‘Once Upon a Time’ season 3, episode 16 review: Rebecca Mader shines in one Wicked story

Wicked Witch -Once Upon a Time” has been slowly building up momentum since it started its arc this spring, and the further that we dive into the story of Oz and the Wicked Witch, the more and more we start to feel like almost everything that happened when it comes to Neverland just didn’t cut it. This is some of the best storytelling that the show has done, and led by a compelling villain, we’re more excited about this series than we have been since season 1.

“It’s Not Easy Being Green” was an episode that did so much right. It explained in full who Zelena really is, which actually is a combination of the classic Wicked Witch as well as Dorothy. Meanwhile, they also explained her relationship with Rumpelstiltskin, her jealousy towards Regina, and in Storybrooke part of her plan to actually turn back time.

The only flaw is that at times, we don’t completely buy that her hatred for Regina is based out of her own misfortune in life; but then, we think about real-life jealousy, and we then remember that it works out. Her story is not so much about what Regina had growing up as it is what she didn’t have. She was abandoned, miserable, and the one person who recognized her potential in Rumpelstiltskin still wouldn’t give her the light of day. We didn’t really need a new Rumple love interest, but this does help us realize that the kissing photo that is out there may just by Rumple’s way of playing a woman who has feelings that are not reciprocated.

As we said goodbye to Neal this week, we applaud the show for not forcing Emma and Hook right away; but, there were some nice moments between him and Henry in a side story as he told the kid a little about his father … without revealing too much, since for some reason Emma still doesn’t want her kid to know about this life.

By the time this is over, we really felt like someone should just go and play Cher’s “Turn Back Time” for Zelena, since that is what she is trying to do. Parts of the plot are a little cheesy, but Rebecca Mader completely sells all of her wickedness. She’s fantastic, and her performance managed to even make us by in to twists we should’ve seen coming. For example, we knew that Christopher Gorham was appearing in this episode; but, we somehow still forgot about him and wondered who the Wizard was before it was revealed that it was him … and he somehow made his way to Oz from Kansas. (This is probably a mystery that will remain unanswered.)

This episode was not the most surprising of all time, but from the Regina / Zelena fight to her backstory, it was a marvelous tale of how a Wicked Witch became green with envy. If the story builds from here, it’ll be very hard to be disappointed. Grade: A-.

What did you think of “It’s Not Easy Being Green”? Share your thoughts below, and click here to take a look at some more “Once Upon a Time” news (including a preview for the next new hour). You can also sign up to get even further updates from us via our CarterMatt Newsletter.

Photo: ABC

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!