In this week's Once Upon A Time, Aurora and Mulan finally got something to do!
After an excellent start on the show, the two new Disney princesses have fallen into the background somewhat, but they came into the forefront this week, as Snow and Emma struggled to find a way to communicate with (and return to) Storybrook.
Interestingly, Aurora and Mulan's storyline this week fell into the traditional "princess" storyline: the damsel is kidnapped and held to ransom, and the hero must come to save her. The most obvious twist was that the "hero" was in fact another Disney princess, Mulan herself, and although I wish that the actress could have brought a little more subtlety and believability to the performance, I think there was a mixture of duty (I promised Philip!) and genuine desire to protect and save her in her actions. However, I was even more pleased by the way they presented Aurora. Considering that many viewers have dismissed her as a weak and whiny sort of character (because, perhaps, she was upset over Philip's death and struggled to keep up to the others while in a dress), it was great to see her showing her intense personal strength and determination to do good. She covered up her burns without complaint, because she wanted to help them go home. As Cora saw, she also hoped that this new world would provide a new home for her, after her own world was entirely destroyed. Yet she has no false notions of dramatic rescue, or even the idea of being precious to anybody. She will not betray the others, even though she has no hope of rescue. She will not fall for Cora's lies and manipulations, even if they are exactly what she would hope to hear. And she is strong-willed and stubborn in the face of kidnap and death. She's not a fighter, but she is certainly a strong and interesting character.
Of course, her reward is that she's now completely under Cora's manipulative power. But I'm intrigued to see where all of this goes, and how Mulan will react when she discovers the spell. Because, despite their initial distrust of one another, the two characters have a connection. Mulan is all about honor and duty, but she did not think twice about stealing the compass from Snow and Emma to trade for Aurora. Aurora, meanwhile, doesn't think there is anyone left who cares enough to fight for her... how will she react when she finds out that isn't the case? Although we've had some brilliant scenes with Aurora and Mulan interacting with other characters -- Snow in particular -- I really hope we get to see them talk to each other soon. I think they would have some interesting things to say.
Meanwhile, Snow and Charming are stuck in another fairy tale inversion, as he sacrifices himself and becomes stuck under a sleeping curse, trusting that she will return to save him. Looking forward to seeing all this develop next week! (Although, I must admit, a different writer would be welcome. Some of the dialogue was cringe-worthy this week).