ABC

Once Upon A Time Wishes Logic Into The Cornfield

Genie, I served with Anyanka. I knew Anyanka. Anyanka was a friend of mine. Genie, you're no Anyanka.

Remember that episode of Buffy -- generally considered one of the series' best -- where Cordelia wished Buffy had never come to Sunnydale and shit got real bad? And remember that season of Angel -- generally considered one of the series' worst -- where Angel's son was raised in a demon dimension where time worked differently and trained to kill his father? You'll definitely remember them after tonight's Once Upon A Time, and not in a good way. I get that supernatural shows are going to end up borrowing from each other, whether accidentally or on purpose, but "The Wish" is a pretty famous episode and to emulate it -- badly -- just seems sloppy. As does having the cloaked figure from Emma's vision be accelerated-growth Gideon. Sure, he's been in two episodes, but as a magical fetus. A random Disney villain would've had more weight just by virtue of being present in pop culture. (Related: We didn't get to see nearly enough Jafar this half-season.)

Anyway...the Evil Queen gets her hands on Aladdin's lamp and passive-aggressively wishes that Emma's wish to have never been the Savior be granted. Rather than completely change the timeline like in that Buffy episode, this zaps Emma into a dream, basically, where Queen Regina was defeated, so Emma is now a princess, King Charming and Queen Snow are the correct ages relative to her, and Henry is about to be knighted. But none of it's real, so why does anything outside of Emma's perspective (such as a crazy Rumple in the dungeon) exist? And does that mean all wishes are fake? If you wish for gold, is it dream-gold? What does this mean for the entire plot of Aladdin? No one thought this through.

Also not thought through is this exchange between Aladdin and David after David gets the lamp away from the Evil Queen:

"David, are you my new master?"
"Yeah, Aladdin, I am."

YOU'RE KILLING ME, SHOW. Can we get a spin-off, please?

Speaking of fairies (sorry), The Black Fairy got Gideon away from Mother Superior in the forest. You had one job! And just as Gold helpfully explains to Belle that his mom likes to hang out in some very dark realms where time works differently, and they agree to work together to find their son, he helpfully shows up to turn the Evil Queen into a snake and reveal that he's the one who's meant to kill Emma, and thus our Spring Big Bad. (I was hoping for Jafar, but Aladdin and Jasmine are off to Agrabah without us, it seems.)

I'm making it sound less fun than it was. I always enjoy a good Enchanted Forest costume parade, and Lana Parrilla gets to play the Evil Queen, Regina, and Regina playing the Evil Queen, which is always a good time. There's some especially nice business when she's trying to explain who she is to the dwarves, who are not having it. But it did not benefit from the unavoidable comparisons to its elders. Still, on its own terms, how Once Upon A Time-esque was it?

Once Upon A Time-ish Element Present?
F-ed Up Fairy Tales Half a point for the genie stuff, I suppose, but we're firmly in the world of OUAT's "original" story this week.
Good vs. Evil, But Which Is Which? Regina and the Evil Queen do battle again, despite the fact that they can't hurt each other, and when Emma accidentally snaps and lunges at EQ with the sword that's supposedly eventually going to kill Emma, everyone learns it can hurt one of them without hurting the other.

Then in the wish, Rumple explains that "every savior needs a villain," so to remind Emma who she is, Regina will have to become the Evil Queen again, at least for show.

Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke, David nearly kills the real Evil Queen, even though a) it will kill Regina and b) he's not supposed to kill, even the bad guys, and then worries that he's becoming too dark without Snow there to keep him on the right side.

Family Feud Regina does kill Snow and Charming, but they're not real.
Shut up, Henry I have to admit Henry looks very good in his armor (and the proud look Regina gives him right before she fake-attacks his knighting ceremony is amazing), but then he talks. A lot.
True Love's Blah Blah Blah Regina fails to activate Emma's Saviorosity, but Henry -- excuse me, "Sir Henry," as the little shit now wants to be called -- shows up to save the day. Regina won't fight him, and is about to allow herself to be killed. Seeing this -- and seeing her son about to become a killer -- is what snaps Emma out of the dream.

Then, as Emma and Regina are about to portal back to Storybrooke, Robin Hood shows up to rob them, and Regina is so taken by the sight of her dead boyfriend that she freezes and allows the portal to close. Uh-oh.

All Magic Comes With A Price Granting someone else's wish is the Evil Queen's workaround for this, which Aladdin reminds anyone who gets anywhere near his lamp (calm down and practice safe wish, dude). Later, David thinks he's playing it cool by wishing "the Evil Queen gets exactly what she deserves," but nothing happens. Is winning what she deserves? Or is being turned into a snake, and the price of David's wish is bringing the man who will kill Emma?
This Show Has A Deep, Rich History Regina's attack on Henry's knighting is a very direct reference to her attack on Snow and Charming's wedding in the pilot. Neal is still Henry's father in the wish world, with a lovely portrait on the castle wall.
...As Long As It's Convenient Why would he still be dead in her wish? Guess they couldn't get Michael Raymond-James back.
O, Canada! No guest stars or new locations mean no tell-tale signs.
Wig Cop On Patrol Snow and Charming's grey looks call to mind high-school plays.
Drag Queen Realness I really appreciate how so many of Lana Parrilla's looks involve pants. Good for you, girl!

2016-12-05-ouat-queen-pants

She gets two looks this week, one as the EQ in Storybrooke and one as Regina play-acting in the fake Enchanted Forest. The latter is more like an early season outfit, which is just as fierce but looks less comfortable. It's a progression I totally buy.

2016-12-05-ouat-queen-dress

Also check out the feathers on the cape!

2016-12-05-ouat-queen-cape
Green Screen Fakeness Everything in the palace is CGI, but dare I say they're getting better at it? People's feet seem to actually touch the floor.
It's A Small World After All Regina finds Emma walking through the woods humming "Someday My Prince Will Come." Rumple is singing it in the dungeon too (hee).
10 / 13
Final Score
77%
Once Upon A Time
23%
Buffy the Henry Slayer (would watch)
Readers liked this episode
What did you think?

Discussion

Explore the Once Upon A Time forum or add a comment below.