14 September 2020 | TheLittleSongbird
The chosen one
"Chosen's" main interest point was that it was the directing debut of Lana Parrilla, yes our very own Regina. And that it was Zelena-centric, and she is one of my favourite 'Once Upon a Time' characters. Despite Season 7 on the most part being a disappointment, part of me is very fond of 'Once Upon a Time' and there are a lot of great episodes, namely in Seasons 1-5 (though the Underworld arc of the second half of Season 5 had flaws).
Although it is still not a great episode and not a 'Once Upon a Time' high point by any stretch, "Chosen" is nonetheless one of Season 7's better episodes and one of the few of the season to show a significant amount of story progression. Also a significant improvement over the disappointing previous episode "Breadcrumbs". There is finally some much needed advancing of the Candy Killer storyline, beyond a last minute revelation revealing the perpetrator's true identity, and the motive/significance of the killings are revealed.
Some dodgy, less than wondrous effects aside, "Chosen" is still shot with a good deal of atmosphere and is attractively designed. The music fits the atmosphere well enough and Parrilla does a more than competent and even good job directing. Rebecca Mader and Robert Carlyle in particular give fine performances, as does Parrilla, Mader especially pulling out all the stops. It was good to see the mystery progressing and in a way that intrigued and had some tension later on, while the flashbacks did well in establishing the origins of the killer and their motives.
The chemistry between Zelena and Regina is both tense and heartfelt, especially apparent in their emotional final scene. Emotion felt too between Zelena and Margot, their final scene being one of the most poignant moments of the season (Zelena and Regina's likewise). Weaver has another one of the season's shining moments, the line regarding her being finally chosen over Regina is his greatest line in a long time and a contender for the best line of Season 7. Their chemistry is a breath of fresh air. The dialogue is not as campy or as cheesy as most episodes of the last two seasons, and there are moments of levity and pathos.
Henry however is very bland and "Chosen" is another case of the season and show not knowing what to do with him other than being a stereotypical accessory. Although Nick/Hansel comes on a lot characterisation-wise, the chemistry between him and Henry still falls flat because the tension isn't there and their character relationship never really developed.
Samdi/Facilier always struck me as a bit annoying and his motivations always could have done with more clarity, everything with the curse also feels dragged out and Gothel's role serves little point to the story other than a bit of foreshadowing.
On the whole, pretty good for this season. 6.5/10