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Once Upon a Time – Last Rites – Review

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I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed in Once Upon a Time the way I am after this episode. Long time readers or followers of my Twitter feed know that I’m more of a “wait and see” type of person. I’ve always defended the show. But I feel that killing off Robin Hood was a misstep. I’d say that with the two hour season finale still left there is hope to see Robin again, but after the many exit interviews with Robin Hood’s actor, I’m left disheartened. Robin Hood got a hero’s death; it was especially touching to see his soul bid Regina one final good bye. The funeral scene was also a beautiful tribute to the father and prince of thieves. The roses bound to arrows were just the perfect touch. However, there is no denying Robin has been absent for much of season 5b and now he will be absent for the remainder of the series when there were so many more stories to tell.

I’d hate to tie Robin’s development and story so closely to another character, but everything is pointing to the next conflict being how this loss will affect Regina. I think it’s a disservice to her character to lose Robin. The show has spent seasons building up this couple, of showing that even the Evil Queen can get a happy ending. We’ve seen Robin and Regina slowly grow close, we’ve seen them torn apart, and we got the satisfaction of this pair finally reuniting. And now everything that’s been built up is gone. I feel this sets Regina’s story back to where it was a few seasons ago. I have faith that she will make good, heroic choices when dealing with her grief; she has a support system now and learning that she can achieve happiness has caused her to grow. But I also feel the audience got so little time with these two characters as a couple.

What disappoints me the most is that Once Upon a Time did what I feared and gave in to the growing trend of killing off main characters. We’ve seen it in so many other shows recently that the viewers are quickly growing numb to this kind of event. It’s not about consequences; it’s much more interesting to show characters dealing with a problem, such as a separation or conflict of philosophies, and work through that rather than shock a character with a death and then have them move on. There was an interesting plot growing between Robin, Regina, and Zelena with the former pair having a conflict over Regina’s new trust in Zelena. We could have seen how the three of them deal with raising the baby. By the way, the name “Robin” for the baby is a fitting tribute to her late father. The more I think about the less cheesy I find it, it’s just very appropriate now. I just feel as if we were cheated out of more time with Robin Hood.

Despite all of this, “Last Rites” was not a bad episode, it was very well written and paced. The emotional scenes were glorious, particularly Regina and Zelena’s shock and grief in the mayoral office. The acting was superb. I enjoyed the reintroduction of King Arthur and felt it appropriate that this sinister version of the character became the new Lord of the Underworld. The humor in this episode, when it occurred, was on point. I loved Rumple reintroducing Moe French to an “old friend”, namely his cane. And everything involving Cruella is always delicious fun.

As soon as Hades showed his true colors I had a feeling he and Zelena would never be. At least for the Wicked Witch’s sake she has learned that she is worthy of love, but also that she has the power to control that love. Zelena doesn’t have to settle and knows she deserves more. It was quite amusing to see Hades give one of his evil speeches while cradling a baby swaddled in a pink blankie. My favorite part of all this was the fact that all Zelena wanted was a nice, quiet, normal life.

Hook’s reentry into Storybrooke felt odd to me, that Zeus just decided he could go back. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it. On one hand I’m glad to see Emma not have to lose someone again. Her biggest fear, the thing that causes her walls to go up and her armor to slide into place, is her fear of abandonment. Emma was so defeated in this episode. So for her sake I’m glad Hook returned. On the other hand, the victory felt hollow when paired with the loss of Robin Hood. But perhaps that was the intent.

I’m willing to give the writers the benefit of the doubt as Robin’s death feels like something more. They have things planned and the season five finale is almost upon us. Death isn’t always final on Once Upon a Time and viewers should look at the resurrections of characters like the Blue Fairy, Charming, and Rumpelstiltskin as hope rather than confirmation one character gets the short end of the stick more than others. This entire half of season five has constantly reminded the viewers that Henry is the Author and the Author wields the power to write people back to life. Despite my disappointment with this turn of events I respect that there’s still more story to tell and as I’ve said before, the ball is in the writers’ court on how they want to develop recent events. I’m interested to see where season six will take us and just what Rumple is up to next with that crystal.

Tune in for the two hour Once Upon a Time season finale, starting an hour early at 7pm/6pm CST!

About the Author – Ashley B
Ashley is as serious as a sleeping curse when she says television is her life. Professional event planner, avid movie viewer, convention enthusiast, and resident sass master, Ashley writes reviews for ABC's Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and Galavant, as well as Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. She looks forward each week to the weird and wonderful world her favorite television programs provide.
Recent Reviews by Ashley B (All Reviews)

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