REVIEW: Once Upon a Time, S7 Ep 12 – A Taste of the Heights

This week’s Once Upon a Time introduces Prince Naveen and shows the beginnings of his relationship with Tiana both in the Enchanted Forest and the present day, while also bringing back Dr. Facilier, who has an intriguing connection with one of the main cast. Meanwhile, a rejuvenated Lucy tries to bring about True Love’s Kiss between her parents and then finds out the dangers this might pose.

After the significant death of Victoria Belfrey last episode, it was a bit jarring to see very little reaction from many of the characters other than Jacinda and Lucy visiting her grave. Given how Victoria has served as the main antagonist for most of the season, her demise did not seem to have much impact. Strange also not to show Ivy’s reaction to last week’s events, as well as what was up with Mother Gothel and Anastasia.

Once Upon a Time, S7 Ep 12 - A Taste of the HeightsInstead, we got an episode mostly devoted to Tiana’s backstory. While Tiana is one of my favorite new characters this season, the timing of such focus on her journey seemed a bit off. Luckily, this was also when we were introduced to the Once Upon a Time version of Prince Naveen, destined to be Tiana’s true love. He is just as charming and roguish as his character in The Princess and the Frog though in this iteration, he seems a bit more serious about his duties than his animated counterpart. He’s a hunter and one who strikes up a rivalry with the queen-to-be as they reluctantly work together to track a vicious alligator (not crocodile, mind you) who is terrorizing the kingdom.

Back in Hyperion Heights, Sabine and Drew, an old friend from cooking school, have rival food trucks and someone gives an anonymous tip to the cops about Sabine not having a safety permit. Even Sabine found that a bit ridiculous and the whole subplot was really just filler. The real crime is that we won’t be able to taste those awesome beignets. But watching the modern versions of Tiana and Naveen was amusing enough and I’d like to see how their relationship develops.

Naturally, Dr. Facilier was back in the mix, at first seemingly to test Tiana before her coronation but also to look suggestively at Regina. His modern-day counterpart meets with Roni and Kelly and the two sisters first think that he is still in his cursed state. But when Rumple and Hook’s investigation into the string of murders leads back to the coven, Rumple finally teams up with his two old proteges and reveals that someone is killing the witches in the coven of eight. And since this someone is also taking locks of their hair, it’s not too hard to guess who the culprit might be.

And though their story forms the main part of the season and is the one the curse revolves around, I still can’t find myself caring too much about Henry and his family. For some reason, even Tiana and Naveen’s story felt more compelling, not to mention Facilier’s mysterious connection with Regina (but more on THAT later). But we have to mention that just when Jacinda and Henry were cozying up to each other and finally about to kiss, Lucy discovers that this might bring about Henry’s death so she conveniently interrupts them. (Whatever happened to Nick, by the way?). So the curse remains unbroken for now, until someone finds a way to keep Henry alive.

Now for the big one: Regina and Dr. Facilier had a thing. And whatever it was, it was still going strong when the two met back up during Tiana’s coronation. At first, Regina seemed to despise him but she reciprocated that kiss quite eagerly. How she feels about him in the present day is another story, though it’s clear that she suspects him of his usual mischief. She’s probably planning to thwart his plans somehow.

But the question is: why introduce a love interest for Regina this late in the game? With only ten episodes left before Once Upon a Time wraps up for good, the timing is weird. Why include such a major development at the last minute? Unless it’s not meant to be a major part of the story and whatever Regina and Facilier had was just some fling back when she was the Evil Queen. Not a true love connection like what she had with Daniel, and later on with Robin Hood. I’m not sure what to make of it.

Of course, the Once Upon a Time writers could be doing what they always do: retconning a character relationship so that it happened and developed off-screen, which is always a copout for the viewers. But with everything going on in the plot at the moment, adding space for a major love relationship isn’t the best use of screentime, even if it is for Regina.

As much as I love the character and want her to have a happy ending, this is not what I imagined. After Robin’s death, I thought the writers were going in a different (and even progressive) direction of giving a female character a happy ending that didn’t involve having a love interest. She had lost two her True Loves but found true happiness in being Henry’s mother. That was a unique and beautiful message to send.

Instead, we get this. But hopefully, this whole Facilier thing is just a minor bump. If he turns out to be a redeemable rogue, there really isn’t enough time to properly develop their relationship and it will just feel rushed and shoehorned in. Granted, I saw more chemistry between them in that kiss than I ever saw between her and Robin (my opinion only, of course). But then again, Regina has chemistry with everyone, so who knows?

As I said, this is the last season of Once Upon a Time so I hope that all loose ends are tied up satisfactorily. We’ll just have to wait and see.