Once Upon A Time is finally back from it’s winter break and sadly we’re in the final stretch of episodes before the series finale come this May. “Secret Garden” actually did a lot to advance the plot that Gothel is scheming and it also told a little bit about Zelena and her daughter’s story set in flashbacks.
To be perfectly honest, it’s a shame that Once Upon A Time is ending this year. While I’m not a fan of some of the new characters like Cinderella or Lucy, I am a fan of both Ivy, Gothel and Alice along with the returning characters like Hook, Regina, Zelena, (Older) Henry and of course Rumple. I wouldn’t have minded if when Season 8 came around that both Ivy and Gothel would have become fully permanent central characters to the series and reluctantly team up with the heroes instead of feuding with them over magic and witchcraft but sadly this may never happen. However, wouldn’t it be neat if Hook and/or Zelena (with Robin) got their own spin off show due to their popularity, kinda like how Angel got his after being so popular on Buffy: The Vampire Slayer?
One can only wish. ABC I hope you’re seeing this idea and roll with it! But anyways, back to the review at hand.
Secret Garden was mostly a parent and child focused episode. With Henry and Jacinda trying to help a magic coma induced Lucy and Regina trying to help Henry through magic. Zelena in her flashback trying to help Robin avoid the darkness that Gothel is all about; and Hook still trying to find Alice in the flashback as well. And lastly, Victoria trying to help Anastasia get free from Gothel in the present time, while badly ignoring her other daughter, the damaged Ivy.
Also happening in the present time is Zelena and Regina trying to find an amulet that can be used a conduit for magic, that resurrect lost souls that haven’t fully passed on and are stuck in limbo. More of it’s lore was explored in Zelena’s flashback with Robin and Gothel, stating that a sacrifice is needed to bring back one soul. This then parallels with the present time at the climax of the story with one of the season regulars bitting the bullet 5 minutes before the episode ends at the hands of Gothel.
Gothel is actually a captivating villain for the series, she’s not flat out evil at first and by the looks of it is more of a devils advocate who will constantly egg on the heroes into doing something rash due to their new personalities clashing with their older ones. In a way, Gothel is basically how Rumple was way back in Season 1. She’s supposedly one of the most powerful characters in the series next to Rumple, but at the same time the full extent of her magical abilities aren’t made known. Perhaps in the next few episodes we’ll figure out just how strong she really is as a villain. So far she’s been mostly low key corrupting Anastasia and using the poor girl to help grow more magically powerful. We didn’t even see the effects of the sacrifice she did by episode end and it was left in the dark.
We don’t know what Gothel’s endgame is right now in the present time, is she trying to resurrect someone she knows like a student summoning her master or is she trying to do something else with her cloven. Rumple hints to as such by episode’s end, but we’ll just have to tune in to find out as the final episodes start tick down to the series finale.