You know I tend to have a really hard time finding Worm fanfiction I actually like, and I’ve never really managed to figure out why. I just knew that unlike most fiction I read (or watch) none of the stuff I found could really compare to the original. I had an epiphany recently though and I’ve realized that it’s that most people seem to just be missing some kind of pivotal piece of Taylor’s character. And so I’ve written up this huge rant about what I consider to be the basis of Taylor’s every action within Worm.
Firstly; there are four pivotal pieces Taylor’s personality that never really change throughout the story, allthough some do become more or less prominent. And that is her:
Now, Taylor’s selflessness is probably the most driving motivating urge she has. (People recognize this on some level, which is why I think we get so many Ward!Taylor AUs, but the other three traits listed are what make me believe it would never have really worked out, even if their wasn’t the whole ‘Shadow Stalker’ issue to contend with.) It’s what made an untried, untested, unconfident bug controlling master decide to challenge Lung on her first night out. It’s what made her take on Coil. It’s what made her throw herself at her enemies feet. It’s what made her take up the good fight against all those S-class threats. It’s what made her try her hardest to do good, even when she was a villain, even when it was misunderstood, even when it would have been easier to do nothing, or to do the opposite. And maybe that might only be one half of Taylor’s kind of screwed up morals, and another half the way the trio dug at every bit of self-hood Taylor managed to scrape together for years… but still. It’s the reason Taylor makes the choices she makes. Even (or maybe most especially) the Machiavellian ones.
Secondly, Taylor’s goal-oriented nature. This is, in essence, what makes Taylor so damned focused on ‘the big picture’. Now the thing is, is that this in and of itself isn’t all that dangerous. In fact lot’s of people have this trait! Politicians, lawyers, business execs, hell even gang leaders and prostitutes. But the thing you have to understand about these people is that if you push them, too far, too fast, in just the right way, in just the right time, there is literally nothing they will not do to accomplish what they set out to. These people weigh the pros and cons of every decision in their lives, and when things tip to far into the pros there is no moral line, no law, and no consequence that will stop them from doing what they feel they have to do.
Thirdly, there are Taylor’s ambitions. This really is what decides what goals exactly Taylor’s going to shoot for. It’s the part of Taylor that said, yeah I’m going to keep going to school, no matter how hard it is, the part of her that says, yes, I’m going to be a hero, no matter how dangerous it may be, the part of her that says, yes I’m going to save the world, no matter how improbable that may be. The part of her that looked at every opponent a hundred times stronger than her, a hundred times more experienced than her, and said: yeah I’m gonna fuck their shit up. All of this? In conjunction with how goal-oriented she is? Yes it’s a frightening combination.
Fourthly, but definitely not least, is how damn intelligent Taylor is. The thing about those other three traits? Is that lots of people have them. Hell lot’s of people have them in conjunction with each other! But not half of them turn out to be as dangerous as Taylor is. And that’s because of this. Because she may not have a supercomputer for a brain, but she’s got that rare combination of tactical and strategic talent that allows her to take very bit of knowledge, skill, and power she has, and then munchkin the hell out of it. This is the girl who using her brains, pepper spray, bugs, and a small team of villains specializing in smash and grab robbery, managed to take over a city. This is the girl who killed Alexandria in an apoplectic rage. This is the girl who beat off the S9 twice. This is the girl who rotted off Lungs crotch and cut out his eyes. This is the girl who took every minuscule tool and advantage offered to her, and saved the multiverse. This is what makes Taylor, Taylor.
Of the three incarnations - Si Yin, Su Su, Bai Qian - Bai Qian is definitely my favourite. I hated seeing Su Su getting picked on so I’m all for the badass high goddess Bai Qian. Yang Mi plays this role so, so well. So talented and super gorgeous!
This drama is everything I’d hoped for and more! Ye Hua, Mo Yuan, Ali, Li Jing, Feng Jiu, Si Ming, Dong Hua Dijun, I love everyone and it ended yesterday so I’m avoiding the raw episodes (which I have been consuming ever since the drama premiered). Ah, I’m going to miss it so much.
I have extreme mix feelings about season 7, what do you think about it?
It’s a little hard to have mixed feelings about something that currently only exists in… well, my own mind? 😏 And all of our minds, but we don’t actually know anything yet? I haven’t heard anything about it that doesn’t work with my views of the show… so I can take you on that ride, if you want. As usual it may be a bit of a rollercoaster.
Emma’s death It’s clear from both the PR and what’s happening on the show that they want us to think there is a possibility Emma will die. They need us afraid and worried about the next season - and maybe it’s because they’re not sure we’ll like what they’re doing so they’re hoping our worst case scenarios will turn into relief when we see the actual show. My take on the storyline of Emma possibly dying? The Savior needs to die in order for Emma to live.
The Savior is Emma’s persona. It’s the role she plays to the outside world. Part of it is her conforming to who the world wants her to be, part of it is her only showing the part of herself that she wants the world to see. It’s a mask. We all wear these masks. We have several of these masks depending on the situation. It’s normal, it’s how we operate as human beings. You can’t be the same person to your kids or your parents as you are to your friends or to your lovers.
These masks aren’t inherently bad. We actually need them in order to move around in the world. If we don’t know how to play the game in certain situations, then not wearing the mask can cost us. Masks require self-restraint. Emma’s life when we met her hadn’t given her the opportunity to really develop her masks. There was no consistency. Not enough parents with the same values giving her the same moral lessons over and over again. It was always different. Many two-faced foster parents. An early awareness of the hypocrisy of masks too. Over and over again there would have been parents behaving like self-congratulatory saints for taking in foster kids, meanwhile treating them like nothing more than a meal ticket as Emma said. And I’m pretty sure that was a euphemism. She was in constant survival mode.
She didn’t just hurt Ryan by bashing his face in, she was also hurting herself. She could have lost her job, everything she’d built, because she wasn’t able to control her anger. Before that moment we also saw her - while she’s good at her job - give away too much personal information to this guy who was just a mark. She gave him the information he was able to use against her. So when we met Emma, she was struggling with these masks. She was almost always herself. Which is actually a great thing, except it still has to be your own choice. We did see that she was a really good liar when her emotional self-preservation kicked in - like when first telling Henry she didn’t have a son.
When we saw Emma hit her head against the steering wheel, it may have been karma for what she did to Ryan, but it was what made her stay in Storybrooke. It created the opportunity for her to learn how to control her anger. The first time we saw Emma make the effort to control her anger was with Henry. She started to try and learn when to wear a mask for him and by having her family, she was given a reason to try and learn how to use them.
When Emma and Regina met, Regina was her polar opposite. Cora had groomed her to repress her own feelings and desires. Regina was all mask. She didn’t know where the mask began and where she ended and she is now finally figuring that out. In Regina’s case, you could say the Evil Queen was her mask, but I think it makes more sense to see her as Regina’s negative self image. Instead of the mask, hiding her true nature - which she sees as evil - is the reason for all and any of the masks she wears. Imagine that everything you want and everything you feel, every desire, every need, every want, is constantly labeled as bad by your parent, your teachers, your environment and society. Imagine you’re not allowed to be angry or to express your anger.
After a while you start to believe that everything you are on the inside is bad. Every natural impulse seems to be wrong according to someone. Your true self, your true identity is made of Evil. That’s Regina’s struggle. She saw herself as much worse than she actually was and it also left her open to be manipulated by everyone - to become an Evil Queen - because she was completely out of touch with her own feelings, but also with her own inner compass. Her sense of right and wrong. She started to lash out in every direction because nothing was allowed. How can you tell apart what you are and aren’t supposed to repress in which situation if everything’s already repressed all the time to begin with. Just like Emma - but coming at it from the opposite direction - Regina couldn’t take control of her life, because the only time she would let go was when the pressure was too much. Both of these women needed to become conscious, become aware of themselves, their feelings and their actions.
The split was the start of Regina’s process to let go of her negative self image. We see the Evil Queen fight to take her position back, but the fight is staying on the surface. Regina has been successful keeping the taunting at bay. The Queen trying to tell her she is nothing but Evil. The Queen personifies the struggle itself. It was actually good for Regina to resist her and deny her. I suspect the next part of the story will involve her looking at the Queen and now she will become a reflection of the repressed desires. She will have to face the fact that what she labeled as Evil… simply wasn’t. It was her True Self. Her misguided and misdirected anger, at its core, was justified. The way she dealt with it wasn’t. The anger itself was. Those are things she needs to see before she can really let go of the Evil Queen.
Interestingly, this puts Emma and Regina in a very similar position. Emma has learned how masks work now, but she has completely mistaken the mask for her True Self. She has taken the lesson too far. She thinks the Savior is all she is or all she should be. Naturally the Death of the Savior, the death of her persona feels like her own death…
Rejection feels like Death to Emma. Opening yourself up to someone, opening yourself up to love, to rejection, in a way, it means embracing death. Embracing the idea that yes, something might end. If you want to truly love somebody else fully and completely, in order for you to be all-in, you have to accept that it might end. You have to accept there may be hurt and pain involved. The relationship might die. Your partner might die. Your child might die. Anything could happen. You have to face your fear of death in order to be in a real relationship with someone. You have to allow the other side to see who you really are so they can learn to love you completely. You have to stop hiding.
Look at the situation she is in. If she drops the mask, if she lets go of the Persona and becomes her True Self, then she risks rejection. She risks that her parents, her family, that they won’t love her anymore. If they know everything about her past, if they know everything about her true feelings and who she really loves… she may lose everyone. It will feel like Death. It may be such a strong blow, she will feel like life isn’t worth living anymore…
…but if she keeps wearing the Mask, then she can never feel fully and completely. She may not experience pain, but she also won’t be able to really experience joy and love. She will die inside, the person she really is, her real desires and memories can’t be repressed forever. No matter what she does, she will die. That is what this storyline is about. It’s what the Oracle said.
Emma has a choice and the choice is which death to choose. The Death of her True Self or the Death of her persona, the Savior. This is what this season is really about, it’s about Emma figuring out what the difference is between the Savior and Emma Swan. Between Regina and the Evil Queen.
Now what’s interesting is that all Emma has to do is remember who she was before she came to Storybrooke. Now that she has learned to control her feelings more, she has an extra skill but she always was a person who was very true to herself. Unlike Regina, who was never allowed to know who she really was, Emma’s journey back to her True Self will be shorter. She’s actually halfway there, because she is remembering. Now she needs to find a balance between the Savior and Emma Swan. She has to realize that even if she is Emma Swan, she will not lose the lessons she learned as the Savior.
Let’s look at all that and link it to the word “Reset” that they’ve used to describe season 7. If you take a look at The Heroine’s Journey, then you actually see the Hero always ends up back where she started, but thanks to her journey, she is now better equipped to deal with the situation that she encountered in the beginning… First she had a wish. She wished not to be alone. Second she had a conflict. She had herson knocking at her door, dragging along with - but unbeknownst to - him a host of unresolved trauma that she was going to have to deal with anyway, if she truly wanted her wish to come true.
So she crossed the threshold. Magic came to Storybrooke, she went to an unknown world of fairy tale characters and she learned important life lessons. If you look at the circle, you see that in the end our Hero has to cross back over into the normal world. Meaning she has to go back to Storybrooke and apply the lessons she learned in the real world.
Can you see how it all fits together? When Emma kissed Henry, she expressed her commitment. She wanted to love Henry and do right by him. She started on her journey where she would find the answer to her wish. Right after that moment, magic came to Storybrooke. The Evil Queen’s curse was half broken and everyone suddenly had double identities. Emma became the Savior & Emma Swan.
If we see this show as 7 seasons, then season 3 was halfway on the journey, we actually had the first attempt to return to the normal world in Going Home. There were two issues. Regina wasn’t with them - they’ve said as much last season - and they didn’t remember the fairy tale stories. Meaning Emma would forget all the lessons she learned. Soon after in season three we also had the True Love’s kiss between Regina and Henry marking the start of the second half. Emma became a catalyst in Regina’s growth and she is the other half. The other answer to Emma’s wish. You can’t have children in order to not be alone, so Emma needed to create a bond with Henry, but Henry can’t be her friend. She needed a mate. So as both of their relationships with Henry were mended, the next part of the story, became about what it took for them individually to be open to another person.
The Swan Mills Family kisses are special, because they affect everyone, whereas the other kisses seem to affect only the people who are directly affected by the current curse.
So if we follow this pattern, we’ll get a True Love’s Kiss between Emma and Regina and it will mark the end of the Queen’s curse. The fairy tale world and Storybrooke will split again and magic will leave Storybrooke. It ties in with both Emma and Regina embracing their True Self. Society doesn’t encourage homosexuality in anyone. Even without parents, that’s a mask Emma will have learned about, because everyone teaches you. So both women have to embrace and love who they are, see their own desires as valid and acceptable, before they can share a kiss. It’s a beautiful message, because True Love here encompasses a True Love of self, before it becomes True Love of another. It fits in with letting go of the Savior and letting go of the Evil Queen. Letting go of the fairy tale world, but remembering it exists and remembering all the lessons learned.
If like last time, Henry goes to our world because he was born there, then Regina and Emma will both choose to be with him. They will all be the family they choose.
So I think that’s the reset everyone seems to be worrying about. We’ll follow the fairy tale characters as they get used to life in the Enchanted forest again and we’ll follow Emma, Regina and Henry as they get used to Storybrooke without (much) magic. Thanks to the Dragon they have learned there is also magic in the world without magic. I’m not sure how much of their memories Henry and Regina will have, but I think Emma will have them… There will be a price to pay, because there always is. So even if there is a True Love’s Kiss between Regina and Emma, I’m not sure if they’ll both remember.
It would make sense, because then they truly are back to where they started, except now Emma has to apply all of her life lessons in the real world. No magic, no special powers, but everything she’s learned and finally a more balanced Self. So it would be the ultimate test of everything she’s learned during the past seasons.
So that’s what I expect from season 7. Emma and Regina learning to navigate the real world again. Apart and together. As a family.
Since this story is finished, if the show wants to go beyond a 7th season, they would also need to start introducing new characters for a new journey - the circle always continues as you can see. The story should be related to the original story in some way, but it will probably place someone else in the position of the Hero. So that’s what those casting calls may be about.
…so you could say I’m simply curious and cautiously excited about the next half of this season and about season 7 at this point.
Danny is the most powerful member of the Netflix Defenders team. Or at least, he has the greatest power potential. In addition to his mad kung fu skills, the uses for the chi of Shou-Lao could (and, in fact, do) fill an entire book, and the vast power it grants its wielders is ever-evolving. Even Danny hasn’t yet learned everything he’s capable of. Here are some of the highlights of what various Iron Fists have achieved over the years, and of what we might possibly see in the show.