Once Upon a Time Season 7 Episode 9 – TV Review
I haven’t got a good excuse for delaying this one like I did with Riverdale a couple of episodes ago.
I just didn’t feel like watching OUaT until today. Because it’s a dull parody of itself these days.
But you already knew that.
TL;DR Some cute twists are revealed for Victoria/Tremaine’s backstory; because she’s actually Rapunzel; her rage against Cinderella/Jacinda is predictably arbitrary, though; present day Victoria harangues assistance from a revealed Gold, and she successfully awakens Anastasia; Lucy suffers in return; Henry and Regina do not appear.
No Regina!? Can’t we just Next this one?
So it turns out Rapunzel did exist in a form other than Gothel’s illusion, as we discover that when Victoria/Tremaine was younger, she was Rapunzel. She made a dodgy, Rumple-esque deal with Gothel that left her family comfortably wealthy, but her trapped in a tower. Some years later she flees and reunites with them, but her husband has remarried to Cinderella’s mother, and Drizella now thinks of this woman as her mother more than Rapunzel. Aww, honey. Gothel shows back up and waves the poisoned mushroom in front of Rapunzel’s face as a solution, and the poor dear can only resist so long until she uses it. But after Cinderella’s mum has gone to Wonderland and Rapunzel has reunited with her husband, Cinderella and Anastasia arbitrarily fall into a frozen lake, and Anastasia comes out a lot worse than ol’ Cind. Rapunzel makes a desperate appeal back to Gothel, but that witch is a bitch, so Rapunzel resolves to fix Anastasia herself. Meanwhile in the present, Victoria has to act quickly to awaken Anastasia before Adelaide, teamed with Gothel, can find her. She dangles info about the Guardian to force Gold out of his ruse, and they go get what Victoria needs. Which turns out to be the destruction of Lucy’s belief that her family will reunite, which Victoria kind of beautifully orchestrates by greasing up Jacinda with relinquished custody of Lucy thanks to lawyer Nick, which sends Jacinda and Nick into each other’s arms, and the secret video of that is what Victoria uses to crush Lucy (made worse by Victoria also revealing to Lucy that though fairy tales might be real, the reunion of her happy family with mum and Henry won’t be). Victoria revives Anastasia, while a petulant Adelaide grimaces from afar. Meanwhile, Regina and Henry are off on their road trip, but we don’t see them. And Rogers has another superfluous hamster wheel subplot this episode as he tries to find out what Gold is really up to. He confronts him about evidence he’s found of research on Hyperion Heights citizens (which we know is because Gold is trying to weed out the Guardian), but Gold plays it off.
Why are you even here, Fook? Was Colin O’Donoghue really that much cheaper to sign for another season than Josh Dallas? I won’t mention Ginnifer. Because she’s got that Zootopia cred now, baby.
I mean, this episode wasn’t a disaster. If anything, the focus on Victoria’s backstory was the most entertaining and revelatory yet of the new crop of characters.
But it’s yet another villain with a sympathetic sob story involving her family, and we’ve done this all before. Who cares?
Do something new for once in your life, OUaT. Jesus.
Why I hate this episode:
The episode rushes through Rapunzel’s story way too fast, and thus her motivations come off as cliched and weak. She goes from Miss Righteous who would never poison the heart of another to slingin’ poisoned mushroom tea over an imagined slight at a birthday party about ten screen minutes later. Maybe take some time to show us her pain; to demonstrate her character. At seven seasons deep, it’s insulting that Once Upon a Time hasn’t figured that out yet.
Archetypes and broad strokes and cardboard cutouts aren’t good enough. I’m not expecting genuine insight or nuance from my ABC Disney soap opera, but would it be too much to ask for OUaT to at least try? Wasn’t one of the virtues of throwing most of the old characters away this season that the new characters wouldn’t be bound by six previous seasons of bullshit? Do something with them, show.
And the only old characters I do want to see, Regina and (to a much lesser extent) Henry, aren’t even here. Fuckin’ next.
There better be some more backstory to come that fleshes out the rift between Drizella and Tremaine. Because if this whole “she liked the stepmother she grew up with more than me” schtick is all it is, then what the fuck, Tremaine?
I’m out of ways to describe how little I care about anything Rogers does. Why don’t you come up for some insults for me?
Oh, and that Gothel wig is yet to grow on me. Although, it appears to be growing on that actress hidden under there. She’ll disappear soon if we’re not careful.
But it’s not all bad:
The fact that OUaT either doesn’t notice how bad the wig is, or simply doesn’t care, vindicates my sustained venom against this show. And that pleases me.
Like I said above, the focus on Victoria/Tremaine, much like the focus on Regina/Queenie did for OUaT of old, makes for much more compelling viewing than anything to do with our “heroes.” The reveal that Rapunzel is Tremaine when she calls out her daughters’ names from the tower gave me that little jolt of “ooh,” I must admit.
I also got a tiny thrill out of Victoria getting Gold to admit he knows the truth. We’re on Episode 9 now, guys. It really is time to get a move on.
Adelaide, after doing an admirable job of being a competent villain, completely drops the ball this episode. But the honestly upsetting amount of hatred between her and Victoria gives me hope that the bitchiest is yet to come.
When Rapunzel appeals to Gothel for help with Anastasia, Gothel reveals the things she did to Rapunzel (trapping her in the tower; the poison heart mushroom) were secret tests of character to see if she was pure enough to be… the Guardian. Yes, Gothel apparently is after them, too. And she also doesn’t know who they are. Hmm.
Jacinda spends her time this episode being an easily manipulated dickhead. So no complaints from me on that front. Because Jacinda is a dickhead.
Oh, and Victoria’s attempts to emote through her Botox and drawn-on eyebrows deserve recognition. However dubious.