Jack Rowand / ABC

Zelena Does A Good Deed On Once Upon A Time

But will watching be a punishment?

I wasn't expecting to like a Zelena-centric episode as much as I liked this one, but that was pretty fun. It was a shame to see classic Oz tinkering wasted on a Macguffin, but at least the witch sisters are (probably) done whine-arguing about which of them is the saddest. This is kind of an extension of my complaining last week (and forever) about the length of the season, but for a big bad who's supposed to be the evilest of them all, the Black Fairy's plans sure are weak. First she needs Zelena's help, then her whole thing is undone before the end of the episode. All this fuss to "start the Final Battle." Just start it already!

How Once Upon A Time-esque was it all?

Once Upon A Time-ish Element Present?
F-ed Up Fairy Tales This week's flashbacks take us to Oz, where we learn that Zelena and the not-yet-tin woodsboy (here named Stanum, which Google tells me is the Malay word for tin, which is cute but also maybe calm down) were childhood friends (well, they met once that we see). Later, when the Wicked Witch of the North (that's what they said, don't come at me Oz people) curses him to (conveniently slowly) turn into tin, he asks the now-wicked Zelena for help finding the Crimson Heart to cure him. Along the way they're attacked by a lion, and their successful defense turns him cowardly. This story has been told so much better so many times (yes, including Emerald City), it seems a shame to use it as this mechanical of a plot device here.
Good vs. Evil, But Which Is Which? In the immortal words of Dark Helmet, "Evil will always triumph over good, because good is dumb." The Black Fairy invites Zelena to join her, and is vaguely threatening towards baby Robin. Zelena is convinced she can beat her on her own, no matter how powerful anyone else says the Black Fairy is, so she runs down to the mines to get her. Of course, she can't beat her, and the Black Fairy uses Zelena's magic to turn the fairy crystals she's been growing into dark fairy crystals. "Your magic is useful because it's unstable," she tells her. "You're so desperate for love, so desperate to prove yourself. Your heart is in disarray." So it's not so much that Zelena isn't good, it's that she's a) dumb, and b) an emotional mess. Which we already knew, but it's kind of nice to see it used against her.
True Love's Blah Blah Blah Not exactly a kiss, but a heart, and a huge sacrifice. The Crimson Heart doesn't contain any magic of its own; it needs someone else's to work, so in order to save Stan Zelena has to give up her magic. She won't do that, of course, leaving him to turn completely to tin. But in the present, she returns to Oz to get the Heart -- since the crystals are infused with her magic, she can use it to undarken them. But it will take her own power too. I've been pretty sick of Zelena for a while (and I can't imagine what use the character will have without magic), but it's a moving sacrifice for now.
You Can't Escape Your Fate Unless Maybe You Can Who's To Say? Henry tries to use his Author powers to do something about the Final Battle but he can't change it. In fact every time anyone tries to stop the Black Fairy, they seem to be playing right into her plans.
This Show Has A Deep, Rich History In an attempt to keep life moving despite the impending crisis, the Charmings are looking for wedding venues for Emma and Killian. At first I scoffed at the idea of them needing to go look at anything, because by now shouldn't the confines of Storybrooke be pretty...confined? But they end up at the diner and the town hall, which are both pretty garbage choices, and realistic. And we're reminded that Mary Margaret and Whale dated during the First Curse.
...As Long As It's Convenient No doubt someone with sharper eyes or memory than mine will catch something in Zelena's flashbacks or the wedding nonsense, but I was unbothered. (The timeline in Oz doesn't make much sense, but that's in terms of regular Oz, not OUAT Oz, and since I also covered Emerald City I honestly can't keep track at all.
Family Feud Zelena and Regina have the same fight they've been having for a whole season about who gave up more when Robin and Hades died and, like, you're both formerly evil/wicked witches who have killed innocent people and you literally went to hell and back and some bad shit went down...maybe move the fuck on? (They finally do after Zelena's grand gesture.)

Meanwhile, David and Snow argue over the best approach to the wedding. Snow wants to live a normal life and keep planning; David is afraid it will be like their own wedding: interrupted by an evil curse (or similar). When confronted with this truth, Snow reveals that she's afraid if they wait some or all of them won't be around for it at all.

Shut up, Henry In addition to writing lines that vanish in a vain attempt to change the future, Henry is trying to translate the gibberish he wrote while he was in that trance. It's not clear how, except that it involves a glowing Author pen. This is really the writers' fault, not the character's or the actor's: Henry's new-ish powers have never been well-defined or at all clear, and so any time he talks about them he sounds even dumber than usual (if possible).
All Magic Comes With A Price Not only does magic not come with a price, all it takes to revive Mother Superior is crumbling a fairy crystal over her. Not even an incantation. Cheapest spell yet!
Wig Cop On Patrol Belle's wig will never not look wiggy, but I'm happy whenever they style it with some hair in the front to cover the lace. Better.
Drag Queen Realness

BLACK FAIRY: Does this mean you're here to take me up on offer?
ZELENA: I'm afraid not. I'm here to do one thing.

Lip sync for your life?

Green Screen Fakeness Did I mention that Zelena and Stan are attacked by a lion? We also visit Zelena's throne room, which looks okay, and the Yellow Brick Road, which absolutely does not.
Phrasing!

"I'll be in the dwarf tunnels if you change your mind."

"Pinning her down in there won't be easy."

It's A Small World After All "And here I thought lions were supposed to be brave. Coward."

"Enjoy life as a statue. Maybe Dorothy will come back and save you."

12 / 14
Final Score
86%
Once Upon A Time
14%
Crystal Light
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