WARNING: This story contains major spoilers from Friday’s episode of Once Upon a Time. Read at your own risk!
Once Upon a Time is wasting no time in revealing some of the new mysteries of its rebooted seventh season as Friday’s episode unearthed why Lady Tremaine hates Cinderella so much.
It turns out, Lady Tremaine (Gabrielle Anwar) blames Cinderella (Dania Ramirez) for the death of her daughter Anastasia — well, sort of. Anastasia has one last breath left in her, and Lady Tremaine believes the heart of the truest believer could revive her, thus she charges Cinderella with stealing Henry’s heart, something Regina (Lana Parrilla) is, fortunately, able to dissuade her from doing.
While Ramirez notes that Cinderella bares an immense amount of guilt over Anastasia’s predicament, the actress also coyly teases that Lady Tremaine may have done something much worse in return to kick off their feud — worse than having Cinderella’s father killed? “I mean, if I told you that then I’d have to kill you,” Ramirez jokes. “I think Lady Tremaine is going to end up being responsible for way more than that, and that’s going to play a big part as to where not only my anger, but revenge aspect of my motivation comes from.”
But for Anwar, the revelation about Lady Tremaine’s daughter provided more insight into the villain’s motivations, particularly as it pertains to her dour relationship with her other daughter Drizella (Adelaide Kane). “There are no lengths she wouldn’t go to in order to revive her firstborn child,” Anwar says. “It’s a very interesting Disney version of our reality. I mean, god forbid a parent should ever favor one child, but let’s admit that there are moments when your other kid, however many you have, may be driving you around the bend, and then you have that one kid who’s smiling and being very pleasant, so you can’t help but swing the favoritism between the children. Because her youngest daughter isn’t alive, all she has is the perfect corpse, the near-death corpse in the coffin to refer to, so this child can do no wrong. She probably has amplified the greatness of that perfection because in reality she’s not even alive. It’s a wonderful concept.”
Drizella, therefore, has been reduced to a punching bag for Lady Tremaine and Victoria as Cinderella’s Evil Stepmother aims to revive her daughter — possibly a reason for the curse that’s trapped everyone in Hyperion Heights. “While Ivy probably mourned her sister, there was always sibling rivalry that Ivy could never quite match up to, even as hard as she tried,” Kane notes. “Besides the grief of losing a sister, I think probably initially she felt some sense of relief that she no longer had this competition and that perhaps maybe she could finally win the approval and the love of her mother that she was never able to have. It might have backfired on her a little bit in that now she gets the brunt of Victoria’s grief and disdain and hatred. She’s caught a lot of the emotional blowback from that death, but there seems to be possible hinting at something deeper than just a sibling rivalry between Drizella and Anastasia, but I don’t know what it is yet. I’m really curious to find out if there are like really odd circumstances surrounding that death.”
Once Upon a Time airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.