Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep19 – Sisters

Is there no end to the depths of Cora’s emotional manipulation and general awfulness towards her children? This week’s Once Upon a Time tackled the tricky relationship between Regina and Zelena and after a bit of flashback wrangling, gave them a memory to bond over and led to their reconciliation. And the episode also re-tread Cora’s abusive and manipulative ways as she proved that once again she was the architect of her daughters’ misery.

In another (possibly final, but you never know with Once Upon a Time) appearance, Cora came to the aid of her daughters as Regina enlisted her help to try and convince Zelena that Hades was not the right man for her. Having been at the receiving end of Cora’s disdain for love, Regina knew that only her mother would have the effective means of making Zelena turn away from the feelings she was developing towards the lord of the Underworld.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep19 - SistersSince this is Once Upon a Time, there was an obligatory Enchanted Forest flashback that showed young versions of Regina and Zelena. After an accident involving magic, Regina’s life is endangered and Cora zips off to Oz to make Zelena heal her sister. There is an instant chemistry and affection between the two young girls and when they discover that they are sisters, they are overjoyed.

But being who she is, Cora does not allow them to remember their connection and viciously separates them. She makes them drink water from the river Lethe (another magical memory-altering fluid that is such a staple of this show) to forget that this incident ever happened, and to conveniently allow for this flashback to happen without messing up the timeline.

Back in the Underworld, Cora restores their memories and the tear-filled faces of the two sisters was a pretty powerful moment. While the flashback was another contrived way to facilitate a genuine reconciliation, at least we finally got to see Regina and Zelena getting along as sisters. After all the hostility, this was a great relief and the two actresses really sold their newfound connection.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep19 - SistersThe best parts of the episode were the interactions between Regina and Zelena. After spending seasons constantly bickering and hurting each other, they finally found some common ground and learned to move past their mother’s machinations to become the sisters they always wished they had. Their reactions to Cora’s moving on (though she did little to deserve it) were heartwarming and genuinely moving. And Regina’s eventual encouragement of Zelena (however ill-judged) was a significant step in mending their relationship. It seems that the Wicked Witch will be integrated into the Storybrooke family after all. Everyone gets a happy ending.

There was also a practically pointless subplot of James standing in for David and attempting to bring harm to Emma and Robin Hood (who is still pretty useless at this point.) Even when David tries to help his brother get over his unfinished business, the latter refuses and in the ensuing struggle, James gets tossed into the river of lost souls.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep19 - SistersConsidering all the characters who have fallen into those terrible depths so far, I get the feeling that the season finale will involve somehow freeing them and helping them move on. After all, some deserve it (Milah) more than others (Gaston, James.) And this is Once Upon a Time, where even the worst characters get a chance at redemption.

Just as Zelena was about to meet up with Hades at Granny’s Diner (Underworld edition) for a romantic, candle-lit dinner, she is stopped by Rumplestiltskin, who is determined to remain the Dark One and to go against everything Belle told him. This time, he enlisted the help of his father, good old Peter Pan, who immediately warns Zelena that though she may be wicked, he is much, much worse.

I was fully expecting a twist at the end of the episode and I knew that Zelena wasn’t about to have a lovely date. Everyone has to go through more misery before they can have their happiness. Fortunately for her, Regina is now on her side and we all know how hard the queen will fight for her family.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep19 - SistersBut I was also really excited to see Peter Pan again because he is such a fun villain to watch wreak havoc, and I was hoping that we would see more of him this season. But his involvement is a sure sign that the episodes leading up to the Once Upon a Time finale are going to be very eventful. Not to mention Hades is definitely not going to be pleased when he finds out that Rumple and Pan have taken away the woman he loves.

Next week on Once Upon a Time, Emma and Hook face their demons as they try to save everyone :