ReviewsTelevision & Film

Recap: ONCE UPON A TIME A Hired Revenge Killer Was On The Loose


Episode 602 “A Bitter Draught”
Written By Andrew Chambliss & Dana Horgan
Directed By Ron Underwood

In this episode, there was blood magic, an invisible force field, sword fighting, and revenge killings!


How much untold background can these characters possibly have? New characters are constantly being fit in who mingle with the background of the principals and somehow never figured into the stories before. Although it’s being done rather seamlessly, it becomes less believable with each character shoehorned in. This time, it’s a one-shot with the Count of Monte Cristo.

In flashback, the Count (Craig Horner) (Monte Cristo, not the Sesame Street one) held a ball to attract and kill the Baron (Andrew Kavadas) that squandered his family fortune and killed his fiancee. After pulling his sword and turning the Baron into a pincushion, all the guests ran out and left the Count … and the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla). How convenient. She offered him a list of others who wronged him and his fiancee in exchange for killing Snow White (Gennifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas). Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) had cast a spell to keep the queen from killing them. So she needed help. The whole convenient appearance to corrupt or sway guest characters by Regina or Rumpelstiltskin is getting a bit old and stale at this point.

Why does this invitation have a Publisher's Clearing House logo? (ABC/Eike Schroter) JARED GILMORE
Why does this invitation have a Publisher’s Clearing House logo? (ABC/Eike Schroter)

So he went to a recently destroyed village (trashed by the Evil Queen, of course) and posed as the sole survivor. Snow and Charming came by and “rescued” him and had Snow’s handmaiden, Charlotte (Andrea Brooks), tend to his burns. She instantly reminded the Count of his fiancee. Regina gave him some snake venom to kill them with.

He served the couple tainted wine when Charlotte joined them. She was leaving and they were having a toast to say goodbye. Before Charlotte could drink it, he stopped them and offered to fetch an even better wine instead for the occasion.¬†Rumpelstiltskin appeared in the wine cellar and poisoned Charlotte himself. There was no antidote, but he would stop the venom’s progress if the young Count would cross over to the Land of Untold Stories and never return.

Back in Storybrooke, take a wild guess who returned. The Count¬†left an invitation with Henry (Jared Gilmore) for Snow and David to meet with him. Regina broke the news that he’s out to kill them since she hired him, and that was the purpose of the invitation.

Emma (Jennifer Morrison) wanted to get them to safety but instead crashed into an invisible barrier on the city limits, which destroyed a sheriff’s cruiser and clearly showed that the Dopey tree still isn’t where it’s supposed to be! Consistency, people! The force field was made using ingredients from Regina’s vault which was sealed using blood magic. Zelena (Rebecca Mader) denied being involved, and refused to give up that the Evil Queen was behind it.

There was a big sword fight with the Count against Snow and David where he revealed he wanted to stop but couldn’t since the Evil Queen had his heart. The two got knocked out and Regina showed up just before he could kill the couple. Another sword fight that Regina basically lost. But she threw her sword and fatally turned the Count into a kebob before he could finish the job. Even though Henry, Snow, and David reassured her that there was no other choice than to kill him, she was broken up about doing it.

Enter the Evil Queen. The whole thing was to set Regina up as to spark a little bit of darkness that can grow so that she would be the cause of everyone else losing their happy endings. Really? Still on the whole happy ending thing? They’ve been stretching out the whole happy ending thing since season 1. Can’t there be happy endings followed by a new adventure? But instead, they’re still looking for the same happy endings.

Still up to no good. (ABC/Eike Schroter) LANA PARRILLA
Still up to no good. (ABC/Eike Schroter)

Also, Belle (Emilie de Ravin) is now living on Hook’s (Colin O’Donoghue) ship since her split with Rumpelstiltskin. And Emma is still having counseling sessions with Archie (Raphael Sbarge) and is worried that the hooded figure that kills her is actually Regina.

A good episode overall. But had some predictable elements with the guest character of the week. It also continues to stretch the happy ending idea which is getting a bit old. Bring it to an end and start a new adventure. And the writers have mentioned Dopey being a tree in interviews. So why isn’t the Dopey Tree being shown where he was planted? I’d like to see some consistency there.


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
25 × 16 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
%d bloggers like this: