Once Upon a Time (2011–2018)
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The Guardian 

After discovering the Dark One dagger has been stolen, Weaver sets out to get it back; Margot takes Tilly on a date; Desperate to reunite with Belle, Rumple pays Alice a visit.


Geofrey Hildrew


Edward Kitsis (created by), Adam Horowitz (created by) | 5 more credits »




Episode complete credited cast:
Lana Parrilla ... Regina Mills / Roni
Colin O'Donoghue ... Captain Killian 'Hook' Jones / Rogers
Andrew J. West ... Henry Mills
Dania Ramirez ... Jacinda Vidrio
Alison Fernandez ... Lucy Vidrio (credit only)
Mekia Cox ... Princess Tiana / Sabine (credit only)
Robert Carlyle ... Rumpelstiltskin / Mr. Gold / Weaver
Daniel Francis ... Dr. Facilier / Baron Samdi
Nathan Parsons ... Nick Branson / Jack / Hansel
Jeff Pierre ... Naveen / Drew
Rose Reynolds ... Alice / Tilly
Tiera Skovbye ... Robin / Margot
Bruce Blain ... Desk Sergeant


Following Nick's passing, Weaver discovers the Dark One's Dagger has been taken and embarks to get it back, regardless of whether it implies double-crossing Roni's trust. In the interim, Margot takes Tilly out on the town, yet their opportunity together takes a sudden bend. In a flashback, Rumple, edgy to be brought together with Belle, pays Alice a visit. Written by Mike Johnson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The title card / theme used in this episode is of Mexico's Day of the Dead, also taken from Disney's Coco (2017). See more »


Alice: What do you think, Mr. Rabbit? Do you like my bracelet? Robin gave it to me, and I don't plan to ever take it off.
See more »

User Reviews

The lukewarm guardian
5 October 2020 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Despite loving Regina and Rumpelstiltskin, always high points regardless of how everything else in the episode fared, and liking Alice very much (one of the better characters of this season easily), the last two seasons but especially the last were very problematic. Henry and Jacinda as a couple and Jacinda herself, getting my vote as the show's worst ever character, never did anything for me, and Samdi/Facilier was not much better. Convolution, erratic pacing and trying to do too much were also common problems.

That can all be seen in "The Guardian". Not one of the season's or show's worst episodes but also not one of the best, more one of the difficult to make of episodes. "Hyperion Heights", "A Taste of the Heights" and "Breadcrumbs" being the season's worst and the best being "Beauty", "Is This Henry Mills" and "Leaving Storybrooke". Some great things here but also the usual suspect flaws seen throughout Season 7, even the best episodes weren't exempt from them.

Will start with what works in "The Guardian". The production values are still fine, especially the photography, and the music and memorable main theme likewise. The past/fairytale flashbacks sections fare much better than any of those happening in the present in Hyperion Heights, they weren't perfect but the tension and emotion were there (which was not the case with the present day scenes). It did help that it did focus primarily on Alice and Rumpelstiltskin, Alice being a likeable character and one of the season's bright spots and Rumpelstiltskin being one of the main reasons as to why 'Once Upon a Time' was still stuck with when it declined.

Both are interesting characters and bring degrees of freshness in an episode and season overall that lacked that in general. Regina's role was also effective, as was the sincere chemistry between her and Rumpelstiltskin. Rumpelstiltskin's jab at her regarding Samdi was one of his best lines in a while. At least Facilier's character and story advance here and his motives made clearer. Have nothing to fault the performances of Lana Parrilla, Rose Reynolds and Robert Carlyle, the best performance coming from Carlyle.

A lot lets "The Guardian" down though and almost all the flaws are again general problems with the season. There is too much going on in the Hyperion Heights scenes, too much of the episode feels rushed through from cramming too much in and jumpy with not much developed. Meaning that the present day storytelling felt convoluted and actually outside of two or three revelations/major events in terms of turning points and such there is not much here. So there is a tediousness at times as well.

Henry and Jacinda's subplot is focused on too much and it is as soap-operatic and painfully derivative of existing romantic plot lines as they come. Also serving little point compared to everything else going on and would have fared better belonging in another episode on its own, but preferably more compellingly, with more subtlety and with characters that aren't one-dimensional or get on your nerves. The dialogue mostly lacks nuance.

Overall, not bad but left me lukewarm. 5/10

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Release Date:

20 April 2018 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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