Way back ye precurse days (is this the third curse? The fourth curse?) Robin (that would be Zelina and Robin’s daughter conceived after Zelena raped Robin but we don’t talk about that) tries to experiment with her magic, much to Zelena’s disapproval, because a magicless Zelena thinks it’s very very dangerous.
She’s also not happy that “cool aunt Regina” has given Robin one of her grandmother’s spell books. That would be one of Cora’s spellbooks… umm… I hate to say it but I’m kind of team Zelena on this one. By all means teach her magic, but giving her one of Cora’s books?
The book contains a spell to summon “mother nature” which looks super nice except Mother Nature is a pseudonym for Mother Gothel - and this is the spell an angry Robin uses in teenaged rebellion against her mother. She vanishes
Zelena goes to Regina to confront her about this - not to ask for help but because she’s annoyed with “cool Aunt” Regina parenting her daughter. While she rejects Regina’s help, Hook (or “Nook”, new Hook, as Zelena dismissively calls him) isn’t so easily put off - he has his own grudge against Mother Gothel and he’s determined to be there.
Using Hook’s memories and a magic door they arrive in a magical shop where Gothel is talking to a dead witch - Leota. Leota doesn’t appreciate the interruption and even dead apparently has the power to zap people.
And a spanner is thrown in the works when Robin reveals she doesn’t want rescuing - she wasn’t kidnapped, she ran away. She wants to be mentored and taught by Gothel. Zelena is crushed - and leaves - because you can‘t rescue someone who doesn’t want to be rescued. She further worries that her own attempts to keep Robin magic free rather mirror her own father’s attempts to suppress her magic.
Hook, who does little more than posture constantly, does try to invoke the supreme power of motherhood and appeals for Zelena to go back and spread gooey love everywhere
So they go back and surprise surprise, Mother Gothel is evil! She wants to sacrifice Robin so she can resurrect Leota using the oh-so-unoriginally-names resurrection amulet. Zelena arrives in time to offer herself instead because being ineffective and wet is what happens to people on Once Upon a Time only to be saved by Robin who grabbed a bow and an enchanted arrow
Apparently this is enough to intimidate a powerful witch and a legendary dead witch who can throw lightning are afraid of flying sharp bits of wood
After which Zelena and Robin have a whole reunion and isn’t it touching? Zelena tries to back down on the idea that all magic is bad, but Robin decides she didn’t actually like magic but as her daughter she felt she had to be good at it. But actually archery is super cool. She then just hands her magic over to Zelena…
Ok, let’s put aside this rather dubious storyline to return to the present and the confusion there.
So Lucy is still unconscious in hospital and may need donors so they take samples of Jack/Nick (fake dad) Jacinda and Henry (real dad) who volunteers.
While they’re doing that Zelena and Regina are having a huge sisterly bonding moments while also recapping us all on everything: break the curse and Lucy lives but Henry dies. Keep the curse going and Lucy dies and Henry lives. Or there’s Regina’s option which is EVERYONE LIVES RAAAAWR.
Gothel has both Victoria and Drizila down a well and convinces Anastasia to turn against her mother (which seems to be a major habit of her’s) by telling Anastasia the many many many many many many many many many many oh so many evil things Anastasia/Rapunzel has done which convinces Anastasia that maybe she isn’t a good person
Gothel then drops Victoria back down the well to bicker with Drizilla and even when urging co-operation Victoria still can’t bring herself to say nice things about Drizilla, it’s all about Anastasia. They escape with highly improbable use of designer shoes. Victoria makes another appeal for unity and they have another argument with Drizilla accusing her of all being about Anastasia. Rapunzel who seems to have forgotten what parenthood is supposed to mean, argues back that Drizilla has failed to earn it. So Drizilla reveals it was her idea to send the lanterns that gave Rapunzel hope
Yeah, I’m not here for a storyline where a child had to earn their parent’s love and suddenly gets it when she proves she did.
Gothel continues to groom Anastasia to be on her side, again, Gothel definitely makes a habit of this. While Rumple tries to convince the still cursed Hook that Gothel (or “Eloise”) is evil, a cult leader and kidnapping children. Killian isn’t ready to believe that and insists on proving her innocence. He visits her to find her being all cagey and with a very child-like meal (laid out for Anastasia) so that didn’t go to plan
Gothel makes her own move - she goes to Zelena and offers to heal Lucy if they give her the Resurrection amulet.
Zelena accepts to Regina’s surprise - but of course Zelena’s not going to actually give her the amulet. They’re going to plan. But first they need to find the amulet and realise it’s in Regina’s bar (which is part of why Victoria was so eager for it in the first place). This used to be Zelena’s bar as well and she’s most upset that Regina has totally upscaled her Dive aesthetic. I have to say I’m with Regina on this one. Among many sisterly moments (and they’re absolutely awesome together) they find the amulet.
And Victoria takes it off them, using a gun. Damn someone finally discovered firearms and it’s Victoria/Rapunzel. She also justifies herself by how she’s doing everything for her daughter which she thinks Regina should understand - after all Regina was forgiven. Hah, regina earned every ounce of that forgiveness!
She takes the amulet to Gothel and Anastasia to try and prove to Anastasia that she’s not evil and she wants to help Lucy. After draining some of Anastasia’s magic and sending her away, Gothel prepares to use it. Which means a sacrifice
This would be the dire consequences that Regina warned about and Victoria duly ignored. Drizilla is pulled in to be sacrificed and she quickly reminds Victoria of how terrible a mother she is and how she totally wanted Drizilla dead so she must be happy. Finally moved to parenthood, Victoria pushes her out of the ring to offer herself as sacrifice. Ah, the easiest redemption of them all… martyrdom. In true tense moment fashion, Drizilla just kind of lays on the floor and watches
What, did she throw the gun away or something? Don’t tell me she’s squeamish! She could easily have killed Mother Gothel here
The spell is complete and… Lucy is resurrected. Or healed. Or wakes up. And… ok… why? I mean why is this Mother Gothel’s plan? What is her actual agenda here? What has her agenda ever been before ye gods it’s a confusion at the moment
Seeing a dead Victoria, Killian starts to believe Rumple that maybe “Eloise” isn’t all that nice.
And the DNA test? Yep, confirms that Henry is the dad. But the doctor drinks from a poisoned figure - and a gloved figure steals the results. And cuts off a lock of her hair.
So Zelena feels terrible that her attempt to suppress Robin’s magic duplicated her dad’s behaviour…. Which… um… so why? Why would she do it? I can’t see Zelena being so anti-magic in her own daughter given her own experiences. Especially since Zelena has never really been all “magic is evil!!!!”. It feels… unnecessarily odd and out of character
Oh and I call bullshit. I don’t care if her dad was Robin Hood. I don’t care if a bow inexplicably scared the big bad, I don’t buy anyone saying “magic, with all it’s infinite power and diversity is boring, archery for me!”. Magic > wooden projectiles. Also teenaged rebellion ends with the child deciding that her mother was right all along - when she was being more than a little unreasonable - isn’t exactly great
I think knowing this is the last season has also grossly reduced my tolerance for complicated plot lines especially with the Reboot. I was happy to invest in the reboot, I thought the reboot could be success, I thought they actually did a great job of rebooting it. But learning that it’s already finished leaves me questioning why I need to be invested in these people? It’s like hearing a show has been cancelled half way through the pilot season - why follow their story when we know it’s not going anywhere? And I say that someone, perhaps the only one anywhere, who actually thinks the reboot did good.