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Once Upon a Time: Heart of Gold

“When you steal for yourself that makes you a thief, but when you steal for someone else that makes you a hero.”

For an episode composed almost entirely of exposition, and devoid of much of this season’s major arc, it sure did accomplish a whole lot; not the least of which was a huge twist that I really didn’t see coming.

After a lengthily absence, the majority of this episode focused on Robin Hood, and his time after he left Storybrooke to be with his son and his actually-dead-but-replaced-with-someone-else-wife (more on that in a while). I was initially skeptical - a whole episode that dropped the momentum that was established with season 4B’s big arc didn’t appeal to me at all - but I ended up forgetting about Maleficent, Cruella and Co completely.

The flashbacks to Robin Hood’s pre-Hood days were almost redundant in the face of everything else that was going on, learning about his code that preaches honour amongst thieves was pretty dull, but we did get to see how he and Will first met. I still don’t know what the hell the writers are trying to accomplish with Will’s constant non-presence. It seems a waste considering what a great character he is, but we’ve been assured that this is the point of his inclusion this season, so no doubt he’ll become important to the show in some capacity...eventually.

In the present day we saw what happened to poor Rumple when he ended up in New York after Belle banished him (shortly after Robin, Roland and not-Marian left), and it was a time in his life I’m glad we were able to experience. It’s rare that we see him that vulnerable, and despite the fuzzy morals and strange development that he’s seen this season, I did like how he was portrayed this week. Zelena’s meddling softens the blow of what he’s been up to; I almost forgive him for being so callous.

The Wicked Witch coming back was one of the very few twists that Once has been able to get past me. That’s not me saying I’m some genius who has this show all figured out, I just feel like a lot of what they try to do isn’t really that surprising, but this was. Maybe it’s because her return is so unfathomable because of the million and one plot holes that it introduces.

I don’t see how this could have always been the plan. Would Zelena really lie there and let herself get frozen over by the Snow Queen, all the while keeping her identity a secret? Didn’t Marian give up Robin and give Regina the opportunity to pursue their relationship with her blessing? That doesn’t sound like it could have been part of Zelena’s scheme. I guess the way she shattered when she died did seem a bit off, and how the portal was opened was never fully explained, so the main parts of her plan keep most of what happened intact, but if we’re going to be buying into something this big it had better be explained properly.

Regardless, it’s great to have her back. A lot of fans didn’t like her, but I thought she was a lot of fun, and she could be the missing piece of the Queens of Darkness puzzle that’s needed to bring it to the finish line. I hope she doesn’t disappear again either when this season’s over. I’m looking forward to watching her make trouble for a while. Maybe she’ll pop up every now and again, Ariel style?

Her return is also the perfect test of Regina’s resolve. I doubt she’ll be able to resist getting Robin back, but I’m secretly hoping she has some sneaky plan to save both him and Emma at the same time. The camaraderie between both sorceresses has been one of the highlights of season four, and I’d hate to watch it get smashed into pieces because of this.


Not much happened after the author was set free, except him escaping with Rumple.

It’s difficult to get past the exposition dump that made up the majority of this episode, and the lack of present day Storybrooke was criminal, but everything to do with Zelena’s return is so bonkers that I wasn’t able to notice anything else. I love how crazy it is, and it’ll be great to watch her make her presence known again, but I really hope that the show patches up the plots that it’s torn down, lest this show’s mythology gets even more complex.

3 out of 5 6-leaf clovers of Oz

Originally posted at PandaTV.


  1. Great review, Panda! I agree with everything you said. This was a much better episode than I thought it would be and I definitely didn't see Zelena coming back. I like Zelena as a character too, but I have to add something... she is nuts! Not even Belle can make me feel for Rumple the way I do when Z is all in his personal space.

  2. For me, OUAT has been very weak in the beginning of the last couple of seasons. The Peter Pan story was a disaster, and I didn't care much about the Ice Queen story either. But I am loving the W(B)itches storyline so far...and adding Zelena just makes it more fun.

    That said, I think this show has gone from somewhat good to rather bad. But, it is still one of my guilty pleasure though:)

  3. Like you I really enjoyed Zelena's surprise return!!! Although it is a cheeky way to let Regina (eventually) get her happy ending without her being a home-wrecker... :p

    And I quite enjoyed the Robin flashbacks! He's one of my favorite literary characters so I have a lot of fun with different retellings of his legend. Got a big kick out of their version of Robin's origin story (well origin of the Robin HOOD legend, since he was obviously a thief before this chapter). My take on that aspect is here:
    Birth of Robin "Hood" on Once Upon A Time

  4. I'm not sure I like having Zelena back. I enjoyed her arc last season, but for me that is done; I'd rather the show continue with the new villains.

    One thing I do like is it explains what happened with Marian. I didn't really understand when Marian relapsed into being frozen again. So now I'm guessing that was an illusion of Zelena to force Robin to leave with her and ruin Regina's happy ending.

    However, this creates more plot holes. Selena posing as Marian has been avoiding answering Robin's "Do you remember ..." questions, implying that the magic she's using doesn't give her the original Marian's memories or anything. So then how has she been this successful at posing as Marian? She didn't spend very long in the enchanted forest so I'm not sure how she was even able to recognize Robin when they first returned to Story Brooke.


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