Once Upon a Time Gave Us Two Hours One Big Reveal and

first_img When a show suddenly presents a two-hour episode, it usually means something big. Either it’s a climactic moment in the story, a season finale or some other event. Even when it’s not quite as big as that, there’s usually a clear reason for a two-hour show. In the past, Once Upon a Time has used its double-episode nights to move the story forward with one and tell a longer standalone fairy tale with the other, like they did with the Mulan and Merida story from season five. Last night’s two-hour OUAT didn’t do any of that. There didn’t seem to be any reason to pair these two episodes together. Sure, one followed immediately from the other, but no more than any other two episodes of this show. It felt more like it was necessitated by ABCs scheduling than by the story. Like they didn’t know what to do with the 9 p.m. timeslot now that Inhumans is done but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hasn’t started yet. So OUAT is stuck with an awkward three week break right at the end of the fall season and has to make up for it with two episodes instead of one.I’m not saying either of these were bad. They didn’t blow anyone away, but they maintained the impressively high quality of the new season. I can’t complain all that much about the pairing because both episodes were enjoyable to watch and moved the story forward and an appreciable pace. It’s just weird to see two standard episodes paired together in one night like this. The scheduling signaled a bigger event than it actually was. And the pairing of these two specific episodes meant that the biggest reveal of the two hours came halfway through. At least it didn’t leave us with a gigantic cliffhanger. Those are always annoying before a long break.Meegan Warner and Colin O’Donoghue (ABC/Jack Rowand)The first hour was the much more significant of the two, bringing an end to Hook’s Eloise Gardner mystery. Of course, in doing so, he unknowingly played right into Drizella’s hands. After Weaver tries a little too hard to get Rogers off the case of the missing girl, right after he found a dead body, Rogers spends all of his spare time searching for her. At Henry’s suggestion, he reaches out to Alice for information. She comes back with a page ostensibly torn from Gardner’s journal, claiming that the girl died. Depressed and feeling like a failure, Rogers is about to dive headfirst into a bottle of rum when a spilled drop reveals the page is a fake. Knowing Weaver put Alice up to the lie, Rogers figures out quick that Victoria Belfrey doesn’t want the girl found.This first episode is exceptionally well-paced, jumping back and forth between the present day and flashback scenes. In fact, the flashbacks told such an interesting story, I was almost disappointed to return to Hyperion Heights. We finally got to know this version of Hook, and what his life was like before he came upon Hook Prime in the season’s second episode. When the Evil Queen’s curse didn’t work in the Wish Realm, Hook went looking for some other form of magic to get his revenge on the Dark One. Hearing of a witch in a tall tower, he and Smee set off looking for her. This is how the season brings Tangled into all of this, and it has a real interesting twist on the story (with some basis in the original Rapunzel fairy tale.) Hook finds the tower, climbs it, and finds Rapunzel inside. She says she’s trapped in the tower by a spell and needs the witch’s magic flower to escape. Hook finds the flower, which involves a silly but honestly fun fight with a giant garden gnome. He considers taking the magic for himself, but even this Hook is a better man than that. Though he probably shouldn’t have been. He returns to the tower, where Rapunzel immediately seduces him. You’d think that would tip him off that something is very wrong, but the days at sea get lonely I guess.Emma Booth and Adelaide Kane (ABC/Jack Rowand)In the morning, Rapunzel turns out to have been the witch Gothel the whole time. She used magic to speed through pregnancy and childbirth in one night. Thankfully, the show spared us the details on that bit. Rapunzel, she says, trapped her in the tower years ago. To get out, she needs to leave behind someone who shares her genes. So she had a baby just to abandon it in a tower. Even by fairy tale standards that’s F’ed Up. Thankfully, Hook is a better person than she is, gives up his ship to Smee and stays behind to raise his daughter. It’s the sweetest thing we’ve ever seen. Once Upon a Time still knows how to tug at your heart. Here comes the big reveal, though. He names her Alice. That’s right, Alice is his daughter. Knowing all this makes it all the harder when Rogers follows Belfrey to find Gardner in the present. If you hadn’t guessed by now, Gardner isn’t some poor missing girl. She’s Gothel, the same witch Belfrey (but really Drizella) had been keeping in her tower. The tower! Oh man, it’s so obvious, I don’t know why we didn’t catch onto that before. Well played, Once Upon a Time.The second hour was much lighter on big reveals, but it moved the story along nicely. In the flashbacks, we got to go back to Wonderland, which was much better now that it’s in the main show and not a bad, short-lived spin-off. Alice and Hook have a brief, touching reunion in the resistance camp, but as soon as she touches him, he collapses. She runs off to Wonderland, and Cinderella convinces Henry to follow, knowing that’s where her mother disappeared to years ago. She wants to know why her mother left her and her father. OK, that’s kind of an interesting wrinkle in the story. In the end, we find out that Hook got hurt when he and his daughter touched because Alice’s heart was poisoned. Drizella had told Alice that she removed the poison, but that was a lie. The whole thing was an elaborate plot by Drizella to poison Henry’s heart. That’s how she intends to hero-proof her own Dark Curse: Make it impossible for Cinderella and Henry to share True Love’s kiss. Fortunately, Cinderella saves him, realizing that Henry is her true love. Henry’s heart obviously isn’t poisoned yet, because they share a kiss and nobody gets hurt. Hey, Lucy had to happen somehow.Dania Ramirez, Andrew J West, and Lana Parrilla (ABC/Jack Rowand)I don’t necessarily buy Drizella’s plan here. It’s convoluted to the point where she would have had to know exactly how everyone was going to act At that point, it feels more like a plot convenience than it does a villainous victory. But hey, now we know what Drizella’s holding over Roni’s head and why she has to keep Henry and Jacinda apart. At some point, Drizella poisoned Henry’s heart. Regina, now awake, has to protect her son’s life by keeping him from the woman he loves. Now, that’s the kind of emotional torment I come to Once Upon a Time for. Oh, also it turns out Cinderella’s mom left because her heart was also poisoned. She joined up with Alice and died fighting a jabberwock. Ok, sure. That was a little too conveniently wrapped up, but whatever. It’s not like the show spent enough time on Cinderella’s relationship with her mother to make that matter.The present day bits spent most of their time putting a damper on the whole Henry and Jacinda romance. I guess when you’re two romantic leads are already married when they first meet you have to pump the breaks on their relationship somehow. The first episode of the night saw Regina painfully convincing Jacinda to blow off a planned date with Henry. With Belfrey in jail, custody of Lucy is up in the air once more. Regina tells Jacinda that social services wouldn’t look too kindly on a new, unstable relationship. The second episode sets up the love triangle that will probably carry through a good chunk of the season. Lucy’s father, Nick, has cleaned up since Jacinda left him. Now, he’s a lawyer and he’s helping Jacinda get custody of Lucy back. There seems to be a reigniting of some old feelings on Jacinda’s part as well. Henry takes Nick’s appearance as a sign that he isn’t meant to be Lucy’s dad and spends the episode alternately brooding and trying to win Jacinda’s heart by fixing up her truck. Lucy is convinced that Nick is a diversion, just like Kathryn Nolan was in Henry’s book/Season One. Henry suggests that maybe he’s Kathryn Nolan and that’d be OK. The only reason I’m mentioning all this is that it leads to my favorite line of the whole two hours. “Nobody wants to be Kathryn Nolan.” Alright, Lucy’s my new favorite OUAT kid.Rose Reynolds, Andrew J West, and Dania Ramirez (ABC/Jack Rowand)Where this gets interesting though, is that it isn’t as clear cut as season one was. In the flashback, it’s revealed that Nick is actually Jack (of Jack and the Beanstalk). He and Henry were friends before he met Cinderella. They fought giants together and Henry told Jack all about Star Wars. He shows up in the resistance camp and there are some immediate sparks between him and Cinderella. It looks like their relationship isn’t as fake as Lucy believes. That makes the love triangle more than just a diversion. It means something. Maybe Henry really is the Kathryn Nolan. Maybe this won’t end the way we think it will. Could the True Love’s Kiss that ends the curse be one Drizella didn’t count on? Could it be between Jacinda and Nick? Knowing this show, I don’t think so, but just the fact that it’s a possibility is interesting. Especially in a season built on us flipping our expectations around on us. The two-episode night may not have felt as necessary or special as they have in the past, but they each took the story in new interesting directions. That’s enough to keep me hooked for the next three weeks. Once Upon a Time’s Finale Was Everything We Loved About an Imperfect ShowHenry Screws Everything Up Again on Once Upon a Time Stay on targetlast_img read more