When you’re a little girl in Minnesota who hasn’t realized her true magical powers yet, what do you do? You sing.
Guys, it’s a tale as old as time. You want to be part of that world where there’s no one to tell you no, or where to go. You sing like you’re waiting on that next adventure just around the river bend. You pack all your hopes and dreams into a performance and take that sinking boat and point it home… wait. Wrong Once.
This Once is going for a musical wedding episode, which can be scary. For this to work, I need you to check your magical plot doubts at the door. I need you to not be that friend who saw La La Land and insisted that Emma and Ryan can’t actually sing. I need you to root for Zelena with me. Let’s grade these numbers and this wedding together and talk about the MAGIC OF SONG.
Little Emma goes for it back at the group home, trying to record herself a hit song in 1991. Her angry teenage counterpart breaks in mid-song to remind her that she’s just a lonely orphan, but it worked for Annie, so WHO KNOWS. In the present, Snow asks Emma which dress she’s decided on, but she hasn’t decided. Fortunately, Belle found Snow’s old dress in the back of Rumple’s shop.
“Powerful Magic of Song” — Snow White, Prince Charming: B
That flashes us back to Snow and David’s wedding way back when, after the Evil Queen nearly ruined it. She steps out and wishes on a star, hoping to have what it takes to make Emma safe and happy. The next morning, a whistling bird shows up, launching everyone into MUSICAL VERSE. It’s the moment of truth — Snow does fine, but David… David has pipes, y’all. They decide together that the most powerful weapon they have is song. And like I said, their voices are great, but is it enough to beat the Evil Queen? I mean, c’mon. Where the lyrics may not quite get there (“every line ends with a rhyme, don’t know how, but it’s sublime”), it seems that both Ginnifer and Josh are just rolling with it. God love ‘em.
Back in the present, Emma’s sipping on mimosas when Snow shows up with her dress. Emma loves it, but as soon as she touches it, it turns to black. The Black Fairy shows up and everyone is shocked, but none more than Snow, who is mostly ticked that she’s doing this on Emma’s wedding day. The Black Fairy throws down and says that they’re going to battle, and that Emma is nothing more than the same orphan girl she once was. The Black Fairy sends the heroes to the clock tower to reveal enough Black Fairy dust to curse the town twice over, to be released at 6 o’clock — the same time as Emma’s wedding.
“Love Doesn’t Stand a Chance” — Evil Queen: C
Regina and Zelena take on the task of disabling the dark fairy dust, since Regina already ruined Emma’s parents’ wedding. That launches back to Regina’s time as the Evil Queen, and of course she’s broken into song as well because wishes on stars know no limits. Naturally, she hates that everyone is singing. And how do you convey your hatred of song? Through BROADWAY-THEMED ROCK MUSIC and light grinding on mirrors. We get a little paso doble action as the Evil Queen croons about how Snow and Charming’s love doesn’t stand a chance, and it’s the best use of a cape we’ve seen outside of Monday night.