Once Upon a Time 3.14: “The Tower”

Speaking of courage, anyone with any awareness of The Wizard of Oz should, at this point, start to have some clue as to Zelena’s plans. It seems now that she, for some reason, wants to either recreate the details of that original Oz story, or that she is possibly enacting it for the first time from her perspective, assuming Dorothy and her friends hadn’t shown up yet in Once‘s version–which would also be interesting because it would put our Storybrooke characters at an advantage over her, being able to use the details of her own story–at least as it is known in our world–against her or to at least guess her moves. Either way, she has now effectively turned David into the Cowardly Lion character by taking his courage. Which, if the pattern holds, means she needs a Scarecrow (brain), a Tin Man (heart), and a Dorothy.

My guess is that she has already taken Rumple’s brain, thus explaining his current lack of marbles. If this is the case, there are only two remaining: “heart”–which I would guess is either Mary Margaret, given how she has cozied up to her (it’s possible that taking the baby would even count as taking her heart), or perhaps she already has taken Neal’s, thus explaining his absence–and I’m going to guess Emma is Dorothy, seeking to reclaim her home with her family, as they were. But we shall see!

Other odds and ends:

–The horror film manner in which the cloaked figure was shot was extremely creepy. Very well done, Once team!

–The scene between Zelena and Rumple in the storm cellar is both eerie, fantastic, and beautifully shot and directed. The power dynamics between the two of them are fascinating to watch, as is how expertly Rebecca Mader slips between her two personas, from powerful witch to sweet-as-sugar midwife. The implied threat of the Dark One’s knife being used for something as mundane as shaving his face–while at the same time it is a magical knife literally up against his throat–makes for an extremely tense scene. And at the same time, we get an even further hint of Zelena’s pain and conflict here. She is clearly a layered character, and I can’t wait to discover her full motivations. At least some of it seems to have derived from the treatment she faced from others due to her green skin; she makes an intriguing comment implying what a relief it is to be in this world, where she can blend in with everyone else.

–I also have to wonder, when Zelena speaks to Rumple of her father whether this man was her biological father, as well, or if that is actually Rumple. The green skin seems quite a coincidence, particularly given their shared connection to Cora–again, assuming any of what she told Regina last week was the truth, although in the week since seeing it, I have come around to being more open to the possibility that she is her sister, since remembering that that would link her character even more closely to the Wicked Witch of the West, who also had sister issues.

–Speaking of Regina and parentage, the scene between Henry and her by the lake is truly wonderful. As painful as his lack of memory of her must be for Regina, there also seems to be one appealing level to it: he no longer has any of the bad memories of her that he once did. And despite not knowing who she is, it seems like on some level, his instincts might subconsciously know, given how he is opening up to and trusting her here. He seems to really like her. The question is whether, when he finally does regain his memories (which I’m sure is inevitable at some point), he will feel any level of betrayal for them not telling the truth to him, or will understand how difficult the subject would have been to broach.

–While I do have some sympathy for a viewer who might judge Mary Margaret for being so trusting of Zelena so soon, given she never met her before and that they do know that there’s a Wicked Witch on the loose, I find it in keeping with her generally trusting nature, particularly given she has agreed with David to keep an eye out for her. I don’t think Mary Margaret is naive so much as that her first instinct is to give someone the benefit of the doubt, which is a good quality. Furthermore, don’t forget that not only are there at least thousands of people in Storybrooke but that with this curse, it seems that every last person who wasn’t affected by the Dark Curse last time due to Cora’s protective bubble has been this time–or at least that’s what Zelena wants people to believe. And perhaps most importantly, Zelena invoked Johanna’s name, which is brilliant manipulation on her part.

–I am loving all of the Wizard of Oz easter eggs: Emma pointing out the irony of the Wicked Witch living in a farmhouse (given Dorothy’s killed her sister in the original story), the bicycle on Zelena’s porch (referencing Miss Gulch’s method of transportation in the MGM film), the wire fence (a callback to the Kansas farm set of the film), the storm cellar (a parallel to the one that Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and the farmhands flee to–and which Dorothy can’t open–during the twister), and so on and so forth.

–And, in keeping with the characters figuring things out admirably swiftly so far this season, even though Rumple is gone by the time everyone discovers his former prison, they realize exactly who was in the cage, due to the gold spun from straw. I particularly love Regina’s subtle reaction to the discovery he’s back. She actually seems happy about it, no doubt expecting that with their powers united, the Witch can’t stand a chance. Or so she thinks…

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Author: Robert Berg

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1 Comment

  1. I agree with you, as per usual! One thing I enjoyed that wasn’t mentioned here: David’s little smirk when he (apparently) recognizes Rapunzel’s name. Maybe he saw ‘Tangled’ back in Storybrooke? 😉

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