In possibly the most shocking episode of Once Upon A Time yet, we discovered the truth of Zelena’s past and who is truly responsible for her fate in life. From Zelena’s father to who ruined everything for her, it’s safe to say no one saw any of this coming. Though no matter how shocking – and out of thin air – it might have seemed, it actually explained a huge story piece from Season 2. Throw in some growing romances and a scorned witch, and you have Episode 18, “Bleeding Through”.
Zelena’s Father Revealed:
We find Cora long before her run in with Prince Henry. While working in a bar to make extra money and desperate to get a better life for herself, she meets Jonathan. After acting all quiet and humble, Jonathan ‘mistakenly’ drops a piece of cloth that is embroidered with the royal crest, and admits that he is Prince John. For those Robin Hood fans out there, if you’re wondering why Prince John seems like such a nice guy here – he’s a trap.
For just as Prince John was no true ruler in the Robin Hood tales, this John is no price but actually a gardener. After having proposed to Cora and then sleeping with her, he up and leaves – this is apparently one of his plays. Cora bumps into him a bit later and reveals she is pregnant with child. He laughs her off and abandons her only to be found by Prince Leopold.
Leopold – not knowing the level of Cora’s involvement – starts falling for her and reveals that he is worried about his ability to lead people especially with the woman he has been engaged to since her birth, Eva – Snow’s mom. Everything seems perfect for these two, that is until Jonathan returns and tries to blackmail Cora.
History Repeats Itself:
It has been said that ‘those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it’; and this certainly applies to Once Upon A Time. We first saw this with Rumplestiltskin’s family. From Rumple’s father abandoning him to Rumple loosing Baelfire because he couldn’t part with his power, there seems to be a theme of father and son getting separated after the father messes with Dark Magic. The same can even be true for Henry losing Neal, since Neal died trying to use the dark arts to revive Rumple despite knowing his father would return as a slave.
In this episode, we found that Rumple’s family misfortune weren’t the only ones in a tortuous loop, but so too was Snows and Regina’s families interaction. Back in Season 1, we discovered that Regina hated Snow White because as a little girl, Snow told a secret, which led to Regina’s love being taken from her – by Cora ripping his heart out. This time around it was Snow’s mom who told a secret – this time purposefully.
Unlike Snow who thought telling the secret would give Regina a happy ending with both her love and her mother, Eva’s overhearing of this secret exchange was purely self driven. She knew she could use this information of Cora being with child by another man to squash any threat Cora posed to her engagement to Prince Leopold. It’s crazy to think that Snow’s family has caused more pain than the actual villains themselves.
The last time we saw Eva she was teaching Snow to always be gracious and good. This showed that the much like evil, good isn’t born, but rather created. As Snow said, we might never know what changed Eva from selfish conniving child into the picture of grace and kindness she became in later years. Perhaps that is a story yet to be told.
Also, is it just me or is anyone else weirded out by fact that Cora purposefully tried to set her daughter up with the same man she almost married years earlier? . . . Awkward.
Season 2 Explained:
Back in the Season 2 episode “The Miller’s Daughter”, we saw Cora get tripped by Eva who was visiting that kingdom. The next time we saw those two interact it was Cora poisoning Eva and saying how she wanted to tarnish Snow White and make her dark.
This never really made much sense in the context of that Season. Did Cora REALLY hold that deep of a grudge over being tripped, or did she and Eva have a deeper history we hadn’t seen yet. This episode we finally discovered what that missing piece was.
Eva not only ruined Cora’s life by taking away her chance to be a Queen and stealing her love, but also made her give up her first born child Zelena – whom Cora did love and hated giving up. Sure Cora married a prince in the end, but she never obtained the level of Queen and still had given up a child to have a chance. This is why Cora orchestrated Eva’s death and worked so hard to try to turn Snow – Eva’s first born – heart dark. If Cora lost her first born to the wilderness, then Eva should lose her first born to the darkness.
It’s also important to note that this also explains why Eva initially tripped Cora during that Season 2 episode – she recognized her. This also explains why Cora was so infuriated by having to apologize to Princess Eva.
Zelena’s True Grudge and Plan:
When Zelena first hinted at her plan to Rumple, she spoke of how he would choose her the second time around. Rumple denied this because he – much as we – didn’t understand what Zelena actually wanted to change in the past. Did she want to go back and make herself more composed so Rumple would choose her? Did she want to go back to the moment Cora gave her up and change that? No, her actual plan was to go back much further so that she could erase the person who ruined her life: Eva
Zelena plans to go back in time and kill Eva before she can ruin Cora’s chance at happiness. This would not only make Cora keep Zelena – although Cora would have to pass her off as a VERY premature baby considering the timing – but also have various other consequences. Since Cora never met Prince Henry, Regina would never be born – thus explaining why Rumple would have to choose her. Eva’s death would also mean that Snow, Emma and Henry would never be born.
Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey … Stuff:
I know what you’re thinking. If Zelena goes back in time and kills Eva, then that’s a Paradox. The moment ‘Wicked’ Zelena kills Eva, she would cease to exist and her own timeline would be rewritten. Zelena wouldn’t become the Wicked Witch but would rather be leading a happy life with Cora and Leopold as royalty. But if Wicked Zelena ceased to exist, then who would go back in time and kill Eva. But if Eva’s killer – Wicked Zelena – ceased to exist, then who would kill Eva? Eva would be alive again and lead to Wicked Zelena who would go back in time and . . . *brain explodes*
I can understand why ‘you can’t change the past’ is one of the rules of magic. Thankfully we know Zelena’s plan won’t work – one way or another. Although having the three lead characters all erased from existence would certainly be an interesting plot twist for Season 4. But again, how could they rectify this. There’s no curse to be broken. No memories to reclaim. You would need a Tardis – or at least a DeLorean – to solve that scenario.
If you’re anything like me, when you heard Zelena entice Rumple with the idea of bringing back his son with her ‘time travel’ spell, you got scared for two reasons: Rumple siding with Zelena and them bringing Neal back – seriously though, how can we bring back Blue Fairy and other and yet The Huntsman still gets no love!
Thankfully Rumple didn’t fall for this at all and instead tried to us Zelena’s love for him against her. In a very James Bond manner, Rumple tried to seduce Zelena in an effort to get his dagger back. Sadly he needed a little more foreplay because as much as she wanted this, Zelena feared it was all a trick to get his dagger. Rumple then proclaims that – unlike what Neal did to him – he’s going to respect a dying wish and not let it be in vain.
This episode we saw a very hesitant Hook. You can almost feel the emotional turmoil he’s going through. Does he kiss Emma and take away her powers? Or will he not and cause the death of someone close to her – Henry perhaps? Sadly as Hook tries to distance himself and his dilemma from Emma, the closer she seems to want to get.
Though while these two find obstacle after obstacle, Regina and Robin Hood FINALLY kissed. After some wise words from Snow about putting the past in the apst and not letting it ruin their future, Regina went out to find Robin and get her happily ever after. Although now I find this overwhelming fear that something is going to happen to Robin.
Regina and Snow might be able to put their pasts behind them, but what about their yet-to-be-written pasts? The only thing stopping Zelena right now is that Snow and Charming’s baby hasn’t been born yet – although I’m expecting her water to break any moment. With Rumple having just scorned Zelena and Hook still not kissing Emma, Zelena is going to start to get desperate and might start killing. And if the preview for next episode is any judge, it looks like someone might just get killed off.