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Once Upon a Time S03E20: "Kansas"

Guys, I don’t even know where to begin. This bunch takes one step forward, then executes 17 cartwheels backwards. The Charmings believed their own hype so hard that they got another baby snatched. Emma lost her magic because it didn’t occur to her to simply magic the water out of the kiddie pool in Zelena’s front yard. Rumple distracted Belle with a proposal so he could pocket his dagger and then Zelena’s ghost? Soul? Pendant dust? And in keeping with Once Upon a Time's grand tradition of Big Bads Who Refuse to Die the Episode Before the Finale, Zelena went zipping into the center of her Witch Compass to mess up the past. Rude. 

"Kansas" began with Rumple feverishly spinning hay into gold as the Charmings rushed to get Snow into the birthin’ stirrups. Charming delivered a super-helpful pep talk during Snow's contractions about how she should just relax and have that baby because he was right there. HAHAHAHAHA Charming remember that time you tried to keep Regina out of the back of a pawn shop and woke up in front of a locked door? Charming remember the time you challenged YOURSELF in a ghillie suit to a duel and somehow you both lost? HAHAHAHA.

Not that Emma was any better, all like, “I’m the only one who can stop Zelena, so I’ll leave this incredibly vulnerable baby, who I know she is going to try to snatch, and go hike around her backyard.” And Charming was like, “Hey, be sure and bring the guy with the cursed lips who Zelena is using as a tool against you, just to be safe.”

No, Emma. As the one person who can actually protect Snow, you should be standing right outside her door until Zelena shows up, like you know she will. “Bringing the fight to Zelena” makes no sense, Snow’s uterus has already been proclaimed the battlefield, so guard it with your life. You wanna stay kissing-close to that uterus, babe! Dear OUAT writers, I know it's convenient to make Emma slower than a bag of blonde hair extensions dipped in molasses, but it sort of undermines her heroism. However, I did like how Emma and Regina were effortlessly co-parenting Henry in this scene like an ideal family unit, after Emma got so furious with Hook for presuming to kidnap Henry and then being like, “Don’t I even get a thank you?”

Of course, as Emma and Hook bickered their way through the woods about Emma's imminent return to her extremely nice apartment in New York, they inevitably ran into Zelena, who was like, “I DEMAND YOU KISS HOOK!” and Emma was like, “LOL what? No hetero, thanks.” So Zelena was forced to put Emma into a situation where she'd either have to give Hook CPR and lose her powers, or let him die and not have to deal with a pining pirate anymore.

Firstly: Emma has got to be powerful enough by now that she could've just magically frozen the water or evaporated the water or just turned the water into circus peanuts, but once again she had to be conveniently stupid for the scene to work. Secondly: CPR counts as a kiss? I guess EMS workers are just a passel of hoes! Nooo, I am not maligning the good men and women upon whom my life may one day depend, I’m making the point that CPR is not, not, not a kiss, bros. Your mouths touch, but it’s intent that makes a kiss a kiss, so, once again, rude. Emma elected not to let Hook die before her very eyes by pressing her mouth to his and blowing oxygen into his esophagus while applying pressure on his diaphragm. Romantic, n’est pas?!! The sexiest part was when Hook coughed up the pool water. 

Hook was like, “What have you doooone” because obviously Emma's magic was sort of what literally everyone in town was counting on to stop Zelena. Whoops! And then he made a quiet vow to himself that just because his leather clothes had been completely submerged in icy cold water, that did not mean he would change them. NOT FOR ALL THE STARS IN HEAVEN WOULD HE CHANGE HIS LEATHER PIRATE FORMALWEAR.

Meanwhile in the Wonderful Land of Backstory, we learned that Glenda had approached Zelena about joining her super-exclusive bridge club of powerful witches with their cleavage a-poppin’. My Lord, didn’t they all look like hardened '90s child-pageant moms? 

Like, moments before Zelena showed up they were having an extremely heated fight about whether it was appropriate to have the girls dance to “MMMbop” by Hanson for the opening number of the Little Miss Oz Supreme Toddler to Tween Pageant? I mean, their hair! Zelena was all, “What, me join you? What, oh wow friends like what? Okay!” and Glenda was like, “On Wednesdays, we wear pink. And here is your official Witch Sister necklace: it will make you more powerful but if you ever lose it all your power is gone instantly, forever.” 

I personally would not agree to attach life-or-death consequences to wearing a horrible statement pendant for all eternity, but OUAT needed a simple, dramatic, and visual way to disarm Zelena, so that’s why that happened. Let’s keep it real! It made things easier for the writers, bam. That’s the only damn reason, babies! I am ADDICTED to the truth tonight, watch out. 

So back in Storybrooke, with Rumple helping to clean up the giant rune Zelena had carved in her garage, Zelena placed Regina’s heart and Gold’s brain and the Prince’s courage in big salad bowls and then sniffed the air, like, “A very strong placenta has discharged... SIMBA!” and made for the hospital to collect Snow's baby, the magical True Love Baby so pure it was born without an umbilical cord. BTW, guys,whose baby was that? I mean actually, what set of stage parents were like “Please, use our five-month-old infant. Smear it with vaseline and fake blood and then have your actors toss it around like a watermelon, we've got like three more. Per diem rate of $75? Awesome. We were going to let you use the kid for free but cool.”

Zelena snatching up that baby was embarrassingly easy. Like, pathetic. I laughed out loud when Robin Hood was like “Steady men... steady...” and then they all were like:

And then Belle came out dressed up like a sexy school girl and was like, “The buck stops here, buster!” And then she was like:

And then Regina was like, “I got your candy bitch!” but she was like:

And then Charming could barely reach for his sword when this happened:


And then Zelena snatched the baby right out of Snow’s arms and Snow’s face was like “My... life... ” But really, Charmings, the first time this happens—the first time you lose your baby due to an evil enchantress’s magical means—it's shame, shame, shame on whoever has parted you from your child, fair enough. BUT THE SECOND TIME you lose a baby to a meddlesome sorceress? Well, shame on you, Charmings. Shaaaaame on you. Ginnifer Goodwin did lovely work in this scene; I felt terrible for her, even if I was laughing pretty hard.

Emma turned up moments after the baby had been nabbed to reveal she was no longer going to be of any help. Regina was LIVID, as she should have been.

Then the show ground to a halt for Henry to give an extremely condescending speech to his own mother about how he knew she had good in her, and she was a hero now and he believed she could be a hero. Bitch, do you believe that because she saved your ass from Peter Pan, twice? Or maybe because she saved the whole town by attempting to sacrifice herself to stop the magic failsafe diamond? While it was super redundant for OUAT to point out that Regina is now a good guy, (a.k.a. her interests have aligned with the Charmings') still, it was nice to see Henry make that endorsement, even though, to quote Radiohead, it was No Alarms and No Surprises that she had to save everybody, again.

Meanwhile, in Oz, Dorothy Gail appeared via Cyclone and Glenda and the other witches started hanging out with the approximately 14-year-old girl, and Zelena immediately felt threatened. So she staged an elaborate ruse to make it appear as if Dorothy had killed her with a bucket of water... that she could send Dorothy back to Earth and also send Glinda to Fairy-Tale Land. Zelena is very defensive guys, she’s sensitive, she’s a little insecure. This may have something to do with how her father called her Satan’s Spawn and the Face of Pure Evil all her life, and self-fulfilling prophesies have so much to do with zzzzzzzz. I don’t think anyone needs me to decode this trope. The writers had some points to make about CHOOSING not to be wicked. I’d argue that immorality is rarely that clean-cut of a decision, rather it’s a million tiny rationalizations, but whatever.

So anyway, Regina showed up at Zelena’s Rune Barn just as she had all four symbols in their salad bowls leaking powerful magic color to open a portal to the past. 

The final showdown involved everyone being completely useless as Rumple apologetically dispensed one-liners and smackdowns. I get that he’s supposedly throwing people into hay bales against his will, but does he have to be so sassy about it?

Then Regina showed up, and OUAT, because it has been relying so heavily on Lana Parrilla for these last three seasons was like, “Hey, we know she can do powerful emotional acting standing upright. But can she sell one of our incredibly ridiculous lines while pretending to be in a chokehold, suspended from wires?” I mean, the ordeals they put this woman through. All you thespian hopefuls in acting classes where they make you do animal body movements and perform voice and breath work: Shows like this are why. They will write the craziest shit they can, just to see if you can do it, and if you pull it off they will only up the ante. So Regina gave the “hero speech” apparently three feet off the ground while pretending to be squeezed by an invisible Darth Vader grip.

So everything seemed to be solved: Regina was now officially a good guy and had ingratiated herself enough with the inlaws for her and Emma to plan their wedding drama-free, and the Charmings had their baby back for the first time, which was adorable. 

Emma didn’t have her power back, and that was worrisome but I figured the first time Regina so much as swiped her arm, logically it should come return (since Regina’s came back when Emma touched her).

Then Belle showed up at Rumple’s Pawn Shop, because God forbid he go find her ever. Did Rumple rush to Belle’s side when he was finally free from Zelena’s control, after seeing her risk her life multiple times to free him? Nope! He went straight back to his store to, I don’t know, price up the hookahs or something. Belle arrived looking desperately sexy in a black bra and white blouse, and he was like “Seriously why are you still into me?! I don’t understand. How did you get in here? I thought you gave me back that spare key. Did you make copies?” and Belle was like “See this dagger? Regina gave it to me but I’m giving it to yoooou even though I know you are literally made of darkness, like I saw the tar that formed you in the woods that day with the crazy candelabra, but still: I trust you to do the right thing from now on.” And Rumple was like, “This dagger represents perfect trust. I ask that you keep it along with my heart and marry me!!!” And she was like “Of COURSE [face smush face smush].” I know you Rumbellers out there have been through a lot, you deserved this moment, I’m sure it was richly enjoyed, and it was plenty cute, and if you like watching actors smash their faces then this was right up your alley.

Unfortunately, we would all question all the legitimacy of this moment just minutes later. After Regina gave a jailed Zelena a “scared straight” speech about how she deserved a second chance and she could turn things around etc. etc., Rumple came in and revealed he had performed sleight of hand to get the real dagger from Belle. Dude: She OFFERED you the real dagger, so you could have just kept it? Also, you proposed to her while holding a fake dagger, so that kind of makes your whole proposal super shady. Then Rumple straight-up stabbed Zelena with the dagger, she turned into a ceramic figurine, the dust went to her pendant, and then the curse in the Rune Barn happened anyway?

I’m confused about the ending as I trust many of you are, but the episode promo for next week's two-hour finale is more than enough to keep me on board. I’m guessing some element of the time-travel curse worked, but without removing Regina. So we’re going to see how everything would have been if Emma had grown up in Fairy-Tale Land? Suddenly I’m not even mad about how ridiculous this episode was. IT WAS RUDE-DICKULOUS.


... Was Rumple super rude to Belle by betraying her trust DURING a proposal? Are you sort of furious the writers undermined that moment?

... How do you think Emma will get her magic back?

... What should the Charmings name their bb boy?

... Did Emma act quite stupidly this episode? Was she dressed appropriately for a magical/non-magical showdown?

... How do you think Zelena’s death changed the time-travel curse?

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