After a third or fourth time watching, the purpose of those spikes becomes apparent: they're thorns... only on a larger scale. To further elaborate, if the healing power of the sun came in the form of a flower, then those spikes could possibly act as thorns.
Of course Cassandra knew something was up when the "guards" showed up at the coronation. As the daughter of the Captain of the Guard, and a royal handmaiden, she's probably familiar with EVERYONE who works in the castle. Spotting an unfamiliar face would be a simple matter for her.
Pascal's backstory. He was placed on a lily pad and floated downstream by his mother to escape an attacker, eventually finding his way into the loving care of a princess. Sound familiar? In the Bible, Moses receives a directive from God to institute the Passover feast, which celebrates the Israelites being spared God's final judgment on Egypt—a judgment intended to punish Egypt for killing all those baby boys when Moses was born. As it so happens, the given name Pascal means "Passover."
Also from the same episode as the above one, it explains so many things about Rapunzel's childhood.
If you recall the song "Mother Knows Best", what's one of the dangers and evils of the world Gothel mentioned before? Snakes. Seeing that snake try to attack Pascal was part of what cemented Rapunzel's belief that the world was a dark and cruel place like her "mother" said.
It's Fridge-Heartwarming to know Rapunzel's magical hair wasn't entirely wasted on restoring Gothel's youth all those years. She knows it can be used to heal sickness or injuries because she tried it on Pascal. That might also be why Tangled shows Pascal nodding at Eugene when Rapunzel wraps his injured hand in her hair and sings the healing incantation. He knows it works from personal experience.
In a small way, Rapunzel shared her lifestyle with Pascal: both were so young when they first came to the tower, and both came to grow up in the tower. But while Rapunzel was too young to remember the outside world, Pascal knew there was more good than bad and tried to get Rapunzel to see it.
Also, Pascal's backstory outside the tower might partially explain why he's less attached to Gothel and more rebellious towards her rule of staying inside: he has experienced healthy maternal love so Gothel's abusive and maybe counterfeit version she shows towards Rapunzel didn't fly over his head. Unlike Rapunzel, he had enough experience to know Gothel was bad news. Ergo, he tried to get his mistress to leave.
Also, an inverted Fridge Brilliance: All those times playing Hide and Seek with Rapunzel gave Pascal the practice he needed to hide from and evade the snake that was chasing him.
In the same episode, we see that Rapunzel and Flynn managed to escape the tower after Gothel's death using the secret passage she had opened then.
After watching "The Way of the Willow", it becomes obvious why Arianna is more tolerant of Eugene than Frederick: it's because of hersister. She's dealt with someone far more irresponsible than the former thief, someone less grounded. The difference is, Eugene does listen, and he's relatively humbler. What cements Arianna's open-mindedness is how Eugene tried to return the ring he stole from her back when he was a thief, a responsible act.
In regards to season 2, it's ironic that Stalyan refers to Eugene as "Flynn Rider". She may be the less innocent of the two when compared to Rapunzel, yet her referring to him as "Rider" reflects a certain naïveté she hasn't grown past ever since he left her at the altar. Whereas Rapunzel calling Eugene by his real name represents how she knows and loves him, warts and all.
Hookhand being derisive of Hookfoot's dream was hinted as far back as the movie, when he snarled to Eugene "Your dream stinks". While Eugene's dream was selfish when compared to Rapunzel's relatively pure dream of seeing the lanterns, that was no real reason to demean Eugene's dream of simply pursuing riches and achieving a prosperous life.
"You're Kidding Me" shows Rapunzel and Eugene to respectively be gentle and strict. This makes sense when one bears in mind they are projecting how they believe they should've been raised. Rapunzel was raised with an abusive surrogate mother and is trying to give the kids the kindly mother figure she never had (until she met her real mother). Eugene grew up an orphan with no real parents to give him guidance and is trying to set boundaries he believes he needed as a boy.
Lance and Cassandra's kid personalities make sense: Adult Lance may be strong and boastful, but he hides a heart of gold deep down. Adult Cassandra only listens to either herself or a higher authority, such as the King or the Captain.
Also, Eugene's strict parenting approach may have been shaped before-hand: he's spent time with the thief children Red and Angry. They've unintentionally taught him what children are like when they have no boundaries.
One would think King Edmund did a great disservice by leaving his son alone to fend for himself in Corona, believing he was a orphan peasant. But then, it dawns: King Edmund is Gothel's foil. If he had opted to keep Eugene in the Dark Kingdom and if Eugene had survived such a place, he would've lived out a life of isolation, having an unhealthy relationship where his brooding father was his only friend. Ultimately, King Edmund did Eugene a favor by granting him not only a chance at life, but freedom.
This also makes Eugene a foil to Rapunzel. She's the lost Princess of Corona, he's the lost Prince of the Dark Kingdom. She grew up living the aforementioned life Eugene would've lived, he lived his life free from that fate. Her mother survived because of the Magic Golden Flower, and his died because of the Moonstone.
King Edmund tells a story of the Moonstone, and it's remarkably parallel to the Magic Golden Flower story. Guess it's apparent where Eugene got his story-telling skills now.
Also, it becomes prophetic when Eugene said his story of "poor orphan Eugene" was a downer.
"Freebird" shows the different approaches of Rapunzel and Cassandra. Rapunzel gave up the last magic egg to change Cassandra so she wouldn't be doomed to go bird-brained, an act of Friendship. Cassandra destroyed the magic teapot so no one else would suffer Rapunzel's fate, an act of Justice. However, it also foreshadows their fates in "Destinies Collide". Rapunzel's sacrifice was an act of kindness, like the Magic Golden Flower. Cassandra's execution of the teapot was an act of destruction, like the Moonstone...
"Keeper of the Spire" reveals that Calliope is really an apprentice rather than the true keeper. In her former life, she was a circus performer (if not a good one). This would explain why Calliope made such a big entrance when first introduced, and why she keeps taking credit for what others do: as a performer, she makes it her business to put on good presentation and she lives for the spotlight.
Fridge-Heartwarming for "Fitzherbert PI": Why did Rapunzel add Arianna to her portrait? It's two-fold. It gives Arianna a second chance to have a good portrait that truly defines what makes her special (being a good mother), and that alone defines what makes Rapunzel special (her kindness).
Also in the same episode, Eugene's ability to read criminals explains how he first guessed right where Rapunzel hid his satchel, not to mention his figuring that Gothel and the Stabbington Brothers were connected.
At the end of "The Wrath of Ruthless Ruth" Fredric was surprisingly not as upset to the point of announcing more restrictions as when Rapunzel went out of Corona in the pilot movie. This is likely because the Captain covered for her absence before she entered the room he is in, so that's all the assurance he needed.
In "Painter's Block", it's easy to blame Rapunzel for trusting a strange, creepy lady despite what she went through with Gothel, who is no different, but this lapse of judgement is because of how desperate she is to seek a break from the difficult things she went through in "Queen For A Day".
Gothel calling Rapunzel "flower" as a Term Of Endangerment throughout the film takes on a whole new meaning in "The Alchemist Returns"—Varian discovers Rapunzel is the Sundrop.
The Moonstone song of death is rather short compared to the Sundrop song of healing. This actually makes sense. It takes time and effort for wounds (both physical and mental) to heal, but it takes very little time to take away/destroy life.
Rapunzel isn't ready to run a kingdom. Is she smart? Yes. A fast learner? Yes. Charismatic? Without a doubt. But ready to handle the tribulations of politics, scarce resources and meting out justice? Not exactly there yet.
How would the King react if he knew that he was acting like Gothel, the woman who stole his child, minus the emotional abuse?
How many other Lady Caines are out there, children orphaned thanks to stricter no tolerance laws?
If Rapunzel's hair hadn't grown back the night before her coronation, the battle against Lady Caine and her cronies might have been less equal.
It's also a really good thing that Lady Caine didn't know that Rapunzel was a Badass Normal, or she would have definitely incapacitated the Princess.
Those spikes must have done a number on Rapunzel's mind. If Rapunzel is having nightmares of Mother Gothel since that night, it could get worse to the point that she has hallucinations of her.
That color Pascal turns when the snake first bit him in the flashback, it's so sickly and pale. Could this be the color he'll turn when he dies someday, even a peaceful one in his sleep?
Remember Eugene's dream from the movie? He once said he wanted to live in a castle, rich and alone. What do you think King Edmond has been doing for 25 years? Living out his son's dream.
Varian has committed treason under one of the sternest rulers Corona has had. It's debatable if his age will factor into sentencing when he gets caught. In any case, you better hope the King fully honors Rapunzel's request to give him special help.
It's important to note that as established in "Big Brothers Of Corona", King Fredric does not imprison children, and by extension apply Corona law at it's fullest to children. But, considering it was a young boy who committed four counts high treason, this creates a huge dilemma for Fredric. Clearly, they don't have any laws or provisions that cover juvenile delinquents.
Cass is sent to a convent when her father and the king learn she sneaked out Rapunzel to see the spikes. Harsh? Depends on how stern the convent women are. Justifiable? Well... if Cass hadn't taken Rapunzel out the night before her coronation, Rapunzel wouldn't have touched the spikes, causing them to grow and her long hair to grow back. So technically the tragedy that happened with Varian and Old Corona being destroyed was caused by Cass. It gets worse when you learn Cass' true nature in the Season 2 finale.
I'm pretty sure it's bothered many people that no one bothered to check up on Varian after the events in "Queen For A Day". While it was his fault that his dad is trapped in amber for tampering with the black rocks when he wasn't supposed to, you'd think that him being the son of an important ally to the king would mean that, when all is said and done, they would at least check his story out. If Varian was too quick to become a villain, then Rapunzel was too quick to give up on helping him and just go straight to depression after the storm blew over.