I was rewatching the one year later scene in 3x11, (not for the 27th time what are you talking about), and of course I noticed that the music playing was the same music from when they first introduced Neal. Now anti-Captain Swan fans have used this to try and show that there was some connection between Neal and Emma, but I’m going to prove them wrong.
First, I find this music is more synonymous with New York City as a place than with Neal. They played this music before we knew who Neal actually was, he was just walking to his apartment in NYC. This music wasn’t played during his big reveal. If you remember, he drops his phone out the window and the music stops. At that moment he reads the note from August; the note that tells him the curse is broken. That he can finally go find Emma. And with no music playing, (an important point), he decided not to go find Emma.
This leads into the one year later scene. Emma and Henry are enjoying a “normal” morning together, and the music is playing over the scene. At this point we have no way of knowing if the music is really playing in the scene, or if it’s being played just for the audience. This music helps us know that we are in New York City. Sure, they show the skyline through the window, but the music sets the scene. They use the same music to tell us where they are, not who it’s about. The music is still playing when someone starts banging on Emma’s door.
Now this is the most important point. She gets up to answer it, and as she walks to the door she turns off the music. This is a very crucial element in the scene. When she turns off the music the camera angle switches to show her hand and the stereo, nothing else. At this time two things happen. One, they let the audience know that the music is not just background music. Emma and Henry are listening to it, so it is present in the scene. Two, by showing Emma’s hand turning the song off they are making a deliberate point. The shot lasts for a second, and it immediately goes back to a long shot of Emma and Henry in the room. They could have shot the whole scene that way, from a distance. The audience still would have known that Emma turned the music off, we could still see it, but it wouldn’t have made as much as an impact.
So, to recap, we see a close shot of Emma turning the music off, and then we see her answer the door to none other than Killian Jones. This seems to me like a clear choice for Captain Swan. The music stopped playing for Neal in 2x01 when he decides not to find Emma. The music stopped playing for Emma and Henry in 3x11 when Killian actually finds Emma.
Emma turning the music off also means she is turning off another part, or person, in her life. These memories Regina implanted gave Emma what she wanted; a family. She could never move past the what if’s in her life. What if Neal hadn’t left her? What if she had a family? What if she had kept Henry? All three of these were answered with the fake memories. She didn’t pine after Neal, she didn’t have to move to Tallahassee for two years, she didn’t constantly move. She had a stable life with Henry, and she created her own family. All of these things prevented her from moving on, from finding new love. But because of this life she had with Henry, which was real for a year, she can let go and be happy. Turning the music off right before she opened the door to Killian is powerful. The underlying message is that she is ready, she can accept that someone loves her, the lost girl who didn’t matter. Turning “Neal’s music” off means she is ready to move on, why else would she turn his music off the moment the other man in her life comes to find her?
So I know people are going to say that it’s just music, how can you get so much from such a short scene, I’m reading too into it, the music isn’t important, etc. But none of that is true. Music is a powerful element in film. Directors use music to set the tone of a scene, to tell us how and what to feel. Imagine a powerful or emotional scene from any movie. It will almost always have music playing in the background. It doesn’t matter if it’s instrumental or a love ballad, this music explains what’s happening when words can’t express what is being shown.
In conclusion, (am i writing a paper or what), this scene which anti-Captain Swan fans have tried to use as a weapon backfired. Everything in this scene points away from SwanFire and gives even more reason for Captain Swan to be endgame. Not to mention the countless parallels this scene held between Snowing, Rumbelle, and comments by Snow (to name a few). I have even more confidence in Killian and Emma than ever before, and it’s because of this scene.