Once Upon a Time Season 6 Episode 17 – TV Review
Just kidding. The only thing that’s dead is Once Upon a Time’s credibility.
And that was ages ago.
TL;DR Unearned magical plot devices fix Snow and David’s sleeping curse and Hook and Emma’s separation; the Black Fairy does little more than stand about in Storybrooke; Hook meets Tiger Lily while stranded in Neverland; the flashbacks are an inconsequential waste of time.
It’s an OUaT specialty.
So yeah, the Black Fairy is in town, bitches, and she’s ready to… like, hang out and stuff and do nothing. Because it’s not the finale yet. Her major contribution to the episode is to temporarily hinder Emma’s attempts to obtain the magical MacGuffin dujour, which is what they need to break the sleeping curse on Snow and David. But Gideon, despite being heart controlled, low-key helps them, and they get this epic pixie flower we’ve never heard of before. OUaT does make the barest effort to cover that base, though, by having flashbacks to Storybrooke during the dark curse, when Snow randomly stumbles upon a pixie flower and unwittingly awakens David and herself. They run around a bit and evade Regina’s sideways glances before trying to use the pixie flower to reunite with Emma. But, at Gold’s urging, they choose not to and put themselves back under the curse. Because Emma is too young, and destiny says she must grow up to become the Saviour to save everyone. Child abandonment: so noble. Back in the present, Snow again eschews using the pixie flower to save herself and David, instead encouraging Emma to use it to bring Hook back. Which she does. But hey, who cares? Because Regina, bouncing back off an earlier attempt to undo the sleeping curse (which actually made it worse), comes up with another “magic does what we say it does” idea, and through the power of a stirring speech, they are cured. Aww. Meanwhile in Neverland, Hook spends his episode in a team-up with Tiger Lily to transport a chunk of wood she needs to deliver to the Saviour, which she says is part of an ancient magical wand needed to defeat the Black Fairy. The delivery is successful. And the Black Fairy makes clear her intention to persuade Gold, her son, to join her of his own volition. But Gold is like “gosh, mum. Stop ruining my life.”
And then he swoops his emo fringe.
This episode, appropriately in line with all this talk of sleeping curses, it mostly a snooze. Not one, but two bizarre magical things happen that only exist to undo plot holes. And the purpose of the flashbacks is to show that Snow and David are heroes and deserve the town’s support when they need it.
Which is something that’s already been pretty well established, considering we’re deep into Season 6 of a show where they’re the fucking heroes (except for that time they tried to kill Maleficent’s baby. Also, I must ask again, what happened to Maleficent?).
But all this talk of “this is the end” has me excited.
Please, just let it end.
Why I hate this episode:
The Black Fairy is such a cookie cutter Big Bad it almost seems like a joke. She’s like Pan without the personality.
Conversely, I’m dreading some kind of impending episode with her backstory that tries to humanise her. Because every villain on this show apparently needs a Freudian excuse or whatever. God, I miss Cruella.
The “magic does what we say it does” problem is nothing new to OUaT. But to do it twice in one episode, and with both things being the resolution to arcs that have been running for several episodes, is simply not okay. I was almost on board for the pixie flowers, mainly because I like flowers, but their powers are so nebulous. The writers obviously just needed an out, and they fucking wrote one. Yuck.
Regina’s solution to the sleeping curse uses established logic (Queenie’s sleeping curse is designed for one heart, so when she put it on Snow and David, who share a heart, that’s why they only each get half of the curse. So sharing it to more hearts would weaken the effect even more, right?), but I would have liked more specifics on how it will work mechanically. Will each of the people who accept the curse get a day where they fall asleep? Or is their two second nap in the office all the consequence will be? Huh?
I felt bad when Hook and Emma just left Tiger Lily behind in Neverland. Guys, you had time to save her, too. Saviour? What Saviour?
Why does the Black Fairy care if Gold joins her? Isn’t she the source of all evil? Would she even require his power?
Oh, and bitch, seriously, just take the dagger and compel him. You showed us you can do it. Just do it.
But it’s not all bad:
Of all the “this is the end” talk, Gold and the Black Fairy get the best conversation regarding it. At the end of the episode, after Gold taunts her about how Gideon disobeyed her to leave a single pixie flower in tact, and that Gold will never bow to her, she warns that if he was to fight her that Storybrooke would likely not survive. Gold accepts those terms. Get to it, girls. Burn this place to the round.
The moment when the Black Fairy commands Gideon to destroy all the pixie flowers made me happy. Anything to inconvenience Snow and David.
The pixie flowers’ mythology states that they only appear in the presence of great evil. Snow finds one by accident in the flashbacks. But when present day Emma and Snow go looking for one, they find an entire field of them, which have sprouted due to the Black Fairy’s arrival. Cool.
Though I do not agree with the methods used, I am happy that both the sleeping curse drama and Hook’s exile subplots are over. No more wasting time on those, then.
Tiger Lily doesn’t get a lot to do, but she does mention to Hook that she used to be a fairy, and she gave up her wings after the Black Fairy’s descent into evil. She blames herself for not doing more to stop her. That’s interesting. I’d like to know more about that. Tiger Lily also knows about the Saviour, the impending calamitous battle, and she has that piece of ancient wand. I expect she’ll show up in the Black Fairy’s inevitable backstory flashbacks.
Tiger Lily also wasn’t whitewashed. Not that racial insensitivity was the only problem with her casting in Pan. Who thought Rooney Mara would fit in a silly fantasy action adventure movie?
I enjoyed seeing pre-character development Regina lording it over Snow and cursed Storybrooke. When her suspicions are raised that Snow and David have awakened, she threatens to drop a mine on Hopper to force Snow to reveal her hand. Classic Regina.
Oh, and anytime Snow thinks she looks imposing gives me a chuckle. As it does the Black Fairy.