Monday, May 5, 2014

In Which I Review Once Upon a Time (3x20)

Let the glorious news be spread that at last the wicked ol' witch is dead! Ding dong, the witch is dead.
This is the episode I've been waiting for: the reinterpretation of the original Oz story. We had Zelena's first flashback where were learned how she turned green (mood ring! Zelena) and her history with Oz, but I think everyone has been waiting for Dorothy in her little blue and white checked gingham dress to show up. How do I feel about this episode having watched it twice now? I don't know. Dorothy's story was both like and not like the original; the ONCE Oz story is more about the Wicked Witch than Dorothy (which we knew going in) but Dorothy's purpose was convoluted and--dare I say it--plot devicey and unnecessary in the overall arc. Dorothy appeared because people expected Dorothy to appear. And in present day Storybrooke, Zelena is finally taken down because jewelry is really the most powerful magic of all (diamonds are a girls best friend, don't you know). So when it comes to my reaction to the episode I think the best word is underwhelmed. We got Dorothy? Whoo hoo. Zelena was defeated? Whoo hoo. 

And Toto too. 

Let's go back to Oz. The last time we visited the Emerald City, Zelena turned the Wizard into a flying money and gave into her jealousy, thus causing her to go full on Hulk. Zelena smash! Zelena is still spying on Regina with her magic floor, but it turns out that Zelena has a fan. Enter Glinda, she of the white sparkly plot device. Apparently Glinda has been following Zelena's career as Witch and approves of simian shenanigans (because Glinda and Walsh have history? Seriously, how long has this guy been in Oz? And what history do they share? Also, if Glinda has been following Zelena since her arrival in Oz why didn't she stop Zelena from going to the Enchanted Forest? Or why didn't she rescue Zelena from her abusive father?  Why do you keep raising question that you never intend to answer??) Glinda has an offer for Zelena: change your destiny. If hope was the word of the last episode, then destiny is the word of the week now. It is possible that Zelena could be more powerful if she gave up her jealous nature; she could have "real" sisters, who could teach her to harness her power for good! See, here is the problem. Why is this necessary? We know Zelena won't do it. We know that Zelena is obviously green and still jealous. This flashback feels like the Medusa episode of the last half; it's there because the writers think we need it as opposed to actually needing it. They knew there would be hell to pay if the audience didn't see Dorothy, but the writers went at it with the mentality of making her as unimportant as possible. Glinda, though, offers to take Zelena to the circle of Witches (like The View!) to see if she can change her destiny (drink every time I use the word destiny).

All witches are good witches! East, North, and South are all good and pretty and wonderful. Isn't Oz swell?? No. This is the problem I have with this episode: once again, they're not giving any real original story except in name. Peter Pan and Neverland didn't resemble Barrie's original work at all; instead everything was changed except the names. What made S1 of this show so magical was that yes, it was twisted, but it was also the story you knew. Snow still ate the apple, Regina was still her stop mother, and so on. The Witch of the East didn't even speak did she? And yet she is supposed to be super evil in the books and eventually killed by Dorothy's tornado swept house. The witches explain that together they are more powerful than apart and they represent different aspects of magic: knowledge, heart, and courage. Get it? The witches are the companions of Oz. The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion don't exist in this world except in what the Witches represent. So why do they want Zelena? To complete the compass/square/legion of doom and gloom. West represents innocence and if Zelena can just choose to be good then she can reclaim her innocence and take her place at the table. It could be her destiny (drink). But wait! There's more! (there always is with this show). Glinda is also the keeper of the book of records (She's Hagrid if Hagrid wore a sparkle bustle dress). There is a prophecy in the book (no! No more prophecies! I beg you!) The prophecy is this: there will be a witch brought to Oz by cyclone who is to be a protector of Oz. Just so happens that Zelena was brought by cyclone so she clearly has to be the prophesied one. It's her destiny (drink).

Does Zelena have it in her to be good? I don't think so. I think she has it in her to believe she is incredibly special and should be given everything she wants. She acts like a spoiled brat who is jealous when no one notices how amazing she is. So, in order to join the sisterhood of magical pendants, Zelena has to give up her obsession with Regina. Which Zelena does in about six seconds, and Glinda buys it? Come on Ms South Witch! Give her a trial run or something. Her whole life has been focused on vengeance and and you buy her "I'm totally past it now" act? Glinda, who is obviously really stupid, gives Zelena a necklace (the same one she wears now) but it's opal. All the witches wear one and it harnesses their power. Because magic. It is also tied to their life force, which is why you must take the necklace in order to destroy one of them. Because magic. Having changed her destiny (drink), Zelena also de-greens. Because Mood Ring! Zelena is now happy and content with her lot in life. Really? Just like that? Why doesn't she change color more often? She has been angry and sad and glad. Shouldn't she turn red, blue, and pink (Pink is the color of happiness because I said so). Probably because magic. And destiny (drink).

Glinda takes Zelena to the West, which is to be her home now. And it's lovely! No it's not. It's a barren wasteland. Are there any good parts of Oz? Does it resemble Baum's Oz in any way shape or form? Where are the munchkins? I want the lollipop guild. Or at least a tree that talks and throws apples. But we do get the cyclone. As Glinda shows Zelena her new home, a twistah (it's a twistah! it's a twistah!) sweeps across Oz and deposits Dorothy in the path of Glinda and Zelena. Because destiny (drink). And no, the house doesn't kill the East Witch. Glinda is instantly impressed with Dorothy, calling her a very special little girl. Glinda is a flip flopper. Now, I have no sympathy for Zelena but Glinda first tells Zelena that she is the promised one, then tells Dorothy that she is special and wants to take her to the Circle of Witches (how do 4 witches make a circle?) Zelena's not happy about that, because she is a two year old. She's so spiteful and jealous that Glinda dare have a new toy that she begins to turn green again. It was her destiny all along (drink) (is this gag getting old? To bad. It's your destiny (drink) to endure it).

Zelena decides to take her destiny (drink) into her own hands and...steal the book of records. Because Glinda apparently leaves that thing just lying around. Like ya do. And it turns out that Glinda is a lying liar from liar town. Or rather, she neglects to tell Zelena the whole truth. There is a prophecy that a powerful witch will come to Oz via cyclone and help protect Oz. But there is another part that says her true role is to destroy the most powerful evil in Oz. Zelena, who has always believed she was wicked now sees the truth. Dorothy is the prophesied good witch and Zelena is nothing but a green wicked witch. When Zelena confronts Glinda, Glinda tells her that only Zelena can decide her destiny (drink) and that whatever destiny (drink) she chooses it was always destiny (drink). And so Zelena's true colors come out (it's a sort of pea green) and she confronts the 11 year old Dorothy who has done nothing wrong except eat a cookie and laugh a little bit. What happens next is a nod to the book and the movie, but is so farcical that I can't take it seriously. Zelena threatens to kill Dorothy with a fireball and Dorothy throws a bucket of water and yup...Zelena's is melting. Oh what a world. The affects of this were rather odd. It's like Zelena's green skin melts off, but her facial features remain the same and then suddenly she's just a hat. So we got our melting scene but obviously it can't be real because Zelena is all alive and crazy in the present day. Dorothy calls Glinda, who apparently can care less that her "sister" was melted. Glinda just looks at the clothes and says "oh. the prophecy is fulfilled." Cause destiny (drink). Dorothy is sad that she just murdered someone (poor kid. Only in Oz one day and already less pure in heart) but Glinda offers to take Dorothy to the Sisters so that Dorothy may fulfill her rightful place as Witch of the East. Run Dorothy! Get out of Oz! Run from this crazy plot!!

Dorothy is obviously having none of this nonsense because all she wants to do is go home. And so down the yellow brick road we go to see a Wizard. When they arrive at the Wizard's palace, he is only too happy to send Dorothy back home to Kansas. You see, she has fulfilled her destiny (drink) as "plot device of the night" so she can vanish now. With a click of her heels, Dorothy is gone and we'll never see her again. Say hi to Rapunzel for us, Dorothy, as you hang out on "the island of forgotten characters." Glinda decides to have a chat with the Wizard's Zelena! Raise your hand if you are surprised by this. Zelena has fully embraced her dark side cause it was destiny (drink) and now her necklace is green like her skin. Glinda knows that Zelena is going to try and complete her plan to time travel and swear she'll put a stop to it. But Glinda is just a plot device and plot devices are no match for Zelena, so Zelena zaps her to the Enchanted Forest and apparently Glinda's sister witches don't care because they never go after her. Actually, I have no idea what happens to the Witches of the East and North. Did Zelena kill them? Or did they join Dorothy on Forgotten Character Island? So that's it. That's the Oz story. Am I impressed? I am not. It fell flat and was unnecessary. Did I need to know about these witches? Not really. Did I need more on the necklace? Nope. Glinda told us it was the key to undoing Zelena. Did I need to see Zelena melted? Not really. It was an elaborate trick to fool Glinda into thinking the prophecy had come to pass and get Dorothy out of Oz. Of course the fatal flaw here is: what if Dorothy had decided to stay?  What then, Zelena? Or did your magic floor tell you that Dorothy would want to go home? Was it DESTINY (drink)? It was destiny (drink).

I Wonder What Her Earrings Do

Does anyone else find it odd that Dr. Whale is delivering Baby Snowflake? He and Mary Margaret had sex. And last time I checked, Dr. Whale wasn't an OBGYN. But I digress. Snow and the whole family show up at the hospital while Zelena makes Rumple spin straw. Because those are his brains? Apparently Rumple's talisman is the straw he spins into gold, not the dagger. So while spinning he transfers his brains to the straw and then Zelena makes a pretty statue of it. I have no words for this lunacy. The dagger made infinite more sense than a pile of gold straw. But now Zelena almost has everything she needs for this spell: courage, heart, brains. Remind you of anything? The witches, for some reason. I don't know why when Glinda said she wasn't even powerful enough to send Dorothy home but had to have the shiny shoes do it, but ok sure. All Zelena needs now is innocence. Well hello there Snow White. You appear to be pregnant with a baby. Babies are all sorts of innocent!! (groan)

While everyone waits for Snow to give birth, they busy themselves with putting up protection spells and having conversations about what happens next. Hook tries to apologize for trying to send Henry to New York and not telling Emma what happened with Zelena, but Emma is having none of it. I applauded Emma a little bit with "Henry's safety is my concern." Yes! Hook, I get that you might have meant well but you are not that boy's father nor uncle nor anything. You're just not. You can't make decisions about Emma (and Regina's) son without them. It's not cool. Emma wants to take the fight to Zelena and doesn't want Hook to go with her because Emma, while being a bit of a petulant three year old, knows that Hook is capable of taking away her magic. Why would you go into a fight with the one person who is capable of making you weak against an enemy like Zelena? You wouldn't, plan and simple. But Charming, who is once again displaying the brain power of a tree stump, insists that Hook goes with Emma if only to be cannon fodder. What do you think will happen, Charming? It's almost like putting Emma directly in front a speeding bullet. Do you really think Zelena won't find a way to get those lips to touch your daughter's? Would you put Superman in a battle with Lex Luthor while Superman was wearing kyrptonite around his neck? Illogical characters are being illogical.

So Hook and Emma set out to find Zelena and kill her. Now, I'm not a Hook fan (even remotely) but Hook is right in his assessment of Emma: she's scared. Emma is getting on my last nerve this season. She is so back and forth: I want to go back to NYC, I love my family, I don't care about magic, I can make magic my life, the past is in the past, I love magic and look what I can do, I hope I lose magic. Seriously, Emma. Pick a SIDE! So yes, Hook is right. Emma is scared that she can have a happy life with her family in Storybrooke. But I will give Emma a small pat on the back for her, "let me guess with you?" when Hook talks about how Emma can be happy. Does Zelena just know where people are at all times? Cause she sure shows up a lot at the most opportune moment. Zelena is tired of waiting for Hook to use his magic lips (gag) on Emma so she forces the issue by trying to drown Hook. Irony. It's a thing. A pirate drowning in a small tub of water. And Emma, being Emma, is all "I will save you by pulling you out of this tub!! And not use my magic to save you because that would be logical and smart!! And I have lose the ability to be smart because the writers don't know what to do with me! So hang on Killy Willy! I shall save yoooooou!"
 I might be laughing as I'm typing this but at the same time, I'm trying to forget what happens after. Emma rescues Hook because she is actually a decent person and wouldn't let another soul die. She presses her lips to Hook and gives him CPR (and yes, I'm ignoring the appalling "Killian, come back to me" bullcrap because what..suddenly Emma cares about him in a deep loving way? STOP BEING BIPOLAR EMMA SWAN. PICK A MAN AND A SIDE AND DO SOMETHING BESIDES VACILLATE ENDLESSLY). And POOF. Emma's magic is gone. Now what does this mean for Emma and Hook?  True love will break any curse, including the Dark One’s curse. Yet, for some odd reason, Emma Swan, true love incarnate, was unable to break the curse upon Hook’s lips. Not only did the CPR fail to break Hook’s curse, but it drained Emma of her special True Love magic! So. Not true love? Please tell me this means they aren't true love. I will take that horrifying "Killian, come back to me" nonsense if it means they aren't true love at all.

Emma, now magic-less, Zelena manages to waltz into the hospital past all the guards and take the newly birthed Snowing baby boy. Aww. Cute baby! And so innocent; perfect baby for time travel spell. Poor Snow. My heart really goes out to the woman who just lost her second child moments after birthing him. But honestly, Zelena got past everyone way too easily. All she had to do was flick her wrists. And of course she gets past Regina! Regina has yet to get one hit off on Zelena this entire season. But I guess they were waiting for what is to come. Prepare yourself. I have stuff to say about that. So, Zelena takes Baby Plot Device and vanishes. Emma and Hook return to the hospital and announce that Emma is now useless. All is lost! Except, Henry believes in Regina. If only light magic can stop Zelena, then Regina can do it because she loves Henry even though she is currently (literally) heartless and has never once done white magic ever, except accidentally when she kissed Henry. But Henry believes in her, so I guess that's that squared away. Don't get me wrong. I love Henry being Henry again, but belief only goes so far.

All ingredients gotten, Zelena is now fully ready to become the Avatar (no, seriously, tell me this didn't remind you of Aang). The spell going full blast, the heroes turn up to save the day. Except they are almost instantly defeated by Zelena, Rumple, and a flying monkey. They just stand there holding their weapons meanicingly until Zelena and Rumple throw them against some hay stacks! Except for Regina. She gets to be the hero because for some reason she can suddenly use white magic! Now look, I'm not Regina's biggest fan. I have issues with how she is being given everything she wants at the expense of others but for her to suddenly have white true love magic when she is (literally) heartless is so just so nonsensical. Glinda can’t stop Zelena despite being Light Magic because she’s not powerful enough. Regina doesn’t have her heart but somehow causes pure light magic? And what has Emma done this season besides go on a lot of walks in the woods and been really indecisive about her future?? True Love is the most powerful magic of all. Emma IS True Love. She is True Love Incarnate. It is her actual state of being. Emma is the most powerful sorceress alive. Regina struggled for a long time with magic because she wasn’t as good at it. Emma Care-Bear Stared Cora away, she put up a barrier around Gold’s shop by just wishing it. She’s the SAVIOR. She broke Regina AND Rumple’s curse. She is more powerful than any magical being that has ever lived because she is True Love. But because of Hook's curse her magic is gone? How utterly convenient for Regina, who just so happens to be Adam and Eddy's favorite. So yeah. Regina conjures up some white magic and uses it against Zelena and then runs over and takes off Zelena's necklace. Zelena is now powerless. That's all they needed to do. Take off a necklace. Rumple, now free, wants to kill Zelena but Regina stops him because "heroes don't do this." And today? Well today, Regina is a hero.

The sisters, the eldest now being in jail, get to have a nice little heart to heart.  Or rather, Regina talks to her sister while Zelena sulks. Regina wants to know if Zelena wants to bulid a snowman. (Sorry. I've been watching Frozen a lot). Regina tells Zelena that the Wicked Witch can have a second chance. She can move beyond the hurt and the pain of what Cora did to her. Look at Regina. She's got everything. Kid, white magic, Robin Hood; she is doing all right for herself now, isn't she? Wouldn't Zelena like that for herself? Zelena is still a petulant child and asks "what if I don't want a second chance?" Well it doesn't much matter because she isn't going to get one. Ready for the scene(s) that made my blood boil?

Regina returns Rumple's dagger to Belle who gives it to Rumple. You see, Belle loves Rumple and trusts him not to go after Zelena. He's changed. He's a better man. He sacrificed his life in 3x11 to ensure that Neal got a happy ending and that Belle lived and it was beautiful. And now, he can live with being the Dark One but not actually be the Dark One. So Belle asks him not to go after Zelena and Rumple is so overjoyed with love that he gives the dagger back to Belle as a promise that he'll behave. And happens. Something I have been waiting for since episode 122 when Belle and Rumple were reunited. Rumple proposed. He asked Belle to be his wife. So why am I not a happy Rumbeller who just watched her OTP get engaged and and reunite?

Because the writers are stupid. They couldn't just let Rumple grow as a character. It's not like villains get to grow and develop and get happy endings and be heroes (pipe down Regina). Rumple lied and manipulated Belle. He tricked her. He swapped the daggers, magically, so that she only thinks she has the real one. But oh no. Rumple has the real one and he uses to keep his promise to kill Zelena. Are you freaking kidding me? Neal wouldn’t have wanted this. Rumple just took a big ol’ giant leap backwards on his way down Redemption Road. And as for Belle, she’s not going to be happy. It was an exact parallel to 201 "Broken"when Belle asked him not to give into his hate and go after Regina. And then he did and when she found out, she left. She came back later but Regina was alive. I don’t think even Belle can forgive this one so readily. Especially when his proposal, while sincere, was tied up in trickery and deception. If all she does is give him a piece of her mind over *murder* then all the criticisms that anti-Rumbelle fans throw at the ship will be true. She shouldn’t just be mad; she should be LIVID. He promised her and then proceeded to trick her WHILE proposing to her. Am I more angry that Rumple killed Zelena or that he lied to Belle? Both. Heroes don’t murder, right? Well after giving the ultimate sacrifice in 311 and being the hero, now he’s turned his back on it and murdered again. Yes, I get it. Trust me. I haven’t felt the same way about this show since Neal died so I get how *livid* Rumple is. But Neal wouldn’t want this. And the fact that he did it while lying and manipulating Belle just gals me because Rumple was doing so well. He wanted a future with Belle, he gave his life, and I had hoped that being a puppet would show him how dark people can go. I get that he’s in pain but no. Zelena was powerless.

And by killing her, Rumple sets off a chain reaction. Her life was tied to the pendant so now her ghost? soul? sparkly dust? I have no idea? breaks free from its shell and snakes through town and begins the Curse. Somehow. I really don't understand it either. But there is now a screaming vortex of terror in a barn and we're all going to get sucked into the past in order to hit the reset button again (again again). Great. Time travel. I am so overjoyed by this prospect.

Miscellaneous Notes on Kansas

--Someone name that baby before he vanishes again!

--"So what, now I'm cannon fodder?"

--Henry wants a house by the water so Emma won't have to sleep in her car. Ok. Stop giving me SwanFire moments like this after you killed Neal. 

--"Destiny is destiny" (double drink)

--"You're a hero now?" "Today I am." Tomorrow, I plan on being anti-hero. The day after that, a villain. You gotta keep the people on their toes, sister.

--Dorothy left Oz with the shoes. But we'll never see them ever again, will we.

--Is it in character for Rumple to kill Zelena? Yes but only if you remove all of S3A from his history. If you include those episodes, it's not.

--Why did Zelena turn to porcelain? That seems so random. 

--Please don't let Emma get her magic back with True Love's Kiss from Hook. Give me this one small thing!

--Destiny (drink)


  1. -*drinks*
    -Zelena turned the Wizard into a flying money and gave into her jealousy, thus causing her to go full on Hulk. Zelena smash! (Pretty much)
    -(drink every time I use the word destiny) & every time Tyler gets frustrated at the stupidity
    -How did Zelena send Glinda away to another land? I thought you needed an item to do that? (bean, hat, shoes)
    -Why does the pendant give her more power if she is no longer apart of the square?
    -"But Charming, who is once again displaying the brain power of a tree stump" OMG, thank you. I just...and then....*drinks without seeing or hearing the word "destiny."*
    -And Emma, being Emma, is all "I will save you by pulling you out of this tub!! And not use my magic to save you because that would be logical and smart!! And I have lose the ability to be smart because the writers don't know what to do with me! So hang on Killy Willy! I shall save yoooooou!" So much here is wonderful. The Dark One has DARK magic. Arguably more powerful than Zelena's because HE IS THE EPITOME OF EVIL MAGICS IN ALL REALMS....and Emma just learned that she has flashlights that come out of her hands and magically apparated spot lights above intended targets. And she didn't think to use this against Zelena to force her to drop the dagger or AGAINST THE DARKEST OF ALL FAIRY TALE CREATURES?!?!?!? I just....stupidity. *drinks...heavily*
    -So if Emma kisses Henry, she'll get her magic back? Woman, slap on your red-est lipstick and plant one on your son so hard that kids are still mocking him in high school.
    -Please, I thoroughly enjoyed the animated series Avatar; don't sully it with comparing it to this season.
    -What was the point of the pendant? That seems incredibly foolish to house your magic in any item. Symbolism, I can appreciate it. But to actually house your magic somewhere other than within your own being is stupid. And why didn't Zelena immediately die when it was removed? Does she die if it is broken?
    -The entire Rumple scene at the shop and then in jail was just...appalling. I agree with you entirely. I was okay with Rumbelle as long as he was trying to change and better himself and others. And although I can appreciate exacting revenge for his son's sake, this was unforgivable. (Granted if her life-force was in the pendant and the shell of her body (because it shattered) was just a shell she is still alive and he didn't murder. But I don't think Belle and he should be together anymore. How many times is a person expected to be forgiven? This is just like abuse and enabling and other psycho-babble words I want to throw in here. It is upsetting. Letting Zelena rot in jail would have been more agonizing for her; never getting what she wants and living out her days knowing it and not being able to do anything about it.
    -So...why isn't Charming cowardly crying in the corner, why isn't Regina blowing off Henry and Robin, why isn't Rumple retarded, and why isn't Snowflake dead? The curse was cast and ingredients are needed. STOP. BREAKING. FUNDAMENTAL. RULES. OF. REALITY. In order to get something, something of equal or greater value must be given. Energy, money, carbon, time...something needs to be given.
    -Usually shows get better as they continue to air and grow; this one is doing the opposite.

    1. I have nothing to add except DRINK

  2. ["Now look, I'm not Regina's biggest fan. I have issues with how she is being given everything she wants at the expense of others but for her to suddenly have white true love magic when she is (literally) heartless is so just so nonsensical. Glinda can’t stop Zelena despite being Light Magic because she’s not powerful enough. "]

    What does the lack of heart prevents someone from being good? The lack of a heart didn't stop Cora from loving Regina . . . or Regina from loving Henry and Robin Hood.