‘Once Upon A Time’ 7×13 Review: “Knightfall”

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When I saw the title for Once Upon A Time‘s most recent episode, “Knightfall,” I knew it had to be about Wish Hook and his daughter, Alice. I was right! The reason why is because, early on in the season when they set up this story-line, we knew Alice loved playing chess with her dad while imprisoned in the tower that Mother Gothel – her own mother – trapped her in. It’s a reference to Wish Hook being Alice’s white knight and Alice being his rook.

In the episode, Wish Hook carries a black rook in his pocket during his journey, which brings him luck. It’s almost like Alice is with him.  Speaking of journey, we see the reappearance of Smee, Hook’s trusty friend and first mate, and a duel with Captain Ahab.

I love the father/daughter pair of Wish Hook and Alice, just not the origins of how Alice came to be, which are strongly hinted at in the episode. So much so, it made me cringe when Gothel shared any screen time with Wish Hook, no matter the circumstance.

I love that they revealed to us how Wish Hook’s heart got poisoned so he couldn’t touch Alice. Again, thanks Gothel. This woman causes Wish Hook nothing but pain and misery. All he wants is to free his daughter from her prison. He wants to be able to show Alice the ocean. Let her smell the salt, touch the sand, feel the breeze. No, Gothel doesn’t like that idea.

Honestly, this episode just makes me dislike Gothel more. Even as Eloise in Hyperion Heights she inserts herself in Rogers and Weaver’s investigation about who is killing witches. Tilly, Alice’s Hyperion Heights counterpart, warns Rogers that it’s not a good idea to be trusting Eloise. Even Rumple agrees that this woman is bad news.

Tilly and Rumple, as Weaver, try to dissuade him from trusting Eloise – but if there is anything we know of our favorite pirate – in any iteration – it is that he’s stubborn. He has a lot of pride, and it often takes a lesson or two for him to not trust someone. It’s taken him how long to trust Rumple?

Speaking of Rumple, there’s an aspect of this episode I loved. The dynamic in the flashbacks between Rumple, who has been jailed and his magic removed, and Wish Hook. It reminds me of the good old days of Once and Bobby and Colin just were fantastic in those scenes.

Most of this episode covered this storyline. However, we do see Jacinda and Henry reacting to Lucy not wanting them to spend time together and questioning that. We get an adorable Jacinda and Lucy scene.

With Regina, we see her leaving her one night stand with Facilier, which Henry teases her about. Regina also finally reveals to Lucy that she’s her grandmother and that the book Henry wrote is the truth.

Last, but not least we see Drizella dealing with her mother’s death. There’s also this Drizella/Henry thing that I’ve never been too fond of. I’m glad Henry told her that he wasn’t the guy for her and that spending time with Jacinda and finding Anastasia would be a better choice. Drizella does make one thing clear though – she will finish what her mother started.

Each of these topics I’ll cover in detail.

One thing that I know for sure though, is that I felt a bit let down by the episode in the end. I liked it, but I won’t say it was a stand out episode. It pushed the plot forward. It revealed things, yes. However, as episodes are becoming short supply for Once, you’d think episodes that didn’t pack the punches every week would be out – but here we are. Sigh.

The Heart of the Episode

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As noted above the centric arc in “Knightfall” is Wish Hook and his daughter Alice, who as we know has been trapped in Rapunzel’s tower so her mother – Gothel – can escape and roam the world. Not only is Alice only a means of escaping for Gothel, but is a constant source of agony for Wish Hook, who she raped to get Alice. Yes, he loves his daughter very much, but in this episode we do find out how his heart gets poisoned so he can’t touch her.

Come on OUAT, admit it already. Admit that this plot is rape. Hook consented to sleeping with Rapunzel – not Gothel. Once he found out it was Gothel, his consent flew out the window.  And, yes, it does go both ways – for men and women. He was not seduced as the show puts it. But, they never call rape what it is in this show. I beg of you, learn the difference in rape and seduction and that consent is needed for sex. Even after the event has taken place. Stop glorifying it!

We see Wish Hook make one last ditch effort to free Alice from her lifelong prison. In this he turns to Rumple – who has been imprisoned and his magic stripped. To get what he needs Hook makes a deal with Rumple to release him from his prison using Maui’s fish hook. (Yes, that’s a Moana reference!)

And of course, “The pirate and the crocodile working together, who would’ve thunk it?” is asked by Rumple. If this season has anything to show – it’s exactly that. Two men who were enemies are now working together for the greater good. It’s been an amazing thing to watch in season 7.

However, before Rumple can be released – it needs to found. It is in the hands of Captain Ahab. (I do love the multiple references from various sources merging into one plot line. Of course we get a Moby Dick reference!)  So, Hook goes to the tavern and runs into his trusty first mate – Smee. Who points him to Ahab.

When Ahab and Hook meet, there’s taunting. There’s animosity. Ahab says things like, “It’s dangerous to seek me out, old man.” and “I am what you used to be.” Hook doesn’t let it get to him though.

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Hook challenges Ahab to a game of dice – with the Jolly Roger on the line, for Maui’s hook – which with the help of his little rook, Hook solidly wins. Like I said above, Alice brings him luck wherever he is, as long as he has his little rook.

Not only does he keep the Jolly Roger, but he wins Maui’s fish hook. Once he’s won, Hook says he’s going to finish the life long mission of killing Rumple – which Ahab soon realizes Hook is lying about.

We get another confrontation between Ahab and Hook at Rumple’s prison cell. But before I get to this, I want to mention that seeing full on Rumple in all his glory brings back the vibes of the good old days Once. Bobby just brings so much life to this part of the character every time we see him. Yes, Rumple in this form isn’t anywhere near the modern day counterpart, who has learned many of his lessons, but he still can’t escape the darkness within. But it’s a frightening contrast between the two versions that are both featured in the episode.

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Back to Ahab and Hook. When they are arguing in front of Rumple’s cell, they agree to a duel to settle it once and for all. And in the end, Rumple doesn’t get his end of the deal? Does this come back to bite Hook in the ass later? Rumple always keeps his deals, after all.

Anyways, during the duel Hook’s aim is bar none, and as Smee put it, truer than the north star. Hook shoots Ahab in the stomach. Did he survive to tell the tale? Seems unlikely, with the hints in the episode. Ahab grazed Hook’s arm. However, it was just enough to put Gothel’s plan into motion.

When Hook returns to the tower to try to put his plan in motion, he tries to hug Alice and is thrown against the wall. Gothel appears and explains how Hook isn’t the man Alice thought he was and that the bullet Ahab shot him with was poisoned.

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Gothel enacts the rest of the spell and Alice and Hook can’t even touch each other anymore. Gothel throws him out of the tower with magic and all Hook can hear is Alice screaming, “Papa! Papa!” in desperate hope she gets to see her father again.

Even as a young girl, Alice knew Gothel was up to no good. That she wasn’t a good person. Going into the cursed world, we see her counterpart Tilly react the same way to Eloise. When Tilly sees Eloise in the interrogation room at the police station she tries to warn Rogers that he shouldn’t trust her. The only person who agrees with Tilly is Weaver, and I’m betting it’s only cause Rumple is awake and knows the truth of the situation.

Tilly had every right to not trust Eloise. As Rumple notes in the episode, “her life’s work is manipulation”. So why is Rogers trusting her? And will this lead to Rogers waking up and realizing he’s Wish Hook. Is he the next to awaken?

There’s many little things in Hyperion Heights that highlight the bond of Rogers and Tilly. When she comes into his office at the police station, she asks him to play chess with her. When Weaver and Rogers are searching Tilly’s home they find a chess piece sitting on a shelf – a white knight. Which refers to back to Wish Hook being her protector.

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There’s a scene that leads to them to discovering Tilly in the hospital room of the blind baker who almost died in last week’s episode with a scalpel in her hands and blood everywhere. Rogers is adamant Tilly didn’t kill the baker, but they find evidence in Tilly’s home that is suspicious. – a poster of the symbol of the coven with marks on it noting how many witches are dead.

As Weaver so gently noted to Rogers, Tilly’s motives are to hunt down the woman that separated her from her father – hint hint. So, is Tilly still a little aware of things even in her cursed state? She did wake once, remember? Is Rumple trying to push Rogers to wake up?

 

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This episode highlighted the love between Alice and Wish Hook and the bond they share – cursed or not. I can’t wait to see how they cure Wish Hook’s poisoned heart – so he and Alice can get their happy ending. So they can touch, hell,  hug again.

Gothel and Wish Hook

In the episode, as noted above there are scenes that Mother Gothel and Wish Hook share. Especially in Hyperion Heights. The interrogation scene where she asks for Weaver to leave because she would only talk to Rogers. It is just cringe worthy.

In the scene she comments on everything from his stubble. Gothel the stubble is gorgeous on him, stop, to his drawings. She is trying to hint to him about who he really is. Is she actually trying wake him from the curse? Either way, it’s cringe worthy. Seriously – it’s like she’s devouring him with her eyes or something and he has no clue that this woman raped him! *insert cringe emoji here*

She even knows Rogers can paint, and when he questions this to Weaver he gets warned that this woman is dangerous. Rogers believes she can help them solve their case. Is this just another betrayal waiting to be set up?

Every episode I trust Gothel less and less. However, when she’s around Rogers/Wish Hook, I just cringe. Every scene they share just makes me eternally aware that the writers are glorifying rape and with Wish Hook in his cursed state – he’s vulnerable to Gothel. He has no clue about their history. It makes this so bad – and VERY wrong.

Henry Brings The Light In Various Ways

In this episode, we see Henry interact with a few different characters. There’s not much of him – but what we do get is a stark contrast to the darkness of the Wish Hook/Alice/Gothel plot line that runs through most of the episode. The light, if you will.

The first time you see Henry in this episode, he’s coming off a night shift as a cabbie that he notes was slow. He runs into Regina, who is returning home from her night with Facilier – I’m not even going there, ok. I covered my thoughts on this relationship last week.

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Regina offers him some breakfast and a place to vent about Jacinda and his disappointing date. Henry is sad that for some reason Lucy doesn’t want him to date Jacinda anymore. We all know it’s to stop Henry from dying if he kisses Jacinda – but Henry is confused because it was going so well up until the previous night.

When the curse breaks without Henry’s death – I can’t wait to see the proper reunion between mother and son. You can see the hurt Regina has recognizing her son and not being able to actually tell him she’s his mother.

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Then, there’s Drizella. Henry shows up at Belfrey’s office where we see Drizella dealing with the aftermath of her mother’s tragic death. The grief and the revelation that her mom actually loved her after all,  is hard for her to take, and she talks about it with Henry. Then in a vulnerable state – she kisses him!

I’m so glad Henry stopped Drizella before it went any further. He is right. He is not what she needs right now. She needs to spend time with Jacinda and Lucy, search for Anastasia, and finish what her mother started – whatever that maybe. But what ever it is – thank you Henry for stopping her.

Like I said, he brings the light to an episode that took a dark turn other wise.

Jacinda, Lucy, and Drizella

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In this episode we get Jacinda talking to Lucy about why she stopped her from kissing Henry. Lucy tells her not to see him again which confuses Jacinda. She’s like, “But you loved him!” We understand that Lucy is trying protect Henry, but Jacinda – and even Henry don’t. They talk about Belfrey’s death and how they are coping with it. Lucy notes that that maybe they should just deal with their grief at the moment.

Then we get this scene with Jacinda and Drizella. After Drizella’s encounter with Henry – she goes to Jacinda’s apartment and they begin to talk it out. Drizella even brings a box of old stuffed animals of Jacinda’s she found amongst their mother’s belongings. Jacinda even hands Drizella an old doll that she found. They look on her face of the fond memories is wonderful.

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I certainly hope we see Drizella connect with Jacinda more. Connect with Lucy more. Become closer to what’s left of her family. Get their help finding Anastasia. I like this dynamic, and I hope it continues.

As long as you don’t try to kiss your sister’s husband again, Drizella, I mean, even if Jacinda and Henry are not aware of that yet. Probably not a good call, Drizella.

Regina and Lucy

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At the end of the episode, we see Lucy go to Regina’s bar to show her the page from her book. Immediately, Regina gets that Lucy realizes that the stories are real and that’s why she stopped Jacinda and Henry from kissing.

Regina takes Lucy aside and tells her the truth. That she is awake and aware of who she is. That she’s lived the stories portrayed in Henry’s book.  That she is in fact her grandmother – but to never call her grandma. That she believes. It has to be amazing for Lucy to hear.

Regina promises that she won’t let Lucy work on her plan alone and then she tells her how Henry started unraveling the first curse. Henry and Lucy are an epic parallel and I love it so much. The music playing over the scene is Snow and Charming’s theme. A parallel between – the two relationships being hinted at.

I believe that the partnership of Regina and Lucy will be what break this curse and save Henry. Who better than his mother and his daughter to do the job? I’m very interested to see where this is going. Project Hyacinth – to honor the first thing Henry gave Ella – is now on! (Oh, look another parallel to Henry – with a hint of Glass Believer feels!)

Conclusion

All in all – it’s a good episode. However like I said, I felt a little let down by it. As noted above, it revealed things – like how Wish Hook’s heart was poisoned. It noted the epic connection between Wish Hook and Alice – the white knight and his rook. The fandom calls them Knight Rook for a reason.

OUAT never fails to not surprise me in bad ways, though, in particular in having one the biggest flaws on this show being vividly clear in this episode – not knowing the meaning of consent and glorifying rape. Just go back and read the big bold paragraph again. The more scenes between Gothel and Wish Hook – the more disturbed I become by the fact that the writers don’t get this.

Gothel continues to not be trusted. By me. By Rumple – and if The Dark One doesn’t trust you, there’s an issue. By Alice/Tilly. How far will they push her?

Who is killing these witches? Does Tilly know? I’m with Rogers that I don’t think it is Tilly, but I do think she may know something that hasn’t been revealed yet?

Who is next to awaken? Wish Hook? Tilly? Jacinda? How will the team up between Lucy and Regina go? How will these characters get their happy endings? I guess we will have to tune in and see.


Promo for next week’s episode, entitled “The Girl In The Tower” – which focuses on Alice:

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

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