Once Upon a Time 3.20: “Kansas”

In self defense, Dorothy throws the fateful pail of water, melting her. After Glinda then offers Dorothy a seat at the witches’ table, the girl turns her down, however, wanting to return home to Kansas–which is fascinating, because it shows that Dorothy, unlike Zelena, doesn’t allow prophecies to dictate her life. Whether or not she is the one who defeated a being of powerful dark magic and is now meant to be the new Witch of the West, she wants to go home to her family, and no one tries to stop her. (It’s even possible that her absence will be why the other witches won’t be strong enough to defeat Zelena later.) Glinda even leads the way to the Emerald City for her.

Incidentally, while Once does alter the Wizard of Oz story in many ways–for example, having had the Wicked Witch be the one to unmask the Wizard–it also does a nifty and rather subtle twist on Dorothy’s friends. Because, no, she doesn’t meet the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion. However, in a really brilliant repurposing of the story elements, instead the other three witches take their place, with each one representing one of the qualities that each of the original friends were searching for: love (heart), wisdom (brains), and courage. The West represents innocence, which is a clever extrapolation of the concept of “home”. This also explains why these are the elements that Zelena needs to enact her spell. In order to break the rules of magic, she needs a representation of every aspect of Ozian magic, with the product-of-true-love baby taking the “innocence” spot once promised to her that she herself threw away.

Returning to the Oz flashback, in the end, after the Wizard gives Dorothy the slippers to send her back to Kansas, we learn that the spell hadn’t melted Zelena after all. She had faked the girl out. And so, in a ingeniously Once-ian twist, rather than killing the Witch of the West, Dorothy actually only (accidentally) cemented her wickedness, unintentionally inspiring her to reach deep inside herself and focus enough magical power to turn her amulet emerald green and banish Glinda to that particularly snowy portion of what is now confirmed to have been the Enchanted Forest and not Narnia, as I’d guessed last week. But, anyway, it allows us to see that not once but twice, when faced with the opportunity of having a sister and a good path in life, she rejected it out of her own stubbornness–in a way, three times, if you count her first discovering the truth about Regina and her recent run-ins with her as two. And so Regina is taking a big chance on her, but one that could have paid off–Regina offering her a chance she herself also rejected many times–had Rumple not intervened.

Other odds and ends:

–It’s a boy! I wonder what his name will be.

–Also, really beautiful work on the show’s part in echoing the events of Snow’s last birth, with her baby again being taken away from her moments later. This time, however, rather than Regina being the cause, Regina actually plays an active role in restoring him to her.

–There’s an amazing moment of extremely subtle acting on Lana Parrilla’s part when she gives a small, almost-smile when Henry and Emma hug–another sign of how far Regina has come. In the past, she would have felt slighted. Now, she no longer views Emma as an enemy nor threat and doesn’t worry that she will lose Henry to her.

–I also love the scene where David demands that Emma take Hook along with her, despite still being mad at him. Due to not having raised her and the oddity of their ages, David doesn’t often get to play the dad card with her, but he does here, and she listens, and I love that.

–If this is the end of Zelena on Once, I’d like to give Rebecca Mader a huge round of applause for her amazing work on the show. She has managed to make Zelena one of the most frightening, vicious villains in the history of the series, while also convincingly humanizing her in the flashbacks in a way that explains but doesn’t excuse her decisions. Part of me hopes that we might get a future chance at a redemption arc, assuming her death has been undone by the time travel woo-woo, but if not, her presence on the show will be greatly missed.

All Once Upon a Time Reviews


Purchase Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray

Purchase Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season on DVD

Purchase Once Upon a Time: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray

Purchase Once Upon a Time: The Complete First Season on DVD


Author: Robert Berg

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *