ONCE UPON A TIME Recap: Wicked Redeemed?

once upon a time

I have to say, I was entirely too surprised – and confused – by last night’s ONCE UPON A TIME. Just when I thought that Zelena could not be redeemed and would be wicked forever, they go and have her forgive her mother and go after her true love – encouraged by Regina, no less! I mean, what?

Not that it’s a bad thing per se, but it was certainly unexpected. “Sisters” revealed how Regina and Zelena once knew each other when they were kids, and even had a sisterly relationship for a little while. Once, as a child, Regina found her mother’s wand and started playing with it, as any kid would. But the powerful wand released magic she wasn’t prepared for, which put her into sleeping curse. The only way to reverse that would be to have someone blood related do the spell, but that person had to be someone who had never done any harm to Regina.

Cora was crossed off the list – which shows what a wonderful mother she was – but she knew she could always find the child she gave away, so off she went after Zelena. Now, little Zelena was as innocent as any child, and didn’t really know how to handle her magic. Her mother was gone and her father mistreated her, so when Cora showed up, saying she could use her magic to help someone and that she didn’t need to hide who she was, Zelena was more than happy to come along.

So when they get there and Zelena heals Regina, the two young girls immediately become best friends. One day, while they’re playing, they come across the box that holds Cora’s wand, but that can only be open by blood magic. Zelena touches it, the box pops open and both girls are excited that they could possibly be related – even sisters. But Cora, being her evil self, splits them up and makes them forget they had ever known each other.

Back to present day, in the Underworld, Regina is determined to stop Zelena from having any kind of relationship with Hades, so she goes to her mother for help. Cora tells her they can make Zelena forget she ever met the King of the Underworld and Regina is all for it. So they try to deceive Zelena, but the Wicked Witch is totally not buying Cora’s regretful mother’s act, and accuses her of trying to poison her.

Cora, then, tells them that she has used the memory erasing potion on them before and then proceeds to give them back their memories. They all kiss and make up, Cora moves on and now Zelena and Regina are totally sisters.

But of course, nothing could ever be this simple. When Zelena is on her way to meet Hades – encouraged by Regina. Again, whaaaat? - she runs into Rumplestiltskin, who cannot be redeemed. He has resorted to his evil father in order to get Belle back and they kidnap Zelena. So her happy ending was extremely short lived.

Meanwhile, Charming’s evil twin takes his place, tries to steal Robin’s baby, but then ends up in the ocean by Charming’s hand.

Next week, however, we get to see the Savior being her awesome self again, and not just tagging along, like she has been for so many episodes. Check out the promo below. A new episode of ONCE UPON A TIME airs on May 1 at 8/7c on ABC (U.S.) and CTV (Canada).

ONCE UPON A TIME: Rebecca Mader Talks Zelena & Hades’ Romance and a Mother-Daughter Reunion

once upon a time

Zelena has had quite the adventure lately. After being accidentally brought to the Underworld, ONCE UPON A TIME revealed that she was the true love of Hades. And now it seems like the pair have decided to make a go of their somewhat twisted relationship. In the upcoming episode, Zelena will also be reunited with her mother, Cora, and her sister, Regina, in the Underworld as one of Cora’s secrets is revealed to her daughters.

Recently, we spoke to Rebecca Mader about Zelena and Hades’ relationship, the upcoming family reunion, and whether Zelena can ever find her happily ever after.

What Does Mader Think of the Zelena-Hades Pairing? “I did not see that coming at all. I was really, really, really surprised. I thought [it] was great. Because I knew when I got whisked away to Oz I was going to be away for a minute because the [producers] told me. [They told me] ‘we’re just going to let you know that you’re going to go off to Oz and then when you come back you’re going to come back in a really fun, exciting, wicked way’. But they didn’t tell me that I was going to be tied into this new villain and the Lord of Death. I was really shocked and I was like ‘yay, this is going to be fun to play because Zelena’s kind of been on her own the whole time so it’s fun to be able to sort of explore that aspect of her personality and her heart’.”

How Genuine is Their Love? “At this point where we are in the season, I can’t speak for him because there’s an aspect of her…but he is definitely believable to her. I think her resistance is more in terms of self-preservation. It’s like ‘I want to believe you, but everybody has disappointed me and hurt me and you’re probably going to do the same thing’. It’s like how many times can she keep resisting and resisting and resisting when he’s like ‘but I love you and my heart is pure and we can have this great life and I built a whole town for you. I rebuilt Storybrooke and I can get you your daughter back and we can have this whole thing’. He’s selling this wonderful new life and she’s saying ‘no, no, no, no’, but then [she's saying] ‘why not maybe try?’ It’s just been such an internal struggle for Zelena, this part of the season. For her to sort of say ‘I might have been a bit too harsh and maybe I’m willing to try’. It’s really hard for her to say, but how much can you say no? Are you going to live the rest of your life not knowing? I think she wants to believe that he’s genuine and I think it’s really difficult to understand that someone is attracted to her and love her. It’s really, really confusing because no one has ever loved her.”

Getting Back Her Daughter. Zelena has been trying to do the right thing to be reunited with her daughter, but is she willing to succumb to darkness to get her back? “She used to be green with envy because Regina had everything. But now being a mother has changed her whole intention. I think surrendering her daughter back to Robin and Regina was the ultimate sacrifice and that was coming from a place of her heart. Which she hasn’t used very much because it’s been shut down. So things are kind of opening up for her. So she wants to sort of believe that Hades loves her and she wants to be with her daughter, but not if it means she’s going to hurt her child.” In fact, we’ve seen Zelena do some noble things in the name of motherhood. Recently, she helped Belle, another woman in danger of losing her child. Mader explained that “In that moment in the story, Zelena’s incredibly despondent. And is sitting there drinking whiskey and [is sad about losing her child and not believing that Hades really loves her]. She’s thinking ‘what am I even doing here?’ Zelena’s trying to relate [to Belle] and saying ‘you’re a mother, you get it’. I think it’s more a case of throwing another mother a kind bone. That’s where I was coming from in that moment, rather than [trying to take down Rumple and Belle]. Now that I’m a mother, why would I want [Belle] to lose her child? Because I’ve just lost mine”.

Cora-Regina-Zelena Reunion. Are there any happy reunion feelings to come? “They are some of the best scenes I’ve ever shot in my entire career. Earlier someone asked ‘if you could sum it up in one word, what would you say?’ And I said ‘#monumental’. These scenes are so huge and you find out such amazing, crazy, bonkers things. The three of us together and the things we discover and the flashbacks…it’s a buckle up for safety, kind of epic ONCE UPON A TIME-feels. As the people say: ‘all the feels’. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil it because it’s so good.”

Looking Ahead to the End of the Season. “There’s definitely some episodes that have been really fun for me in terms of my character development. I would say 5.16 was a really huge moment for me. Just to have all of those flashbacks and starting to develop the relationship with Hades and all of the stuff that went down with Dorothy. And I always love being in Oz. Then when you see [this week's] episode, with everything that’s then revealed between Regina and Zelena, that’s huge in terms of my storyline. Then 5.21 is also a really big episode. There’s these kind of milestones throughout the remainder of the season that are just this incredible arc, not just for the show, but selfishly, enjoyably for me.”

Can Zelena Ever Have a Happily Ever After? In the last episode we saw Zelena proclaim that she will never get a happy ending. But her sister used to believe the same thing and has thus been redeemed. Could the same ever happen for the Wicked Witch of Oz? “Yeah. I mean, Rumple got his so I always say that’s the thing with this show. The show is about hope and faith and hanging in there even when you’re stuck in another realm. I think, ultimately, anything can happen can happen on ONCE UPON A TIME. I’m lighting a candle that Zelena can get what she wants, for sure.”

Don’t miss an all new episode of ONCE UPON A TIME tonight (April 24) at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC (U.S.) and CTV (Canada).

ONCE UPON A TIME Sneak Peeks: Deep in the Woods of Oz

once upon a time

Our heroes found Ruby in the Underworld in last week’s ONCE UPON A TIME and this week we’ll get more backstory on the werewolf. Flashbacks to Oz will show Ruby and Mulan searching for a way back to the Enchanted Forrest. There, they stumble upon Dorothy and they also witness Zelena’s return to Oz. The trio team up to find a way to defeat her once and for all, but when Dorothy disappears, Ruby’s search for her new friend lands her in the Underworld. Now reunited with her Storybrooke friends, Ruby, Emma, Regina and Snow continue searching for Dorothy. Snow and David also struggle with being away from their son, Neal, and come up with a plan so that one of them can escape the Underworld and return home.

Meanwhile, Hades tells Zelena that Ruby is in the Underworld and Zelena is terrified that her sister will turn on her once she learns what Zelena did to Ruby. She’s determined to leave the Underworld but Hades tries to tempt her to stay, saying that if she leaves now she won’t be able to see her daughter again.

Don’t miss an all new episode of ONCE UPON A TIME tonight (April 17) at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC (U.S.) and CTV (Canada).

ONCE UPON A TIME Sneak Peeks: Belle Gives Mr. Gold an Ultimatum

once upon a time

Belle was shocked in last week’s ONCE UPON A TIME when she was accidentally brought to the Underworld and learned that her husband was the Dark One once again. She was also upset to learn that she was pregnant and there was a possibility that their baby could be taken away by Hades because of a deal Rumple had made long ago.

However, Belle isn’t a quitter, so she returns to Mr. Gold this week to find a way to protect their child. But the pair disagree whether to use dark magic, so Belle forbids Gold from using his powers for evil. She wants him to prove to her that the powers of the Dark One can be used for good. Hades, of course, can’t have that, so he manipulates the situation. After seeking out Gaston in the Underworld, he encourages him to seek his revenge on Rumple. In flashbacks, Belle will meet Gaston for the first time, but their romance comes to an end as the Ogre wars begin.

Elsewhere in the Underworld, Emma and the rest of the heroes are trying to figure out a way to use Hades’ elevator to get to his lair and defeat him. But Emma also has a terrifying nightmare that starts to come true.

Don’t miss an all new episode of ONCE UPON A TIME tonight (April 10) at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC (U.S.) and CTV (Canada)

ONCE UPON A TIME Recap: A Match Made in Hell?

once upon a time

Last night’s ONCE UPON A TIME told the story of the most unlikely couple in the history of the show – Hades and Zelena.

I don’t know about you, but I was not expecting to see actual romance between those two, and I admit I was very much surprised to see the words true love being thrown around about them. Could villains really love? Is there such thing as true love for someone who doesn’t love anyone?

They first met in Oz, when Zelena was trying to get the Scarecrow’s brain in order to complete her time travel spell. Dorothy had successfully hidden her friend and the Wicked Witch had no way of finding him again. Cue Hades’ spectacular entrance and – who knew – they both had siblings issues and they bonded over that. Both wanted revenge on their respective brother and sister, for taking what they thought was rightfully theirs.

So they come up with a plan to find Scarecrow and they succeed beautifully. Except, somewhere along the way, they both feel something and Hades is all for going for it. He calls what they have true love and – how convenient – a true love’s kiss could set him free from the Underworld. Zelena doesn’t believe him and tell him to go take a hike and they part ways.

Except Hades apparently really does love her in all her green glory, and he makes Rumple create a portal to take Zelena’s baby from the living world, in order to give her back to Zelena. But his plan kind of backfires because the portal brings the baby, Zelena and Belle. There was a nice little moment when Zelena concludes she can’t protect her baby because her magic is too unpredictable and I really thought she was about to redeem herself, but nope – she is still as wicked as ever. The moment she found Hades and that he had created the entire Underworld as a mirror of Storybrooke for her, she reverted to her evil self and sided with the God of the Underworld. Out of love. Because they have true love. I don’t know if that’s laughable or scary as hell.

Meanwhile, Snow and Charming are worried about Baby Neal. Finally, someone remembered the kid still exists. So they hear about this – I kid you not - haunting booth. All you have to do is go into the phone booth and tell the operator who you want to haunt. That subplot was as absurd and hilarious as it was completely heartbreaking.

In the end, they do get a message to Neal, and they know they have succeeded because Henry – in full teenage author mode – is writing new pages of the story book, which gives them hope that they will get back to the living world in one piece. Hopefully.

A new episode of ONCE UPON A TIME will air on April 10, at 8/7c on ABC (U.S.) and CTV (Canada)

ONCE UPON A TIME Sneak Peeks: Return to Oz

once upon a time

Henry, Emma and their loved ones gained and lost in the last episode of ONCE UPON A TIME. They lost the Hades pages from the storybook (which means they don’t know his weaknesses or how to defeat him). But Henry found his Author’s pen again, which means he can write Hades’ story and — possibly — discover what was on the missing pages. This week, the group will continue to search for a way to free everyone from the Underworld.

Hades, meanwhile, still has Mr. Gold over a barrel. He’ll be blackmailing him into creating a portal to Storybrooke, which transports Belle, Zelena and Robin Hood’s baby to the Underworld. Zelena and Regina will reunite, but the sisters get into a sibling squabble. And Belle is also reunited with Gold, but she learns some “shocking news that will change her life forever,” according to ABC. Does that mean she learns about the pregnancy?

In flashbacks to the land of Oz, Hades learns about Zelena’s attempts to create a time travel spell and visits her with the intention of striking an alliance between the pair. But the network hints that Hades “finds himself with more than just a partner in crime”. Will we learn the truth of Hades and Zelena’s relationship and how she plays into his story?

ONCE UPON A TIME airs tonight (April 3) at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC (U.S.) and CTV (Canada).

Tonight on ONCE UPON A TIME: Reunited Brothers

once upon a time

Hook and Emma were reunited in last week’s ONCE UPON A TIME, but getting Hook back is just half the battle in getting out of the Underworld. Now our team of heroes must find a way to defeat Hades so they can return to Storybrooke.

But they’re sidelined when they get a visit from Hook’s departed brother, Liam, who might be able to provide the lead they were looking for. Liam tells them of others who have tried to overthrow Hades and who spoke of a book that contained the key to his downfall. As the others search for the book, Henry secretly takes matters into his own hands. Meanwhile Hades, who isn’t happy about the usurpers in this realm, redoubles his efforts to trap the heroes by playing them against one another.

Finally, we’ll see flashbacks with the two young Jones brothers (Killian and Liam) as their bond is tested and strengthened on a merchant ship that is heading into a dangerous storm.

ONCE UPON A TIME airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC (U.S.) and CTV (Canada).

ONCE UPON A TIME Recap: Villains Double-crossing Villains

once upon a time

Rumplestiltskin got played.

This was the main takeaway from tonight’s ONCE UPON A TIME. The Dark One has finally found his match and, when he thought he was going to get a “get out of jail” free card, Hades stabbed him in the back, announced that Belle is pregnant and blackmailed him into working for him. If the dude wasn’t so evil, I’d say this was a pretty brilliant plan.

He got played so hard. It could’ve been almost beautiful, if it the repercussions weren’t so tragic.

But let’s talk about the flashbacks first. I admit that for about 90% of the episode, I still wasn’t sure what the point of watching Coward!Rumple again really was. So we found out how Mila met Killian and what were the circumstances that, ultimately, made her leave Rumple and her son behind; but it wasn’t until Hades revealed that Belle was pregnant and that the healer’s contract had been signed over to him – so he could cash in on that second born child deal at any time – that things really made sense.

So now, well… Hades basically owns Rumple, because in his own twisted way, he does love Belle and he will do anything to protect his unborn child, so not to fail them as he failed his first family.

And that brings us to present time in the Underworld. Poor Killian is still being tortured by Hades, especially after he refused to pick three of his friends to remain in the Underworld. Hades decided to hang him with chains over the River of Lost Souls, in which should you fall in, you’d be lost forever. And head-on-fire guy did that to snuff out any hope Killian might still have, which could have been pretty effective had Emma not gotten there in time.

Before that, however, Rumple managed to put together a crystal ball in order to check on Belle. It wasn’t clear if he knew then that she was pregnant or not, but it doesn’t change much either way. The thing is, he is more than eager to get home, so he volunteers to help Emma go down to Hades’ prison and rescue Hook. In order to do that, he recruits Mila’s help, and that turned out to be both tragic and entertaining. The scene where she first meets Emma was probably one of the funniest, most awkward moments of the series and it had me laughing out loud.

But she does help them get into Hades’ territory and Rumple leads them on a boat ride through the River of Lost Souls. They get to the other side safely and, while Emma is off rescuing Killian, Mila decides to stay behind and keep an eye on Rumple. And that proved to be her demise – Hades showed up, made a deal with Rumplestiltskin and the Dark One threw her into the River of Lost Souls, so she wouldn’t be able to tell anyone that she had seen Hades talking to him. It was so completely tragic, especially because all she wanted to do was see Baelfire again and she was this close to moving on.

Emma did eventually rescue Killian and, I have to admit, I was thinking this was way too easy. There was no way they were going to go back to Storybrooke already and it turns out that I was right. When Killian failed to pick three of his friends to remain in the Underworld, Hades did it for him. So when Regina tries to take Emma’s heart – so they can split it in two and give half of her heart to Killian – something blocks her and they soon find out why.

The chosen ones to stay behind are Emma, Regina and Snow White. And a thought has just ocurred to me. What if the reason that Regina’s magic returned is because Hades has trapped her in the Underworld?

Thoughts?

A new episode of ONCE UPON A TIME will air on March 27 at 8/7C on ABC.

ONCE UPON A TIME Sneak Peek: Mr. Gold Has a Plan

once upon a time

Hook is faced with a dilemma on ONCE UPON A TIME and must, according to Hades, choose which of his friends will remain behind in the Underworld. Hook refuses to choose (watch a clip) and Hades is left deciding whether to toss him into the River of Lost Souls.

While Hades toys with Hook’s fate, Emma and her friends and family gather in the Underworld’s version of the Charming family apartment and come up with a new plan to sneak in to Hades’ special prison. Enter Mr. Gold, who believes their plan is ridiculous. After all, Hades will know exactly where they are because they’re all living souls.

Instead, he suggests another plan: he and Emma will sneak in to the prison with the help of a dead soul…one that Mr. Gold has known for a long time: Milah, his wife.

A new episode of ONCE UPON A TIME airs tonight (March 20) at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

ONCE UPON A TIME Sneak Peek: Will Hook Betray His Friends?

once upon a time

Hades gave Hook an ultimatum at the end of the last ONCE UPON A TIME: since his friends have helped three souls escape from Hades’ Underworld, Hades will be keeping three of them there forever….and Hook has to decide who will remain behind.

When we begin this week’s episode, Hades once again tells Hook he must choose. But Hook refuses to condemn one of his friends to the Underworld forever, so Hades threatens to throw him in to the River of Lost Souls.

Elsewhere in the episode, Gold is suddenly eager to help Emma and her friends find Hook so that he can return home to Belle. But his plan requires him to find his ex-wife Milah in the Underworld to ask for her help. In the Fairy Tale Land flashbacks, Rumple and Milah face a life-or-death crisis concerning Baelfire.

Don’t miss an all new episode of ONCE UPON A TIME on March 20 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.