- As per the episode title and the predicted “whole episode devoted to each Queen of Darkness” plan, we see the backstory of Ursula, which involves Captain Hook and Ursula’s father, Poseidon.
- In Storybrooke, the hunt for the Author gets juicier with the return of August.
In the best sense of the words, this is starting to feel a lot like season one. There is enough variety happening within the characters to keep things fresh, but not too much to seem confusing. No certain characters or movie group are given a gargantuan spotlight over the others, and every week we delve into a different one of these. Think about it. That’s very season one-esque, isn’t it? I’m not complaining, though. We’re also seeing a trend in returning faces, with new ones every episode. Two weeks ago, it was Gepetto and Pinocchio, last week Aurora and August, and this week Ariel (!) and Robin Hood.
And let’s just pause to assess what we’re seeing in one of this episode’s opening scenes: The Beast, the Evil Queen, Cruella, Maleficent, and Ursula are interrogating Pinocchio. Think about the animated counterpart of this and I think you’ll smile. Anyway, the villains are having a grand ‘ole time in their cabin getaway (which is totally inconspicuous with its “No Tresspassing!” sign and the de Vil car parked out front). Maleficent is mostly a bystander this time around, but her one-liner (“You having trouble sleeping? I can give you something for that.”) makes it worth it.
As the focus of the episode, Ursula and Hook take us back to a part of the Enchanted Forest timeline we haven’t visited in a while, and thus are a little fuzzy on at first. It took a minute for me to catch myself up to speed. It’s sometime after Rumplestiltskin has already killed Milah but long before Snow White enters the picture. It’s certainly fun to see Ariel again, though given the contents of this week’s story, I doubt we will see further Little Mermaid coverage anytime soon. This version of the tale, mostly explained in the season three episode Ariel and given some more beef here, is very different from the 1989 Disney film. It’s unknown how Triton works into things, the animal characters are absent (though Once typically isn’t big on the animal sidekicks… no Olaf, remember?), and, if I’m remembering things correctly, Ariel might not even be a princess (before hooking up with Eric, of course, which was another drastically changed circumstance). There’s a lot of back-pedal explaining about where Ariel has been since we saw her last, including Elsa accidentally trapping her inside a bottle, and way too much frivolous use of portals. I mean, come on. Two portals in one night? Where were you two seasons ago when we needed you, ocean people?
Ursula’s character is a 180-degree transformation from Pat Carroll’s animated performance. More mellow and not nearly as eccentric, I have a hunch the writers might regret having done that whole Regina-as-Ursula thing because now that prevents them from using THAT version of Ursula as the REAL Ursula for this multi-episode arc. Most curious of all is that it seems Ariel had no real interaction with Ursula. It was Regina impersonating Ursula who encountered Ariel in season three. If this is the only Little Mermaid action we’ll get this year, I’m disappointed. I really want to watch the movie now, so good job, synergy worker bees.
On the other end of the spectrum, the hunt for the author is riveting and exciting. Every time more clues abound, I’m kept on the edge of my seat. The show is doing a great job at building that suspense (which will likely carry into the finale) while also revealing enough clues to make us satisfied with each week’s findings.
- The What-The-Heck Moment: I mean, sure, why wouldn’t Regina message a flying smoke swirl of her soul to enter Snow White’s body to speak on her behalf?
- The Magic Moment: The small touches of The Little Mermaid were nice additions to Ursula’s backstory. Her younger self sings “Fathoms Below” twice, and the voice capsule is the same melody (ah-ah-AHHHH, ah-ah-AHHHH) as in the film. More small music inclusions like that from other movies would be fantastic.
- The Whoa Moment: They’re teasing us hard with these author clues. He’s trapped in the book? Whaaaat does that mean?
- Were you happy with Ursula’s backstory? Is there anything else you’d like to know about her?
- Would you want to see more Little Mermaid on the show, or is a different story more underrepresented?
- On a scale of Mother Gothel to Polar Express hobo, how creepy is woodified August?
- While the villains are enjoying their resort stay at Disney’s Fort Wilderness, do you think they’ll take advantage of the ferry boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom?
- Am I the only one flabbergasted by Will Scarlet’s presence? Why is he on this show??
- The “good guy” villains (namely Regina and Hook) fear reverting back to their old, evil selves. Do you think they’ll be able to stand firm, or will they give in?
- Do you hope Regina’s happy ending is with Robin Hood?
It’s that time… sound off below!
Edited by: Kelly Conley