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Once Upon a Time Recap: 4×19 “Sympathy for the De Vil”

This week’s Once Upon a Time offering was heavy on Cruella De Vil backstory. While it cleared up many questions regarding how Cruella came to possess magic enough to be included in the show, it also raised several about how time works in different realms. We’re left with some unanswered questions regarding how and “when” the Author can travel. I say “questions.” I actually mean continuity issues.

In standard Disney style, we find via flashback that Cruella is most likely the product of the ministrations of an evil mother or stepmother. Now that her father is gone, she’s threatened and locked in an attic room at a young age. 

Cut to present day where Cruella is enjoying the freedoms of driving along Storybrooke’s winding backroads. She nearly runs down Maleficent, who has come to confront Cruella about her daughter, Lily. Apparently Cruella lied to Mal about Lily not surviving her journey to this world. Without apology, Cruella explains that she herself is a really terrible person and she left the baby in the woods to die. And in a really sociopathic moment she explains that she and Ursula took the egg along with them, but not the baby, and the egg’s magic helped them stay young.

Maleficent changes into her six story tall dragon form, full of fire and brimstone. But Cruella breathes something green towards her.

Trip Advisor says: Try the garlic white at Granny’s!

Cruella says she’s often underestimated and now that the Author is here today is the day she gets hers. Then she tells the dragon to lie down and take a nap, which it does. Cruella drives off leaving the dragon snoozing in the road.

Cue the title card with dozens of dalmatians!

Wait up, guys! This tree smells like pee!

Mary Margaret, David, Emma, and Killian return to the Charming’s apartment. Emma demands her parents try harder to remember something about the Author that could help in finding him. They insist that they’ve told her all they know and Mary Margaret says she realizes that Emma is still upset. Emma says they’ve always championed the heroic way to do things. David insists that what they did to Mal’s child was the only option to ensure Emma came out “good.” Mary Margaret says that Emma’s disdain for their choice is proof that what they did was worth it.

Regina enters and says she’s got to go rescue Robin Hood (PS, who we don’t see all episode so don’t get your hopes up). She explains how she called the number Emma gave her, but that Marian isn’t herself. She’s really Zelena. Regina admits that she doesn’t know how it’s possible that her sister has been masquerading around as Marian this entire time. Regina adds that Gold’s been in on it with Zelena for a while, so she needs to go to New York and rescue Robin immediately. Killian reminds her Gold’s not going to let her go easily, but Regina assures that she knows how to handle him.

Regina appears at the pawn shop and startles Belle.

“Ok, seriously, why do I even have a door with a bell on it if people are just going to magic their way in here?”
“Ok, seriously, why do I even have a door with a bell on it if people are just going to magic their way in here?”

Regina states that Belle’s ex-husband has “done quite a number” on her late, and Belle asks how she can help. This is a totally useless scene in my opinion, only serving to remind a newer viewer that Belle and Gold were once married. Regina doesn’t really need to ask Belle for help with what she’s planning.

Meanwhile Gold is ushering the Author into his cabin. Reminder, this takes place within about a half hour of the beginning of the previous episode’s opening when Gold magicked the Author out of the forest before Emma and company could find him.

The Author, who mentions by-the-way his name is Isaac (but who will henceforth be referred to as “the Author” out of tradition), goes on about how Gold’s cabin makes him feel like Hemingway or Thoreau, and Gold asks if he always talks this much. The Author admits only when he’s nervous, then reminds Gold he still has his quill, which is worthless without ink. Gold assures him he’s planning on obtaining some very soon, but the Author scoffs. Without going into much needed detail, Gold says once he turns the Savior dark, “everything he needs will fall into place.”

 The Author notes that Gold’s associates have a penchant for fur and perfume, and he ever so creepily sniffs at Cruella’s stole left on the hook on the back of the door.

"What do you expect? I've been trapped in a book for 30 years!"
“What do you expect? I’ve been trapped in a book for 30 years!”

Gold gets distracted as though he’s heard the ice cream truck, then tells the Author something’s come up and to stay put until he returns. *poof!* Purple smoke!

In the forest, Belle is summoning Rumpelstiltskin over the Wishing Well, which has the power to return something that has been lost. Gold, looking hopeful but nervous, immediately appears and Belle reminds him what he told her on their wedding day, how she chased all the darkness out of him. She asks for the truth for once in her life. She inquires as to why he’s in Storybrooke and if it’s to win her back. But he says it’s more complicated than that and pulls out his own heart from his chest.

It’s actually just HAL 9000 from a Space Odyssey. 

It’s completely black except for one small glowing red spot. He explains that centuries of dark deeds have left their toll on his soul, and once the last flicker goes out he will be left unable to love ever again, though he will not die. This is why he’s back in Storybrooke. To use use the Author to fix his story to save whatever good there is left in him. Belle says she understands and Gold looks hopeful. Perhaps, she wonders, she threw out the chipped cup too soon? They kiss and all is right with the world.

Until Belle says that Will’s a better kisser. Also that Gold is pathetic, like a dog begging for scraps. What’s left of Gold’s heart totally breaks as she tears into him. He says this isn’t like her, but Regina, carrying Belle’s heart and controlling her every move, appears. She dismisses Belle with an order to forget everything that’s happened in the forest. Gold assures Regina that he will make her suffer for this. But Regina is like, “Nah, bro, I got your woman’s heart, so you’re gonna do what I say or Imma squish it!” Gold acquiesces as Regina gives it a little squeeze. Regina informs him that she’s going to New York, and if he breathes a word of warning to Zelena he won’t be the only one who loses a heart.

Back at the cabin, Cruella arrives. She makes it abundantly clear that she and the Author have a history, calling him by name. She demands that he give back what she took, but the Author simply says he can’t, sorry. He reminds her that even with all her magic, she doesn’t have enough power to hurt him. Cruella talks about how he’ll pay for making her what she is, but the Author realizes that Rumpelstiltskin has no idea they know each other, so Cruella must have lied to Rumple. If that’s the case, she’d better leave before he gets back.

Finally we see a grown up Cruella in her attic room, surrounded by modern magazines, listening to some dance music on the radio.

“Oh, Johnny Fever, you’re so groovy!”

Her mother storms in and yanks the radio away, saying she stole it from her. Cruella begs to be let out of the house, but the dogs start barking and her mother tells her to stay quiet as she goes to answer the door.

The Author is at the door and introduces himself as a newspaper man looking for interesting stories. Though Mrs. De Vil rebuffs him, his charm gets him in. He asks about her dog training abilities, which he’s heard sound like magic. His attention turns to the portraits hanging in the sitting room. After some unintentionally insensitive comments about her having three husbands, Mrs. De Vil yanks his notebook away from him, accuses him of never being in love himself, and throws the notebook and the Author out of her house, suggesting that he write his own story instead of leeching off other people’s pain.

“It’s not the longest game of ‘Guess Who?’ ever built, but after the cotillion season I plan on expanding it into the drawing room.”

Leaning out her attic window, Cruella entices the Author with her story. But if he wants to hear it, she says, he’ll have to get her out of the attic first.

Back in Storybrooke, Henry runs into Pongo outside of his house. Pongo runs off and Henry follows him to an ally. Cruella rolls up and tells Henry to get in the car.

In her attic, Cruella opens her window to find the key on the sill. She sneaks out to find the Author in the garden. He tells her he has his ways of getting things done. She asks to go somewhere loud to tell her story as she’s been in the attic for years, never being allowed visitors. The Author shows Cruella his car, the signature black and white coup present day Cruella owns.

In a roaring ‘20s dance and gin hall, the Author treats Cruella to a drink (an apparently a new dress). Cruella tells him her mother doesn’t let her out because she’s afraid Cruella will tell people her dark secret, that she killed all her husbands. Cruella’s favorite song comes on, and she gets the Author to dance with her, saying “Tonight, let’s live!”

Regina is packing a stylish bag into her trunk when Emma arrives and questions if she’s sure she ought to go to New York alone. She worries this whole thing is a trap, but Regina says she has no choice. Emma is concerned that Regina won’t have magic, so she gives her her own gun for protection, saying that she hopes she won’t have to use it.

“I know you have no training, or a permit, but have fun transporting this over a couple of state lines. “

Both the women’s phones alert them to a video message from Henry. He shows them that Cruella has him hostage until they kill the Author. Regina and Emma share a look only co-mothers could share.

Gold returns to the cabin and confronts the Author about his reunion with Cruella. It seems that their past dealings with each other isn’t just relevant but essential to Gold’s plans. Cruella is so desperate to destroy the Author that she’s kidnapped the Savior’s son. Gold says he’s observed this through his crystal ball, which I don’t think we’ve seen once this season, if at all ever. That is …. SO convenient.

The Author thinks that Gold will have the Savior kill him to turn her dark, but Gold says he wouldn’t risk a new author who couldn’t be manipulated so easily taking this one’s place. Gold demands to know why Cruella is trying to kill him. The Author pulls out something he wrote about her. Gold reads it then smirks with understanding.

Back on the Holodeck at the club, the sun is up and Cruella and the Author are still dancing.

I feel like Picard and Guinan should be dancing in the background.

Cruella wishes the night would never end, and the Author says he might have a way to make that happen. He sits her down and shows her his quill and ink, then explains how he travels across realms of storytelling. He asks Cruella what year it is, but she can’t answer. He goes on to talk about how they currently aren’t in a time, but a realm of story, and that there are many. The pen and ink are magical and they can help him change stories. To prove it, he writes something with the pen and ink and a diamond necklace and earrings appear on Cruella. He says he can make it so her mother’s dogs can’t hurt her, and writes “Cruella is able to control the actions of any and all animals she desires.” Immediately Cruella feels the magic working. Thought the Author wants to leave with her tonight for another land, Cruella insists that she confront her mother first, and needs to do it alone. He gives her the keys to his car, saying that it’s hers now. She kisses a cocktail napkin and leaves her lip prints for him as a token until she returns.

In the Charming’s apartment, they, Emma, Killian, and Regina plot how they will rescue Henry.

“Ok, this is Operation Rescue Henry #17. Please consult your notes. We’ll be using the standard format. I’ll use some dark magic; Emma, you stop me for my own good and reason with the enemy; Charmings, you stand by and do nothing because Emma needs to believe in herself and do this on her own; Killian, have some positive affirmations ready for after Emma succeeds. Also, draw fire.”

David narrows down their location to near the Toll Bridge. While Regina says she don’t mind making Cruella suffer, Emma is concerned about going in guns a-blazing and hurting Henry. David suggests a locator spell done on the Author’s flask might work, and Emma tells them to get on that and prepares to leave. Mary Margaret says she knows that Emma’s still mad at them, but to stop avoiding them. Emma counters that with Henry’s life on the line, she needs to be with people she trusts, and she simply doesn’t trust them.

On their way to the Toll Bridge. Regina, dressed in a lighter, totally-not-evil beige, tries to talk some sense into Emma, who is starting to look more disheveled as the toll of her parents’ lies wear on her. Killian appeals to her compassion and ability to see past his and Regina’s darkness. But Emma explains that the difference is he and Regina aren’t hypocrites and were always honest about who they were. But Killian reminds her that even heroes still make mistakes. Regina tells Emma her mother has been trying to make up for her sins for a very long time, but Emma is only focused on saving Henry.

Out in the forest Cruella is distracted and Henry escapes. Cruella sends Pongo after him.

In the past the Author answers his hotel room door thinking it will be Cruella. But her mother and dogs are there, all snarling. Mrs. De Vil demands to know why they were together. The Author confronts her about killing her husbands, but her mother reveals how Cruella, “A troubled little girl,” killed all three of her husbands, poisoning them with her favorite trumpet flower. She warns that Cruella takes the things you care about and destroys them. She leaves in tears and the Author tries to explain away everything she’s said. But once he realizes his magical quill is missing, he realizes he may have been wrong about everything.

Upon returning home, Mrs. De Vil encounters Cruella, who turns her own dogs against her.

Out in the Storybrooke woods, Henry is being chased by Pongo. Emma, Regina, and Killian all hear his calling from three different directions so they split up. Gold has enchanted conch shells to call out Henry’s voice, and he watches from behind a tree. The real Henry is encounters a cliff, then is grabbed by a gun-toting Cruella. Emma arrives, but Cruella holds the gun on Henry.

Back in her attic, Cruella is furiously sewing when the Author arrives. Cruella stands up and pulls on the coat she’s been sewing to reveal a Dalmatian fur coat.

Once again, Disney takes evil to a whole new level.

The Author struggles with Cruella over the quill. The ink goes flying, magically encircling Cruella and dying her hair with a trademark black streak. The Author is horrified but continues to write. As Cruella pulls a gun on him, she’s devastated to find she physically can’t fire the gun.

The Charmings burst into the cabin and confront the Author. He says he never wanted to hurt Emma, only protect the world from Cruella. He couldn’t see the end to this story, he insists. When pressed by Mary Margaret, he says this story ends with the Savior turning dark. He shows David the last thing he ever wrote about Cruella, which is that she can no longer take away the life of another. He says Henry is in no danger. But Emma doesn’t know this. Gold wants her to kill a defenseless person to turn her dark.

Cruella, who is holding her gun on Henry though she knows she can’t use it, berates Emma for not killing the Author for her. Emma demands she let Henry go as she raises her hands to use magic. Though Cruella says she’s bluffing, Emma reminds her that’s her son. Cruella says heroes don’t kill, but is cut off as Emma knocks her off the cliff. The spell over Pongo breaks. Although she’s saved her son, Emma has taken a life.

“Can people please stop kidnapping my son?!?!


What do you think of the magic of the egg keeping Cruella and Ursula young?

If Regina was speaking Belle’s every word, how did she know about the tea cup?

Do you think Emma is evil now, or just really tired?


All screen captures are property of ABC.

ABC. “Images,” April 12, 2015. Television. April 13, 2015.

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Once Upon a Time Recap: 4×18 “Heart of Gold”

Emma, followed by David and Mary Margaret, runs through Storybrooke in search of the Author, who Emma’s parents admit they knew back in the day, and who misled them down the path which led to losing Maleficent’s baby. Emma puts what her parents did in pretty harsh but accurate terms when she points out that she’s only the Savior because they altered her very being at the expense of someone else’s soul. Not wanting to hear David’s reasons, Emma refocuses the hunt on the Author, hoping to find him before Gold does.

Of course, the Author, who is trying to fashion a magic quill out of non-magic trees, pretty much runs right into Gold a moment later. The search party, which now includes Killian, is closing in on the Author, and Gold offers him an escape. But not before the Author tells Gold he’s the biggest pain in the ass he’s ever had to write about. Gold laughs it off and shows the Author a real enchanted quill, stating that the price for his help is a whole bunch of new happy endings for him and his friends. The Author agrees, and they disappear in a cloud of evil purple smoke just as Emma and company come upon the scene.

Cue the title card featuring, for some reason, Oz.
Cue the title card featuring, unfortunately, Oz.

Regina wakes up in her vault, her hands bound, her magic negated, with Gold standing over her. Regina reminds Gold of what he promised about trying to get her her Happy Ending, but Gold says the affection he has for her has its limits. Ouch. Gold then taunts her with the phone number for Robin that Emma provided Regina last episode. After Regina freaks out over the idea of something having happened to Robin, Gold surprises her by magicking away the restraints and handing her the number and a cell phone with the instruction, “Call.”

The subsequent flashback takes us to nine weeks ago as Marian, Roland, and Robin are crossing the barrier out of town. We see them some days later, clad in modern clothes, trying to navigate the heart of New York City. They’ve been given a map and keys to Neal’s old apartment and are optimistic that they can live in the new world together for many years. As Marian leans down to pick up Roland, she leaves her bag on the ground. A purse snatcher takes advantage of this, grabs it, and bolts. Robin, realizing all their money and keys are in the bag, runs after him. The thief jacks a bike and takes off. Robin unhitches a horse from a hansom cab and does his best Rick Grimes impression as he gives chase through the streets and into a park. Robin jumps off his horse and tackles the thief, who looks genuinely more surprised that he got scolded than chased by a dude on a horse.

So much for keeping a low profile. At least there aren't any Walkers. YET.
So much for keeping a low profile. At least there aren’t any Walkers. YET.

Back in Sherwood Forest, Robin is pouring drinks at an inn as Marian waits tables.

She brings home her pay, for love, for looooove....
She brings home her pay, for love, for looooove….

Robin gets annoyed when Little John shows up, promising a fresh score as Midas’s carriage is passing by tomorrow, and rumor has it it’s totally under-guarded. Robin chastises Little John, saying he hasn’t lifted a penny since he and Marian got married, and he’s adamant to keep his new life. As if on cue the Sheriff of Rottingham Nottingham busts in and scoffs at pretty much everything and everyone. Helping himself to a pint, he informs Robin that his taxes are overdue.

Robin states that he needs time, and the Sheriff, totally nice guy that he is, gives him two days to come up with it. Not one to leave the “or else” implied, he threatens to shutter the tavern, throw Robin in debtor’s prison, and then comfort Marian.

Well, now, that’s the perfect excuse to maybe hear Little John out.

I need to point out that overconfident villains are hilarious. Here’s an exact quote. “Well, [Marian,] when you are on the street, and your husband is in jail, perhaps you’ll see my appeal.” I’m sorry, did you just say, “When you have literally nothing else to live for and you have zero standards left, you’re totally gonna give me a call”? Because you just self-burned, Sheriff.

It sounded smoother when I said it in my head.
“It sounded smoother when I said it in my head.”

The Locksleys, who have found Neal’s apartment, are licking their wounds and regrouping. Marian worries that this whole situation is her fault, that had she not returned with Emma and Hook, Robin would be with the woman he really loves. Robin tries to comfort her, but they are interrupted by someone coming in the door. With kitchen knife in hand, Robin prepares to defend his family. Suddenly Gold appears and is obviously surprised to find them there. I guess Regina didn’t ask Gold for a set of keys when she put together the care package.

Gold is livid that they are trespassing in his son’s apartment, but Robin stands firm and says it’s their home now. Gold says he has business to attend to, the business of his happiness. Robin surmises that Gold is looking for the Author, whom Regina told him about. Gold says that if Robin keeps him from his business, he’ll be denying Regina a chance at her Happy Ending too. And then, for like no reason, Gold has chest pains and collapses.

I dunno, maybe we can just drag him into the hall. This is New York, after all.
“I dunno, maybe we can just drag him into the hall. This is New York, after all.”

Back in the tavern, Robin welcomes a lone hooded customer who turns out to be Rumpelstiltskin, ready to make a deal with the best thief in the land. Though Robin insists he’s not interested, Rumple thinks the tax notice on his door might make him feel otherwise. Holding up a bundle of straw, he offers to solve all Robin’s problems in exchange for traveling to Oz, breaking into someone’s vault, and stealing the Elixir of the Wounded Heart. Robin remarks that’s a ridiculously self-explanatory name, but Rumple assures that’s it powerful stuff, able to cure a heart of emotional and physical wounds.

Back in NYC, Robin sits in a hospital waiting room pondering his cell phone and the call button under Regina’s picture. Robin visits Gold in his room, and Gold says the doctor’s said it was a heart attack. But he knows better. All the dark deeds he’s done have taken their toll on him. And while he’s always used magic to protect himself, being exiled to a world without magic may very well kill him. Robin basically says “oh, well.” But Gold reminds Robin of the Elixir he asked Robin to steal and can point him to it. When Robin resists, Gold uses Robin’s penchant for honor against him.

In Oz, Robin has landed, quite literally, on a guard who was apprehending Will Scarlet the Knave of Hearts, who is grateful for the assist. The men make friends and Robin explains his situation and mission. The Knave, deducing this plot involves a woman, says he’ll help in exchange for some of the potion. Robin agrees, and together they strip the guard of his uniform.

In NYC, Robin stands outside of “The Wizard of Oak,” which Robin quips to Gold in a cell phone call is really uncreative. The Wizard was sent by Zelena to keep an eye on Emma, and he’s probably well-protected by potions and charms. Unfortunately Robin finds that the shop is protected by an alarm system. As he ransacks the place for the Elixir, he finds a drawer decorated in Emerald City style. Inside he finds the Elixir and high-tails it out of the back window as the police arrive.

In Neal’s apartment Marian and Robin fight quietly during dinner about Robin risking his safety and their well-being by following Gold’s orders. Robin insists that his priority is his family, but that it’s against his code to not assist someone in need. Marian suggests considering the greater good and letting Gold just die. Robin says just because everything else has changed, that doesn’t mean he has.

In Oz, a disguised Robin enters the Great Hall of Oz and proceeds to fill up some vials with the Elixir. He pockets a 6-pronged ….thingie.

Well, what would YOU call it?
Well, what would YOU call it?

And as he begins the second vial, Zelena, the Wicked Witch, arrives and confronts him. He makes the mistake of speaking to Zelena, something her guards never do. In an effort to escape, he grabs a nearby bow and arrow from a display. But Zelena laughs at him and creates doppelgangers of herself. She knows there’s only one person bold enough to steal from her, and she demands to know why Rumpelstiltskin has sent him. Seizing his chance to create a diversion, Robin lets the arrow fly, hits a pillar full of green water, and fills the hall with smoke.

Robin escapes Oz, returns to the Knave and, lying, apologizes for not procuring any of the Elixir. The Knave looks crestfallen and walks away, but Robin pulls out the vial he salvaged.

In NYC, Robin stands in Gold’s room with the Elixir, tells them they’re even, and the apartment is theirs now. Gold gives in, and Robin leaves with their dealings done. Gold takes the Elixir but realizes it’s not working. A smug Marian enters with the real vial of Elixir. To Gold’s horror she pulls out a pendant with one of the tokens from the 6-pronged ….thingie…. which Robin stole back in Oz. As it glows, her glamour fades and she reveals herself to be…….!

Oh, hell naw.
Oh, hell naw.

Apparently that bauble is part of a 6-leaf clover of Oz, and it survived inter-realm travel.

Zelena proceeds to narrate a painfully convoluted explanation of why she’s not Marian. Please believe me when I say bullet points are the only way.

  • Gold insists he killed her to avenge Neal
  • Zelena admits he tried, but when he stabbed her in the jail cell, she didn’t die
  • Her lifeforce “simply” fled her body before her body shattered
  • Zelena returned to the hex mark in the barn (where Elsa emerged) and opened up a portal to the Enchanted Forest…. because reasons
  • Emma and Hook went to investigate the portal and were pulled into the past
  • Zelena followed them as they tried to right history and …apparently stayed invisible the whole time
  • Zelena learned that Emma has rescued Marian and was planning on bringing her back to Storybrooke to save her life
  • “Inspiration struck” and Zelena, now for some reason capable of corporeal form, killed Marian, put her essence into the clover token, and took her form
  • Emma and Hook brought Zelena-as-Marian back to Storybrooke where Zelena took great pleasure in coming between Robin and Regina

Gold is overwhelmed with the heartache of knowing he did not avenge his son’s death and flat lines. As the crash team piles into the room, Zelena feigns concern while hiding a smile.

This is like that time the writers of X-Men  made Xorn Magneto because they absolutely did not know how to finish that story line.

No, it's not.
No, it’s not.

Gold wakes up intubated with Zelena talking some creepy line about “the magic of this world” as she fingers his breathing tubes menacingly. She gives it a little tug and goes on about her clever plan to make Robin really fall in love with her and crush Regina. But something is standing in her way, like fate or true love. But if Zelena could find the Author, then perhaps her Happy Ending would come quicker with more certainty. And of course Gold will help her find the Author in exchange for the Elixir, a life for a life.

Robin and the Knave part ways in Oz. The Knave tells Robin he’s sorry he will lose his tavern and that he’s let down his wife because Robin is an honorable man and deserved better. Robin, who is keeping the Elixir from the Knave, is uncomfortable. The Knave tells Robin about his sister who believed in him, but died. Robin realizes the Knave wanted the Elixir for himself to mend his own heart. They embrace and wish each other luck. After Robin leaves, the Knave finds that Robin has put a half vial in his belt.

In NYC, Robin meets Gold outside the hospital with a box of Neal’s stuff. But Gold turns it down because those items belonged to Neal, not Bae, and they symbolize his own failings as a father to be with his son in this world to start over. He talks about how he only wanted happiness but couldn’t recognize it when he did have it.

Robin admits that he thought Marian would be his Happy Ending, but now he’s not so sure. In a display of theatrical irony, Gold gives Robin the most accidently-on-purpose cryptic love advice ever, then walks off.

STEP ONE. Cut a hole in that box.
STEP ONE. Cut a hole in that box.

The Sheriff returns to confront Robin at the tavern, and when he moves to pull out some shackles, the Merry Men surround them with weapons pointed at the Sheriff and his men. Robin says he realizes that stealing is selfish, unless you do it for others.

Later in Sherwood Forest, Little John is distributing the money they lifted off of the Sheriff to the poor. Robin and Marian talk about how the Sheriff will surely kill Robin the first chance he gets, and the Dark One will do the same. But Robin has the token off the 6-leaf clover of Oz which will transform him into whomever he wants to be to hide from his enemies. And just in case that doesn’t work, he’s also changing his name to Robin Hood.

Robin admits he’s not a barkeep; he’s a thief. Marian might as well say “duh” as she agrees. She also tells him that she wants to be with him, wherever they go.

In Neal’s apartment, Marian/Zelena discovers Regina’s number is still in Robin’s phone. She confronts him asking who he wants to be with. He insists he wants to be with her and deletes Regina’s number from his phone.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate that he saved Granny's take out?
Can we just take a moment to appreciate that he saved Granny’s take out?

He then tells her what Marian said to him years ago, that he wants to be with her, wherever they are. As he kisses her, the camera pans to the mirror where Zelena’s reflection smiles wickedly.

Finally, 9 weeks later, where we left Regina and Gold in her vault, the other end of the cell phone rings and is answered. Regina practically shouts “Robin!” excitedly, but the woman’s voice says no. “Marian?” Regina asks. “Not exactly,” the woman replies. As she fingers the token on her necklace, Marian turns back into Zelena and Regina is horrified as she hears, “Hello, sis.” Some corny soap opera dialogue passes between them, and Zelena gets to the heart of matter which is that she’s Robin’s wife now. Regina is disgusted with Gold who knew this whole time Robin was in danger of Zelena. Gold says they all have an understanding now, and that Regina is vital to his plan to turn the Savior evil. Regina says she let Gold turn her evil and insists that she won’t let Gold do the same to Emma. So Gold asks if she’s made her choice: the Savior over her love?

The face I make when I realize I’m watching the most complicated show on TV right now.



What are your thoughts on this latest episode?

Are you as confused as I am?

What do you think of the Zelena-is-actually-Marian reveal? 


All screen captures are property of ABC.

ABC. “Images,” April 12, 2015. Television. April 13, 2015.

[Austen, Chuck. (w), Philip Tan (p), and Avalon Studios (i).] “The Draco, Pt. 2.” Uncanny X-Men #430 (October 2003), [Marvel Comics].

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Once Upon a Time Recap: 4×17 “Best Laid Plans”

Two warnings before I begin the recap of last night’s Once Upon a Time. Firstly, this is the only time in 4 seasons when I’ve watched an episode and thought “What the heck just happened? Where are they going with this??” in a slightly negative way. Don’t get me wrong! This wasn’t a bad episode. It just left me emotionally drained and confused at the end. This has led to my “secondly,” which is that today’s recap will be a little different than the previous ones as there will be some editorializing because, in the immortal words of tumblr looking at kittens, “I can’t even.”

So in one of the most painful cold openings of OUAT history we find Charming and Snow plying a unicorn with an apple so they can touch its horn and gain a vision of their child’s future. Charming sees hearts and stars and finds Emma in a basket Martha Stewart decorated. Meanwhile over in Snow’s vision quest, she’s getting her heart ripped out by a sinister teenaged Emma. Charming hurries to reassure Snow, but his wife is convinced their daughter is evil. No speculation that seeing the future out of context might cause a few jarring visions. Nope. Evil.

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Cue the title card with the Unicorn… Who we never see again this hour.

Picking up where Emma, Regina, Henry, and August left off last episode in the apartment, Regina and Emma argue over the plausibility of the Author being trapped inside the Book. August is getting worse, so they take him to see Mother Superior. She warns that he’s been changed by magic too many times. Regina reminds Emma they have a bigger problem and they step outside to discuss how Regina can complete her mission and not blow her cover. Emma magics a forgery of the page with the Door on it, much to Henry’s surprise and Regina’s skepticism. They argue about Gold being able to tell it’s a fake until Regina takes a picture with her cellphone. Since Gold doesn’t know the page is really the actual Door, maybe this will keep him searching and buy time.

Emma returns home to find Killian and her parents looking somber. He explains what Ursula told him before she left: Gold and the Witches plan to turn Emma dark to eliminate the Savior from the game, probably using the Author to do it. Emma scoffs saying she’s simply not going dark, but Killian warns her that the darkness likes to creep up in you. Emma very ironically insists that no one, NO ONE, MOM AND DAD CAN YOU HEAR ME? NO ONE – gets to decide who she is. As Emma hugs Killian, Mary Margaret have a stage whispered conversation RIGHT BEHIND HER about how they totally did something to affect her fate, and they have to do something without Emma finding out the truth. Mary Margaret leaves quickly and in no way suspiciously, and David follows. P.S. Henry was within about 2 feet of them the whole time, and never once did his nosey kid ears perk up and go, “Wait, WHAT? What did you do to my mom?”

Regina, armed with the photo of the Door, returns to Gold’s cabin where he is waiting with Cruella and Maleficent. Regina says the Book is under a protection spell and was interrupted by Emma before she could retrieve it. “But here’s a photo which I somehow managed to get despite the protection spell that I couldn’t break,” she should have said. Cruella mocks her amateur photography skills stating that the glare obstructs a clear view of the Door. Gold recognizes the glare as magic sealing the Door. Regina realizes she just made it super easier for Gold to figure out what and where the Door is. I couldn’t tell you why Regina didn’t check the photo after taking it. Chalk it up to being from a land of horse drawn carriages and pixie dust. And probably cholera.

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If you play back the scene at top volume, you can actually hear the $#!+ hitting the fan.

Killian inquires as to August’s health, obviously letting his insecurities show a little. Emma says he’s not good, but reassures Killian that there’s nothing to be jealous of and tries to explain her relationship with August. Emma gives a popular fan theory a nod as she mentions Lily, her first and best friend whom she pushed away forever. Before they can discuss the matter any further, a telltale purple wave engulfs the town, putting Killian and Emma to sleep.

As they leave the unicorn, Charming and Snow run into a totally not suspicious peddler whose cart is stuck in the mud. After being given a bottle of brandy to warm him up, the pedler warns them that Maleficent is terrorizing the Western kingdoms. I don’t know how to really say this, so I just will: Maleficent… laid an egg.

That’s a real thing I just wrote.

The cave where she made a nest is conveniently marked by scorched earth and other dragonny things. The peddler suggests they go East through the Infinite Forest (which I guess is in another ZIP code than the Enchanted Forest?) If they stay on the path then they will find a cottage with a kind old man who will “help them get where they need to be.” Again, the otherwise smart Charmings don’t bother to ask for any elaboration on such a vague yet cryptic statement. Unweirdly and absolutely not pointedly, the old man at the cottage says he’s been waiting for them and senses they are at a loss over their child. He invites them in for tea with a promise to explain everything. From off in the distance they hear Maleficent roar.

Gold and Maleficent go over her end of the plan, but Maleficent decides to alter their deal as she feels she’s just that valuable to Gold’s quest. Gold listens patiently, probably already knowing what’s coming. Maleficent demands to know what happened to her child after “those two heroes got rid of it,” and once Gold delivers this info, she’ll get the page with the Door, they’ll get their happy endings, and “those heroes will pay!”

David chases an upset Mary Margaret through town. She reminds him that they made a vow to be GOOD, but since Cruella and Ursula showed up, they’ve gone against their vow every step of the way. If they aren’t careful, she warns, they’ll end up helping the Witches and Gold turn Emma dark. They realize then that there are townspeople face down in their sandwiches on Granny’s patio, and inside is no better. They speculate a sleeping curse which they would be immune to since they’d already both been under one. They bolt from the diner worrying about who hasn’t.

Back in the apartment, Maleficent and Cruella do their best Batman villain impressions at they talk about how much they’d like to kill their unconscious Savior who can’t possibly fight back or escape, but never do more than sneer because plot. Also Regina tells them to back off. Gold, tired of looking in the apartment to the page which is obviously not there, suggests they might want to check with “a resourceful young man who is wide awake” thanks to already having been put under a sleeping curse.

I know not everyone likes Henry these days. It’s true, he’s gotten older and lost that puppy charm. He’s been the Wesley Crusher once or thrice, saving the day when all hope seemed lost. But I say this honestly: Bless Henry for knowing what was going on and for being proactive and getting the page to relative safety after Emma and Killian passed out.

Thankfully I had another growth spurt over hiatus and now have the gait of a Manute Bol.
Thankfully I had another growth spurt over hiatus and now have the gait of a Manute Bol.

Regina warns the other Witches to stay away from Henry, that she will retrieve the page. Of course Gold sends the women along after her while Mary Margaret and David look on. Henry calls them from the Sorcerer’s mansion, and his grandparents promise to come help him immediately.

David hesitates as he thinks ahead to what they might face when they get to the mansion. He says that they put a stop to all of this, suggesting that if they destroy the page, Gold couldn’t use the Author to turn Emma dark. Mary Margaret worries that could kill the Author, or trap him for eternity, and Regina wouldn’t get her happy ending. But David says they don’t know any of that for sure and that their priority is to protect Emma. I dunno, but it seems to me this episode has the Charmings believing in a lot of hearsay and hypotheticals. Which is my new band name, by the way.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I dislike Mary Margaret and David this season. Also, WHO IS WATCHING NEAL, OMG!

The Sorcerer says that both outcomes the soon-to-be parents saw are possibilities as everyone is born a blank slate. The potential of good and evil and the gift of free will lets us choose and makes us who we are. Snow, adamant to ensure their child’s goodness, demands options. The Sorcerer offers a way, with a high price Snow immediately approves. As magic cannot be destroyed, it must be transferred and the recipient banished. If Charming and Snow want this so badly, they will have to procure “another blank slate.”

 The Sorcerer leaves to allow the heroes to think it over. Charming insists that they can’t possibly take another life because it’s WRONG, but the eerie music says that Snow’s wheels are turning. “What if it doesn’t have to be a child?” There’s that egg, that Maleficent is sitting on. Besides, she reasons, Maleficent is terrible in all forms; there’s no way she’s going to spawn anything less than a monster!

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Snow is cold. Like, stone cold. Selfishly, bone-chillingly cold.

Henry is hiding in plain sight under a table when he sees a light come from the page with the Door on it. It points to a drawer where he finds an old key. Regina arrives, followed by Maleficent and Cruella issuing threats. Regina and Henry share A LOOK, and Henry hands her a page. The Witches leave.

 Charming and Snow take out Cruella and Ursula who are standing guard outside Maleficent’s maternity cave. Inside Charming kicks a familiar baby rattle on the ground, wondering why there’s a baby rattle in there at all. They spy a nest made of charcoal and a super obvious-if-they-would-just-look-at-it dragon’s tail. Maleficent wakes and Charming passes the egg to Snow before getting creamed against a wall. Snow shouts that if the dragon burns them, the egg burns too. JEEZ SNOW. The dragon turns back into Maleficent, who is mostly obviously the picture of (somewhat evil) motherhood. She’s practically in jammies. She asks the question we’re all thinking, which is “What kind of people ARE you, threatening a child?” Snow scoffs at the child part, insisting it will become a monster. Maleficent actually literally begs Snow to have mercy. Snow’s mercy extends as far as promising to bring the egg back “when they’re done with it.” Again: COLD. As the heroes make their retreat amongst dark magic, Snow steps on and breaks the baby rattle.

If you’re writing an essay about metaphor, this is an acceptable example to use.
If you’re writing an essay about metaphor, this is an acceptable example to use.

Mary Margaret and David arrive at the mansion moments after the Witches leave. Henry explains he found the key, and as he tries to open the Door, David snaps at him that it’s too dangerous. Henry leaves in a huff, and Snow is more wracked with more guilt.

Gold visits a sleeping Belle and talks about how there are changes happening, and he’ll come back for her IF he can. Outside the Witches arrive with the forged page, which Gold identifies immediately. He magics Regina to sleep for her betrayal and tells the Witches to take her to the vault.

The Sorcerer assures that the egg will suffice, then proceeds to magically transfer the potential for evil from Snow’s baby into the egg. During his incantation he mentions “distant shores,” and Charming, the pointer-outter of significant details, wonders what that means. The Sorcerer says that they don’t want the concentrated evil in their world so he’s sending it where it can’t hurt anyone in their realm. Charming and Snow protest NOW because banishing the egg is the worst thing they’ve done today. A portal opens, and at the most inconvenient time a baby arm breaks through the shell. Horrified, the heroes try to get to the egg, but with classic hired thug timing Cruella and Ursula show up and accidently block them. The egg, baby and all, is sucked through the portal. And for, like, no good reason, so are Cruella and Ursula.

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This is what happens when you click “Accept” before reading all the terms and conditions.

When the dust settles, the Sorcerer congratulates them, saying their child is now “pure of intent and heroic of spirit.” But it’s now up to them to “guide it, and keep it in the light.” Which are two contradictory statements IMHO. And now that the deed is done, Snow realizes they’ve made a terrible mistake. Now.

In the mansion, Mary Margaret and David dither over burning the page, worrying about the lies and denying Regina a happy ending if they destroy the Author. Mary Margaret realizes her own heart has had darkness it for a very long time. She then channels Dumbledore as she lectures David about how heroes have to do what’s right, not easy.

Blubber. Nitwit. Oddment. Tweak.
Blubber. Nitwit. Oddment. Tweak.

In the apartment, Emma, full of harsh realization, sits with Killian across from her parents. She realizes that she’s been right, they’ve been lying, and she is obvi crushed. David insists they were just trying to protect her, but she shakingly rises to leave. As Mary Margaret pleads with Emma and reminds her “I’m your mother!” Emma looks back with the same darkness from Snow’s unicorn vision and says plainly, “I don’t’ care.”

When did the sleeping curse wear off? Why is Killian awake?

In the vault, the remaining Witches stand over Regina’s sleeping body and debate on how to dispose of her, but Gold shuts them down. Apparently he knows the thing that will get her to help them without fail.

That awkward moment when you get locked in your own vault. Again.
That awkward moment when you get locked in your own vault. Again.

Pensive Emma is down by the docks when Killian approaches with news of August’s waking. Emma admits  that she wouldn’t have listened to her parents if they had come to tell her the news.

Sneezy helps Snow decorate the nursery with a familiar crystal unicorn mobile sent by Cinderella. She’s overcome with the reminder that her unicorn vision caused them to rip away Maleficent’s baby. Charming uses the “Maybe Maleficent deserved us being terrible people to her and her baby” argument. Well, maybe you lost Emma to another dimension because you guys stole and cursed a baby! *achem* Snow realizes that you stop being a hero when you do the brave thing without doing the kind thing. They can’t fix it, Snow says, but Charming says they need to fix themselves. Snow doubts their redemption, but Charming says he has to believe in grace and being the best people they can by spreading hope and faith. Snow realizes the unicorns will serve as a good reminder.

You can get it from the Disney store, but you have to give up your first born. Or someone else’s. Doesn’t matter.
You can get it from the Disney store, but you have to give up your first born. Or someone else’s. Doesn’t matter.

In a scene that makes me love Maleficent much more than I should, she asks Gold to show her her child’s fate, despite his warnings that such knowledge might feed her pain. She hands him the restored rattle, and he shows her thirty years ago. A familiar father is having his adoption finalized and holding a newborn girl, who he says they will name Lilith, or Lily. Gold says she is in this world, and Maleficent says she must find her.

The scene that made fans feel more vindicated than that time Serenity got made.
The scene that made fans feel more vindicated than that time Serenity got made.

Emma shows up at August’s bedside at the convent. He knows something is obviously wrong. Emma distracts him with the news of the key. Though she hurries to unlock the door, Snow reminds her that freeing the Author is what Gold wanted, but Emma snaps that she’s not worried about it. In a reveal that August really could have gotten around to earlier, we’re told that the Author isn’t just a man, but also a “sacred job,” held by great women and men, from Plato to some guy named Walt.

ABC Screencap
It’s a living.

The Author’s job has been to record, but this last Author manipulated as well. The Sorcerer approaches the Author in the forest and demands back the magic quill he’s using. The Sorcerer asks how the Author could “force him do that to that child?” and the Author casually says “it makes for a better story.” The Sorcerer says the Author has forsaken his holy duty and traps him in the Book as punishment for his transgressions.

Emma, full of determination, uses the key and frees the Author, who David recognizes as the peddler who told them about Maleficent’s egg. Emma says they have a lot of questions, but the Author pulls down the curtains on all of them and flees. Emma gives chase out to the streets of Storybrooke, but there is no sign of the man.

How did I get here? The Convent isn’t on Main Street?
How did I get here? The Convent isn’t on Main Street.


What was the best or worst part of the episode?

What do you think is the harshest cold opening of the series?

When and how do you think we’ll see Lily next? 



All screen captures are property of ABC.

ABC. “Images,” March 29, 2015. Television. March 29, 2015.

The Disney Company. Walt at the Drawing Board. 1966. Photograph. Los Angeles. The Walt Disney Company. Web. March 29, 2015.–1969-12-31

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Once Upon a Time Recap: “Poor Unfortunate Soul” 4×16

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Aboard the Jolly Roger on a cold misty night, Captain Hook and crew are enchanted by the melodic tones of an unseen female voice. Hook is not completely taken over, and through his looking glass he spies the rocks his ship is on a collision course for. After regaining control of his ship, Hook explains to a still-bemused Mr. Smee that the song they heard came from the most dangerous creature in all the seas: a mermaid.

Back in the rocks, Poseidon, King of the Sea, chastises his forlorn daughter, young Ursula, for not continuing her song and allowing the Jolly Rogers to escape. Although the mermaid has learned to sing from her mother and insists that she would not want Ursula to use her gift like this, Poseidon argues that her mother would want Ursula to avenge her death. Although Ursula seems determined not to lump all humans together, Poseidon pulls the typical dad “my ocean, my rules” routine, tells her to pout all she wants, but be home by high tide.

In present time at Gold’s cabin Ursula is standing alone on the deck listening to opera on an old wireless when Cruella pops out to tell her she’s missing all the fun inside.

Gold and Regina are mad doggin’ flesh and blood August inside. Ursula enters full force and threatens a forgetful August with a knife to the throat. Regina magics it away from her before she can do any real damage, to accusations of becoming weak. But Regina suggests that they light a fire under the boy who was made of wood, and August starts remembering.

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Stop saying fish sticks! It’s not funny anymore!

August says back in Hong Kong he had a run in with a mystic called the Dragon, and this person knew about The Author and had been looking for him for years. After the Dragon died, August says he brought the mystic’s research to Storybrooke. Gold says he’s going to check August’s old trailer, and Ursula suggests they carry on with the rest of the plan. Regina is surprised and asks what else they aren’t telling her. Gold scoffs and says she’ll have to do a lot more to earn information, and for now to be content knowing she’s finally chosen the winning side. Annoyed by her lack of progress, Regina settles down by the fire.

Out in the woods, the Charmings, Emma, and Killian discuss Pinocchio’s safety, and Emma laments letting Regina dupe her into losing track of her. They lose the physical tracks they were following, but a large, ominous black and green ball of smoke heads straight for them. It envelopes Mary Margaret and she begins to speak in Regina’s voice.

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They really need to win an Emmy for best sound editing for this scene.

Regina says she must be quick, that August is being held in the cabin. Worse than that, Gold is back, and he’s looking for the Author too. And since Gold won’t tell her the rest of the plan, whatever it is must be really bad. Though David and Emma are startled, Killian seems especially tense. Regina vacates Mary Margaret’s body and Emma says there’s only one person who can help find and destroy Gold now.

At the pawn shop, Belle is shaken by the news of Gold’s return. Emma asks for the dagger to stop the fight before it starts, but Belle says that she gave the dagger to Killian last night. Killian is confused and says that if he had ever laid his hands on the dagger he would have shoved it though Rumplestiltskin’s heart. Emma puts the pieces together and guesses that Gold came back for the dagger disguised as Killian. Emma insists that they can defeat him because they have before. Killian tells them to go on to find August, and that he will uncover the Dark One’s secret. He tells Emma he will befriend the Sea Witch by returning her happy ending, seeing as he’s the one who took it from her.

In the cabin, Regina tries to ask August about the taped together story book page of her and Robin Hood. She’s surprised to find that August knows of Robin, and he tells her that just because Pinocchio doesn’t remember being August, that doesn’t mean August doesn’t remember being the boy. Ursula is suddenly distracted, and she leaves to stretch her tentacles.

Outside and far enough from the cabin to only be heard by Ursula, Killian is blowing into a large conch shell to summon the Sea Witch. Ursula sneaks up on him and wraps him in her tendrils. Killian insists he’s come to offer a deal and that Gold was wrong. He says Ursula doesn’t need to find the Author to get her happy ending because he still has it. If she’ll tell him the rest of Gold’s plan, he’ll gladly turn it over to her.

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This makes me the leader of the island, right?

Young Ursula, complete with legs, is singing a hypnotic tale to a tavern full of pirates. They’re enraptured with her voice. Captain Hook is among them, and he approaches her saying he knows she chose not to sink his ship. He buys her a drink and they share the tales of their woes. Ursula explains how her father wants to use her voice as a weapon against pirates because pirates killed her mother. To escape his control, she broke into his vault and stole a bracelet that allows her to walk on land. Hook tells her that, for just a moment, her voice made him forget over a century’s bloodlust, and he offers to take her to Glowerhaven, her destination, as thanks.

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Bloodthirsty supervillains sometimes hang out at Renfaire.

On the Storybrooke docks, Killian tells Ursula that her treasure is on the Jolly Roger, back in the Enchanted Forest. He asks if Ursula can still open portals underwater. Killian produces a piece of the rigging of the Jolly Roger, “a souvenir,” he says, so Ursula can locate the ship. She dips her tentacle into the water to work her magic, but Killian is disheartened when the ship doesn’t appear, saying her magic didn’t work. Ursula laughs, saying yes it did. In the harbor floats the Jolly Roger inside a glass bottle.

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If they don’t sell these in the gift shop at Disneyland, I will be disappointed.

Back in time, Hook is captured by Poseidon’s guards and brought aboard his own ship. Poseidon tells him he will use a shell he’s enchanted to take away Ursula’s only reason for leaving: her singing voice. Hook scoffs, resolute in his loyalty to Ursula. But Poseidon offers him a way to subdue the Dark One. For Hook’s cooperation he will receive squid ink, one drop of which is enough to paralyze any man, including Rumplestiltskin. Hook contemplates this deal as he stares at the proffered shell.

At the pawn shop, Killian and Ursula ask Will Scarlet for help restoring the now-tiny Jolly Roger. An apprehensive Belle asks how she can be sure this is the real Killian, and he calls her out for asking that question too late.

Will wants to know why he should help, and Killian says that they all want the same thing: to rid themselves of the Dark One for good. The key lies on the ship, which Will points out is a bit small. Killian supposes that the Knave of Hearts has spent enough time in Wonderland to know how to reverse such a thing, and Will assures him he’s got what they need.

Regina wanders through the woods contemplating the taped up page. Robin Hood calls to her from the fog, and an overjoyed Regina runs to him. They kiss, but Regina asks how he could be there. Before he can answer, Regina says they are being watched, and the Evil Queen appears in her regal attire, flinging a fire ball, ordering Regina to get away from Robin.

With a start, the real Regina wakes from this nightmare to the scoffs of Maleficent, who offers her help sleeping. Gold appears stating that he didn’t even bother to check August’s trailer because the man is a born liar. Instead he went to the Fairies and stole a bottle of magic that will return August to his wooden state, which, Gold warns, will be quite painful. As he shoves the potion into August’s mouth, the crackling of flesh turning to wood echos through the cabin. August is literally petrified.

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Where will you be when diarrhea strikes?

Emma and her parents arrive down the path and go on foot to Gold’s cabin. They haven’t heard from Killian yet, and David speculates whether Ursula has turned him. Emma, annoyed that he’s considering that, says that if Gold did to her what he did to Hook, she’d want to shove the Dagger through his heart too. Mary Margaret is shaken by such dark talk from Emma, but Emma assures her that’s not her and that’s not Hook either, but that she understands where Killian is coming from.

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“It’s no one, mom, jeez!” ttyl code9 PLOS

In the cabin, Gold smirks down at August who is now turning painfully back into flesh. Gold says the potion has activated Pinocchio’s built in lie detector. August claims to not know what Gold is talking about, but a wooden nose sprouts from his face. Gold pulls him in front of the fire place and warns that the next lie is going to hurt. Gold asks what he knows about The Author, but August insists he’d told him everything he knows. But the wooden nose grows, and August struggles to avoid the flames. He finally tells Gold that the Sorcerer trapped the Author behind a door, and Gold should know he’s telling the truth because Gold knows the Sorcerer exists. And Regina knows the Door exists because she’s seen August’s papers that Marco gave her. Regina tries to play cool and tells Gold they were just scraps of paper, so Gold suggests that she should have no problem sharing them. August describes the Door, and says that all he knows is that it’s somewhere in Storybrooke. Gold seems sated with this information, but Regina looks crestfallen that the Villains now know where to look. Gold says they will start their search for the Door at the Sorcerer’s mansion, and that Regina will come along since she knows that the Door looks like.

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If you’ve got to get your hands dirty, you should at least enjoy your work.

Killian and Ursula have made their way back to the docks with Will’s Wonderland magic and the bottled ship. Ursula drops the magic liquid on to the bottle, and Killian flings it into the harbor as it begins to glow. With looks of satisfaction, they watch the bottle turn into the full sized Jolly Roger.

Back in time, Hook approaches the young Ursula as they prepare to set sail. He shows her the shell Poseidon left, but swears he won’t use it to take her voice because it’s the last thing she has left of her mother. He may be a pirate, but he has a code, and he promises to never take Ursula’s voice from her. Ursula realizes that means he’s given up the only way to take his revenge, but Hook suggests that the vault where she got her bracelet is also where her father keeps the squid ink. If she were to steal it for him, she says, they could both have what they want.

Killian and Ursula board the ship in the Storybrooke harbor, and he uses the other end of his hook as a key to unlock his safe. Inside is the shell Poseidon gave him to steal Ursula’s voice. He asks for every detail of the Dark One’s plan. Ursula coaxes her voice from the shell, but it doesn’t work. She is furious and tells Killian the deal’s over. He says it’s not his fault that her magic didn’t work and that he upheld his end of the deal. She says villains aren’t meant to get happy endings and turns to leave, but Killian pulls his gun on her, saying the Dark One has taken too much from him already. Ursula knocks the gun out of his hand with a tentacle, knocks him out, and then disposes of him over the side of the ship. But from beneath, Ariel appears and pulls Killian to the surface, saying he can thank her later.

As Killian regains consciousness, Ariel slaps him, telling him that’s for betraying her and tossing Blackbeard overboard before he could tell her where Eric was. She got caught up with the ship, which was trapped in the bottle by Elsa, because Black Beard was using it to terrorize people, including the Kingdom of Arendelle. Reluctantly she thanks him for setting her free and asks why Ursula threw him overboard. He replies that he made a promise he couldn’t deliver, and maybe she was right, that villains don’t get happy endings. Ariel suggests it’s only because villains go about getting them the wrong way.

Back in time, young Ursula presents a grateful Hook with the squid ink. As they are deciding where to head next, Poseidon and his guards appear on deck. Though Hook says the fight is between him and the Sea King, Ursula confronts her father, saying all she has left of her mother is her voice. Poseidon says that all Hook cares about is revenge. He destroys the ink and Hook reaches for his sword. Poseidon mocks him for trying to attack a deity. Hook, a darkness coming over him, says he’s not the only one consumed by vengeance. He uses the shell to steal Ursula’s singing voice, saying Poseidon will never use it to sink another pirate ship. Ursula, betrayed and horrified, tells Hook to keep her voice because humans don’t deserve to hear it. She pulls off the bracelet and returns to the sea. Poseidon demands the shell back, but Hook tells him to leave before he destroys it.

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Noooo, that’s my only ticket out of this town!!

In the cabin, Cruella creepily flirts with August. Emma busts through the door and readies her magic, but Mary Margaret takes a frying pan to Cruella’s head, knocking her out cold. David unties August and Emma helps with magic, much to August’s admiration. He and Emma share a quick but heartfelt reunion, but Ursula barges in, sans Killian. She says Emma’s boyfriend is shark bait and winds a tentacle around Mary Margaret’s neck, warning Emma to back off, or her mother is dead.

An angry young Ursula sits on the rocks with her father as he tries to apologizes. But she feels the loss of her mother so deeply that she won’t hear it. She grabs his trident and says that she’s chosen a side, her own. She says that she was named after a sea goddess of old, and she’s reclaiming that power. She transforms her fins into tentacles and tells her father he no longer has to protect her; now he will fear her.

In the cabin, Emma pleads with Ursula to stop, but she insists that she needs August to help find the Author. Killian appears, alive and well much to Ursula’s annoyance and Emma’s relief. He says that he knows why the shell wouldn’t release her voice. The only one who could undo the magic was the one who enchanted it. Poseidon appears, thanks to Ariel’s assistance. He apologizes to his daughter, saying his heart broke when he heard her sing. He let it fuel his vengeance instead of reminding him of his wife. He returns her voice immediately and Ursula sings the beautiful familiar notes of her mermaid song. Her father turns to leave in shame, but Ursula tells him how much she’s missed him, and he her. They embrace, but Mary Margaret notices Cruella has made her escape, probably to warn Gold of the events.

As the others leave the cabin, Emma remains behind with Killian as she sees he is still brooding. He admits that, even though he gave Ursula everything she wanted, it was very easy to return to his old, dark ways. Emma tries to reassure him, but he reminds her that they’ve never addressed the fact that he was a villain, and villains don’t get happy endings. Killian worries that if the rules of the Book are true, it’s only a matter of time before he loses his happy ending. Emma, whether oblivious or just disbelieving, asks Killian what his happy ending is. With the saddest look EVER, Killian tells Emma SHE is his happy ending.

ABC, Screencap
Then they shared a kiss that caused Tumblr to crash for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile Cruella arrives at the Sorcerer’s mansion to warn Gold, Regina, and Maleficent that the heroes have rescued August. She also knows who the mole is. Though Regina braces for the reveal, Cruella names Ursula. Gold tells Regina to bring them the illustration of The Door.

Killian sees Poseidon and Ursula to the docks, but before she leaves she tells him the rest of Gold’s plan. The Author didn’t give the people of Storybrooke their happy endings; Emma did. As long as there’s the Savior, the Author can’t give the villains what they want. And Gold doesn’t just want to kill Emma. He plans on filling her heart with darkness forever.

Regina returns to the Charming’s apartment and finds Henry watching over a resting August, the Book spread open before them. She approaches Emma and tells her about her dream about Robin. Though she can’t explain it, Regina suspects that the Evil Queen was there to protect Robin, not hurt him. She asks Emma to find a way to contact him.

August wakes and Regina asks him about the page she’s supposed to steal. August says the Door isn’t in the mansion. The Door is on the page, and the Author is trapped inside the book.

ABC, Screencap
Episode 17 will be heavy in Door backstory.


All images are property of ABC.

ABC. “Images,” March 23, 2015. Television. March 24, 2015.

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Once Upon a Time Recap: “Unforgiven” 4×14

It’s 2:38 in the morning. Mary Margaret wakes feeling disconcerted. David is missing and Neil is crying. Mary Margaret is suddenly surrounded by our villainous trio, Cruella, Ursula, Maleficent. Neil appears in Maleficent’s arms and Mary Margaret begs for them not to hurt her family. But Maleficent promises that soon she won’t have a family left to hurt.

Mary Margaret opens her eyes to find it was all a terrible dream. She checks on Neil and finds David wide awake and pensive. He shares his wife’s concerns for Cruella and Ursula’s new-found residency just down the street. David has taken to steadying his nerves with a whisky double and assures a shaky Mary Margaret that it doesn’t matter what Cruella and Ursula know so long as they “kick them the hell out of this town before anyone else learns what they did.”

Screencap, ABC
Cue the ominous title card complete with a familiar looking dragon.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Charming quips to Snow outside their kingdom that he’s surprised his wife is so excited to cut their honeymoon so short, but his wife is all business as she reminds him that the Evil Queen still needs dealing with. They discover Sleepy and a royal guard passed out at the gate. Assuming that the sleeping curse is Regina’s handiwork, they charge into the castle square where they are greeted by Maleficent. She introduces her partners, Cruella and Ursula, then assures them they’re not there to fight.

Over in Storybrooke a tired-looking David and Mary Margaret share concerned glances towards the town’s newest inhabitants over cups of coffee. A very out-of-place Cruella sits at the counter with Ursula and grumbles about the slow service. The enigmatic Will Scarlet—- the Knave of Hearts appears, asks for the usual, and receives two cups of coffee without delay, and without paying it seems. Cruella makes an ominous remark involving adding a wolf coat to her collection.

Regina enters with Henry. Ursula requests “a heart rip” to encourage Granny to move more speedily with the drinks. The two villainesses reminisce about Regina ripping out the hearts of villagers. Aggravated that they would say this in front of Henry, she sends her son to her office to get a start on The Book without her. She tells Cruella and Ursula in no uncertain terms that if they ever bring up her sins in front of her son again they “will find themselves across that town line faster than they can say costume jewelry.” Cruella scoffs and reassures Regina her rocks are blood diamonds, thank you very much, and they flounce out.

David and Mary Margaret approach Regina to deal with their “latest crisis.” Regina assures them the women don’t have much magic and argues that they are there for redemption. Mary Margaret is shocked to hear that Regina believes that. Regina insists that if it wasn’t a possibility she never would have let them in town to begin with. David insists that they should be watched around the clock.

As Cruella and Ursula quit the diner, they encounter Hook and Emma arriving for lunch with her parents. Ursula looks Killian up and down and gives a curt “Hook” in his direction. Emma shows way more surprise than she should that the most famous pirate to tread water in Neverland knows the Sea Queen. Hook admits he’s “encountered many a vile creature in his voyages.”

David runs out of the diner and insists that he and Emma follow the dark duo. Emma, lamenting over the grilled cheese she’s been obsessing over all day, gives Killian a chaste kiss and sighs, “Looks like duty calls.”

Screencap, ABC
*sheriffing intensifies*

Cruella and Ursula enter Gold’s Belle’s shop. They are barely three steps in a piece before Belle promises that if they try anything, they will both “hop out of there as toads.” And she’s got the dusty potion bottle in hand to prove it.

They begin pushing Belle’s buttons about her past with Gold, and then play on her guilt and sadness over her decision to exile Rumple. Belle says she is in no way happy or proud of defeating her estranged husband. While they get some sick satisfaction in baiting her, it all proves to be a distraction. In a move that is creepily reminiscent of a Drawn Together episode, one of Ursula’s tentacles meanders its way around the shop out of Belle’s sight, and snags a small box with Maleficent’s trademark headdress upon it.

Deeeeeeep beneath the town’s library Rumple receives a text from Cruella (Sure, there’s service down there NOW). He whirls some cavern dust around and quietly promises Maleficent her “slumber is nearly over.”

Regina joins Henry in her office and finds him immersed in The Book. Henry asks how Regina is doing because she sure didn’t seem fine back in the diner. Regina admits they remind her of a time she’d like to forget. This encounter has made her doubt that her happy ending is even possible. Regina says the closest she’s ever really been to happy was when she and Robin were together with Henry and Roland.

Henry, in typical kid fashion, gets crumbs all over the book, and Regina sweeps them off. She remarks that some pages feel different than the others, and Henry tells her that they were added by August to help make Emma believe that he was telling the truth about magic. Regina suggests that August must know something about the book since he was able to add to it. Unfortunately August isn’t around anymore, but Pinocchio still is.

Meanwhile an obsessive David and a questioning Emma have staked out the pawnshop. Emma feels David is being evasive with his version of history regarding Cruella and Ursula, but before she can press him further their quarry retreat in Cruella’s de Vil-mobile. Fun fact, you can buy the 1987 Zimmer Golden Spirit Crucru’s car is modeled after for less than a family-friendly mini van. As he gives chase, David tasks Emma with questioning Belle over the de Vilish duo’s motives for visiting the shop.

Back in the castle, Snow and Charming give Maleficent and her squad cautious audience. Maleficent warns the newlyweds that the threat Regina made at their wedding was not an idle one, for Regina has just stolen The Dark Curse from her. Maleficent tells Snow and Charming that deep in the forest there is something the Fairies call The Tree of Wisdom, and it will answer any question asked of it. Unfortunately the tree can only be unlocked “by two of the most valiant heroes.” Maleficent provides a map to the Tree and insists on escorting the heros there, “for all of their safety.” Snow and Charming weigh the pros and cons of such a plan. They agree they have no other choice.

Emma tells David of the missing box. David decides to pull the women over. In the most flagrant disregard of the Fourth Amendment, David searches their car and finds a hidden compartment containing the box. He returns to Emma claiming the car is clean and lets their suspects go much to Emma’s confusion. Emma suggests checking the pawnshop’s security cameras. David agrees, but fends off another of Emma’s suspicions that something else is troubling him. We find that David has palmed the contents of the stolen box: a small orb held in a dragon’s claw.

Screencap, ABC
This totally won’t be relevant later, right?

Later in the apartment, Mary Margaret is horrified to learn that something that meant very much to Maleficent was found in Cruella’s car. Obviously this means that the women are going to try to resurrect their de facto leader. The only thing to be done, they decide, is to remove Maleficent’s remains from under the library and dump them in the harbor. Seems  reasonable.

Picking up in the Enchanted Forest, Snow and Charming try to earn passage over a bridge on the route to the Tree of Wisdom. But the guards refuse to allow the villainous trio to cross. Snow’s indignation subsides as she realizes Maleficent has disappeared. A rushing noise from below the cliffs turns out to be Maleficent in her dragon form, and she blasts the bridge guards with her flames. Snow and Charming, though disgusted and enraged, can do nothing to change what’s transpired and silently follow the villains across the bridge.

Screencap, ABC
Don’t spend too much on the costumes for the guards. We’re only going to need them for one episode.

Emma is hunkered down at the sheriff’s station in front of her computer. Killian joins her and deposits a paper sack from Granny’s on the desk. Finally, the Savior can eat lunch! She explains that she’s checking ATM camera footage in an attempt to see what Cruella and Ursula may have stolen from Gold’s Belle’s shop. As they wait for the video to download, Emma presses Hook about Ursula.

With too-big a smile, Hook plays the acquaintance off stating that she’s just another sea monster among many that he came across during his pirating days. Emma, who knows a non-answer when she hears it, asks what, exactly, does that mean? Killian physically moves away from Emma and simply says he doesn’t recall. Emma remains playful for a moment, but Hook’s tacitness leaves her in stunned silence. Annoyed that someone else seems to be keeping more of the story from her, Emma leans back and probably uses her Powers on him to see if he’s lying, which is super duper obvi is, duh.

Outside David and Mary Margaret load up the truck for what looks like an adventure-about-to-happen, but insist to a suspicious Emma that they are only going for a hike to get their minds off Cruella and Ursula. She shows them the ATM footage and can’t understand why they have lost interest in the thieves.

Screencap, ABC
The new iphone comes bundled with the Big Brother app.

Mary Margaret says she and David have been treating them as villains ever since they stepped foot in Storybrooke. David says backing off is the right thing to do. By now Emma’s B.S. meter is in the red and blaring but she leaves them and returns to the station.

Act II opens with Regina and Henry in the Mayor’s office with Marco and his son, Pinocchio, who is flipping through The Book. Sadly it seems that Pinocchio doesn’t find The Book familiar. Hopefully, Regina thinks, Emma may jog his memory. Emma is initially unsettled by the idea but offers to try. Emma puts on her best Disney princess voice for young Pinocchio, but unfortunately Regina’s patience is running thin. As Pinocchio apologizes for not being able to remember anything, Regina starts to crack and raises her voice in frustration, saying he’s not trying hard enough. In the most awkward scene ever, she asks if his head is still made out of wood, and Marco goes mama bear on her like whoa. He demands she stay away from his boy and leaves an emotional Regina alone to seethe.

We join up with David and Mary Margaret’s “hike” down in the mines as they continue to debate lying to Emma. But David insists that this will all end when they get rid of Maleficent’s ashes.

Back on their real hike, Snow and Charming have ditched the villains and found the Tree of Wisdom. They ask the Tree how to stop the Evil Queen’s curse, but are blown back. As the trio of witches come upon them dusting themselves off, Maleficent speculates that the pair may not be as valiant as they thought.

In present day David and Mary Margaret have found Maleficent’s remains, but are knocked on their backs by Ursula’s tentacle whip, which I think was a Pokemon move, or a horrible smoothie.

Marco is working out his frustrations in his garage workshop when Regina appears. Despite a terrible start, Regina insists that she’s come to apologize. She actually says “I’m sorry” with all sincerity, and this moves Marco to share with her what’s left of everything August brought to town when he was still an adult. Regina leaves with August’s pack, and about 400 XP for receiving this quest item.

The rarely-seen Rumple stands over the unconscious bodies of David and Mary Margaret as Cruella and Ursula look on. The witches tell him Belle suspects nothing and didn’t even mention his name during their encounter in the shop, adding that she’s probably moved on. Rumple leaves Cruella with a silver knife to finish the job, whatever that may be.

At the Tree, Maleficent speculates on why Snow and Charming were rejected. She realizes to her ire that Snow is carrying a child. Why is this a problem? the new parents ask. Maleficent provides a troubling answer: While the child inside Snow is the product of True Love and could grow to be “a powerful hero capable of great good.” But there is also the potential that it could become a villain, “just like us,” she muses. The three leave Snow and Charming to find another way to stop Regina’s Dark Curse.

Screencap, ABC
Sure, the kid might be evil. But look at what a fierce dresser he or she might become!

Cruella wakes up David and Mary Margaret quite rudely by slicing their hands to get their blood on Maleficent’s ashes. The orb was just a ruse to get them down there, to provide the blood of those who wronged Maleficent the worst. The ashes start to whirl and take shape into a sinewy form. To David and Mary Margaret’s horror their fearsome enemy now stands flesh and blood before them.

Maleficent makes it quite clear she doesn’t care about the couple’s secret; she cares about their pain, which she plans to revel in. She and the rest of the Plastics make their exit, leaving David and Mary Margaret devastated and newly determined to tell Emma the truth.

Killian appears in the sheriff’s station at Emma’s request. She knows there’s something that he’s not telling her, but that’s ok. The lying part, though, that’s right out. He agrees, but is still very reluctant to tell what seems like a story that may make Emma think twice about him. But Emma, with the earnest face of someone who really believes in the person she’s looking at, tells Hook there’s a reason she’s choosing to put so much faith in him. She admits that she has a tendency to expect the worst of people, which is why she worried her own parents were lying to her earlier. She chooses to see the best in him, because that’s how her parents live.

David and Mary Margaret, who have witnessed this profession of faith in Hook and in them, interrupt a kiss between their daughter and Hook. Emma doesn’t suspect their audience. Mary Margaret promptly tells Emma that Maleficent has been resurrected.

In our final flashback of the episode, Snow receives a real middle of the night visit from Maleficent. It is here that Maleficent reveals exactly why she knows Snow will unite with her against Regina. They are BOTH expectant mothers! But even now, Snow insists she and Charming will not compromise who they are to stop Regina, and they will find their own way on their own terms. Snow insists she will not become like a villain to do it.

During what Regina calls “a cloak and dagger” meetup in the rain, Mary Margaret informs her that Maleficent is back and that Regina needs to go undercover with the coven to figure out what they’re planning. Regina doubts that the witches will buy her sudden about face.

Mary Margaret looks deep into the past, saying that although she didn’t keep Regina’s secret as a child, now she needs Regina to keep hers. Mary Margaret relates Maleficent’s warning about their child, and despite Regina reminding her that Emma’s the Savior with “magic as light as it gets,” Mary Margaret admits that she and David went to “extraordinary lengths” to make sure that was so.

Mary Margaret, with quavering voice, appeals to Regina as a mother, saying she doesn’t want Emma to know what she and David did for the same reasons Regina doesn’t want Henry to know what she did in the past. The worst thing would be for their children to “lose faith in the people they had become.” To tell Emma the truth may cause her to lose faith in her parents, and “send her tumbling down a dark path.”

This poignant speech overlays Henry discovering in August’s pack a drawing of a door with a post-it note that reads “The Author?” A shocking discovery is made by Rumpelstiltskin as he fondly watches Belle tend to the shop, only to find that’s she keeping time with the errant Knave of Hearts Will Scarlett. And finally, in the most heartbreaking scene of the series, Maleficent reunites the small orb held by a dragon’s foot with the rest of the claw. With a little shake, we see that she is holding a baby’s rattle.

Screencap, ABC
That sound you hear is the tears of a dragon.


All images are property of ABC.
ABC. “Images,” March 8, 2015. Television. March 9,2015.

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