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Once Upon a Time: Bleeding Through

“We can never know our past completely; if we had, I probably wouldn’t have spent so much time trying to kill you.”

Exposition was the name of the game this week, but the information overload was softened by focusing on the history of one character and the effect it has had on one of the show’s most complex relationships.

Cora has complicated Snow and Regina’s relationship even more than they first realised. I liked that this episode uncovered Ava as being not so perfect, someone who would be quick to rat someone out. I think that it's better that she grew into someone as loving and caring as she was when she was Snow’s mother.

Cora’s past was explored last season, and this second trip back into her history in the Enchanted Forest tied in well with what we learned about her in ‘The Miller’s Daughter.’ As an outsider desperate to be more than a miller’s daughter, she made a few questionable choices to further her quest to power. They were all choices that made sense of the complex and harsh woman we knew Cora was, and like I said in my review of that episode, she always had that susceptibility to power, so her cheating her way into the castle makes sense.

The effect those decisions had on her daughter and Snow is still making both of their lives difficult. Regina ruined Snow’s happy ending and Snow is responsible for taking away the most important things in Regina’s life, so it's been understandably difficult for them to let it all go. ‘Bleeding Through’ was the first episode to show that both women are capable of moving beyond the betrayal and heartbreak that still exists between then and starting to help each other, especially given all that’s been happening in Storybrooke.

Zelena’s plan was already hinted to us a couple of weeks ago, but now that everyone knows what she’s up to, everything that’s at risk has been made clear. Half of the primary cast will cease to exist if Zelena succeeds in her goal of changing the past and forcing Cora to keep her. Obviously that’s not going to happen, but it does make everyone’s involvement necessary.

The arc is really starting to build towards the finale now, with a grand plan in action and an impending piece of the puzzle (Snow’s baby) that will put everything into motion. It’s tied in so many of the central characters into the story, and the memories and relationships they’ve developed. That’s one easy way to invest an audience. The other is how they bring this story to a climax. Given how much Once has improved, I’m hopeful that I won’t be let down in a few weeks time.

4 out of 5 ghosts of evil mothers


Rose McGowan was pretty good in her second Once jaunt, though there were a few moments when her tendency to gasp through her lines distracted me.

Emma seems to be coming into her power quite well, doesn’t she?

He Said, She Said

Cora: “As long as I have you, I can never be anything more than a miller’s daughter.”

Originally posted at PandaTV.


  1. More than anything, I love that this episode showed how much Regina has truly grown as a character away from being the "evil queen", and gives me hope that this growth will actually stick when the story arc is over. The first real indicator was when she discovered from Robin that her heart has been stolen. The old Regina would've flown off the handle, regardless of the circumstances. But she recognized pretty quickly which leverage Rumple used to obtain it. Then when she goes to Gold's shop and asks for Belle's help, Belle is naturally still harboring a grudge. Regina doesn't threaten, and even offers an apology for her past actions against Belle, one that seems rather genuine. Though it was nice to see she hasn't lost all her snark, with the Liberace crack. :) Then of course there was all the heart-to-heart talking with Snow, which has been a long time coming. If there have ever been two characters that really needed to just sit down and talk things out, it's those two. And hooray! Regina & Robin hookup! Their chemistry wasn't so great when they first met in the Enchanted Forest, but it's been much better back in Storybrooke, and Regina's earned a little happiness by now. And plus, how cool is Henry gonna think it is that his two moms are dating Robin Hood and Captain Hook(c'mon, you know they're gonna make that happen eventually)? :)

    I didn't enjoy the backstory with Cora all that much, it didn't really make her any more or less sympathetic, nor did it justify Zelena's actions in the present. Yes, Ava was a bit of a tattletale, but then again Cora WAS trying to defraud the future king. He deserved to know. Plus, I've never really found Rose McGowan to be that compelling an actress.

    And finally, that dinner scene with Zelena & Rumple...oh my. Rebecca Mader looked incredible. Dressed like that, she wouldn't need any silly magic dagger to make me do her bidding! I was glad though to see that Rumple didn't succumb to the temptation of going back in time and undoing the loss of his son. Like Regina, he too seems to have made some permanent steps forward in his growth as a character, choosing to honor Baelfire's sacrifice rather than betray it.

    It was fun to see Emma developing her magic abilities, though if she fully grows into her power, and they're able to rescue Rumple, that would leave three very powerful magic-users on the side of Our Heroes. That's an awful lot of power, I don't see that happening. Someone's either got to die or lose their powers at some point. They already hinted at a way for Emma to lose hers...

  2. I thought this episode had some great parts and some awful parts. The worst part being the scene with "Prince" Jonathan. Seriously, who falls for that?

    I did actually like the Ava parts. While what she did wasn't the most noble, it's understanding for her to be upset about someone stealing her fiance. It also shows that in the previous Cora episode when Ava tripped her she wasn't tripping a random commoner; she was tripping the woman who tried to manipulate her fiance into marrying someone else.

  3. Wonderful review!:) But you missed by favourite quote:

    Regina: (to Snow) You officially have a less damaging relationship with my mother than I do. And you killed her."


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