Zelena finally chose a side that didn't leave the formerly wicked witch all alone on Once Upon a Time Season 6 Episode 18 "Where Bluebirds Fly."
After several false starts and broken promises, Zelena made the ultimate sacrifice to prove she belonged on Team Hero.
She gave up her magic to save the day.
This was such a huge moment for her. Because as far as Zelena was concerned, her magic was the only thing that made her special. She clung to the power like a security blanket.
It's hard to blame her for that. Cora abandoned her. She ended up with an abusive adoptive father. People in Oz treated her like a leper because of the magic.
Why wouldn't she hold on as tight as she could to the thing that made her feel powerful?
Flashbacks tend to be hit or miss on Once Upon A Time. Sometimes the on-the-nose factor of the past and present coming together ends up feeling more like we're being bashed over the head with a blunt object.
Oz flashbacks have a particular darkness to them. The heaviness of Zelena's troubled backstory combined with her misdeeds in her quest to make time travel happen would lean toward over the top if not for Rebecca Mader's talent.
She never fails to bring a quiet desperation to Zelena. Even at the height of her power trips, we can always see the glimpse of the woman underneath the green. The woman who wanted nothing more than to be loved.
Mommy won't be gone long. She just has to go and pluck that big, bad fairy's wings.Zelena
Like every other villain turned hero in Storybrooke, Zelena's done terrible things. Unforgivable things no one would tolerate or defend in the real world.
But fairy tales aren't real life and neither are TV shows.
It's okay to root for Zelena to do the right thing. Even after we watched her let a man turn to tin because she wouldn't help him. A man, who, not only was her friend, but who attempted to give her much needed advice.
At the time, she wasn't ready to listen. And isn't that how life works? We all make selfish choices from time to time. And then we grow and change, and learn to make better decisions in the future.
That's what Zelena did when she gave up her magic. It might not save Emma from the Final Battle. It might only delay the inevitable.
But it was a selfless choice. One that brought Zelena into the fold in a way that she'd never been before.
Hopefully, Regina will remember the weight of her sister's sacrifice. Sisterly bickering is expected. I don't want to see Regina ordering Zelena to leave again. She belongs with her family.
Killian: Aye. I'll bring the rum.
Speaking of family, the Charmings were tasked with comic relief, and a bit of filler as they argued over where and when Emma and Killian should hold their wedding.
Normally, any amount of filler this late in the game would be annoying. But I relish any opportunity to see Emma and Killian being blissfully in love. Especially the sexy moments we rarely get to witness. Too bad Snow interrupted their pancake time.
It's also a pleasure to watch David and Snow getting to be parents to Emma. After trading sleep spells for far too much of Once Upon A Time Season 6, it's great to have them both awake. Even if they are spending their time arguing.
Wedding venues? Living our lives? This reeks of Grandma.Henry
Of course it turned out to be for the greater good. Snow, in her usual hope defeats all wisdom, believed planning the wedding was the way to go. Why stop their lives because another threat loomed around the corner?
While I was on her side, David's argument made sense, too. Like any parent, he wanted more for his daughter than he had. Which meant he didn't want to see Emma and Killian rush from their wedding straight into battle.
The only thing I didn't like about these scenes was the brief mention of Henry trying to change the story. Henry being the author should not be an afterthought. The book's been a huge part of the show since Once Upon A Time Season 1 Episode 1.
Give the plot the respect it deserves.
Finally, while we're on the subject of characters getting shortchanged, Rumple and Belle, especially Belle, continue to fall into the underused category.
I understand keeping Gideon separated from his parents is the Black Fairy's entire plan. But shouldn't his parents get more than two short scenes, if that, each week?
Especially since the Black Fairy is apparently doing all of this because she gave Rumple up as a child. Is anyone else confused by the logic? I'm hoping Once Upon A Time Season 6 Episode 19 will shed light on the relationship.
Right now, her villain story is coming across as a plot point rather than a character arc. And all I want is to see Rumple and Belle reunited with their son.
Tell us what you thought of "Where Bluebirds Fly."
Does Zelena deserve credit for her choices? Should Regina give her a break? Do you think Emma and Killian should get married before or after the battle? Will the Blue Fairy be helpful?
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Mandy Treccia was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in September 2017. Follow her on Twitter.