Picking up from where it left off last week, Rogers continues to try and prove Tilly’s innocence. To do this, he must retrace Tilly’s steps. For some reason, he chooses to enlist Henry’s help. I guess the promising plot teased last week didn’t pan out for him and the writers need something for Henry to do. It’s ok Henry, you’ll be the main character again someday.
The episode’s plot focuses on Tilly and her ongoing identity crisis. Henry and Rogers leave until it’s narratively convenient for them to show back up again, allowing Tilly to go on a solo adventure to a grocery store she frequents. As she searches for people who might know her.
Unfortunately for Tilly, these people work retail jobs. They see hundreds of people a day, and can’t reasonably be expected to remember them all. It might seem a little unrealistic for none of the staff to recognize Tilly, given that she apparently goes to that particular store every day. I’ve worked in retail, and I can believe it. Excepting a couple of special cases, I couldn’t pick one of my customers out of a lineup if my life depended on it.
Tilly discovers locks of hair from the victims in the backpack she had lost. No longer certain about her own innocence, she plans to run away. She stops by the troll statue that she talks to sometimes to say goodbye. The flashback plot reveals that the troll statue is actually a real troll that Alice had wished to live via magic. Tilly is stopped from running by Margot, the cursed identity of Robin. Their talk delays her long enough for Rogers and Henry to catch up with her.
They realize that the troll statue has a security camera in it, which they use to establish an alibi for Tilly. Rogers invites Tilly to live with him as her life might still be in danger.
Robin is such a problem character for me, because of the unsavory implications that her birth onto the show never addressed. I guess since this is a family show, pointing out that Robin is a rape baby wouldn’t be an especially comfortable thing to talk about. Nobody in the show ever addressed it, and I wonder what the point of that storyline was in the first place. I honestly don’t know how the writers would bring it up at this point. I guess it’s better to forget about it. The writers probably did.
I just can’t help but be reminded of it every time Robin talks about her parents.
That being said, ignoring the problems I have surrounding her, Robin as a character isn’t especially engaging. She appears to be in the middle of some coming of age story where she tries to find her own footing given her famous parents. This could be interesting to watch, but the writers aren’t doing anything with it.
Robin’s character arc thus far has been as repetitive and boring as Hook’s. One of Robin’s parents did x, so Robin feels that she should also do x. Wait, Robin doesn’t like doing x, she’s just doing it because she feels she has to. Robin decides to do y instead.
I just hope that her budding relationship with Alice turns her an interesting character.
The Love Story
The flashback plot starts with Robin catching Alice spying on the camp from afar. Alice falls into a trap that Robin set up, which on this show means it’s true love. Robin lets Alice out of the cage, and they hear the roar of a troll.
Alice insists that it’s friendly, as it is the troll that let her out of the tower she had been trapped in. Robin decides she’s going to kill it because it’s been terrorizing villages and because there needs to be some conflict between these two for true love to overcome.
They come to the village where a hunting party has been forming up. Alice and Robin are locked up together when Alice tries to defend her troll friend. They end up bonding in their cell, where Robin confesses to having stolen Emma’s car while she was in Storybrooke. I’m not sure if this is meant to establish Robin’s character as one of the dumbest characters in a show full of the dumbest characters, or if the writers just really wanted an excuse to bring back an iconic part of the older seasons. Robin escapes from the cell and leaves Alice behind.
Robin convinces the hunters to allow her a shot at the troll but is stopped by Alice who can also pick locks for some reason. Although Alice is literally a wizard, so I guess she did it with magic. The troll wanders off, and the mob decides to take it out on Alice. Robin decides to step in but doesn’t do much more than ineffectually point her bow at people. Alice summons the yellow bug, and they make their getaway in a car.
This show has a real problem with telling and not showing. Characters will often stop and give monologues about their motivations. One such example is the emotional climax of the flashback plot after Robin and Tilly escape from the mob. Robin stops to discuss her motivations in a far too long speech.
Robin drives Alice back to the tower where she and Alice talk about their motivations some more until the troll attacks. Robin convinces Alice that she can stop it because she was the one who created it in the first place. Alice tells the troll that she’s happy now, and it turns into the stone statue that we see over in the real world plot.
It’s unclear as to why the curse brought the troll statue over with it, but how and why the curse works changes every season.
Regina decides to have Lucy do a B&E while she distracts Dr. Facilier with a date. Ignoring the ethical implications of making a child do criminal activities, Dr. Facilier is a dangerous wizard. Lucy is like, eight. This is a stupid plan.
Of course, Regina doesn’t involve her adult sister with the plan. Regina doesn’t want to have the awkward conversation about getting back together with her evil ex-boyfriend. This causes Zelena to step in at the worst possible moment, and interrupt the operation.
Meanwhile, Lucy spots some tarot cards on the table. One of the cards is the Death card in the upright position. I can forgive the eight-year-old for not knowing her tarot, but it’s clear that the writers don’t know it either.
This is a trope that I hate. Every hack writer uses The Death card to represent literal physical death or danger. I’m assuming they do this because taking ten seconds to google it is too much for them.
The Death card doesn’t represent literal physical death, but a spiritual one. It’s the changing of seasons and letting go of an emotional attachment. Sometimes it can portend an upcoming failure. But, Death is a spooky looking card, and it has the word death in it. So the writers chose to interpret it literally, and not think about it at all.
Facilier confronts Regina with the evidence that Lucy left behind because Lucy is eight and this was a stupid idea. He scolds her because she could have just asked what he was after. Then he proceeds just to tell her what he wants. Facilier is honestly a breath of fresh air after seasons and seasons of nobody telling anybody anything.
He admits that he’s after the dagger, but doesn’t explain why. Facilier leaves after giving Regina a lazy card reading. Facilier seems pretty cool with the whole breaking and entering thing, and even goes so far as to tell Regina that they can still work things out.
This episode was better than last week’s. I feel like Henry is being woefully underutilized. His interactions with Ivy show that he could be a solid emotional core for our intrepid heroes. Having Henry to bounce off of while trying to retrace her steps would have helped the present day plot feel a little less jumbled.
It’s nice to have an LGBT couple as focal characters in this show. While they did briefly have an LGBT couple in Ruby and Dorothy a few seasons ago, they showed up for exactly one episode and then never again. And unlike those two, Robin and Alice are actually kind of cute together.
This episode got enough things right that I’m almost hopeful for the future episodes to also be good.