Toward the end of the ep, “Quite a Common Fairy”—and before you blow a gasket, that’s a reference to the introduction of Tinkerbell—Rumpelstiltskin’s son, Neal, admits that he waited too long to tell Emma he loved her. “When you love someone, you don’t keep it in. You say it,” he announces.
Mulan (Jamie Chung) hears this and takes it to heart: After helping Neal try to get back to his love, she runs off to talk to “someone” before it is too late. Once Upon a Time has hinted that this someone might be Prince Phillip, given all the time she spent with him before Princes Aurora, a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty (Sara Bolger), awoke, and the journey she went on with Aurora to save Phillip.
But it turns out Mulan had to talk to Sleeping Beauty herself.
Back at Beauty’s castle, Aurora notices Mulan has returned and asks what’s she doing over at the other end of the room. “Just gathering my courage,” Mulan replies and smiles (which I don’t think we’ve ever seen her do before.) The two run to each other and join hands as they chat. But before Mulan can reveal how she feels, she finds out Aurora and Phillip are expecting a baby. The woman warrior’s eyes tear up, and she suddenly announces she’s joining Robin Hood and his gang. The girls hug, and Mulan walks away with a saddened expression.
Once producer Edward Kitsis did say there would be at least one gay character this season, and looks like Mulan’s the one. The episode was written by Jane Espenson, creator of the popular gay webseries Husbands.
Maybe Mulan will find another love elsewhere as she joins Robin Hood—and who knows what feelings will be revealed by Aurora now that Mulan’s departing. She looked awfully sad when she said “You’re leaving us?” as Mulan walked away:
There’s no denying the chemistry Mulan and Aurora had in their journey to save Philip in Season 2: They fought like a couple, battled together and, at one point, Mulan literally gave Aurora back her heart. The scene was so tearfully good, it even made Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) cry—and she knew it was coming!
— Ginnifer Goodwin (@ginnygoodwin) October 14, 2013