Once Upon a Time Season 7 Episode 10 – TV Review
Poor, poor Mulan.
TL;DR Alice is gay with Zelena’s daughter, Robin; the flashbacks reveal how Drizella teamed up with Gothel and five other random witches to cast the dark curse; but then they harangued Regina into doing it; present day Regina tracks down a cursed Zelena and awakens her; Lucy’s condition does not improve; Gold thinks Anastasia could be the Guardian; Gothel, however, wants Anastasia to join the Dark Coven.
Villain teams are always on the lookout for magically unstable tweens, right?
So we’ll start with the flashbacks, as we finally learn how the dark curse was cast. Even if we don’t care. After baby Lucy is born, Drizella tries to cast it, but Tremaine defects and intervenes, turning her to stone. But then eight prosperous years later Gothel arbitrarily shows up, with a cabal of hooded minions in tow, and reanimates her. They scheme to get the dark curse ball rolling again, while Regina goes and picks up Zelena, who is inexplicably in this realm, to help stop them. We also find out the now-grown Baby Rapesly aka Robin is Alice’s girlfriend. And Fook has Rumple (our Gold, but having regressed to Rumple form for some reason?) help him secure a way to stay Alice’s father if the curse proceeds. It does, but only because Drizella abducts and poisons Henry, and then forces Regina to help the Dark Coven complete the curse so that Henry will be taken to a land without magic, and therefore a land without fatal magic poison. It makes sense. Fook also gives up his trinket to Cinderella so that Lucy will remain her daughter. Meanwhile in the present, Henry is distracted from his trip with Regina to be by Jacinda’s side for our sick Lucy (he tries pulling a True Love’s Kiss like Emma did, but it fails). Regina stays the course, though, and awakens Zelena, who agrees to help, despite her impending wedding resulting from her curse life. Meanwhile, Gold insists on testing Anastasia for signs of being the Guardian, but although she does have hella magic, she isn’t. Adelaide then pops by and pretends to be her kind, loving sister for about five seconds before she attempts to steal her magic. But psych, Gothel manipulated the situation to have Drizella’s magic transferred to Anastasia, she dumps Adelaide and Victoria down a well, and then invites Anastasia to join her in getting the Dark Coven band back together.
It’s a good thing Disney has an abundance of witches in its canon to fill all those slots. I hope one of them is Susan Sarandon from Enchanted.
So I’ve been pretty vocal about how much I don’t care about the circumstances of the dark curse’s casting. And naturally, it’s even more unnecessarily complicated and contrived than I expected. Do we really need another five villains?
But I’ve got to say, on a pure pragmatism level, the curse makes sense. Regina did it to save Henry’s life because Earthrealm doesn’t have magic.
See, OUaT? Things work better when you keep them simple.
Why I hate this episode:
You know what’s not simple? Introducing five more villains when the ones we already have (Adelaide/Drizella, Gothel) haven’t had enough time to breathe. We only just got over the Victoria hump, and obligatory sympathetic excuse flashbacks. Maybe give us some time to contextualise Drizella and Gothel’s grievances before chucking another five (five!?) witches at us.
Why was Zelena in Another Realm? Why is Zelena back at all? How, in all the contract negotiations and producer meetings did Once Upon a Time decide that “Hey, you know who we really do need to bring back to get more episodes and plotlines? Zelena.” Get fucked. I’m this close to missing Snow and David. Jesus.
What was up with Rumple in the flashbacks. Why was he all crocodillian again? Unless I’m forgetting something that occurred within the last few episodes. Which is entirely possible.
Tiger Lily gets brought back for an utterly pointless cameo. Again, wasn’t the point of this season to ease off on the continuity creep and try to bring back viewers?
Oh, and Polly from Riverdale plays grown-up Robin. Oh, honey. I know OUaT has that Disney money, but you don’t go from Riverdale to OUaT. Why don’t you respect yourself?
But it’s not all bad:
Well, it’s not like Riverdale was using her much, and Polly isn’t a top tier character on that show. Maybe this is a better use of her time. Plus, Dorothy and Ruby weren’t main characters, so I’m curious to see how heavily this Disney show leans into a same sex love story.
Speaking of love stories, as great as my revulsion of Zelena is, I am genuinely interested to find out who she’s gotten engaged to while she’s been under the curse and living in San Francisco. Damn you, OUaT. You’ve played me.
Zelena’s cursed self apparently fell out with Roni because Roni influenced her daughter’s life and decisions. So even cursed, Regina is a better mother to Zelena’s child than Zelena. Because Regina is better than Zelena, if you hadn’t figured that out yet.
It’s mentioned that Regina is needed to cast the dark curse because the Eighth Witch (also the title drop) needs to be a witch who has killed the thing she loved the most. Which is a nice callback to Regina’s murder of her father to cast the OG dark curse all those seasons ago. Cute.
We get an explanation for the scene of Henry being attacked in last season’s finale: it was the Dark Coven. Cool.
Flashback Cinderella chooses to prioritise stopping Drizella from casting the dark curse over rescuing Henry. Maybe she’s not such an idiot after all.
The dilemma of whether or not to restore magic to save Lucy, and therefore condemn Henry to death, is sufficient to stoke the drama. But I do wonder how that would work. In Storybrooke, magic could easily be contained within the town. But if magic is restored to Hyperion Heights, which does not appear to have any barriers or limits set, does that mean the whole world will then be magical fair game?
Anastasia seems like a bit of a dumbass, but I’ll give her a break because she’s been mostly dead for a long time. I have faith she’ll see through Gothel’s bullshit.
If Anastasia isn’t the Guardian, then who is?
Oh, and Regina spends most of the flashbacks strutting around in a slinky black bitch suit. But, weirdly, she wears a demure vanilla princess dress to Lucy’s birthday. And I kind of love it on her.