There comes a point where, as a viewer, you have to decide how much faith you’re going to put into a show to deliver the shocks it’s been promising. #OneWillDie was even a hash tag thrown around on Twitter and it referenced the fact that tonight’s episode would consist of a death in Storybrooke that would ‘change everything’.
Just look at the fact that the flashback sequences told young Cora’s tale all of a sudden, which is an old LOST trick as well and the creators of OUAT came from that show. Anytime someone had a thoughtful well-rounded flashback on LOST, it probably meant they were going to die soon. Cora was wonderfully portrayed by Rose McGowan, a hell of a casting achievement, as she began her quest not only for power but for respect. When we first meet young Cora she’s the title character of the tale the episode name refers to. When she gets into a bit of trouble after invading a royal masquerade, Cora requires assistance from our old friend Rumplestiltskin and together they begin a whirlwind romance fueled by a shared passion for bloodlust and a willingness to embrace the perks of being magical.
There was a justifiable worry when it was announced that young Cora would be shown on Once Upon A Time—a show that never really met a villain it didn’t love to soften the backstory of in order to enforce a tragic cautionary tale of what ‘evil’ brings. Fear not though because young Cora is more than an anti-wooby, she’s also a strong female character that put herself first ultimately and because of this fact it’s easy to see why this show put her on the chopping block.
When Cora and Rumple had their fling it was sexy it was electrifying it was all of the things that Rumbelle just isn’t. All you need to do is look at the fact that Cora and Rumple understood and accepted each other for exactly who they were without pretense or half-assed attempts at redemption. Until Cora decided that not only was she going to go ahead and thrust herself into a seat of power but to do so without Rumple by her side. Then all bets were off and as it played out, Cora came out looking ever a feminist who was willing to sacrifice her feelings of love in order to achieve her dark goals. It’s a funny thing that on a show that boasts the power of love over all that love of self rarely seems to warrant a reward beyond doom.
Ultimately Cora’s death at the hands of Snow White, who’s currently on some half-hearted flirtation with the dark side that to me smacks of Ginnifer Goodwin wanting to do more than bat her lashes and do something awesome twice a season, put the pieces in play for Regina to finally—FINALLY—go back to the queen that’s the most fun to watch be wicked. Immediately after the episode the promo for next week asks ‘can Snow White be redeemed?’ Okay so I guess we’re not meant to care about Regina losing her mother or the fact that it was a snotty teenage version of Snow’s mother, then only Princess Ava, that seemed to start all of this when she humiliated a helpless young Cora at the start of this episode.
We’re supposed to root for…good? I have a hard time doing that myself when this series is starting to go to a bad place of letting the so-called good guys do whatever they want and then we’re required to have sympathy for their mistakes and not those of a family that just wanted a little piece of what others had and the respect that comes with having power in their world and in our own.