Emma Doherty ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
This episode was anything but simple; between its timehop with Cora’s (Barbara Hershey) past, the seance, the emotional character roller coaster, and impending spell, I could barely keep up.
Lets start with what’s most important first, shall we? Flowing and ebbing storylines are not always what Once Upon a Time is known for but lately the one thing that’s been constant is the character development. Last week we saw Regina (Lana Parrilla) being welcomed as one of the family and going out to dinner with everyone who matters most. This week the development got more emotional and intricate, but we’ll get to that later.
The episode starts out with Regina looking prim and proper and quite frankly like she’s heading to a gala rather than moseying around on a quiet afternoon, when she opens the door to find a basket of green apples waiting for her (sass and sense of humor is apparently genetic). When Zelena (Rebecca Mader) is happy with her sister’s clear disdain, she poofs into Regina’s house saying she wants to give her sisterly advice but was actually distracting Regina while Rumpel-the-slave-puppet-monkey went to retrieve her heart.
Thats right Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) arrives at Robin’s (Sean Maguire) campsite that is circled around the thing Regina trusted someone with for the first time since who knows when, and demands that he hands it over. This whole scene was rather confusing because it is still unclear where Zelena’s control over the dark one starts and ends. But that doesn’t matter now because as soon as Rumple threatened his son (and the most adorable child actor on TV), Robin pushed aside the few dirt clumps and twigs hiding Regina’s heart and handed it over. Unfortunately, she arrived at the scene about 2.5 seconds too late, but then…BOOM character development. Instead of burning him to a crisp, Regina’s main concern was the safety of everyone at the site. If you don’t already love Regina I gently recommend that get aboard this ship because in her circumstance it would take the utmost strength to be concerned for others when her life is literally in someone else’s hands.
Continuing with the amazing Regina revelations, she goes to Gold’s shop in order to look for help as to what Zelena’s plans are. When Belle (Emilie de Ravin) refuses to help, Regina sincerely apologizes for what shes done in the past. Then Belle gets lost in those big chocolate eyes and turns over like a pancake and tells her everything she knows. They find the candle Cora was killed with and decide that in order to find out what Zelena is up to, they need to contact the deceased murderous mother. The audience then gets pulled into a big lipped younger Cora backstory filled with despair, deceit, and sexual innuendos.
We flash back to Cora at ye olde hole in the wall tavern where she meets a man who tells her he’s a prince and they declare their marriage right then and there but not before Cora invites herself to spend the night with him (pretty scandalous for what’s supposed to be a family show). We find out that he tricked her and that he is just a gardener and apparently that one night of consummating the marriage landed Cora in a one stop shop to babyland. So here we finally see Zelena’s father but then the storyline gets even more fun and sexually perverted! When Cora realizes shes lost her chance at fame and fortune, she comes across Prince Leopold (the one Cora’s 18 year old daughter was forced into marrying? YES…that one) and he falls in love with her after she woos him by making a bonfire in the woods…..
Meanwhile back in real time, the gang is having a sexy seance (yes, I’m referring to Regina’s shirt which seems to be losing more and more buttons every episode) as her, Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), Charming (Josh Dallas), and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) get cozy around the murder weapon being used to summon the woman thats ruined the lives of half the people in the room. When Regina comes in with her poison tea they all hold hands and turn off the lights and summon a purplish blue CGI portal in the ceiling. It soon closes when Hook (who invited him anyway?) bumps the table when he was readjusting his spandex and leather causing Regina to plummet into a whirlpool of rejection and abandonment.
When Snow insists on staying and helping (after her amazing heart joke) she gets down to the nitty gritty and apologizes to Regina for what she did to Cora. This was perhaps one of the most significant moments of the show. The two talked to each other with a level of concern and understanding that everyone was hoping we would see since we first learned about their history. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get too long of character growth scene because Cora interrupts their heart to (not so) heart and we see a cloudy CGI young Cora in Regina’s house. Regina immediately throws her arms in front of Snow and tells her she’ll have to go through her to get to the awaiting mother.
I had to pause at this moment and think of just how far our two leading ladies have come in their relationship and really think about how much its going to continue to grow. Cora manages to get to Snow and shares with her the story of her past. When Regina manages to magic blast her away, the rest of the gang shows up and Snow reveals what she’s learned.
We find out that Ava (Snow’s mother) was the one who tattled on Cora being pregnant to Leopold and was the reason they never ended up together. After Emma dumbly questions that she thought they were the good guys (come on, really?), Regina says that nothing is that simple. They manage to collectively put things together and realize Zelena is trying to create a spell to go back in time to kill Ava. Surprisingly it’s Charming who puts the last piece together and realizes Zelena needs their baby to succeed. What a surprise, another baby being whisked away! Such a new concept to the show! Speaking of the Wicked Witch, we get to see the most awkward scene in the history of television play out between her and the puppet monkey as she forces him to have dinner with her. This soon turns into the most uncomfortable and sexual makeout scene (once again…what happened to the family show?) and ends with Zelena realizing he was just trying to get the dagger and crying about her lost love.
The episode ends with the most important scene of the episode where Snow comes to comfort Regina. Regina says that you can’t know everyones past completely and she tries to comfort Snow about learning the truth of her mother. She then says that maybe if she had known the past, she wouldn’t have wanted to kill her. A moment of silence for my broken heart, please?! To finally see these two strong and resilient women put aside their differences and acknowledge that they could get along is perhaps the most pivotal moment in the show since the beginning. Snow then says shes the strongest woman shes met and has faith that she will find happiness. She tells her not to let anything hold her back and instead of the comforting hug from Snow that I was hoping for, Regina goes to see the man who gave up her heart and pours her trust in him. I guess we’ll just have to see how this relationship plays out in the rest of the season….
Overall Episode Grade: A-