Once Upon a Time "Bleeding Through" Review: What Ghost Around Comes Around

By Lily Sparks

Apr 21, 2014

Once Upon a Time S03E18: "Bleeding Through"

While many of us may've felt queasy by the end of this revelation-jammed episode of Once Upon a Time, I think we can all agree: “Bleeding Through” included the sexiest ghost ever seen on TV. Sorry, everybody from "Ghostly Lovers," Rose McGowan is the sexiest creature ever to be rendered in a blurry blue CGI outline. But let’s take it from the top! So: Regina was headed to Storybrooke’s Annual Who Can Dress the Most Like a Professional Dominatrix Without Actually Wearing Bondage Gear Charity Ball (Sponsored by Anne Taylor Loft and Home Depot) when Zelena popped in to say hi. Zelena was apparently headed to the same place, but since she’s all about breaking rules and SHOUTING things sartorially, she was naturally wearing a tailored leather apron and an Evil Axis-era chapeau. Costuming is making Choices! I love it

Zelena had a lot to say about how Regina throws her happiness away with both hands and how she should go after what she wants, put it in a cage, and then make it love her. Then she promised she was going to get Regina’s ruby-red resilient heart and her little dog too, my pretty! (Robin, obvs.)

For Robin and his band of Merrie Men were vigilantly guarding Regina’s ticker, which was hidden carefully beneath a loose handful of soil somewhere on the ground right in the general area where lots of people were clomping about in boots, hahahaha.

Yet even with such high-level precautions in place, the precious organ entrusted to Robin’s care was now endangered, for Rumple had been sent after it by Zelena, and here is where we approached a Plot Gray Area, as we so often do on this show. So, Zelena can command Rumple to do something (i.e., “return to your spinning wheel”), but does that also compel him to make on-the-spot decisions to achieve that end, including threatening to kill a child? Is Rumple morally responsible for taking that child’s life, rather than just taking Robin’s arrow? Or do Zelena’s orders force him to take the most ruthlessly efficient path toward achieving each directive? Y’all liberal arts majors out there researching “Once Upon a Time and the Rise of New Calvinism,” holler back in comments.

Anyway, Regina showed up nanoseconds later to find out that Robin had folded like a soft taco and turned over her heart—and despite this being a complete betrayal of the first time she’d trusted someone since she let Emma try that thing with the handcuffs on their anniversary, she was weirdly cool about it. “Nothing is worth the loss of the child. Why am I not dead yet?” Regina said to a repentant Robin, proving that she’d happily sacrifice her life for that of an unknown child and that SHE FEARS NOTHING. She stares back at the gaping abyss and yawns, babies.

Regina’s next stop was the pawn shop, to gauge Belle’s bitch-readings as throughly basic. Guys, have you noticed how someone in the writers’ room has recently remembered all the things Belle should be angry about? Maybe they hung a “Happy Birthday!” banner over the part of the whiteboard where they were keeping track of Belle's arc in the overall plot a couple months ago and they only just now got around to taking it down? Because Belle recently has been calling everyone out on their beef with her, dressing Regina down for locking her up in a tower/asylum/etc. Regina was like “Cherie, why are you bringing this up NOW after like two months of running around town and standing in tableau with the rest of us? Can’t you just let me live my life?! Can’t YOU JUST LITERALLY LET ME LIVE?!” 

Meanwhile, in Backstory Land, Young Cora was moonlighting at a tavern when a handsome rogue pulled a handkerchief out of his bosom with the royal insignia embroidered on it and discreetly threw it in her face! This, coupled with a vague promise of an engagement, served as nothing less than a passport to Cora’s nether regions, and they had some very offscreen giddyup time. And we all know what happens when we have pre-marital sex on OUAT, don’t we children?! 

Yes, you get a bad case of baby and you have to knot clashing sweaters around you until you look like the “Feeeed the biiiirds” woman from Mary Poppins. 

Cora was almost instantly pregnant and went to search out her prince, finding him at the exact same public-park gazebo where Aurora and Phillip were glamping at the beginning of the season. 

Anyone with even a passing knowledge of Victorian novels knows what happened next: The prince was actually a scoundrel, he called her a harlot, and when he found out she was pregnant he shoved her really hard and ran off. YO THOMAS HARDY CALLED AND HE WANTS HIS PLOT BACK! 

None of it mattered, though, 'cause the important thing was that we got to see a super spooky seance! Oh, this was wonderful. I can’t even hide my pure joy at seeing these characters around a table, Snow and Charming eight months out and still not knowing the sex of their baby, Emma and Regina sitting next to each other holding hands and appreciating each other’s blouses, Hook fighting to cross and uncross his legs in those stiff leather pants. Trés agréable! 

Yes, I know, it was another surprise magical device we’d never heard of, but you don’t go to Red Lobster and shriek about all the shellfish on the menu. No, you just order some cheap shit and focus on eating as many of those complimentary cheddar biscuits as you possibly can because real talk, you don’t even like shellfish, you just wanted some biscuits. Guys in this analogy Emma and Regina are my cheddar biscuits. Maybe yours are Rumple and Belle, or Robin, or Hook, or I don’t even know. Let’s just admit the plot has nothing to do with why we’re here right now and enjoy our zesty Cheddar Bay Motherf-cking Biscuits.

Emma was the Charming who acted as the mouthpiece for the Increasingly Indignant Audience when she said, “Uh if raising the dead is so easy, why aren’t we doing this constantly?” and Regina was like, “You need the murderer and the murder weapon, luckily the murder weapon for Cora was a candle so it will make the room super atmosphere-y, but let’s put some ashtrays under the candles to catch the wax because this is a really nice table.” And Snow was like, “Y’all remember that time I murdered Cora? I feel bad now.” But it was too late because a portal to beyond had opened over their very heads!

Poor Regina was then neglected by her own mom even posthumously. Geez. As Emma and Charming and Hook (who invited him?) scampered off to Granny’s, Snow and Regina had a touching conversation where the show Consciously Rebranded Regina. She’s resilient. She feels things so deeply, not just with her heart but with her soul. Regina admitted their relationshop was complicated. Snow copped to being a brat. What in the world was going on? Has Regina become so popular that the intended lead was currying favor with the audience by appreciating her? I don’t know, but once again: Any time OUAT sloooows doooown and lets its excellent actors talk to each other, I love it. This was no exception. I could listen to these two reminisce about life at the palace all day. 

But just when things started getting good, they heard a clattering upstairs and found Sexy, Sexy Ghost Cora. It’s a comforting thought that we get to pick our Ideal Weight Age for our otherworldly spectres, and Cora had gone for the time in her life when she was all eyes and lips. 

She came at them like a hologram Kate Moss at an Alexander McQueen show and Regina totally defended Snow, because OUAT is now acknowledging how much Regina has grown as a person and a good guy. But Pouty Ghost Cora was too strong, too fast, and obviously she wanted to get into Snow’s head to show her WHY SHE ABANDONED HER MAGICKAL BABY. Ready for the dish? A-hem!:

Cora had met Prince Leopold, future King Leopold, future husband to her unborn daughter Leopold, and seduced him by handily making a fire on a damp spot where someone had left a circle of stones, a flint, a bunch of hay, and some kindling. That was enough for him: She was the one. Cora got engaged to Snow’s dad! She was going to get married and be a princess and so was Zelena! 

But of course the Handkerchief Scoundrel demanded jewels for his silence about their baby and Princess Ava (who looked not unlike Anne Hathaway), Leopold’s former betrothed, overheard that Cora was pregnant and revealed all to Leopold, who had Cora removed from the palace. 

Charming, Emma, and Hook returned to stand as witnesses to these revelations, and all of them roundly condemned Princess Ava for “telling a secret”—though as far as I can tell, it was more like she was revealing a conspiracy against the royal succession, which is officially treason, but whatever. Then Belle came in and was like “TIME TRAVEL SPELL!” and everyone was like “Knock, could you?” But Belle’s research kicked off a full-on brainstorm.

It was one of those rare, pearl-like moments where the Charmings put aside their perpetual cloud of obliviousness to make startling leaps of deduction, their thoughts effortlessly pirouetting from synapse to synapse, would that they could draw a conclusion and figure out the next macguffin needed to protect Henry. And so the Charmings realized that to cast the spell, Zelena needed their unborn baby. BABY-SNATCHING is now an integral part of Season 3! I knew we could do it guys. 

Meanwhile, Zelena made Rumple have a dinner date with her that was so sad I almost full-body sobbed. She made him put on a nice little suit, and prepared a tasty little meat pie for each of them, and then they full-body rubbed around on the table. All our families could sit back, eat some Peeps, and enjoy a man making out with a woman under duress and then threatening her life. 

Of course Rumpbelle’s busy fingers were just his attempt to get Zelena’s dagger and regain his autonomy, and she was like, “Ack guys these days amirite ladies a good man is hard to find bikini season!!!” and sent him back to his hidey-hole. Guys, she is super serious about turning back time! Will OUAT fire its whole cast and make next season all about an AU OUAT where Zelena was born to Queen Cora and King Leopold? 

After a final International Cafe Coffee moment betwixt Regina and Snow, Regina found Robin and kissed him full on the lips, like you do with someone who’s endangered your life and the lives of all the people you love. 

Because she can love without her heart I guess? Or maybe the libido lies in the soul? Or are they just pandering to the breeders? Maybe this show only makes sense when you consider Disney’s largest consumer base, young children and their parents. Maybe that’s why the overall series arc has become an ellipse swirling around two primal terrors: the threat of your child being killed or stolen, and the threat of your parents leaving you. Around these two loci, script page after script page are lined end on end to form a perpetual Mobius loop, never going forward, never breaking new ground, only endlessly pulling us back into the darkness of our fear. 


... Zelena: more tragic than dark magic figure, or... ?

... Was Princess Ava to blame for blowing the Cheaters whistle on Cora, or was she wrong in the first place for lying to King Leopold?

... Is Snow and Regina trading memories kind of the best? Do you wish they'd talked dresses a little?

... Robin Hood: great dad or terrible heart guardian?

... Where is this crazy train headed?

... What is your cheddar biscuits?

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  • CTrent29 Jan 15, 2015

    Let me get this straight. You're making snide comments about Robin giving up Regina's heart in order to save his son's life?

    ["So this was annoying me this season, how come Regina could seem emotional without her heart. Because we know from Will in Wonderland, you can't have feelings without your heart. Then again, the Hunter in season 1 was drawn to Emma, but cold to Regina somehow. So their solution was that she can feel with her soul. Kinda desperate explanation."]

    You guys have bad memories. Have you really forgotten that Graham became attracted to Emma without his heart? Or that Cora was wallowing in the love of Regina's presence inside the latter's wardrobe . . . without her heart? Or that she had clung to the rose that Regina had placed on her coffin for 28 years . . . without her heart?

  • arr25 Oct 07, 2014

    ... Zelena: more tragic than dark magic figure, or... ?
    I'd agree with most and say it's both. I mean everyone who has picked up dark magic has had some sort of abandoned past etc

    ... Was Princess Ava to blame for blowing the Cheaters whistle on Cora, or was she wrong in the first place for lying to King Leopold?
    Hardly, and I'm not even sure why Snow thought it was so bad. What Snow did was ruin get Regina's boyfriend killed, what Ava did was to save the kingdom from a conniving woman. I'm guessing she was letting out all the guilt instead.

    ... Is Snow and Regina trading memories kind of the best? Do you wish they'd talked dresses a little?
    Honestly I'm glad this happened. I mean of all the characters, Emma included, Regina and Snow have had the greatest amount of interaction and unresolved history. There was probably not a better time to talk, given that Zelena's plan has firmly thrown them all onto the same side. Most importantly, Snow was able to acknowledge that Regina had truly become the person she knew earlier, the kind and caring one.
    I'm hoping Regina gives Snow better tips on how to dress sexy post-partum

    ... Robin Hood: great dad or terrible heart guardian?
    Definitely great dad. Regina with all her magic could barely land a scratch on Zelena, there was no way Robin would've done anything. In fact it was really touching to see that he had definitely been brooding over it the whole day and was so guilty about it.

    on another note, despite all that talk about soul-loving and what not, how exactly does Regina feel love? I thought she wanted to remove it to not feel pain I.e. Not to feel at all? And speaking if which, how did Cora feel love either? I thought she had removed her heart after hanging with Rumple? Or was this before Meeting him at all?

    ... Where is this crazy train headed?
    I hope to a good conclusion!

    ... What is your cheddar biscuits?
    i ship Emma and Regina more platonically, like super BFFs. I'm more captain Swan (which I hope we see more of soon!) And hey hey, show me some Robin-Regina love! I love them the most, they seem oddly more mature and more grounded in whatever they're having

  • Katerine_M May 04, 2014

    Sorry this is so behind... but I'm behind. Hulu doesn't show the episodes until a week later, and then I just let them sit in my queue for a while, until I'm tired enough of Grimm to consent to watching something else. :)

    ... Zelena: more tragic than dark magic figure, or... ?

    Both. Given Rumple's and Regina's back stories, it's pretty clear that those two things are not mutually exclusive. In fact, tragedy is pretty-much a prerequisite for the other thing.

    ... Was Princess Ava to blame for blowing the Cheaters whistle on Cora, or was she wrong in the first place for lying to King Leopold?

    Ah... Princess Eva did the right thing. She might have been strangely bitchy about it, which is not like Snow's memories at all, but... maybe that's the point. In Snow's memories, Eva was a perfect, wonderful, kind, wise, loving woman. In Cora's memories, Eva was a bitch. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

    But regardless, she did the right thing. Can't think how anybody can think otherwise. I'm putting Snow's strange stance as her making peace with Regina. Or maybe Cora got in her head a little more than they thought.

    ... Is Snow and Regina trading memories kind of the best? Do you wish they'd talked dresses a little?

    Honestly, I could take or leave those scenes. They felt stilted and forced to me.

    ... Robin Hood: great dad or terrible heart guardian?

    Great dad. Rumple made it very clear that he had no choice but to go through with his threat if Robin didn't yield, and Regina's right - nothing's worth the loss of a child.

    BTW, I think the question of whether Rumple's responsible for killing a child is irrelevant... because he didn't kill the child. He knew perfectly well that Robin wouldn't let anything happen to his child, which means that Rumple actually chose the best option for getting the heart: the one where no one, in fact, got hurt. At least, not in the process of getting the heart.

    ... Where is this crazy train headed?

    More to the point, is Emma somehow immune?

    ... What is your cheddar biscuits?

    I'm losing my love for cheddar biscuits. I, in fact, want some seafood.

  • JayLow1 Apr 28, 2014

    Late for me, but, why not.

    I hardly find it a coincidence that Belle would only call out the woman, Regina, about being a victim and pawn of her crimes. Rumple of course had yelled and lied to her multiple times but she kept going back to him even after saying she would leave. And Hook has literally slapped her around more than a few times but unlike R&R; has yet to indicate any intention of apologizing or feeling sorry about it, but she (and the fandom) forgive him off the bat. But Regina is the only one she decides to hold a grudge against.

    ... Zelena: more tragic than dark magic figure, or... ?
    She seems to flip flop when it comes to how she comes off as a villain. Sometimes she's intriguing and makes you want to see what else she's got, and other times she's like an high school jock/cheerleader trying to prove so desperately she's the alpha dog. When it's the latter, she lacks the charisma and cunningness that (older) Cora as well as Regina, Rumple, Peter Pan, even King George and the Blue Fairy have. (She kind of reminds of Hook in that manner).

    ... Was Princess Ava to blame for blowing the Cheaters whistle on Cora, or was she wrong in the first place for lying to King Leopold?
    Eva blew the whistle solely because Leopold wasn't going to marry her for a peasant girl. In other words, she couldn't handle not getting her way due to someone she deemed filth. Cora lied because she knew it would be a conspiracy and bad press to have a child out of wedlock and one that wasn't Leopold's. Eva knew she'd have the upper hand anyway by being a royal, and used that to wheedle a (still pathetic and balding) Leopold that no filthy Muggle blood would taint the royal pureblood lines.

    ... Is Snow and Regina trading memories kind of the best? Do you wish they'd talked dresses a little?
    They could have a whole episode or so about their times before and during Regina's marriage to Leopold.

    ... Robin Hood: great dad or terrible heart guardian?
    To be honest, it doesn't sound much different than whenever Emma or Snow and David would drop Henry off with whichever Storybrooke character was the closest throughout the previous seasons.

    ... Where is this crazy train headed?
    Probably with Zelena having more tantrums and identity crises. She seems to take all her plots, ideas, and even dialogue from the other OUAT baddies.

  • lilysophiaful Apr 26, 2014

    Great review. Totally loved this episode...I just totally love this show!

    1. Zelena is very tragic and evil. She is a very jealous person. I can see how she has had a tragic life, but so did Regina. Her mother was horrible to her. And look how Regina turned out.
    2. Princess Ava was definitely NOT to blame. She was doing the right thing by revealing the truth to the Prince. Not sure why they made her seem like she had been in the wrong.
    3. I loved Snow and Regina rekindling in this ep.
    4. Robin Hood is a great dad! Just love him for Regina :)
    5. no idea where this train is headed...the show is always full of surprises. Hope Zelena does not succeed in this time travel
    6. My cheddar biscuits are Hook and Emma. I'm totally for Captain Swan &3&3

  • narcissustalley Apr 25, 2014

    you give the best reviews i have ever seen.

  • LilPeregrine Apr 25, 2014

    Great review, as often! I really can't get enough of your captions!
    I'm a bit saddened by Cora's attitude: when she died and said that REgina "would have been enough" and that she regretted taking her heart out, I really liked her and felt sad that she died... But now that we know that she got rid of Zelena because she was an inconvenience... and that was BEFORE she took her heart out!!! Well... Good riddance, Bitch!

    ... Zelena: more tragic than dark magic figure, or... ?
    =& Yeah,I'm feeling more and more sorry for her with every episode.

    ... Was Princess Ava to blame for blowing the Cheaters whistle on Cora, or was she wrong in the first place for lying to King Leopold?
    =& Yeah, Cora was wrong in the first place. But Cora was a real B**** for LIKING to blow the whistle!

    ... Is Snow and Regina trading memories kind of the best? Do you wish they'd talked dresses a little?

    =& Yeah. The finally realised they shouldn't have been fighting in the first place.

    ... Robin Hood: great dad or terrible heart guardian?
    =& Both! He of course was right to save his kid, but... hiding the heart under a tree? Seriously?

    ... Where is this crazy train headed?
    =& A big ABC family happy ending with tears and love.

    PS: As a "breeder", I'm NOT offended by the term. Actually, I'm more offended (and annoyed!) by people saying "OMG! Don't be offended by this term, YOU should not EVER complain because you're NOT gay/black/poor/a panda but I AM and so I have MORE REASONS TO FEEL OFFENDED!" Geez! People have a right to be sensitive! Even if they're straight/white/rich/Lions! Come on!
    But seriously, I really, sincerely think that you must have a problem with this issue, Lily! That's not the first time you state that kids/parents/breastfeeding/parenting is gross/revolting/stupid. Maybe you should work on that...?

  • fefujones Apr 25, 2014

    Cheddar Biscuits?

    Hook. My gosh Hook.

    And Regina's lipstick. This week she had the most amazing lipstick I've ever seen in my life.

    I look forward to watching the show each week just to read your hilarious reviews. They always make me laugh so hard, so thanks for that!

  • junnyan Apr 25, 2014

    Although I liked this episode, I asked myself the same question

  • Whatever0 Apr 25, 2014

    People are being way too sensitive over the use of the term "breeder". The word itself, as a non-native speaker, does not seem so offensive to me. Human beings are animals, afer all, and we wouldn't be here to discuss this if we were NOT breeders. Seriously, some of you guys need to sit back and relax, or take a chill pill, whatever suits you best. It's not the most positive of terms but it's definitely not as offensive as you make it out to be.

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