We should have seen that heartbreaking twist coming, because everything else in ONCE UPON A TIME Season 7 Episode 6 was just too sweet and full of hope.
When everyone’s memories returned in the finale of Once Upon a Time‘s first season, all of the tears shed were tears of joy. Not so much in “Wake Up Call.” While it was literally a wake up call for one character, it was a wake up call for us as viewers as well – that even in its seventh season, this fairy tale show makes its characters work for their happily ever afters.
The Sweet and Hopeful
In the opening minutes of the episode, Roni (Lana Parrilla) and Henry (Andrew J. West) are discussing the photo of Regina and young Henry in Storybrooke. They believe that Victoria (Gabrielle Anwar) photo-shopped it, and Roni is offended that she was made into the Evil Queen character from Henry’s book. Henry stops her from going after Victoria with a baseball bat. That’s when Jacinda (Dania Ramirez) walks in to tell them about her new food truck. Henry is initially confused at Jacinda’s open rebuffal of him, but soon discovers that Ivy (Adelaide Kane) had posted pictures of them drinking together on social media.
Enter, sweetness and hope in the form of Lucy (Alison Fernandez), whom Ivy has told about the photo. She assures Roni and Henry that she’s going to help them remember. Of course, Roni and Henry are dismissive, especially because Roni remembers trying to adopt a baby boy, but being denied at the last minute. Henry encourages her by saying that she seems like Mom to a lot of people in Hyperion Heights. Roni decides that they need to help Lucy come out of her fantasies, so she encourages Henry to play along with Lucy for awhile. He calls it “Operation Heartbreak.”
Roni then reveals why she really chose their spot for lunch: it was close to Jacinda’s food truck.
Roni: “Go ask her out.”
Henry: “Sometimes you just gotta accept when Mom knows best.”
Roni: “Now be charming and don’t slouch.” (beat) “I’m kidding!”
The sweetness and hope continue when Henry approaches Jacinda with a stereo, explaining that whenever he tried to ask girls out in the past, he always used a mix tape. She asks him about Ivy, but he assures her that it was a mistake, that nothing happened. That leads to this absolutely perfect exchange, which I just can’t help quoting verbatim because it’s just so cute.
Jacinda: “I get it, I get it. You don’t have to explain.”
Henry: “But I do! I do because I find myself wanting to explain all kinds of things to you, like, like, I don’t know, like why pancakes are appropriate for dessert, why the English Beat is so culturally relevant, why I can’t stop thinking about you.”
Jacinda: “Wow. You sure have seen a lot of John Hughes movies. What if I explained to you that I have a daughter, and a new small business, and very little time?”
Henry: “Well, then I’d say, I’m a Swyft driver and a failed writer with nothing but time. So whenever you have some, I’d, uh, I’d love to take you on a date.”
Jacinda: “Okay. What about now?”
Henry and Jacinda disappear under the food truck with a couple of wrenches and all of our hearts.
Meanwhile, Roni follows Henry’s guess and finds Lucy looking sadly into her closet at Jacinda’s apartment. She explains that she was looking for something magical to help Roni and Henry remember who they are, like how the storybook appeared in Snow White’s closet when Henry needed it most. Roni offers to help Lucy prove the truth, and Lucy is so excited that she gives Roni a hug.
They go to the police station and ask Detective Weaver (Robert Carlyle) to look into whether a Regina Mills adopted a baby boy in Boston years ago. Naturally, he asks for a favor in return, which Roni promises. Later, Weaver comes to the bar and tells Roni that yes, a Regina Mills did, in fact, adopt a baby boy in Boston. She’s surprised at this information; he’s confused as to why she wanted him to look into it if she didn’t think anything would turn up.
This ends our edition of “Sweet and Hopeful” in Hyperion Heights. Let’s take a look at the sweet and hopeful in “Another Realm” to give ourselves a breather before getting into the heart-and-soul-crushing parts.
Henry and Ella are fixing Henry’s motorcycle together, with a few not-so-subtle touches and glances, when some thugs show up intending to steal it. The pair fight them off without needing help from Regina, who shows up halfway through with fireball in hand. They then depart on a recon mission; Henry asks Regina to accompany them, but she can see that he doesn’t really need her help.
Later, Regina sees a hooded figure picking up a box and almost getting killed by a magical vine. She gets to use that fireball from earlier as she incinerates the plant and saves the figure, who turns out to be Drizella. Regina is suspicious, but Drizella explains to her that she’s trying to escape her mother’s influence and learn how to use the magic she was born with to get away. Regina can relate.
Regina offers to teach Drizella how to use her own magic without stealing anyone else’s. In a scene similar to Emma’s magic lessons back in Season 3, Regina endangers herself with a rockfall to motivate Drizella. Drizella is amazed at what she was able to do. Regina is eager to be Drizella’s guide and keep her from making the same mistakes she did with the Dark Curse.
The Not So Much
That’s about where the sweetness and hope end. Let’s finish up with what happened in Another Realm before we return to the “real world.”
Rumple appears just after Drizella has saved Regina from the rockfall. After telling Regina about the lifetime he spent with Belle, he points out that Lady Tremaine is probably aware of what Drizella is doing. After all, wouldn’t Cora have been aware if a young Regina had done the same thing? Regina sees his point, and using a magic mirror, she and Drizella watch as Lady Tremaine practices removing and replacing Anastasia’s heart. Drizella realizes that her mother wants to sacrifice her heart to save her sister.
Despite Regina’s assurances that she can protect Drizella’s heart, Drizella recruits her husband-to-be, Prince Gregor, and goes to confront Lady Tremaine. Regina arrives to stop her from killing her mother, but Drizella has another plan in mind: she uses the magic vine from earlier to kill Prince Gregor and blacken her heart, thus rendering it useless to her mother. She then explains her plan for revenge: the Dark Curse.
Death is too merciful for you, Mother. I am going to take you to another realm where I can plant a seed of pain in your life. It’ll start small, and it will grow until everything you see, you breathe, you feel is pain.
Anyone else feeling chills down their spine? Regina promises to stop her, pointing out that heroes can always break curses, and Drizella coolly thanks her for that final lesson, saying she’ll find a way to make her curse unbreakable.
There is one final moment of sweetness in Another Realm, in which Regina tells Henry about her mistakes with Drizella and explains that she tried to help her because she thought Henry no longer needed her help. The scene ends with mother and son acknowledging that they will always need each other.
Now, on to Hyperion Heights. While Roni is encouraging young love and doing research with her young sidekick, Ivy is collecting ingredients with the Witch. First, she retrieves flowers from the community garden, which were in her mother’s office. Second, she brings in dirt from the garden per the Witch’s request. The Witch uses the flowers and dirt to grow a new plant, and Ivy takes a piece of it.
Later, Ivy meets with Roni in her bar, claiming she has more dirt on her mother to share. They have a drink; Ivy put the piece of the plant in Roni’s glass, causing her to “wake up” and remember her old life – and recognize Ivy as Drizella. She tries to use her magic, but as Ivy reminds her, they’re in the land without magic.
Regina takes a minute to realize why Drizella woke her up: True Love’s Kiss can break the curse, but if the curse is broken, the failsafe that Drizella built in will activate, and something terrible will happen to everyone Regina loves. Drizella explains that she woke Regina so she can stop Henry and Jacinda from getting together and breaking the curse. Regina is clearly heartbroken as a triumphant Drizella leaves.
In the final scene, Regina meets with Henry and asks him about his mother. Henry explains that, just like the character in his book, he was born in prison, but he was never adopted and grew up in the system. He says that all he ever wanted was a mom, so he found a way to give himself two by writing his book. Regina’s heart is clearly breaking, just like all of ours, when she can’t tell him that his mother is right in front of him.
A few additional notes:
- The subplot with Rogers (Colin O’Donoghue) and Tilly (Rose Reynolds) was brief, but fun. In her unique Tilly way, she advises him to take a look at what he already knows about Eloise Gardner’s missing persons case. He ends up going to talk to the drunken man from the previous episode and finds him dead.
- Why hasn’t Weaver/Rumple told anyone about what he remembers? Could he also know about the failsafe in Drizella’s curse?
- There was a nice scene between Regina and Rumple in “Another Realm”; she’s so proud of him!
- Does anyone else feel like Drizella learned magic extremely quickly?
- Is anyone else jealous of Regina’s “Another Realm” costume?
What did you think of “Wake Up Call”? Is your heart as broken as this reviewer’s? Let us know your thoughts