In this week’s much anticipated Once Upon a Time episode “Kansas,” we meet Dorothy and learn how Zelena (Rebecca Mader) might have changed her destiny by casting off the chains of unbridled wickedness. Of course, we know that Dorothy melts the Wicked Witch of the West with a simple bucket of water, but, it appears, rather ineffectively. And then, coming up against Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) white magic (because she has turned away from the Dark Side), she again seems thwarted, but…not so much.
As she sits in jail, Rumple (Robert Carlyle) tries to effect revenge for killing Baelfire (and for all the pain she’s caused him), and seems to do in the Wicked Witch (more about that later), but again…no dice. Wicked simply vanishes into another guise and goes back to her rather pagan looking portal-ish thing to prepare to conjure up even more mayhem and menace–and change her destiny.
Phew. This week’s Once Upon a Time plays fast and loose with the Oz story, and with Zelena’s powers. We are set up to believe that Zelena’s powers are concentrated in her emerald pendant (which at one time had been quite white and full of light), but wait! Not so fast. Even without her pendant, she is more powerful than the Dark One? I had always thought that the Dark One was the prince of dark magic–there is none more powerful than he with the dagger. Otherwise, why does Zelena actually need him at all? (Except, perhaps to humiliate him? Or is it to impress him?) I’m confused.
So. Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) finally has her baby. A boy, but within an instant Zelena has him in her clutches, and she’s ready to change her history, kill Ava, and ensure that Regina is never even born. Then–Zelena and Rumple will meet under changed circumstance, and he will choose Zelena to enact the Dark Curse. TaDa.
But if Zelena is so powerful, why on Earth (or whatever realm) does she even need to prove anything to Rumple. She’s clearly more powerful than him. She holds all the cards. Why would she be envious of anyone? Well, I suppose that’s the nature of envy; it often has no basis in reality. At all.
So Dorothy destroys Wicked, and Glinda takes her to the Wizard so he can send her back to Kansas. One problem, though. Why would Glinda take her to a man who she’s just called a fraud? One reason why Glinda admires Wicked is that she has outed the “true nature” of the Wizard: a defrauding trickster. But of course, that doesn’t matter anyway, since the wizard isn’t really a wizard at all, but Zelena, who has for some reason not melted. Guess Dorothy isn’t quite as powerful as Glinda thinks she is!
This week’s episode was as much about the role of destiny in our characters’ lives as anything else. Zelena can change her destiny–if she desires it. She is not destined to be the evilest evil in the realm. Evil, we are reminded, isn’t born, it’s learned.
But Rumple disagrees. “I think destiny is destiny,” and you cannot change the future by changing the past. “No matter what you change of you past, one thing will remain the same: who you are — something you can never escape,” he warns.
The warning might as easily apply to Rumple himself. For in the end, and for however much he wishes to change his destiny, he is still The Dark One, and the episode’s ending sends home that message loud and clear. But it seems not to hold true for Regina, who combats her own dark magic, lacing it with the love of her son, and turning it to light magic.
Here’s where I have to take exception to the bandying about of all the light and dark magic, the changed destinies and being in charge of altering your own future. And it’s with Rumple’s story in this rather complex (yet in some ways far too straightforward) unfolding of this next Wicked vs. Evil chapter.
We are to believe by the end of the hour that Rumple, now reunited with the love of his life–his anchor, Belle, has finally found some peace, and the chance for real happiness. Yes, his son is dead, and he has been through Hell and back at Zelena’s hands. I completely understand his desire for revenge. He must not allow Baelfire to die in vain.
But Baelfire dies to allow Rumple to find a way to destroy the Wicked Witch. But as far as he knows, at the end the battle (which he has very little to do with–and maybe that’s what’s bothering him), Wicked is in jail–powerless. He finally has a chance with her; he proposes and she says yes. He seals it with giving her the dagger–a show of great trust and his love for her. He can finally be free of the curse under which he’s lived for centuries.
Yet, he blatantly tricks Belle, gives her a fake dagger, then confronts Zelena, supposedly destroying her. But Zelena is not dead. After all that?
Unless. Unless it’s a ruse. Rumple doesn’t need the dagger to do magic. But Zelena doesn’t know that. Maybe Rumple realizes that Zelena’s power is not only contained in that emerald, and that jailing her is just not going to do it. Perhaps Rumple’s act is a lure to catch Zelena unawares and pull the trick, the “Watch the Lady” trick he says he’s pulled on Belle. Then it all makes some sense.
Zelena doesn’t die, and instead finds her way back to her portal, where Rumple, Belle…or all the forces of light magic are waiting to destroy her for good. Banish her to a realm where she cannot do them any harm. Make sense?
I hope this is where the Powers That Be are going with this. Rumple has already lied to Belle (last season) when he’d sent the wraiths after Regina. Duping her again would be too much. And that scene in the pawn shop seems far too real to have been an outright lie. How could Rumple believe that Belle would still trust him, much less marry him, if really has tricked her into giving him the real dagger, which he then immediately uses to do exactly what has promised he would not?
I have another theory. What if Rumple’s dagger is fake, and Zelena has never let him from her control. Everything he’s doing is rigged by Zelena to make everyone think she’s powerless? Then, of course, the jail scene doesn’t really make sense, but oh well.
We’ll have to wait for next week to find out.
Tune in tomorrow night for Let’s Talk TV Live on BlogTalk Radio for our weekly Once Upon a Time discussion and let us know what you think!
Loved that Regina has focused her power on good, but I kind of like her better as a conflicted evil character
Henry has a new baby uncle. Ah, the weird mix of the family gets ever weirder
I’ve really been disappointed that Rumple hasn’t fought harder against Zelena’s control (other than saying “I don’t want to do this” as he does bad things to people). Rumple is a strong character, and he’s just had all the zip zapped out of him, and if it turns out he’s really tricked Belle, I’m going to begin to lose sympathy for him. And since he’s my favorite character, that would be very, very bad.
Love the fact that Emma parallels Dorothy by being the one who “wants to go home,” while Henry is quite adamant about staying “home” in Storybrooke.
I did not like the vast underuse of Dorothy and the undermining of Oz canon.
Clearly Regina’s light magic hasn’t worked on Zelena (a parallel to Dorothy’s water not working on her). So Regina’s turn to the light is what…delusion? Or just wishful thinking?
The two-hour Once Upon a Time season finale airs next Sunday at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.