It’s all my fault. I found Henry and tricked him into coming here and now…now I’m going to lose him.Lucy
Starring Lana Parrilla, Colin O’Donoghue, Andrew J. West, Dania Ramirez, Alison Fernandez, Mekia Cox, and Robert Carlyle
Episode 13: Knightfall
So, fun fact: this episode turns up in pretty much every list of “worst Once Upon a Time episodes”. Yeah, this one and “Tiny” from Season 2 come up an awful lot, and the reasoning for that is probably quite simple. At the heart of it, the episodes are largely inconsequential. Very little of importance actually happens for most of this episode, until right at the very end. There are a couple of nice moments, but other than that it’s a little bit like wading through sewage. You just want to get out the other side unscathed and with your sanity.
This episode riffs off one of the more common ideas in Once Upon a Time, which is the relationship between parent and child. Specifically here, it’s examining Hook and Alice’s relationship, and how devoted and committed Hook is to his family. Unfortunately, this story is tinged with tragedy here as Hook makes the decision not to return to Alice immediately after getting Maui’s fish hook (yup, that is a bit random) and instead feels the need to prove himself in front of Captain Ahab, resulting in getting grazed with a bullet that Gothel has cursed, which is what prevents Hook and Alice from being close to each other.
Only one part of that sentence is actually important, impactful or interesting: that’s the ending. Yet it takes the episode 41 minutes to get to that point, and the rest is just Hook meandering around to search for a MacGuffin to help Alice escape the tower that she is trapped in. It answers a question that, frankly, wasn’t especially engaging in the first place, and should perhaps have been included in a clearer way earlier in the season or in a different episode. I’m not sure it needed an entire episode dedicated to the tragic event. Unless, I suppose, the focus of the episode was to avoid Hook getting poisoned and ultimately the pair failed in some way. If it had been a game posed by Gothel at the beginning of the episode, and then Alice and Hook had to work together to try and prevent it from happening, it might have made it more impactful, but ultimately the most it garnered was an unfazed shrug. Which is a shame, as Hook and Alice’s relationship has been one of the more interesting dynamics of the seventh season. After this episode, I’m going to attribute that more to Rose Reynolds’ performance, however.
Elsewhere, Lucy is now forced to split her parents apart to keep Henry safe, which is a massive dilemma for her, though it still would help if any of the audience were actually rooting for Henry and Jacinda in the first place, which we still are not, as there still hasn’t been a reason given for us to do that. On the plus side, this means that Lucy and Regina have now joined forces, for Operation Hyacinth as they seek to save Henry while also breaking the curse. It’s a nice callback to the dynamic of the first season, as Henry and Emma worked together to try to break the original Dark Curse.
There were some sweet moments involving Ivy here, as we saw her coming to grips with her grief, as well as making a pass at Henry, who rebuffed her. It’s a shame, as that pairing actually worked quite well, and I think that Ivy and Henry would strangely work as a couple. Importantly, it also involves Ivy and Jacinda making up, which is fitting considering their relationship as children. Ultimately, it sets Ivy up to trying to get Anastasia back, with Henry’s help, so it’s a nice hint at where the character is going to go from here.
In the ongoing procedural drama, Gothel is pulled in for questioning about the murdering of the coven, and Tilly goes off the rails, to be later found holding a bloody scalpel over the dead body of, presumably, the blind witch. Normally when there are parallel characters in the past and the present there’s a meaningful connection between the two in a moral sense. I am yet to discern what this moral could possibly be. In the past, Hook failed to put Alice first over his own needs, and in the present, there’s really no hint of that, other than the fact that Rogers’ daughter (not that he knows she is his daughter) is now a murder suspect
Ultimately, “Knightfall” is pretty much one of the more unbearable episodes of Once Upon a Time to date, let alone this season, which is a shame with only a few instalments left to go. It didn’t add anything to what we already new, but was a really slow and uninteresting tale that, even when it reached its climax, wasn’t really needed. The only meaningful takeaway is that Tilly is now suspected of murder, and that Regina and Lucy are working together to stop the curse. Other than that, it’s infinitely skippable.
You can watch Once Upon a Time Seasons 1 – 7 on Netflix. Seasons 1 – 4 are now available on Disney+ in the UK. It is also available on home media and other digital platforms for purchase or rent.