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Once Upon a Time - Where Bluebirds Fly - Review

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“Where Bluebirds Fly” was a definite return to form and one of the most enjoyable Once Upon a Time episodes out of the last handful that have aired. Initially I expected this to be a filler episode, a breather right before the big bad Black Fairy back story. And for some parts it was; we had the levity of Snow and Charming trying to help plan their daughter’s wedding, along with the flashbacks to Oz. However, the meat of the episode, the story of Zelena still trying to fit in with her family and her sacrifice for them, gave us a peek into the Black Fairy’s plan and resulted in consequences that will have an effect on the remaining season six episodes.

Rebecca Mader shone like an emerald in this episode, displaying both the tart bite that Zelena had back in Oz and the softer, maternal protectiveness that Baby Robin brings out in her. Balanced between is a woman who struggled to fit in, one of simplest and most common stories there are, yet "Where Bluebirds Fly” didn’t feel clich├ęd, over dramatic, or sentimental. I admit I felt Regina was a bit too hard on her older sis in this episode, but the Black Fairy made a fair point. Zelena was living alone on the edge of town, not really being a part of anything, so for what reason would she stay? While the Crimson Heart seemed a bit too convenient, Zelena giving up her powers, a huge part of her identity as the Wicked Witch, is a great plot that I hope is explored thoroughly in the future.

Speaking of the Black Fairy, this was the episode where she was at her creepiest. She still hasn’t hit Cora or Snow Queen levels, but the fact that everything is a big joke to her is becoming very off putting. As the Black Fairy held Baby Robin in the beginning of the episode and quipped about that new baby smell, I legitimately was concerned that her tone implied she ate babies. I have no idea where that came from, but it goes with this impish quality that’s being built for the Black Fairy. Nothing is a threat to her, so she doesn’t have to menace or stomp around. Nothing can touch her, so she’s amused by everything. It brings to mind Rumpelstiltskin in season one; a manic presence that didn’t have a care in the world other than to meddle for their own ends.

I enjoyed that we revisited Oz, one of my favorite lands visually on the show. Oz is always brighter and warmer than the Enchanted Forest. The green vials of liquid with their ascending bubbles always give a perpetual sense of motion to the scenes. Everything is constantly stirring in Oz. Mentioning effects; the CGI for the Cowardly Lion was remarkably good. I was honestly shocked when it dragged of the Tin Man in one scene, and felt sorry for its cowardly turn in the next. My favorite scene was towards the end with Zelena contemplating leaving Storybrooke before summoning the green cyclone. The wide shots combined with the snow and rustic setting of the farmhouse really invoked a homey feeling, which helped the audience feel conflicted about Zelena leaving.

Wedding Planner Snow White was so much fun to watch. These are the little mundane side stories and details that I’ve missed in the past few episodes of Once Upon a Time. When Snow plunked that huge binder with swatches on the table, I knew this would be fun. Now, hopefully Wedding Planner Snow White sticks around for another episode or two and isn’t just a one off joke because there is potential for her to drive everyone crazy and bring some comic relief to potentially heavy upcoming episodes.

Now, as many readers know, I have a vendetta against the Blue Fairy. I’ve thought for many years, like so many other fans, that she has an agenda and isn’t at all what she seems nor should she be trusted. And it appears that these theories may partially come to fruition on Once Upon a Time for we learn right at the end of this episode that Blue knows the secret as to why the Black Fairy gave up Rumple. I’m excited to delve into the history of the fairies and give both Blue and the Black Fairy a backstory, and I appreciate the writers giving a bit of a nod to a long-held fan belief.

As we race towards the end of the season we have only the back story for the Black Fairy, the much anticipated musical episode, and a two hour finale left. I have high expectations of how Once Upon a Time will wrap everything up, but I can say if they stay on the upward trend ‘Where Bluebirds Fly” started, the audience shan’t be disappointed.

Tune in next week for “The Black Fairy”!

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