Once Upon a Time Season 7 Episode 3 – TV Review

OUaT The Garden of Forking Paths Regina outfit

But I’m glad you did.

Queenie lives on through Regina’s inexplicable fashion choices.

I wouldn’t mind having actual Queenie back, though.

TL;DR Flashback Cinderella, and subsequently our trio of heroes, join Tiana’s anti-Tremaine resistance; some tragic backstory is revealed; present day Jacinda fights the urge to sell out to Victoria for material gain; Henry ingratiates himself to Jacinda and Lucy; Carlyle remains elusive; Victoria is not cursed, after all.

My Regina 2.0 complaints will continue.

So we’ll start with the flashbacks this week, because, again, the present day plot is a groaner. Cinderella is late to her rendezvous with Henry and is attacked by some goons. Tiana saves her, and then abruptly reveals she is the leader of La Resistance against the tyranny of Lady Tremaine, who is apparently stockpiling magical items (despite her earlier-established indifference to magic?) for war or something. Henry, Regina, and Fook (Fake Hook) join their cause, but Cinderella hides some painful secret, and rushes in alone the night before their attack. It’s revealed that Lady Tremaine’s other daughter, Anastasia, died, and Cinderella was responsible (it was mistakenly believed, however, that Cinderella’s father was responsible, which is why Tremaine arranged for his murder. Oops). Tremaine has magically preserved her somehow, though, and tasks Cinderella with ripping out Henry’s heart, the heart of the Truest Believer, for the spell to revive her (if she refuses, everyone will die blah blah). Regina talks her down, thankfully. Meanwhile in the present, the plot du jour focuses on Victoria’s ramp-up of bulldozing the community garden. Jacinda, at Roni’s suggestion, starts a petition to have the citizens declare it too important, while Lucy drags Henry through the excavation under the assumption that Victoria’s interest in it must mean something magical is down there. All they find is a fragment of a glass slipper (or a Coke bottle. Who knows?), but this makes Lucy happy. What doesn’t make Lucy happy is when Jacinda momentarily accepts a deal from Victoria to live in one of the condos that will replace the garden, with Lucy. But when Lucy lays her obstructive idealism out, Jacinda crumples, and does the petition again. Aww. Meanwhile, Rogers treads water with some bogus subplot about trying to nail the city planner Victoria has been bribing. Carlyle undercuts him and releases the dude, but then assures him he did it so that the city planner will be their mole. Who cares? Oh, and the episode closes with the first actually tantalising moment of the new season so far, as Victoria wheels in what was actually excavated from the garden: Anastasia’s preserved body. And she has some woman tied up in her underground lair, but Victoria seems afraid of her.

Fuck all this happy families noise. Give me some bitch-on-bitch duh-rama.

You know, I was genuinely on the cusp of giving up on OUaT this week. I just don’t care right now about any of these characters.

What got me through was, of course, the basement bitchfest at the end. But more than that was Cinderella (not Jacinda) really pulling out the attack on my emotion.

In just those two scenes, firstly with Tremaine, and then with Regina, talking about Anastasia, I found myself invested in OUaT for the first time in a long time.

Regina 2.0 is floundering, but Cinderella 2.0 is a vast improvement.

 

Why I hate this episode:

Sadly, the same is not true for Jacinda, who gets saddled with the eye-rollingly twee subplot about collecting community signatures for her dumbass petition. Follow that up with a stock standard Moment Of Weakness when Victoria offers her a fantastic deal, and then compound it with Lucy’s idealistic crap, and really twist the knife with a cheesy rousing speech, and this subplot’s got it all. All of the things to make me barf.

The weirdest part of Jacinda’s time in the episode, though, comes at Lucy’s hands. Lucy was so excited to show her the shoe fragment, but when Jacinda rallies the troops to save the garden, she decides she’s satisfied that Jacinda is on her way to heroism, and doesn’t need no magic. But I don’t see how saving a community garden makes any correlation to Jacinda remembering she’s Cinderella. I guess the power of goodness will just work things out somehow?

Also, it’s a piece of glass, bitch. Get over it. Yeesh.

I’m not exactly a Cinderella scholar, but why the hell is Lady Tremaine apparently some influential warlord? Isn’t the whole point of her wanting her daughters to marry the prince so that she could social climb? In this iteration, she’s seemingly already above the actual royalty in power. Huh?

Also, the fact that they established in the season premiere that Lady Tremaine doesn’t care for magic, and then this episode make her a fiendish magic-hoarder, bugged me. You’re not Regina, girl. Stop trying.

I will personally take the use of Anastasia as another attack on Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. If they hadn’t explicitly mentioned Anastasia had died at fourteen, then I might have hoped against hope that the Red Queen would come tongue-popping out of that coffin. Damn.

Rogers and Carlyle could have not been in the episode and it would have made no difference.

Oh, and why is everyone British/Australian? The city planner and Victoria’s basement buddy both have Brit/Aussie accents. Are there no Americans in Seattle?

 

But it’s not all bad:

Like I said of Arrow, I’ll take the Aussie villains I can get. Werk, cunt.

The episode belongs to Cinderella, as her guilt and shame regarding Anastasia cannot be contained. The quiver in her voice when she tells Regina sincerely affected me. I can’t wait until OUaT completely cocks it up with some magical bullshit or something.

And with a dead/near-dead daughter, Tremaine/Victoria may earn some complexity beyond the Evil Brit thing she’s been doing so far.

But I don’t want her to be too sympathetic. We’ve got a bitch in a basement to snipe against, you know. I have no idea what’s going on with those two, but gosh, I do want to know.

Lucy, idealism aside, is still breezily sassy.

Tiana’s ballgown was better than Cinderella’s. And she didn’t let hers drag on the ground when they were riding the motorcycle.

Oh, and Gabrielle Anwar should really dispense with the British properness and lean more into the trashy, Real Housewives angle.  Put that work to work.

OUaT The Garden of Forking Paths Victoria sneer

I drank it all. Sorry.

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About ijusthateeverything

Sincerity is death.

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