Only one more episode is left before the winter finale, dearies. Are you all nervous about what the coming week will bring for our lovely heroes and villains? Ah, too right, you should be. Cora is on the rise to power and it appears that nothing is in favor of the light. But fret not, I’ve been collecting theories from all you lovely fans and while some of you have been extremely creative, only a few of you have been spot-on. I believe it’s always hard to surmise where this story is going. They’ve changed so many tales that we are familiar with, but I think it’s for the better. No longer are these the fanciful tales you tell a child to avoid a nightmare; these are the tales you tell an adult to explain the unfairness to expect in life.

This is why I believe we should not worry. The characters represent, in my opinion, the moral and the immoral that resides in each one of us. Snow is the daring warrior who would stop at nothing to protect her family. Charming is the brave knight who’s courage can outlast the toughest of challenges. Emma is the reluctant hero who shies away from the incredible but persists in the name of love. Cora, and perhaps Regina, is the darkness that speaks to us from time to time, making us do things we later regret. But lastly, there’s Henry. He  is the young child in all of us; too naïve to know when we’ve reached our limits, unwilling to accept that noble does not always win, and pursuing a never ending search for what we want. This is who we all are and this is what the show is meant to teach us. Let the pages of the storybook unfold as they may, for it’s the lessons we learn about ourselves through these characters that has impact, rather than the other way around. What’s that? You thought this was simply a fantastical collection of childhood stories bound together within a new cover? You’re not related to Dopey by any chance are you?

Zombies: a walking cadaver by any other name would smell as rotten. Cora, Queen of the Undead. Or perhaps, as many of you speculate, a better title for her would be Queen of Hearts? She certainly has a way of controlling a person’s heart in ways I don’t believe we’ve seen Regina try. Bringing the dead back to life to hunt down innocent women seeking only to make their way home to their family implies to me that Cora may not have a heart anymore. Maybe she didn’t have one to begin with and that’s what made her intent on stealing everyone else’s: to make everyone suffer as she has. I wonder if there was any significance in those Cora chose to send after our heroines. The heart boxes appeared a bit random in selection, but they all opened after Cora touched the first. It could be nothing but still, my mind has to wonder if there was something more to our Fairytale zombies. Nothing is ever insignificant on this show; I think we’ve all learned that by now.

Although I may have to take that statement back, some of this episodes dialogue seemed like it was forced. It didn’t seem to flow as natural speech as Dreamer, a Joker’s forum contributor, pointed out. One of the lines in question is Emma’s half-hearted, “I climbed a beanstalk for that!” I don’t know whether it was just bad delivery or simply just a poorly written line. Either way it was just one of a few lines this episode that, as a writer, made me cringe inside. Staying on the subject of Emma and odd dialogue, I’m not sure I cared for the conversation between Emma and Snow about who to blame. I liked Snow’s point but when Emma said, “It’s Regina.” I felt like we were listening to a child tattle on another to their parent, which seemed out of character for Emma. 

Poppies: the romantic way to drug your loved ones. Poppy seeds can create a powder, also known as, Opium. It looks like our precious Snow was snorting-up some drugs. Have I ruined your romanticized version of Snow’s sacrifice last night? Great, mine too! You know who else loved poppies so much they laid in a field of them? That’s right, Dorothy and her companions from the Wizard of Oz. I think this first glimpse of that bright red flower is only a hint to a much larger event somewhere in the future of the show. We’ve already had countless references to other worlds including our beloved Oz, so I say expect everything and exclude nothing. In "Once World," anything is possible, nothing is improbable. I want to point out too that, as unlikely as I believe this is, since Disney owns ABC and we all know that Disney just purchased Lucasfilm, we may be seeing some iconic characters crop up or at the very least references. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Indiana Jones as a history teacher at Henry’s school or C-3PO as a servant in a castle? If you just said no, you’re not the dork I thought you were. How disappointing.

“Your pretty face buys you a lot, but not my time.” I have to admit, I loved the look on Hook’s face when Cora said that. Apparently everybody’s favorite sexy pirate isn’t used to his charms not working. No surprise, look at how we drool at him every time we see him in an episode. Admit it: you stare at his butt as long as you do his face. Don’t deny it, you know you do. Hook has successfully confused me into a triangle of possibilities. I know where his ultimate motive is headed but as for the best person to get him there, I’m not sure where he stands. But I suppose it doesn’t matter. Personally, as much as I love looking at him, I refuse to accept that one of the best characters on the show is going to be executed by a man with a hook for a hand. Rumple has slowly charmed my heart open to accepting him and his ways, much as he did Belle. My only question is where will Regina and Rumple stand when Cora comes to StoryBrooke? Will they combine forces or will one betray the other in the hopes of having all the power? With no Charming to be the voice of reason, there is only one last heir to take his place: Henry. Our brave, young prince may finally have the chance to be the hero he craves to be.

Remember those theories I mentioned earlier? Here is a small list I compiled of the better ones I found. Let me know your thoughts in the forums by clicking here or in the comments section down below:

-       Emma needs to find true love in order for the curse to break completely and send everyone back to the Enchanted Forest.

-       Doctor Whale will later become a love interest for Regina.

-       The books in StoryBrooke’s library hold some answers and magic that the people of StoryBrooke need to get back home, just like Henry’s book.

-       Emma becomes a bounty hunter in the hope of reuniting with Neal.

-       Neal’s obsession with watches could be yet another reference to his StoryBrooke counterpart, The White Rabbit.

-       Snow White’s mother was the Swan Princess and in later episode it is revealed that Emma carries on her grandmother’s legacy and she becomes a swan herself.

-       If Hook and Cora reach StoryBrooke, Hook and Rumple will put their past behind them and work together against Cora.

-       In order for the curse on StoryBrooke to be completely broken, everyone will have to find their happy ending.

-       Rumple is Regina’s real father.

And for good measure:

-       Prince Thomas fell down the well and was sent to Gotham, where he is now known as Batman.

-       Gold and Regina will have to call for the Goblin King for help to get Snow and Emma out of Fairytale Land.