We all saw it coming. After rumors that actor Sean Maguire was leaving the show and a whole season where the character did pretty much nothing, Robin Hood was killed off Once Upon a Time.
The problem isn’t even that Robin did die, because as mentioned the character was doing virtually nothing. Yet, somehow, Robin’s death is still a major disappointment because of the way it happened.
The Right Thing at the Wrong Time
It sounds like a heroic death. Hades was just about the put the fatal whammy on Regina and Robin stepped in front of the magical shot and was completely obliterated. It’s about as brave as you can get on Once Upon a Time and Sean Maguire and Lana Parrilla played it to perfection. The circumstances surrounding Robin’s death are just very, very stupid.
It wouldn’t have taken much for Once Upon a Time to believably sell the idea that Zelena could be manipulated by Hades. Hades is not only an incredibly devious and smart character, Zelena is the definition of melodramatic. There has never been a Once Upon a Time character more driven by emotions than Zelena. Zelena never thinks things out and constantly acts off nothing but pure adrenaline. Yet even with that being said, Zelena instantly thinking that Hades could do no wrong made her look unbelievably naive.
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It’s not so much that Zelena didn’t believe Regina and Robin when they told her that Hades was still evil. That’s pretty much par of the irrational course when it comes to Zelena. It’s the fact that Hades didn’t even seem to hide the fact that he was super evil from Zelena in “Last Rites.” Zelena’s turn to heroics hasn’t been my personal favorite of Once Upon a Time storylines but the show still told it in a believable way, where it is completely plausible that Zelena has had a complete change of heart.
Once Upon a Time never made me believe why Zelena didn’t seem to understand that Hades didn’t have the same change of heart. It’s true that Hades was a little bit gentler to Zelena but he still talked about killing Regina without the slightest chance of remorse. Zelena should have realized that something was seriously wrong with Hades before he ended up killing Robin. Robin’s death should not have been the thing that finally convinced Zelena that her new boyfriend Hades was still super crazy evil. She should have been fighting against him long before.
Robin still could have died and Zelena could have been the one to mercy-kill Hades. There is nothing wrong with the end result of “Last Rites.” The way the show got there was so contrived and silly that it robs the importance of Robin’s sacrifice.
Robin Hood: Secondary to the Bitter End
All of this talk of Zelena is another important problem with Robin’s death. Robin’s death is so much more about other characters on Once Upon a Time and has very little to do with ending his story. While it is somewhat refreshing for Robin’s death to be the flip of women in refrigerators trope, with the male love interest dying solely for the female character’s development, the gender-bending doesn’t make it any less of lazy writing. “Last Rites” does not seem like Robin’s farewell episode because Robin is barely in it.
In an interview with TVLine, Sean Maguire revealed that several important scenes were cut from “Last Rites” with Robin Hood. Robin sharing a scene with Little John and his son Roland both ended up on the cutting room floor and the only emotional scene that remains of Robin in “Last Rites” is him telling Regina that she is his future.
Perhaps the weirdest moment though was that Robin’s funeral is itself upstaged. I can understand that Once Upon a Time wanted to end the episode on a somewhat happy note with Hook and Emma reuniting. It is appropriate in the fairy tale series to at least have somewhat of a happy ending to an otherwise depressing moment. The weirdness is that Hook and Emma’s reunion completely undermines the emotion of Robin’s death. Hook and Emma get back together and start making out literally feet away from Robin’s coffin. Robin’s body isn’t even in the ground while Emma and Hook are going at each other like a couple of teenagers.
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This scene is an example of what is wrong with “Last Rites” as Robin’s final episode. The episode is much more focused on Emma and Hook than any other relationship on the show. “Last Rites” should have been focused if not solely, at least mostly, on the Regina and Robin’s relationship. Instead focus is split three ways, Zelena discovering (very slowly) that Hades is evil, Hook trying to save Emma and stuffed in at the last minute is Robin saying goodbye to Regina.
“Last Rites” could have ended with Hook coming back to life but the reunion could have happened literally any other place than right beside Robin’s coffin. Regina and the audience at least needed one scene to fully process Robin’s death before focusing on Hook and Emma’s happiness. There’s a strong chance that the two hour season finale will be the proper goodbye to Robin that “Last Rites” should have been but the audience has to do but hope. Nothing is for certain.
But what do you think? Were you satisfied by Robin’s death or saddened? Do you think the finale will address some of the problems of “Last Rites?”
Once Upon a Time season 6 airs Sundays at 8pm on ABC.
(Images courtesy of ABC)