It’s time for us to see the history of Gothel and finally get some motivations. And this could have been done some time before and not have left us all guessing
Gothel isn’t human. She’s a tree nymph. But wasn’t all that thrilled with tree nymphness, despite being the heir to all that magic and responsibility and instead wanted to hang with humans and their pretty dresses. Her mother was very confident she’d see sense. Unsurprisingly, she doesn’t. Instead she goes to see some rich humans and is spotted using magic. But rather than be afraid these humans, led by a woman called Ilsa, are all fascinated and insist she teach them and invite them to their ball with all the other fine rich people
Only to then humiliate her and call her an abomination. And then cut down her grove and slaughter all the tree nymphs there. Y’know I can kind of see this. I mean humanity and people who are different/shit we don’t understand? Does not have a good track record. What I can’t see is Ilsa ordering the slaughtering of the grove but being content with plastering Gothel’s pretty dress with mud. I mean, let’s engage in some light genocide and dress ruining?
Gothel is most upset and declares epic revenge against mankind which are a terrible affront to nature and slaughters Isla and all her guests with plant magic. Except Seraphina, who has magic of her own which she kept hidden out of fear and now admires Gothel’s courage - and becomes the first coven member. Returning to the grove, Gothel explains even though wiped out humans will come back so they have to leave and recruit more so they can have another round of purging
What’s interesting is she also says humans have finally “created” a land without magic - the only such land that exists. Suggesting Earth is artificial.
But we have a motivation for Gothel - who was apparently hunting the Guardian for… what? Magic? Either way I think in the last 19 episodes some indication of genocidal hatred for humanity and/or an extreme eco-activist bent could have been hinted at
In the real world she begins her evil plan by corrupting a cop to wake her sisters and harvesting blood from Margot for her nefarious plans (and also finally ranting about humanity being the biggest pest - and, again, this is rather out of the blue). And she finally approaches Tilly. She introduces herself as her mother and suggests Tilly join her and they can be one big happy family again
To which Tilly responds that Gothel either a) is lying, or b) abandoned her as a baby. And either way
And she goes to Killian
Killian is having issues. He’s finally decided that hey, letting Naveen go because he was wandering around a crime scene is a bad idea so let’s have an interview. And Naveen basically says “MAGIC!!!! WITCHES! MAGIC!!!” and Killian says “this is madness! Foolishness I say” but Naveen points out he has an autopsy report of a guy being stabbed in the heart from the inside so MAAAAAGIC MAGIC MAGIC.
It’s a difficult argument to match. And then Tilly arrives and says “magic magic magic” throwing in that Naveen said Eloise is part of a coven and they’re a bit lost. And they decide to see Henry because he once wrote a book about fairy tales
This Logical Leap is brought to you by the writers of the Once Upon a Time reboot doing very very little to actually establish Henry as central to this narrative so now we need to ram in convoluted reasons to drag him into the plot because absolutely no-one has any reason ever to involve an uber driver who wrote a book once who happens to be visiting and spends all day pickling his liver in Roni’s bar
Anyway, Henry and Jacinda are still dealing with the fact they have medical proof that Lucy is Henry’s daughter. They look at the facts and decide not to run with a) hey we both got super wasted, had sex and then forgot about it, and Jacinda doesn’t even consider b) shit Henry drugged me and raped me; I mean both of these scenarios are bad and b utterly horrific and both have consent issues but I think both are more plausible than what they go with c) Lucy’s right, they’re cursed, Henry’s book is real and it’s all magic
Jacinda at least kind of puts the pause on this one so Henry shows her a shard of glass that he claims was one of her glass slippers. Yeaaaah it’s a shard of glass.
Killian and Tilly arrive with their own magic magic magic claims and find that Henry has turned his house into like a murder wall of fairy tale investigations (what, did he have all these whiteboards lying around). And he’s got a lot right - like identifying Regina, Anastasia, Kelly, Weaver and many more. And I like how he’s done it but it does kind of start from a premise of assuming magic is real: because “Weaver has a teacup that looks exactly like the chipped teacup Rumple has” is a little shaky. But I’m willing to accept they’re all willing to believe simply because the curse is fraying which would make sense.
They’ve also made the leap that Eloise’s coven can’t use magic because there isn’t a lot.
At this point the brainwashed cop contacts Killian with a lead, of course he takes Tilly because Killian’s happy to have civilians around on stakeouts. There’s lots of awesome bonding between them before they’re ambushed by Eloise and her coven
With all the truth on the table, Eloise happily calls herself Gothel and reveals Killian is Tilly’s dad: and demands a choice from her. She choose Killian, her human side, or Gothel her tree nymph side.
Unshockingly, Tilly goes team dad all the way. Despite Gothel’s skill at recruiting outcasts.
Instead Gothel has to secure Tilly’s co-operaton in a big scary spell by threatening Killian. Since Tilly now fully believes that he’s her dad, she reluctantly casts the ominous spell with the coven of 8. I’m guessing this is not going to be bad
Meanwhile Lucy has gone to Facilier with all his shady motives to ask for help decursing Henry - because while obsessed about it Regina won’t return his calls. And if that’s not motivation enough then Lucy is willing to resort to blackmail. She’s cunning like that. Of course, Facilier just killed someone with a pin so maybe she’s not that cunning.
He suggests they can do this - not really because of blackmail but because if Gothel’s evil plan goes off everyone is going to need to be aware and they can’t break the curse while Henry’s all poisoned. And to do this he needs a symbol of Jacinda and Henry’s love
So she goes home and digs through a lot of old mementos with Jacinda and finds… a glass slipper. This shatters Jacinda’s world view because daaaamn a glass slipper! That is not easily to explain
Lucy runs off to Facilier to cast the poisoning curing spell
While Jacinda runs to Henry shocked because it’s true, it’s all true - she’s Cinderella! And they kiss as Lucy returns
But True Love’s kiss does not break the curse...
What I want to see now is the Asleep but Aware (Killian, Jacinda, Henry) to talk to the Awake (Regina, Rumple et al) before the curse breaks because that will be fascinating