Once Upon a Time Season 4 Episode 21 – TV Review

OUaT Mother Barbara Hershey Cora

“And I chew everything. Especially scenery.”

It’s a Mills family reunion up in Once Upon a Time, lately.

If only Regina had any family you’d actually want around.

TL;DR Cora is confined to unimportant flashbacks, so calm down; Regina unsuccessfully tries to erase Zelena from existence; the Author begins writing a new book under Gold’s dictation; Emma forgives her parents for sentencing Lily to a life of misery and darkness; Maleficent and Lily reconnect.

It turns out that they have “being useless in dragon form” in common.

So Regina isn’t ready to capitulate over Zelena’s rape baby, and drags everyone back to Storybrooke. She steals the Author and the magic quill from Gold, and then slices some of Lily’s blood out of her to use as ink. Her plan is to have the Author erase Zelena from existence, and everyone’s memories. Regina, sadly, later reconsiders, and the Author uses the magic ink to write himself an escape so he can go back to Gold and start work on a whole new storybook. Meanwhile, Maleficent’s reunion with Lily is complicated by Lily being a fuckhead. Regina’s attack sends her over the rage threshold into a dragon, and Snow and David help Maleficent track her down. Lily eventually decides to try to get to know her mum, although she is a little disappointed that she and Maleficent can’t just simply murder Snow and David out of revenge. I know, right? And, at Hook’s urging, Emma decides to forgive her parents for that time they tried to murder a baby.

I guess it’s okay if that baby actually spent a lifetime mired in misfortune and failure, instead. Nothing wrong with that at all.

You know what? This episode is kind of great.

Because not only do we get some textbook Queenie outrage in the flashbacks, but present day Regina also becomes inexplicably evil again.

I don’t care if it’s bizarre. I’ll take Evil Regina ripping up Storybrooke any day.


Why I hate this episode:

But of course, this being Once Upon a Time, Regina can’t really go through with her plan to wipe Zelena from existence. All Zelena has to do is spit at Regina about how she’s being, like, such a Cora right now (she compares Regina’s plan to erase her baby from existence to Cora’s abandonment of her to Oz), and Regina backs down. It also dovetails neatly into what’s happening in the flashbacks, just to eradicate any subtlety. I find it hard to believe that Regina would go through the motions of stealing from Gold, kidnapping the Author, attacking Lily for her blood, and then baulk at the last second when Zelena calls her a meanie. Just do it. The baby would have never even existed afterwards, anyway. And you wouldn’t remember, so you wouldn’t feel bad about it. It’s perfect.

Or, like I suggested last week, just dig a boot into her gut a couple of times. Or surely there’s an abortion spell out there somewhere? Be direct.

Emma was bound to forgive her parents at some point, but that doesn’t make it any less eye roll-worthy.

For a creature of pure darkness, Lily is a shit dragon. The best she does is indirectly swipe Snow with her tail. Fucking light these arseholes up with your dragon breath or something.

Did Gold not know that he could have used Lily’s blood for the ink all along? Because this convoluted, and as of now failed, scheme to turn Emma evil could have been avoided.

If Gold’s heart is so black, can’t he just use some of his own blood?

Queenie was a monumental idiot to believe Cora’s offer to find her love was in any way sincere. What the fuck, Queenie? Really?

Cora shows some uncharacteristic laziness by faking the Sheriff of Nottingham as Robin. Instead of, as her words were suggesting, just going and plucking Robin away from Marian and offering him to Queenie. All she’d have to do is pull his heart out and control him. But no, she chooses to make the Sheriff a fake suitor, which Queenie discovers.

Queenie then, having learned Cora’s true desire is for Queenie to have babies, makes herself barren to pre-empt Cora. If Cora had simply given Queenie a heart-controlled Robin, that wouldn’t have happened.

I agree with Lily’s disappointment that Maleficent isn’t interested in teaming up to obliterate Snow and David. Boo.

Out of everything she could do, Maleficent goes to Snow and David to help her convince Lily to stay in Storybrooke? What?

Oh, and the Author says he was only sticking with Gold because he was protecting him, and because he was procuring some ink. But when the Author has the ink he needs, he chooses to go back to Gold and help him write the new storybook. Why? What does the Author even want?


But it’s not all bad:

At least the Author is one character who, at the moment, is unpredictable. I was hoping his “Whatever, whatever, I do what I want” after Regina’s backpedal was to erase Zelena, regardless. But I’ll give him points for writing himself a teleport out of there. That’s clever.

Like I said, Lily’s one victory in dragon form is to tail flick Snow, who hits her head on a rock. The wound gets waved away by Emma’s magic, but I’ll take it.

The return of present day Regina’s evil side is super refreshing. Stealing from Gold is kind of mainstream by now, but she truly shines when she unapologetically slices open Lily’s hand to get some blood for the ink bottle. And then she gets a few sentences away from writing Zelena out of existence. If only.

Regina locks up Zelena in the underground insane asylum where she used to keep Belle. She mentions that Dr Whale runs it. We haven’t seen him in a while, so it’s nice for her to throw him a bit of lip service.

Gold collapses and appears to be not far from succumbing to his heart condition. The new storybook that the Author begins under his direction is called “Heroes and Villains,” and Gold says it will give the villains their happy endings. The Author starts it with “Once upon a time…” Naturally.

During Regina’s heist, Gold mentions that although he may die from his heart condition, the Dark One as its own entity will survive. Cool. I hope it’s still Robert Carlyle, too. And Gold warns that the solo Dark One would be mega evil.

Queenie’s reaction to Cora’s deceit is wonderfully extreme. She takes a potion that will permanently make her barren. Cora tries to argue that she only wanted Queenie to have children so that she could build up a dynasty to protect from Snow White usurping the throne, but Queenie is too paranoid for that. I love it.

Best line of the episode goes to the Sheriff when he’s describing Robin’s relationship status to Cora: “Well, he’s all married up now, I hear. To some sickly little tart that nobody else would want.” I know we have to keep in mind that the Marian we’ve been exposed to was actually Zelena in disguise, but still. Fuck Marian.

The Author is a close second when he’s palling it up with Regina after she’s abducted him: “Of all the characters I’ve written for, you really do get screwed over the most.” He also claims he’s a Regina fanboy. As are we all, no?

And I’ll give Lily an honourable mention for her rebuff of motherly attention from Maleficent: “I don’t need grooming advice from Annie Hall.” Ouch.

Maleficent’s excitement over seeing Lily is lovely. Lily makes sure to shoot Snow and David a side-eye when walking past them upon her arrival in Storybrooke. Emma also rejects Snow’s hug offer. I lol’d.

Regina shows the Author the page of her and Robin kissing. He says that he did write that, but it was for a different book that he never published, and is surprised she has it somehow. He claims some mystical force must be looking out for her. Awesome.

Although she rescinds the order to erase Zelena, Regina does promise to very seriously restrict Zelena’s access to the child once it’s born. Bureaucracy, bitch.

I like to believe that Cora and the Sheriff had some off-screen sex. He said he wanted payment for his services, remember.

Oh, and the episode begins with Queenie happening upon a wedding on her royal grounds. She rips out the groom’s heart and crushes it as punishment. And looks gorgeous doing it.

OUaT Mother Queenie crushes heart

Why didn’t Queenie bring her milliner over to Storybrooke with the original curse?

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About ijusthateeverything

Sincerity is death.

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