Anti-climactic. That is the best word to describe Season Four’s penultimate episode. Leading up to the two-hour season finale, instead of raising the stakes, the show actually resolves several key issues.
Disclaimer. Thanks to the most despicable villain of them all, my cable company, the broadcast I watched was corrupted. In case I missed any key lines, my apologize.
Like Mother, Like Daughter
You may think I’m talking about Lily and Maleficent with the above header, but think again! This episode brings back one of the most tumultuous mother-daughter relationships in Once history, that of Regina and Cora’s. Every time Barbara Hershey comes on screen I can’t help but think, how can the Once team keep an Academy Award nominated actress on retainer, but not bring back my Red! But I digress. A flash to the past, we see Cora return to the Enchanted Forest from Wonderland on the anniversary of Daniel’s death. You remember Daniel, right? He’s the poor stableboy Regina loved before her mother crushed his heart right in front of her. The loss of her first love has set Regina down a dark path and to fast forward through all of the unnecessary intricacies Once throws into each and every storyline, Regina ends up taking an infertility potion since she believes true love is no longer possible for her.
Speaking of fertility, last week ended with the jaw-dropping twist that Zelena is now pregnant with Robin’s child. Only problem is Robin’s loyalty knows no bounds and he just can’t leave the mother of his child. I’m sorry Robin, but there is a line, and Zelena has surely crossed it this time. Just kidnap the kid once it’s born! It worked on Grimm and nearly every Disney animated film takes at least one of the parents out of the picture.
As for Lily and Maleficent, they share very little in common. Lily has got no wit to her* and is head-strong to a fault. Her mother, on the other hand, knows when to play it coy and has a tongue as sharp as Charming’s sword. While Lily wants revenge against Snow White and Prince Charming, Maleficent understands that it is hardly worth being angry over the past when they can just be happy in the future. I rarely say this while watching Once but Lily: Listen to your mother! Of course she doesn’t and, in the only sign of similarity between the two women, turns into a dragon and attacks Snow. Remember how I said this episode was anti-climactic? This scene is the perfect example of such since Snow ends up with little more than a bump on the head.
Could You Be More Vague?
How apropos that it be the Author who coins this show’s motto. Vagueness is what makes the Once Upon A Time world go ’round. All this time the villains have been trying to turn Emma dark as the Savior’s corrupted blood is the key ingredient for the Author’s ink. Well, turns out that there is a loophole because this is Once and no plan is without a backup. Regina uses Lily’s blood, as the daughter of Maleficent was cursed with all of Emma’s intended darkness, and then wastes this power on not killing or punishing her sister in any way!
This just goes to show how much Emma and Lily are alike, even more so than Lily and her mom. As the Sorcerer told his Apprentice, the two of them have intertwined fates and in this episode they go through the exact same character arc. Emma finally forgives her parents for what they did to Lily, understanding that what happened in the past doesn’t change who they are now. Lily, rightfully furious at her Mom for not fighting back harder against Snow and Charming, runs away from Maleficent ala Emma’s early days in Storybrooke. But instead of taking an entire season to come around, Lily forgives her Mom’s past actions by episode’s end and they share in their own mother-daughter bonding moment.
Heroes and Villains
Next week we get the requisite two-part season finale. At the end of “Mother,” Rumple finally got his hand on some working magic ink and begins to tell the Author what he wants written in a new book entitled Heroes and Villains. Apparently the revised history includes Snow as the evil Queen, Emma locked away in a tower like a crazy person, and Rumple as a knight.
All I’ve got to say is unless Rumple has gotten Baelfire back, this ain’t no true happy ending!
* Lily did have one good line tonight, comparing Maleficent’s fashion choices to Diane Keaton from Annie Hall. If you don’t get the reference ,then check out the classic Woody Allen film.
- Shout out for anyone who can solve the mystery behind the name “Dark Star Pharmacy.” I’ve never seen the sign featured so prominently in an episode before.
- We’ve seen the infertility potion, or some variation of it, before on the show. King Midas tricked Snow White into drinking a cup, but she was healed by the last drops of water from a magic lake. As Rumple said in tonight’s episode, “there’s always a loophole,” and I wonder if Regina will ever consider looking for one once she and Robin finally get back together for keeps.