The last episode Once Upon a Time was a major filler with plot-stopping points about Red Riding Hood’s past. This week, the gears were set back in motion as Henry and Aurora’s dream world was explored and explained.

The Players:

  • Director: Ron Underwood
  • Writer: Kalinda Vazquez and Daniel T. Thomsen
  • Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Jared S. Gilmore, Robert Carlyle, Michael Raymond-James, Colin O’Donoghue

Episode Title: “Into the Deep”

Despite having one of the most painfully generic titles of the series’ run, “Into the Deep” proved to be a great mythology-building hour. After several episodes of hinting at Henry’s dream world, Once finally showed us the dimension’s true potential.

The Good:

  • Joining Forces: Once has successfully executed a major feat: they’ve created really ambiguous villains. While Cora has stepped up as this season’s Big Bad, last year’s Regina and Mr. Gold (Rumpelstiltskin), have kind of joined the good guys. When it comes to innocent Henry, they’re willing to put aside their differences and make magic happen– in a good way. When Charming realizes he needs a sleeping curse to meet Snow in the dream world, Regina supplies the potion and Mr. Gold offers up his famous spinning wheel to make it happen.
  • Lunch Date: It’s a small moment, totally blink and you’ll miss it, but Belle and Mr. Gold’s lunch date at Granny’s was genuinely sweet. It builds on their relationship without hitting us over the head with the conflict (yet again).
  • Hook and Cora: While Regina and Rumpel have shown their softer side, Cora has done no such thing. She’s a fairytale villain in the truest sense. Captain Hook could be the thorn that takes her down though. His allegiance is completely malleable and it’s basically a waiting game to see who he’ll double-cross first.
  • Snow and Charming’s Reunion: Let’s put aside the problems with this (see below) and just take a moment to say “awww.”

The So-So:

  • Snow and the Sleeping Curse: When the idea of the sleeping curse leading you to a nightmarish dream land long after waking up, we immediately thought of Snow. Why are Henry and Aurora hanging out there and not her? Sure, there are vague references to her having been in that place before and the implication is that she’s so strong-willed that she was able to beat it, but that’s shaky at best. So when Once had to invent a way for her to get back via sleeping powder, we were skeptical to say the least. But you can’t argue with the results though.

The Bad:

  • Awful Aurora: Given her Disney inspiration, we shouldn’t be surprised that Aurora’s so useless. Sleeping Beauty was, after all, the least active of all the Disney princesses. She barely speaks in the movie that’s named after her – even when she’s awake. But in Once, we just expected better. Snow White got a badass makeover, so why not Aurora too? She’s the constant damsel in distress. This week, she managing to get kidnapped, lead everyone into a trap and get her heart stolen. And that’s not even a particularly bad day for this girl.

Overall:

In “Into the Deep,” Cora’s plan progressed and the good guys are finally learning to navigate their cross-dimensional divide. It’s all leading up to what promises to be a pretty epic fall finale.

Rating: 8/10

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

What did you think of this week’s episode?