Once Upon a Time Season 7 Episodes 7 and 8 – TV Review
I’m not even going to pretend like I’m okay with an OUaT double episode when things are already this dire.
Seriously, ABC? Do you want us to stop watching?
TL;DR Wish Realm flashbacks show us how Fook came to father Alice (yes, we were right) with Rapunzel from Tangled; who is actually Gothel, and who is actually Captive British Woman; present day Rogers solves the missing girl case, liberating Gothel, and landing Victoria in prison; Adelaide gloats on a job well done; and she also harangues Regina into steering Jacinda away from Henry’s penis.
Cockblock: Undercover Mum Edition.
So let’s get to this goddamn shit. Once upon a time in the Wish Realm (Jesus Christ, OUaT. Let things go), Queenie, defeated and unable to cast her dark curse, seeks Fook’s help in finding some magical flower or something to get her powers back. Fook instead finds Rapunzel in her Tangled-esque tower, who points him where he needs to go. As thanks for helping him, he returns to her, and they bang. And then we find out she’s actually Gothel in disguise, and she had an overnight baby because when Rapunzel fled the tower she put on a curse that meant a blood relative of Gothel’s was the only way to get her out so she had a magic baby who she intends to ditch in the tower and starve to death I guess? Why is everything so fucking convoluted on this show? Anyway, Fook isn’t as cold, and pledges to be a good father, abandoning his revenge quest against Rumple. Who cares? Meanwhile in the present, Rogers finally kicks his investigation up a notch, and after a false lead via Tilly (not her fault, though), he eventually finds “Eloise Gardener” in some old warehouse where Victoria has taken her after discovering Adelaide’s been up to no good this whole time. Eloise Gardener is also Gothel, so now Miss Thing is free to swing her horrible wig all over Hyperion Heights. Meanwhile, Henry and Jacinda start getting cozy, so Regina sows seeds of doubt in Jacinda’s mind. And for a good laugh as the episode closes, Jacinda it turns out doesn’t automatically get custody of Lucy back after Victoria’s arrest. Because DCS shows up to whisk her away.
Ah, sweet bureaucracy.
So after last episode gave us some much needed Regina time, I suppose it’s no surprise that Fook was overdue for his chance to shine.
But this isn’t Hook. It’s Fook. A mildly different copy who only exists because of a throwaway plot point from last season.
Who the fuck cares?
Why I hate this episode:
It still makes me think I’m on crazy pills that OUaT brandishes its Wish Realm bullshit like it’s no biggie. How can something so arbitrary metastasise into being vital to one of the main characters? It’s agony.
The Rapunzel stuff is very rushed. You’d think OUaT might want to take its time, but nope. She’s already outta here, with the Gothel reveal hardly a reveal at all considering that Rapunzel was basically twirling her moustache the whole time. Who cares?
And whatever happened to black Rapunzel? Here OUaT goes with its self-congratulatory Latina Cinderella schtick, but now Rapunzel’s back to being white? Are you diverse or not, Disney?
I think the greatest crime this episode is the literal benching of Queenie. She’s the one who initiates Fook’s quest, but then she inexplicably spends the episode chilling at the pub with the pirates, apparently trusting Fook to bring her back the magic flower she needs. What the hell, show? Don’t bring us Queenie with her eighties power shoulders and then not use her. Fuck.
Gothel’s wig is distractingly atrocious.
Oh, and Tilly is shown selling watches on the street corner. Bitch, just sell some drugs. Even Riverdale has drugs. You wanted to be edgy and move into an inner city suburb, OUaT. Be edgy, then.
But it’s not all bad:
We get confirmation that Alice is Fook’s daughter, as that’s what he names the baby. So at least that tease is put to bed.
I’m kind of impressed that Victoria was so promptly (and as you’ll see by her not being immediately sprung next episode) arrested and charged. So it turns out it’s just Rogers and Carlyle that are the ineffective parts of the Hyperion Heights PD.
I admire the viciousness of Gothel’s plan. To leave a newborn baby alone to die in the tower. Now that’s a villain we can believe in. Victoria only got superseded five seconds ago by Adelaide, but now it looks like Adelaide, too, has some competition. Keep it cruel, ladies.
The delight of seeing Jacinda and Henry’s relationship crumble is made even sweeter by Jacinda’s gullibility. She falls for Regina’s bullshit without any resistance.
Queenie may not get to do anything in the flashbacks, but, as usual, her presence is memorable. Not only does she have that killer outfit, but she also hams it up hardcore. She bemoans the loss of her magic (somehow Snow and Charming took it away from her) when she reflexively tries to Force choke Smee and it doesn’t work. Her anguished whimper is delectable.
Oh, and then when Fook returns from his journey only to announce he’s giving up on his revenge to be with his baby, she cannot comprehend what in the world could be more important than revenge. Because obviously.
TL;DR The flashbacks show Wonderland, and cement Henry and Cinderella’s romance; Alice is all grown up and reunites (despite contrived setbacks involving magic) with her dad, Fook; present day Jacinda calls on her ex, and Lucy’s father, to help her with custody; Henry’s masculinity shrivels; Adelaide and Gothel’s plan to resurrect Anastasia stalls.
It turns out Victoria is good at one thing: hiding the semi-dead body of her teenage daughter. Who knew that would be her one talent?
So we’ll start with the flashbacks again this time, and I wrote in all caps in my notes “THIS IS TOO FUCKING COMPLICATED.” Basically, Alice shows up to reunite with Fook after their apparent estrangement due to some poisoned heart curse on him, which Alice thinks she’s gotten a cure for. She doesn’t, and she runs away to Wonderland in regret. Henry and Cinderella, in between flirting, chase after her, and then Cinderella reveals her mum suffered from that same curse. And she, too, fled to Wonderland. Huh? Then it turns out Alice knew her, but she died in an offscreen Jabberwock attack. And also Drizella is the one who offered Alice the “cure,” but then Drizella also shows up in Wonderland claiming to have orchestrated this whole thing to get Henry alone so she could place the poisoned heart curse on him, too. What the fucking fuck, Once Upon a Time? Filler shouldn’t be this hard. Anyway, Cinderella and Alice thwart Drizella, and Henry and Cinderella become official or something. Meanwhile in the present, Jacinda calls on her ex, Nick, to help her get custody of Lucy. He’s a lawyer, and also Lucy’s father in curse world. And also Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, which we later learn in the flashbacks. Groan. Henry gets jelly of Nick, but Jacinda ends up getting Lucy back. Who cares? Meanwhile, Regina and Carlyle both try to obliquely warn Rogers about “Eloise,” who is pretending to have a crush on her hero. Meanwhile, Regina tries to get Carlyle to admit he, too, is awake. But he won’t. And Drizella reveals to Gothel that she needs Anastasia to steal her magic or something, but when they locate the coffin, they find Victoria has already taken the body out.
So good grief, OUaT. Why is everything so hard?
If you cut down on even a quarter of the endless stream of exposition, maybe your characters could actually have something to do or say that carries any meaning outside of this treadmill of a plot-of-the-week. Jesus.
And the rather tame kiss between Henry and Cinderella after all is said and done in Wonderland is not satisfying enough.
Why I hate this episode:
I came to the realisation this episode that Once Upon a Time, this season in particular, expends so much energy on the How We Got Here, that the Where Are We Going and the Why Does This Matter just fucking starve to death from neglect. All the bluster about the myriad convoluted paths our characters took to end up in Hyperion Heights are nothing if it’s all meaningless; if there’s no point. Tell us a fucking story, show. Not a goddamn prologue.
And the hand wave of an answer you know will be either Because True Love, or Because Believing In Magic, probably both. Which we’ve already done, gurl. Tell me something I don’t know. Or maybe show, don’t tell? Just a thought.
The exhausting backstory about Cinderella’s mum and stepfather (how many step-parents does one girl need?) was literally insane.
And this episode, having redesigned the Wonderland maze from its earlier appearance, is yet another slap in the face to Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. You’d think that with all the continuity wanking this show loves that there might be some kind of nod or reference to OUaTiW. But nah. The disrespect goes on.
Henry is awfully sanctimonious about Jacinda’s time with Nick, considering he spent Halloween getting cosy with Adelaide.
Gothel may be out from Victoria’s grasp, but Adelaide’s still got her on a tight leash, and she demonstrates she has little to no magic. Boo.
Oh, and Carlyle’s refusal to team up with Regina and play dumb about being awake doesn’t make me upset. It just makes me tired.
But it’s not all bad:
I suspect he’ll reverse that decision eventually, and it’ll be nice to see him team up with Regina without having any other baggage around to cloud his decision (we don’t miss ya, Belle). But goddamn, get a move on.
Regina spends most of the episode without anything to do, but I had a laugh at her brusque dumping of the cake Gothel gave Rogers into the bin. No shame at all.
And Henry takes up her offer to join her as she heads to San Francisco at the end of the episode to visit a resident of Hyperion Heights whom Victoria had succeeded in running out of town a while ago. Cool.
In the flashbacks, when Cinderella and Alice rush to save Henry from Drizella, Cinderella straight-up punches her in the face. Hey, a solution is a solution.
Jackson from The Originals isn’t that bad. And given that he’s both a romantic rival in the present, and a valued friend to Henry in the flashbacks, I’d say it’s likely that he’ll be dispatched pretty quickly.
Oh, and Adelaide’s exclamation of “mother” when she finds Anastasia’s coffin empty is some high camp disastrousness that frankly OUaT could use more of.