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"Once Upon a Time" Review/Recap: "Witch Hunt"

Emma Doherty ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Ginnifer Goodwin and Rebecca Mader in the Once Upon A Time episode "Witch Hunt." Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC.
Ginnifer Goodwin and Rebecca Mader in the Once Upon A Time episode “Witch Hunt.” Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC.

The long awaited reveal of Once Upon a Time’s newest villain finally played out this week, and she did not disappoint. The Wicked Witch, played by actress Rebecca Mader, is the newest enemy on the show this season. That’s right: Even Oz comes to play in Once Upon A Time, along with brooms, witch hats, and flying monkeys. The Storybrooke gang has returned to the Enchanted Forest, and they discover that The Wicked Witch has taken residence in Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) castle and put up a protection spell to keep people out. Of course, Regina knows how to get in and manages to take down the shield. 

We get to see progression in both the Enchanted Forest and what the characters are going through in Storybrooke now that they have unexpectedly returned. Emma (Jennifer Morrison) has started talking to people and no one seems to know who or what did this to everyone. Henry still does not have his memories back, so Emma has to be careful what she and the other residents say around him. Perhaps the most emotional scene of the night was when Regina saw Henry (Jared Gilmore) and Emma in the diner. The look of sorrow and disappointment on her face was absolutely heart wrenching. This event couldn’t be avoided, and we knew she would see him at some point. The way the show did this was very true to the story (of course she would see him at Granny’s). Regina knew what she did, but she had no time to prepare to see her brainwashed son. What made things better was Emma’s instant support and help for Regina.

Character progression was at its strongest when Emma instantly knew Regina was telling the truth about not casting the curse. Not only did she believe her, but they are working together to find out who is responsible for everything. The two staged a meeting where it seemed like Emma believed Regina was guilty, so that whoever did cast the curse wouldn’t be onto them. It worked, and the moment the two shared together after was one of the greatest in their history together. Regina thanked Emma for helping and believing her, and Emma responded that there was nothing to thank her for. She said she always knows when Regina is telling the truth and that it was easy to believe. This, coming from two characters who used to dream about killing the other and who each wanted the other run out of town, shows just how much they have grown. What’s great about the show is that they acknowledge that there are two sides to every story. Everyone gets a second chance and is allowed to grow, and here we see that those second chances really pay off.

Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parrilla in the Once Upon A Time episode "Witch Hunt." Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC.
Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parrilla in the Once Upon A Time episode “Witch Hunt.” Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC.

Emma and Regina continue to work together throughout the episode, and Emma even convinces her to meet with Henry. This scene was absolutely heart breaking. You could almost feel the awkwardness in the room and when Regina went to hug Henry good bye and he put out his hand for a handshake instead. It was pretty devastating.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Regina is not handling the loss of Henry well. Instead of lashing out at people and causing trouble like she used to when her heart was in turmoil, Regina decides she wants to put herself under a sleeping curse to avoid the pain. This selfless act continues the heart-breaking theme that has carried through the episode. She is not alone in the Enchanted Forest, however. Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) has taken a liking to Regina, and it has been fascinating to see the two interact knowing that Robin is her true love. He continues to follow alongside her into the castle, and he tries to convince her that he understands how she’s feeling and not to go through with the sleeping curse. It was incredibly irksome that he continued to assume he knew what she felt. To say that he knows her life and what its like to lose someone is incredibly arrogant, based on the fact that he has only just met her. This also doesn’t help his case of trying to convince her not to take the sleeping potion.

It’s not until we finally see the Wicked Witch and the Evil Queen interact that we understand more how the season is going to play out. The Wicked Witch, or “Zelena,” is the only person who could break Regina’s blood lock that she had around the castle. It is revealed that the only way she could do this was because she shared the same blood…. That’s right: The Wicked Witch and the Evil Queen are sisters! Well, half-sisters. This should have been a shock, but knowing Cora and how truly terrible she is, it is no surprise that she never told Regina about her older sibling. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Regina with a formidable foe, so seeing her convert back to her old Queen ways was awesome! Zelena threatens to take everything away from her, but Regina doesn’t bat an eyelash. She is actually giddy at the thought of having someone to plot against. Of course, she is no longer evil, but the thought of getting to destroy someone is what prevents her from taking the sleeping curse (much to Robin Hood’s dismay). It will be interesting to see just how far Regina will go to get rid of the unwelcome witch.

Josh Dallas, Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parrilla in the Once Upon A Time episode "Witch Hunt." Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC.
Josh Dallas, Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parrilla in the Once Upon A Time episode “Witch Hunt.” Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC.

Finally, the episode leaves off with an unexpected revelation! Not to spoil too much, but we finally discover the whereabouts of Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), and he is not looking well at all. He actually seems to have lost his mind! We are left to wonder: how is he alive, where has he been for the last year, and why is he acting absolutely insane? Also, could he be the unknown father of the Wicked Witch? They do share similar skin tones….

Make sure to watch Once Upon a Time next Sunday at 8/7c on ABC.

Overall Episode Grade: A-

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