The terror reign of the Candy Killer comes to a grinding halt tonight as Hansel finally gets his big showdown with Zelena. After weeks of building up to this moment, however, does Once Upon a Time deliver on its big battle? Eh. Let’s take it from the top.
The opening scene takes us back to Hansel and Gretel’s past, as they’re filled to the brim with gingerbread cookies in the hopes that they’ll get plump (and tasty) before the full moon feast. Their hungry witch gets an unexpected visitor in the form of Zelena, who’s not so much interested in helping these doomed siblings as she is banishing a witch who might equal or surpass her in strength. Unfortunately for her, the latter already seems to be true because she’s easily vanquished by the Gingerbread Witch and sent scurrying through the woods with her innards aglow from a curse. Ouch.
Back in Hyperion Heights, Zelena is experiencing an entirely different kind of alienation; her life as Kelly was a better fit for her, plain and simple. Her engagement ring and the voicemail from her former fiancé are pure proof of what she’s sacrificing by being here. As Zelena, she has to reckon with all the terrible things she’s done in her past, and we’re about to revisit a really bad one.
Nick hijacks Henry’s phone to check in with Jacinda so that everything seems on the up and up. As far as she (and by extension anyone else who checks in on him through her) is concerned, he’s still in New York for his big podcasting interview, and her biggest concern is whether he’ll get the job and how they’ll navigate the difficult waters of a long-distance relationship with one another.
Little does she know, it’s Nick texting (and scheming) on the other end. He doesn’t appear to be interested in hurting Jacinda, for now at least, so Henry tries to figure out what his bigger plan really is. Like Hansel, Henry can identify with loss and says he wants to help Nick rewrite his story with whatever ending he’d like. But Nick knows that he only offers that arrangement to villains and insists he’s not the baddie of this tale. That, he explains, is actually his Aunt “Kelly,” who’s really the Wicked Witch in disguise. Henry, who’s still cursed and thinks of his own stories as pure fiction, doesn’t know her as Zelena, and he refuses to accept that she’s anyone but the kind San Francisco-based, granola-loving woman who’s got a fiancé and a cycling gig. He won’t help Nick with killing her. Except that by telling him those details about her, he already has. Whoops.