Once Upon A Time – Season 3 Episode 16 Recap: Never Bring Your Heart To A Witch Fight

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We begin tonight with Zelena’s backstory. She’s been dropped as an infant via cyclone in the woods of Oz, where a married couple (who are enroute to the Emerald City) find her. The woman takes her in, over the man’s objections – and the man has good cause to object. Baby Zelena drops a tree with a wave of her hand.

Forward to present-day and Neal’s funeral, where one by one everyone’s looking down at the grave camera and tossing in a spadeful of dirt to obscure the lens. Everyone is lost in their own misery, except for Regina, who is clearly lost in Henry’s. It’s a beautiful touch to add to the scene.

Across town Zelena is taunting Rumple about how he went through all these machinations, waited all this time only to badly fail his son.

“Tell me Rumple, was he really worth all that trouble?” she asks.

A heartbroken Rumple replies: “Every bit of it. He was family. Something you know nothing about.”

This line sends us back to Zelena as a young woman, shaving her father’s face. She accidentally cuts him and then magicks up a cloth to dab the wound and dad freaks out. She begs him for lessons so that she can learn to control it, but he refuses, calling her wicked.

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He finally tells her that she’s not his daughter – a secret that he held all these years but now that her mother’s gone he decides to rip her apart with it. Zelena is heartbroken, and he claims that Zelena drove him to drink. She leaves, planning to ask the Wizard of Oz to help her find a family that wants her.

Forward to Granny’s, and Emma is plotting vengeance against Zelena for Neal’s death. Hook reminds her that vengeance doesn’t get you much of anywhere, and then he offers to hang with Henry, maybe share some stories about Baelfire when he was Henry’s age. He also vows to Emma that nothing will happen to Henry while he’s in his charge. Awwwww.

Meanwhile, Robin’s at the counter and Tinkerbell notices his tattoo. She heads over to Regina, who sheepishly admits that she’s met Robin and done nothing about him. Robin stops over, bringing the girls drinks, and apologizing for whatever the hell he did to make Regina run away. She’s not terribly encouraging, so he takes off and Tinkerbell rolls her eyes and leaves with a “Why am I bothering?”

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In bursts Zelena, spouting off that she’s Regina’s older sister (which of course, Regina doubts) and she encouraging Regina to “dig deeper” and find out the truth. She challenges Regina to a duel on main street at sundown, and I gotta tell you – I love the way these two bitch it up against each other. Once she leaves, everyone is asking Regina about Zelena, sure that she must have pissed her off back in the Enchanted Forest.

“You did manage to step on a lot of toes back in our world,” Tink points out.

“Well, none of them were green,” Regina snarks.

Flashback to Zelena in the Emerald City, about to have her audience with the wizard. There’s lots of bubbling green stuff and fire and a man’s silhouette appears behind a curtain.

He reveals Cora’s name and shows her Regina, growing up with everything, and then he shows her Rumplestiltskin, the most powerful wizard in all the realms, and tutor to Regina. Cora wants to meet Rumple, and the wizard gives her a pair of golden slippers that will take her to Rumple. He warns her not to give in to envy, and asks that she bring him something of Rumplestiltskin’s in return for him helping her.

She poofs into Regina’s bedroom, and a very startled Rumple discovers that not only is she magical (and powerful), but she’s also exactly who she claims to be: Cora’s daughter.

Forward to Storybrooke, and Regina is in her crypt, digging through her Mom’s stuff, when she finds an extremely convenient letter that tells her Zelena is definitely her sister. She storms off, and the rest of the group brainstorms to find a way to give her backup during the upcoming showdown.

Regina is out in the woods and there’s Robin again, spying on her as she’s reading her letter. She lets him read and it turns out the letter is from Rumple to Cora extolling the virtues of her firstborn. She now realizes it was about Zelena (I have no idea why, neither name is in the letter) and Regina’s upset that Rumple thinks Zelena is stronger than her. If Rumple’s so sure, that means she can’t win the fight.

Flashback to the Enchanted Forest and Rumple is recruiting Zelena to cast the curse – the BIG curse – and of course, that’s what he’s been recruiting Regina for, but Zelena is a better choice, if she’s as powerful as he thinks she is.

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He tasks her with playing hide and seek with him, and she passes with flying colors. Rumple encourages her to find some happy memory to counter all the dark and bitter ones she has and she flashes that batshit crazy smile and chooses the moment Rumple agreed to train her.

Forward to Storybrooke, where we see Hook and Henry having some bonding time on a borrowed boat. Henry is eating up anything Hook can tell him about his father. Later, on a beach somewhere, Hook is trying to show Henry how to navigate with a sextant, but Henry doesn’t want that – he just wants to know something about his Dad. Hook tells Henry that Neal also lost his father, and he has more in common with his Dad than he realizes. It’s a warm and fuzzy moment, and really starts paving the way for Hook as a father figure in Henry’s life. Or, at least we hope so.

Next we see Zelena prepping for her showdown and then a flashback to Rumple and Zelena, who has just baked Rumple a meat pie, just like the spinsters used to make for him as a boy. Rumple declines, telling her he has to rush off to train Regina. Zelena flies into a rage, angry that he’s still training her sister when she’s the powerful one. Rumple tells her that her insides are starting to show and sure enough – she’s literally turning green with envy.

  Most decidedly not sexy.

In the center of town, everyone’s gathered for the showdown when Zelena turns up. with Rumple in tow.

“Out of my way, munchkin,” she says to Sleepy, who stutters:

“I’m a d-dwarf….”

Regina is nowhere in sight, and Rumple is hanging back, like a faithful lapdog. Zelena threatens them that if Regina is there soon, she’s going to let the Dark One off his leash. Emma steps in and gets knocked on her ass by Rumple, but Regina strolls in, looking sharp and ready to rumble.

Flashback to the Enchanted Forest, where Zelena poofs into Regina’s bedroom, and attempts to cut Regina’s throat. She rams the knife in only to discover that it was Rumple in disguise. He was testing her but she’s failed. Unfortunately, casting the curse means she has to give up the thing she loves most, and the thing she loves most is Rumple. He can’t use her, unless she can somehow take him to a realm without magic.

Zelena then shows him the magical slippers, and Rumple tries to backtrack, but it’s too late. Feeling like a spurned lover, Regina refuses. She clicks her heels together and back she goes to Oz.

In Storybrooke, Regina and Zelena are circling each other in the middle of Main Street, and then Zelena throws Regina through the clocktower window. Regina goads her to finish it off, but Zelena tells her she’s not there to kill her – she wants her heart. She slams her hand into Regina’s chest and Regina smiles and tells her that Mom gave her a great piece of advice:

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NEVER BRING YOUR HEART TO A WITCH FIGHT

Zelena flies off, vowing to get Regina’s heart and everything she ever had.

The rest of the group assembleS and Regina tells them that Zelena wants her heart, and she has David’s courage – those are ingredients, but for what? They’re already cursed back to Storybrooke.

Regina runs into the forest, straight to Robin, who was guarding her heart. Ooooooh! She trusted him with her heart!!! She asks him to look after it for a while longer.

“Do you really want to entrust something so valuable to a common thief like me?” he asks.

“You can’t steal something that’s been given to you,” she replies.

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And I am a steaming pile of mush. Seriously. I’m loving them almost as much as my Captain Swan. Almost.

Across town, Killian is returning Henry to Emma. He urges her not to leave Neal forgotten in Henry’s memories and return to New York, but Emma just gives him a tight smile and a goodnight.

And at the farmhouse cellar, Rumple tells Zelena that he’d choose Regina again if he had to, and nothing’s going to change that. Zelena assures him that she is changing that. Whatever she’s brewing is going to be a second chance for her.

Flashback to Oz, and a partially green Zelena is back in the Emerald City visiting the wizard. She demands that he show her how to travel back in time, but he laughs at her and lets her know that’s just not possible. She rips the curtain down to reveal a machine and a man with his back turned, operating all the bells and whistles that make him the great and terrible Wizard of Oz. She drags him over and we discover that he’s Walsh, Emma’s former fiance.

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He has no magic, but the things he collects do. Unfortunately, no magic is strong enough to take her back in time. She gets pissed and turns him into a flying monkey. Then she vows to find a way to undo everything and keep Regina from ever having been born, and the green washes over her completely.

I’m giving this one five hooks out of five.

We got one helluva bitchy witch fight, and wonderful moments with Hook and Henry and Regina and Robin. Soooo much fluffy stuff. Loved it.

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