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Once Upon a Time - The Black Fairy - Review

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“The Black Fairy” did not disappoint! Considering how much information was delivered to the audience, this episode was a quick yet even paced journey into some of the deepest lore of Once Upon a Time. And even though it’s retroactively fleshing out the story we thought we knew in season one, where “The Black Fairy” succeeds is how the audience’s understanding of past events is enhanced by the new knowledge brought by the episode. With “Awake”, the change in our understanding of events felt so jarring and unwelcome because we had already seen most of the beginning, middle, and end of that story. The new information in “The Black Fairy” isn’t an intrusion into what the audience has imagined in the gaps between flashbacks. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this episode; it took the momentum from last week and continued to run with it.

Speaking of last week, I really relished the moments between Regina and Zelena in “The Black Fairy”. Not just the comedic ones (though it was thrilling and hilarious to see Zelena send the Black Fairy cartwheeling into the air via car bumper then have the latter dust herself off and leave in a huff), but the true sisterly heart to heart that was had during the driving lesson. Regina and Zelena’s relationship has hit a peak here; Zelena is accepting help from Regina and Regina is willing to trust Henry, the most precious thing in her life, with her sister. Not to say there isn’t room for sibling rivalry and conflict. I feel like we’re likely to see a less murder-y variety from now on, which is ok in my book since now that this pair of women has been through so much together, any regression to their previous hostility comes off as bratty and a bit tedious. My favorite line from Regina and Zelena’s conversation in the car was Regina telling Zelena that it would be Henry who would raise his aunt. It was very affectionate and Zelena’s simple acceptance with a grin sealed the feeling as mutual. “The Black Fairy” has also introduced the interesting idea of The Wicked Witch of the West functioning without magic. Zelena’s magic has been a crutch for her for so long, both in story and in terms of how she’s used in a plot, so I’m excited that there’s an opportunity for the writers to flesh out new skills for her.

Switching gears, I feel vindicated knowing that the Blue Fairy knew about all the dark secrets and drama the whole time. While it’s not the “Darth Vader” reveal to the Blue Fairy’s shadiness I’d dreamed of, the idea that the Blue Fairy was cognizant of who Rumple was, the Dark Curse, and many factors leading up to our heroes’ current predicaments, it does cause you to go back in the seasons and side eye some of her more dubious actions. Now, I do know and freely admit that this is retroactive and most likely not the writers’ intent in those early seasons, I know there is no grand Blue Fairy Conspiracy. However, that doesn’t stop the tiny acknowledgement that the Blue Fairy has sneakily been sitting on the Black Fairy’s secret for hundreds of years from being fun and satisfying. It is a testament to the writers of the show to take something that has been batted around by fans for so long and incorporate it into the plot in a way that isn’t jarring or dripping with fanservice. I really loved the actual back story portions of “The Black Fairy”. It made so many little things about her make sense, like why she stole babies and how she was able to have a child of her own. Her descent into desperation was obviously compressed in order to fit into one episode; you could do a whole season of Once Upon a Time slowly showing how Fiona turned into the Black Fairy. However, the pacing and the decision on what peaks in the Black Fairy’s descent to showcase are what made this heavy of back story work. There wasn’t any filler, which was more than ok since trying to figure out the “why” of the Black Fairy captivated most of the audience’s attention.

Towards the end of the episode, it’s remarkable the sympathy that develops for the Black Fairy. Particularly when she has her heart to heart with Rumple; that was the moment I actually truly felt sorry for her. She is still the enemy though, as everyone seems to be chained to destiny on Once Upon a Time despite their best meddling. I’m curious as to Rumple’s true intentions. Is he joining his mother for good, or is he playing her from the inside by gaining her trust? My vote is on the latter. I have to remark upon another of my favorite lines from this episode that ties into Rumple’s current alignment. The Dark One asks Belle if she trust him and she replies that she trusts… that he’ll do the right thing. I absolutely love this line. It shows that while there is healing and Rumple and Belle have grown closer over their mutual concern for their son, things between them are still not perfect and they may never be. I truly appreciate that the writing staff has carried Belle’s wariness of Rumple this far; they haven’t allowed her to forget all those times before when he was, pardon my French, a bastard. And unfortunately, Rumple’s current actions are proving that Belle was right to say that she only trusts the Dark One’s intentions. With the end looming over Once Upon a Time, I have faith that Rumple will put the family that he built over the family that is his blood. After all, that’s one of the core things about the show; who you are is based on choices and actions, not bloodlines and divination.

Tune in next week for the much-anticipated musical episode, “The Song in Your Heart”!

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