Welcome back, TV lovers! These weeks on TV…Agents of SHIELD gave us the origins of Robbie Reyes as Ghost Rider, before leaving us with a cliff-hanger for the next several weeks. Meanwhile, Once Upon a Time‘s upping the family drama. The Evil Queen tries to drive a pirate-shaped wedge between the Charmings in “Dark Waters”, while “Heartless” features her aligning with Gold to get some overdue vengeance on Snow White.
Once Upon a Time 6×06, “Dark Waters”
I wasn’t all that interested in the prospect of a Captain Hook episode, but I have to admit the adaptation of Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was clever. After his own hunt for vengeance left him dissatisfied, Nemo started mentoring others to show them a different path. In flashbacks, he abducted Hook (during his Rumple-hunting days) and enlisted his help for an undersea mission. The treasure was a key to the Mysterious Island (really The Land of Untold Stories), but Nemo’s goal is to help Hook find a new family as part of the Nautilus crew. However, in a twist I saw coming a mile away, Nemo’s youthful first mate is already family – he’s Liam 2.0, Killian’s half-brother. And, y’know, given that Hook killed their dad, it’s not going to be a pleasant reunion. It’s really unpleasant for Nemo – the attempted mediator gets stabbed.
In the present, the Evil Queen leads Henry to find that Hook has hidden the shears of destiny rather than get rid of them as promised. When he confronts Hook about it, they end up kidnapped and taken to the Nautilus. Liam is now the captain, as Nemo “died” years ago. He wants all of the revenge against Hook, whom he now blames for the death of both his bio-dad and his father figure. Killian and Henry, after airing their grievances with each other, eventually disarm Liam. But that fella’s gonna need some serious therapy with Archie. Also, Nemo’s alive, so there’s a happy-ish ending.
Unfortunately, all this allowed The Evil Queen to get her hands on the Shears of Destiny, which she hands over to Gold as part of an alliance (one that isn’t strictly business).
Agents of SHIELD 4×06 “The Good Samaritan”
In a heel turn face that surprised no Ghost Rider comics reader, Robbie’s Uncle Eli was a secret bad guy, and the reason for the ghosts. The Momentum Lab scientists were working on a way to develop matter from nothing with the help of The Darkhold. Eli’s desire to acquire the powerful book from Lucy Bauer and her husband prompted the latter to send gangsters to kill Eli. But the Fifth Street thugs attacked Robbie and Gabe instead, who were sneaking out with their uncle’s car. Gabe ended up in a wheelchair, and Robbie died.
Yes, he died. But before he hit the pavement, he wished for vengeance – and his prayer was heard. A “good samaritan” on a bike rode up and revived Robbie, either by transferring or sharing the power of Ghost Rider with him. Given the previous episode clues, bets are on Johnny Blaze. I love the skull detail between the two different Ghost Riders: Robbie’s is cracked from his fatal impact, whereas the one who revived him has a bullet hole.
In the present, Robbie comes clean to his brother while SHIELD works to track down Dr. Bauer and Eli. Jemma disappears on a mysterious mission assigned by Mace, shortly before he boards the Zephyr and demands that Daisy and Robbie be handed over. In a bittersweet callback to Agent Carter, an abandoned Isodyne/Roxxon facility has the power that Lucy and Eli need to use The Darkhold. Coulson has May get the dangerous book off-site and ghostly Lucy gets busted by Ghost Rider. Unfortunately, they don’t stop Eli from activating the machine: he emerges with matter-producing powers, and several of the main team have disappeared from the energy blast. Are they in another realm a la Doctor Strange, or have they gone incorporeal like Jason in season two of Agent Carter?
Once Upon a Time 6×07, “Heartless”
The Evil Queen, dramatic as ever, proclaims that Snow and Charming will hand over their hearts to her, or else she’ll do something terrible to all of Storybrooke. She gives Snow a vial of what she’ll use and tells them that they have 12 hours to figure it out. It’s water from the River of Lost Souls which means 1) instant decay/death and 2) Gold/Rumplestiltskin’s working with the Queen.
In flashbacks, we see that Snow and David/Charming’s paths actually crossed much earlier in the Enchanted Forest. David rescued Snow from a bounty hunter named the Woodcutter; as reward, she gave him her money to save his farm, and she decided to be a bandit instead of running off to another land. They did not see each other’s faces, but this meeting was a “spark of true love” that created a special sapling in the forest.
It’s this sapling that could supposedly save everyone’s behinds from the Lost Souls water. While they go to find it, Regina uses Gold and EQ’s alliance against them: she sends Zelena to Gold’s shop. The Wicked Witch finds her sister and the Dark One making out, sparking her envy once more. Unfortunately, it doesn’t distract the three baddies long enough, as EQ arrives shortly after the Charmings find the sapling and destroys it.
Apparently the sapling’s significance is symbolic (why did we waste that much episode time on it, then?!): Snow and David’s love is stronger than anything the Queen can do to them. They face EQ and willingly give over their hearts. Instead of killing them, she enchants their hearts with a sleeping curse, which…seems very old hat, but this time we’ve got an excellent twist. Since Snow and David have half the same heart (season three continuity woohoo), when one is awake the other will still be asleep. Brava, Evil Queen. Brava.
It took two and a half seasons but we’re FINALLY seeing some consequences for the shared heart thing. However, I’m much more curious about Zelena’s motives after this episode. With her jealousy stoked once more, she blabbed to Belle about what Rumple’s been up to – not just snogging evil queens, but his plans for the shears of destiny on his unborn son. Belle is NOT having any of that nonsense and puts Rumple in his place for the coward he is. Could this be a sign of a Belle/Zelena alliance? I very, very much hope so.