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Once Upon a Time: Sisters

"You were sisters once..."

Part of what made the opening salvo of the Underworld arc so great was that it was bolstered by strong character beats and interesting dynamics. ‘Sisters’ borrows a lot of that from ‘Souls of the Departed,’ and manages to do something much more impactful, largely because what happened here felt earned.

While part of me loved watching Henry Snr. move on a few episodes previous to this, it felt like something that should have happened a little later on. His journey to the great beyond, or wherever he skipped off to, didn’t resonate in the way it could have because it felt a little rushed. Thankfully, the same can’t be said for Cora’s final bow, which has been almost four seasons in the making.

The troubled relationship between Regina and her mother has been an ongoing saga since her mother first appeared way back in season one. Her mother’s selfish desires and quest for power were what indirectly led to Regina turning into the evil queen, hell bent on revenge against Snow White. In the years since Regina instigated the Storybrooke curse she’s changed and grown, despite all that Cora had done to her, but coming to terms with her mother has never been possible, until now.

My favorite moment of the tearful goodbye between Cora, Regina and Zelena, was Cora remembering how she never got a chance to say goodbye to her daughter when she died in her arms. Now she’s been given that opportunity, and thanks to some great character building over the last few seasons, it was a deserved moment not just for Cora, but for her daughter as well.

Cora finally recognized the strong, courageous woman Regina has become, and even came to understand that it was all thanks to Regina herself, and not anything Cora had given her. Not once did Cora spout any excuses for her behaviour, only remorse for what she had done, and pride over who Regina had become. It felt like the perfect ending to their troubled past, and one that paid homage to some of the great character development that they’ve both gone through.

Cora had an altogether different goodbye with Zelena, the daughter she never knew. She never got the chance to know her first born, but like Regina, Cora’s mistakes were what led to Zelena making some dark choices after her tough upbringing. Again, no excuses were made for her abandonment, only recognition that it was all done in Cora’s own interests and had nothing to do with giving Zelena a better life. There wasn’t a lot Cora could say to make up for what she had done, but bringing Regina and Zelena together was the best possible outcome she could have gotten.

Zelena wanting to save Hades is an interesting idea, if a little flawed. It’s a bit of a stretch that Regina would let her sister even try to do this, but I guess she knows that almost anyone can be saved. Why not the “prince of death”? We’ve seen a lot of villains undergo some rather stark transformations during this show’s run, but this one does seem like a bit of a stretch. I’m not sure if it’ll work or not, but with Rumple and his father abducting Zelena before she got the chance to start that change, I am a little intrigued as to what the outcome will be.


David came face to face with his evil twin brother, finally. He didn’t get to save him, which is a shame because James is about 10,000 times more interesting than his brother.

Cruella managed to scarper off after James fell into the river. What will she do now that there’s nobody left on her side?

No Ginnifer Goodwin this week, with Snow back in Storybrooke. She’ll either return to save everyone, or the gang will get back to her in some serious trouble in the real world. I don’t know which one I want to happen.

He Said, She Said

James: “You were never half the man I was, and yet you got everything; everything that was mine.”

Cora: “You were sisters once, who loved and needed each other. I thought that love, any kind of love, was weakness. I was a fool.”

Rumple: “Zelena, meet my father... Peter Pan."
Pan: “I hear you're wicked. Well, I'm much worse.”

With some engaging performances, a solid flashback and a touching goodbye, ‘Sisters’ was one of Once’s strongest episodes in a while. Though I’m still a little uncertain about the direction the show is taking at the moment, I’m relieved that I can still become invested in it every once in a while.

4.5 out of 5 magic wands

Originally posted at PandaTV.

1 comment:

  1. Great review. Agreed-this was a strong, terrific episode. Just watched and still jazzing on how Cora's storyline has turned around and intersected with Zelena/Regina yet again.

    Not sure I'm pleased with the return of Pan. Wondering if he can possibly redeem the awful Neverland arc?


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