Once Upon a Time Season 3.18 Review: Bleeding Through

Once Upon a Time Season 3.18 Review: Bleeding Through
April 20, 2014 – ABC

Is it just me, or does Zelena give off a really creepy Mary Poppins vibe? It’s a mix of pretending to be a nanny, the hats and the black, although Mary Poppins never would have worn anything so tight. Nor would she have plotted the demise of anyone, as far as I know, so the comparison falls short pretty quickly. Nonetheless, everything seems to be going extremely well for our WW, as if she did indeed find that spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down and get the job done. Or something like that. She certainly seemed to relish all of her accomplishments in “Bleeding Through.” Meanwhile, Regina did some ghost and soul-searching for answers and received help from a very unlikely place.

Storybrooke: To Have a Heart (and a Brain)

Zelena steals Regina's heart. Photo courtesy of ABC.com.

Zelena steals Regina’s heart. Photo courtesy of ABC.com.

Zelena stops by for a sisterly chat with a gift basket of green apples as a calling card. Who knew a discussion about red versus green apples could be some fraught with meaning? On the outside, it appears that Zelena just wants more proof of the spectacular life that her little sis has been living. What she really wants is to buy some time. It’s a ruse. Zelena keeps Regina busy so Rumplestiltskin can steal her heart unopposed. Luckily, Regina assigned her heart a sexy and stalwart protector, and he comes with a small army. Too bad Rumple will do anything to complete his assigned task, including putting a child’s life in danger. That does not bode well for Regina’s budding relationship with Robin, although she should know that his kid will always come first. Rumple runs away with the heart, the kid is safe, and Regina arrives just in time to assure Robin that nothing is worth the price of a child’s life. They do share some priorities after all.

Meanwhile, back at home, Zelena puts Regina’s heart away next to Charming’s sword, but there is another box as well in that trunk awaiting another crucial ingredient. She dresses up Rumple and gives him a choice. It sounds like once the baby is born she will immediately harvest his brain, but he can decide how his remaining time is spent. I have to say this now. No matter what happens in this battle, Rumple cannot die. He already fake died once. Another death would have to stick, and that is incomprehensible. Of course, all this take about time travel makes me want to see how that would turn out if Zelena achieved it. It would be a major tease if after all of this talk, time travel magic was in fact impossible. Hopefully there is a way to keep Rumple’s head in tact and investigate these new twisty plot options.

Rumple attempts to seduce Zelena. Photo courtesy of ABC.com.

Rumple attempts to seduce Zelena. Photo courtesy of ABC.com.

Since Zelena has some time until the baby is born, she has the opportunity to play with Rumple some more. She cooks Rumple dinner, and they have a lovely meal without any magical compulsion. Capitalizing on this weird student-teacher crush that has been there since the beginning, Rumple seduces Zelena and ends up kissing her like a gentleman. In my experience, gentlemen don’t usually kiss like that after a first date, but I’ll let it slide since he had ulterior motives. He just wanted to get close to get his knife back. I hope that is all that was, given that he should be completely devoted to Belle, but Zelena’s top was extremely low cut, so there might have been a bit of frustration mixed in there as well. Either way, his plan fails and he loses all good will Zelena was attempting to show him. She also takes back an earlier promise to reunite Rumple with his son when she rewrites time. That’s fine. I love me some Neal, but I would like a death to stick for once. Maybe he can reappear for a second before disappearing into the magical afterlife, only ever to be heard from again when he needs to be consulted for plot purposes. Speaking of which…

Storybrooke: From Beyond the Grave

Regina goes to Belle for help. With her heart now gone, they need to figure out what Zelena plans to do with her ingredients. Belle has already been researching what Zelena wants to do, but she will need to know more about Regina’s heart to figure out why Zelena needs it. She also needs to take a second to remind Regina that she has no reason to trust or help her. Regina kept her imprisoned for twenty-eight years and has never apologized! The former evil queen finally does apologize in a very convincing manner, and Belle promises to help. But what Regina needs right now is the candle that killed her mother. Belle immediately protests that the candle lost all of its magic when Snow used it, but Regina just replies, “This isn’t about how my mother died. This is about how she lived.”

Regina holds a meeting with the Charmings, Emma, and Hook. She serves them tea: “a deadly poison for summoning the dark vortex.” Sounds like an awesome kind of tea party. What it really is is a séance, which requires the murder weapon and the murderer, so with Snow there they are all set. The portal opens but Cora does not come despite Regina’s anguished calls. Knowing how much Regina loved her mother and desired her good opinion, it is truly sad to think that even in death Cora would ignore her second born. If only Zelena could see them now she would realize that Regina’s life is not the walk in the park she believes it to be. Interestingly enough, “the dark vortex” is the perfect way to describe the swirling wormhole-like portal that appears above their table. Apparently concentration and hand contact is required to sustain the spell since it breaks as soon as Snow startles from Hook bumping the table with his knee. I don’t know if that is funnier, or if seeing Emma trying to hold the hook to link the circle wins that race. Hook related content is usually funny, so either will do.

Despite the apparent lack of response from Cora, Regina’s mother does show up later. But it appears she came to get vengeance against Snow rather than talk to her daughter. After a surprisingly open heart-to-heart about their complicated relationship, Regina actually defends Snow from Cora’s wrath. The tricky ghost does not give up, however, and ends up possessing Snow to give her all of the secrets Regina wanted to know.

After Cora departs Snow, everything is fine. Snow and Regina have another heart-to-heart, and Snow gives a surprisingly touching speech about how much Regina can feel, with or without a heart. My favorite scene of the night, hands down. Vulnerable and open Regina is my favorite, and I am happy to see Snow bring that out in her new friend. Maybe Snow can become Regina’s confidant and give better advice than she usually doles out.

Belle discovers Zelena's plan. Photo courtesy of ABC.com.

Belle discovers Zelena’s plan. Photo courtesy of ABC.com.

That inspires Regina to go find her happiness and finally kiss Robin. Finally! I don’t love the cut to credits that interrupted it though. Maybe next week will pick up where we left off? I do wonder though, is Robin literally living in the woods? We have never seen him anywhere else in Storybrooke except for Zelena’s farm, have we? I know that is where he is comfortable, but maybe Regina as mayor could help him find an apartment.

Across town, Emma is having too much fun with her magic, disappearing a cup of coffee across the diner and taking away Hook’s hook with a laugh. He is not enjoying himself, probably because he knows he can never kiss Emma again. Belle interrupts them with news that she has discovered the spell Zelena wants to cast. They can now figure out with this information about time travel and Snow’s trip down memory lane with Cora that Zelena will go back in time to kill Princess Eva, Snow White’s mother. Snow, Emma, and Henry will not have been born. Cora may have never had Regina. That is not good at all.

FTL: Deception Squared

What did Snow learn? Well, back before Cora caught the eye of Prince Henry, she first caught the eye of Prince Jonathan, who happened to visit the bar where she worked. He noticed Cora’s air of superiority and decided she was perfect wife material. His proposal may not have worked if his identity had not been revealed with the careless drop of a handkerchief with some royal embroidery on it. We all know how Cora desires power. The response is immediate. He proposes with a ring of straw, promising to turn it into gold in two weeks time. Super cute and appropriate given her future. She says yes and decides to get started on with married life a little early by spending the night with him. I have to say, I enjoyed Rose McGowan when she was originally cast, but her delivery is now grating on me. Too much fake attitude. It fits the character, but the pauses between words drag on forever and make me want stop her from talking entirely. If that’s a bit harsh, forgive me, I’m tired.

Two weeks later, Cora waits for her prince at the crossroads, but he never arrives. I thought that identity reveal was a tad suspicious! Two months later she runs into her prince, who is apparently just an unrepentant royal gardener. He also happens to be the father of her unborn child. She begs him for money and threatens to tell the real prince of his bad nature. Once Jonathan has pushed her down and walked away, that is when she meets Prince Leopold for the first time. He may look familiar. He is Snow’s father, though well before she was even a twinkle in his eye. He and Cora become friends, but Leopold is already engaged to Princess Eva. Cora will never take no for an answer.

Cora gives birth to Zelena. Photo courtesy of ABC.com.

Cora gives birth to Zelena. Photo courtesy of ABC.com.

Once Cora and Leopold are engaged, the fake Prince Jonathan returns to blackmail her. He needs money, or he will reveal her secret pregnancy to everyone. She easily caves and promises to deliver the money. Too bad Princess Eva overhears and spreads those very rumors around the castle. This episode had quite a bit of talk about Eva’s bad character. Telling this truth did not seem so evil, considering that Cora was trying to trick Leopold into marrying her and Eva was promised to him first. If anything, this behavior also explains to some extent why Eva was mean to Cora in season two’s “The Miller’s Daughter.” It’s not justified, but now that there is more context, it is more understandable.

Leopold confronts Cora, she lies to him, but a quick search of her pockets at Eva’s suggestion reveals the truth in the rumors. Cora is sent out to have her baby in shame. Cora gives up Zelena because all of her plans have been ruined. If Eva did not rat her out, she would have found a way to keep the baby. In the WW’s twisted mind, this means Eva is at fault for her abandonment. How stupid. Cora did not have to give Zelena up since her secret had already been discovered. She was just being her usual selfish self. I guess I can’t expect the WW to have logical thought processes though, can I?

Quotes of the Night

“If you want your superpower to be envy. Go right ahead.” – Regina to Zelena during her home visit.

“Yes, I know it looks battered, but that’s the point.” – Zelena about Regina’s heart.

“Apparently the human body has a surprising tolerance for ghost possession. And he told me I have a tough placenta, which somehow came out creepy.” – Snow post-possession to Regina.

Did we get any major twists tonight? Not really. Did we need them? No. We got a few answers and some beautiful character development that resulted in one very satisfying smoochfest. With some lovely acting from Lana Parilla, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Robert Carlysle (I do so love when that man plays evil!), even the horrible distraction that is Rose McGowan could not detract from the good in the episode. I imagine next week will pick up with the action and the surprises, but I would not mind a few more episodes of rich character development.

Next week we get another look at a famous Ozian. Hello Glinda!