Once Upon a Time Season 7 Episode 16 – TV Review
But why does an episode titled “Breadcrumbs” and ostensibly about the reveal of Hansel’s identity have unrelated, bland Henry flashbacks?
Or am I expecting a little too much out of OUaT to give reasons for why the flashbacks are bland?
Yeah. I’m seven season in at this point. I should know better. Sorry.
TL;DR The flashbacks achieve nothing and aren’t even related to the Hyperion Heights plot; Henry helps Gold with the identity of the witch murderer; but Nick abducts Henry once he figures it out; Rogers gets Tilly a job; Tilly flirts with Robin; Regina isn’t in this episode.
Regina isn’t in this episode? What’s wrong with you, OUaT?
So dear God, let’s get these tangential, garbage flashbacks out of the way. Basically, Henry gets a bee in his bonnet about not having any great stories like other people in fairytales, so he and Fook set out to find Davy Jones’ locker by sneaking on to Blackbeard’s ship. Except Fook actually set the whole thing up to molly coddle Henry. The treasure is real, though, and a bland life-threatening situation later Henry has learned that he wants a great life with Cinderella, not a great story. Oh, honey. You didn’t get either of those things. Meanwhile in the present, Henry gets a job offer on the back of his apparently popular podcast (and you’re telling me this isn’t the fairytale portion of our story?), but it would see him leaving town. He wrings his hands over having to leave Jacinda behind, but is then distracted when Gold ropes him into helping with the witch murders, as the killer is a fan of Henry’s book. It turns out the killer thinks he’s Hansel, and then this is confirmed for Henry when he unluckily gets into Nick’s car and figures it out. Nick abducts Henry, but doesn’t kill him. Sexist pig. Meanwhile, Jacinda similarly wrings her hands about Henry’s leaving town, but doesn’t do anything about it. Meanwhile, Zelena argues with Earthrealm Robin because she can’t tell her the big “you’re actually a fairytale lesbian” secret. And Rogers gets Tilly a job with Sabine’s food truck, resulting in her discovering a talent for sales, and a flirtation with Robin.
If you can get past the obnoxious accent, Tilly’s actually pretty sweet.
This episode of OUaT is hardly offensive. It sticks to the core OUaT value of being just interesting enough not to make you turn it off, but without abandoning the melodramatic molasses sludge of that classic OUaT pacing.
The only thing notable, really, is that the flashbacks aren’t about Hansel at all. In episode titled for him.
Why I hate this episode:
It also doesn’t help that the flashbacks we do get are astoundingly empty and pointless. This is the final season, and we’re going to waste an entire episode’s flashbacks on Henry learning that life is more important than having a hot anecdote? Fuck you, show.
I’ll also take this moment to whinge again about how inconsistent this season’s OUaT realm establishment is. We again see Smee, and now Blackbeard, in their original Enchanted Forest guises. But now we’re in Another Realm, and they look the same? “It’s a reboot with new versions of the characters you know. Except for when it isn’t.” – OUaT Season 7 writers.
I’m at a loss as to how this show is going to give Nick/Jack/Hansel his redemption arc, because he seems to really love killing. I felt like he was off to a decent start when Gretel was explaining his behaviour was due to shell shock, but I’d like to see ABC try to make gleeful serial murder of women sympathetic. And, again, we don’t have much time left.
Similarly, the show seems to have no qualms with Henry’s “I just wanna get out there and brutally slay some dragons” attitude in the flashbacks, even bragging about how killing dragons is his birthright. Didn’t we spend time in Season 4 on Snow and Charming’s guilt over killing (well, they thought they did) Maleficent’s dragon child? And the terrible consequences of that decision? Whatever happened to Lily, anyway?
Regina isn’t in the episode, which is simply, purely, unacceptable.
Jacinda might as well not even be in the show, considering how little agency she has. Both in Hyperion Heights, and as Cinderella.
Oh, and to again harp on the lack of time OUaT has left, Tilly and Robin do not flirt anywhere near enough. Get a move on, girls. We don’t know when Disney’s going to be brave enough to have another same-sex relationship. Make it count while you can.
But it’s not all bad:
I did not hate Tilly and Robin together this episode. Their flirt game may have been milquetoast, but what little affection they did show for each other felt genuine.
Sabine steals the day again in her very brief time on screen as Tilly’s boss at the food truck. OUaT should forever regret that they choose Latina Cinderella as their diversity lead, rather than the perfect Tiana they already had right in front of them.
Zelena is Nick’s next witch murderer target. I want to believe he could succeed. I really do.
At least Disney didn’t go full wank and actually try to include a budget CGI Davy Jones from the Pirates franchise in a cameo or something. I would have barfed.
Oh, and Henry fails at escaping Nick’s car when he realises he’s the killer. Henry’s failures are my successes.