Guest Review Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time 4×18 – Heart of Gold

“When you steal for yourself that makes you a thief, but when you steal for someone else that makes you a hero.”

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Review by Panda
For an episode composed almost entirely of exposition, and devoid of much of this season’s major arc, it sure did accomplish a whole lot; not the least of which was a huge twist that I really didn’t see coming.

After a lengthily absence, the majority of this episode focused on Robin Hood, and his time after he left Storybrooke to be with his son and his actually-dead-but-replaced-with-someone-else-wife (more on that in a while). I was initially skeptical – a whole episode that dropped the momentum that was established with season 4B’s big arc didn’t appeal to me at all – but I ended up forgetting about Maleficent, Cruella and Co completely.

The flashbacks to Robin Hood’s pre-Hood days were almost redundant in the face of everything else that was going on, learning about his code that preaches honour amongst thieves was pretty dull, but we did get to see how he and Will first met. I still don’t know what the hell the writers are trying to accomplish with Will’s constant non-presence. It seems a waste considering what a great character he is, but we’ve been assured that this is the point of his inclusion this season, so no doubt he’ll become important to the show in some capacity…eventually.

In the present day we saw what happened to Poor Rumple when he ended up in New York after Belle banished him (shortly after Robin, Roland and not-Marian left), and it was a time in his life I’m glad we were able to experience. It’s rare that we see him that vulnerable, and despite the fuzzy morals and strange development that he’s seen this season, I did like how he was portrayed this week. Zelena’s meddling softens the blow of what he’s been up to; I almost forgive him for being so callous.

The Wicked Witch coming back was one of the very few twists that Once has been able to get past me. That’s not me saying I’m some genius who has this show all figured out, I just feel like a lot of what they try to do isn’t really that surprising, but this was. Maybe it’s because her return is so unfathomable because of the million and one plot holes that it introduces.

I don’t see how this could have always been the plan. Would Zelena really lie there and let herself get frozen over by the Snow Queen, all the while keeping her identity a secret? Didn’t Marian give up Robin and give Regina the opportunity to pursue their relationship with her blessing? That doesn’t sound like it could have been part of Zelena’s scheme. I guess the way she shattered when she died did seem a bit off, and how the portal was opened was never fully explained, so the main parts of her plan keep most of what happened intact, but if we’re going to be buying into something this big it had better be explained properly.

Regardless, it’s great to have her back. A lot of fans didn’t like her, but I thought she was a lot of fun, and she could be the missing piece of the Queens of Darkness puzzle that’s needed to bring it to the finish line. I hope she doesn’t disappear again either when this season’s over. I’m looking forward to watching her make trouble for a while. Maybe she’ll pop up every now and again, Ariel style?

Her return is also the perfect test of Regina’s resolve. I doubt she’ll be able to resist getting Robin back, but I’m secretly hoping she has some sneaky plan to save both him and Emma at the same time. The camaraderie between both sorceresses has been one of the highlights of season four, and I’d hate to watch it get smashed into pieces because of this.

Plus

Not much happened after the author was set free, except him escaping with Rumple.

Conclusion
It’s difficult to get past the exposition dump that made up the majority of this episode, and the lack of present day Storybrooke was criminal, but everything to do with Zelena’s return is so bonkers that I wasn’t able to notice anything else. I love how crazy it is, and it’ll be great to watch her make her presence known again, but I really hope that the show patches up the plots that it’s torn down, lest this show’s mythology get even more complex.

Panda Rating
C+

Previously posted on PandaTV.

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