Many many years ago to celebrate the Halloween season, I looked at all things Haunted Mansion including looking at one of the most beloved characters, Madame Leota.
That was in 2016 and two years after that event, Leota would appear in an episode of Once Upon A Time. This was something that I was quite excited about. I mean, they even included Leota in the title card. So, that was a nice touch.
However, her usage in this episode was a little disappointing. It’s not that it was bad but considering the iconography of the Mansion, this episode felt a bit underdeveloped. Okay, so the story is Robyn, daughter of the Wicked Witch and Robin Hood is tricked into going with Mother Gothel to use as fodder to kill and bring Leota back to life.
There are some nice touches such as all of this taking place at Memento Mori, which is the name of the Haunted Mansion gift shop at The Magic Kingdom. Which has been described as belonging to Leota when she was part of the living. It is interesting to see a gift shop referenced and also consider that when this episode aired, the gift shop was only four years old.
So, that is fun and there is event a bit of the classic seance in the episode.
Although, it does sound a bit different from what she says on the ride.
But I think it still works and Leota is one of the best parts of the episode, even though she feels rather underused. Another aspect that references the ride is Leota attacking Hook and Zelena aka the Wicked Witch and using the Ghost Host’s line.
Of course, there’s always my… way
So, that’s fun and I did like seeing her again but as much as I hate to admit it, the movie did more with Leota whereas OUAT felt like, hey “this’d be cool” and didn’t do much more than that.
The thing of it is, this tease is so annoying because if this hadn’t been in the show’s final season, I feel like the show could have done a lot with the 999 Haunts of the Mansion. I mean the show dabbled into horror before with stuff like Doctor Frankenstein and Jekyll/Hyde in the earlier seasons and that stuff was great including a heartbreaking twist amongst the latter.
I think that is part of where my disappointment comes from in that, while it’s nice seeing Leota and getting a taste of the Mansion, I wish that it wasn’t just a taste and also well that Leota had a bit more to do in this episode. It’s also equally annoying that Leota is only in this one episode and never referenced again.
Overall, this isn’t a bad episode and it was nice to see the show include something from the theme parks as I never thought that’d happen but it’s kind of a mixed bag there. The episode is on Disney+ if you which to check it out but I will let you know that it is technically part two a two-parter and Leota is only in the flashback segments.