Page 23 Review | Once Upon a Time Season 6 Episode 14

Now I love myself. Which means now should you.


Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, Colin O’Donoghue, Jared S. Gilmore, Rebecca Mader, and Robert Carlyle.

Season 6
Episode 14: Page 23

Having watched “Page 23”, I was definitely left with a feeling of “Oh, okay, I guess that’s out the way now”. Not because it wasn’t especially pleasurable, or wasn’t well performed, because I don’t think either of those things are true, but mainly just because it successfully resolves some vaguely irritating slash cumbersome plot lines from the show so that we can move onto other things. In this case, it’s tying up the loose ends of the Evil Queen and Robin.

The Evil Queen story ended appropriately, and really in the only satisfactory way that it could have: with Regina finally learning to accept and to love herself. It was the resolution that I have been expecting for quite some weeks, though the execution here was slightly abrupt. Sharing the darkness between the pair makes complete sense, and factors into Regina trusting herself and embracing all aspects of her being, instead of running from it.

Having said that, I’m not entirely sold on the logic of The Evil Queen and Robin Hood achieving their happy ending together in the Wish Realm. From a practical, story driven point of view, The Evil Queen was looking for a new start and somewhere to start anew: the universe in which she is feared and, to everybody else’s knowledge, recently murdered the King and Queen and has kidnapped Princess Emma, hardly seems like the ideal place to start with a blank slate.

Moreover, Robin wanting to return there seems strange considering he chose to leave with Regina mere days before. Suddenly, he seems content to be there. Additionally, all of his more murderous and evil tendencies seem to have been forgotten about. Putting The Evil Queen and him together is a nice way to throw the show back to that page in the storybook and showing the two of them bonding, but we had already established in the programme that this wasn’t the same Robin that we knew before, but by sharing the darkness between herself and her doppelgänger, Regina and the Evil Queen are essentially the same person now. If Robin wasn’t right for Regina, why are he and the Evil Queen so compatible a match? It just seems slightly messy.

The flashbacks this week seemed to be a little bit off kilter, but the ultimate link was to expand upon Regina’s self hatred. It’s something that the audience has definitely been noticing, but it’s nice for the programme to acknowledge it. Having said that, it definitely could have been more explicit throughout the entire episode, both in the past and in the present to make these more emotional beats hit a bit harder. Ultimately, what we had was seeing that Regina’s most hated person was herself, before declaring “I love myself” in the present, as if self acceptance and self love is actually that simple a journey.

Elsewhere, Emma and Hook’s engagement certainly took a surprising turn, when Emma happened to find the truth of Hook’s deception and role in killing David’s father. As it turns out, it’s not the act that Emma is actually concerned with, but more that he actually lied to her about it, and called off the engagement, before Hook ended up being sent away by Gideon on the Nautilus. To have Emma believe that Hook has actually left here is massively tragic, so hopefully Hook finds his way back sooner before later.

As a final note, isn’t it always slightly suspicious that when it’s snowing in Storybrooke it also seems to snow in the corresponding flashbacks? I shan’t complain too much, because the scene with Hook and Snow at the harbour with the snow falling around them was absolutely stunning (even if it must have been an absolute nightmare of a night shoot), but it always tickles me as a concept.

Ultimately “Page 23” is a way of smoothing over some outstanding plot points so that the show can focus more heavily upon the Black Fairy storyline and Gideon’s role within it. Hopefully along the way, we also get some meaningful development for poor Belle, who is now of little relevance now that she’s not being menaced by Rumple, apparently. Hopefully we also get to see a bit more of Emma, having had the entire of the engagement storyline told from Hook’s perspective instead of hers, and figure out a way to break Snow and Charming’s sleeping curse.

You can watch Once Upon a Time Seasons 1 – 7 on Netflix. It is also available on home media and other digital platforms for purchase or rent.

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