Sunday, March 4, 2018

Once Upon A Time 7x11 Review: “Secret Garden” (The Beginning of the End) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Secret Garden”
Original Airdate: March 2, 2018

This week marks the start of Once Upon A Time’s final run. As much as I have loved this show, it really is time for it to end. Now we get to see the back half of the last season play out, but whether these episodes can make up for the lack of everything in the fall is still to be determined. If you have forgotten what previously happened, you aren’t alone. It’s been a long three months with very few memorable moments to keep everyone anxiously waiting.


For those of you who need a quick reminder, the first half of the season ended with everyone hating Gothel and Belfrey/Rapunzel/whatever you want to call her, Anastasia being awoken, Lucy in a coma, and Regina bringing Zelena to Seattle. Zelena is probably the best part of the show right now, which is a huge problem considering that Rebecca Mader is only back on a guest arc. The midseason premiere features a bit of backstory on Zelena and daughter Robin’s relationship.

Like any typical teenager, Robin resents her mother and doesn’t think she is fun because she doesn’t want Robin practicing magic. Naturally, Robin doesn’t listen to Zelena and semi-accidentally portals herself right into Gothel’s clutches. Zelena, who doesn’t have magic, then portals herself via a Doctor Strange sling ring portal to Tiana’s castle where Regina, Hook, Henry, Ella, and baby Lucy are staying to get some help in finding Robin. The best moment of the episode is when Zelena meets the new Hook for the first time and totally forgets that there are two of him.

Since this Hook does have a grudge against Gothel for separating him from Alice, he volunteers to go on the witch hunt with Zelena. If you were thinking that this episode couldn’t get more ridiculous, then you should stop reading now because it only gets worse. Hook and Zelena find an invisible shack where Gothel plans to trade Robin’s life to resurrect her witch friend with the — you guessed it! — resurrection stone. After lots of bad dialogue is exchanged, Zelena tries to sacrifice herself to save Robin, leading to more sappy comments. Robin picks up a wonderfully placed bow and arrow and shoots the stone out of Gothel’s hand to save her mother.

Relationship restored! Who knew it only took self-sacrifice to rekindle a mother and daughter’s relationship? The only good part of this story is that Robin is just like her parents. Robin’s sassiness and stubbornness comes from Zelena. She is also headstrong and a pretty good shot like her daddy. It’s unclear where the whole Robin and Zelena thing is going with a few episodes left in the series and an unknown number left for Mader.


If one mother-daughter relationship salvaged wasn’t good for you, then hopefully two will work. In literally the same lame fashion, the easily-hated pair of Belfrey and Drizella manage to be “redeemable.” Gothel pulls the same stunt in Seattle by gaining Anastasia’s trust, getting the resurrection stone back, and sacrificing Drizella to wake up Lucy. Since we haven’t seen this plot before, it’s clearly not obvious what happens.

The funny thing is that Belfrey spends the whole episode once again bashing the daughter she doesn’t care about and tries to use her to get Anastasia back. However, Belfrey is forced to confront her true feelings toward Drizella when Gothel is sucking her life out in front of her eyes. I really thought that Belfrey would just keep babbling on and let Drizella die without a second thought. But she must have a heart because she does what Zelena did and sacrifices herself to save her daughter. The acting during this scene is so terrible from everyone involved; the episode as a whole featured lackluster performances. This time though the spell does go through, so Belfrey is actually dead at the end of the episode.

I really hope she remains dead because she is a miserable character on so many levels. The character isn’t redeemable in my eyes because she’s so terrible and done so many awful things over ten episodes that one act can’t magically fix everything. Since characters don’t seem to stay dead on TV these days, maybe Belfrey will find a way back to the living, which would really ruin the rest of the series for me.


The resurrection stone does its job, so Lucy is awake and well. However, the shocking truth that Henry is her father has been found out by a doctor, who is then poisoned by a mystery person at the end of the episode. Is anyone shocked about this? Will the truth be revealed? At this point, we know that Henry and Ella will learn the truth before the show ends. Once Upon A Time has always been about happy endings and has used hope as its ultimate theme since day one. So to set this up is beyond ridiculous when we all know it is going to happen anyway. Whether they learn the truth in the next episode or in three, it truly doesn’t make a difference.

Seattle Hook is also starting to learn more about the truth, at least in terms of what Rumple is willing to tell him. Hook still doesn’t know who he really is, which is just annoying at this point. It seems that it would help Rumple and everyone else’s causes if Hook had his memories back. Plus, nothing ever seems to happen since one half of the police duo actually knows what is going on in town.


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