ONCE UPON A TIME
Season 3, Episode 18 (Bleeding Through)
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – and in a non-traditional turn of events, it is the mothers who pass on poisonous personalities to their daughters.
Viewers and the main characters alike were treated to Zelena’s origin story in this week’s episode. As it turns out, her father was no one special. However, like Cora, he was a conniving, self-promoting, arrogant soul. They both came from low estates and wished to better themselves. Furthermore, Zelena’s father sought out Cora for a bit of fun. He was worse than Cora when it came to ambition and love. Cora, we soon discover, at least did fall in love with none other than Prince Leopold, her future son-in-law and Snow White’s future father. Yes, he was a ticket out of poverty, but she genuinely cared for him. However, Cora chose wealth and power over love, and ended up cast out of Leopold’s life (and castle). She then abandoned Zelena to “give me my best chance.” Unlike the Charmings and Emma, she did not care for her daughter’s best chance, only her own.
Zelena is thus more evil (sorry, wicked) than her half-sister because she inherited her selfishness from both parents. In her mind, her mother was hours away from being Leopold’s bride and Zelena would have been a princess. This is what she ultimately wants – to get rid of the one woman who stood in her and her mother’s way: Princess Eva, Snow White’s mother and Leopold’s arranged marriage. Eva was not sweetness and light, but rather a hotheaded moral crusader who seemed to believe that she was more deserving of Leopold because she was “pure as snow” and nobility. If Zelena were to be successful, Regina, Snow White, Emma, and Henry would be erased from existence.
This, of course, raises many questions as to what might have happened if Eva had kept her mouth shut. Cora would have married Leopold. Zelena would likely have been passed off as his daughter, but then again, Leopold was such a forgiving man that he might have persuaded Cora to tell the truth (or at least a version of it – perhaps claim to have been assaulted?). Cora might have had another daughter and named her Regina, but that Regina would have been much more like Snow White. Zelena would have tormented her. Both of them would have ended up as victims of Cora’s plans. Rumplestiltskin would have likely chosen one of them to cast his curse. Leopold would still have ended up dead. Cora likely would have still ended up in Wonderland. Regina likely would have been the victim of her sister and fled into the woods, perhaps meeting a shepherd posing as a prince.
What-ifs aside, what we learn from this story is that our heroines and villainesses inherited their strong streaks from their mothers. Zelena, as mentioned earlier, is such an evil character because of how thoroughly both of her parents were selfish and ambitious, as well as by circumstance. By contrast, Snow White is the daughter of Eva, from whom she inherited her ambition, arrogance, and strict morality, but she is also the daughter of Leopold, who is portrayed as an exemplary king, a beloved man of the people. Her kind and trusting nature is from her father. Regina, meanwhile, is ambitious (and formerly selfish) like her mother, but she too had a kinder, gentler father. Prince Henry was not a smart man, but he was a loving one. Regina is thus not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but for all her wanting power, she is extremely loving and caring. In this episode, she finally does what she failed to do for Snow White as a child or for her younger self – she stands up protectively to Cora because she genuinely loves her stepdaughter. If anything, this show promotes good fatherhood.
This is the episode wherein Snow White and Regina bury the hatchet after what amounts to decades of fighting each other. They seem to have forgiven each other and accepted that they received a raw deal in life thanks to Cora. Better late than never for them to be a family again.
Season 6, Episode 20 (That 70s Show)
Imagine coming back to work after being away for a conference or holiday to find that everyone is dressed forty years out of date, all of the modern equipment has been stowed away and replaced by antiquated machines, and there are actors everywhere acting out less than stellar scripts while actual work is not getting done.
Such is the dilemma faced by Captain Gates halfway through this week’s Castle episode, a tribute to the late 1970s in terms of pop culture and cop shows. I think it would be a fun prank to have everyone in costume, the music playing, and the equipment temporarily replaced if everyone was otherwise acting normally and going about their daily business as usual. Not what happened on Castle, of course.
Castle’s lighthearted theme episodes are wonderful because of the sentimentality and heart that ultimately goes into them. The case is usually solved with little or no bloodshed beyond the initial victim. The victim is often exonerated and their loved ones get some type of closure. Castle and Beckett have fun together, as do the other members of the precinct. This episode is no different. The case, a recently-unearthed skeleton of a mobster from 1978, is a good mystery with colourful characters. It is a re-watchable story with little focus on our main characters. Everyone is having a good time.
This late in the season, we need a little levity. The season finale is upon us in three weeks.