Once Upon A Time season 3 episode 13 review: Witch Hunt

Review Kylie Peters 17 Mar 2014 - 06:55

Once Upon A Time is in danger of repeating itself one too many times. Here's Kylie's review of Witch Hunt...

This review contains spoilers.

3.13 Witch Hunt

Once Upon A Time is full of 'surprises' tonight.

“Surprise” #1: Regina and the Wicked Witch Zelena are sisters. Which nobody saw coming at all because none of the characters on this show are ever secretly related.

“Surprise: #2: Rumple is alive!  Which is completely shocking because it would have been completely logical for them to kill off their most interesting and popular character midway through season three, and as we all know I have not been predicting his return ever since he died. (Granted, that happened all of two episodes ago. Which shows how long this show can last without him.)

Number two is easy to forgive because, well, Rumple’s back, and who doesn’t want that?  But number one is really irritating. Looking for something to really freak out the fangirls? Just toss in a long-lost parent, sibling, child, lover, grandparent, adoptive parent, second cousin twice removed, or sperm donor. Bonus points if one party has been age-reversed or is green. I’d like to see somebody draw this family tree because I’m pretty sure it would look like that giant ball of hair in the back of by bathroom closet.

This is the most obvious example of Once’s Achilles heel: repetition. After you do something five times, nobody’s going to be surprised by it anymore.

Even this awful 'plot twist', though, might be forgivable if I could find a single good reason for the Wicked Witch to exist. She’s about as flat as they come: bitter about being abandoned as a child and out to make everybody else miserable just because her life sucks. She’s a first-season Regina wannabe, except less sassy and not as good at pulling off the ridiculous dresses.

Some good news: this episode gives a bit of screen time to lots of side characters, including Archie/Jiminy, Dr. Whale, and best of all, Ruby/Red (Meghan Ory), who had previously been dropped from the show. In Storybrooke, they and the rest of the townspeople are quick to accuse Regina of casting the new curse, but Regina and Emma secretly work together to find the real culprit. Despite last week’s reset button, these two characters have retained some of their character development from the first half of the season and are willing to trust one another. It’s a nice change of pace, and a smart avoidance of stale drama.

Snow is pregnant (Ginnifer Goodwin is actually pregnant, with Josh Dallas, in real life.) Zelena claims she was a midwife in the Enchanted Forest and offers to help Snow with baby stuff. Uh-oh. Meanwhile, the anticipated Henry-doesn’t-remember-Regina angst plays out as Regina tries to find ways to bond with him. If I were him I’d be really creeped out by this random lady trying to take me out to ice cream. While I feel for Regina, I’m getting tired of her having issues with Henry. Can’t they just have a few episodes of good times? How come Emma and Henry never have issues? 

The gang discovers that people who approach the town border are being turned into flying monkeys. This development is slightly less weird than Emma’s flying monkey boyfriend. Only slightly. By piecing together the flying monkeys and the sighting of a woman disappearing in green smoke, they decide the culprit must be the Wicked Witch of the West.

In flashbacks to the Enchanted Forest one year ago, the group also discovers that the Wicked Witch is the one who’s set up shop in Regina’s castle. (Apparently everyone is already intimately familiar with The Wizard of Oz.) Regina plans to sneak into the castle through some underground tunnels and take down the protection spell. She is joined by Robin Hood, who wants to repay the debt he owes her for saving his son from a vicious flying monkey attack. Flirting and romantic exposition ensues.

Regina decides that after she’s taken down the protection spell, she’s going to cast a sleeping curse on herself. She succeeds in destroying the spell, meets Zelena, complains about Zelena raiding her closet, and discovers the shocking truth about their shared parentage. Then boring depressed Regina gives way to sassy villainess Regina, who has something to live for now that she has “someone to destroy.”

At the end of the episode, we learn that the Zelena has Rumple locked in a cage in a secluded basement in Storybrooke. Rumple has apparently gone completely loony, and Robert Carlyle packs so much crazy into thirty seconds of screen time that it makes up for all the other crap in this episode.

Next week, more Rumple (yay!) and the introduction of Rapunzel (who is black!  Diversity—also yay!). Plus, lots more Wicked Witch (boo). Also, a creepy hooded Dementor-looking dude who flickers around like the ghosts in Supernatural. Not sure who he’s supposed to be, but he’s probably somebody’s father.

Read Kylie's review of the previous episode, New York City Serenade, here.

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