REVIEW: Once Upon a Time, S6 Ep18 – Where Bluebirds Fly

Once Upon a Time, S6 Ep18 – Where Bluebirds Fly

Zelena was the star of this week’s episode of Once Upon a Time as we explored a bit more of her past and how much she has changed since coming to Storybrooke.

The Black Fairy attempted to gain an ally by enlisting Zelena’s aid in her campaign of terror. But she went about this the wrong way, by threatening baby Robin. Zelena, flawed though she is, has fierce maternal instincts (not unlike her sister), so she was determined to defeat the Black Fairy on her own. The episode then explored more of Zelena’s obsession to prove that she is better than everyone else and that her magic is stronger than Regina’s.

Though this insecurityOnce Upon a Time, S6 Ep18 – Where Bluebirds Fly had been explored at length when Zelena was first introduced, and it was established that her struggles are rooted in Cora’s abandonment of her as a child, there was still more revealed of her life as a tyrant in Oz. In true Once Upon a Time tradition, she had a childhood friend whom she encountered later in life, Stanum or the Tin Man. He was someone who had defended her against bullies and who believed that she was capable of using her magic for good.

They go on a small journey to find yet another magical artifact/plot device, a crimson heart that would absorb all magic of the wielder. The Tin Man tries to convince Zelena that she doesn’t need to turn back time to find her happiness, but of course at that point she was too stubborn to listen. She remains alone and unloved while Stanum is cursed. (I hope this isn’t the last we see of him. Zelena needs non-Storybrooke friends and he seems to genuinely care for her. With Hades gone I’m even hoping that he could be a possible new True Love for her. Who knows?).

Once Upon a Time, S6 Ep18 – Where Bluebirds FlyAll this is in contrast to her current situation in Storybrooke, where she has a tense but at least existing relationship with Regina. Because of this association, she is tolerated by the Charmings and their extended family. She and Regina have a massive argument about the risks of her confronting the Black Fairy alone. And just as Regina predicted, Zelena is manipulated into giving her magic to fuel the evil fairy’s nefarious plans.

Regina scolds Zelena for this latest mess and tells her to go back to Oz. Now that was a moment that didn’t ring true for me. While the sisters’ relationship has been rocky, to say the least, I think at this point, it has improved significantly. I don’t think Regina would so easily send away a member of her family. Luckily, they reconciled at the end and Zelena even made a heroic sacrifice by giving up her magic for Storybrooke.

In an interview with EW, Rebecca Mader talks about Zelena’s sacrifice. She said:

“It’s great to see growth in someone that’s so broken and healing, because putting other people first is not something that she’s accustomed to, and I think becoming a mother has really taught her a lot about love, and not having to do everything alone, and being part of something greater than herself with these other people.”

This pretty much covers Zelena’s journey in this episode. She’s never been my favorite character on Once Upon a Time, but I’m glad to see her getting developed and to see her relationship with Regina being given some attention. It would be great to see them work through their issues together more.

Once Upon a Time, S6 Ep18 – Where Bluebirds FlyAnd as is usually the case with Once Upon a Time, when an episode is focused on a minor character, the major characters are involved in a relatively light-hearted subplot. This week, Snow took it upon herself to plan Emma and Hook’s wedding. EW released the first look at Emma’s wedding dress earlier this week and by the looks of it, Snow succeeds in planning a wonderful ceremony for her daughter. Everyone is roped into this scheme because Snow is determined that, final battle or not, Emma’s wedding will be a happy occasion.

The Black Fairy was thwarted twice in this episode. Emma and the gang managed to help Rumple and Belle wake up the Blue Fairy, someone who may know how to defeat her former comrade. Blue has too many secrets and I wonder that the people of Storybrooke are not more suspicious of her. (I know the fans certainly are #shadyblue). Anyway, the episode ends with the Black Fairy teasing that her darkest secret is the real reason she gave up Rumpelstiltskin. And we have to wait until next week on Once Upon a Time to find out.