This review contains spoilers.
Once delivers another breakneck-paced episode, as is usual for the show near the end of a season. Not so usual is the false sense of security it builds toward the end. It seems to tie up the whole season in a neat little bow, only to have danger resurface at the last minute.
Despite the title Kansas, Dorothy and the flashbacks she inhabits have little bearing on the episode. They do dredge up a little sympathy for Zelena, but ultimately show another wasted chance to make a better life for herself. These flashbacks essentially erase the entire plot of The Wizard Of Oz and replace them with much less interesting jealous Zelena drama, which could be a blow to fans of the classic book and movie. Their most effective function is to build tension by pulling us away from the main plot.
Emma and Hook go after Zelena, and Emma crushes Hook’s spirits by discussing her plans to take Henry back to New York, regardless of what Henry wants. This is frustrating because 1) Henry is a smart kid whose opinion should matter and 2) Regina is Henry’s adoptive mother who raised him, and Emma doesn’t even consider asking her. Zelena shows up and is very annoyed that Hook and Emma haven’t kissed yet because she ships Captain Swan so hard. Oh, and also because she wants Emma to lose her magic powers. To threaten Emma, Rumple holds Hook underwater. Emma pulls him out but can’t wake him up, so she kisses him. Or is that supposed to be CPR? Because if it is, she’s doing it wrong. Anyway, Hook is okay but Emma loses her powers.
Snow gives birth to a baby boy (I was wrong, boo), but Zelena bursts in, mows down everyone guarding the hospital, and takes him. She sets up a spell circle to change the past, with Regina’s heart, Rumple’s brain, Charming’s courage, and little Charming Jr. (who represents innocence) at four points on the circle.
Now that Emma is powerless, the good guys need a different source of light magic to defeat Zelena. Henry says he believe Regina can do it, because she has changed and become a hero now. Aww! She, Emma, Charming, Hook, and Robin interrupt Zelena’s spell and start fighting. They are getting creamed until Regina busts out the light magic. She zaps Zelena and takes the pendant that is the source of her power, ending the spell. She also takes Rumple’s dagger, but won’t let Rumple kill Zelena because that’s not what heroes do. She’s really taken Henry’s words to heart, and its frickin’ adorable. It’s not easy to turn a character from practically pure evil to good in a believable way, but Once has pulled it off pretty well. I just hope she isn’t too good from now on, because that would be no fun. She does get a mischievous smile on her face when she stashes Zelena’s pendant in her crypt. Is she planning to do something with it?
Rumple gives Belle his dagger as a way of giving himself over to her, saying, “I am now and forever will be yours,” and proposing marriage. Romantic, right? Well it would be, except that the entire thing is a lie. The dagger is a fake, and after Belle blissfully accepts his proposal, Rumple breaks his promise to her and kills Zelena. What an enormous dick move. It worries me that many fans are ecstatic about the impending marriage, and aren’t concerned that Rumple is lying to and emotionally manipulating Belle. That is not romantic people. It’s disappointing, because Rumple has been one of my favourite characters since the beginning and I seriously hate him right now.
Preceded by the revelation of Rumple’s treachery, Zelena’s death is somewhat robbed of its dramatic effect. He stabs her and she turns to some hard statue-like material—ceramic?—and shatters. If there’s any logical explanation for the statue thing, I missed it. Then, green smoke pours out of Zelena’s pendant and activates the spell circle. Does that mean Zelena is still alive, or is it just that her death released the magic in the pendant?
It’s hard to tell what’s going on in the promo for next week, but looks like Zelena’s wish of reversing the past might come to pass. It’s a two-hour season finale, so plan to stick around!
Read Kylie’s review of the previous episode, A Curious Thing, here.
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