‘Once Upon A Time’ 7×12 Review: “A Taste Of The Heights”

Well, Oncers – I’m back with another review! This time all I can say is there were things that I loved about this episode and there were things I hated. It was an episode that revealed things – pushed plots forward – but to be honest – it felt lacking. This close to a series finale – you’d expect more from them – and this is what we get. It was an episode that can easily be described as forgettable.

And just like anyone else, I prefer to get the bad news out of the way first. Leave the good news till the end. I will leave this review on a high note. So – I’ll do the good, the bad and the ugly – but in reverse. It’s the best way I could think of approaching this.

The Ugly

There are many things in this show that we can call ugly – ok. I don’t need to rehash it – we’ve been there, done that. At least outside the confines of “A Taste Of The Heights”.

The one storyline introduced in the this episode that lands in this category is the reveal of Regina’s new love interest – Dr. Facilier – who we saw in “Greenbacks”. We know he has a connection to Tiana – which is also explored in the episode. However – they are just now revealing not only does he have a connection to Regina, they have a romantic relationship.

wicked-chocolatine

I knew that she was getting a love interest this season – but I don’t know how to swallow this one. Eddy and Adam thought that this was going be an “interesting relationship”  to show us – and so far I don’t find that to be the case.

Facilier has caused a lot of pain and drama for Tiana – and still is. We know Regina has gone through this massive redemption arc – but putting her in a relationship with someone like Facilier – in my opinion – back steps her development. Did I think all of the Evil Queen would be gone from her – no. She’s still locked deep inside – and bringing this relationship to light proves this. Because not only do they show this relationship in the flashbacks – they show it in Hyperion Heights at the end of the episode.

How could Regina even think this is a good idea? So, interesting is not the word I would use to describe this and honestly – with so few episodes left – where are they taking this?? Introducing a relationship that I can’t seem to find where it came from or relate to so close to the end, when there are so many more stories that can be told – seems like a waste.

I’m just asking why they thought this particular relationship was a good idea – or as they said interesting. The last thing that needs to be done so close to the end of Once is undoing character development. I fear this may happen here.

Also – I believe if they REALLY wanted to introduce this – they should’ve done it WAY SOONER than this. We have 10 episodes left and they are just now revealing this information. How do you make it work with so little time left? I believe this to be a bad decision – and an ugly one for Regina’s character at this point in the show to even make the version we have of Regina now revisit this relationship, one that appears to have happened before the first curse was cast.

The Bad

Above I noted the reappearance of Dr. Facilier to the show. In this episode – we not only get to see his cursed persona – but we see more of him and Tiana interacting. The drama he causes her by saving Naveen’s life but not telling her where is. By making Naveen pay the price for using his magic on him. Oh – and of course, it happens on Tiana’s coronation day. She does still get her crown – and it’s beautiful.

Is this the start of Tiana and Naveen’s journey to love? I’ll get to that later, but I definitely think Facilier has a role here. Did Facilier – as he did in the classic story from which this plot comes from – literally turn Naveen into a frog? Guess we will have to find out.

But Facilier – well – is he actually the alligator that almost kills Naveen? What else is he up to? I did love Hook’s line – “Alligator, crocodile – they both kill people!” (I’m sure that’s a Rumple reference – and if so – my theory is quite possible.)

In Hyperion Heights – we see Facilier in his “cursed persona” – he’s awake and he’s always been. His name is Mr. Samdi and Regina and Zelena realize who he is rather quickly – and also that he is awake. We do get this epic sister swap trick from them though to test if Facilier is awake. They also know he’s up to something. Does it have to do with the dying witches? Or he actually killing them himself? Will Regina figure this out before it’s too late? And again – why I say that Facilier being her love interest makes no sense. This can’t end well.

 

They ask what he wants – he’s not very forthcoming. We see later in the episode that he is using Naveen’s cursed counterpart – Drew – to hurt Sabine’s food truck business. Drew eventually helps Sabine out with giving her his safety permit (BTW, I don’t think they are interchangeable) – but it allows for her to actually get to sell her delicious Cajun food at the street fair – which I’ll talk about later. That’s for the next part.

But we see Drew and Mr. Samdi talking – and it doesn’t seem like Drew knows that this man isn’t good news. So, as I said – Facilier is causing Sabine and Drew – or Tiana and Naveen  – issues wherever they are.

But for me – Facilier isn’t good news – and to be honest if they were going to introduce him – for MANY reasons – they should’ve done it sooner. This plot needs more time to grow and they aren’t letting it do that. Will this plot get better than I think with 10 episodes remaining? I’m not counting on it.

The Good

Now on to the good stuff! The stuff that I actually enjoyed in this episode!

  • Glass Believer + Lucy
  • Tiana and Naveen (Sabine and Drew)
  • The Ramifications of Lady Tremaine’s sacrifice
  • Weaver and Rogers
  • Jacinda and Sabine’s friendship
  • Henry started a podcast

As you can see – I did like a lot of stuff in this episode – despite feeling let down by the fact that amongst the overall arc of the season – I feel it would be lost in the mist.

This episode was supposed to be an episode that focused on Tiana and her backstory – how she meets her prince and all that – and it’s a let down. It was made enjoyable by Mekia Cox’s amazing performance. She knocked it out of the park. I blame the writing for an episode that seemed to have potential.

So let’s go through the list shall we?

Glass Beliver + Lucy

eleveneitherway

In this episode, Henry joins Lucy and Jacinda for game night. We learn that Lucy is a prodigy at checkers – and solidly beats Henry many times. I just loved everything about this part of the episode. You could see the connection that we know Ella and Henry would have if there were no curse.

To get Henry and Jacinda to spend more time together, Lucy leaves them and says she’s going to bed. What Lucy really wants is true love’s kiss to happen so the curse will break. We get this cute moment where Henry and Jacinda talk about the mixtape Jacinda made him, but never gave him before he left for San Franciso with Regina. Earlier in the episode, we see Remy (a worker in Regina’s bar) tell Henry about it and he gets confused.

It seems like everyone in Hyperion Heights is noticing how close Henry and Jacinda are getting. From Sabine to Remy. I’m here for it. I honestly can’t wait to see what happens when they figure out how to break the curse without Henry’s death.

We are shown that she is reading her fairytale book. When a page falls from the book, Lucy picks it up and finds out if the curse breaks – Henry will die and rushes to stop them from kissing before it’s too late. Dang it – Lucy! Dang this curse! We were that close!

All these moments left me with feels – and it was one of my favorite parts of the episode.

Tiana and Naveen

onceupondaily

Ok, so when I heard Tiana was coming to Once – I was excited. I loved “Greenbacks” and the start of her origin story. I’ve loved Tiana this season – as well as her cursed counterpart Sabine. I waited on baited breath for Naveen to make his appearance. When he was finally cast – I was excited to see how they did it. Is Naveen really a frog now after Facilier’s meddling?

With how they were done in this episode – I’m excited for more – and I’m totally shipping it. As with Glass Believer, you can see the connection in their cursed personas.

As noted above, Naveen’s cursed persona is Drew and he and Sabine went to culinary school together. They obviously know each other well and he calls Sabine controlling – but compliments her ability. He admits he flunked out of culinary school to her. He even helps her with her food truck at the end of the episode.

However- he is being used by Mr. Samdi. Will Drew figure out he’s just a tool? How will all this go down? Mr. Samdi gets him to be Sabine’s rival at the street fair and then calls the police on Sabine’s missing safety permit. Drew (as noted above) gives her his – which I doubt is actually legal – and then helps her sale her food.

And can I get more of them please? I already ship it.

The Ramifications of That Heartbreaking Sacrifice

dianasprxnce

At the end of “Secret Garden”, we see Victoria Belfrey sacrifice her life to Gothel to save Lucy – and Drizella. In this episode – we see how Jacinda, Lucy, and the town are dealing with the ramifications of it. Jacinda and Lucy place flowers on her grave. Henry talks about it in his new podcast (I’ll cover it in a moment), and we hear a conversation between Jacinda and Henry about how she’s coping. Because despite all the bad Victoria did to Jacinda, she was still her step mother. She was still family.

We also have the arrival of Mr. Samdi into town – trying to take advantage that he can return now that Belfrey has died, and as noted above – return he did! He notes in the episode Belfrey ran him out of town – and I can bet it’s because he couldn’t be cursed.

virgidearie

Even with Rumple – we see a change. He goes to Regina and Zelena with information about the dead witches – the doctor that treated Lucy has now been confirmed as a witch due to a scar in the shape the symbol on a coin they found in a previous episode. One that is probably part of the coven that Gothel leads.

At one time he was against them – and aligned himself with Belfrey and now he’s trying to help stop whoever is killing witches. He knows he will need their help. He even tells them to trust him on this.

Belfrey’s death may still have more ramifications left on these characters.

Weaver and Rogers

virgidearie

In this episode, we see the rare partnership of Hook and Rumple – as Rogers and Weaver – again. Oh, how I’ve missed it! A few seasons ago – I would’ve never guessed these two characters would be paired up like some buddy cop movie. This version of their dynamic is interesting because as Rogers – Hook has no clue that this man he is working with is the Dark One. They’ve always had an antagonistic relationship – but in his cursed persona Hook is definitely more willing to listen to Rumple than if he was Hook.

Here they are talking to the town baker – who is blind and bakes ginger bread houses year round about Lucy’s doctor’s death. Eventually – pieces begin to be put together when they find her almost dead in the kitchen of her shop handcuffed to one of her tables with a lock of hair missing.

Even more interesting – she has a tattoo like that of the one of the dead doctor. So, who is killing or trying to kill witches? Facilier? Or someone else? And why?

I’ve sorely missed these two and hope that they continue to use them to unravel this mystery.

Jacinda and Sabine

I’ve loved this friend ship since the beginning of the season. These two women – while apart are both strong – together they have this bond and over the course of the season – we’ve been shown this time and again.

In this episode, we see it in the scene where Jacinda and Lucy go to see Sabine while she is setting up her food truck for the street fair that is happening in Hyperion Heights. Hence, the episode title – the festival is called “A Taste Of The Heights”.

I love how Sabine notes that there’s a lot of her in Henry’s new podcast (will discuss in moment) and she convinces her to talk to him more. Go Sabine!! This is what a supportive friend is!

Henry Started A Podcast

This is definitely something I can see Henry doing. In this episode, we learn that Henry has started a podcast called “H-Town” and he talks about what’s happening in Hyperion Heights.

We hear from Sabine, Remy, Jacinda, and Lucy that they all loved it and that Jacinda was a big topic in his first episode – as well as discussing the impact of Belfrey’s death. The episode opens with a voice over of this part of the podcast and it leads back to my previous paragraph on how the episode handles this topic.

I surely hope this is not a one time thing – and that they continue this until the curse is broken. I definitely like the idea of hearing the events of the show through Henry’s voice – which should have been happening since the beginning of the season. Give us insight into his internal thoughts. If this is how they begin to do this – I’m for it.

Conclusion

This episode had a lot of material – and as noted the good far outweighed the bad. However, the bad overshadowed the good and made the episode fill more like filler than it should’ve been. Especially this late into the final season.

Did we get plot movement? Some. We know someone is killing witches. We know Rumple, Rogers, Regina, and Zelena all seem to agree that this person needs to be found and stopped.

It seems like that they were like – “Oh, that’s a good idea! Let’s do this and let’s do that!” And it seems they threw it in one episode. Like there was no order. Like I said if they wanted to give Regina a love interest – they should’ve set up the story sooner – even if it’s a flashback. Same with Henry’s podcast – it’s a good idea – and should’ve been a way to vocalize Henry’s internal thoughts as the season progressed.

The acting was superb – as always Lana, Colin, Bobby, Andrew, Mekia (especially), Dania, Bex, Alison all did an amazing job – as well as Daniel Francis (Facilier) and Jeff Pierre (Naveen).

As noted – I loved the introduction of Naveen to the show and I can’t wait to see how they move this plot forward.


Here’s the promo for next week’s episode, “Knightfall” – which seems to be centered on Hook and Alice:

Once Upon A Time airs Fridays at 8/7c on ABC.

Currently a writer for The Resident, but I have many interests that include country music, fantasy and science fiction movies. I'm just your typical southern girl who was raised by a single dad. A Chris Wood and Matt Czuchry fangirl forever.