Subtext Recap: Once Upon a Time 3.7 – Dark Hollow

If-then statements. How awesome are they? Because they swing both ways. There’s your geometric, deductive-reasoning style ‘If (blank), then (blank)’, which is factual. As in –

If all squares are boxes, and all boxes are black, then all squares are black.

– OR –

If all super-sexy dancers are Latinas, and all Latinas are hot, then all super-sexy dancers are hot.

And let’s face it, that statement could be true on so many levels.

Then there’s the hypothetical if-then statement. ‘If (blank), then (blank,)’, which is the possible, probable, or most likely consequence, result or outcome, though you can’t always tell which at the time. Like –

If I spin around in a chair really fast because I think I’m still five, then I will tumble out of the chair and break my chin. (possible)

– OR –

If it gets cold earlier, then we’ll have to turn the heat on earlier. (probable)

– OR –

If there is something worth writing about on Once Upon a Time while Emma and Regina are apart, then it will be good enough for me to recap with a smile on my face and less irritation in my heart. (most likely)

The last statement did, in fact, prove correct.

The unfortunate news is Regina and Gold only book-ended this outing. Which is sad, because I was looking forward to a few more of those snarky one-liners. But I have to forgive it due to the fact that the instance of (not-at-all-)subtext in this episode was a real squeal of a line.

I have actually, embarrassingly, shouted at my television sports-event style only twice while watching this show. The first time was during last season’s finale when Emma turned to Regina and uttered the infamous maintext notion –

“You may not be strong enough. But maybe we are.”

The second time was tonight.

Both times, my shouts came, not from the dialogue itself – though each line (plus a host of other lines, actions, and looks) certainly offers compelling evidence that SwanQueen is not a ghost ship floating in the dark, secretive realm of fandom, but a little paddle boat quietly powering up to the visible ships and poking holes in their keels – but from the anticipation of the line.

Because both times I had already formed if-then hypotheticals.

If Emma says “maybe we are,” I thought, then there is a lot, LOT to be explored in the Emma-Regina dynamic. Then, Emma said those words, and I went Mexican-soccer-goal-crazy.

Tonight, my if-then statement was a real stretch, because absolutely everything about the set-up, from Snow White’s warning that both Hook and Neal having feelings for Emma was dangerous, to Hook’s “accidental” revelation to Neal that he and Emma shared a kiss, to Hook telling Emma he thought it meant something, to Hook and Neal’s juvenile bickering while they were in the midst of danger and, oh yeah, trying to save Henry, was flat-out painful. Like painful. Like ‘Don’t try to trim that with a pocket knife. Don’t try to trim that with a pocket knife. Don’t try… Ahhhhhhh! What did I say to you?!?’ painful.

When both of Emma’s potential “loves” were being sucked of shadow, though, and the set-up was very much there for her to have to choose between the two of them, she just did what needed to be done. Once she sucked Pan’s shadow into her glow light, and Neal posed the question “How did you do that?”, my mind formed an instant if-then statement.

Because Emma could have said “Magic.” She could have said “Anger.” She could have said “Focus.” She could have said “I don’t know. I was just so desperate to save both of you, you studly, panty-melting man types.”

Regardless of all the lead-up, build-up and potential other answers, though, what I thought was, “If Emma says ‘Regina,’ then this shit ain’t subtext.” And when Emma opened her mouth, there was only one name on her lips.

It was at that moment my team scored.

Despite how much I’d like to leave the above my sweet closing line, it’s also worth noting that, upon the return to Gold and Regina, their conversation goes like this –

Regina: You really love her.

Gold: Is that jealousy?

Regina: Of Belle? I think not.

Gold: Not of Belle. Of having someone.

Then, upon the return to Emma and the other points of her triangle, Emma makes the choice of choosing neither of them.

So, summing up, as Emma’s potential hetero-lovers are in imminent danger, she thinks of Regina. We know this, because she calls her by name. Immediately after which, she decides to cool it on both boys.

Damn, that must have been one hell of a vision quest Emma experienced in that cave.

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