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Recap / Once Upon A Time S6 E20: "The Song In Your Heart"

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Season 6, Episode 20:

The Song in Your Heart

As Emma and Hook prepare for their wedding, the Black Fairy threatens to cast a curse that will separate her from everyone she loves unless she willingly gives up her heart. The key to defeating her turns out to lie in the past, in a magical spell cast by Snow and Charming that caused everyone in the Enchanted Forest to suddenly experience a musical fairy tale.


  • Arc Words: "Love is the most powerful magic of all" returns in song form.
  • Bad Boss: During "Love Doesn't Stand A Chance", Regina kills a couple of her Mooks for no apparent reason.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Emma is a nice person (provided you don't push the wrong button!) This does not stop her from unleashing all of the shit on the Black Fairy during her song.
  • Breaking Speech: The Black Fairy attempts this on Emma, in a manner disturbingly similar to how Pan spoke of the Lost Boys when they were missing their families at night, when she speaks of knowing what is in Emma's heart due to having stolen and raised so many orphans herself. At first it seems to work, but thanks to Henry and the wish, Emma just delivers back a satisfying Shut Up, Hannibal!.
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  • Bring It: Emma is more than willing to face the Black Fairy, especially once the town is in danger from the dark fairy dust, and also attempts this after her family is frozen. The very end of the episode is also an example, where she doesn't care about the impending curse because they are all together, she has her happy beginning, and she's willing to face whatever comes.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • The Magic Mirror shows up in flashbacks. And sings.
    • Smee also appears.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Subverted. After the music box is used to draw in the song wish, the viewer could be forgiven for thinking it would turn out to be in Regina's vault and used to release the spell so they could then employ it against the Black Fairy. Instead the magic was never really lost, simply transferred by Blue to Emma's heart, and it's a page from the storybook which reminds her what she needs to know with the box never entering into it.
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  • Cliffhanger: The episode ends with the Black Fairy's curse about to hit Storybrooke.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Snow brings Emma her own wedding dress to wear, found in Gold's shop with everything else from the Enchanted Forest.
    • Hook uses the same Dreamshade from Neverland on Gold.
    • Regina notes that having ruined Snow and Charming's wedding, she wants to make sure Emma's goes off without a hitch.
    • Again we have it stressed for us just how special Emma's heart is. It also glows gold, rather like Henry's heart (the heart of the Truest Believer).
    • Flashback!Regina's Villain Song references her (and Cora's) "Love is Weakness" Catchphrase.
    • Once again, Grumpy is the one to announce the arrival of a Dark Curse.
  • Couch Gag: The title logo has an orchestra tuning up.
  • Counterpoint Duet: Between Snow and Charming's triumphant heroic tune about The Power of Love being "the most powerful magic of all" and Regina's Villain Song.
  • Dance Party Ending: Subverted, as after the wedding, a Triumphant Reprise, and everyone dancing at the reception, everything is cut off with discordant notes as the Black Fairy's curse is cast.
  • Double-Meaning Title: It's normally a phrase which simply refers to lightness, hope, and joy in an optimistic person, and the Blue Fairy does say the spell's power comes from such things, as well as the belief in a happy ending, which is in the hearts of everyone who loves Emma. But it also becomes literal when Blue reveals that all Zelena's spell did was get rid of the outward manifestation of the wish—the power behind the song could never be taken away, and she had cast it into Emma's heart, where it would give her the magic to withstand the Black Fairy.
  • Dramatic Irony: The Black Fairy's curse is set to go off at the same time Emma marries Hook. Deliberately invoked by the Black Fairy, and lampshaded by Zelena of all people.
  • Deus ex Machina: Once again, the storybook—Henry, in desperation to find another way for things to end, throws it on the floor, only for a page to fall out, with the picture on it showing Blue using the wish to place the song from everyone's heart in unborn Emma's. He takes this to Emma to show her she's not alone, has had the power in her all along, and this enables her to free everyone from the time-stop curse. Of course, the method in which the solution is presented uses the same powers the book is known to have, so it remains consistent with the show's canon.
  • Eureka Moment: When Zelena says Regina can find a way to stop the Black Fairy in time, Regina remembers how the Dark Curse stopped time and thinks she can repeat that.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Snow and Charming met Hook for the first time during the magical spell.
  • Funny Background Event: The face Zelena makes at the Black Fairy while she's monologuing is priceless.
    • The face Regina makes when the Charmings are singing to her is also priceless.
  • Hope Spot: Emma defeats the time-stop curse, saves her family, and forces the Black Fairy to flee, allowing her and Hook to wed. But then after the ceremony, the joyful final song is interrupted with discordant chords as the new curse is unleashed from the clock tower and swallows up everyone.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: How Gold justifies siding with his mom to Hook — he needed to save Belle and Gideon.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • The Black Fairy separates Emma from all her loved ones, except Henry. Not only does this mean Emma is not actually alone but she has the one person who would not give up until a third option was found. Guess what he finds.
    • Despite having enough time to conduct a wedding, no one seems to try to stop the Black Fairy's curse despite having a possible method to do so. It's like they assumed the light magic Emma used to free everyone also destroyed the globe of dark fairy dust...but apparently no one bothered to check?
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: After Regina and Zelena have created the potion to stop time, Zelena boastfully wonders what their old teacher would say if he could see them now.
  • Incoming Ham: After Snow White notices that she is singing compulsively, you can hear David building up for his Big Entrance.
  • Internal Reveal: Everyone discovers Gold lied about sending the Black Fairy away.
  • Kick the Dog: During "Love Doesn't Stand A Chance", Regina goes around bullying the other characters in petty ways just to make a point.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The Blue Fairy explains how everyone will forget the entire musical adventure, thus explaining why no one knows about the magic song in Emma's heart, why Hook doesn't remember where the Dark One is being held, why Zelena and Regina don't remember the music box used to snare the enchanted song, why Snow didn't recognize Hook in Season 2, and so forth.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Zelena's big number, "Wicked Always Wins", consists of her gloating about all the many ways she's going to destroy Regina's life as revenge — in Rebecca Mader's bright, peppy vocals and with an uptempo melody that sounds like it came straight out of a Broadway musical. (Coincidence? Possibly not...)
  • Medium Awareness: Those made to sing are apparently aware they're in a musical, since Hook is able to tell Snow White she'll find out whom he wants revenge on "in the second verse."
  • Motive Misidentification: Snow and Charming assumed her wish had been granted to give them the power to defeat the Evil Queen and stop the Dark Curse. But it turns out by Exact Words Blue was using it to grant the power to Emma only, and for her to face the Black Fairy, not the Evil Queen.
  • Musical Episode: Obviously.
  • Musicalis Interruptus:
    • Snow and Charming interrupt Hook's song to tell him they have the Dark One in their dungeon and he can have him if he will accept their deal. Hook does, then finishes his song triumphantly.
    • Similarly, Zelena cuts off her own song to realize that instead of simply watching Regina get defeated, she can anonymously give her the key to winning, then show up later to lord it over both her and Rumple as to who was the most powerful witch and who the victory really belonged to. Then she finishes her song as well.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • As in Pinocchio, a wish is made on a star. Also as in that film, it's the Blue Fairy who grants it.
    • The musical kicks off with a bluebird flying into Snow's room.
    • Grumpy and the other dwarves' song contains lyrics referencing "Heigh-Ho."
    • Geppetto's song about Pinocchio references him no longer having strings.
    • Regina's Villain Song includes several uses of the phrase "Mirror, mirror", including a couple of full uses of "Mirror, mirror, on the wall."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Hook uses Dreamshade on Gold to keep him out of the fight. This backfires when it causes the Black Fairy to come to his aid, capturing Hook and reviving her son. Which leads into the second example, where Regina and Zelena's attempt to use the time-stasis portion of the Dark Curse to block the Black Fairy's new curse ends up being stolen by Gold and used on all of them. As the Black Fairy herself says, "They did it all for me."
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Zelena's music box which takes the power of song from everyone doesn't undo the wish at all—it just gives Blue the opportunity to transfer everyone's love, hope, and belief into Emma's heart while the outer manifestation of the wish has vanished. This in turn gives Emma the power she needs in the future to stand up to the Black Fairy and save everyone.
  • No-Sell:
    • Hook can't kill Gold with Dreamshade anymore (due to him having the power of all Dark Ones), but he can put him to sleep long enough to keep him from helping his mother. Unfortunately she immediately shows up, not only capturing him but also waking Gold so he can take the time-stop curse from Regina and cast it on everyone.
    • Although she can take Emma's heart (unlike Cora, because Emma gave it up willingly), the Black Fairy can't crush it because it contains the "song" (the love and belief) of everyone she loves, and always has.
  • Not Worth Killing: After breaking the singing spell, Regina just sends the Charmings back to their castle, wanting to wait for the Dark Curse to finish them off. Justified by her still being unable to harm them at this point (thanks to Rumple), and not yet having figured out how to cast the curse, although the dismissive nature of the trope surely appealed to her as well.
  • Plot Hole: No one thinks of avoiding the new Dark Curse by simply leaving town. The Evil Queen's barrier on the town line was undone by Regina, just last episode David was talking about using magic beans, and Regina had also been urging Zelena to drive to New York with Henry and baby Robin.
  • The Power of Rock: Snow and Charming use the magic of their song to counter the Evil Queen's fireballs, and Emma uses it to break the time-stopping spell on her family.
  • Precision F-Strike: During Regina's Villain Song.
    Now that little bitch will wish
    She never ever knew me
  • Running Gag: People reacting in utter confusion when they start singing.
  • Sadistic Choice: From the Black Fairy—Emma must give up her heart or else she will release the dark fairy dust curse on the entire town (timed with Emma's wedding no less) and separate her from everyone she's ever loved, leaving her to fight the Final Battle alone. As usual, she ends up Taking a Third Option by finding the power in her heart to stand up to the fairy, freeing her loved ones while not giving up her heart. Played with, however, in that the option involving the curse is not abrogated and still gets set off at episode's end.
  • Shout-Out: Unsurprising for a show written by Jane Espenson, but the Musical Episode all being due to a magic spell, one where the people in question are confused and bemused by the constant singing, is very much reminiscent of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Once More With Feeling." Inverted in that the spell was the result of a hero's wish and cast by the Big Good, rather than a demonic and dangerous curse. (Although Snow and Charming do at first think it's a curse, and of course the Evil Queen very much feels it is one.) Also, there's one person who by their own admission can't sing (this time Jared Gilmore) who only gets a single Mandatory Line (this time in the final reprise).
  • Spontaneous Choreography: To be expected, and three different times: the servants with Snow and Charming right after the wish is made, Hook's pirates and the other bar patrons, and the Storybrooke residents attending the wedding.
  • Tired of Running: During her song at the climax, Emma declares that, having spent all her life running in fear from the possibility of losing anything she wants, she's not going to do it anymore, and instead fight for her happiness.
  • Villain Song:
    • "Love Doesn't Stand A Chance", Regina's number about how nothing's going to stop her from crushing the Charmings.
    • "Revenge Will Be Mine", Hook's song about his intent to hunt down and kill Rumple.
    • "Wicked Always Wins", Zelena's melody about how she's going to watch Regina fail and then come out on top of her.
    • Subverted by Rumple, who Trolls Regina into thinking he's about to sing (with a melodic version of his leitmotif even appearing for a moment), then reveals that the spell didn't work on him because "The Dark One doesn't sing". Ironic and something of a shame, since Robert Carlyle actually can sing quite well.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Snow and Charming promise Hook the chance to get his revenge on the Dark One in their dungeon if he will sail them to the Evil Queen's castle. They are seen arriving at the latter to face Regina down, but all we ever see of the Dark One is his encounter with Regina. The probable assumption is that Hook didn't make it to the dungeon before Regina sent all the intruders away and everyone forgot the song wish and everything related to it (explaining why Hook didn't remember where Rumple was and so was still willing to work with Regina, then Cora, to get his revenge).
    • In the present, it isn't clear exactly how the Black Fairy created her sphere of dark fairy dust tied to the clock tower, when Zelena's use of the Crimson Heart undid the corruption of the fairy crystals in the mine. The only real answer seems to be that Gold did it for her offscreen after joining with her at the end of the previous episode. It was also mentioned in "Mother's Little Helper" that the Black Fairy was gathering black fairy dust while she was banished providing a second way. Although presumably she no longer has access to that now that she's in Storybrooke, or else she wouldn't have needed to have the fairy crystals corrupted (unless she just wanted to twist the knife by using Zelena the way she did, or her magic is more powerful than what was in the dust the Black Fairy already had?).
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Or in this case, six; the Black Fairy's deadline before she releases her new dark curse on the town, and actually tied to the Clock Tower.
  • Why Won't You Die?: The Black Fairy, to Emma after she can't crush her heart.
  • With Lyrics: Emma's song incorporates the most memorable part of Snow and Charming's Leitmotif as its tune. Justified in that it was the love and belief from them that literally put the song in her heart. Strangely this is called "Emma's Theme" on the soundtrack, although Emma has had her own, different leitmotif ever since the Pilot.
    • Subverted by Rumplestiltskin. It seems like this is about to happen as a musical-y variation of the tune that's been his leitmotif throughout the series begins to swell, then he says he'd rather gouge his eyes out with a rusty fork.
  • You Are Not Alone: Once again Emma has to learn this lesson but this time on a larger scale—that the love of her parents and everyone else who knew her had been in her heart all along, so even while an orphan she was never alone.

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