Once Upon A Time season 3 episode 18 review: Bleeding Through

Review Kylie Peters 21 Apr 2014 - 16:48

Real princes are hard to find. Here's Kylie's review of this week's Once Upon A Time episode...

This review contains spoilers.

3.18 Bleeding Through

Twisted pasts and tangled relationships rule the day on this week’s Once Upon a Time, but a spirit of redemption gives the episode a refreshing sense of hope.

With the help of some monologuing and Belle’s mad librarian skills, Zelena’s full plan is revealed: she will use Charming’s courage, Regina’s heart, Rumple’s brain, and the unborn Charming family baby to travel back in time and change her crappy past. Snow and Charming’s baby is special because, it turns out, she is a product of Zelena’s dark history. Don’t worry, the infamous Once family tree doesn’t grow this week. It just gets a little weirder. By the way, I’m calling it now and saying the baby is a girl.

Regina gathers Charming, Snow, Emma, and Hook together to perform a séance so they can consult Cora’s ghost about Zelena. The ghost is really pissy and spends most of the episode knocking people over, but in the end she reveals Zelena’s birth story to Snow, her murderer.

The audience sees this birth story in flashbacks throughout the episode. Young Cora is a gold digger who will immediately jump the bones of anybody claiming to be a prince. This doesn’t go so well for her because the first guy who claims to be a prince turns out to actually be an asshole gardener who gets her pregnant and then leaves her. But things turn around when Prince Leopold, a real prince who will one day become Snow’s father, finds her and consoles her. Prince Leo proposes to Cora, snubbing his former fiancé Princess Eva. But when the gardener blackmails Cora about her pregnancy, Eva overhears. She tells Prince Leo, destroying Cora’s chance to marry him. Eventually, Eva becomes mother to Snow.

This backstory is pretty hard to follow. Some of the characters involved don’t appear in the show much, and the relationships are so bizarre it takes some thinking to get them straight. It goes like this: Cora does the bump nasty with the asshole gardener and gets pregnant with Zelena. She gets engaged to Prince Leopold. Leopold dumps Cora and marries Princess Eva (who we previously saw in The Miller’s Daughter when she was visiting the castle of Prince Henry, Cora’s future husband; chronologically, Bleeding Through takes place before The Miller’s Daughter). Eva gives birth to Snow, who gives birth to Emma, who gives birth to Henry. Cora’s daughter Regina (whose father is Prince Henry) becomes Leopold’s second wife. If that isn’t confusing enough, ponder this: why the heck would Leopold want to marry the daughter of his lying ex-fiancée?

The point of all this messed-up relationship history is that because of Eva’s actions, Zelena was abandoned and Eva got to marry Leopold. That means when Zelena goes back in time to change the past, she will prevent Eva from marrying Leo and thus prevent Snow, Emma, and Henry from ever being born. (Presumably this will also prevent Regina from being born, since Cora won’t marry Prince Henry, but this isn’t mentioned in the show.)

Another messed-up thing: while Zelena is getting off on lording over her "doll" Rumple, he makes an attempt at taking back his dagger by making out with her. Judging by the noises she makes, she enjoys this very very much. Ick.

The best thing about this episode is that Regina makes some long overdue amends. She apologizes to Belle for all the crappy things she’s done to her. She also talks though some of her differences with Snow. Regina, who in season one was a pretty typical evil sort, now demonstrates a complex understanding of right, wrong, and everything in between.

Snow says that Regina can feel things deeply in her soul, even without a heart. That sort of defeats the purpose of a heart, but putting aside this inconsistent plot point, it does provide an interesting look at Regina. Maybe her evilness has always stemmed from the fact that things hurt her more than they do others.

The episode ends on a long anticipated (eagerly for some, with dread for others) Regina/Robin Hood kiss. Next week, Glinda the Good Witch appears and Henry almost dies again.

Read Kylie's review of the previous episode, The Jolly Roger, here.

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