Did Once Upon a Time Season 4 Episode 18 hit its jump-the-shark moment with the reveal that Marian’s been dead all along and Zelena has taken her place?
Our TV Fanatics Stacy Glanzman, Mary Kate Venedam, Robin Harry and Amanda Steinmetz are joined by Gareth from Once Upon a Fan to debate the Marian/Zelena swap... which character they’d prefer to have alive... and if which character in Storybrooke they would most want to be.
Ready to join in the debate? Let's do this!
Marian is really Zelena. Is that a brilliant story arc or history being rewritten?
Stacy: That reveal felt like a jump-the-shark moment to me. Marian's been dead the whole time? Really? I have a hard time believing conversations like the last one with Robin haven't happened where she should have known something but didn't, or that she hasn't said or done something to make him suspicious. So, in that regard, I hope it's history being rewritten by the author because at least that could make it more believable.
Gareth: I think my eyes completely rolled to the back of my head when Marian transformed into Zelena. I had heard rumors that this might be the case but my mind denied them and pushed them away. But it’s true, they went there. It was like something out of a fairy tale Dallas! I’m not sure whether it’s genius or completely jumping the shark.
Mary Kate: I'm very conflicted. It seemed too convenient. On one side, Zelena's story did end rather too cleanly, but on the other I think I'm not as impressed because it was something that was predicted online, which took part of the fun out of the reveal. But, that's what I get for looking at spoilers.
Robin: I'm glad I'm not the only one who rolled their eyes, Gareth. I audibly groaned. I knew the actress was coming back to the show, but I had no idea that this was the way it would be done. The only thing I like about this development is that it will eventually give Robin Hood license to be with Regina without being conflicted. Other than that, I'm not a fan of this, whether it's history being rewritten or not.
Amanda: I thought this twist was ridiculous. Even if this was the plan all along, it feels like they wrote themselves into a corner regarding the Regina/Robin/Marian triangle, and this was the only way to get out of it. It's an easy way to give Regina her happy ending without Robin having to be the bad guy and leave his sweet wife.
Which character would you rather have alive, Zelena or Marian?
Stacy: Marian. I was never a big fan of Zelena and I think we have enough villains to deal with right now. I liked the conflict that Marian caused between Robin and Regina and while I want to see it work out for them, this feels a little too convenient.
Gareth: I definitely prefer Zelena. She is great fun. Her scenes with Robert Carlyle are always terrific and you could really tell that Rebecca Mader was having an absolute riot in the hospital scenes with Gold. Her performance was the best part of the episode.
Mary Kate: That's tough. Zelena is an entertaining character, but she has an irrational vendetta against Regina and is plain creepy with Rumple. Marian just gets in the way of Robin and Regina. But, I guess if the real Marian were alive she'd probably step aside for Robin and Regina. So, I'll go with Marian.
Robin: Marian was a bit bland as a character, but at least her existence was a interesting source of conflict for Regina and Robin. Zelena was my least favorite villain ever on the show, and I simply can't stand her particular brand of jealous, whiny villainy. I wish she had stayed dead.
Amanda: Can I pick neither. As much as I like Zelena's sass, she didn't do much for me as a villain. Marian spent most of her time frozen, so.....
If you could be one character on Once Upon a Time, who would it be?
Stacy: That's hard, but I think I'd have to go with Emma. She's strong, brave, and has access to magic, so that would be fun. She's also got a good heart and puts her family and friends first, which I can relate to.
Gareth: Regina. She is the sass master and gets all the best lines. She’s fierce and I love her attitude.
Mary Kate: Snow, but not the Snow we've seen this half season. I've always been a fan of her character, especially the Enchanted Forest version. Even though her motives are not always the best, she is a caring person and thinks about her loved ones before herself.
Robin: I'd either like to be one of the fairies (all of the magic, none of the drama), or Granny. Granny gets some great one-liners, and everyone's sufficiently intimidated by her to not give her sass.
Amanda: I guess I'd pick Emma. I've really enjoyed her arc since the beginning. She's brave, strong, and vulnerable.
Was there anything in “Heart of Gold” that disappointed you?
Stacy: Definitely the Marian/Zelena reveal. If it ends up being a result of the author rewriting the book, I may change my mind later, but it would depend on how that plays out.
Gareth: Yes. I do feel like the show is retconning a lot of their stories or changing things last minute. If I could go back and look at past episodes and find subtle clues and clever hints that Marian had been Zelena all this time, then I could totally accept this storyline. Sadly, I can find no such evidence of foreshadowing this turn of events so it just feels poorly conceived.
Mary Kate: Yes! The complete lack of a Storybrooke story. I was expecting more of a search for The Author, but that ended before it began. I'm also hoping that August's story is not over. That would be the most disappointing story of them all.
Robin: Given how I feel about Zelena, I'm disappointed that she's back. I also wished we could have seen Emma rage a bit more against her parents.
Amanda: Um, the reveal that Marian wasn't really Marian, but Zelena. Everything about it felt like cop-out. It was all a little to convenient for my liking.
What was your favorite quote or scene from the episode?
Stacy: I liked Will Scarlett telling Robin his broken heart story and Robin slipping him the potion. I loved Will's "that scoundrel" line.
Gareth: All of Zelena’s scenes, I thought she was terrific. Zelena telling Regina she had to go as she had a meatloaf in the oven made me laugh.
Mary Kate: The Author's quote to Rumple, "You are quite possibly the biggest pain in the ass I have ever had the displeasure of writing about." Even though the guy manipulated everyone's story, I can't think writing Rumple about could be easy.
Robin: I really love the scene with Gold and Robin, after Gold left the hospital. It showed that Gold actually did somewhat realize the gravity of his actions, and it also sounded to me like he was egging Robin to go back to Regina. That scene gave Gold more depth than he's shown all season, and I loved it.
Amanda: Definitely the Author's line to Rumple: "You are quite possibly the biggest pain in the ass I have ever had the displeasure of writing about."
Check back in on Sunday for our review of Once Upon a Time Season 4 Episode 19 - and if you can't wait for the magic, you can watch Once Upon a Time online here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.