We had a whole ton revealed this episode, although for me it didn’t strike the emotions as well as Once usually does. The “One Little Tear” never drew one from me. But let’s look at what at we learned.
We start off back in the Wish World with Rapunzel (the real one this time) driving a wagon in the dark, there is a man and 2 little girls in the back. She stops at an estate and leaves to get them food. We get a very OUAT line as she assures them, “my family, I will always find a way.” As she’s stealing vegetables Mother Goethel appears. She asks Rapunzel what she would be willing to sacrifice to save her husband and children. Of course Rapunzel answers in the expected “anything” and Goethel casts her spell. We see Rapunzel, now prisoner in the tower screaming out for her family. “Marcus, help, ANASTASIA, DRIZELLA, help!” Yup, that’s right, Lady Tremaine/Victoria Belfrey is actually Rapunzel. This was downright shocking for me I have to admit. Then I had images in my head of Hook and Victoria and just…*shudder*.
Back in Hyperion Heights Victoria is looking smug somehow even in her prison jumpsuit. Ivy saunters in taunting her mother and asking for Anastasia’s location. Victoria refuses, sneers and asks Ivy “did someone not get enough hugs?” Ok, look, I disagree with basically everything Ivy has done, but I sympathize, she has literally the worst Mom. Rumple comes in after Ivy leaves and Victoria asks for his help in getting out of jail and to her daughter. Rumple resists, still pretending to be Weaver, but after Victoria pushes and tells him that she can help find The Guardian he finally gives in.
In the Wish World we see Rapunzel, after what has clearly been years, watching out of her tower. The sky is lit with floating lanterns and she decides it’s a sign from her daughters. She uses her own hair to climb down out of the tower. I’m so glad OUAT made the decision not to have a man be the way she escapes! Rapunzel follows the path of the lanterns and comes upon Anastasia and Drizella talking about how it’s been 6 years! She embraces them and Marcus runs out of the house. But, of course nothing could be so simple, Marcus thought that Rapunzel was dead and has remarried. He’s married Ella’s mother Cecilia.
In Hyperion Heights Victoria is making her final preparations to wake Anastasia. She goes to Jacinda and gives her paperwork which renounces all claims to custody. She tells Jacinda that the custody battle was always a test of if she was “worthy” to be a good mother and she’s finally passed. She even pretends that she’s had a change of heart and only wants the best for Lucy. Barf. Ivy and Goethel are following Victoria all this time, still waiting for her to lead them to Anastasia so that they can steal her power.
Rapunzel is devastated to be on the outside of her family. She and Anastasia are still close, but Drizella is closer to Cecilia. Marcus tries to convince her to give it time, that Drizella was just young when Rapunzel disappeared. He’s obviously a good man torn between these two women, but doing his best. He and Cecilia have provided Rapunzel with a home on their estate and want her involvement with the girls. But, after being imprisoned for 6 years this is clearly not enough for Rapunzel. Goethel shows up to tempt Rapunzel’s evil into the open. She offers Rapunzel a poisoned mushroom saying, “you proved pure enough to sacrifice yourself for your family’s happiness. Now I’m curious to see if you’ll sacrifice someone else for yours.” Rapunzel’s initial response is promising, she throws the mushroom into the fire because she will not harm an innocent. Goethel shrugs it off, and mushroom reappears on the mantel.
Hook is furious that Rumple has let Victoria go and decides to do some investigating of his own. He goes down into the basement and breaks into Rumple’s secret storage room. This was my big eye roll of the episode. He looks and sees the keypad, then glances at the nearby fire alarm. He pulls the fire alarm and magically the door opens. Ok, seriously. What secured door just opens when someone pulls a fire alarm? None of them. Not a one. Anyways, moving on. Inside Hook is perusing Rumple’s collection, my favorite was him picking up a plastic bag with a hook inside, he stares for a second before moving on. Hook finds a box that Rumple has been keeping detailed files of all our main characters. After seeing this Hook goes to find Tiana (As much as I miss Killian and Emma I’m really hoping we’re going to see a Hook/Tiana love story here). He questions her about her interactions with Rumple, she draws the dagger and mentions Rumple shoving it into her hands and asking if she “felt” something. Obviously this is part of Rumple’s attempts to find The Guardian. Hook does confront Rumple later in the episode, Rumple finally admits he’s trying to be reunited with his wife and Hook agrees to help him. I hope Rumple stops being such an ass to Hook.
Meanwhile, Rumple and Victoria break into a crypt, retrieving some sort of travel bag which she says contains everything she needs to break Anastasia’s curse. Rumple pushes Victoria here, questioning how she could spend so much time on this, and ignore that she has a daughter awake and outside. Victoria angrily brushes him off, saying that Drizella hasn’t been “her” daughter in a long time.
We see what Victoria means by this when we flashback to the Wish World. It’s Drizella’s birthday and Rapunzel is there helping out. Cecilia comes over and kindly tells Rapunzel to stop working and celebrate, she is trying hard to include this other woman into their family. But it’s still not enough, when Rapunzel hear’s Drizella exclaim to Cecilia “Mother!” after a wonderful present it sends her into a rage. This scene was difficult to watch, and I’d imagine that many adoptive or birth parents would also find it so. As a parent you’re supposed to care first and foremost for your kids, not how you *think* that kid should love you. To see Rapunzel unable to enjoy her daughter’s happiness just drives home what a terrible mother she is. It’s at this point that Goethel’s mushroom becomes too strong a temptation and she squeezes it into Cecilia’s lemonade. We learn that this is when Cecilia ran off, Marcus pursuing her to Wonderland before returning home without her. Marcus and Rapunzel are making a family with the 3 girls when tragedy strikes. Anastasia and Ella fall into ice, Marcus dives after them and only is able to save Ella. Rapunzel is incensed, “Where is OUR daughter?” she screams.
In the crypt Goethel and Rumple have a little “chat” about what Victoria and Ivy are doing. The most dreaded thing is when Goethel tells Rumple that in order for Victoria to wake Anastasia she has to cause the loss of an innocent’s belief. She then asks if he’s seen his great granddaughter lately.
Victoria finds Lucy after school, pulls out the OUAT book and tells Lucy that all of it is real. Lucy is overjoyed, someone else knows the truth. Victoria takes Lucy to the hospital and tells her “the rest of the story”. In her story she’s the hero, even though she “poisoned” Ella’s mom she claims it was the heroic thing to do since she was fighting for her family. She then points to Anastasia and tells Lucy that happy endings don’t ever come, it doesn’t matter if fairy tales are true or not. She shows Lucy a video of Jacinda kissing Jack and Lucy is devastated. Victoria steals the tear slipping down Lucy’s cheek and uses it to wake Anastasia after Lucy leaves. At that exact moment we see Lucy faint into her mother’s arms.
So, a Rapunzel reveal, the connections explained and Hook and Rumple coming to terms. I’m most excited about The Wicked Witch’s return next week, I love her team ups with Regina!