Just when you thought Once Upon a Time had spun Cinderella’s tale to completion, Sunday’s episode reopened her proverbial storybook for another dramatic reveal — and a delightfully campy showdown.
It turns out Ella — or Ashley, pick your poison — has been carrying around a pumpkin-load of guilt over getting her happily ever after. She blames herself for spoiling the happiness of her stepsister Clorinda, who was apparently a closeted nice girl with a secret boyfriend (Prince Thomas’ footman!) whom she planned to marry behind Lady Tremaine’s back.
With the best of intentions, Cinderella handed Clorinda a key capable of turning any door into a portal to the Land of Untold Stories, where Lady T. couldn’t possibly find her. But after a few demeaning quips from her wicked stepmother (“You look like a trash bin and have the education of my cat!”), Ella folded like a napkin and revealed every last detail of the betrayal.
Not only did Lady Tremaine stop Clorinda from running away with her beloved, but she also forced her daughter to join her in the LoUS, damning both Clorinda and her fiancé to an eternity apart — or so she thought.
Cut to present-day Storybrooke, where a gun-toting Ashley walked unknowingly into a trap set by her scorned stepsister, only to be ambushed and stabbed by Lady Tremaine. (It was an ugly family reunion, even for Once Upon a Time standards.) And it would have been lights-out for Ashley, were it not for an eleventh-hour save from Emma, who managed to stop her hand from shaking long enough to heal her.
HOME SWEET HOOK | But calming those tremors wasn’t Emma’s only major step forward this week. After a particularly intense session with Archie — who could probably use a good psychiatrist of his own at this point — Emma finally accepted that her happiness with Hook is more than an “illusion,” and that it was time to move him into Chez Swan. “I have a closet full of red jackets,” she told him. “I think I can make some space for some black leather.”
‘LET IT GO’ | Is David going from Prince Charming to… Prince of Darkness? After learning the truth about his father’s death, that the “cart accident” was actually a covered-up murder, David promised Mary Margaret he wouldn’t go all Emily Thorne on the unknown killer. But rather than burning the only shred of evidence, like he said he would, David pocketed the item behind Snow’s back.
CHECKMATE? | Regina’s other half continued to run amok this week, first attempting to convince Emma that her role as the savior was pointless, then making nice with — and releasing! — Mr. Hyde. She’s even forming a pretty decent wedge between Regina and Zelena, not that it takes much to get those two at odds.
* I appreciate Snow’s vision for a better Storybrooke, but I’m siding with Regina; I wouldn’t hire anyone at the school without first opening the candidate pool a bit. (“Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Frankenstein. Do you know what that sounds like?” / “The world’s scariest sounding pediatrician’s office.”)
* Live-action versions of Cinderella’s mice always remind me of how crazy and unsanitary it is for a grown woman to be playing with wild rodents.
* I’m not sure which surprised me more: seeing Grumpy lash out at Emma (“We don’t all just wait around for you to fix things!”) or learning that Dopey, who’s no longer a tree, is apparently off getting his masters degree.
Are you excited to see Emma and Hook under one roof? Could David’s father’s killer be someone we already know? Whatever’s on your mind, drop it in a comment below.