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Once Upon a Time - Eloise Gardener - Review: "Something More Important Than My Revenge"



Note: This week aired two episodes back-to-back. This is the recap for the first of those two episodes; look for another recap later this week for the second.

Finally, an episode focused on Hook’s daughter! I’m excited! (Honestly, I kind figured they’d drag this out this mystery forever, so I'm glad they didn't.)

Wish Realm, many years ago

Alternate Timeline Hook - look it's Smee! - is in classic drunk Hook fashion, wearing the same outfit he did when we saw him make out with Emma all those years ago.

The Evil Queen, rocking hair extensions long enough to give me a headache - shows up, and there's some dialogue to establish where we are in Alternate Hook's timeline: post-Emma make out, pre-Regina casting the curse.

Regina explains that Snow White defeated her (yay, Snow!), so she's unable to cast the curse. But she's still evil and concocts a plan with Captain Hook that allows her to get what she wants, all while enticing Hook with the promise of getting his revenge on the Crocodile... So it seems like Milah was around in both timelines, then.

All Hook has to do is go find this witch who will help them out.

Cursed Realm

Rogers/Hook is at the crime scene from the end of last week's episode, where the bodies have the lost girl's sketched compasses tattooed on wrists.

Weaver/Rumple shows up and says Rogers is off the case since he's obsessed with the "strange wagon wheel shapes" and the missing girl.

Meanwhile at Roni's, Roni/Regina is distracted behind the bar. Henry and Jacinda/Cinderella show up to celebrate a very minor step forward with the whole food truck thing, and Roni essentially says Jacinda needs a real job so she can get Lucy back. And just like that, Jacinda's a bartender.

Amazing how that works out.

Henry brings up going to a concert and Jacinda accepts. While the happy couple chats, Ivy/Drizella shows up to casually threaten Roni. Also, they're both wearing scarves tied around their necks like bandanas this whole episode, and it's bizarre.

Ivy reminds Roni that Henry and Jacinda can't be allowed share true love's kiss and break the curse, so she needs to keep that little love story from happening.

Back at Victoria Belfrey/Lady Tremaine's office, Victoria is yelling at Lucy for running off on her own - which, as we previously established, is perfectly fine with all the adults on this show exactly 50% of the time, and cause for immediate alarm and panic the other 50% of the time. Lucy channels her grandmother's stubbornness and starts yelling that her mom and dad are going to break the curse and then Victoria will be all alone.

First of all, Michael Westen would never allow that. Second of all, Lucy needs to shut up! Doesn't she know that she's just setting up Henry and Jacinda for trouble?

Victoria brings tea to the mysterious woman again - does this chick solely subsist on tea? - and sees dirt on the floor. She knows someone else has been in to visit her prisoner and high tails it out of there to investigate.

Back at Roni's - you know, I'm assuming that despite being a big metropolis, this town only has this single bar/coffee shop, just like every other TV show - Rogers is intently studying his notes on the Eloise Gardener case.

Henry shows up to talk him through it and suggests that Eloise is dead, but Hook rejects that. “Ever since I’ve started looking for this girl, I’ve felt a connection… a bond," he explains. "I feel like we’re family. If she were dead, I would know it.”

So Henry deicides he's gonna tag along on the adventure.


Wish Realm

Alternate Timeline Hook and Smee are walking through dark forest when they arrive at a tower. Hook climbs up - bringing back memories of real Hook's climb up the beanstalk with Emma back in season 2 - and oh, it's Tangled.

As he climbs in, he trips over Rapunzel's hair (which is just kinda gross), but Hook doesn't care because he INSTANTLY hits on her. Dang, I miss fun, flirty, Hook. The guyliner and the witty innuendo was just so fun.... LET HOOK HAVE FUN AGAIN, ONCE WRITERS!

The blonde is disappointed Hook isn't there to rescue her, and he says a daring rescue may be in order once she hands over the magic he could use to defeat the crocodile. It's worth noting that Rapunzel, who has absolutely no reason to believe that this pirate saying "crocodile" means anything more than an actual crocodile, doesn't blink an eye at this.

She says magical flowers trapped her in this tower and Hook figures out that means he could use them to trap an immortal for eternity, which is so much better revenge than just killing someone.

She gives him directions to get the flowers with the hopes that he'll return for her, and he doesn't promise that he will... But I have a feeling he will, he has a thing for blondes.

Cursed Realm

Tilly/Alice is hanging out under her favorite tunnel, selling stolen watches. Rogers and Henry approach her with Eloise Gardener's sketchbook, asking if she's ever seen it before.

She says no, but she can tell by the sketches that this girl is a runaway with parents who don't care. That's an odd comment - since she's back on her "meds" as was explored a few weeks ago, does that mean she doesn't remember anything about her real self? Or does she still have bits shining through? I guess she's back to only having 100% cursed memories.

The guys arrange to meet Tilly in the park in a few hours with a marmalade sandwich, which continues to be such an odd character trait to emphasize.

Observing Hook's eagerness to solve the case, Tilly comments that, "[It] seems you need this as much as Eloise does."

Back at her office, Victoria is watching security footage to discover who's visited the mysterious woman, but it's been erased. Ivy is off somewhere being the worst, so Victoria searches her desk. She sees dirt on the bottom of her shoes - which she just keeps under her desk? - and thus figures out that she's the one who visited the mystery lady.

Weaver shows up to give Victoria a heads-up that Rogers is close to solving the Gardener case. Victoria says Weaver needs to break him of the obsession or she'll find someone who does it permanently... I feel like it's still too unclear what Weaver and Victoria's relationship is. Sometimes he's working for her, sometimes he's not.

If you just up and tuned into this show with no prior knowledge you'd be completely lost.


Wish Realm

Alternate Timeline Hook and Smee are looking for the magical flower in the witch's garden... Wait, is Rapunzel going to be his kid's mom? That's.... Unexpected. I kind of thought we would get a whole love story and get to see him fall in love and be happy or something. I hope she's not.

In order to find the flower, Hook and Smee apparently have to sing? Okay then. As Hook starts to sing, a little garden gnome turns its head and stares at them which is just super creepy and then oH MY GOSH WHAT IS HAPPENING.

WAIT, WHAT. THE GARDEN GNOME GETS HUGE AND STARTS CHASING THEM DOWN.

.... WHAT.

WHAT THE HECK.

ARE YOU SERIOUS WITH THIS, ABC?

Are there gnomes in Tangled? I've never seen it. I know there are trolls in Frozen, but I didn't think there were gnomes in Tangled. That is literally the ONLY reason I can forgive the ridiculousness of this scene, if they're paying homage to the film. Otherwise, this is just... I mean, what the heck was that?

Anyway. I guess this is happening.

So Hook, suddenly wishing he had left the show after last season too, swings at the gnome and starts to sing again. He sees a flower glowing and grabs at, which gets the gnome to fall apart right before it attacks him.

When Smee asks him what he was singing, he said it was a lullaby his mom used to sing. I bet you a million dollars that song comes back before the end of this episode.

Cursed Realm

Waaaaaiiit they did that TV thing where they zoom in on one character's eye and then pan out from another character's eye implying they're related. They just did that with Hook and the mystery chick... There's no way she is the daughter, right? She looks way too old.... OH my gosh, it's Rapunzel. How did I not see it before. The mystery woman is Rapunzel. That's why her hair is so insane.

Victoria accuses Rapunzel of waking Drizella up from the curse and threatens to imprison her forever.

At the bar, Roni is still looking at that picture of her and young Henry. Jacinda interrupts her reflections to talk about how happy she is about having a job, and having a date, and being well on her way to getting Henry back.

Why are these two grown women, aged 38 and 40, dressed like they just raided a Limited Too?

Roni remembers Ivy's threat and reluctantly starts to talk Jacinda out of dating Henry. She basically says that new, unstable relationships are seen as a liability and social services will ask Victoria about him. Jacinda doesn't like it, but hears what she's saying.

Down at the docks, Rogers and the Henry are waiting on Tilly, and Hook is a little ticked a a girl hawking watches is late. While they wait, Rogers confesses that one of the reasons this whole lost girl case has stuck with him for so long is that he used to have a drinking problem and that may have prevented her from finding her so many years ago.

(So is this how Alternate Timeline Hook is going to lose her in the Wish Realm? Drinking problem? And then once she's gone, he devolves from dashing Alternate Timeline Hook to full-blown overweight drunk Hook? I guess that must be it... Do y'all think we'll see that happen this season?)

Tilly finally makes an appearance, but she's anxious and says Rogers isn't going to want to hear what she has to say. She presents the detective with a drawing ripped from a notebook and Rogers immediately matches it to a missing page in Eloise Gardener's sketchbook. But before he can get too excited, Tilly breaks the news: Eloise is dead, she died in a car crash. (Fun fact: Death from car crash is how 99% of fan fiction writers explain away Milah in their AU Killian's tragic past.)

Rogers steps back, heartbroken. Tilly has tears in her eyes, too. But there's something else - it feels to me like she was testing him. Did anyone else get that feeling? That she wanted to see his reaction?

He retreats to the docks and is still sitting there hours later, staring at a bottle. He thinks about drinking but ultimately chooses not too, slamming the bottle down. When a drop of rum touches the drawing and makes it smear, he realizes something: the drawing is fresh.

Wish Realm

Alternate Timeline Hook returns to Rapunzel in her tower and presents her with the flower so she can escape. “Abandoning people just ins’t my thing,” he explains.

And then... Dang she goes after it. Rapunzel goes from zero to running her fingers through his chest hair in about three seconds. I mean, if you'd been locked alone in a tower for years and the first person you see is a man who looks like that? Yeah, you'd do it too. Hook does a little eyebrow dance as she makes the moves on him, clearly into it.


Cursed Realm

Henry - who must be really making a killing in late night Swyft rides, since he's always free during the day and early evening - is filling Roni in on Eloise being dead. When he spots Jacinda, the pair talk about their upcoming date and she tries to let him down easy. She's working a double shift, she'll call him, etc, etc.... She walks away, leaving Henry confused and Roni feeling guilty.

At the police station, Weaver is in the evidence locker and looking at - oh no - it's Rumple's dagger! Hidden in one of the evidence boxes!

Rogers rushes in, eager to tell Weaver that the page Tilly gave him was a fake. It turns out that Weaver was behind the whole thing, prompted by Victoria's threats.

When Rogers gets angry, Weaver explains that he didn't do it for Victoria; he did it to protect Rogers. “Because you don’t know what’s going on around here... I know you think you do, but you don't. Eloise Gardener is not who you’re looking for.”

Finally, someone starts to tell Rogers the truth! But he doesn't hear the meaning behind Weaver's words, and all Rogers cares about is that Eloise is still out there somewhere, alive.

Rogers rushes off to Belfrey's office to speak to Victoria, but is intercepted by Ivy. The two plan to track Victoria's car so he can see where she's going, as Rogers is convinced that she's at the bottom of the entire missing child case.

Wish Realm


Hook, looking very happy after his little one-night stand, is about to leave Rapunzel's tower when... A baby starts crying?

"That little cry is the sound of my freedom," Rapunzel explains.

Oh, no.... Oh, no, no, no. Please say this isn't how Hook's daughter came to be. Not as a quirk of magic or blackmail from a witch.

Rapunzel walks over to pick up the baby, and surprise! It's Hook's baby! And Rapunzel turns into the mysterious crazy haired lady that Victoria has locked away!

Dangit.

Hook rightfully says that's impossible, and she says, "Not if there's magic involved.”


Duuuude this is SO messed up. Also, I wonder if there are any kids watching this who haven't yet had the birds and the bees talk and are going to have some very inaccurate beliefs about babies for years.

Anyway. So it turns out the witch isn't Rapunzel, she's merely an evil witch who intended to capture Rapunzel but the girl turned the tables on her, so she's been trapped in the tower for years. The only way she can escape the prison is by leaving someone in her bloodline to taker her place... which is why Hook was needed.

Hook is upset she’s going to abandon the baby, which is one of the more messed up things we've seen a villain do, ever. The witch doesn't care because she has more important things to do, like hopefully find a comb.

"Don't brood for too long," she says, then bounces. Welp, too late. Dude was cast on the show for his brooding abilities.

Alternate Timeline Hook is left in the tower with the baby, and WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING IN THIS EPISODE.

Cursed Realm

Detective Rogers has gone a little off the reservation and is now illegally tracking Victoria's car. He sneaks into the building where she's parked, gun drawn, and sees her exit a storage room.

She demands to see his warrant - fair - and he just handcuffs her to some shelves and goes in to find someone huddled under a blanket.

Rogers pulls the blanket off, saying he's waited "a long time to find you, Eloise," (which is a bit presumptious) and.... It's the mysterious chick! AKA Rapunzel! And... He just accepts her as Eloise?

.... She's a grown woman.

Rogers ushers her out of the storage area, reassuring her that Victoria can't hurt her anymore. Rapunzel (I don't think we've been given her cursed name yet) just laps it up, thanking him for saving her.

.... What? Just.... What?

Wish Realm

Regina's wig is getting along nicely with Alternate Timeline Hook's crew. When Hook shows up, he passes along the golden flower to the Evil Queen and gives the Jolly Roger to Smee (I miss Smee!) and sends them both off.

“I have something more important than this mission and my revenge to tend to,” he explains.

Which, okay. We knew Alternate Timeline Hook was a good guy and this confirms it, but... In our world, Original Hook was absolutely obsessed with revenge. I don't think he would've abandoned a child, but he certainly would have tried to figure out a way to watch the kid while still besting the crocodile.

Alternate Timeline Hook (who shall henceforth be known as Daddy Hook) returns to the tower where he starts... singing the lullaby to the baby. I win my bet! The baby is adorable and he names her after his mother, "Alice." Well, yay! Comments section, you were right all along! We did it!

Alice/Tilly is Hook's daughter!

As he keeps singing, I'd like to remind all of you that this actor starred in a movie in which he played a burned out Nashville singer called The Dust Storm. Do with that what you will.

Cursed Realm

Rogers loads Rapunzel into an ambulance and Tilly appraches to apologize for the fake drawing. (Which she did, right? So technically, it's not really a fake page.) Rogers pulls the ultimate dad move saying he's not mad, he's just disappointed. "You're not the person I thought you were," he tells Tilly.

Tilly cries as Rogers leaves in the ambulance with Rapunzel.

Meanwhile, the cops have retrieved Victoria from where she was handcuffed to the shelves and are leading her away. Ivy interrupts to say goodbye to her mother and gloat at how she freed Rapunzel and imprisoned Victoria.

Victoria is insistent that Ivy has made a terrible mistake: "You have no idea what you just let crawl into the world, but you will find out."

Ivy doesn't care at all, and does a great job of switching between haughty and faking sadness when the cops come back to stick her mom in the back of their car.

At Roni's, Henry shows up (as usual) to share that Victoria is going to jail, which is great news for everyone! No one is under Victoria's thumb any more - the bar is safe, Henry and Jacinda can date, and Lucy can go back home with her mom.

Jacinda rushes off to get Lucy immediately, only to find her in the care of a team of social service workers and Ivy. They're there to ensure that Lucy gets put into the system now that Vitoria has been jailed.

... I’m confused, why is this happening? Why was Lucy taken away to begin with? Jacinda doesn't have a great track record with jobs, but... I don't believe that all single parents with checkered employment histories have their kids taken away. Does this mean that Victoria alerted child services on her own? And then petitioned to get custody of Lucy on her own? Because I don't think it works that way, either! ... I guess it makes sense in the cursed world, since no one really questions anything.

Gosh, this episode gave me a headache.

I've really liked the reboot thus far, but I feel like this episode is where my patience ran thin. (Sorry for being a bit pessimistic in this review.) What did everyone think?





 
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