‘Once Upon A Time’ 7×19 Review: “Flower Child”

This week’s Once Upon A Time, titled “Flower Child”, focuses on Gothel’s past and why she is the way she is. Now, I didn’t really need this episode. I really didn’t. I don’t need to feel empathy towards this character. I don’t need her backstory – and I especially don’t need it this close to the series finale. Three episodes – people! Three! Why do you want me to feel empathy for Gothel now? Because as tragic as her backstory might be – I still have no empathy for her. I found it to be a waste of part of an episode that could have focused more on the other plotline of the episode – curing Henry and breaking the curse.

Sad when the B plot is more interesting than the A plot, huh?

Why should I feel empathy for Gothel? Yes, her home being destroyed is tragic. Her being the last of her kind is sad. There’s a plot twist there – Gothel is not human. She is a tree nymph. There’s a reason she is called Mother Gothel – and yes it is what you think. The story they revealed in the episode is one that sets Gothel off on her revenge against humanity.

However, I personally can’t seem to feel empathy for the character. She is a rapist – and again her creepy interactions with Tilly and Rogers in the episode with them unaware of who she actually is are just creepy, ok? I cringed through that part of the episode.

If Eddy and Adam wanted me to feel sorry for Gothel – they failed. They brutally failed. It also shows that they really don’t get consent and make the situation even more cringe-worthy with the curse enacted. So, you see?

Do I feel that episode had some good moments? Yes, I do. I loved the Jacinda and Henry moments in the episode. I loved seeing Lucy trying to help get Henry’s cure. At this point, am I actually agreeing with Facilier? What? It seems everyone is ready for the curse to break – characters and viewers alike – and they used Facilier to voice that. Yet, somehow we get something 19 episodes in the making – and yet no True Love’s Kiss has broken the curse. We get a kiss – and the curse didn’t break.

So – if it isn’t a True Love’s Kiss from Henry & Jacinda that breaks the curse – what is? Because there’s this epic build up – and I feel let down by not getting this epic moment – or is there more to this than I thought? If so, then – congrats on doing something not done before. Especially considering how many curses they have used as plot devices on this show over the past seven seasons.

Gothel’s Tragic Backstory

Source: OUAT Official Twitter

As I noted above, this episode focuses on Gothel’s tragic backstory. Also as I noted above, it still doesn’t help me connect with her or feel empathy for her. Explaining the reasons behind why she does what she does – doesn’t make what she did any better. She’s a rapist – clean and simple. She has a grudge against humanity. Why do Eddy and Adam try to play down what she did by explaining it? It isn’t going to help. It’s a glaring issue with OUAT that needed to be fixed ages ago, and yet here we are with three episodes left and I’m still having to write about it in reviews.

This woman – oh I can’t even call her that anymore because she’s a tree nymph. She isn’t human. She wanted to be among the humans and it caused her to lose her home and her family. As tragic as this is, I just can’t get past what she did to Wish Hook and Alice. What she is STILL doing to them. Because it’s cringe-worthy to watch.

What? She’s now going to try to be a mom. As Rogers pointed out, “Just because biology says someone is a mother, doesn’t make them one.” No truer words can be spoken, especially in this case. Let’s point it out here.

Gothel has abandoned Alice three times.

  1. At birth – left her trapped in the tower – with only Wish Hook to care for her – AGAINST HIS WILL AT FIRST
  2. When she poisoned Wish Hook’s heart and forced them to separate – leaving Alice truly alone
  3. In Hyperion Heights – knowing her daughter wasn’t living too well – yet she lets it happen anyway

So, this woman is not in anyway mother material. Don’t go writing stuff like her knowing what she did was wrong. It just makes what she did stand out more. No, I have no pity for Gothel. What she did is still rape. And that’s just the Wish Hook/Tilly plot.

Oh, there’s more. Way more.

In the backstory part of the episode – which I found to be the most uninteresting backstory in OUAT history – Gothel sees these girls in pretty dresses. She abandons her sister to get on good ground with these girls, only for them to turn on her in the end because she has magic. Was this the only reason they turned? It was just a 180-degree turn that just was poorly executed. Poorly written. There was no punch. It needed more of a punch. You mean to tell me this is what causes Gothel’s hatred of humanity?

I mean, yes, these girls destroyed her home and family. However, the only reason why is the magic. That’s it. Gothel hadn’t done anything to them. Nothing. Just wanted to befriend them. Yet, they turn for no reason – other than the magic – and destroy Gothel’s home and people. I’ve seen better backstories on villains than the this on this show. I get there is limited time, but make the punches count. Gothel is still a rapist and a murderer and no amount of tragedy in her backstory is going to make me have empathy for her. EVER.

I don’t care what Gothel’s motive was. I still don’t like her. So, again if the mission was empathy and understanding – it’s a failure.

Not only that – but back to Rogers and Tilly. At the end of the episode, Gothel takes them hostage and forces Tilly to join her coven to protect Rogers – who Tilly now knows is her father – and Margot – the woman she loves. It’s just beyond cruel considering that we should’ve gotten some punch from this episode – it didn’t come. The ending of the coven being awake and Tilly being forced by Gothel to do whatever it is they are doing just had no punch what so ever.

I believe that’s what I can take from this is this episode didn’t pack a punch. Does it somewhat move plot? Eh, a little. This CLOSE to the series finale – this a brutal disappointment.

Henry Is Figuring It Out

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Ok, so remember the cliffhanger from “The Guardian”? No? It’s probably one of the only things I remember from that episode. Where Henry goes to Jacinda and shows her the paperwork from the hospital that says he is Lucy’s father. Henry isn’t just letting this go. Jacinda has issues believing it due to the curse.

I swear this show has them believing something one moment and not believing it the second. Does she believe or not already? I put this to bad writing. Pick something and stick to it – don’t go back and forth for plot purposes. Whatever – what is done is done.

I’ll admit the last batch of episodes here haven’t had some of the best writing and it is becoming obvious this close to the finale – which is sad because we deserve better than these mediocre episodes that pack very little punch right now.

Anyways, back to what I was saying. Henry isn’t letting it go. He’s beginning to figure things out. Stuff doesn’t make sense – and as he pointed out the stories in the book he wrote MIGHT be real. (Of course, they are.) Lucy isn’t pulling your leg, Henry. Promise.

So – here is Henry with his living room looking like that of a conspiracy theorist. Whiteboards with pictures and theories all over them. He’s trying to make sense of it all. From his swan keychain (another hint to Emma), to Weaver’s chipped teacup (hello Belle), he is trying to make it all make sense. That’s when Rogers and Tilly show up and discuss it with him. They agree that Henry is definitely on to something. That stuff isn’t adding up.

Then we get Henry showing Jacinda the piece of the broken glass slipper. If that’s not a sign – then what is right? Jacinda is still not convinced until she and Lucy find the rest of the slipper among some boxed up items they have. Oh, and it’s in of all things – a Granny’s bag. There’s a Granny’s t-shirt in the box too. Which means at some point – Henry took Jacinda, maybe Lucy as well, to Storybrooke. This is not a coincidence.

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All this evidence adds up and leads to Henry and Jacinda talking. He believes. He realizes why he had such a connection to Jacinda all this time. Because she is his one true love. He was already in love with her. As the gif says – “Love at first sight”.

Or as Tilly put it earlier in the episode, “Lots of people are right next to the truth and they don’t even know it. It’s cruel really. To be so close to happiness, and kept so far away from it.” This is exactly it. It’s a very cruel situation that still doesn’t seem to have as simple of a solution as the previous curses did. True love’s kiss and all that jazz. Kudos writers, for making it interesting at least. It was the most interesting part of the episode, really.

What do I mean by it not having as simple as a situation as the previous curses? We obviously have true love here. Yes, Henry is poisoned – but I’m not even referring to that. I’m referring to getting the anticipated true love’s kiss and it failing. So, what happened? Henry and Jacinda FINALLY kiss after 19 episodes – and there’s still no resolution. The curse didn’t break? Why? Does Henry not believe enough, yet? I’m so confused and let down. Lucy’s face at the end of the episode says it all.

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What more needs to be done for this curse to break? Because I’m so ready for it. Sounds like many of the characters are as well. Where does this go from here? Is there another loophole in the curse that no one knew about? Or is Henry’s belief just not there yet? And if so, why doesn’t Henry believe? What happened to the heart of the truest believer? Whatever it is – I’m disappointed at the anticlimactic episode.

When I first saw this scene with Henry and Jacinda, I knew this was the moment – I had the feels – and then nothing. You know, in the final parts of the final season – having an episode so anticlimactic is probably not the best idea.

I’m ready for the happy endings. I’m ready for them now.

Henry’s Cure

There is a scene with Lucy and Facilier in the episode where Lucy asks him to help her get more magic to cure Henry. She informs him that Rumple double crossed Regina with the magic she had and that now they need more to finish Henry’s cure. Lucy is so much like Henry in many ways – the way she uses blackmail to get Facilier to help her, or is this someone else she’s related through shining through?

Whatever the case, Facilier tells her that whatever magic there is – has become very rare. He does choose to help Lucy though. After she and Jacinda find the glass slipper – a symbol of Henry and Ella’s love that came to the cursed world with them – Facilier pulls one of his stunts and is hopeful he has cured Henry of his poisoning. We don’t know if it worked or not – because the curse hasn’t broken.

Probably the only helpful thing Facilier has done since he was introduced – however – he is also still a murderer. It doesn’t matter that he murdered a serial killer – ok. Hansel was getting his justice. He was in jail. Facilier – is still a murderer. So, I have trouble praising him for curing Henry – if he did – when this other part of his character is so troubling to me. I REALLY wanted Regina to cure Henry. Why spend time on all that build up and it not happen? To make it fall flat. What a waste of time.

Again. I’m disappointed. So anticlimactic. There better be a better resolution than this that has a proper payoff, Eddy and Adam.

Conclusion

Here – we have an episode centered on Gothel – and the backstory is weak. Falls flat and is poorly written. It doesn’t help provide empathy by any means and she’s still a murderer, rapist, and a very bad mother. The plot was not interesting by any means and made the episode very bland and uninteresting.

Note: Three episodes left in the whole show – I should not be feeling like this. You better have pulled something off in those three episodes to make up for the lackluster of the past couple episodes.

What is with the true love kiss build up – and it not happening? Or Regina possibly not curing Henry – but Facilier? Just all this buildup and it’s falling flat. It’s a disappointment. These next three episodes – please be good. (*crosses fingers*)

Words used over and over again for this episode: anticlimactic, disappointing and lackluster.


Promo for the next episode, titled “Is This Henry Mills?” By the way, is that Jared Gilmore I see at the end of that promo?

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.