady of the Lake? Is it supposed to be a subtle reference to the fact that the present day Lancelot was actually a “lady” (ie Cora)? Or was the Lady/siren the one who Lancelot referred to when he said that his “mother raised him by a lake” (because there’s a version of the Lady who raised Lance after his father died). I want answers!
- I feel like Henry has like, 15 grandparents or something. There’s Cora, Regina’s father Henry, Charming’s Mom (and Dad?), The evil King, Snow’s father (and late mother).
- What exactly do you think the kids are learning in school now? I mean, beyond the basics, but are they still learning the history and crap from our land, or are they being educated about the history/geography/blahblahIdon’trememberwhatIlearnedingradeschool stuff of the Enchanted Land?
- The sigil on the crypt is very Baratheon-esque, no? Can’t tell if that’s a real nod or not (probably not), but there was that one with the “Game of Thorns” flower truck.
So, that was a lot, again. Sorry. I hope the gifs help, and let me know if the colors help as well, or if it’s better to recap each of the plots separately, rather than linearly.
Here’s the trailer for next week, and I am excited. We’ll see if we deviate from the mirror pattern (1×04 was Cinderella’s episode, which introduced a new character to the show, one we recognized from Disney canon, but with a Rumple twist).