While it was no secret that Disney’s most amphibious princess was going to be front and center this week on Once Upon A Time (the episode bears her name after all), I don’t think many of us would have thought that we would be thrust into the middle of the story that we all know by heart. Or that we would be off and running so quickly. However we all had to have known that there would be changes to the mythology we had grown accustomed to… it IS Once Upon A Time after all and twists are the name of the game.
This week a lot of secrets were spilled too as Snow’s somewhat annoying oft-repeated message dominated thematically. Everything came out and we are now going to be dealing with the consequences of so much being brought to light, as well as the recent reversions to treachery on the part of an excitingly scary reprise of two of the most dastardly villains working together.
Flashback: Ariel Redux Edition!
We opened very quickly with yet another scene from what appears to be an infinite number of days between when Snow went on the run from Regina and when she is fed the poison apple. I mean seriously, they could just always have an episode where Snow runs into new characters that are just waiting to be introduced into the mythology of the show. But I digress. Snow is on the run and ends up in a situation Henry found himself in for the season premiere: running through the woods has led straight to a cliff. Instead of giving herself up she jumps, which means she was ready to die before ever letting Regina have the satisfaction of capturing her alive?
Ariel (who has a thing for saving people it would seem) rescues her and brings her to shore and the two hit it off right away. I mean immediately. I am starting to think that Snow is just one big hippie at this point in her life, just traveling where the wind blows and meeting new folks along the way…like a fairytale Alexander Supertramp.
Ariel fills us in on a lot of stuff we wouldn’t know because we have yet to really encounter merfolk, aside from seeing them VERY VERY angry. I guess Eric, who is the prince of a kingdom (I’m assuming the one that Hook was in service to), holds a ball once a year where mermaids can walk on land -in the name of the mythical Ursula- and are invited (we just don’t know our mermaid mythology). Since Ariel saved him from his shipwreck, she has wanted to talk to him and be a part…..well you know. Snow, who is all about honesty then and now, encourages her to go and tell him. They get her a dress that looks a lot like something you would see a female (or male if they so choose) wearing as Ariel on Halloween, and are off to the ball.
There, we meet Eric and have probably the saddest diversion from the source tale: it’s not a dinglehopper anymore, it’s a trident. Actually a salad trident. Anyway Snow really is pushy with the giving advice to relative strangers. I mean she just met her and is running her life. She gets Ariel to approach Eric and he recognizes her from the near-death experience and his dreams and makes some comments about how he can do whatever he wants due to being better than everyone and they dance… pretty steadily on her new legs in my opinion. He tells her that he is leaving to jet set as all privileged young people inevitably do and invites her along (again with the fast-moving friendships). She can’t commit, because of the whole “no-legs thing” and he leaves the invite open by telling her where to meet him and when.
Snow insists Ariel meets him and tells him the truth about her being a mermaid, but Ariel needs to step outside and think things over. That’s where she meets Ursula. Well it’s Regina pretending be Ursula. Her advice is to not tell Eric. She offers her a deal that would give her legs while providing Snow with a fish tail, the escape from Regina that Snow has been wanting, warning however that magic always comes with….well you know. Ariel springs it on Snow (both the plan and a bracelet that makes her a mermaid) and Regina makes her presence known. She mocks Ariel (loved her line about there being “no second chances” which is clearly a reaction to her encounter with Tink) and is all set to leave with a captive Snow when Ariel returns with her dinglehopper and stabs The Evil Queen, letting her and Snow swim off. Snow forgives her though and tells her one last time to go to him which Ariel does. While he waits just a little bit longer (is he implying that women are always late? That does seem like something he would say right?), Ariel swims up and ……her voice is gone. In a twist that incorporates the original movie Ariel has paid for her deal with Regina with her ability to speak. Regina appears after Eric leaves and relishes that Eric left without even knowing that Ariel truly wanted to be with him. Which is exactly the type of cruel torture that Regina wanted to inflict on anyone who would help her nemesis.
In Neverland, people can’t help but tell the truth. Hook immediately tells the Charmings that Pan told him of Nealfire’s return to Neverland which keeps the ball rolling on the “Hook is actually an honorable bloke” plotline. After squabbling over whether this info is true and whether they should tell Emma (who has been going through a lot emotionally since landing in Neverland), Snow just blurts it out. Honesty is the best policy, remember?
They then make the decision to find him which leads the group to Echo Cave, a place where they will be forced to reveal their deepest, darkest secrets in order to break the magic holding Bae captive. Hook and company acknowledge that by giving up their secrets to save Neal they give Pan the fodder he desires in order to manipulate them in the way he does so well, but that they need him to read his childhood star-map so they can get off the island after saving Henry.
And so the secrets spill forth like blood from a sacrificial lamb (Whoa. That might have been a little dark?). Some are obvious: David WAS dying and never told anyone but now can never leave Neverland due to the magic water that Hook brought him to. Hook kissed Emma, which was no secret to the viewers, but he admits that he had never thought he would find a kiss like his deceased love Milah’s which he found in Emma’s. Snow wants a baby, which is going to be a lot harder with Charming stuck on the Island….errr Neverland. Emma’s secret is the one that sets Bae free, but it is not the nicest one. She had been wishing that Bae wasn’t alive and that the Echo Cave was just a trick by Peter Pan because she couldn’t go through the pain of love and losing again. With that Bae is free and the group sets out to find Tinkerbell so they can get the ball rolling on #SAVINGHENRY and getting the heck out of Dodge…or Neverland.
Unfortunately absent from the The Echo Cave confessional (how fun would that have been), Blue Blazer breaks off from the group out of frustration with nothing getting done and comes across Rumplestiltskin talking to his Vision-of-Belle. Regina sees through the ruse and exposes that the vision is nothing more than the smoke monster…errrr… I mean Pan’s Shadow. Rumple gets her up to date on his anguished decision to kill pan and in turn, die like he had prepared himself to do. Regina comments about him selfishly changing his mind (Evil Recognizes Evil) and they agree that Pan deserves a “fate worse than death” and hatch a plan to cross realms and retrieve an item from Gold’s shop that would ensure such a fate. In order to do so they need someone who can get there, so Regina calls upon Ariel, whose voice she restores. It seems that we are going back to Storybrooke!
- I am thinking Pan is going to be forced to grow up, maybe being brought to our world?
- Any chance that Nealfire in the cage is actually Shadow Pan?
- Regina and Rumple together is good. Very good. Like Reese’s good. Anybody shipping that? There is probably a hashtag for that I’m assuming?
- A little step-grandma/step-kid bonding when Regina is helping Emma practice magic. Lets hope that Emma doesn’t go dark. What am I saying…..she is totallllly going dark.
- I don’t think Ursula is going to be as bad as she was in the film.