As ABC’s Once Upon a Time kicked off its final run of 12 episodes on Friday night, one major character met a rather selfless end, while another, smaller death set in motion a dark new mystery.
With everyone desperate to save magically whammied Lucy’s life, Regina and Zelena sought out a Resurrection Amulet, which they had their hands on years earlier in the other realm, but lost track of as they ran their Hyperion Heights watering hole as “Roni” and “Kelly.” Ultimately, Zelena spied the amulet embedded within an old sign for the bar, which she abruptly smashed to get at what they were after. Alas, Victoria aka Rapunzel then showed up, gun in hand, to demand the amulet for her own use — which is also to save Lucy, her granddaughter.
Rapunzel delivered the amulet to Gothel, who first recharged it using Anastasia’s magic. Then, while the girl rested, Gothel made Drizella appear, seeing as the amulet runs on a rather sensible “life for a life” principle. Rapunzel refused to watch her daughter perish, so she shoved Drizzy out of the way and gave herself up. And with her dying breaths, Rapunzel endeavored to reiterate to Drizella her love, and how all she wanted was for her and Anastasia to be together again. It was never a matter of favoring one daughter over another.
And thus endeth Gabrielle Anwar’s run as a Season 7 series regular.
Surveying Rapunzel’s journey, Once co-creator Eddy Kitsis says, “[She] originally was trapped in a tower and kind of became this villain, and yet in this moment in the relationship between Ivy and her… she was able to reclaim who she was. And I think that’s always been a message on the show, which is this is not a show where we expect you to be perfect. This is a show where we all say, ‘OK, every day we make mistakes, but it’s how you come back from them.’ So we felt like that was a fitting ending.”
Drizella/Ivy, though, is now left to come to terms with her mother’s sacrifice and her long-misplaced ire. “Now Ivy has to deal with what happens when you spend your life hating someone, and then you realize you shouldn’t have,” says Kitsis. “They really liked you, and now where do you put that hate?”
Rapunzel’s was not the hour’s only death, however. Elsewhere in the episode, as the doctors struggled to diagnose Lucy and prepare to treat her, Jacinda and the lass’ “father,” Nick, gave blood to see if they were a match if need be. And so did Henry, after gazing at Lucy’s storybook and wondering if maybe the rugrat has been right all along. Lucy would be revived by the amulet, but nonetheless a nurse laid eyes on the rest results, which showed that Nick was not a match, while Henry was proven to be her father.
And then that nurse keeled over dead, poisoned by someone wearing black leather gloves!
“Someone, we will find out, is killing witches,” Kitsis says of the the mystery ahead, which somehow ties into the nurse’s poisoning. “So while Gothel is trying to assemble a coven, someone else is trying to knock them off, and that is what we’re going to be seeing for the next little bit.”
And yet, while the identity of the gloved perpetrator is a mystery, “It’s not the mystery,” says Once co-creator Adam Horowitz. “It gets revealed probably sooner than you expect. But it’s opening a new story avenue…. It becomes less an external mystery and starts to reflect back on our central people in a really direct way.” Adds Kitsis: “The coven story, the serial killer story and what Gothel wants all sort of intertwine.” (With reporting by Scott Huver)