Once Upon a Time season 7 episode 9 review: Lady Tremaine is [SPOILER]!


One important backstory was revealed during the latest episode of Once Upon a Time, and I’m actually excited about it.

WARNING: This article contains MAJOR spoilers for “One Little Tear,” the ninth episode of the seventh season of Once Upon a Time.

To be frank, I was about ready to give up on Once Upon a Time. The new story was beginning to pall, and its new characters simply didn’t match up with those whom they’ve replaced (with the exception of Drizella/Ivy, of course, because we all know how much I love her). I felt as if it was time to move on, for the series to come to an end — as I so often have said after news broke that six of its cast had exited the series — but upon the latest episode, I was reeled back in, and I’m actually happy I was.

Before this week, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Lady Tremaine/Victoria Belfrey (as I have previously expressed). As a “villain,” I thought she was bland and unimpressive. But after this week, my impression of her has done a full 180°. I was happy to have been proven wrong, especially in this case, because Once Upon a Time has always been one of my favorites, and I don’t want to hate it. After this episode, it’s heading back to the right direction. Thankfully.

For those who hadn’t seen the episode yet, let me recap for you — that is, if you allow me to. Otherwise, turn away! Watch it first and then come back here!

Last chance …

Are you sure?

Very well.

In this episode, we discover that Rapunzel’s cursed identity is … drumroll, please … Victoria! (In other words, yes, Victoria is both Tremaine and Rapunzel. What an awesome twist!) In flashbacks, it was revealed that Rapunzel is indeed the mother of Drizella and Anastasia. After being trapped in the infamous Tower for six years (Mother Gothel had imprisoned her in the hope that she could fulfill the role of the Guardian — the same one that Rumplestiltskin has been searching for in order to rid himself of the Dark One’s curse and reunite and Belle and Neal in the afterlife), she escapes and returns to her family, only to find they’d have moved on. Ouch.

Her husband, Marcus, had remarried to a woman named Cecilia (who, in a sense, is actually the “evil” stepmother), and had adopted her daughter, Ella, as his own. Rapunzel could only watch while another woman took her place at her husband’s side — even her own daughters were more attached to Cecilia. Poor Rapunzel!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, there is still a maid in this story, but it’s not Ella. (Seriously, poor Rapunzel. I feel awful for her. But the twists are just awesome!)

Naturally, Rapunzel becomes jealous of the woman who captures Marcus’ heart — she comes across Gothel again, who offers her a way to rid of Cecilia and reclaim her place in her home. Rapunzel initially refused, but when Drizella refused to warm up to her, Rapunzel caved and cast magic to send Cecilia off running.

And they lived happy ever after. Right? Wrong.

Whilst playing atop a frozen pond, the thin ice cracked under both Ella and Anastasia’s steps, causing them to fall into the ice-cold water. Ella was saved, but Rapunzel was forced to take Anastasia to Gothel in order to save her. Gothel trapped Anastasia’s last breath to allow Rapunzel time to reawaken her — instead of thanking her, however, Rapunzel took revenge and trapped Gothel in her own tower, where she eventually encounters Hook, and we’re all familiar with that.

I really found her backstory interesting! How about you? And it all makes sense now too, why Victoria and Ivy have an icy relationship (heh, get it? Too soon?) — but the question is, is Drizella merely jealous of her mother’s relationship with Anastasia (Anastasia was the only one to welcome Rapunzel back with open arms, hence why Rapunzel favored Anastasia over Drizella), or is there more to her revenge plot? Perhaps Drizella was fond of Cecilia? It would make sense: Drizella was still so young when Rapunzel disappeared, making Cecilia the only mother figure Drizella knew. Maybe Drizella thought of Cecilia as her real “mother?”

Nevertheless, it’s refreshing that Rapunzel/Tremaine isn’t Once Upon a Time’s real villain — I was having a hard time believing it (I don’t think it’s Drizella, either — I think Gothel is really pulling the strings here). Besides, Rapunzel is one of my favorite Disney Princesses. If she were to be a villain, you won’t be hearing the end of it from me!

Related Story: Once Upon a Time season 7, episode 6 review: Regina 2.0?

Once Upon a Time’s midseason finale airs next Friday, Dec. 15 at 8:00 p.m. on ABC.