Once Upon A Time Season 2: An Ode to the Epic Duo of Aurora and Mulan

Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 3 Lady of the Lake (4)

A lot went down in Once Upon A Time‘s winter finale: the Charming family was reunited, Hook and Cora re-hydrated a magic bean and then set sail for Storybrooke, and Regina revealed she has a soft spot for her evil mother, but I was a little too distracted by the epic developments in the Aurora/Mulan womance to fully appreciate anything else. OUAT has an excellent track record when it comes to female friendships. Last season, the bonding between Emma and Mary Margaret was a highlight, and every flashback to the days when Red and Snow roamed the countryside in color-coordinated cloaks has been delightful, but the series has outdone itself with the tale of the warrior woman and the princess who went from being in love with the same guy to being best friends.

Mulan gave Aurora her heart back. Can we just stop and appreciate that for a second? It was a beautiful bit of fairytale gender role reversal, as princesses are rarely (never) saved by other princesses in the traditional stories. The act also served as a metaphor for the ways in which Aurora and Mulan’s broken hearts have been healed by their being together. For that reason, having Mulan retrieve Aurora’s heart was not only moving, it was the perfect way to showcase just how far these two women have come in eight short episodes.

When the season began, they treated each other with disdain. Mulan was particularly displeased with her prince’s choice of a lady love, and seemed to view Aurora as a helpless, perhaps even spoiled, princess, but despite their differences they’ve formed a bond. Now Mulan no longer views her oath to Phillip that she would keep Aurora safe as a chore. Watching her desperate attempts to protect Aurora in “Queen of Hearts” it became clear that she cares for Aurora– enough so that she was willing to hand over the compass to Cora in exchange for Aurora’s heart.

By virtue of being the warrior, Mulan’s side of their friendship is heavy on the thrilling heroics front, but Aurora got a chance to play the hero too when she refused to tell Cora anything, even after Cora offered to help Aurora find Philip. Aurora also won herself a few extra awesome points by insisting Mulan tie her up to prevent her from putting the group in danger when they marched off to fight Cora and Hook. The sweet princess has been brave from the start, but Mulan’s influence on her is evident in both of those scenes. She has grown into herself in recent weeks as she gained confidence in her abilities and began to conquer her fears.

Sadly, it looks like we have reached the end of their arc for now. The duo was left behind in fairytale land, and when we last saw them they were poised to embark on a quest to retrieve Phillip’s soul from the wraiths. To which I say, do we really need Philip? When we can watch ladies as devoted and wonderful as these two going on adventures and rewriting all the fairy tale rules, I think not.

Were you as moved by Mulan and Aurora’s story as I was? Are you hoping their quest to save Phillip hits a snag and the women decide to make their way to Storybrooke instead? Sound off in the comments below!

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