It’s an Alice/Tilly-centric hour in ONCE UPON A TIME Season 7 Episode 14, entitled “The Girl in the Tower.”
Ever since it was announced that the love interest for Alice (Rose Reynolds) would be Robin (Tiera Skovbye), fans have been clamoring to hear how they met and fell in love. This Once Upon a Time episode showed us how they not only met, but saved each other – in various ways – shortly after their first meeting. In Hyperion Heights, Tilly was rescued in a different way.
Alice and Robin
Let’s start with everyone’s new favorite couple. Thanks to a birthday wish and a very convenient troll (more on that later), Alice has escaped her tower. She manages to track down her father, but due to the curse set on them by Mother Gothel (Emma Booth), she isn’t able to reunite with him. She’s watching him from afar when, suddenly, there’s an arrow in her face and someone accusing her of being a spy.
This, of course, is Robin. Alice tries to run away, but ends up hitting a tripwire and dropping a wooden cage down on herself. (Snow and Charming’s first meeting, anyone? Alice even comes up with a nickname for Robin while she’s still in the cage: “Nobin” – New Robin.) After Robin learns who she is, she releases her from the cage. Robin explains that she’s hunting a troll that has been terrorizing the local villages. Alice objects, saying she knows this troll, but Robin refuses to listen and goes off without her.
Alice follows her to a village, continuing to insist that the troll is her friend even after they find a small group of displaced villagers nursing their wounds. This leads to the two of them chained up together in prison. They have a sweet moment: Alice explains that she doesn’t see a point to being free of her tower if she’s still all alone, and Robin explains that back in Storybrooke, she had never been alone, and that was when she felt the most trapped. She stole Emma’s iconic yellow Bug and tried to leave town with it. After telling this story, Robin uses one of Alice’s hairpins to escape and leaves her chained there, saying she has to take on her father’s legacy and kill the troll.
— Once Upon A Time (@OnceABC) March 24, 2018
Robin catches up with the villagers who have gone after the troll. The village leader is a misogynistic bully who taunts Robin when she says she’s taken up her father’s mantle, saying she has one shot to prove herself. Naturally, Alice appears at this exact moment to tackle her and make her shot go awry. The villagers turn on them again, but Robin steps in to defend Alice while Alice closes her eyes, whispers the word “escape,” and manages to produce Robin’s previous method of escape: the yellow Bug. They manage to use it to get away from the mob.
(Side question: is it actually Emma’s yellow Bug? Because that would totally be a Once thing to do. Imagine Emma driving along, doing her sheriff thing, and then suddenly the car just isn’t there anymore.)
Anyway, Alice asks Robin why she saved her. Robin replies that she’s been searching for approval her whole life – first in Storybrooke with her not-exactly-friends, then in the Enchanted Forest by taking up her father’s mantle. She’s starting to realize what her father’s legacy really is: giving help to those who need it.
They arrive at Alice’s tower. She gets quite emotional at the sight of it.
I hate this place. I hate its stupid stones and its stupid turret and its dumb mossy base and I hate that all I’ve wanted to do since I left was come back. At least when I was trapped I could have hope that when I got free, everything would be okay. But then I did.
Robin moves to comfort her, but before she can, the troll shows up again. Robin insists that Alice is the only one who can stop the troll, pointing out that Alice can use magic. After all, there’s no other way that the yellow Bug could have appeared. Who’s to say that Alice didn’t use magic to bring the troll into existence and escape her tower? Emboldened by this idea, Alice steps out to confront the troll. She assures it that she’s free now, and it doesn’t have to worry anymore. When she touches its nose, it turns into a statue, just like the one under the bridge in Hyperion Heights.
To close out this meet-cute story, Robin gives Alice a birthday cupcake (we won’t ask how she made a cupcake in the middle of the forest), and Alice makes a wish before they get on the road again. We don’t know what she wished for, but the looks she’s giving Robin are a pretty clear hint!
Tilly and Rogers
At the end of last week’s episode, which due to database troubles we didn’t recap for you, Rogers (Colin O’Donoghue) and Weaver (Robert Carlyle) burst into the baker’s hospital room just in time to find Tilly standing over the baker’s dead body. Neither of them believed she did it, but the circumstantial evidence was damning – she was the only living person in the room, holding a bloody scalpel and ranting incoherently about how she warned them something bad was going to happen. She jumped out a window and ran off.
Rogers finds her at the beginning of this episode. She’s talking to the troll under the bridge. He convinces her to come with him to Henry’s (Andrew J. West) apartment so they can hide from the police. The next day, after Tilly wakes up, they help her try to retrace her steps from the day before. She has trouble remembering, so Henry and Rogers go to try to track her movements. They tell her to stay there, and she does… for awhile.
After ransacking Henry’s drawers and pulling down a copy of Robin Hood (!!) to read, Tilly notices a sticker from the grocery store on her shoe. Excited, she runs to the grocery store to find out if anyone remembers seeing her there. Unfortunately, even the employees she calls by name don’t recognize her. She’s just starting to feel lost and confused when Henry and Rogers track her down. She finds her backpack in a dumpster, and they return to Henry’s apartment to check it out.
In the backpack, Tilly finds two locks of hair. Rogers identifies them as belonging to the two murdered cult members. Tilly panics, wondering if she could have actually committed the crimes, since she can’t remember not killing them. She runs to the troll bridge, then decides to leave town before she can hurt anyone else.
— Once Upon A Time (@OnceABC) March 24, 2018
Naturally, a stranger appears just in time to pull her out of the way of a passing truck. This stranger is Margot, AKA Robin. After giving her some advice and showing her her favorite book, Alice in Wonderland (!!), Margot leaves, and Rogers and Henry arrive. They realize there’s a security camera in one of the troll’s eyes. It shows her by the troll at the time of the baker’s murder. With a proper alibi, Tilly is free to go.
She goes back to her makeshift home in a storage container, but she’s not there long until Rogers comes by to drop off her backpack. He offers to let her stay at his house for the time being, and she accepts. Aww! Not only did we witness the beginnings of a true Once Upon a Time-style romance, we also get to see father and daughter reuniting, even if they don’t know it.
In Other News
The other big reveal this week was a motive for Samdi, AKA Dr. Facilier (Daniel Francis). Regina (Lana Parrilla) teams up with Lucy (Alison Fernandez) in Operation Hyacinth, a mission to learn what Samdi is up to. Regina suggests going old-school with walkie talkies. Lucy is not impressed and suggests texting instead.
After Regina lures Samdi off on a date, Lucy searches his apartment. This backfires when Kelly/Zelena (Rebecca Mader), who was not in on the plan, discovers Regina and Samdi walking down the waterfront. She even hears Samdi call her “Regina,” so she knows he’s awake. After Samdi decides to let the two of them have their awkward moment alone, Regina panics, texting Lucy to get out of the apartment. She does so only after snapping a picture of the playing cards laid out on his kitchen table.
Samdi later shows up at Roni’s bar. After the two of them play dumb for a minute, he gives her the hat Lucy left behind in his apartment. He reveals that the Death card Lucy noticed is referring to Rumplestilskin; he wants the Dark One dagger. Regina says this somewhat surprising but mostly sweet line:
Despite our twisted history, Rumple is my oldest friend. You really think I’m just going to stand by and watch you kill him?
Does he know how much you care, Regina? Anyway, Samdi does a brief reading for Regina: he pulls out the Swords card, which he says represents her past; the Empress card, which represents her present; and the Lovers card, which represents her future. He says that she could have love in her future if she chooses it.
A few additional notes…
- My main question at this point is: clearly, there is a way to “wake” people from the curse. Regina, Zelena, Rumple, Ivy, Gothel, and Lucy are all awake. So why aren’t we waking up more people? Wouldn’t they be more likely to find a solution to Henry’s problem if Hook, Ella, Robin, and Alice were awake too? At least they could wake Robin so Zelena doesn’t have to lie to her unnecessarily, and Hook so he can be useful to Rumple instead of getting in his way half of the time.
- Who is the actual murderer that Rogers and Weaver are trying to track down? Samdi? Gothel? Someone else entirely?
- Dear Lord, I want more Regina/Samdi backstory. The chemistry doesn’t seem there just yet, and it’s weird that Regina is still into him even though he’s planning to kill her “oldest friend.”
- Can we have more Zelena simply for the sake of comic relief? Her crack about the walkie talkies and the way she’s willing to make up with Regina because of a green martini are perfect.
- And the last thing I want more of is Ivy/Drizella (Adelaide Kane). She’s planning to continue what her mother started. What does that mean, exactly? Is she really turning over a new leaf here?
The real question is, of course, how everything will be wrapped up by the series finale at the end of this season. We know they’re not planning on tying up every loose end, but there are a lot of loose ends here. Which ones will be resolved, and which ones will we have to decide for ourselves?
Once Upon a Time airs Fridays on ABC.