We must enact the Dark Curse.Snow
Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, Colin O’Donoghue, Michael Raymond-James, Jared S. Gilmore, and Robert Carlyle.
This episode offered just about more progression than the entire of the #SaveHenry arc, answering question after question to finally set our gang of heroes up to imminently defeating the Wicked Witch. On top of that, the resolutions to these arcs were genuinely unexpected and captivating.
The twist that Zelena wasn’t behind the latest Dark Curse, merely the memory wipe aspect, was definitely a shock. To see Snow and Charming enacting the curse instead so that they could be reunited with Emma was certainly a surprise, and helps to explain just why Zelena has felt threatened by Emma for all of this time. It’s also a testament to the writing of the episode, and the acting of Goodwin and Dallas that these scenes are actually emotional and carry weight. Obviously, the audience is aware that Charming has survived (though imagine if he had been a servant of Zelena all along??) but that doesn’t erase the intrigue of the viewer as they attempt to discover just how Charming survived his seemingly final fate.
This episode also surprised by granting Henry’s memories back and finally clueing all of the inhabitants of Storybrooke into the truth of what happened to them during their year away. Giving Henry his memories was definitely overdue and, as a storyline, has undoubtedly run its course. There was only so long that the group were going to be able to conceal Zelena’s presence from him, and his growing frustrations with Emma were bound to reach a boiling point. Unfortunately, Henry as a character is so much more interesting when he was a sullen, ordinary teenager as opposed to the irritatingly enthusiastic, boring and nice actual-Henry. It was practically an instant switch, and more fuel to the fire that Jared Gilmore is a fine actor, but Henry is a lead weight of a character.
We also find out how Hook received a message to go and find Emma, as Neal manages to break free of Rumple so that he can use a dove to send it to Hook. The fact that doves are somehow the Enchanted Forest’s answer to the Royal Mail is somewhat of an unexpected left turn, but it’s a satisfying conclusion nonetheless.
Regina was on top form this episode. Her persona in the rebooted Enchanted Forest has certainly hit its stride as the most drily irritated woman on the planet, and it’s simply hilarious to watch. On the subject of Regina, it was also brilliant to see her development here. Not only is she making the steps in her romance to Robin, grinning like a smitten schoolgirl, but she is also the one who breaks the curse by kissing Henry. The fact that Regina is finally capable of true love – without a heart, no less – is testament to how far she has evolved over the course of three seasons.
There are more than a few frustrating moments – principal among them being our heroes turning against Hook. Hook’s dilemma was never going to end well, but Snow and Charming accusing him of lying about where he got the message from was far from heroic behaviour. For characters who constantly extol the virtues of faith and belief, they are very quick to point the finger at others. Hook’s attempt to save Henry was also met with scorn from Emma, claiming for Henry to be her responsibility, but it honestly seems like, if Hook had revealed the plan, Emma would also have been annoyed for putting her family in danger. It almost seems like she was looking for reasons to turn against Killian, which is more than a little annoying to watch.
- In The Enchanted Forest, Glinda reveals that light magic can defeat Zelena.
- Snow casts the Dark Curse so that they can get back to Emma, but Zelena puts a memory potion in the curse so that they forget.
- In Storybrooke, the gang bring back Henry’s memories.
- Regina breaks the curse by kissing Henry.
- Regina’s snark is on absolute top form this episode. She genuinely made me cackle. Examples:
- “You’re announcing you’re pregnant. It’s not like you’re inventing the wheel.”
- “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Häagen-Dasz is smitten with your stomach.”
- “Where you come from, people bathe in rivers and use pine cones for money.”
- “I don’t care if they’re dancing daffodils!”
- Snow also has a wonderfully comedic moment, as she explains to David that, second to true love, there is no greater magic than footwear and it needs to be protected.
- Still some bizarre plot threads left hanging, like where the storybook came from in the first place? Who wrote it, and who is behind it turning up like it does? I’m not entirely sure whether the show will, or indeed needs to, answer this question, but it is certainly perplexing.
- Poor Aurora and Phillip, who have apparently been flying around as monkeys this entire time. Fingers crossed that none of our heroes accidentally shot them down, like Hook did this episode.
- Seeing Glinda was a wonderful touch. The fact that Regina couldn’t meet her was more than a little judgmental on the part of the writers, but it served its purpose. The information that Zelena can be defeated purely by getting her amulet seems a little anticlimactic, but I’m sure with Rumple on her side this will prove more difficult than it sounds.
- I can’t help but feel that there is more of Glinda and Zelena’s story to be told here. Glinda’s affirmation that she and Zelena were friends is definitely Wicked-esque but will hopefully reveal more hidden layers to Zelena’s character. Compared to most villains, Zelena is more two-dimensionally painted than the others, merely constantly defined by her jealousy.
- I still don’t understand why Snow’s Enchanted Forest wig has been so hideous this season. What happened to the old wigs???
- Snow’s protestations that Regina needs to split her heart in two would be entirely noble and sweet, as she proclaims, “Belief! Hope!”. However, she is heavily pregnant. Was it really worth the risk that it wouldn’t work? Of course, fortunately it did – but that was a completely selfish gamble, Snow. It wasn’t for Charming, it wasn’t for Emma, it wasn’t for your unborn child. It was for you, and you were thinking about how you couldn’t live without Charming. It was reckless.
- Regina really needs to learn some other spell against Zelena. Literally every time they encounter each other Regina ends up getting knocked on her ass.
This episode was full to the brim of captivating twists and strong character moments, and sets our heroes up perfectly to take down the Wicked Witch as we approach the finale.
You can watch Once Upon a Time Seasons 1 – 7 on Netflix. It is also available on home media and other digital platforms for purchase or rent.