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Tear Jerker / Tangled: The Series

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    Before Ever After 

Before Ever After, The Movie

  • While Rapunzel is now with her parents, Eugene, and Cassandra, she feels stifled from her busier life.
  • King Frederic's actions during the film; he's basically not that different from, yet simultaneously Not So Similar to Gothel — keeping Rapunzel locked away in Corona for her own safety. Does he have good intentions unlike Gothel? Yes. Are his actions sympathetic given how his only child was kidnapped as a baby? Yes. Is his over-protectiveness putting Rapunzel in the same predicament she had for her whole life? Yes.
    • His flashback to her kidnapping is also pretty tearjerking, especially since you can hear him desperately calling for help as his daughter is taken away.
      • How OTT is he? During the song Life After Happily Ever After, he closes a window. DURING THE DAY with guards around. With his eighteen year old, capable daughter, in the room.
  • Eugene confessing to Rapunzel, who's actually Pascal in disguise in this scene, after she rejected his proposal. Even though most of it was played for laughs, this part wasn't at all.
    Eugene: Growing up poor and alone...I got used to having nothing, but now with you, I finally have something. We have something, something that is amazing and I guess tonight I was just trying to keep it that way and I thought that's what you wanted, too...but I guess I was wrong.
  • Lady Caine's father was a petty thief the king locked up when he went to town on Corona's criminal element after Rapunzel's disappearance. It makes her actions somewhat understandable.
  • Rapunzel running off in tears after her father commands her to never leave the walls of Corona again.
  • Frederic doesn't find it an easy decision either, given the expression on his face, but he would rather have his daughter safe than happy.

    Season 1 

Season 1

What The Hair?!
  • Varian is a teenage Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds. He means well with his inventions, and he even has a reputation of The Dreaded wizard in town, but his devices are downright dangerous. Given what his father says, Varian causes damage on a regular basis.
  • What finally makes Rapunzel tell Eugene about her hair: he stays with her when she's strapped to Varian's analysis machine and his boiler threatens to bury them alive. She decides there will be no more secrets between them.

Rapunzel's Enemy

  • Rapunzel being unable to handle being booed.

Challenge of the Brave

  • Even though it made her The Scrappy for some, Cassandra's predicament during "Battle of the Brave". She's been training so hard to be a good fighter so people will finally take her seriously and see her as more than just a pretty handmaiden, and Rapunzel just waltzes in and steals the show without any effort even though she doesn't have any stake in winning the event. Admittedly, she handled it really poorly and would have avoided a lot of grief if she'd just explained her feelings to Rapunzel in the first place, since Rapunzel would have backed down if she had known, but she doesn't seem the type to admit her feelings easily.

Cassandra V. Eugene

  • Eugene admits to Cassandra that as a young orphan, he used to console himself with a daydream that his parents were treasure hunters, and they would come to call on him the moment they struck it rich. As we all know, that dream never came true.
  • When Cassandra talks about being raised by the Captain of The Guard, she mentions that she doesn't remember her parents. That's gotta sting.
  • Cassandra and Eugene finally start to bond over one of the only things they have in common - neither of them grew up with their birth parents or can even remember them. Cassandra is willing to entertain the discussion, until Eugene starts to admit that he used to fantasize about his parents coming back for him as a boy, at which point, Cassandra's expression grows pained and uncomfortable, and she shuts the conversation down. In light of "Rapunzel's Return", this scene makes a lot more sense. Cassandra repressed her memories of Gothel betraying her and abandoning her a long time ago, because they hurt too much, but the pain Gothel left her is still buried inside her, somewhere, even if she doesn't know why she has it.

The Return of Strongbow

  • Eugene's regret when he ends up hurting Rapunzel with a ring that he stole from her mother, long before they met. She forgives him, as does Arianna, but he tells her that hurting her is the last thing he would ever want to do.
  • The theft of the Queen's ring and how traumatic it was for her. Taken by itself, it means nothing, but looking at the bigger picture, it really takes a whole new meaning: Arianna was still going through the loss of her daughter, the ring had sentimental value, so losing something of that value only added to the trauma of having her daughter stolen as a baby.
  • Strongbow donating stolen treasure to the orphanage long before Eugene would have heard of the deed.

Pascal's Story

  • Dear lord. The beginning shows us that Pascal, not unlike Rapunzel, had a Dark and Troubled Past. The then young chameleon is carried off by his mother as they are pursued by a hungry snake. When they reach a dead-end, Pascal is nuzzled by his mother one last time before being sent down a river on a lilypad... just in time to watch helplessly as the snake delivers the finishing blow.
  • Alone, tired and depressed, the poor chameleon eventually finds hope in Rapunzel's tower. Unfortunately, it turns out the snake followed him there and injects him with venom. Yes, Pascal died. Thankfully, Rapunzel manages to ward off the snake (via frying pan) and resurrect Pascal with her magical hair.
  • Rapunzel returning to the tower where she was imprisoned. She visibly flinches at it and struggles to even enter it, implying she has PTSD from her time there. To a lesser extent, Eugene probably does too—that's where Rapunzel tried to sacrifice her freedom for him, and where he died.

Queen For A Day

  • This episode - the darkest and most tragic yet - is a long series of sad moments for everyone involved, but for starters, basically everything that happens to Varian:
    • At the start of the episode, the spikes have all but completely overrun his village, but his father pledges to go to the king and fight for a solution. Varian comes along, thinking he can help, only for his father to completely ignore his contributions and then turn out to be planning to lie to the king and get more land, so the villagers can abandon the town instead of fixing it. Varian is both furious and disillusioned with his father, outright saying that he doesn't think he can trust him any more and that the only person he can confide in any more is Rapunzel.
    Quirin: (sounding tired) Varian, children have no place in court.
    Varian: But, I'm not a child.
    • Varian tries to fix the problem himself, believing his father doesn't care. However, his alchemy has a more severe reaction to the spikes than he thought, causing the spikes to grow rather than shrink. His father realizes what is happening before Varian does and shoves him out of the way, only to be slowly enveloped by them himself. As if this essentially being his own fault wasn't enough, his father realizes there's no use in trying to stop it, but Varian refuses to believe it and runs away to desperately find help.
    • His song, which has him both bitter than his father never understood or showed pride in him, and hope that by saving him and the village his father will finally see him for who he is. All while unaware that he has already failed: we see his father be covered in the spikes just before the song even begins.
    • Varian runs to the castle through a snowstorm to beg for Rapunzel's aid. Instead, he finds Corona in a state of emergency and Rapunzel too busy trying to save it to help him. When he insists, he is instead seized by the guards and dragged out of Corona, screaming to no avail that Rapunzel promised to help him. When he returns home, he finds his father is completely encased with no way out, and we leave him sobbing on the floor. Both the animation and the acting really sell the moment - he sounds completely broken, and looks like the terrified child he really is.
      • On Rapunzel's end, this becomes even worse when you remember the movie: Rapunzel never breaks a promise. Ever. And now she has to for the first time, when a friend needs her the most. She's very guilt-ridden realizing she went back on a promise and has a lot to make up for it.
    • The result of all this. Varian's problem is the only one that isn't fixed in the end. Instead, we find that losing his father and being turned away from Rapunzel has turned him bitter and obsessed with fixing the problem at any cost, making anyone who stood in his way "pay." Optimistic, Adorkable Varian has just had his Start of Darkness.
  • Rapunzel, as per the episode title, is made acting Queen while her parents go on vacation. At first she's very excited about this, until she has to deal with the mob of people wanting her to fix their problems, and the fact that every solution she tries to give just makes the problems worse. By the end of the day, she's gone from confident to depressed and believing she's not good enough to be Queen. And this doesn't go away even after everything is said and done and she saves the day.
  • The King and Queen's carriage falls off a cliff, leaving them stranded. There's a sad scene where, fully believing that they're about to die, Frederick laments how he won't be able to do everything he wants for the kingdom.
  • Early in the episode, Cassandra mocks Eugene for being acting King but not really doing anything important. Later, when Eugene decides to lead a team to rescue the King and Queen from the blizzard - which everyone thinks is suicide - he reveals that her words inspired him to do it. For once, Cassandra looks regretful at the idea that she may have inadvertently sent Eugene to die.
  • Pascal sacrifices himself to get the machine working again and save Corona, his last tearful look to Rapunzel and her tears after he's gone are heart-wrenching. Thankfully he survives but still.
  • By the end of the episode, Rapunzel is completely saddened over what she did over the course of the special (turning away from Varian when he desperately needed help, sending Eugene to face possible death, then doing the same to Pascal), she considers this the most difficult day of her life and doubts at ever becoming queen in the future. Thankfully Eugene reasons with her.

Painter's Block

  • Rapunzel's plot in the episode: she's so traumatized by the events of "Queen for a Day" that she becomes paralyzed with indecision whenever she has to make any serious choices, which becomes so bad that it robs her of her ability to paint - the thing she loves doing most in the world - as her friends become more and more concerned. Even taking a class in (what she believes is) a safe space doesn't really help. And when Eugene attempts to cheer her up and empathize with her, she explodes on him for the first time in the entire series.
    • The fact that Rapunzel is so depressed over the choices she made that, until the sorceress threatened her friends, she was easy prey for her mind control simply through the promise of a life without such terrible decisions.

The Quest For Varian

  • The tower gets destroyed. You would think Rapunzel would be happy to see her 18 year long prison fall, but instead the sight of its destruction leaves her in tears. Yes, she lived in it with the woman who abused her from childhood, but she made a lot of good memories too, and could only salvage the slab of her taking a look at the lanterns she would see every year on her birthday.
    • Seeing the tower crumble in and of itself is a tearjerker simply due to the fact that it's been there since the beginning. Seeing such an iconic landmark crumble into nothing makes it feel like a part of Rapunzel just...died.
  • Rapunzel's heartbroken reaction when she discovers Varian's father, fully enveloped by the rocks.

Secret of the Sundrop

  • Cassandra sullenly breaks the news to Rapunzel that she's being sent to a convent, just as she feared, because Fredric found out she snuck Rapunzel outside the castle.
  • After Arianna is kidnapped, Fredric finally opens up to Rapunzel. Revealing that eighteen years ago, on the night before he sent out the guard to locate the Sundrop Flower that would save Arianna (and Rapunzel's) lives, he was warned by Quirin that taking the flower would have unimaginable consequences. But he had no choice. He knew about the Black Rocks all along, and at first tried to ignore them, then attempting to cover up their destruction. This lead to the rocks causing more damage to Corona, and inadvertently setting off the chain of events that would lead to Varian kidnapping the queen. But despite the trouble he caused for Rapunzel, as well as Varian and the rest of the kingdom, it's clear that Fredric was simply afraid and doing whatever a father would to protect his family. Only to end up making everything worse for himself.
  • In "Ready As I'll Ever Be", Varian is clearly still a scared kid deep down. He knows he's made his lot in life worse and miserable by seeking vengeance, but feels he has chosen his path and there is no turning back.
  • When Rapunzel tries to talk Varian down, he proclaims that he won't stop until she's felt all the agony that he's felt. But when you think about it, Rapunzel has felt agony in her life. Just one year before, she not only found out that the woman she lived with and believed was her mother for 18 years never cared about her at all, but she was Forced to Watch as said woman murdered the love of her life right in front of her. And now, here's another person who was after her hair's power, and who is once again blaming her for his problems. Even if Rapunzel still feels sympathy for Varian, that had to have struck a nerve.

    Season 2 

Season 2

Beyond the Corona Walls

  • When Rapunzel hears that Eugene is marrying Stalyan, we go into a sad musical number, "If I could take that Moment Back". This is where we see Rapunzel believe for a moment she lost her chance at ever marrying the man she loves, and can only look back on what might've been if she had said "yes" sooner.

The Return of Quaid

  • Where to begin? There's just something about Vardaros that makes Gotham City look like sunshine and rainbows. The town has had years of corruption and being ruled by outlaws and thieves, and the people's spirits are far broken that hope has become a foreign concept to them. They've been driven to the point where survival is their only option. Vex especially can't even remember a time when people were happy and thinks that is but a dream.

There's Something About Hook Foot

  • Despite originally only pretending to like Hook Foot, in the end Seraphina surrenders to the fishmen law officers. In exchange for them not harming Hook Foot and the rest of Rapunzel's group. Afterwards, Hook Foot is left devastated.
  • The ending, with Hookfoot walking down an empty beach, glittering with Mermaid's Tears.

Happiness Is...

  • At one point, Rapunzel momentarily hallucinates that Varian is going to essentially poison her captured father. It's not just simple fear that her father could die or get hurt whilst she's away: she's still very guilt-ridden and afraid that the promise she broke led, or could lead, Varian further down a road where he may never be redeemed.
  • Rapunzel reading a past letter from her father, and it adds more context to flying lanterns every year on her birthday—King Fredric knew she was alive, and he wasn't just releasing them hoping she would see them and return; he likely placed messages in several of them, hoping she would get one of them, and now we know why she never did.

Rapunzel and the Great Tree

  • When Adira mentions Quirin and Varian, Rapunzel and Cassandra both look shocked. And a moment later Rapunzel looks heartbroken.
  • Cassandra's "I Want" Song, "Waiting In The Wings", while a stunning number by Eden Espinosa, is also very morose and sad - a rare glimpse into her greatest troubles and her heart's desires that she only shares with the audience when her friends are asleep and no one else is around. All her life, Cassandra has been held back by her station as a servant girl, unable to achieve her dreams while her friends and loved ones have had fulfilling lives filled with glory and excitement. And the rare opportunities she has come across to be a part of something of greater, she's passed up in the name of friendship, hoping she would have better luck with the next one. Cassandra feels like she's done nothing noteworthy with her life, perpetually living in the shadows of greater men and women, and she's afraid that there's never going to change. This song is pretty heartbreaking in retrospect, because it perfectly demonstrates one of Cassandra's core character flaws - her habit of bottling up her hurt and her true feelings until they boil over - and because her regrets and her worries about the future will eventually play a part in her Start of Darkness which kicks off at the end of this episode. "Rapunzel And The Great Tree" is the beginning of the end of Cassandra being on good terms with Rapunzel and the gang.
  • Cass accidentally burning her hand on Rapunzel while the latter recites the reverse incantation. She intended to stop Rapunzel from using the incantation so they could find another way, but one can see how well that went.
    • Signifying Cass's emotional state, she starts wearing armor from here on out, as though representing that she's hardening herself so she'll Never Be Hurt Again.

Rapunzel: Day One

You're Kidding Me!

  • The sobering thought that sweet little kid Lance came to grow up to be a dishonest thief, if one who still has a soft center deep down.
  • Kid Cassandra dismissing Rapunzel's attempts at being a nurturing parent and saying that Eugene was right — she really is a Pushover Parent and she'd hate to see how horrendous of a trainwreck the two would be as actual parents. Rapunzel's face afterwards says it all.

Rapunzeltopia

  • In Rapunzel's dream, the world outside Corona's walls is a wasteland. Although it's supposed to establish Rapunzel having a perfectly good reason to stay within the safety of Corona's walls, it's surprisingly bleak to imagine such a limited world with nothing more to see or do.
  • Rapunzel telling her subconscious self why she refuses to return to reality. It sums up everything that's gone wrong with her reality, from her friendship with Cass being scarred to all the difficult choices and problems that have come her way.
    Rapunzel: (to herself) Even if what you say is true, why would I leave all of this? Cass is fine, all my friends are safe, nobody is asking me to make some huge life decision. (...) Everything is perfect here, so why would I come with you?
    Subconscious Self: If you don't, it could literally mean the end of the world.
    Rapunzel: Well maybe I don't want that responsibility. Maybe I just want to be happy. Is that too much to ask?
  • Cassandra reaction to Rapunzel after she escapes the Inn of Yesterday's Tomorrow. Not only is she colder and more isolated than ever before, but when she and Rapunzel reunite, the joy of the reunion is one-sided: Cassandra flinches from Rapunzel as though she were made of poison. Whatever happened in there may have changed her for the worse. Cassandra may have escaped the Inn, but it feels as though the best friend she once was died in there.
    • This is proven to be true in the season finale, when Cassandra steals the Moonstone and bonds with its power.
    • Worse, in Rapunzel's dream version of Corona, Cass has remained the same friend she was in the first episode and never hardened herself, much less hurt her hand. In the dream world, she's so upbeat and simply happy to be Rapunzel's best friend. Just seeing the real Cass react to Rapunzel like a pariah is a jarring contrast from the Cassandra she once was and could've been.

Lost and Found

  • Eugene gets an ominous message from Demanitus that someone in their party will turn on Rapunzel. Eugene pays careful attention to everyone, and notices Cassandra is rather distant, with a sinister glare. Eugene can hardly believe that she will betray them all, but it means Cassandra cannot be trusted and he's at a loss as to how he will tell Rapunzel.

Destinies Collide

  • The song "With You By My Side" is heartwarming between Rapunzel and her True Companions, but the lyrics are foreshadowing that they aren't going to be together for long, and that this might be their last time together. Unfortunately, this proves true—Cassandra isn't coming back with her.
  • Eugene stopping Rapunzel from entering the castle to get the Moonstone, telling her, "I'm sorry, Rapunzel...but I won't let you in." King Edmund breaks the chain that was opening the door, forcing it to close with Eugene still inside the castle. Rapunzel desperately pounds against the door, begging Eugene to let her in, before she gives up and bows her head against the door. The other side of the door reveals Eugene looking just as torn up as Rapunzel by what he had to do. He didn't want to betray her like this, but he did it for her own safety.
    • And if this wasn't enough, it's followed up with this song from Eugene.
  • The final two minutes are heartbreaking for Rapunzel and the group. Throughout the episode, Eugene and Rapunzel have been wary of Cassandra after Eugene tells Rapunzel of Demanitus' premonition of someone in the group betraying her. Multiple times in the episode, Eugene and Rapunzel don't know whether to trust Cassandra, but she ultimately proves herself trustworthy. It seems that the prophecy comes true when Eugene sides with King Edmund, revealed to be his father, about refusing to let Rapunzel get the Moonstone, for fear of her life. However, things seem well when Eugene comes to his senses and sides with Rapunzel, and King Edmund himself relents. However, just as Rapunzel is about to fulfill her destiny by taking the Moonstone, Cassandra decides to fulfill her own destiny and takes the Moonstone herself, bonding with its power and changing her appearance, the power of the moon coursing through her. It's especially heartbreaking because we were led to believe throughout the entire episode that Cassandra was trustworthy, and Rapunzel herself found no reason or possible way for Cassandra not to be trusted. Cassandra herself reminds her of this after she has taken the Moonstone, saying that she had warned Rapunzel who she could trust. The final shot, of Rapunzel seeing the absolute fall from grace her best friend has taken, tops this moment off as, most likely, the series' bleakest moment.
  • A Fridge Tear Jerker: How is The Captain going to feel when the gang returns to Corona, without his daughter, and one of them has to break the news to him that she betrayed them all?
    • Or, depending on what happens in Season 3, how will The Captain react if they return with Cassandra as their prisoner?
    • "Islands Apart" touches upon this subject very deeply.

    Season 3 

Season 3

Rapunzel's Return
  • The opening still has Rapunzel state that "This Girl has my back" about Cassandra. This is the last time we'll ever see that.
  • Cassandra finding out that Gothel is her mother, and that she abandoned her in favor of Rapunzel. It was one thing for Cassandra to think that Rapunzel was getting all the glory while she was always having to try and prove herself worthy, but having the knowledge that her own mother abandoned her in favor of Rapunzel is just heartbreaking, and even causes Cassandra to cry (for the FIRST TIME in the entire series). It is the knowledge that, even from birth, Rapunzel was favored over her, that ultimately pushes her over the edge.
    • "I want my mama..."
      • It becomes worse when one goes back to "Cassandra v. Eugene", where Cassandra tells Eugene that she doesn't remember her biological parents. Now we know why—it's as the ghost girl said, that memory was too painful for her to remember.
    • During little Cassandra's song, she took a discarded decorative heart and put it on the pillow of her mother's bed, hoping that it would show her mother how much she loves her when she got home. Unfortunately, that was the fateful night Gothel would kidnap Rapunzel and consecutively abandon her daughter. So she never saw it. And the worst part? Knowing Mother Gothel, it probably wasn't going to earn her affection either way.
    • The entire set-up of little Cassandra's character. Once upon a time, she used to be a sweet little toddler who so innocently believed that her mother loved her, even if she was too busy to show it. She believed with all her caring little heart that all she had to do was keep waiting before her mama showered her with love. That moment never came...
      • The way Cassandra watches young Cass endure it all, the neglect, Gothel's criticism, the loneliness. She's clearly sad to watch her unhappy childhood unfold, remembering all too well that even then, she was always waiting in the wings.
      • The line "and when it came, it came with strings". Cassandra longed for just a little affection and love from her mother... but with Gothel being a narcissistic Jerkass, any affection always came with conditions and ulterior motives. A sadly realistic take on what it's like to deal with an abusive parent.
    • This makes "You are Kidding me" Harsher in Hindsight, as Rapunzel tried to shower Kid!Cass with all the motherly affection her toddler self ever wanted, only for it to be dismissed as pushover tendencies.
    • Cass' cold reunion with Rapunzel in "Rapunzeltopia" also becomes Harsher in Hindsight. She recoiled from Rapunzel because, at the time, she was still absorbing how her friend "stole" her mother from her.
  • The scope of the Sad Reprise of "Waiting in the Wings". The first time we heard it was about Cassandra's graceful acceptance and fortitude to stand by Rapunzel, even if it means she has to keep waiting for it to pay off. This time, we hear first-hand as Cassandra's resolve wanes, doubt starting to creep in and convince her "If waiting is so worthwhile, shouldn't it have paid off by now?"
  • The fact that Rapunzel is tangled in the cross hairs of Cass's resentment for what Gothel did. Rapunzel certainly didn't ask to be spirited away from her loving parents by Gothel or "favored" over Cassandra. And yet, Cass is too blinded by her anger to understand that Rapunzel was just a victim and her mother's the one at fault for abandoning her own daughter.
  • "Crossing the Line," is an emotional roller-coaster for Cassandra and Rapunzel. The latter tries to reach out to the former, but Cassandra insists that Rapunzel was never really her friend. Rapunzel tries to appeal to her before she goes down a path that she can't turn back from, but when she asks Cassandra to wait, the former lady-in-waiting fully turns her back on the princess, saying that she had spent her entire life (from when Gothel, her mother, abandoned her for Rapunzel) in Rapunzel's shadow, being overlooked time after time for someone who was, quite literally, born for greatness. It all culminates with Cassandra saying that she is completely fine with their friendship being over, ending with her, quite literally, cutting Rapunzel out of her life by using Adira's Shadow Blade (which she took possession of after their brief struggle) to cut the bridge they are on, literally and figuratively separating the two for good. After seeing everything that they have gone through over the past two seasons, it is hard to watch Cassandra so brazenly and boldly declare her hatred for the one person in her life she ever considered her friend.
    • Multiple times throughout the sequence, Cassandra looks visibly pained and regretful, even as she insists on continuing down her current path. Despite what she claims, its all but stated that she did care about Rapunzel and takes no pleasure in what she's done and is doing, but genuinely feels that its the only way she can ever hope to fulfill her lifelong dreams.
  • Varian's guilt over everything he has done.
    • He confesses that he wants to wipe the memories of everyone in Corona not because of what they did but because of what he has done: he believes the people will never forgive him. As Rapunzel asks how does he know, he tears into himself listing his crimes. His voice trembles, and he seems on the verge of tears throughout this whole conversation.
    • Rapunzel tells Varain that her kingdom needed her and she didn't mean to abandon him, yet why was he able to listen to her here, than in "The Alchemist Returns"? Back then, Varian wasn't in the right state of mind to be rational. By this time, Varian has cooled down, but is at a point where he lost everything; his father, his friends and his reputation, so he just had nothing going for him.
      Varian: Making them forget, is the only way to fix what I've done.
    • He curls into a ball and admits that while he only ever wanted to make his father proud, if Quirin had witnessed what his son has done these past months, he'd be ashamed.
    • As Varian tells Rapunzel that they need to get the ship high enough so that when it explodes it doesn't destroy the city, his voice breaks and he stammers because he just decided to sacrifice his life to "clean up [his] own mess". Even though he is obviously terrified of dying, he is that desperate and guilt-ridden.
  • The effect of Varian's memory loss potion on Rapunzel's family.
    • The potion has wiped King Frederic and Queen Ariana's memory whilst Rapunzel was gone. They don't seem to remember they have a daughter. They don't seem to remember who they are.
    • Rapunzel comes home after a long stressful journey that ended with her best friend's betrayal, and now, her parents don't even recognize her.
  • The worst part? The entire special follows the Five Stages of Grief very closely.
    • And at the "Depression" stage? Finding Cass's room, and grieving for her lost friend.

Return of the King

  • The relationship between Eugene and King Edmund:
    • The fact that Edmund came all the way to Corona, and organized a fake robbery, all so he would get to spend some time with his long-lost son.
    • Why Eugene is so reluctant to hang out with his newly-found father? Because Edmund is a stranger and quite embarrassing to boot... and because he wasn't there for Eugene for twenty-four years so he grew up in an orphanage and became a criminal.
    • As Eugene finally spills it out, King Edmund doesn't argue and looks downright heartbroken. He seems to agree with what Eugene says; he finally found his long-lost son but it might be too late to make up to him. Keep in mind that Edmund already lost his wife and saw his kingdom falling into ruin, all because of his attempt to destroy the moonstone.
    • The most tragic part has to be the fact that King Edmund gave Eugene up because he genuinely wanted Eugene to have a better life than he thought he could offer in the Dark Kingdom. Sadly, it didn't turn out that way.

Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf

  • The big bad, vicious werewolf turns out to be none other than Red. Yep, the beast is but a scared frightened little girl who found this power and took it out of desperation.
  • Red angrily lashing out at her friend when everyone insists she finish up the ritual to cure her werewolf curse becomes this when one bears in mind how painfully parallel it is to Cassandra's betrayal. Right down to her rage being borne of pent-up resentment.
  • In the end, Rapunzel finds a painting she once made of her and Cass, having fun together as friends. All she can do is somberly put it back in the box she found it, as though trying not to think too hard about her recent betrayal.
    • The way it's set up. Rapunzel warmly tells Red and Angry note  she's happy they promise to come to her if they have issues, because the last thing she wants is for them to "bury [their] anger again". Then she sees the aforementioned picture and somberly adds "(Because) That never helped anyone..."
  • How does Cassandra truly unlock her powers? Unleashing all resentment she ever had for Rapunzel.

No Time like the Past

  • Rapunzel rummaging through Cassandra's belongings with nostalgia feels too much like a parent rummaging through their missing child's toys, unable to accept her absence.
  • Eugene giving Rapunzel a poignant response to her "Friends don't leave friends behind" statement to defend Cass:
    Eugene: Rapunzel, she's the one who left you...
  • It's somewhat sobering to see Teenage!Eugene being so willing to cheat on and leave Lance behind, the closest thing he had to a family. Knowing that there was always a soft and caring soul within him, it's sad to see how he became so cynical and jaded at such a young age.
    Teenage!Eugene: Yeah, well being a selfish jerk is how you get ahead in this world!

Beginnings

  • The entirety of the episode can be sobering in hindsight, considering we're watching how Rapunzel's friendship with Cassandra began with the knowledge it would eventually be severed.
  • Rapunzel learning Cassandra only joined her in the Contest of the Crowns so she could impress the Queen of Ingarr and join her battalion, so she could move up in the world. Yes, Cassandra was just following her dream, but bear in mind the context: Rapunzel looked to Cass as someone trustworthy, as opposed to Mother Gothel who had deceived and used her for ulterior reasons for 18 years. And now, from her viewpoint, she's getting more of the same thing.
    • Just the Dramatic Irony that Rapunzel chose to befriend Cass because she wanted to distance herself from anything reminding her of Gothel, when in hindsight, Cass was her daughter.
    • Likewise, Cassandra was in an unfair position. She had a dream, but it was going to cost her the friendship she made with Rapunzel. And the only way she made it up to her was by giving up on that dream. Either way, it was a lose-lose compromise bound to make one party less happy for it.
  • Rapunzel remembering that Cassandra gave up her dream just for her; Rapunzel definitely owed her for that, but she did little to repay her. It does add more weight to Cassandra feeling like no matter what she does, she's always cast aside for Rapunzel.
  • The symbolism of Cassandra ripping the picture of her and Rapunzel in two. Any remorseful remnants of guilt she has for betraying Rapunzel are gone.

The King and Queen of Hearts

  • King Herz Der Sonne's journal is waterlogged towards the end. He would weep if he only saw what became of his prized journal.
    • Not only that, think of generations of Corona lovers who signed their names in the journal to immortalize how they found love, only for simple bad luck to destroy it.
  • Varian's been attempting to restore the King and Queen's memories since the Saporian incident, only for it to fail. Varian indicates this was not his first attempt at curing them, nor was he going to rest until he does so; he's caused them so much harm that restoring their memories is the only way he feels he can get back in their good graces. Varian is dejected because he's tried everything, and no luck.

Be Very Afraid

  • Some of the visions that the red Moonstone rocks force on each character throughout the episode are heartwrenching:
    • Rapunzel sees discarded Royal Guard armor piled up and impaled by the black rocks, under the feet of a triumphant Cassandra. Then, she helplessly watches as Cassandra brings the black rocks to destroy everything she holds dear. And worst of all, the ending makes it clear Cassandra is hell-bent on destruction, so this whole scene foreshadows the most violent war this kingdom will ever see...
      • ...which of course, ends up coming true in “Once a Handmaiden”.
    • Varian having to relive his moment of being unable to save his father. To make matters worse some of Varian's visions involve citizens of Corona mobbing him, calling him a traitor, and telling him that he deserves to be unable to save his father.
      • When Varian bumps into Feldspar.
      Feldspar: (coldly) Don't you have a kingdom to overthrow or something?
  • Everyone sees their worst fears coming to life... except Varian. He sees the things that already happened to him. The kid already lived his worst nightmares.

Islands Apart

  • Rapunzel finds the Captain, but he hasn't been the same since he last left:
    • The Captain found out what happened to Cassandra before Rapunzel could even tell him, and he despairs over the fact that the daughter he knew is gone, so much that he made a wish with a Lorb artifact to create a second Cassandra as she was as a child so he can raise her differently this time.
    • The Captain having to undo his wish, while the fake version of young Cassandra begs him to stop. You can clearly see him heartbroken about having to leave her, even though she's not real. The actual undoing happens off-screen. Afterwards, he sadly leaves the well and throws the coin away.
  • As of recently, Cassandra resents her adoptive father. You'd think she'd have gratitude or even sentiment for the man who took her in and raised her as a daughter after Mother Gothel so graciously dumped her like a sack of potatoes. Instead, she holds a grudge towards the Captain for having never told her who her mother was. And you know what they say: "Sharper than a serpent's tooth is the ingratitude of a child".
    • It's taken Up to Eleven when the Cass copies start appearing, each bent on destroying/killing Rapunzel and the father who raised them all.
  • Rather than apologizing for never telling her the truth of her heritage, or even trying to comfort her as a father... The Captain orders Cassandra to surrender. It's brief, but Cassandra is obviously hurt right before she abandons him in the maze.
    • It makes Cassandra's vision in "Happiness is..." a case of Harsher in Hindsight. The thing she desired most was to spend time swordfighting with her dad. Here, she does just that, but it isn't nearly as happy.
  • This biting remark from a Cass copy when she faces off Rapunzel, reflecting how the real Cassandra must feel about her.
    Rapunzel: You're. Not. Real.
    Cassandra Clone: (scoffs) You would say that. You never took me seriously!

Cassandra's Revenge

  • When Cassandra confronts the group in Varian's lab, she once again brings up how Gothel "chose" Rapunzel over her. Rapunzel replies that Cassandra knows Gothel kidnapped her, and it was never her decision to be "chosen," causing Cassandra to ask if it was Rapunzel's decision to "push [Gothel] out a window." Rapunzel's shocked gasp at the (incorrect) comment says it all, especially when you remember her actual reaction to Gothel's death in the original movie.
    Rapunzel: You weren't there. You have no idea!
    Cassandra: Then why don't you make me understand?!
  • The musical number "Nothing Left To Lose" is very heartwrenching in itself, with Varian trying to convince Cassandra that there's a LOT at stake for her if she continues down this path. It's a clear reminder that Varian has been in Cassandra's position before, nearly messing up his whole life committing high treason out of hatred; one week he was upset about Rapunzel and the next thing he knew, it didn't matter. While he was able to get his life back, Cassandra might not be given the same chance.
    • What's more, at the end of her song, Cassandra destroys the very last remnant of Rapunzel's floating lights mural, Rapunzel's only memento of the home she ever grew up in.
  • The fight between Rapunzel and Cassandra. All this time, Rapunzel had held back on directly fighting Cassandra, hoping that she could find a way to get through to her that did not involve violence. However, once Cassandra takes Eugene hostage and attempts to kill him with the Black Rocks, Rapunzel realizes that she has no other choice than to confront the fallen handmaiden, which leads her to activate the Fourth Incantation, partially shattering the Moonstone. It's sad to see Rapunzel realize that she might not be able to reach Cassandra. She may have earlier taught Eugene "Friends don't leave friends behind", but here it does not apply.
    • The symbolism of Cass using her powers to their full extent. Remember, she can only control it using hatred, specifically all the hatred she has for Rapunzel. Back then, she was just barely sprouting one or two spikes. Throughout the episode and during the battle, she's able to control a multitude of black rocks, indicating how badly she's been festering in her bitterness towards Rapunzel.

A Tale of Two Sisters

  • The fact that after seeing Gothel's image appear on a mirror, Rapunzel still calls her "mother". It's a clear reminder Mother Gothel was the only mother Rapunzel ever knew for most of her life.
  • The reason Cassandra arrives at the cottage in the first place: Zhan Tiri told her that Rapunzel knew Gothel really did love her, and went to search for evidence to that fact. Along the way, she even stops to pick up the music box Gothel had given her as a child.
  • There's Cassandra's past, where she's very much abused by her biological mother and believes she was always the second one to Rapunzel.
    • The frown on Cassandra's face as a mirror reveals that Gothel went so far as to have a toddler!Cassandra make dinner like a tiny slave. It's as though, deep down, Cassandra is starting to admit to herself the long-buried memories that prove her mother wasn't as affectionate as she remembers.
    • Or worse: she knows her mother was abusive, but she's too proud to admit to herself that she was ever a helpless victim of something as cruel and unsavory as child abuse.
  • The ending. At first it looked like Cassandra and Rapunzel were on the path to making up, but after seeing a flashback of Gothel supposedly showing any shred of affection towards Little Cassandra, Cassandra now hates Rapunzel more than ever, in her mind thinking Rapunzel was still trying to be (or perhaps making herself think she is) Gothel's favorite. Keep in mind, Rapunzel still thinks of them as sisters, not by blood but by heart, and you'd think that by the title that this episode would help them rediscover their sisterhood. But no, Cassandra just leaves Rapunzel to die, and now these two "sisters" have no chance of reconciling.
    • Even worse, this is the result of Zhan Tiri once again manipulating Cassandra, first by slipping the mirror into Rapunzel's bag in the first place, and by removing a shard of the mirror which showed the full extent of the flashback: Gothel giving Cassandra the music box was just an attempt to keep the "lousy little pest" out of her hair.

Flynnposter

  • The Captain of the Guard retires from his position, saying he can't find it in him to face his daughter in battle. It's clear he needed to come to terms with his grief, and he's unable to accept that the Cassandra he sees is not his daughter.
  • Whilst he had it coming, the Baron is reduced to being homeless and penniless and disfigured. When Rapunzel asks him why he can't move on like his daughter, he states he has nothing to move on to. While him finally getting locked up in jail is exactly what he deserves, he looks so broken that it's hard not to feel at least a little pity for him.

Once A Handmaiden

  • You can’t help but feel sorry for Faith after picking flowers that Crowley needed, only for the old lady to tell her what a terrible job she’s done. The poor girl’s self-esteem was so broken that she runs away.
  • The final battle and ending is devastating for our heroes. After spending the entire episode convincing herself that she is not the bad guy, as well as trying to earnestly make amends with Rapunzel after realizing Zhan Tiri's deception, Cassandra finally gives in to her darkest intentions (thanks, once again, to Zhan Tiri's manipulation) and lays waste to her former home, sitting atop the throne as its conqueror. Later that night, Rapunzel looks over a Corona that has been devastated by the power of the Moonstone, which fulfills Rapunzel's worst nightmare as described in "Be Very Afraid." The hard look Rapunzel gives, combined with everything that had occurred, is hard to watch.
    • And to think, if Cassandra had just surrendered and not put up any resistance, then Rapunzel would've been able to hear her out.
    • It's not difficult to feel a little sympathetic for Cassandra when her disguise is removed by Zhan Tiri. She doesn't have the steeled, vicious persona she put on ever since returning to Corona. Here, Cassandra is scared, desperately trying to explain herself to Rapunzel while guards mistakenly attack her on sight.
  • Cassandra finds that missing shard of the mirror and discovers that Gothel never loved her at all. But that doesn't seem to matter to her anymore, after everything was said and done.
    • Or perhaps, deep down, she knew Gothel wasn't the loving mother she thought, but she wanted to believe she loved her just to have an excuse to lash out at Rapunzel.
  • Lance having to fight the mind controlled Adira, whom he has a massive crush on, is bad enough, but the mind controlled Hector ends up fighting King Edmund. The man for whom he did everything for when in his right mind. It just underscores the cruelty of what Cassandra and Zhan Tiri have done.

Plus Est En Vous

  • Cassandra's Break the Haughty moment, which has her collapse in Rapunzel's arms, break down in tears, and practically beg the princess to hate her.
    Rapunzel: Cassandra, c'mon! I need your help! (Cass doesn't move. She just sits there with her head lowered.) Snap out of it, Cass! We gotta stop Zhan Tiri before it's too—
    Cassandra: Too late? Raps, look around. We've failed. I've failed.
    Rapunzel: No, you can—
    Cassandra: I CAN'T DO ANYTHING! WHY WON'T YOU JUST GIVE UP ON ME?! CAN'T YOU SEE WHAT I'VE DONE?! Look around you! This is all my fault! (sobbing) I've done terrible things! All this time, I've tried so hard to prove that I was more than everyone thought, but they were right! (buries her head on Raps' shoulder)
    Rapunzel: No, Cassandra. No.
    Cassandra: Raps, I am so sorry.
    • Just the extent of Cassandra's humiliation. If you thought she sacrificed so much for Rapunzel, she risked even more for her personal endeavors: her friendship with Rapunzel, her ties with her adoptive father, a place in the Corona royal guards, her home. All to either avenge a mother who never loved her or achieve a destiny she thought would make her feel complete. And what did it amount to? Zhan Tiri stealing the moonstone, leaving Cassandra with literally nothing left to lose. Every bridge she burned was all in vain.
  • One page of Rapunzel's journal being like an Apocalyptic Log. The left page shows Rapunzel with her circle of friends, including Cassandra. The right page? A picture depicting Cassandra having recently taken the Moonstone with the caption "Cassandra... ...how can this be?"
  • Rapunzel seeing Eugene about to die again, she did not want to have to go through that.
  • Cassandra's (temporary) death after helping to defeat Zhan Tiri, and Rapunzel mourning her loss.
  • Varian taking precautions and being forced to harm his own father Quirin for the greater good when Eugene's suspicions that Quirin's been mind controlled (like Adira and Hector) turn out to be true. Varian did not want to believe him, but he did what he had to do.
  • We find out that, like Rapunzel towards Varian and Cassandra, Demanitus and Zhan Tiri used to be friends. However, Zhan Tiri became increasingly power-hungry for the Sundrop and Moonstone, betraying Demanitus in the process, forcing him to banish her to the Lost Realm. Unlike Rapunzel with Cassandra and Varian, Demanitus and Zhan Tiri evidently never repaired their friendship.
    • This entails a sobering Fridge Horror: one has to wonder why Demanitus referred to Zhan Tiri as "he" when the demon is later revealed to be a "she". But once one learns the truth, it paints a sad explanation: Demanitus referred to Zhan Tiri as a male demon because to mention she was a girl would mean bringing up the painful backstory of how they used to be such close friends.
  • Cassandra's decision to leave Corona can be quite sobering. After Zhan Tiri's defeat, the only people she is seen reconciling with are her adoptive father, Rapunzel, and Eugene. We never see her interact with any of the other Coronans, nor is it known if they actually did forgive her. Considering her role in the she-demon's escape, along with her forceful takeover of the kingdom in the episode prior, it would be hard to blame them.
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