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Recap: ONCE UPON A TIME Sibling Rivalries Came To An End


Episode 519 “Sisters”
Written by David H. Goodman and Brigitte Hales
Directed by Romeo Tirone

In a more than wonderful recovery from last week’s stinker, a couple of sibling rivalries ended. But now they’re running out of villains! It almost seems as if villains don’t disappear, they’re on redemption arcs.


In flashback, a young Regina (Ava Acres) was basically lonely with no friends, just a doll she would play with pretending it was real. When Cora (Barbara Hershey) left a wand inside a box in a drawer and forgot to take the key, Regina got the wand out and tried to turn the doll into a real person. It backfired and put Regina into some sort of coma. Since Cora’s magic put her in that state, it couldn’t get her out. She needed someone close to her that also could do magic. So Cora went and found a young Zelena (Isabella Blake-Thomas). She was stacking firewood by a cabin in the woods and not doing too well at it. So she used her magic, which prompted her “father” (Adrian Hough) to raise a hand against her for it. Before he could strike, Cora froze him in place.

Cora took Zelena to Regina. Cora was then shocked that the young Zelena could already perform the complicated magic procedure, and Regina came out of the coma. The two girls then became instant besties. When playing together, they found the box with the wand in it. Zelena touched it and it opened. But it was sealed with blood magic, which means that in order to open it, they would have to be related. Cora revealed that the two were sisters. As the two girls were excited about that fact, Cora separated them and used a special water that would make them forget about each other. It’s a bit awkward for that part of their history to come to light at this point. But they did manage to make it work.

In the Underworld, adult Zelena (Rebecca Mader) and Hades (Greg Germann) went out on a “date” overlooking Underbrooke. There, he revealed that all of our intrepid heroes now have their names on grave stones ensuring they won’t be able to leave. He did that after Snow managed to escape. Regina (Lana Parrilla) then confronted her about the encounter after spying on Zelena using a magic mirror.

In order to get Zelena in line, Regina went to find Cora who was eternally condemned to milling flour under the supervision of two men. She found Killian’s hook hidden in a load of wheat she was to mill. She then used it to cut off the arm band that was negating her magic. And then she escaped, meeting up with Killian (Colin O’Donoghue).

Sister bonding time. (ABC/Jack Rowand)
Sister bonding time. (ABC/Jack Rowand)

Working with Regina, Cora collected some water that would cause someone to forget and concocted a plan to use it on Zelena to make her forget Hades. They went to Zelena’s residence where Cora visited and wanted to talk to her. Regina slipped in through the back. When Cora tried to get Zelena to drink it mixed in a glass of regular water, she didn’t go for it. After a near fight between Zelena and Regina, Cora helped them to rediscover the memory of their time being happy sisters. They then buried the hatchet and Cora was able to cross over to the other side to her version of Heaven. Zelena then set out to try and get Hades to turn to the good side. In many ways that is good. As much fun as it has been to see Zelena being wicked and she and Regina against each other, that has pretty well worn itself out.

James (Josh Dallas) confronted David (also Josh Dallas) before knocking him out and taking his place. When he was finally alone with Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Robin (Sean Maguire), he revealed himself, pulled a handgun on them, and then Cruella (Victoria Smurfit) showed up. This led up to a confrontation and fight between David and James. When James pulled a knife, David threw him into the water, damning his soul for eternity. For a confrontation that had such a massive build up, it was a bit anticlimactic. That deception story line came to an end way too quickly and should have played out a bit more.

Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) wanted to get his retaliation on Zelena for providing Belle (Emilie de Ravin) with the needle that put her into the sleep spell. As Zelena was going to the diner to meet with Hades for dinner, she was intercepted by Rumpel. He had sworn not to harm her. But he instead introduced her to his father, Peter Pan (Robbie Kay).

Altogether, it was a pretty good episode. And after the last one, it was a welcome relief.


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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