the good place season 2 premiere

Hooray! Fall TV is back. This time of year is like Christmastime, each beloved premiere revealing itself like a lovely present.

The Good Place started its sophomore season last night, and it was hella clever. It certainly did bring up a few questions-how is this new format going to be sustained? But I totally and completely trust Mike Schur and CO, because I had the same exact question last year after the premiere, and The Good Place ended up being my favorite new show of last year. The episode kicks off from Michael’s perspective, him telling his team how take two is going to work and getting a verbal warning from Sean. Then we walk through the first day in “paradise” from our main four’s perspective: first Eleanor, then Chidi, Tehani, and Jason.

The fun gets to really amp up now that we know that it’s not just Eleanor and Jason who are meant to be in the bad place-Tehani and Chidi are being tortured too. Some of the best parts of the episode were watching them get needled in the very specific ways we now know they are being tortured for. Michael gives Chidi a choice between two women to be soul mates, even though Michael very well knows that Chidi can barely decide what pair of shoes he wants to wear for the day. Tehani suffers through cargo pants and tight living quarters as Michael tries to sabotage her image.

Jason’s a bit more of a wild card. He doesn’t carry around nearly as much shame as Eleanor, Chidi, and Tehani do, so he’s 100 percent the most difficult to torture. That being said, he has a tendency to get lonely-which is why the disappointment is so crushing when he realizes that the silent monk that was meant to be his spiritual soulmate ended up having nothing in common with him. He almost immediately gravitates towards Janet, even though neither of them remember being married in the previous bad place. Jason is a prankster from Jacksonville, Florida, and Janet is an multipurpose robot-but I’m starting to think that these two are the only actual soulmates in the entire show.

One of the things that surprised me was “Real Eleanor” seems to be primed for a bigger role than expected in season 2. The premiere spent quite a bit of time on her dismay that she couldn’t get in touch with her new character-Denise, the owner of the best pizza shop in the neighborhood- as much as she could with Real Eleanor. She tells Michael that in her old part, she got to “break Chidi’s heart like a million times,” but Denise has no motivation. After spending the whole episode trying to get Chidi’s attention and how frustrated she looked when Chidi ignored her for his almost-soulmate Angelique, it almost makes me wonder if Real Eleanor/Denise has real feelings for Chidi.

Because Eleanor is no slouch, the note she wrote to herself before their memories were erased actually worked, and she finds Chidi and starts conspiring with him. One of my favorite moments of the episode is when Chidi realizes that the note is written on an advanced philosophy book. He tells Eleanor that they were either deep into their study, or she just took a random page out of one of his books. Eleanor tells him that the latter seems more like her, even though we know that the former is true.

Because of this, everything falls apart quickly, and the group acts in ways Michael didn’t predict- Jason breaks his vow of silence almost immediately, Tehani gets drunk instead of Eleanor, and Eleanor and Chidi start trusting each other way faster than they were supposed to. Michael erases their memory again, and the episode ends with Michael welcoming Eleanor back into his office for a third go around.

Where is this all going? We know Michael’s end game is maximum torture, but these people are too compatible for it to happen. We also know that Michael doesn’t get any extra chances if this torture doesn’t take. This good place can’t continue to get reset every time Michael makes a misstep. Will it take the group an entire season to figure out where they are again? I hope that this season finds its footing as quickly as the first one did, and even though there are few questions, I’m having a good feeling.

 

Some parting thoughts:

-When will Tehani get the love she deserves?

-Will this season have more flashbacks like last season?

-This Eleanor didn’t seem totally reset to where we saw her at the beginning of the first season. Did some of Chidi’s teachings stick?

 

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the good place season 2 premiere

new chapter

As GA training comes to a close and I officially begin work tomorrow and classes on Monday, I’m trying to tap into all the emotions that I’m feeling.

Yesterday was a hard day.

I’ve been in Columbia for about two weeks, learning the library inside and out for my assistantship as a reference librarian at Ellis Library. Training has been a mixture of things. There’s been a lot excitement, as I realize that this might be a job that I’m actually really good at, that I’m going to enjoy, and that I’m jumpstarting my career in a way that’s almost too good to imagine. There’s a little bit of longing and loneliness, because sometimes it hits me that I’d rather be in Bracken Library at Ball State, surrounded by people that love me, and in a library that I’m familiar with. I find myself going to places in the afternoon where I feel like I can meet people. I got a public library card, tried to poke around a few coffee shops, took a walk around my apartment building.

Yesterday at orientation, I realized that I kind of forgot about the whole “taking classes” part of grad school. The semblance of flow that I had going on for about two weeks came crashing down, as I realized just how much I was going to have to study, learn an unfamiliar academic discipline, navigate online classes, and I’m pretty sure that I ordered the wrong book for one of my courses. I got that awful sense of drowning as I realized there were so many mentors to choose from, so many events to go to, and networking organizations to join. There just seemed to be so much, that even the fear of “not knowing what I don’t know” and making huge unforgivable mistakes in my work and classes started to creep in. I looked at my schedule, counting my work hours and my class hours, and I felt myself start to sink when I thought to myself, “when I’m going to build my community?”

 

The rest of the night didn’t get much better, and I stumbled into the Starbucks near my apartment at 10 pm in order to get some WiFi to gain some control over my life and gather my thoughts. I tried to remind myself that grad school was supposed to be a little harder, that transitions are always difficult, and that I’m trying to let the flow of my schedule happen naturally.

 

I’m driving back to my new place and plug in my Spotify shuffle, shooting up a quick prayer that the Lord would put a dance song that would put me in a better mood or something that I could just sing really loud to. The second I’m thinking this, Chance the Rapper’s How Great comes on my Spotify, the song that gave me a lot of courage during my journey to pick a grad school. I felt the Lord telling me to trust Him with my time and schedule, and that He won’t let me fail if I just keep my eyes on Him, and reminding me that He’s got me this far.

 

As I went through the last few weeks of training, I have also been reflecting on the choices I made that got me to Mizzou. When I visited the University of Washington in January, it felt like this unattainable Disneyland lottery town. I felt like since I had got in to the best program in the country, this was obviously the best opportunity. I remember my prayers while I was in Seattle, (which was also the week that my dad had his huge surgery to extract his cancer) and the Lord repeatedly told me that I could move to Seattle. That if it’s what I really, really wanted, that He would do this with me, I just had to know that it was going to feel impossibly hard. He also let me know that there’s no shame in something choosing something that felt easier. He reminded me that the Kingdom of God is just as much in Columbia, Missouri as it is in Seattle. I’ve been keeping all these things in mind while I prepare myself for this assistantship. Through training, I’m beginning to see clearly what an incredible opportunity this assistantship is. It’s giving me everything from financial freedom, to an open-minded training ground where I get to learn everything about my field, to professional experience. When the Lord told me I could pick Seattle, and I ended up choosing Columbia, that felt thorny and complicated. But now I’m realizing it wasn’t about what was better or worse, what was easier or harder, what really mattered was I feel like the Lord and I have made a decision together, and through that decision I’ve been able to see Him more clearly.

 

So while I’m anxious and overwhelmed and scared, I also feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Hopefully I can look back on this, two years from now, on the other side of grad school, and say that I trusted the Lord with all the different parts of this chapter in my life, and then I’ll be on to the next.

new chapter

Excursion #1

Over the month, I’m taking several excursions outside of Prague. This weekend was the first! We took a little vacation to Cesky Krumlov, a tiny and picturesque town in South Bohemia. It’s where Czechs take their weekends and summers, and it was adorable.

On our way there, we made a pit stop at Vojna concentration camp. This is the first concentration camp I have ever set foot in, and it was extremely moving to me. It actually was a communist forced labor camp, rather than a Jewish death camp. I had a vague idea that such things existed, but they were never quite concrete things to me. The more and more context I got while visiting the camp, the more horrifying it became. In this location, people who were intellectuals, doctors, scholars, etc, were forced to mine for uranium. Knowledge and thought are threatening to regimes. Outside of the camp, there’s a sign that says Prací Ke Svobodě. Work makes free. The same thing the Nazi’s put outside of their camps.

With a stark contrast, Cesky Krumlov was such a delight. The Vltava flows around the town, and there are lots of shops and food places. We did homework on the river bank, climbed up a huge hill that overlooked the entire place, and explored the castle gardens. Cesky Krumlov is home to one of the only two baroque theaters in the world and it was an incredible marvel. We were able to see how they shifted the sets and how they made sound and visual effects. I didn’t expect to be so impressed, but the second I stepped foot in the theater I realized that it was something truly, truly special and it was one of my favorite tours so far.

Another thing that Cesky Krumlov has is a BEAR MOAT. Like, there’s a moat around the castle and it’s home to two bears. It was one of the best things I’ve ever seen. They are chubby and domesticated and just a lot of fun. We saw only saw one of them, but he was just about the cutest thing in all of the Czech Republic.

After a few days in Cesky, we made a few more pit stops. We made it to a Jesuit crypt, and saw some mummies. My nursing major roommate was LIVING, she diagnosed one of the mummies with colon cancer, and she was correct. I mean, it probably helped because his stomach was swollen like, five times the normal size, but still. The Jesuits tried to heal him with blood letting, and obviously that was really unhelpful. I really hope that dude is in peace, he deserves it. 

Another place we went was the Pilsner Urquell brewery. Pilsner Urquell is the most famous brand of Czech beer, and it supposedly the best in the ENTIRE WORLD. Even for a non beer drinker, the tour was really a lot of fun. You got the feeling that you were at the Disney World of breweries. Definitely the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of breweries. We even went up an elevator. Our guide said it was the biggest elevator in the Czech Republic, which I totally believe because it’s the second elevator I’ve seen since coming here.

The grounds were huge, we toured the place by bus. Our guide let us through these really sensory rooms where we could taste the ingredients, see how it’s brewed and stored, and of course saw the bottle packaging. We all got unfiltered samples from the cellar, and it was my first real taste of beer. It wasn’t the grossest thing I’ve ever tasted, but I’m not sure that I would call it good.

 

Excursion #1

Birthday Abroad

Today was my 21st birthday! To be honest, I was pretty nervous about how to approach this. Should I tell anyone it’s my birthday? What I don’t make any friends in my group by this time of the trip? Will I be super homesick since I’ve never been away from home on my birthday before? I’ve never drank alcohol before…is this going to be weird?

Well, my program director announced to everyone at breakfast that not only was it the 4th of July but it was my birthday, and while I do miss all of you dearly back home, my group did such an amazing job making my birthday unforgettable.

We spent the morning touring Prague Castle and it’s amazing cathedral, and then saw The Golden Lane. It’s a row of tiny colorful houses that legend says Alchemists used to live in when they were working, but we know for sure that Kafka spent time there.

In the afternoon, our program director treated us to pastries from a sweet shop in our neighborhood! I had a well earned nap, and then we ventured Olympia, a restaurant in Malá Strana that I read about in my guide book. I got my first drink ever to celebrate my 21st, a Cider Kingswood. Wasn’t bad!

Then we climbed up to the top of the observatory tower, Petřín. Think of it like the Eiffel Tower, but only 300 steps and at the TOP of the biggest hill in the city. The weather was ABSOLUTELY PERFECT, around 70, and we watched the sunset. I was so grateful to get such beautiful weather for my birthday, my friend Emily said it was Prague’s gift to me!

Thank you all so much for your texts, facebook posts, pictures, snapchats, etc. I feel so loved! I can’t wait to see you all again. I must admit that it is a little bittersweet, missing the American holiday as well as spending the day with close friends, but it most definitely feels apart of the growing experience. I hope you all have a WONDERFUL holiday, enjoy fireworks and bbq for me.

EDIT** I just saw fireworks from my hostel and it was the perfect ending to the perfect day, THANK YOU PRAGUE!

Birthday Abroad

Death March

Today we did the so called “Death March,” where we saw as much of Prague as humanly possible. We left our hostel around 10:30am and got back around 8pm. We climbed up crazy hills for even more insane views, saw lots of historic landmarks, and made note of places that we wanted to go back and see again. This doesn’t even come close to how much video/how many pictures I took today, but I’m having a lil issue with iCloud backing up my photos. I’m trying to finagle my Google Photos right now, but if anyone has any suggestions for what they use to get their photos/videos to their computer, let me know!

Tomorrow, we hit Prague castle, classes start, and I turn 21.

Death March

Welcome to Praha, České republiky

Hello, hello! I’m writing to you from beautiful, ancient Prague. We are three days in but it feels like one blur. It’s around 11pm here, but you’ll probably see this on your timeline sometime in the afternoon. In total, I was in the air for about 9 hours to get here, and the jet lag the first night was absolutely awful. But after a good night’s rest, I think I have it beat, but we will see how I fare tonight. Today, we had a quick orientation and then was set loose, so me and a few of my classmates spent most of the day wandering. Tomorrow we go on a guided tour of Prague, Monday (My 21st birthday) we will go to the famous Prague Castle and classes will start.

I was a total wreck when my mom dropped me off at the airport. This is an unfortunate trait of mine. The night before summer camp, college, a Big Thing, I always, always, always, want to call it off. I’m sitting in the Long Horn Steak House outside the Cincinnati, Ohio, completely unable to eat, wondering to know what was wrong with me. I had an incredible opportunity but all I could think about was how I wanted to spend the rest of the summer with my family. I wondered if this was worth my time, financially and emotionally. As my mom pulled into the airport parking lot, she told me, “You’re going to have an awful day. You’re going to wish you hadn’t done this. But everyday after, you’ll have the time of your life.” She was right about the first part, and my mom is usually right, so I’m hoping she’s right about the second part.

So my prayer is that outside of my comfort zone pays off, that I meet wonderful people, and experience good things. Most of all, I pray that the Lord uses this to prepare my heart for something in my future. Who knows, right?

Some observations:

Clearly the people are smaller here, it’s the only explanation for the bathrooms to be as small as they are.

Yet that’s odd because the maracrons are three times as large and people on the street are drinking from 2 liter sodas like water bottles.

I’ve had my phone set to military time for a week and I still can’t read it. I woke up in the middle of the night, looked at my phone, and went meh, I have no idea what that means.

The streets are very quiet, and not as crowded as I expected. I’ve explored a bit of my neighborhood, Letná, and we crossed a bridge today into a part of the city that had a plaza, a McDonalds, and some very beautiful buildings.

I was worried about how the money would convert, but I think that I’m already starting to get the hang out it. It’s about 2.5 US dollars to every Czech Crown, and so everything looks like it costs 50 dollars but it’s really only about 2 dollars.

We were absolutely clueless going into the grocery store. Picking up the language has proved to be extremely difficult, and so I’m not entirely sure what I bought unless it was an American brand. Which ended up only being my shampoo. We spent a very long time inspecting the meat and crossing our fingers we picked up turkey. Cheese is labeled by national flags. (???)

Scroll over the pics, a few of them have captions!

 

Welcome to Praha, České republiky

ME BEFORE YOU//Review

In a movie that is supposed to hit you in the feels, I’m mostly left with just a bunch of questions. *spoilers ahoy*

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ME BEFORE YOU, based on the novel of the same name by JoJo Moyes, debuted this weekend. As a person who had never read a book, and also a person who likes movies that made me cry, I suggested to my friend Hillary that we should see it this weekend.

I was going into it almost unaware of what it was about except from what I’ve seen from trailers, which is something that is increasingly rare for me these days. But a day before we were supposed to go, I stumbled upon a think piece that was pretty upset about this movie, and I read the entire thing top to bottom.

Oops.

I tried to put it out of my mind and make the decision for myself if I found this movie “problematic” or not after I watched. I’m not sure how I would have felt about this movie if I hadn’t read all the issues people had with it, but I’m hoping that I’m a critical enough thinker that I would have at least paused and ask questions about how this movie made me feel.

*okay but seriously spoilers ahoy*

We have Louisa Clark: energetic, chatty, with a content but “boring” life. She’s surrounded by a loving family and a boyfriend who I feel super sorry for. Her family has money problems, but they make up for it with hard work and hugs. She becomes Will Traynor’s caregiver.

Will Traynor: charming, irritable, and a quadriplegic. Surrounded by adoring parents, a really hot Australian caregiver named Nathan, and a lot of toys. Despite these things, and falling in love with Louisa, he makes the decision to end his life because he cannot reconcile what he has lost.

Look, I’m not really sure how I feel about assisted suicide. I don’t want to say that it’s good, I don’t want to say that it’s bad. It’s complicated. I haven’t decided what my opinion is about it. But this movie didn’t exactly push me more towards the “good” camp, even though I’m not really even sure that that was its goal.

But maybe it should have been? Or not. These are my questions!

Most “goals” of romantic movies are to sell us on the ultimate power of love, that it’s transformative and transcendent. But that’s exactly where this movie falls short. Luisa wasn’t able to achieve that goal.

What appears to be the “goal” here, is to live life to the fullest. When Will dies, he leaves Luisa a lot of money and insists that she soaks up all life can offer. The narrative, via Will, is consistently putting down Luisa’s lifestyle and says that she needs to make a change. But the narrative also never fully convinces me that she actually needs to.

Seriously, what is so wrong with Luisa’s life that it needs a quadriplegic to tell her that she’s not actually living? She has an adorable grandfather who gives her a scrapbook for her birthday and a sister who drops everything to sit in the grass and drink soda with her. She’s delighted by tiny things like bumblebee striped tights and French movies with subtitles. She’s easily entertained, I think she’s going to be fine.

It gets tricky because I’m not a quadriplegic, nor do I know any, so I’m not sure how much my voice counts in this conversation. There are many other people that have written their piece about why this movie upsets them. But it does seem that Will has all the resources at his disposal to make his life as comfortable as it possibly could have been, and yet he still couldn’t find a reason to live. If that’s the standard, what does that mean for disabled people who simply aren’t as rich or white as Will?

There were a few bright spots, however. I really do love Emilia Clarke and Sam Clafin, I felt like this more was a little more bearable with the two of their charming faces. The soundtrack was lovely and consistent the entire film. And a ton of extra points to Nathan the Aussie Caregiver. Hillary and I were rooting for him and Louisa the entire movie.

I would give this movie 2 out of 5 stars, but I’ll give it 2 and a half for the way Nathan the Aussie Caregiver says “KAPOW!”

 

ME BEFORE YOU//Review

FRONT LINES Review

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When I picked up Michael Grant’s new series, I paused for just a moment-his last novel had my stomach in knots-but when I read the inside cover of FRONT LINES, I knew I couldn’t resist.

In an alternative history where women could participate in World War II, he spins the stories of three different women. We have Frangie Marr, a sweet black girl from Oklahoma who dreams of being a medic, Rainy Schluterman from New York City, a Jewish girl that’s quicker than a whip and finds herself climbing the ranks of military intelligence, and then Rio and her best friend Jenou, who are taken to the front lines of North Africa.

The first half of the novel is background on the characters and what led them to the American army. The second half is full out war in the Tunisian desert.

The name Michael Grant means three things to me- brilliant but painstakingly researched details, sparkling ensemble casts, and staggeringly graphic guts and gore.

I knew before I even turned the first page that FRONT LINES would dish up all three.

This novel certainly felt like a set up to a new series, there was a lot of putting character’s on the edge of discoveries and far more people made it out alive than I expected. The first impactful death doesn’t happen until about three-fourths of the way through, besides a death at the very beginning that’s more symbolism and foreshadowing than anything. That foreshadowing, however, I don’t think Grant has brought full circle yet, so again that is something to look forward to in the next few installments.

It was also very heavy handed on the military jargon. At times, it would seem like Grant had done a little too much research. He focuses a lot on the reality of the military at the expense of leaving his readers in the dust.

But the alternative history is so delightful and intriguing. Grant doesn’t sugar coat the awful things people said towards women and anyone and everyone who wasn’t American. Just because women could enlist in this world, did not make them equal. Frangie certainly has the worst go of it, as a black woman trying to make it as a doctor she receives downright terrible treatment. He expertly intersects everything, having characters constantly prove themselves and recording how attitudes towards them change (or don’t). He balances characters that have earnest, patriotic excellence within them on one page, and aren’t worth their rations the next. I loved how it wasn’t just sexism that he dealt with in this world, it was racism too. I truly hope that the Asian American solider he introduced has more page time in later novels.

Each girl is so different and is developed in a unique way. We spent the most time with Rio out of all three, so I’m hoping that Grant spends more time with the other two in these next installments. I also question just how many characters are going to make it out of this war, and I would totally start taking bets against characters that I’m certain won’t.

FRONT LINES is so much different than anything that Grant has tackled before. Between a tragic teenager “under the dome” type series, and an outlandish science fiction with dastardly amoral secret agencies, this seems like he’s reigning it in quite a bit. But this is the first of a series, and the details, the likable soldiers, and the backdrop of a World War hits all three of his cylinders. Looking forward to more!

FRONT LINES Review

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

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There’s not logical reason that I should have picked up DUMPLIN’ by Julie Murphy. It’s a realistic YA set in Texas, about a girl who is obsessed with Dolly Parton and enters a beauty pageant. This book isn’t anywhere close to my alley. It’s on the opposite side of town from my alley. But it had a graphic of a fat girl on the cover, and in the first 50 pages, I was choked up and near tears.

DUMPLIN’ is about a high school girl named Willowdean who’s mother runs the local beauty pageant. It’s the female version of Texas football, which is to say that it’s a huge deal. Willowdean has never been interested in the pageant, until a certain boy is interested in her. Private School Bo, her coworker at the local diner, seems to genuinely like her, but Willowdean, bless her heart, can’t imagine why. So she enters the pageant, not really knowing why, probably just to feel something, and it sets off a huge chain of events in her life.

She accidentally inspires the other outcast girls in her school to join the pageant with her, and suddenly she’s a revolution leader.

She deals with the death of her beloved aunt, Lucy, whose existence was plagued by her weight.

She deals with her relationship with her mother, who is convinced that Willowdean would be happier if she tried to fix her weight.

She deals with the distance that’s growing rapidly between her and her bestfriend, Ellen.

And maybe, just maybe, she might get the boy.

This book is first and foremost is a beautiful slice of the female experience. It’s about female relationships and loyalty. It’s about the way that we see ourselves and how that affects our everyday life.

Willowdean is a lot of things that I am not. Did I mention that she’s a high school girl living in Texas who loves Dolly Parton and enters a beauty pageant? But Willowdean is a fat girl, and a fat girl that knows exactly how I feel.

“It was funny. I used to think of myself as a Monday and Ellen as a Friday. But Mondays and Fridays were just twenty-four-hour stretches of time with different names.”

Some days, Willowdean loves herself. She’s confident, indifferent to the haters, opinionated, and positive. And then there are days where Will holds a grudge against Ellen for not inherently knowing why she doesn’t want to go shopping at certain stores. And then there are the days were Will just can’t accept herself, no matter how hard she tries.

I’ve never seen a character that deals with the same stuff as I do when it comes to my weight and my appearance, just shy of feeling like Murphy was in my head.

I went into this book crossing my fingers and holding my breath. I didn’t want it to be a story where the fat girl was so miserable she couldn’t function, and a boy validates her so she can finally see her true self. I was so delighted to see that the most important relationships in Willowdean’s life were her friends, even as her relationship with Bo developed into something that was so sweet and yet still so realistic.

Towards the end, there’s a moment leading to an emotional climax that seemed primed for the love interest to swoop in, but Murphy unexpectedly saves it for a beautiful moment of female friendship.

Murphy’s writing style is delicious. Her attention to detail and motifs just pay off on every single page.

“As the waitress approaches with our drinks, Mitch leans in and whispers in my ear, ‘You can order what you want.’ I’m tempted to tell him that everything on the menu is about the exact same price, but instead I thank him.”

She packs so many characters and so many juicy moments in such a short amount of time. She doesn’t waste time on hoping characters will be likable, and it leads them to feeling fleshed out and realized, Willowdean especially. She also has that knack that Michael Grant has, where she can create a whole world around a character in just a few sentences. Teach me, Julie and Michael.

There’s drag queens, a magic eight ball, a car named Jolene, and yes, some wacky beauty pageant moments.

Thank you, Julie Murphy, former librarian beauty queen of my heart. Next time I come across a novel of yours, I won’t have any reservations.

 

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

OUAT 5×18 Recap: Ruby Slippers

I’m not even going to beat around the bush about this fantastic episode, let’s just dive in.

OZ, Some time ago, (the capitalization of that is driving me crazy), Red and Mulan bump into a hardcore Dorothy Gale. I really love this incarnation of her, she’s certainly not your grandmother’s Judy Garland.

Back in Underbrooke, Zelena learns that Ruby followed her down there. Zelena freaks out on Hades, telling him that Regina is going to flip when Regina finds out what Zelena did to Ruby and won’t let Zelena ever see her baby again.

Belle laments that she “darkened her soul” just to save Rumple. He tells her that they can still save their baby again, and Belle just shrugs him off, saying that he’s a bad influence. Boom, Belle, stick to him.

Ruby wakes up, and tries to remember what happened to Dorothy. Emma decides the only way to know for sure is to talk to Zelena. While the crew rolls out, Snow and David take a moment to talk about they miss their son, and David assures that he’ll let their baby know that Snow is off being a hero and that’s why she can’t come to the phone.

David intercepts Cruella at the phone booth that can contact the other side. She rips out the telephone, telling them that Hades is convinced there’s too much hope in Underbrooke. I just wanted to throw this out there: Switch Zelena and Cruella and this entire arc would be 300% better. Think about it.

Oh shoot! Silver shoes alert. Zelena tries to peace out by clicking her heels but the Charmings catch her just in time. After some bargaining, Zelena admits that she put Dorothy under a sleeping curse and that only true love’s kiss will wake her up. Okay, unexpected twist for sure.Who exactly is Dorothy’s true love?

Back in OZ, Zelena confronts Mulan, Dorothy, and Red. She wants Toto in exchange for Dorothy’s silver slippers. Since we see Zelena trying to use the slippers just a second ago, I’m guessing she gets her way. But not in this particular moment, because Zelena poofs away with Toto still in her basket.

In Underbrooke, Zelena tries this bargain again. The slippers for her daughter. Regina’s not stupid, so she pushes back. And because if Regina can achieve redemption, then anyone can, and Regina tells Zelena she holds hope for her. This seems to work, Regina smirks and takes the shoes.

The Charmings realize that Auntie Em is the only person that Dorothy loved, and could potentially wake her up. AND because Auntie Em is deceased, she’s probably in their hell dimension. Perf.

Mulan, Dorothy, Red gather around a bubbling cauldron, and I’m getting serious MacBeth vibes. Tension is high between Dorothy and Red, mostly because it’s Red’s fault Zelena has Toto. Dorothy tells Red that Aunt Em was the only person who believed in her when she came back from Oz, and when Aunt Em passed away, she gave Dorothy Toto. Red tells Dorothy her story (which is still one of the SADDEST in all 5 seasons) and that she’s searching for her pack in Oz. Dorothy asks Red what she’s REALLY looking for and they look at each other. In case you were wondering, tension is still high.

The Charmings return to their fave hang out, the cemetery, and David and Hook lets everyone know that the phone is gone. In a really heartfelt moment, Emma insists that her parents goes home via the silver slippers. She tells them it’s time to take care of the rest of their family, and the rest of them can handle Hades. I love this family.

Zelena and Belle sit face to face, and you can’t help but notice they have a bit in common these days. Belle starts to feel nauseous and freaks out that Hades could be speeding her pregnancy up, something that she thought would be a buffer until she had to hand her baby over. Zelena thinks she has a way to help, and honestly Zelena agreeing to help someone is probably the biggest plot twist all season.

Hook and David have a moment alone together. David admits that he wants to go home, and also that he’s grown fond of Hook. These two are precious.

Red and Dorothy are flirting walking through the woods when they are attacked by flying monkeys. Red changes into her wolf form and Dorothy gets super confused, in a like, why the heck am I attracted to a wolf girl, this is a lot of information, sort of way.

The gang find Auntie Em at the diner, and tells her that if she blows a kiss into the a tiny bottle, they can use it to wake Dorothy up. But when Emma passes the bottle to her, Auntie Em turns into gush, and so she’s out of the race for Dorothy’s True Love Kiss. Hades dramatically appears and is pretty pleased with himself that he’s made an example out of a sweet old lady. He tells the diner this is what will happen if anyone helps the heroes. He turns to Emma and pretty much says her worst fear out loud- “It’s hard to be a savior when no one wants you save them.” Ouch. That’s a big part of Emma’s arc this season, they would’t even be done in the Underworld if she hadn’t tried to save Hook.

Back in Oz, Red and Mulan have a heart to heart. Which was just so funny to me because Mulan is so gay and Red is like “I’m so confused, I’ve never felt this way” and Mulan is just like “YAS being gay is the best tell her tell her tell her.” But when Red finally plucks up the courage, she discovers Dorothy’s gone.

Down in Underbrooke, Snow totally calls Red out and is like “well it’s pretty convenient we can’t use Auntie Em because now you can do it” and Red’s like “WHAT NAH BRO WHY WOULD I DO THAT.” Snow tells her that love is terrifying, that’s when you know it’s getting good.

The gang prepares for David and Ruby to leave the underworld with the silver slippers, but David and Hook turn the table and tell Snow that Hook carved David’s name into her headstone, meaning Snow can leave to be with their son. Again, I so love this family, and the lovely shot of David watching Snow leave while Emma holds his hand and stands at Hook’s side just got me.

Meanwhile, Hades tells Zelena that he destroyed Auntie Em for her, even though Zelena expressed regret over putting Dorothy to sleep (which is how she got her slippers) but somehow they ended up making heart eyes at each other by the end of their interaction. Over it.

Snow and Ruby materialize in Oz while munchkins mourn over a sleeping Dorothy. Ruby thanks Mulan for taking care of her while she was gone and Mulan is like “my girlfriend did the same thing, it’s totally chill.” A nervous Ruby wakes Dorothy up with a True Love’s Kiss and tells Dorothy she will always come back for her. The whole scene is a really beautiful parallel with what we’ve seen from David and Snow in the past. And then I can only assume they kissed again because I LOST SIGNAL when they looked at each other. I LOST SIGNAL.

When I got it back, Henry was showing a picture that he drew of Snow and Neal. They keep foreshadowing that Henry is going to be important but then nothing ever comes of it, he’s just drawing pictures in the corner.

Belle shows up at Rumple’s with the help Zelena promised her: A sleeping spell that would halt her pregnancy. Rumple freaks out, unsure that he can wake her with True Love’s Kiss. Belle’s like, “Not you, idiot, my dad’s going to me wake up. Find him for me,” and she injects herself. Yeah, this will end well.

This episode was so good! Wow. I’m so impressed with the way they wrote Ruby and Dorothy’s progressing romance. At the beginning of the episode, I was totally stumped about how they were going to wake Dorothy up, but as the episode went on, they managed to build the relationship fast but sturdy. That was fun. The Charmings, True Love’s Kiss, Belle taking matters into her own hands, all of it was A ++. These last few episodes and this one in particular felt like the very essence of OUAT. I can sleep happy tonight.

Next week: Sibling fight week. Regina vs Zelena, James vs David. Bring it on.

OUAT 5×18 Recap: Ruby Slippers