ReviewsTelevision & Film

Recap: ONCE UPON A TIME There Was A Spell With A Twist


Episode 607 ” Heartless”
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by Ralph Hemecker

In this episode, there was a portable dungeon, flying hatchets, and a potion from the Underworld.


I’m still wondering how much more of our characters’ histories they can tell before it’s overkill. Still, it’s good to see that they’re moving through the subplots quickly and not stretching them out.

In flashback, the Huntsman/Woodcutter (Paul Johansson) was a bad guy. He disguised himself as a peddler to drug David (Josh Dallas) and use his dog to track Snow White (Gennifer Goodwin) for the Evil Queen. Inside the wagon he was using were chains and shackles. Snow, not yet a bandit, was trying to get money to pay for a ride on a ship to get away. David was going to the same destination, but to sell the family farm that they couldn’t afford to maintain.

Woodcutter or bug-eyed barbarian cosplay? (ABC/Jack Rowand) PAUL JOHANSSON
Woodcutter or bug-eyed barbarian cosplay? (ABC/Jack Rowand)

When the Woodcutter captured Snow in his porta-dungeon, David showed up, they fought, and the Woodcutter punched a hole in the box containing Snow. She was able to grab his arm and allow David to kill him. Snow gave David what little money she had collected so far. Their hands touched and caused a “spark of true love” that gave birth to a sapling at David’s feet. And they never saw each other.

So the two of them met well before they actually met. Got it. It’s one of those “destiny” things. Although they did a good job of hiding their identities from each other, it’s still a bit awkwardly shoehorned in. The destiny story arcs have been used so often elsewhere. To add yet another layer of history to the main characters seems a bit overkill.

He didn't even axe her what her name was. (ABC/Jack Rowand) GINNIFER GOODWIN, JOSH DALLAS
He didn’t even axe her what her name was. (ABC/Jack Rowand)

In Storybroke, Snow was sleeping in bed but then woke up in the woods where she was confronted by the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla). The Queen told her that she wants her heart, and David’s as well since they share the same heart. She gave Snow a potion. So was there really a reason for the advance notice of what the EQ planned to do? The taunting the scene represents seemed a bit unnecessary.

The potion turned out to be water from the River of Lost Souls in the Underworld. Regina (also Lana Parrilla) figured she got it from Gold’s shop to use it to destroy the town. This might have worked better if it came as a surprise toward the end rather than tipped by the Queen so early on.

Mother Superior (Keegan Connor Tracy) suggested that a magical sapling could be used to entrap the Queen. Yup, the same one from the Enchanted Forest. And she cast a spell to help lead them to it. Because magic. And convenience.

The royal couple is protected by an infant tree. (ABC/Jack Rowand) GINNIFER GOODWIN, JOSH DALLAS
The royal couple is protected by an infant tree. (ABC/Jack Rowand)

Regina wrote a note for Zelena (Rebecca Mader) to meet her at Gold’s shop, and signed it as the Evil Queen. That led to Zelena walking in on Gold (Robert Carlyle) and the Queen sharing a bit of romantic time in the back room. It shook things up in the alliance. Then they decided to use it to their advantage.

Once Snow and David both found and touched the sapling, their love history flashed before their eyes. Then the Evil Queen showed up and destroyed it. Good. The existence of the sapling as a solution seemed too convenient. Quickly getting rid of it was a good thing. Let the story build before bringing it back, assuming they do. If they don’t, it was pointless. She told them to give their hearts willingly or have the town destroyed.

It's so much easier to destroy the town when they're all in one place. (ABC/Jack Rowand) EMILIE DE RAVIN, REBECCA MADER
It’s so much easier to destroy the town when they’re all in one place. (ABC/Jack Rowand)

At a gathering in the cemetery, EQ threatened the townspeople with destruction if Snow and David didn’t show up. When they did show, she yanked their hearts out, put a curse on them, then shoved them back in. Snow collapsed and then vanished. Once the others found her, she was sleeping in the woods. David kissed her which woke her up, but caused him to fall asleep. In something that seems inspired by and an interesting twist on Ladyhawke, when one is awake, the other is asleep, a sleeping curse with a twist.

Zelena told Belle (Emilie de Ravin) about Gold and EQ. Apparently she didn’t care about that, just that Gold acquired the shears to use on their baby. Gold was not happy with Zelena.

There were a few hand of the writer moments, and a few parts that could have been done better. But it did help move the story along and didn’t stretch anything out. It should be interesting to see how the new curse plays out. And I would like to see more focus on the main topic of the season so far, the curse of the Savior.


Once Upon a Time airs Sunday nights at 8/7c on ABC.



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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