The final season of Once Upon A Time had a villain problem. Not counting side villains such as Dr. Facilier and The Candy Killer, so many villains seemingly acted as the main villain throughout the season.
The show led you to believe Lady Tremaine was going to be the season’s main villain (and I’ll have a lot to say about her in the final entry of this series). Then you thought it was going to be Drizella and it was for a while until she left in the fifteenth episode of the season. And then you were led to think it was Mother Gothel but she was killed right before the series finale and we were left with an alternate universe version of Rumpelstiltskin. The show decided to fall back on a villain for the final that fans had been tired of seeing as a villain at this point.
The biggest problem with the final season story-wise is that it was attempting to be a reboot season and mirror the arc of the first season with a child convincing their cursed parent that they are related to fairy tale characters and true love’s kiss will break the curse. There are a few problems with this by the time of season 7, Once had shifted into doing an A and a B arc. Which were easier to break down, for example, in season 3, 3A was the Neverland arc whilst 3B was the Oz arc.
And seeing as most seasons of OUAT consisted of 22 episodes, that was eleven episodes per arc which made those arcs flow better and feel tighter. But season seven decided to dabble into doing a full season arc which I repeat hadn’t truly been done since the first season. Another factor that hurt the show’s final season is the loss of so many main actors, such as you lost Jennifer Morrison (Emma), Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White), David/Charming (Josh Dallas), and Belle (Emilie de Ravin). Losing Emma was the biggest blow as she was the main character for six seasons and the person the audience was tuned to care about the most. And top of that, the show decided to move out of its central location of Storybrooke to a new neighborhood in Seattle known as Hyperion Heights. It’s no wonder that so many fans didn’t even bother with the final season and considered season six the true final season as so many people we cared about are no longer on the show. Also, the season six finale had a perfect ending shot and it’s called The Final Battle for goodness sake.
All the characters we care about sitting at a table having dinner after vanquishing the ultimate evil would be a perfect note to end on as we get to watch them have a quiet moment and know that they’ll be okay but nope, there was one more unneeded season on the way. I know I’ve spent a lot of time harping on this and haven’t gotten to the subject of today’s blog yet but I had to get this out of my system. So, let’s start our look at OUAT’s take on Drizella.
Kane is no stranger to genre shows as she was in Power Rangers: RPM as she played Tenaya in that show and would appear in MTV’s Teen Wolf as Cora Hale.
I’ve only seen bits and pieces of RPM so I don’t remember much of Kane on that show and while I am watching Teen Wolf for the first time, I do not believe I’ve made it to Cora’s introduction yet as I’m still on season one. With Once Upon A Time, being one of my favorite TV shows, this is where I am most familiar with seeing Kane and I believe she does an admirable job playing Drizella.
As I mentioned in the blog about the original Lady Tremaine, Once does not present things in a chronological manner as we first see Drizella in the Land Without Magic under her cursed name, Ivy, and learn that she works for her mother as an assistant.
While Ivy is her cursed name, I’m just going to stick to calling her Drizella as A. it’s easier instead of going back-and-forth between two names and B. she was one of the few people that was awake during the curse and she knew the truth of what was happening. When we first see Drizella in our realm, the show is still leading the audience to believe that Lady Tremaine is going to be the main antagonist of the season. I believe the first time we chronologically see Drizella is at the beginning of the episode, Sisterhood where we see her playing a game of hide-and-seek with her sister, Anatasia.
Seeing these two sisters at a young age is crucial to understanding who Drizella would become as when Anatasia was still alive, these two sisters were very close and loved one another. Yes, I posted that correctly as Anatasia did end up dying and that caused Drizella to become resentful of her sister as their mother cared so much more about her dead daughter and finding a way to bring her back to life instead of caring for her still living daughter.
This is something that will be important to understand as I move forward looking at Drizella, she felt that her mother didn’t love her and that’d lead her to look for other mother figures, and oh boy, did she find one of the worst in Mother Gothel.
This is something I’ll discuss in the next segment but Drizella running to someone that she thinks would look out for her the way her mother never did is one of her biggest flaws.
As mentioned as a young child, Drizella was a happy child and cared for her family. This is seen in a flashback on her birthday when she thanks her stepmother (Cinderella’s mother) as Lady Tremaine looks on with a hint of jealousy.
Over time and after the death of her sister, Drizella would be consumed by anger and resentment and it only makes sense when your mother refers to you as a stupid girl. With Lady Tremaine being so focused on her dead daughter and ignoring Drizella, it reminds me of the song “Superboy and The Invisible Girl” from Next to Normal.
Son of Steel and Daughter of AirHe’s a hero, a lover, a prince She’s not thereEverything a kid oughtta beHe’s immortal, forever alive Then there’s me
All of this led Drizella down the path she chose.
While these tragic events played a part in Drizella becoming the person she did, she made the choice even if many factors pushed her toward evil. Another factor is that Drizella is a witch and her mother wanted her to suppress her magic as Lady Tremaine viewed magic as the easy way out and we see this when she kills Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother in the first episode of the season.
So to say that Drizella didn’t have an easy life is an understatement and as I mentioned she looked for mother figures that would care for her but she would turn on them, we saw this with Regina who offered to train Drizella in how to use her magic and with Gothel who manipulated Drizella for her own gain.
As we will see as I go on with this blog, Drizella is a rather complicated young woman that has been burned by life and the people that should have loved her and she decided to lash out as she was tired.
Drizella’s motivation is also formed by how her mother treated her. She wants to make her mother suffer. This is seen in the episodes “Pretty in Blue” and “One Little Tear” when Drizella sets up her mother to be arrested.
She set her mother up here as Lady Tremaine had been keeping Gothel locked in a tower much the same way Gothel did to her all those years ago. Her cursed counterpart is the subject of a missing person case and her being found does lead to Tremaine’s arrest but again, this was all a setup by Drizella and Gothel.
While Drizella may have believed she succeeded at first, she was being manipulated by Gothel this whole time and her mother finally came around as she was dying from Gothel draining the life from her and acknowledging that she should have been for the daughter she still had.
This moment is huge as Drizella needed the confirmation that her mother loved her and this led Drizella down a new path. And this sets Drizella down a new path of wanting to find and protect her sister as a way of finishing what her mother started even if she tricks her sister at first to get to this point.
This in many ways shows how Drizella is still the broken little girl from when her sister died and how she is living again, she wants to make amends but she doesn’t know how to go about it in the best way. The rash thinking here does make sense as she was attacked by the Candy Killer in this episode who is going around and killing witches.
And knowing that her sister also has magic, she fears the Killer will come after Anatasia next and also fears how Gothel would use her sister. So, she wants to return them to their realm so they can be safe.
Most Evil Deed
Going back to how this season is meant to mirror the first season, Drizella’s evilest deed is presented as casting a curse that erases the memories of the people that were attempting to stop her and bringing them to Hyperion Heights aka a Land Without Magic. However, there are a couple of caveats with her curse, the first being that she didn’t cast it and instead forced Regina to cast it as if Regina didn’t Drizella was going to kill her son, Henry.
By casting this curse, she separated this family which included Henry, his daughter Lucy and his wife Ella. Yep, Henry is married to Drizella’s stepsister. Which makes the fact that she flirts with him while he’s under the curse and she’s awake very awkward. Beyond casting the curse, she put in another wrinkle that meant even if the curse was broken, they’d still lose. You see most curses in OUAT are broken by true love’s kiss and Drizella knew this and that’s why she put in a backup.
If the curse is ever broken by true love’s kiss, Henry Mills will die
Putting all of this into the curse speaks to at the time when Drizella went about doing this, she was angry at the world and this was her way of lashing out. And the thing is, she got the idea to cast the curse from Regina who was trying to warn her not to go down this path as Regina was the show’s first villain aka The Evil Queen and cast a curse to get revenge on Snow White but over the previous six seasons had grown and learned that the curse was a mistake. Now if only the show had learned the same lesson as this was the fifth curse in seven seasons of the show’s run. Just saying, it got a little old after the third curse.
We learn that Drizella has come to regret the curse and wants to protect her sister. This goes south at first as Gothel tries to poison Antasia and have her take all of Drizella’s magic in a duel. This is after Dr. Facilier warns of what her future could hold with his tarot cards.
Instead of letting Gothel manipulate them further, the sisters reconnect and tell that sisterhood is stronger after they embrace in a hug and then return to their realm to keep Anatasia safe.
Is Drizella A Good Villain?
I think Drizella is a good villain that got stuck in a bad season of Once Upon a Time. Her motives make sense and make her very sympathetic yet at the same time, it’s hard to overlook how so much of her arc feels like a retread of what we had already seen in previous seasons of the show. I believe that even though Drizella has a lot of repetitive traits from other villains, she is still a good villain but I don’t think I’d list her among the show’s best. Join me next time as I close out this event by looking at her mother…