OpinionTelevision & Film

ONCE UPON A TIME Things Got A Bit Hairy


Episode 314 “The Tower”

 [Photos: ABC/Jack Rowand]

So this time they tried to make a horror film, but with more hair!


So Charming was in a castle and walked into a nursery, apparently Emma’s. Seems impossible. Then a fully-grown Emma showed up in a ball gown and wanted him to teach her to dance for the ball. He said her being there wasn’t possible. Emma says she wasn’t really there, since Charming failed her as a father. Cue the tungsten white balance, wind, swinging mobiles, doll with creepy spinning head, and psychotic clowns with chainsaws. (Okay, I made that last one up.) Emma got sucked into a vortex all Poltergeist-style while crying out for Charming not to royally botch it with the next one.

What paternal inadequacy leads to.
What paternal inadequacy leads to.

And it was all a dream. Charming woke up from his visions of paternal inadequacy. This is when Snow told him she was pregnant. Snow was happy. Charming? A bit uneasy.

Back in Storybrooke, Emma, Mary Margaret, David, Regina, and Hook were talking about looking for the Wicked Witch. Everyone decided to investigate, except Regina who was only concerned for Henry. Zelena went into the storm cellar where Rumpelstiltskin was caged up and spinning gold. She had Rumpel’s knife, giving her control over him. So she shaved him. It was a magical shave where she could do in one stroke what takes a normal razor ten. But it did give her the chance to nick him and draw a little blood. So Zelena went to Rumpel’s shop where Belle was tending to the store. Zelena asked for a baby gift for Mary Margaret. When Belle turned around to get something, she was magically frozen. Zelena then used Rumpel’s blood to open the hidden wall safe, pull out a jar, and take out a black root. Cue the suspenseful music, since she had a black root!

Shaving cream and aftershave lotion are for wimps.
Shaving cream and aftershave lotion are for wimps.

In Regina’s office, David found a partial footprint and a red spot on the carpet. He assured Emma and Hook that it wasn’t blood, but rather holly berry. And he knew exactly where in the woods to find it growing. Mary Margaret then called David away from his Batman-like detective impersonation to meet the midwife, leaving Hook and Emma to continue investigating.

Back to Fairy Tale Land. Charming was in a stable and had a nice male bonding moment with Robin Hood. They discussed protecting their families. Robin had gold-tipped arrows. Charming had fear. So Robin told him about some tree root in a haunted part of Sherwood forest called night root which had crystals which twinkle like stars that could get him over his fear. And he’s off!

Back in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret and Zelena were at the apartment talking when David walked in and met the new midwife. While Zelena made tea, Mary Margaret and David discussed whether or not they were friends with her in Fairy Tale Land. Zelena crushed some of that root, which is night root, into David’s mug before dropping in the tea bags. And as inhumanly quick Zelena was in heating the water and brewing the tea, they still didn’t suspect she has magical powers. Figure that one out.

In the Enchanted Forest, Prince Charming found some night root. But before he could sample the quality of the illicit narcotic, there was a voice. It was a damsel in distress! His Prince Charming instincts kicked in and he ran to the voice and finds … a really tall tower! He climbed part way up on vines. When the vines ended, there was an … odd … looking … rope. In a feat of athleticism that would make the Dread Pirate Roberts proud, he scaled the odd strands to the very top. At the top, he found a princess with a massive braid all over the floor, ending at her head. It was the first ever black Rapunzel! Looking for confidence in being a royal leader, she was looking for the same drugs that Charming was after. But when she took it, a witch appeared under a cloak and locked her in the tower. He offered to help her escape. Cue the witch, who can climb better than Charming.


"Rapunzel, I think you need a hair cut."
“Rapunzel, I think you need a hair cut.”

Back in Storybrooke. Snow, David, and Zelena were talking about anxieties when David finally took a drink of the drugged tea. Then Zelena said she had taken enough of his time and he should go back to the community business he was working on before being called away. So he drove into the woods in his old Ford pickup truck. stopped, got out, and retrieved his sword. Apparently he couldn’t be like all the others who drive an old Ford pickup truck and carry a shotgun or a rifle, he had to have a sword. A more civilized weapon for a more civilized age, I guess. (Wait, wrong story.) When he got out of the truck, what did he completely miss in the side mirror? It’s the night root-induced witch.

Meanwhile, Henry told Regina that he suspected Emma didn’t go to Storybrooke just for a case. However, he suspected it was her trying to ditch Walsh. He still didn’t know that Walsh was a flying monkey.

Emma and Hook were investigating in the woods when they came up on … a farmhouse! How original is that? Just before Emma was about to shoot the lock to the storm cellar, Hook stopped her and convinced her to call Regina for backup. When she pulled out her phone, she saw the voicemail from David that he was going to fight the evil witch. And they’re off!

Something else that paternal inadequacy leads to.

David started to fight the seemingly indestructible witch. He pulled off the hood only to find … himself. It was like the Mirror, Mirror universe, but without the goatee. Flashback to Fairy Tale Land, and the witch, in the same manner, was actually Rapunzel. The secret of the night root was that it forces one to overcome fear by facing it. And by having one get the crap knocked out of one’s self by it. Or get killed by it. Now that’s one powerful narcotic! So Charming was hanging on the vines outside the tower when the witch knocked him out the window. The witch was climbing up the braided hair. Rapunzel cut the hair and killed the witch.

Back to Storybrooke. David was fighting himself. The witch one sliced the blade off David’s sword. Paternal inadequacy taunting ensued. When David saw Emma pull up in her car, he admitted to being afraid, but wanted to be a good father. He then stabbed his witch self with his stub sword. The witch disappeared, and so did the stub sword. David, Emma, Hook, and Regina went back to the farmhouse.

When heading to the farmhouse, Regina revealed that when David raised his sword in courage, his courage transferred to the sword. Now the Wicked Witch had it. He no longer had his courage. (So it seems we have a Cowardly Lion. Who will be the Scarecrow and Tin Man?) The four showed up at the storm cellar, only to find that the lock had already been broken. They went in to find Rumpel’s cage, empty except for the spinning wheel with gold thread, revealing that the Dark One was back.

[Official Show Site at ABC]     [Previous recap: “Witch Hunt”]


Daniel C. Handley

Dan Handley was raised a Trekkie, fell in love with "Star Wars" at an early age, and became obsessed with comic book superheroes. He spent his youth dreaming of how to get real superpowers, starships, and so on.

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