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‘Once Upon a Time': Previewing ‘Bleeding Through’

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Earlier this week, I posted spoiler images from this Sunday’s next Once Upon a Time episode, “Bleeding Through.” I have been thinking a lot about those images, and the two sneak peeks released by ABC. What do they tell us about Rumple‘s (Robert Carlyle) fate, and Regina’s (Lana Parrilla)?once upon a time

The first sneak peek shows us Zelena (Rebecca Mader) with Regina’s heart (at least I’m assuming it’s Regina’s heart). She she holds it in her hands, remarking on how dark and mottled it is, unsurprising, given Regina’s none-too-distant Evil Queen past.

But now she wants to celebrate by forcing Rumplestiltskin into joining her for a celebratory dinner. Zelean gloats about having everything she needs: Charming’s (Josh Dallas) courage, Regina’s heart, and (soon) Rumple’s brain. He’s already under her control (at least when she wields the dagger); what more can she want of him? I fear for Rumple. Will she murder him and become the Dark One? She could have done that already, so, no, I don’t think so. She can have his obedience using the dagger.

Will she turn him into a lifeless doll, lobotomized, so she can (literally) have his brain on a platter? Hmm. Now there’s an interesting thought. What if Dr. Whale (David Anders) came back into the story soon? He was certainly playing around with transplanting brains, wasn’t he? Would Zelena force Whale to remove a piece of Rumple’s brain? And put it where, eh? That’s pretty gory, and this isn’t, after all, NBC’s Hannibal

Rumple tells her that she hasn’t everything, which implies that he knows she requires Snow White’s baby to complete her plan. Which is what? What is her agenda? We know she’s trying to change history, take Regina’s place as the mistress of the curse–the number one sorceress in both Rumple’s eyes and Cora’s. Is her plan first to prove her point, and then destroy Rumple (and likely Regina) out of envy and spite? Or does does she have something much worse in mind.

The set photos from the episode are suggestive of an intimate, romantic dinner: Rumple and Zelena. Rumple seems quite compliant–and amorous. But they also show a furious Zelena holding the dagger above a bound Rumplestiltskin. And, given the scene in the sneak peek, he can’t be very happy dining with his tormentor. The Rumple we see in his cell, to whom Zelena gives the new suit of clothing, is depressed and docile. (By the way, did anyone notice that his left shoulder is wet–blood?)

Yes, I’ve heard of Stockholm Syndrome, but this isn’t it. So is Rumple playing along to further his own agenda (escape, and as quickly as possible–and preferably with his dagger) or is Zelena using the dagger to force this romantic interlude? Or has she dosed him with some sort of magical date rape-like potion?

And that aside, what is Zelena’s own agenda with Rumple? Yes, she wants his brain. But what else? What’s she waiting for? Will her kiss do something to him? Just as Hook’s kiss will suck out all of Emma’s (Jennifer Morrison) magic? In any event, I don’t think Rumple is willingly making out with Zelena. It simply doesn’t add up.

Sneak peek two is a good conversation between Regina and Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), finally speaking about Cora’s death (“Miller’s Daughter“). Snow apologizes, and Regina takes it with more grace than I would have expected. But their conversation is interrupted by a noise from an upstairs, unused room in Regina’s home. All we see are the flapping wings of one of Zelena’s flying monkeys. Obviously, the monkey is successful in finding and taking Regina’s heart. I’m guessing it’s still not in her chest, but in a safe location (perhaps in that very room).

So now Zelena can control Regina as easily with the heart as she can control Rumple with the dagger. But what is the plan? Is it time travel? Turning back the clock to a time long ago? Hasn’t anyone ever told Zelena that you can’t turn back the clock? And even if you could, wouldn’t the price for that be so extraordinary it would destroy them all–perhaps the entire world?

Or does she want simply to find a portal to that time–a wrinkle not only in place (as they’ve traversed before), but in time? And what, then, has Snow’s baby to do with it all? Will the baby take Emma’s place in a weird reenactment of the original curse? Hmm. There’s a thought. So, dear readers, I am anxious to know your thoughts, speculations and ideas in the interim between now and Sunday night when “Bleeding Through” airs. Use the comment thread below, and then look for my review Sunday night here on Blogcritics. Monday night, be sure to tune in to “Let’s Talk TV Live” on BlogTalk Radio, where we will devote most of the hour to talking Once Upon a Time.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.