After weeks of waiting we are finally gifted with Zalena’s back story…Can we go back to the waiting for it? At least then I could pretend that its something interesting. That’s right, Zalena’s entire motivation as a character revolves around “waa waa mommy didn’t love me” as is the same with almost EVERY FREAKING VILLAIN in this show!
So, in our flashbacks this week, we open with a twister that drops baby Zalena in the middle of a forest, she is found by a couple, the wife immediately loving the cute little baby and wanting to take her own. The husband is a bit more hesitant after seeing the baby use magic to stop a falling tree from crushing them. Obviously the baby saving their lives means that she is evil, because obviously saving someone’s life makes you evil, everyone knows that. We jump a few years down the road where Zalena’s dad is a total dick to her and tells her that she isn’t really his daughter. She runs away to see the Wizard, played by the previously seen Christopher Gorham, who shows her her past and gives her a pair of silver slippers, allowing her to go the enchanted forest. She meets up with our favorite imp and starts the home school, and evil, version of Hogwarts. She later learns that Rumpel is still planning to let Regina cast his curse, she goes into a jealous rage, turns green, and goes back to Oz, confronting the Wizard, turning him into a flying monkey, and stating that she plans to go back in time and stop Regina from being born.
I will admit that in the back half of season three, the writers have done a good job of making the Enchanted Forest flashbacks more interesting, that was not the case here. I am pretty sure that I was trapped in one continuous eye roll through this entire subplot. Let’s break this down a bit shall we, really dig in to this story. So starting with baby Zalena, her foster father automatically distrusts the baby because she saved his life, and his wife’s life. Now if magic was seen as this horrible evil thing then maybe I could understand that, but they live in a land where there leader is a freaking wizard! Obliviously magic is not something that is feared or hated here, so why does the dad automatically believe the child is evil? It makes no sense. Onto her motivation, she hates Regina because Cora didn’t abandon her. That is stupid, plain and simple. I can understand her being angry at Cora, she is the real villain of here, but what exactly did Regina do to earn Zalena’s hatred? Apart from her live her life, completly in the dark about her sister because she was never told by her, previously established, evil bitch of a mother. I wanted to like Zalena as a villain, I really did, but at this point I don’t think its possible. Lets just have Emma but a bullet through her head and bring in a new villain, maybe Ursala, she could be interesting.
In Storybrooke, we open with the town gathered together to mourn the death of Neal. While Emma and the Charmings are working towards an idea of how to deal with Zalena, Hook offers to take Henry for the day and tell him a bit about his dad, thinking it will be good for the boy. Emma agrees and we are treated to some brief, but honestly touching and well done scenes between the two. Henry is obviously a bit confused at first about what is going on, but soon forms some sort of bond with Hook, and is happy to learn about his father. While this is going on Zalena makes her appearance as the villain and calls out Regina in one of the most eye rollingly bad ways possible, “No, its the Wicked West!” Seriously, someone fire that writer, do it now before he or she has the chance to make things even worse. Regina goes off to find proof that what Zalena says is true, finds it, and has a rather nice moment with Robin Hood. She goes to the showdown with her sister, and gets her ass handed to her, in the process she gets Zalena to reveal her hand, she is after Regina’s heart. Luckily she had the foresight to leave it behind. Regina starts putting the pieces together, David’s courage, her heart, they are both ingredients to something, probably a horrible something. In the end Regina entrusts her heart to Robin, knowing that he will protect it.
While Zalena is shaping up to be a fairly horrible villain, Regina is quickly turning into a pretty damn good, and while I am hesitant to fully slap this label on her yet, hero. I am hesitant because while Regina has made some big steps in the right direction, she is still showing some of that darkness inside, but it is out of lack of a better term, and my honest belief that by the season’s end she will be a full blown member of the heroes club, that I am willing to label her as such. Seriously, ever scene with Regina this week was amazing to watch, none more so than her interactions with Robin and Tinkerbell, who I was ever so happy to see again. (seriously, anytime a former Power Ranger actor, especially Rose McIver, shows up I am thrilled) While the writers are horribly failing at Zalena, they are doing wonders with Regina. From what we saw this week it seems that she has finally ready to let go of her past and embrace her chance at being happy. There was of course a few pitfalls along the way, and a falling out with Tinkerbell, but she got there in the end, and I can’t wait to see where they build up from here.
Our other heroes kind of took a back seat to Regina this week. We saw Emma and the others working to try and stop Zalena before Regina had to go into danger, doing a solid job of showing that they do care for her and consider Regina one of their own, but these scenes were limited and really only acting to break up the Regina and Zalena bits. The most interesting parts being their failed attempt to rescue Rumpel and Emma’s willingness to step up and face off against Zalena. Noble of her, but ultimately futile. While she is the Savior (something I really want to see them play up more) she is not in the same weight class as the Wicked Witch, at least not yet. Emma has shown that she is no slouch in the power department, she just doesn’t have the training or know how to really use. What I would love to see them doing is have Emma start to really learn to use her powers, that come from the true love of her parents, and team up with Regina, possibly bring in some sort of combination of light and dark magic needed to defeat the baddie in the end, could be an interesting path for the show to take.
Overall this episode was a really hit or miss. Pretty much everything focusing on Zalena was just a waste of time, but everything with Regina was pretty freaking amazing. They are finally giving her character development that she should have gotten in season two. I can only hope that they don’t mess it up, but given what we have seen of Zalena, and their general writing of villains as a whole, those hopes aren’t getting to high.