REVIEW: Once Upon a Time, S7 Ep 10 – The Eighth Witch

Once Upon a Time, S7 Ep 10 - The Eighth Witch

The mid-season finale of Once Upon a Time was jam-packed affair, filled with major story revelations, new characters and relationships introduced, and old ones returning to join the adventure.

Once Upon a Time, S7 Ep 10 - The Eighth WitchToo much was going on in this episode so it was difficult to follow everything. From the return of Zelena (cursed this time) and her sudden awakening, the introduction her grown-up daughter, Robin, and the revelation of the latter’s relationship with Alice (another attempt by the writers at LGBT representation), the introduction of the Coven of the Eight (the new big bads of the season), Rumple giving Hook the white elephant and Hook giving it to Cinderella, Regina being forced to cast the curse to save Henry’s life, to the events in Hyperion Heights which included Lucy being in danger and Henry attempting True Love’s Kiss, Rumple and Rapunzel testing Anastasia’s magic, Drizella tricking her sister and then eventually getting betrayed by Gothel, there was just so much happening. It felt like a whole season’s worth of plot squeezed into one crowded episode.

And this kind of frenzied storytelling is very much to the detriment of the show and development of the characters. It was great to see the reunion between the sisters, Zelena and Regina, and to see how their familial relationship had survived the curse, after all they had been through. Their alliance felt real and earned because we have already seen much of them in previous seasons of Once Upon a Time.

Once Upon a Time, S7 Ep 10 - The Eighth WitchThe opposite could be said about Alice and Robin’s relationship, which was presented out of the blue even if, apparently, it had developed off-screen. I’m all for the representation these characters will bring by portraying their relationship and it’s great to see Alice have another close relationship other than that with her father but up until this point, there had been no hints from her side about any romance. The show had established her connections to Rumple and Hook but not even an allusion to any love interest until this episode. And to have Robin so suddenly introduced and then shown to be Alice’s true love does not do the relationship justice. Hopefully, we will see more of how they got together as the season progresses.

Once Upon a Time, S7 Ep 10 - The Eighth WitchThen, there’s the sudden introduction of this Coven of Eight, although Hook/Detective Rogers had been seeing the symbol of the Coven through his investigations. It’s just strange that they’ve never been alluded to until this episode. Though I’m sure the Once Upon a Time writers are saving the introduction of the other members for the rest of the season, it felt bizarre to see a bunch of cloaked figures just standing around menacingly while named characters Drizella, Gothel, Regina, and Zelena faced off. And if there was such a coven of all-powerful witches, would Maleficent and Ursula not be a part of it? Or maybe they are?

Once Upon a Time, S7 Ep 10 - The Eighth WitchAnd then, there’s the whole arc of the newly-awakened Anastasia actually having powerful magic and then taking her sister’s magic through a trick by Gothel, and her being roped to join the great coven. And she is also probably the pure-hearted Guardian Rumple has been searching for all this time.

Henry and Jacinda are reconciled (and Nick is nowhere to be found, even though his “daughter” is in mortal danger in the hospital) and Henry tries true love’s kiss on the child, but unlike when Emma did this to him back in the first season, it doesn’t work. Drizella clearly made some innovations to the original dark curse. 
So many unanswered questions that will hopefully be addressed when Once Upon a Time returns on March 2, 2018.