There is little more frightening than coming face to face with your fears, and on this week’s Once Upon a Time, “The Tower,” David’s (Josh Dallas) story of confronting his deepest fears intersects with Rapunzel’s. David, confronted with the the now pregnant Snow White is terrified that he will fail this next child as he feels he’d failed Emma (Jennifer Morrison)–a fear that manifests in a great opening dream sequence.
But the far more interesting story lays this week in Storybrooke, where David’s concerns about being a parent come to the fore. But he has an extra antagonist to them on: the Wicked Witch of the West (AKA Zelena, played with malicious glee by guest star Rebecca Mader). What’s her plan? I’m still uncertain about what exactly she wants from Charming, Snow–and Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle). But it is clear that our favorite Storybrooke heroes (and anti-heroes) are being cast in Once Upon a Time’s re-imagining of the The Wizard of Oz.
Poor Rumple, captive in Zelena’a storm cellar. He’s certainly under her control, for she wields the dagger that bears his name. He spins furiously, straw into gold, trying to chase from his head the voices he says he hears. I have to say, the scene involving Rumple and Zelena sizzled. Great closeup camera work enhanced the two intense performances as Zelena gives Rumple a close shave, and to what end? To get a dab of his blood and a bit of his beard.
And I think the scene lays to rest the speculation that Zelena is Rumple’s daughter. The father she describes is not Rumple–and the scene was far too sexually charged for there to be any hint of familial hostility of a scorned daughter for an estranged father.
Rumple fully expects Wicked to slit his throat with the dagger and claim the title of Dark One for herself. He welcomes death, desires it, for as he says, the voice in his head will not vanish until he’s dead. What madness did the Wicked Witch wreak upon Rumple by snatching him from his death? But, it is not his death she wishes, but only to exploit him, this time to use his blood to break into his safe and steal his night root.
Wicked is seeking, she says, something Rumple has sought his whole life–could she mean courage? Is that what she is seeking to acquire by drugging David’s tea with the night root? In the end, she steals his sword: a symbol of his courage.
So if David represents the Cowardly Lion’s courage, does Rumple represent the scarecrow’s brain? He is certainly half mad, and of course, the straw represents the scarecrow’s stuffing. Who, then is the Tinman in this retelling of The Wizard of Oz? Who is Dorothy? Glinda? I’m sure those parts will be revealed as we continue toward the end of season three.
Tune into my weekly radio show tomorrow night on Blogtalk Radio to discuss this week’s episode and weigh in on who you think will be revealed as the Oz in Storybrooke cast of characters.
Once Upon a Time airs Sunday nights on ABC.Follow @b_barnett