‘Once Upon A Time’ 7×18 Review: “The Guardian”

Ok, so after a rewatch or two of the last episode – just so I could write a review to give it justice – I realized how bored I was while watching it. Normally, I would never start a review like this – but I need to make this opinion clear to the world. That, I, for once this season – or during this show in general – was bored to tears while watching an episode. This should NEVER happen this close to the end of a series – especially one that has been so entertaining in the past.

Now, that being said – there were some good moments and plot developments that push us ever closer to the series finale in a few weeks. Some that make you question how do they get from this to the happy ever after that we SHOULD be able to expect in four episodes?

This episode focuses on Rumple and his mission – as it has been all season – to get off his dagger. To be able to die so he can join Belle in the afterlife. This episode pushes forward his pain about Belle’s death – and Rumple’s desperation to join her. However, to do this he needs the help of a guardian. This guardian as expected – is Alice.

Wish Hook is fuming – obviously. He wants Alice to have a normal life – despite him not being able to be there for her – due to his poisoned heart. Alice has found love with Robin. She’s finally beginning to be happy since she isn’t in the tower anymore. As the episode put it – Alice taking over the dagger so Rumple can die – well it would be like she’s in another tower, almost. Wish Hook and Rumple try to set aside their differences in the end once Rumple lets Alice live her happy life.

Alice almost succeeds in relieving Rumple of the dagger too, but at the last minute – he pulls it from her hand and accepts to succumb back to the darkness that is always part of him – scales and all. Even to the point of showing Alice how to cure Wish Hook’s heart – by crushing Facilier’s. Alice refuses and puts his heart back in his chest. There’s got to be another way, right? Someone so pure couldn’t pull a murder – even on an evil witch doctor like Facilier – so how will she cure her Papa? Will we get the answer to this question?

There’s so many questions I need answered and so little time.

Then there’s the ramifications of Hansel’s death. Not that many took it hard – he was a serial killer. What I’m referring to is the stuff he told Henry while he had Henry kidnapped. The fact that Henry is Lucy’s father is something we’ve always known – but Henry hasn’t. He’s questioned this all season when Lucy has mentioned it. His cursed memories were so strong that he was like this can’t be. My daughter is dead. My wife is dead. The proof is now coming to light – and low and behold he’s beginning to question his own thoughts. When bringing it to Jacinda’s attention at the episode’s cliffhanger – we see her shocked reaction to the news that he has factual evidence that he’s Lucy’s dad. That what Lucy has been saying is true. So, moving forward – will Henry and Jacinda believe?

We see a cute set of scenes between Tilly and Margot as they begin to date. Eating tons of candy, going to a bookstore, etc. They connect. Tilly is hearing these voices though and it’s scaring her. At then end of the day, she apologizes to Margot about it because she doesn’t want her to think she’s a loon. At least Margot takes it well.

And last, but not least – Rumple’s dagger has gone missing in Hyperion Heights. *dun dun dun*

He’s scared – truly scared. Rogers even noted he’s never seen him that scared before. He searches everywhere for it. He goes to Regina and tells her it’s missing. That’s when he sees she’s working on Henry’s cure – so they can break the curse. I almost thought we would get there with this episode. It’s been something that has been worked on and worked on as the season has progressed.

However, Rumple – in his moment of fear takes the only magic Regina has and uses it to find his dagger. Is it justified? I can’t answer that, but Regina sure doesn’t feel it is. She even looks at Rumple and asks would he let his grandson die if the curse breaks before the cure. When Rumple can’t answer, you can get the implied answer is yes he would – as long as he got off the dagger and to Belle. Once again, proving how little his development really is. It really is a selfish move.

Rumple has these shining moments of selflessness and then there’s this episode – that proves he hasn’t changed at all. Does he really deserve his happy ending at all? Or will immortality be his curse to bear forever? Right now, things are looking not in his favor.

Does he find the dagger – oh yeah. Tilly ended up having it in her backpack. That’s why she was hearing voices – she had the dagger – because she’s still the guardian – cursed or not. Rumple explains that Tilly stole it to hide it from Facilier, but she herself doesn’t remember doing it. Again – could be one of Rumple’s lies. Like I said – this episode makes him very selfish. It’s not really explained or shown well as to how it was stolen and how Tilly got it – but Facilier denies he did it. Yeah – I’m seeing through that.

Rumple makes Regina question her relationship with Facilier – and this is one of the things he did right in this episode – mainly because Facilier reveals to Regina that he killed Hansel. Where’s Rogers when you need him??? Despite the fact that Hansel was a killer himself – and it seems no one will miss him – he was still murdered. Where are the ramifications to Facilier?

So let’s just dig a little deeper than I already have.

Cliffhangers – Where Would We Be Without Them?

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Well – well – well. At the very end of the episode we see Henry go to Jacinda and show her proof that he is in fact Lucy’s father. Just as Lucy has always said. The proof – we know came from Hansel. When Lucy was in the hospital earlier in the season – we saw Hansel and Henry both take a blood test to try to help Lucy. Mainly – cause EVERYONE thought Hansel was Lucy’s dad.

We knew it wasn’t the case – but the characters didn’t. However, something prompted Henry to take a blood test anyway. Look where that leads us. A revelation about everything being real – and that yes – Henry – you are her father. So – how much is them believing this – and how much of this is them waking from the curse? We know it’s still in tact as of now – because Henry is still alive. There’s been no true love’s kiss. But it’s coming. I can feel it in my bones – it’s on it’s way. We have FOUR episodes left.

Let’s take a look back though. How do we get this revelation from Henry to Jacinda at the end of the episode?

Well – early in the episode – we see Henry go to Rogers about the information that Hansel gave him about his parentage of Lucy. He wants to talk to Hansel, but when Rogers tells him Hansel is dead. Henry is shocked – but nonetheless asks if he can see the crime scene again. He needs the proof of his parentage of Lucy from Hansel’s apartment.

They go there. Henry gets what he needs, but not before running into – Naveen? Yes. Prince Naveen.

It was just an odd interaction and it felt misplaced upon many things in the episode. You mean to tell me Naveen has been in this sealed off apartment. Looking for what? We know he’s being used by Faciler so he can get to Tiana. However, Naveen spills the beans and lets Rogers in on a little secret about what the medical examiner found when they examined Hansel’s body.

Because, yeah, how do you get stabbed from the inside?? Well – I guess anything is plausible if you are killed by a witch doctor, huh? It begins raising red flags for Rogers. Will he begin to become more aware too?

The way it was done felt off – but that’s just may take. However, Henry and Jacinda now know that their daughter – yes their daughter – was not lying to them. Where does this go from here?? How does it get to happy ever after in four episodes?

Curing Henry

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In this episode, we see Regina and Rumple’s long friendship get put to the test. Oh, not really a test – as more that Regina ended it because of Rumple – being selfish as usual – used her only magic to find his dagger. Magic Regina desperately needed to cure Henry so they can break the curse.

As the gif notes, Henry’s life is on the line. It’s like Regina seems to be the only one who gets this. Regina even pulls the grandfather card on Rumple – and nothing. She’s done with Rumple. She wants this curse broken and her son back. Her son alive, happy. With her, his wife, his daughter. So his life not at risk all the time.

So – how do we get to this point? Where will Regina get more magic to use to cure Henry in this magic free world? Of all the things that happened in this episode – this is the one thing I need an answer to. Because seriously, we have four episodes and we are no closer to a cure for Henry than we were at the beginning of the season. I knew this would be stretched out – but geez. They better pull some magic from somewhere quick!!!

Rumple, Rumple, Rumple

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As noted – this episode is majorly focused on Rumple. His season long mission of becoming mortal. Him needing a guardian – Alice – to get him there. Will he get there or not? Honestly, with his selfish actions in this episode – I honestly don’t know if I can answer this. Does Rumple deserve to be relieved of his immortality and get to die to be with Belle? It’s a harsh statement, I get it. However – does he? Not after this episode. Is there something he does in four episodes that warrants this ending? Probably not. Will he get it? Probably. The hints are there – but will Alice have to pay the price of the darkness? That I do not want at all.

There are Rumple’s interactions with Facilier – in the past and present – and it’s unnerving how much that man wants Rumple’s dagger. He is not the person that needs his hands on it. Nope. He is dark himself and doesn’t think for a second that killing someone is bad. Yeah, I get it – Hansel was a serial killer – but he had his justice coming. Murdering him was excessive.

We also see how much darkness is in Facilier when Rumple reveals to Alice how to cure Wish Hook’s heart – as Wish Hook asked of him early in the episode. Rumple at this point is trying very hard not to succumb to his darkness – and refuses to help. Dark magic is broken with dark magic and all that jazz. However, he shows Alice how to do it and she refuses to kill Facilier – who’s heart is almost as dark as they come. She really is pure of heart – which as you can hear Belle say – the guardian must be pure of heart to take over the darkness of the dagger. Seems Alice passed the test. I for one, would hate her succeeding in taking it over to let Rumple die and her having to be immortal. It’s another prison. It’s not a happy ever after – even if she gets back to her Papa and Robin post curse. The cycle repeats itself and such. Will Alice ever cure her Papa of his poisoned heart?? I need to know this!

However one of the only entertaining scenes of the episode – comes when Facilier tries to kill Rumple with a pin cushion. Seriously, he can’t be killed. It was funny because here is Facilier trying to pull on Rumple what he’s done to many before – and Rumple’s like – nope – nothing. One of the few entertaining scenes in the bunch.

In Hyperion Heights, Rumple and Facilier meet again. They argue. Facilier is swearing he doesn’t have the dagger nor did he steal it. Yeah – right? This is his biggest mission. Not buying that for a minute.

So, how did the dagger end up with Tilly? I blame this on the writing because seriously I am confused. I am certain the way Facilier was acting that he stole it – and that Tilly could’ve possibly somehow done something – unknown to her – to protect it. Hence, Rumple finding it on her.

I blame this on bad writing and nothing more. This is one of the reasons I found the episode confusing and boring. The writing.

However, we do have and explanation of how Rumple was full on scaly – as I like to call it – at the time of the curse happening. Because he chose – only selfless act in this episode – to let Alice be happy in her life and embrace the darkness fully after Belle’s death. Which they pushed forward that he is still very much struggling with in this episode.

Tilly and Margot’s First Date

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This episode explores Mad Archer reconnecting in Hyperion Heights. We see them go on a first date – which was really sweet. They eat tons of candy and go to a bookstore. My kind of date. Margot even gives Tilly a bracelet – one that I was like – I’ve seen this before. Yes – I have. Earlier in the episode in flashbacks. We see Robin give Alice this exact bracelet as a first gift between them. So it somehow follows them to the cursed world and this is a coincidence?

Whatever this may be – it is significant to the relationship and their reconnection in the cursed world. They have the cutest interactions together and I’m looking forward to seeing more of how they interact – especially once the curse is broken. I just love how Rose and Tiera play off each other and the chemistry between them shows.

In flashbacks, we see the beginnings of love forming between Alice and Robin. Rumple sees it. Wish Hook definitely sees it and wants Alice happy. Zelena knew how happy they were. The only selfless moment of Rumple in this episode is letting Alice be happy with Robin, something that makes Wish Hook and him try to mend their past. Be “friends”?

They are truly an adorable couple and I love how their connection shines though. I say it every review, but damn I mean it. Same goes for Glass Believer – the epic connection that shines through the curse. I just love that part of it.

Conclusion

So, though the episode bored me to tears – I would not call it filler. There’s just things in that are poorly written which is what caused the episode to be confusing and boring. That’s is all I will say on this ever again.

Why I say it isn’t filler is it still pushed plot forward. That’s what should be happening. I mean there’s a new set back with Henry’s cure – thanks Rumple – but I’m absolutely sure the writers have some twist up sleeve in the next four episodes to counteract this.

We also have Jacinda and Henry coming to terms that Lucy has been right this whole time – it’s about time.

And will Alice have to take over Rumple’s dagger for him to die? I’ll keep saying it – this girl doesn’t deserver that fate! Don’t go helping that selfish man, Alice! You don’t deserve that prison.

Will Wish Hook’s heart be cured? Who knows!

Last but not least, will Regina and Rumple ever make up?

Let me just say I’m glad this snooze of an episode is done. Oh, wait there it was again. I don’t blame the acting – I blame the writers and that is all.

What will happen with FOUR episodes left???


Here is the promo for next week’s episode, “Flower Child”. Looks like Gothel is back and she has her sights on 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.