Once Upon a Time Season 7 Episode 19 – TV Review
I mean, I suppose I should be impressed that even OUaT didn’t seem to care about Gothel’s tragic backstory episode.
Because I know I don’t.
TL;DR Gothel is a tree nymph who committed dress envy-induced genocide; and this led to the evolution of Earthrealm as we know it; Tilly is forced into helping present day Gothel perform some kind of ominous spell with the Dark Coven; Lucy teams up with Samdi to un-poison Henry’s heart, but when he and Jacinda kiss to break the curse, it doesn’t work.
Once Upon a Time Season 7: It Doesn’t Work. Catchy tagline, no?
So let’s get to those Gothel flashbacks, because they are some hilarious nonsense, baby. So Gothel is actually a green-haired and skinned tree nymph, but she longs to wear pretty dresses just like the other girls. Some human girls invite her to a party and let her borrow a dress, but psych: they’re actually mean girls who call her names and humiliate her. Oh, and they raze her tree nymph magic garden to the ground and murder her family. So fetch. Gothel then goes Carrie on their asses, but finds an unlikely ally in a magic power-having member of the mean girl posse (but she was a bit on the nicer end of the scale). Yada yada yada Gothel kills all of humankind and leaves the realm, now also without magic because the magic garden is gone, with her new friend, and this realm eventually becomes the Earthrealm we know today. Cool? Meanwhile in the present, Gothel realises she’s only a got a couple of episodes left, so tells Tilly the truth about being her mum, and then abducts Rogers and Tilly so she can force Tilly into helping with the Dark Coven’s spell (oh, she also awakened the Dark Coven. Offscreen, via minion) by threatening Rogers’ life. And also revealing that he’s Tilly’s dad. You’ve got weird parents, girl. Whatever happened to needing the Dark One dagger, though? Meanwhile, Lucy extorts some magical help out of Samdi to un-poison Henry’s heart by telling him it would impress Regina oh so much. Luckily, Lucy and Jacinda happen to stumble upon the remainder of her glass slipper, so Samdi uses this to somehow voodoo the poison heart curse out of Henry. Meanwhile, Jacinda is finding Henry’s newfound realisation that they’re all fairytale characters a bit hard to swallow, but that piece of a broken glass shoe in her apartment brings her around, and they have their Big Damn Kiss. It’s a shame nothing happens.
Once Upon a Time Season 7: Nothing Happens.
I mean, a lot of Once Upon a Time’s present day plots over the seasons have often felt like Excuse Plots just so we can get some more-magical-by-comparison flashback sequences. But even this episode’s flashback felt like an Excuse Plot so we can get back to our present day Excuse Plot.
Well, excuse me.
Why I hate this episode:
That wig, though. Mercifully, Gothel doesn’t have to wear it for very long. But this wig business must have been some kind of in-joke for the hair and makeup department, right?
The flashbacks are unusually arbitrary, and I tried my best to tell if ABC was doing any obnoxious namedropping of Disney properties, but came up empty. I’m not the biggest Disney nerd, admittedly, but the mean girls didn’t appear to be any kind of recognisable characters. I would have equally complained if they had chucked in some barf-worthy IP salad, but at least that means they would have tried something.
The timeline of the flashbacks also irked me. The mean girls take Gothel away from the party to dump mud on her dress and humiliate her. Gothel then goes back to the magic garden and finds it completely destroyed and everyone dead. She then returns to the same party (nobody has changed outfits, so it must still be the same night, right?), and Alpha Mean Girl confirms that they did indeed destroy the garden. All in one night? What the fuck?
Beta Mean Girl who befriends Gothel is surprisingly chill with the total genocide of the human race.
Jacinda goes from appropriately skeptical of Henry’s “but what if we’re characters in the book I wrote” story to being in hopeful acceptance in the span of one episode. Honey, Henry’s good looking, but he’s not that good looking.
Regina isn’t in this episode.
Oh, and I thought the witches Nick killed (the blind witch and the doctor) were members of the Dark Coven, but when Gothel awakens them this episode, all six of them are there (there was eight, with Gothel being one, and Regina being the eighth that one time). Also, wasn’t Adelaide Kane one of them, too? So that means they found yet another replacement? Huh?
But it’s not all bad:
At least OUaT realised how little time is left and didn’t even try to give any of them personalities or backstories. Let’s wrap this shit up, ABC.
Speaking of, I imagine this is why Gothel’s backstory is handled so poorly. And I’m grateful for it. Sure, Gothel got mud on her dress and her whole family was butchered, but she did respond with genocide. So OUaT doesn’t appear to be interested in making her a sympathetic villain, which is nice for a change.
I also liked the subtle Carrie allusion during her rampage at the party. Carrie is the flavour dujour, baby.
Tilly reacts in a believable way after Gothel outs herself as her mother. You’re right, Tilly. The closeness in age is concerning.
Samdi’s actions seem largely altruistic. I’m glad he was willing to help Lucy, even if it was in exchange for gaining favour with Regina.
Unless the reason why Henry and Jacinda’s kiss failed is because Samdi has not done what he said he would regarding removing the poison heart curse. I’d be down for that, too.
Zelena isn’t in this episode.
Oh, and Gothel straight up impales a couple of guards during her party rampage. Damn, Disney.