In this episode of Once Upon a Time, titled “The Garden of Forking Paths,” Cinderella forms an alliance that could help lead to the defeat of Lady Tremaine just as Henry, Regina, and Hook come to her aid. Meanwhile in Hyperion Heights, Jacinda tries to prevent Victoria from destroying something precious to Lucy, Victoria makes an important discovery, and Lucy tries to convince Henry that Victoria is after something more than land.
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Cinderella Makes a New Friend
Cinderella arrives at the place where she and Henry agreed to meet up to go through the portal to his land. Alas, Henry isn’t there, but the royal guards are. Cinderella manages to fight off the first guard, but the second one gets the drop on her. Luckily, this is when Tiana shows up and knocks the second guard out. Tiana introduces herself and helps Cinderella to her feet.
Tiana explains that she knows Cinderella is innocent of killing the prince because she knows Lady Tremaine is behind everything. Tiana is a member of a resistance group that formed to bring Lady T down. Tiana also says that Lady T worked with the prince to kill Cinderella’s father. Eventually, Cinderella agrees to go with Tiana to the resistance camp and she leaves her glass slipper behind for Henry to find.
The next day at the resistance camp, Tiana tells Cinderella that their people saw Lady Tremaine moving something into her manor the night before. She asks if Cinderella knows what it is and Cinderella clearly does, even though she tells Tiana otherwise. Just then, Henry arrives with Regina and Wish-Hook. Henry introduces Cinderella to his mother and Hook. When it’s mentioned that Regina has magic, Tiana is thrilled. She thinks that with Regina on their side, they finally have a chance at defeating Lady Tremaine.
Regina Gives Cinderella Some Advice
That night, Cinderella sneaks off alone and heads to Lady Tremaine’s manor and confronts her stepmother about her part in her father’s murder. Lady Tremaine says that Cinderella knows why she killed her father. She then reveals what she was having moved into the manor. It’s a coffin and inside is her daughter, Anastasia. Apparently, after Anastasia died, Lady T preserved her via magic so she could bring her back to life. (Remember that Regina tried to do the same thing with Daniel back in the day.) Since Anastasia was an innocent with a pure heart, the only way to bring her back is with an equally pure heart. This is where Henry comes in, as he has the heart of the truest believer.
Lady Tremaine orders Cinderella to bring her Henry’s heart. If she doesn’t, Lady T will make sure that everyone in the resistance camp pays the price. Cinderella has to decide if she’s willing to sacrifice one person to save the many. Alas, Cinderella cannot bring herself to harm Henry, but she comes up with another idea. Earlier that day, Tiana introduced her to a man who was devoted to the cause to the point where he’d be willing to die for it. Before she can take his heart in Henry’s place, Regina stops her. Regina says it took her a long time to learn this, but that kind of sacrifice is never okay.
The next day, Regina catches Cinderella as she’s preparing to leave camp. Cinderella thinks it’ll be safer for everyone if she leaves. Regina then gets Cinderella to open up about why Lady Tremaine hates her so much. Cinderella explains that her stepsister died when she was 14 and Lady Tremaine blamed Cinderella’s father. Alas, Cinderella says it was her fault. Regina says that running away isn’t the answer, and if Cinderella really wants to defeat Lady T, she has to forgive herself for whatever happened all those years ago. Cinderella ends up sticking around, though she warns the others that Lady Tremaine is waiting for them so they can’t storm the manor. She also tells them to call her “Ella” from now on.
Jacinda Finds the Hero Inside
In Hyperion Heights, Jacinda (aka Cinderella) is still upset about being separated from Lucy, but she takes some comfort in the letters they’ve been exchanging. She tells Sabine (aka Tiana) that she and Lucy are using the well in the community garden to send letters back and forth so Victoria doesn’t know they are communicating.
Later that day, Jacinda heads to the well to drop off another letter, but Victoria (aka Lady Tremaine) shows up. Apparently, she knows exactly what Jacinda and Lucy have been doing and she’s shutting it down. Victoria has moved up her development plans so the construction workers are starting demolition on the garden that very day. Jacinda pleads with Victoria not to go through with it because Lucy loves the garden, but Victoria doesn’t care.
A distraught Jacinda heads to Roni’s bar to ask for help. She needs to find a way to stop Victoria from destroying the garden. Since Roni (aka Regina) opened her own bar, she knows a thing or two about business. She tells Jacinda that if they can get people to agree that the garden is an essential part of the community, they can get an injunction to stop the demolition. They can do that by getting everyone to sign a petition. Jacinda jumps into action and heads out to get the signatures they need.
Jacinda is successful in getting the petition signed, but Victoria shows up to throw a wrench into things. She tells Jacinda that she will give her one of the condos that she is building and allow her to live there with Lucy, so long as Jacinda burns the petition. It’ll be a fresh start for Lucy and Jacinda. Jacinda eventually caves to Victoria’s so-called peace offering and burns the petition. Right at that moment, Lucy arrives. She realizes that her mother made a deal with Victoria and she’s horrified. Jacinda says this is the only way they can be together, but Lucy doesn’t want to be together if this is what it takes.
Jacinda goes to drown her sorrows at Roni’s bar and the women end up talking. Jacinda tells Roni what happened and Roni says that this has never been about Lucy. Roni wants Jacinda to ask herself what she’s willing to give up because the Victoria’s of the world will take everything if you allow them to.
Roni’s words must hit home with Jacinda because we see her holding a gathering in the community garden. As Lucy and Henry arrive, Jacinda tells the crowd that she needs them to sign the petition again. She apologizes for letting them down and asks them to fight with her. Not only are they going to stop Victoria from destroying the garden, they are going to work together to turn the garden into something beautiful.
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Henry and Lucy’s Adventure
While Jacinda is busy trying to save the garden, Lucy tracks down Henry and tells him that Victoria isn’t just after land for her condos. Lucy believes that Victoria is after something that’s hidden below the surface. They head to the garden and Henry is surprised when the construction workers stop their demolition because they hit something. Lucy decides they need to investigate so she leaps into a hole in the ground to the tunnels below. Henry, of course, follows her.
While Henry and Lucy are searching the tunnels, Lucy keeps trying to convince Henry that she and Jacinda are his family. She asks about the cemetery where his family is buried and Henry admits that he couldn’t find the cemetery. Lucy says that’s proof of the curse, but Henry still believes that there is a rational explanation for everything.
After a lot of searching, Lucy finally finds something: a piece of glass from her mother’s slipper. Lucy says this proves that the curse is real, but Henry isn’t buying it. Lucy decides that if she shows the piece of the slipper to her mother, her mother will remember that she’s the heroic Cinderella.
After Jacinda saves the garden and finds her fighting spirit again, Lucy gives the piece of glass slipper to Henry instead. Once again, she tells him that the family he has been looking for is right in front of him and he just needs to believe it. It seems like Henry is starting to believe, but that night, he stumbles across the cemetery where his family was supposedly buried. When he checks out the cemetery, he finds the graves for his supposedly-deceased loved ones.
Rogers Gets Out-Maneuvered
Early in the episode, Roni, Henry and Rogers (aka Wish-Hook) meet up to continue their plan to destroy Victoria. Roni says one of her customers had too much to drink the previous night and he ended up mentioning that he was going to make some real money by doing a favor for Victoria. Since this man works for the building commission, they believe that Victoria is about to bribe a public official. Rogers decide to stake out the meeting so he can get a one-on-one with the man. Maybe he can convince the man to give them information on what Victoria’s up to.
At the police station, Rogers lies to his partner about what he has going on that day, but Weaver (aka Rumple) sees right through his deception. While Rogers is watching Victoria meet with the official, Weaver is watching Rogers. Later, Rogers approaches the official about the money Victoria gave him. The man isn’t willing to talk, but he does try to bribe Rogers with the very same money he got from Victoria. Rogers takes him into custody.
At the station, Rogers sees Weaver releasing the official he took into custody. Rogers confronts Weaver and Weaver says he knows that Rogers opened an unofficial investigation in the man. Weaver goes on to say that one must use finesse when dealing with Victoria and he explains that he made a deal with the official so that the next time Victoria contacts him, the official will contact Weaver. So while Weaver now has an inside man in Victoria’s camp, Rogers is back to square one.
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Who is Victoria’s Mysterious Prisoner?
As the episode comes to a close, we see the construction workers deliver something to Victoria. It turns out to be the coffin with Anastasia’s body. Victoria pays a visit to a mysterious woman she has chained up in a dark room. Now that she’s found Anastasia, Victoria says the mystery woman can help bring her daughter back. Victoria then goes into detail about her plan to resurrect her daughter by getting Lucy to willingly surrender her belief. (Apparently, she doesn’t need a heart anymore.)
The mystery woman says Victoria is on her own. She goes on to warn Victoria that if she destroys Lucy’s belief and gets her daughter back, “you’ll have to deal with me.” I’m assuming that this mystery woman has magic, but beyond that, I have no idea who she could be.
What did you think of this episode of Once Upon a Time season 7? Do you like the relationship that is developing between Regina and Cinderella? Do you have any theories on the mystery woman Victoria is keeping prisoner? Is she connected to someone we know? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
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Contributing Writer, BuddyTV