All right, class, please pull out your Once Upon a Time workbooks — today, we’re going to be adding a branch to your family trees.
That’s right: another one. Yes, Guinevere, I know your diagram barely has any room left; I’m afraid we’re all in the same cramped boat. Just do your best to squeeze it in, between Cora and Rumpelstiltskin. In fact, now that I think of it, you should maybe consider drawing a line between those two names…
Ever since we first learned about Young Cora and Young(er) Rumpelstiltskin’s Bonnie-and-Clyde-esque love affair, speculation has swirled that the Dark One may, in fact, be Regina’s true father. (Which would make the Evil Queen Bae’s half-sister, and Henry’s half-aunt, and… on second thought, maybe we should just forget about the family trees.) The show itself has never actually questioned Regina’s paternity — but the big revelation that came at the end of tonight’s episode may confirm that a child was, in fact, spawned by the Enchanted Forest’s creepiest literal power couple.
To wit: Zelena, a.k.a. the Wicked Witch of the West, claims that she’s Cora’s firstborn. It’s a mark of fairy tale characters’ innate gullibility that Regina immediately believes this claim, but that’s neither here nor there.
And though the witch doesn’t tell us (or Regina) who her birth father was, she does mention that she also used to be Rumpelstiltskin’s pupil — giving her a double-decker dose of resentment toward Regina, whom Zelena thinks of as the Jacob to her Esau. (Or the Wheeze to her Caroline, if you’re more well-versed in Katherine Paterson than the Old Testament.) Given who her mother is — and, uh, the fact that she apparently resurrected Rump and is keeping him locked in an underground cage; more on that later — it certainly seems as though Zelena and Rumpel have a closer connection than they’d share if he had merely been her teacher. And the plot only thickens when you throw in fan theories about how in Once‘s universe, the Dark One and the Wizard of Oz might end up being the same person. (Then again, Kitsis and Horowitz might want to stay away from such an obvious Wicked echo.)
But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m nearly 400 words in already, and I’ve spent them all meticulously dissecting the night’s final few twists — rather than telling you fine people about all the other stuff that happened in “Witch Hunt.” Maybe that’s because this is the TL;DR version of the episode: Nothing else really happened.
NEXT: But if you insist…