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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.

ABC Screenshot
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.

ABC screenshot
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!

ABC, Screencap
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.

ABC Screenshot
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, et.al.” 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. http://thewaltdisneycompany.com/about-disney/disney-history/1960-01-01–1969-12-31

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

ABC, Screencap

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.

ABC, Screencap
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.

ABC, Screencap
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.

ABC, Screencap
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.

ABC, Screencap
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.

ABC, Screencap
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, et.al.” March 23, 2015. Television. March 24, 2015.

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

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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, et.al.” March 8, 2015. Television. March 9,2015.

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