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Once Upon a Time: Kansas

“Once upon a time, you were a villain...”

‘Kansas’ brought together a number of different themes and character arcs that have been building throughout the season, but still kept things open ended in anticipation of the upcoming finale.

There have been a number of references to Regina and Zelena’s similarities, and ‘Kansas’ highlighted them by bringing both their journeys into perspective. Just as Regina’s circumstances changed her from a doe-eyed young girl into a vengeful queen, Zelena has made a transformation that’s just as stark and harsh.

Zelena was presented with an opportunity to drop her vendetta against her younger sister and former mentor, and join her fellow witches in helping to rule Oz, but in the same way that Regina had to lose not just Daniel, but her mother and her happy ending, Zelena saw another place in the world taken from her by Dorothy.

Well, she jumped to a swift conclusion about the little farm girl (sans Toto), essentially crafting the prophecy out of paranoia, but that’s who Zelena’s always been. The flashbacks here strengthened her history a lot more after it was laid out a few weeks ago, and made sense of her quick judgements and insecurities.

Regina, however, has proven that she’s taken her second chance. It was a nice twist to have her step up as the one to stop Zelena with good magic. I honestly thought it impossible for her to be capable of anything other than fireballs, and it was a welcome ending to the transformation she started two years ago.

Zelena wasn’t as easily swayed. You can see why Regina gave it a try; she had Henry backing her all way. Zelena has nobody around to foster whatever remains of her good nature, and saw no reason to try to become a better person, even though her sister tried to convince her.

Rumple lands somewhere in the middle of that willingness to change scale. He’s proven so many times that he’s a good guy now, and obviously that sacrifice in ‘Going Home’ still has a lot of weight, but so much of that change has been smashed to pieces now that he’s killed Zelena. Not only that, but he’s also tricked Belle into believing he trusts her completely, which he may still do, he just hasn’t proven it with what he’s done. I’m still not sure how I feel about this direction for his character, but hey, at least Belle and Rumple are going to make it official, I guess?

In so many ways, ‘Kansas’ was a neat and simple finish to the season. It brought a number of arcs together, like Regina’s redemption, Emma’s desire to escape Storybrooke, and the abundance of new romances that are springing up all over. It’s also left a number of personal developments hanging, as well as one or two surprising magical ones, in anticipation of the final two episodes. Although, whether or not any of those stories are set up for season four is still up in the air.

4 out of 5 pendants to channel power


David was basically telling Emma to use Hook as a human shield. He’s the worst.

I don’t understand why everyone was massacring the monkeys last week, but now are all for keeping them alive?

Zelena tricking Dorothy was a nice twist on the melting story; “so gullible.”

Did Zelena cast some sort of backup spell in case she was killed?

Welcome to the newest addition to the wackiest family in the history of everything!

He Said, She Said

Henry: “Once upon a time you were a villain, Mom. But you’ve changed. You’re a hero now, and defeating bad guys is what heroes do.”

Regina: “Evil isn’t born, it’s made. And so is good.”

Friendly warning, avoid the promos for the two part finale if you can. ABC's the worst for spoiling their shows.

Originally posted at PandaTV.


  1. So it looks like the writers remembered the principle of Chekov's Gun after all, when it came to the curse put on Hook's lips. I do hope Emma gets her powers back eventually, it was fun seeing her learn to use magic. But I definitely understand if they don't want to have two powerful Light Magic wielders walking around, that's an awful lot of power for Our Heroes to have on their side. Plus, Emma losing her powers led to one of Regina's finest moments, when she was able to harness the power of Light Magic. It was the culmination of her entire redemption arc that they started back in Season 2, and this was one of Lana Parilla's finest episodes. I truly hope they let Regina's turn to the side of good stick, she's earned it by now. I'm not saying she shouldn't have her challenges, but a full-blown regression wouldn't be much fun to watch. She's even worked on making amends with Belle, for goodness sake. I'd like to see her try and improve her relations with other folks in Storybrooke too. Grumpy & Hopper come to mind as two that could have some good scenes with her, for very different reasons. Tink too, now that she's finally hooked up with Robin Hood.

    This whole thing with Emma still wanting to just go back to New York really needs to stop. I get that she misses having a nice quiet, normal life(well, as much of a quiet life as a skiptracer can have), but does she not remember that even when she was there, she was dating a flying monkey? Plus, she seems awfully dismissive of what Henry might want. I think it's about time she learns to embrace her place in the fairy tale world, not just accept it.

    I was wondering after Zelena's defeat how they were going to end the season after seemingly already defeated the villain. I'm very curious what that green smoke represents, if it's Zelena, her power, or something else.

  2. Yes. Where was Toto?

    I wish they'd brought up the light/magic dark magic divide before now. OUAT writers are the worst at planning ahead.

    Agree that the whole 'we shouldn't kill the flying monkeys' thing was weird as the were killing them with reckless abandon last week.

    I gasped when Zelena picked Regina up the same way Cora did in "The Stable Boy." Not cool, meanie greenie.


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