Once Upon A Time “Heart of Gold” Review (Season 4 Episode 18)

SEAN MAGUIRE

Once Upon a Time solved a thorny problem this week: how can Regina get her happy ending by displacing Robin Hood’s wife? Any way you look at it, Marian is an obstacle because she has the superior claim; she’s Robin’s wife and the mother of his child. At the same time, fans love the Robin/Regina relationship. The solution turns out to be a convoluted revenge plot by none other than Zelena.

I appreciate that there had to be some way to get rid of Marian without creating too much sympathy for her character. But the way in which they did it felt similar to those storylines where someone awakes from a dream and everything that’s come before wasn’t real. That’s how it is with Zelena, aka Marian. We find out that the real Marian never made it out of the Enchanted Forest. Instead, when Gold killed Zelena, her life force flew out of her, traveled across town and followed Emma through the portal to the Enchanted Forest. Then she lingered in the ether until she figured out that Emma was going to rescue Marian. Zelena then killed Marian, took her form, and has been pretending to be Mrs. Hood ever since. Um…

I like that Zelana is back because she’s a fantastic villain, but I don’t like this kind of trickery. First, it’s harsh that Zelena killed Marian. Second, if Zelena wanted to get back to Storybrooke, why leave it in the first place? Third, if Zelena could kill someone and take their form, why didn’t she make that a priority a long time ago? If they ever pull a stunt like this and bring back the Snow Queen, I’m out.

Most of the episode is devoted to Robin Hood. We learn what drove him to become an outlaw and how life has been going for him outside of Storybrooke. Back in the Enchanted Forest, we see Robin gave up his life of crime in order to run a tavern. When pressed to pay his taxes, Robin gets a visit from Rumple. He wants Robin to steal the “elixir of the wounded heart” in Oz. This leads to a mini-adventure with Will Scarlett and a run in with the wicked witch. I like Robin Hood, but I wish he had a little of the swagger Hook has.

In New York, Robin and Marian are struggling with an increasingly unhappy marriage, which isn’t helped when Gold shows up. After suffering a heart attack (brought on by his evil nature), Gold gets a visit from Marian who reveals herself to be Zelena. The scene in the hospital was the best of the episode. Rebecca Mader is so fantastic at being evil.

In Storybrooke, Gold tells Regina to call Robin. When she does, she learns that Zelena is back and pretending to be Marian. Now Regina has a choice to make; Gold will help her with the Robin situation if she helps turn Emma evil. I loved that Regina told him that she wouldn’t do that to Emma. But, when he presses her, it looks like she may rethink her dedication to her new friend. I really hope this is not the case. I love the Regina/Emma friendship, and Regina must know there’s no happy ending from treachery.

We didn’t see a whole lot of the Author this week, but that will hopefully be addressed more in the next episode. One thing I didn’t like was Snow and Charming blaming the Author for the Maleficent baby situation. They aren’t exactly good at taking responsibility for their actions.