In the seventeenth episode of season 7 of Once Upon a Time, titled “Chosen,” series star Lana Parrilla makes her directorial debut in an episode that finds Zelena learning a harsh truth after a disastrous encounter with Hansel and Gretel. Meanwhile, in present-day Hyperion Heights, Henry tries to get through to “Nick”/Hansel, Rogers learns the identity of the Candy Killer, and “Kelly”/Zelena worries when someone she loves is put in danger. (As before, if a character is awake, I will refer to them by their real name or put their cursed name in quotation marks.)

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Zelena Makes a New Friend

As the episode begins, we find several characters having a very bad day in the Enchanted Forest 2.0. Hansel and Gretel are being held captive by a witch who forces them to eat gingerbread cookies to fatten them up. Just then, Zelena arrives in full Wicked Witch mode. She’s the true power in Oz and she’s decided to banish this gingerbread witch from her land. Alas, during their fight, Zelena is distracted by Gretel’s pleas for help and the gingerbread witch gets the best of her. Zelena escapes with her life, but she ends up passing out in the woods.

When she comes to, Zelena is being helped by a friendly blind man named Ivo. He fixes her necklace, which was broken during her confrontation with the gingerbread witch, and he’s offering her aid while she recovers from her injuries. Since he’s blind, Ivo doesn’t know that the woman he saved is the infamous Wicked Witch, so he has no reason not to help her. Ivo tells Zelena that he found her while he was searching the woods for his missing children, Hansel and Gretel.

As Zelena heals in Ivo’s company, they start to bond. He tells her that while he cannot see her, he can picture her in his mind. He describes her as passionate and feisty, with a beautiful heart. Zelena is clearly touched because no one has said anything so kind about her before. She asks him how he lost his sight and he says it was an accident, but one he’s grateful for because it helped him get to know his children in a way he never had before. Though Zelena has recovered, he asks her to stay, but Zelena says she has to take care of something first.

Zelena Teaches Hansel a Lesson

Zelena heads to gingerbread house to confront the witch. This time, Zelena defeats her foe and steals her eyesight, turning the gingerbread witch into the Blind Witch. Zelena then intends to free Hansel and Gretel, but the kids are nowhere to be found.

When Zelena returns to Ivo, she learns that his children have returned home safely and they filled him in on her role in their situation. Ivo is horrified that Zelena knew his children were being held hostage and she didn’t tell him. Zelena claims she was just trying to protect him from going up against the gingerbread witch. Ivo doesn’t believe her, but Zelena says she’s trying to be good. Zelena also says she’s been seen as rotten all her life, but he saw past that to who she really is. She brought him the gift of the witch’s sight so his vision can be restored. Ivo rejects her gift and calls her a monster. Hansel then tries to attack Zelena and Zelena responds by burning him with flame from the fireplace. Zelena’s lesson for Hansel: “You mess with a witch, you get burned.”

Zelena Turns to Rumple For Help

In present-day Hyperion Heights, Zelena listens to a message from “Kelly’s” fiance, Chad. Chad doesn’t know why “Kelly” left town, but he made a reservation for them at their “place,” hoping she’ll show up. Regina returns to the bar, fresh from her search for a specific ingredient to finish the potion that will cure Henry. It took her ages, but she finally found what they need. Alas, her happiness is short-lived when “Kelly”/Zelena informs her that Henry left town for a job interview in New York. Zelena also tells her sister that she received a book of chocolates from the Candy Killer, meaning she is his next target. Being on a serial killer’s hit-list makes Zelena miss her old life as “Kelly” even more, though she knows that Chad would never choose her if he knew who she really was.

Across town, Jacinda (aka Ella) receives a text from Henry about his job interview. Of course, the text is actually from “Nick”/Hansel, posing as Henry to keep Henry’s loved ones from getting suspicious about his whereabouts. After making sure Jacinda isn’t looking for Henry, Hansel and Henry have a chat about Hansel’s past. Hansel says that Henry got his story wrong because his story is much darker than the one Henry wrote. Henry tries to bond with Hansel over the pain of losing a loved one and then he offers to help Hansel. Hansel says Henry is going to help him make the woman who hurt him pay for what she did. Of course, Hansel is referring to “Kelly”/Zelena.

At the police station, Rogers (aka Wish-Hook) learns that Henry’s car was found on the side of the road with a flat tire. Rogers says he’ll look into it. Just then, “Kelly”/Zelena and her daughter arrive at the police station. Margot (aka Robin) is very upset when Rogers confirms that her mother is being targeted by a serial killer. Zelena sends Margot off with Rogers while she goes to talk with “Weaver”/Rumple. Zelena tells Rumple that she’s being targeted by the killer and she needs his help. Rumple doesn’t know who the killer is under the curse, but he knows the killer used to be Hansel. Zelena lets Rumple know that she has some unpleasant history with Hansel. Rumple is hesitant to help his one-time enemy, but Zelena points out that if he lets her die at the hands of a killer, he will risk his chance of reuniting with Belle. Instead, she wants Rumple to help her stop Hansel.

“Nick”/Hansel wishes Henry could remember all the adventures they had together back in the Enchanted Forest 2.0 when Hansel was pretending to be Jack. Hansel says that after everything he went through as a kid, it was easier to pretend to be Jack, especially once Henry mistook him for a hero. Hansel says that Henry gave him a second chance. Alas, things got complicated when Hansel learned that Henry’s mom and aunt were witches. As far as Hansel is concerned, all witches are bad. Hansel then reveals that the witch who hurt him all those years ago is Henry’s aunt Zelena, aka the woman Henry knows as “Kelly.”

Meanwhile, “Kelly”/Zelena is hoping Rumple will give her a weapon to use to fight Hansel. Instead, Rumple gives her the necklace from her Wicked Witch days. Zelena doesn’t know how the necklace will help, since she doesn’t have magic in this realm. She’s also tired of being the Wicked Witch and paying for her past sins. Rumple tells her to embrace her past self because that’s the only way she’ll win this fight.

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Zelena Confronts Her Past

After learning that Henry never made it to his interview in New York, Rogers tracks Jacinda down to ask her if she’s heard from him. She tells him about the text message and he wonders if anything about the message sounded unlike Henry. Jacinda says that Henry has never called her “J” before, and Rogers remembers that “Nick” once called her that. Rogers tells Jacinda to head home because he thinks he knows where Henry is.

Meanwhile, Henry keeps Hansel talking while he tries to escape the ropes keeping him captive. Henry asks how “Nick”/Hansel got his memories back, and Hansel says they all just came flooding back to him on the day he got the blood test to see if he was Lucy’s father. Hansel produces a hard copy of Henry’s blood test results from that day — the results he stole when he killed the nurse/witch — and Henry is shocked to see that the results say he is Lucy’s father. Hansel tries to convince Henry of the truth behind the test results, as well as the truth about his aunt Zelena/”Kelly.” Alas, Henry is still under the curse so he thinks “Nick”/Hansel is just delusional. To Henry, “Kelly” is just a spin-instructor from San Francisco with a daughter and a fiance. Henry refuses to help Hansel hurt an innocent woman, but unbeknownst to Henry, he’s already given “Nick”/Hansel all the help he needs. Realizing that Henry is about to slip the ropes, Hansel knocks Henry out to keep him from escaping.

Over at the bar, Zelena is hiding out from the killer. She’s trying to find “Roni’s” baseball bat, and Regina assures her sister that they’ve got what they need to protect themselves. Regina tells Zelena that she doesn’t have to let go of “Kelly” just because she has her memories back. She can be both “Kelly” and Zelena. Alas, Zelena’s not sure how much will be left of “Kelly” once she confronts Hansel.

Rogers finds Henry tied up in “Nick’s” apartment. Rogers frees Henry, and Henry warns Rogers that “Nick”/Hansel is after “Kelly”/Zelena. Rogers believes that “Kelly” is safe at the police station with “Weaver”/Rumple. Of course, as we know, “Kelly” is at the bar. While waiting for the killer to show up, “Kelly”/Zelena gets a call from her fiance. It turns out that Chad is being held hostage by “Nick”/Hansel. Hansel threatens to kill Chad unless Zelena does exactly as he says. Zelena then lies to Regina to get her out of the bar.

Zelena heads down into the basement of the bar and finds Chad tied up. Hansel then appears to confront Zelena. Hansel wants Chad to know the truth about Zelena before he kills her. Zelena owns up to her past, but she says that Hansel can’t go around killing people because of her past mistakes. Hansel decides to just kill her instead, but during their fight, Zelena gets the upper hand. She has the chance to kill “Nick”/Hansel, but she’s not that person anymore so she merely knocks him out. Zelena then frees Chad and promises to tell him who she really is.

After Nick has been handcuffed in the basement and the police have been called, “Kelly”/Zelena tells Chad that she was a different person before they met and she hurt a lot of people. She thought she moved forward, but she can never escape her past. She knows he didn’t sign up for this, so she gives him the ring back. However, Chad tells “Kelly”/Zelena that he signed up for everything, even the stuff he didn’t know. He saw that she had the chance to kill the man who tried to kill her and she didn’t. That tells him that she’s changed from the person she used to be. He says he loves her, even the part of her he doesn’t know, and he asks her to take the ring back.

Later, Regina returns to the bar and Zelena tells her that Chad still wants to be with her despite knowing some dark things about her past. (He’s still clueless about the fairytale part, though.) Regina tells her sister that she deserves happiness and gives her permission to return to San Francisco with her fiance. Margot (aka Robin) enters the bar as the sisters are saying goodbye and “Kelly”/Zelena fills her daughter in on her plans to leave town. When Zelena asks Margot to come along, Margot turns down the offer. She wants to stay in Hyperion Heights because she met someone special. Zelena gives Margot her old Wicked Witch necklace (she calls it a family heirloom) and asks Margot to be her maid of honor. Zelena then says that any happiness she now has is because of Margot.

Meanwhile, Henry heads over to Jacinda’s place to let her and Lucy know that he’s okay. He also tells them that he’s not taking the job offer in New York and they are delighted.

In Other News…

While the rest of the characters are busy dealing with “Nick”/Hansel, Dr. Facilier gets moving on his own agenda. Apparently, “Drew”/Prince Naveen has been awake the whole time he’s been working with Sabine (aka Tiana.) Prince Naveen is manipulating Sabine because he still owes Facilier a debt. As the episode comes to a close, “Drew”/Naveen gives Facilier some beignets he made through Sabine’s instruction. Facilier explains that trust is a powerful thing and “Drew”/Naveen earned it when Sabine taught him her special recipe. Facilier sprinkles some crumbs from the beignets onto a voodoo doll because, apparently, there’s actual magic to be found in breaking someone’s trust.

The final scene shows Facilier visiting Hansel at the police station. After telling “Nick”/Hansel that he was the one who woke him up from the curse, Facilier uses the voodoo doll to put an end to the witch-hunter/serial killer for good. Since Hansel failed to kill Gothel during his witch-hunt, I guess Facilier no longer had any use for him.

What did you think of this episode of Once Upon a Time season 7? Now that “Nick”/Hansel is dead, will Facilier go after Gothel on his own? Will Gothel need to replace the coven members “Nick”/Hansel killed? Will Regina learn what Facilier’s up to before he goes after Rumple? Will Henry tell Jacinda about the blood test results? Will we actually get to see Zelena marry Chad or will something happen to prevent their wedding? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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Megan Cole

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV