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Once Upon a Time- Episodes 3.15/3.16 "Quiet Minds/It's Not Easy Being Green" Review- Tricky and Wicked Expectations!

Due to all kinds of troubles in my personal life I got really delayed with my reviews of Once Upon a Time. Doing a double review is always a sign of being late (unless two episodes aired at once) so I never like doing them. From now until the end of the season I’ll do my best to be on time. Today I cover episodes 3.15 and 3.16, ideally tomorrow 3.17 and 3.18 and then hopefully I can keep it up doing single reviews until the 2 hour season finale.
I apologize for not being able to bring them sooner, I want you guys to have a space in which you can discuss the episodes and that’s only going to happen if I make these reviews in time.

It’s funny, I had high expectations for “Quiet Minds” and I had no expectations for “It’s not easy being green” and somehow “Quiet Minds” ended up being quite underwhelming, while “It’s not easy being green” felt like one of the best episodes the show has done this season. The former got me hyped because the promo looked amazing and the later came on after the disappointment that was “Quiet Minds” so I didn’t expect much from it. Expectations are a very tricky thing.

I’ll be brief; “Quiet Minds” is all about showing us how Rumple is alive and essentially run to the point where Neal dies. The show seems to be in hurry to get things going and doesn’t do much with its 43 minutes other than having Emma and Charming running around looking for Rumple until the moment Emma finds Neal, the walk together, then she finds out Neal is actually sharing body with Rumple and Neal dies. It is way too rushed and it kept me from actually feeling something out of his passing.

Of course, we do get to see Neal in action before that, it’s not as chaotic as I make it sound; he first crashes into Gold’s store where both Hook and Belle find him, he gets to see Emma and talk to her before appearing out of nowhere in the woods and he even gets an unexpected goodbye with Hook, which was kind of poignant. He also got a full flashback quest with Belle so we got to know how Rumple got back.

In the flashback, Zelena tricked them into opening a vault that will let them resurrect Rumple but the catch is that in order to bring him back to life another life has to be sacrificed, so Neal’s life is used to pay the price. Belle did warn him that something terrible could happen and that he was essentially doing the same thing his father did, giving up everything else to bring someone back. Repetition is a common theme in Once Upon a Time, somehow children repeats the mistakes of their fathers, and that theme somewhat works in the flashback; instead of letting Rumple’s legacy live through his own life, Neal’s obsession on getting him back so he could see Emma and Henry once again was his undoing.

Though a bit slow paced, the flashback does make sense within the show’s ongoing themes, but it does an odd job at exploring Neal and Belle’s grief. Belle wants to see Rumple back more than anyone, but she recognizes that his legacy should be kept over his life, which is unexpected but nice and somewhat understandable, while Neal’s obsession with getting back with Emma and Henry obstruct a far more interesting narrative, which would be how does the death of his father actually affected him.

Back in Storybrooke, it all sums up to Charming fighting flying monkeys, Rumple and Emma running around in circles until the twist is revealed that Rumple and Neal are sharing the same body. On one hand, it is quite smart, the reason why Zelena couldn’t fully control Rumple was because Neal’s obedience is not tied to the dagger, and it makes sense that Rumple would try to save Neal by sharing his body with him. But on the other hand, the execution is far from perfect, as the episode seems to be running around in circle only to reach to Neal’s death scene.

I don’t want to sound cold, but I had a really hard time feeling something of it. Jennifer Morrison and Robert Carlyle did an awesome job portraying the sadness of letting him go, but somehow having Neal talking both Emma and Rumple into letting him die felt awkward and cliché, as if the only reason he was able to speak for so long was for plot’s sake. I felt that Neal’s death was mostly a device to keep things moving forward more than it was a truly goodbye to the character and that’s not something I like.

The follow up is Emma and Charming bursting in Snow’s house to try to catch Zelena, and I must say that Snow seems borderline stupid for not understanding that Emma and Daving doing an assault in her house means that Zelena is the wicked witch. And obviously, she got away before they could face her.

With Neal dead, Zelena shows up and now that Rumple is Neal free she can take the dark one under her command. He tells her that the savior now knows who she is, but Zelena claims that it no longer matters, and I was truly happy that we could get on with the whole Zelena the nany storyline, which always felt odd to say the least.

On the subplot note, Regina gets to spend some time with Robin Hood and their chemistry on screen keep bursting. It’s unusual to have someone who can be as playful with Regina as Robin Hood, and it’s no wonder that he being so confident and fearless around Regina certainly attracts her to him. They quickly, but smoothly develop a dynamic which is fun and somewhat believable, their dialogue together is outstanding, as it is Regina’s sudden fear of happiness when she sees the lion tattoo and understand that Robin Hood is actually her soul mate.

This episode wasn’t truly bad, but it wasn’t good either, it felt like it tried to do too many things at once and it didn’t have a clear focus, which as a result gave birth to a very disjointed episode with some moments of greatness. Of those moments I have to say that Jennifer Morrison stole the final moment when she explained Henry that his father was dead, a moment filled with emotion and great acting from Morrison, but that can’t quite make up for an episode that was all over the place.

Grade: C+

Thankfully, “It’s Not Easy Being Green” was an outstanding episode as it regained focus and it finally took the storyline where it needed to be. Now everybody knows who The Wicked Witch is, so we can see our heroes dealing with the matter at hand while also exploring Zelena’s background in what has been one of the most entertaining episodes of the season.

Rebecca Madder does an incredible job playing Zelena, and she show us how she goes from what it seems a calm farm girl into a wicked jealous witch. The key to understanding Zelena’s motivation is jealousy, which comes directly from a feeling of rejection that comes from her adoptive father and her biological mother. She wants to have what Regina had, a family that was there for her. Of course, she doesn’t know what Regina went through with Cora, but she so badly wants to be wanted and needed that she bursts with jealousy when she gets to see that her sister supposedly gets it all.

So she gets a pair of slippers that can take her to the Enchanted Forest, where she meets Rumple who would soon become her master. She proves to be powerful and for once she doesn’t feel rejection as Rumple decides to make her his apprentice, which develops into love. But that love makes her dangerous, as the curse Rumple wants her to cast requires for her to give up the thing she loves most, and at that point it is obvious it is Rumple, so he goes ahead training Regina, and so the jealousy comes to such a point that Zelena’s whole body becomes green.

Back in Storybrooke, Zelena makes a public appearance in Granny’s so that she can reveal Regina that they are actually sisters. The direction is flawless in this scene and the camara show very good angles of both actresses, whose interactions are more than delightful. Both in the technical aspects and in the writing, the scene works wonders.

So Regina sets out to see if Zelena and she are actually related and upon finding a letter Rumple wrote she can see that Zelena is actually right. She doesn’t want to speak of this with anyone, but Robin Hood gets through her when they meet in the woods; it’s amazing how these two keep building this strong bond of mutual trust and the lines they share are almost flawless, and it’s nice to see Regina opening up to Robin Hood in a moment of vulnerability when she acknowledge how now she thinks Zelena is stronger than her.

Meanwhile, Emma and company try to use Belle and Rumple’s love as a way to break the dark one free of Zelena’s control; it backfires, as Rumple can’t help but obey the one holding the dagger, and as a result they are left no choice but to let Regina fight Zelena on her own.

The time for the showdown comes, it is night, and everyone is gathered as The Wicked Witch takes stage center; Emma tries to face her, but Zelena makes Rumple send her flying away, proving that she is not ready to face her yet. And just when she’s about to kill someone, Regina pops up so that they can get onto business.

The fight is brief and it ends way too soon, but the moment where Zelena tries to snatch Regina’s heart and her face when she realizes that Regina hid her heart is priceless, just as Regina’s remark “My mother taught me one thing, never bring your heart to a witch fight. Something you’d know if she hadn’t… abandon you.” Bam! Regina’s badassery in display! Lana Parrilla and Rebecca Madder’s face were absolutely amazing, spot on, and outright delightful. What a great delivery.

If there was thing I thought the episode was lacking it was probably the whole subplot with Hook teaching Henry how to sail; it was obviously there just so we could know what Henry was up and to keep him away from the whole hell that was being unleashed on town. Also, I don’t think Hook made a really good job at making him connect with Neal; it can be summed up to him saying at the end that Henry and Neal were alike. It wasn’t really interesting, but it doesn’t come anywhere near to stain an almost flawless episode.

Grade: A-

Stray Observation
-I practically left Lumiere out of my review, but to be honest aside from guiding Neal and Belle to a trap and then changing sides, he didn’t play much of a key role there.

-Robin Hood: “Is this magical?”
Regina: “Not exactly, but it is a liquid that can encounter courage, give strength or even act as a love potion of sorts.” *laughs* “It’s called whisky, and no, it’s not magical, especially the next day.”
Awesome delivery!

-Neal’s funeral had an odd vibe to it. It might be just me, but I had a hard time connecting to it, maybe because of how his death was delivered.

-Tinkerbell is back! Although she is reduced to gossip about boys with Regina, but she’s back!

-Zelena: “It’s not over. I will get your heart. I WILL HAVE EVERYTHING YOU EVER HAD!”
Regina: “Not today.”
Awesome, this moment is just outright awesome.

-Clueless Snow: “We are already in Storybrooke, what can else she can do to us?”
She can kill you, torture you, take your baby, among many other things if you put a little thought on it.

-I like the twist that Walsch was actually the wizard of Oz and that he came from our world. Many interesting questions come from that.
About the Author - Pablo
I'm currently studying Psychology while also writing fantasy books (one already published in my home country, Chile, you can check it out on the facebook icon). I watch many different types of shows, including my favorites Revenge, Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time and about 23 more. Currently writing reviews for Once Upon a Time, How I Met Your Mother and Community

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