This episode straddled the line between fun and silly, but was rounded out well by some great character work elsewhere.
Learning that Zelena is being motivated by petty sibling jealousy is slightly disappointing. Her back story felt like it could have done with more embellishment; with more time to develop the connection she forged with Rumple to really make me feel something for her. Right now it just seems like she’s a petulant older sibling, which is disappointing since she’s been the strongest villain the series has had since Cora.
Regardless, I enjoyed how over the top and fun some of this episode was. The trip to Oz was great, as was the reveal of Walsh being the Wizard. I wonder if he’ll be redeemed and have the spell on him lifted once Zelena is defeated. I sort of hope not, since that might mean Emma and Hook might have another obstacle to face in the never ending road towards their inevitable get together.
This week made them seem even more feasible than they’ve been before. Hook’s bonding with Henry felt a tad contrived, but worked in the moment to paint Hook as a decent person for Emma to have around her son. And it does make sense that he would see some of Neal in Henry, and connect with him because of that.
It’s still sad watching Regina forcing herself to stay away from Henry, but I really loved all of her character work this week. After she spent the majority of the second season flip-flopping from one side of the fence to the other, it satisfying to see her finally embrace that decent part of her. Letting Robin help her is something the old Regina never would have done, and every opportunity she’s had to turn back into the Evil Queen she’s forgone and taken the right path.
She’ll definitely need to tap into the power that she had before, though. Zelena’s plan to change the past sounds like one that will have a drastic effect on Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest. Even if the reason for her doing all this is flimsy, Zelena actually attempting to do something so drastic raises the stakes.
Putting Once’s strongest characters at the centre of this arc has done wonders. Everything we’ve learnt so far seems vital, and the character work outside of the flashbacks was incredible. ‘It’s Not Easy...’ suffered a little during its trip to Oz, but the novelty carried it above the weaknesses of Zelena’s history and the episode worked tremendously despite its issues.
4 out of 5 fake wizards
He Said, She Said
The Wizard: “You’re evil.”
Zelena: “Not evil dear; wicked.”
Regina: “Never bring your heart to a witch fight.”
Originally posted at PandaTV.
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