Once Upon a Time Season 3 Review “The Tower”

Once Upon a Time Season 3 Episode 14 The Tower (8)

Once Upon a Time has a difficult balance to maintain. On one hand, it’s a Disney-owned show about fairy tales and needs to appeal to young viewers. On the other hand, it’s a story about the relationships between adults and needs to appeal to older viewers. Last night’s episode definitely skewed more young, which made it less interesting. There was a lot of build up with not a lot of pay-off.

The beginning of the episode starts out well. It is wonderful to see Emma in her Cinderella dress, sharing a dance with her father. The moment quickly turns sour when Emma tells Charming not to “fail the next one” and is sucked through a portal. We then see Charming back with Snow White, who says that she’s pregnant. She’s a bit too far along for that announcement to seem like a surprise. I still find these flashes that are memories and not memories confusing.

Back in Storybrooke, Zelena pays a visit to Rumplestiltskin. We find out that she is able to control him because she has his knife. As she shaves him with it, she recounts the story of her troubled childhood. I’m not feeling much sympathy for her, even after the sob story of her alcoholic father. Zelena tells Rumple that she is after something, but doesn’t say what it is. I hope that it doesn’t take us the rest of the season to find out.

Zelena goes to Mr. Gold’s shop and uses his blood to open his safe. She pulls out a root/rock looking item. This ties back in to the action in the Enchanted Forest where Charming has decided to search for Night Root – a plant that has a crystal-like purple center. Here’s where I felt the story started going down a juvenile path. So Charming is worried that he won’t be a good father to the new baby because of what happened with Emma. So he decides in an instant that the solution is to take a magical drug that will allow him to forget his fears? Seems like our noble prince is taking the easy way out. That doesn’t really feel true to his character.

Zelena takes Gold’s root and grinds it up in David’s cup of tea. I liked the fact that David is skeptical of Zelena when he first meets her. He warns Snow that they know nothing about this woman. Given that there is a Wicked Witch on the loose, you think Snow would be more cautious on who she lets in proximity to her unborn child.

Meanwhile, Charming digs up the Night Root and then hears cries for help. He discovers Rapunzel in her tower. She explains that she got trapped in the tower after consuming Night Root herself. She also says she can’t leave because a witch keeps her trapped. The witch appears and does a super climb up Rapunzel’s hair. It turns out the witch is…dum dum dahhhhh…Rapunzel! The whole point of the root/witch story turns out to be that you can’t run from your fears and need to face them. Again, this is consistent with the morals obtained from fairy tales and is probably interesting and effective with children.

For the more adult storyline, Emma and Hook head off to find the Wicked Witch’s hideout. As they trek through the forest, there is the typical banter between the two. It is funny when Emma told Hook that he’ll “look for any excuse to use that thing” – referring to his hook. During their walk, Hook asks her if she really considered marrying Walsh. She confesses that she did. Undeterred, Hook gets in really close and we get the build up music for a kiss…then nothing happens. Don’t give me the big music and then steal the pay-off. Bad form.

All drugged up from the root, David heads into the forest and runs into Rapunzel’s witch. I lik that the first thing he does when he sees the witch is whip out his cellphone. The two start to battle and in a moment ripped straight out of The Empire Strikes Back, David sees that he is the witch.

As with Rapunzel, David faces his fears by acknowledging them. *Yawn.* When he recounts events to the others, Regina explains that David’s courage transferred into his sword, and the Wicked Witch stole it when the sword disappeared into the green smoke. So, Zelena has the broken sword of courage. We have no idea why.

I liked the nod to Oz with the bike on the porch. I also liked the look on Regina’s face when she finds out Rumple is alive. She knows she will need his help. My biggest complaint of the night has nothing to do with the actual show writing. I feel like of all the shows I watch, Once Upon a Time has the most and longest commercials. It really sucks the excitement out of things. I get that there has to be a balance between the target audience. I just want things to swing the other direction next week.

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