‘Once Upon A Time’ Season 6, Episode 1 Recap: “The Savior”


By Casey Rose Frank

We begin this season with a scene from “Many years ago…”

A horse rides through what looks a lot like Utah and then Star Wars: A New Hope level of CGI red lightning strikes near the horse.

The source of the lightening is a man on a large flying carpet, chasing the rider into a remote Islamic Architecture style building. I assume we have just met Jafar.

The man who rode across the desert enters the building and pleads for help from a young man shaking on the floor.

Jafar (played by TV and Movie constant Oded Fehr) strolls in and turns the dude who wanted help into ash.

Aladdin is the great savior shaking on the floor, with a mysterious young girl helping him out.

Jafar speaks to Aladdin about the fate of the savior, likely setting up the tone for the rest of the season (don’t forget, the writers said, no separate fall and spring story arcs this year).

“You give and you give, and for what?” Jafar asks, detailing all the ways that defending and helping other leaves little for the saviors themselves. He ends by saying that saviors never get a happy ever after.

Cut to present day Storybrooke where Hook and Emma are making out like crazy in their fab New England house, in their his and hers leather coats. Hook makes a joke about being into leather and I choke on my drink.


The house starts shaking, and our romantic duo runs outside and looks at the sky. A blimp (or wait, it has some structure around the inflated part and there’s a boat attached to it, does that make it a dirigible?) sails over them.

In true OUAT fashion half the town shows up in the woods to watch the floating transport sink lower.

Dr. Jekyll says, “It’s a dirigible, from the Land of Untold Stories.”

Yes! Thank you, Dr. Jekyll, my finger was about to hit enter on my Wikipedia search of “dirigible” but you have saved me from another Wikipedia rabbit hole.

Hyde strolls out of the woods casually, talking in his plummy voice about bringing some of his people to Storybrooke. I’m now definitely picturing our sassy and deep-voiced villain hiding behind a tree waiting to make his most effective entrance.

Emma and Regina decide they’d like to detain Hyde for more information, but Hyde is already returning to his hidey-tree.

Emma yells “Hey muttonchops!” to halt his progress and Hyde turns around. Rule #1 of catcalling Mr. Hyde, ignore the haters.

Emma and Regina blast Hyde who staggers and then starts laughing his “bitch please” laugh before demonstrating that their magic doesn’t work on him.

He cautions our heroines and the townsfolk to be careful, elaborating that “nothing is more dangerous than an untold story and the people who don’t want them told.”

The dirigible does an awful job of landing in the woods. Bits of the ship are scattered everywhere and there’s not a person in sight.

Snow, Hook, Emma, Charming, Regina, Henry, and Jekyll discover the wreckage.

Snow notices footprints leading away from the battered ship and out into the woods.

“Depending on who he brought with him, their stories playing out could cause chaos” Jekyll says to them to which Regina replies, “That’s helpful.”

Jekyll offers some real help in saying that the baton used to subdue people, including Hyde, was made by the same technology as the dirigible. If he can salvage some of the items he may be able to replicate the baton to subdue Hyde. There is always someone with a plan on this show, which is awesome in keeping the plot moving, and frustrating because I will never MacGyver my way out of a situation with this kind of mental speed.

MacGyver .gif

As the gang starts searching for items as though they have any idea what Jekyll needs, a metal object strikes another metal item and the sound causes Emma to have some kind of flashback. She sees disjointed images of her fighting someone with a sword and her hands start to shake. Is this savior PTSD?

Next we meet up with Gold who is walking through the forest as we hear a voiceover of the deal Gold struck with Hyde in order to find a way to wake up Belle. Gold is to visit the Temple of Morpheus so he can use a special sand that will allow him to enter Belle’s dream and wake her from within.

In Belle’s dream he immediately meets Morpheus who introduces himself and asks Gold if he would like to go wake up Belle.

Over at Regina’s house, she enters to find boxes strewn everywhere. Soon Zelena appears in her version of suburban Mom apparel, in heels but without a hat! She puts the baby down and apologizes about the mess. Maybe her flying monkeys doubled as domestic help.

Zelena shares that Robin’s son dropped off the gift of a feather from his father’s bow for Regina and Zelena can’t remember where she put it. Regina’s pretty pissed about that, but I’m surprisingly not, I feel for the new mom who’s just learning how to not be so evil and wear less hats.

Regina chats with Snow in the woods after ditching her sister. Snow asks what wrong, and when Regina insists it’s nothing, Snow insists that it’s something, to which Regina finally replies, “Yes, something is gnawing at me. Something with red hair and a fondness for pointy hats.”

YAASSSS, Regina.

The gang makes their way over to the Town Hall were Hyde has apparently set up residence.

Regina offers to hand Jekyll over to Hyde if he leaves town. But when Regina threatens Hyde, and Emma is supposed to hit him with the power from Jekyll’s baton, Emma is shaking and flashing back to the sword fight again.

Eventually Emma gets it together and fires the baton, and Hyde flies back and is detained with specially made handcuffs from Jekyll. Apparently Jekyll is that person who can make all those Pinterest storage systems and flawless crayon art.


As Hook and Charming begin to haul Hyde away in his Pinterest perfect magical handcuffs, he taunts Emma asking her if she’s really the savior.

When she Regina tells Emma to ignore him, he replies, “Yes, ignore me, just like your tremors.”

Emma is surprised and asks what he knows.

Hyde drawls, “More than you. If you wish to know what’s happening to you, you know where to find me,” as he’s shoved into the back of a car.

Emma has a brief run-in with the wise Archie and Pongo, and decides to visit Hyde.

After a little back and forth inside the dungeon, Hyde finally shares that he has a friend who can help Emma, she just needs to follow the red bird.


Morpheus and Gold are back, now at Rumple’s castle. Belle is rocking the blue and white provincial dress we all love, and apparently in the timeline before she fell in love with the beast.

Morpheus warns that the sands allow Gold one hour to wake her up, before she will return to the red room of the sleeping curse. Thanks to 50 Shades, Morpheus makes it clear that it’s a place of eternal fiery doom, and not where he keeps his Xbox and stuff.

Gold decides he will have to trick Belle into falling in love with him again so that he can wake her up.

An Instrumental version of “Tale as Old as Time” plays on a phonograph, as Rumple asks Belle to dance and I forgive the more bonkers moments of this show as they provide me with such a classically lovely moment.

B and B.gif

The yellow dress appears with a snap!

But with all the bunting style stuff from the original dress placed in a big bustle.

Cut to Regina in her office alone as she begins to cry.

Zelena walks in, and damn it, she’s wearing one of her hats, commenting on the awesome capture of Hyde.

Regina has no time for chit-chat in her grief for Robin and finally tells Zelena that she blames her for what happened to Robin. Turns out that Zelena is pissed that Regina removed her evil half, the part of her most similar to Regina and declares that she and the baby will be out of the house that night.

Back in the woods where it is now evening, Snow and Charming are still looking for Hyde’s friends.

Snow senses that the people in the woods are scared. She shouts out that Hyde is locked up.

Torches appear out of nowhere and people come out tentatively. Snow offers them Granny’s as a place to get food and shelter.

Emma and Hook are elsewhere in the woods when Snow calls to tell them with the update.

A red bird appears on a branch who looks a lot like awkward CGI Iago.

Emma wants to follow the bird as Hyde suggested, even if it means sending Hook away in a snit.

The bird brings Emma to the mysterious girl from the beginning of the episode.

She knows Emma’s name. And says she knows many things, she will not be the John Snow of this story.

John Snow.gif

She explains that Emma’s visions tell the story of her future.

Back at Regina’s house, sans Zelena and child, Henry arrives and offers his mother hope that despite what Hades said, he believes that Robin’s soul is in a special place for heroes. For the idea of souls to have been treated so casually last season, the writers are really delving into the hope specific to the living who are mourning.

Back in Castle Rumple Belle and her beast are still dancing. Soon Belle gets savvy to the situation and remembers all the promises Gold/Rumple broke and refuses to take his garbage anymore.

Morpheus pops up and is stoked to hear this.

Why? Because Morpheus is Belle and Gold’s future son! Dun, dun, dun!

Morpheus explains that Belle was not alone when the dream sand was sprinkled on her, he was inside and able to help prevent Belle from going back to Gold, pleading that she not let Gold/Rumple destroy them like he did his last family.

Rumple’s not buying it, so Morpheus says he can prove it by waking Belle up with true love’s kiss. He presses his lips to Belle’s forehead and poof, Belle is awake and in the temple with Gold.

Gold’s pretty unhappy that his son hasn’t even been born yet and already hates him.

Rumple makes a portal to go home, and while Belle steps through it to go back to Storybrooke, she makes it perfectly clear she has no home with Gold.

“Our son gave me a warning and I’m going to listen to it.”

Back in the find-a-friend forest, Emma says her visions feel like a memory, not the future.

Mystery girl answers Emma’s doubt saying that she was once called an oracle.

M.G. explains that knowing the future is a heavy burden, future is always in motion, but inevitable.

With a poof of magic M.G. now has a snake staff that looks like black version of Jafar’s.

(Who is this girl?!)

She invites Emma to look into it’s eyes and Emma sees more of the vision: her sword fighting in the street with cloaked figure. Her sword is magicked away, and her shaking hands allow her to be stabbed by the cloaked figure while her family and Hook look on.

M.G. explains, “What you saw is a small piece of the end of your story savior…you can change the path to the destination, but the destination is the same, on the day you saw, the battle you saw, you will die.”

Emma looks up at bird, when she looks back down MG is gone.

Emma returns to Hyde’s dungeon, now a sultry red at night. A little clubby for me, but whatevs OUAT.

Hyde says, “I see you found my friend.”

Emma declares that whatever’s coming she will defeat it.

Hyde has the last word though.

“All the saviors say the same thing. That’s right, you’re not the first savior I’ve encountered.

A villain always brings a savior down.”

Over at Granny’s Hook is drinking alone until Emma strolls in and sits down next to him.

Emma lies to Hook and says her improved mood is due to talking to Archie, and not gathering intel on future nefarious plots.

When will she learn that these kinds of lies always become an issue down the line?

In some other part of town Regina and Snow sit on a bench and talk about the time it takes to find honesty with someone, and how someone like Snow who had such an evil stepmother could maintain hope.

Snow says that in the face of all of Regina’s murder plots, that Regina taught her that hope was a choice.

Snow, like Henry, insists that Hades was wrong and that Robin is at peace.

Regina says she understands the people of the Land of Untold Stories’ desire to hide out so their stories don’t have to play out.

She tells Snow “My life was never just one story.”

To some she’s the evil queen, to some she’s a hero.

“I want to start a new story, one where the evil queen doesn’t get to have a part.”

Oh boy, this is one of those moments I hate knowing something a character doesn’t.

Snow and Regina stand up from their bench and walk away, as they do, a single feather floats down to land on the bench where regina had been sitting.

Back at Zelena’s little old house, the bedazzled evil queen is waiting for her with green apple martinis.


It’s time for some sisterly bonding.

Cue dramatic evil music.

What did you think of this episode?

I’m interested in the idea that within the world of OUAT that the savior is not just a trope but rather a character with specific storytelling/life rules like heroes and villains. We’ve already explored the themes of changing the fates of villains, and trying to literally rewrite their stories, so something tells me that Emma’s ultimate showdown with the shadowy foe in the billowy cape will not be as inevitable as the oracle seems to think.

Who do you think will be Emma’s foe?

Is Emma and Hook the show’s OTC?

Was the floating feather a sign of Robin’s peace?

Why does the Evil Queen have the drinking tastes of a college freshmen?

Casey Rose is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. To apply to become a contributing writer, please click HERE.

{featured image via Entertainment Weekly}