The Dinglehopper

You've Probably Never Heard of Us


1 Comment

References and Shipping in Once Upon a Time “The Broken Kingdom”

The writers revel in Arthurian legend as a matryoshka index. In that spirit, we perform an act of Gonzo Analysis®. And Hook stops just short of screaming, “Now kiss!”

Michael’s “Always… no, no… never… forget to check your references.”

The Wasteland

“The Broken Kingdom” is an allusion to the Fisher King myth, of which Camelot became an example.

The Sword in the Stone

A young Kay, later Sir Kay, later dust in the wind, bullies Arthur and tells him a stable boy will never be king. Which is fairly similar to their classic animated relationship.

The Grateful Dead

Technically, this should have been in the post on 5×01 “Dark Swan,” but I totally missed it. Percival’s arms reference the cover of Steal Your Face. That he died in 5×02 “The Price” is kind of funny uh-oh.

5x04 Percival the Grateful Dead

“Come Sail Away”

Killian: “Come on, love. Let’s sail away.”

Random, right? I can’t even believe I’m linking a Styx video on my blog. But the dialog could scarcely be more aggressive about it. I went looking for an old MST3K clip to articulate my feelings about them, and, um, well…

Mystery Science Theater 3000

This is from 506 “Eegah.” Joel and the bots discuss the slow encroachment of hell into the world.

They mention Styx specifically. Once has already given us Charon, the ferryman 5×02 “The Price,” this season. And I bet we’ve seen enough Hercules to know where this season’s going.

The Secret of NIMH

Violet’s horse is named Nicodemus. This’ll come up again. They’ll make it explicit. I promise.

Brave

The Dark One removes Merida’s heart and releases her from a non-lethal bumper crucifixion so that she can train Rumpel.

Emma: “I need you to make him BRAVE!”

The Fellowship of the Ring

This could probably be referencing a lot of stuff. But the angles and movement heavily suggest Gandalf in the library at Minas Tirith. I get the feeling it’s also a nod to Once trash who do stuff like these blog posts.

5x04 Carmarthen

Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin

Arthur’s translating “The Carmarthen Scroll,” a fictionalization The Black Book of Carmarthen. The oldest surviving Welsh text contains references to Merlin and Arthur. Legend even has it Merlin was born outside Carmarthen.

There were a lot of specific episode references as well.

“The Cricket Game” (2×10)

We fade in on Emma compulsively carving dream cat4x04 Love is a Weaponchers. In season two, they were show to be able to see into people’s memories. Given the title of Sunday’s episode, I reckon this will come back into play.

“The Apprentice” (4×04)

In the first real Rumpelstiltskin scene of the season, we revisit one of the Dark One’s most devious declarations: “Love is a weapon.”

“Heroes and Villains” (4×11)

We learn how Rumpelstiltskin came to possess Merlin’s Gauntlet. It allegedly that leads to someone’s greatest weakness. So far that’s always the Dark One Dagger.

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

King Charming wrecks in the face of Snowing OTP! Hook totally ships Purple Prose!

hookpurpleprose

King Charming / Snowing

Initially it seems like David is so immediately enamored with and loyal to Arthur, he’s willing to betray his own wife. Snow tells him they cannot trust Arthur with the dagger, but David defends Arthur. Mary Margaret calls him on it: “So that’s what this is about. You haven’t met a king in a while. And you’re starstruck.” David gets defensive, but in the next scene, he’s offering the dagger to Arthur (to the general horror of OUAT fans) in direct opposition to Snow’s wishes.

However, Arthur was not accounting for Snowing being OTP (frankly, we had forgotten too). David only plays Arthur’s special chair lad to test his motivations. And when Arthur proves less than pure of heart, David and Mary Margaret are realigned against Arthur. That is until Arthur’s guard frees him and Arthur Avalon-dusts them into submission.

Captain Swan

Killian is like the perfect partner in Camelot. Maybe too perfect…something is going to go terribly wrong no doubt. This is the kind of wonderful sweetness that gets a character killed.

So he starts by not over-reacting when Emma nearly fireballs him when aiming for head-Rumple. He merely tells her to calm down, reassures her it’s just him, and embraces her. Later, when she becomes semi-catatonic, he and Henry take her away from the castle to rest. Henry’s great idea for a resting spot is Violet’s family stables. When he reveals he’s got a girl…friend….Killian nearly grins his eyebrows right off. Finally, he gets Emma to trust him for a galloping horse ride to get her mind off head-Rumple, and it totally works. It ends in a field of pink roses and CS make outs.

Purple Prose (Henry + Violet)

Henry has to reveal his new girl friend to Emma and Killian when he decides Violet’s family stable will be a good resting place for his mom. Emma is both pleased and concerned with the news of Henry’s first crush. Killian, on the other hand, is over-the-top excited. He ships them so hard.

Arthur / Guinevere / Lancelot

This particular love triangle leaves me cold. Child Arthur and Gwen are so saccharinely sweet, I can’t even. Lancelot is terribly nice in planning a birthday party for his neglected queen, and she does kiss him after he nearly dies, but I’m not quite seeing that love as reciprocal. However, once Arthur traps her in the relationship with the Avalon dust (magic Roofies), of course we all want her to be with Lancelot. He at least respects her enough to let her make her own decisions.

But, really, the whole thing just makes me want to throw in with a new ship altogether…

Meridancelot

When Lancelot is thrown in the dungeon, he hears the voice of fellow prisoner Merida. Now that they are both enemies of Arthur, they shall be fast friends. And I’m hoping, perhaps something more.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

References and Shipping in Once Upon a Time “Siege Perilous”

The Perilous Seat is David’s chance at the big kids’ table.  The writers play musical chairs. And Arthur carries a torch for David.

Michael’s “Always… no, no… never… forget to check your references.”

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

We more or less get this scene. Whistling. No lyrics.

And Happy comes close enough to The Fellowship of the Ring for government work.

Bewitched

Emma: “You guys sure you don’t want me to just wiggle my nose and get ‘im oughta that tree?”

Amanita Muscaria

Tonight on Once Upon a Time, King Arthur and Prince Charming go foraging for psychoactive mushrooms so that their wives can, no, no, really, talk to trees. I can’t even.

5x03 Toadstool

Siege Perilous

In Arthurian legend, the Siege Perilous is a vacant seat at the Round Table reserved by Merlin for the knight who would one day be successful in the quest for the Holy Grail. The Siege Perilous is so strictly reserved that it is fatal to anyone else who sits in it. Once is substituting Excalibur.

They demonstrated that by dusting Sir Kay and lampshaded its importance by allowing Percival, the original occupant before Galahad, to die.

Then played some, ahem, musical chairs to place Lancelot in the seat prior to his moral turpitude and left Percival’s seat open as a placeholder.

The Little Mermaid

Zelena does a little ahh-ahh-ahh and comments on her light and feminine voice when Regina releases it. Since Regina posed as Ursula and reenacted the plot in 3×06 “Ariel,” it’s especially amusing.

“The Apprentice” (4×04)

The Dark One dons the first date dress to lull Killian. You know, the date where Hook’s hand was purportedly “evil” and he became a patsy for the Dark One? Sometimes the self-referential stuff is the best.

The Once and Future King

The notion that Arthur needs a two ton table to remind him to be humble comes from this version of the story.

Griflet

Arthur’s squire, Grif, is a canonical character that was one of Arthur’s earliest allies and chief advisors. It’ looking like the more truly pure and loyal a character was, the more likely he will be to die, and die early, in this arc.

Folklore of the Sea

Not really an explicit reference, but black trunks were believed to bring bad luck aboard ships. So when they brought out the reliquary and it was jet black, it was obvious it was shady.

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

Quest, ho! It’s time to declare a new ship: King Charming! And it was the best ship of the episode by far.

King Charming

King Charming

David declares it’s questing time when the womenfolk need a super-magic toadstool to talk to tree-Merlin. Arthur invites himself along, and since he’s king, David allows it. On the way, Arthur literally carries a torch for David. They walkabout in the atmospheric darkness of the forest and share admirations of their wives to cover their clear attraction to each other. Arthur suggests having their women compete with bows and arrows, and when David shoots that idea down, Arthur suggests, “Perhaps there are better ways for me to show off.”

When David is beset by undead water knights, Arthur comes to his aid. Back in Camelot, David is awarded the special tall chair for the knight with the purest heart. Arthur gives that seat to all his knightly lovers–see former seat-holder, Lancelot.

Captain Swan

Oh, Killian, let go of the hate. Nevermind, Emma’s just using you anyway.

So Emma plays with Killian’s heart to get her hands on the cutlass that touched pre-Dark One Rumple’s neck. She plays with audience hearts too by using the set up of their first date. BUT recall that in that episode, Hook had to fight his own darkness in the form of his “evil” reattached hand. So inversion here, though Emma’s using her darkness, not fighting it.

Emma: “I have a question for you for once. Do you love me? If you tell me you don’t love me, I will let you go.”
Hook: “I loved you.”

Yeeeouch.

Of course, that’s Hook’s conflict. He hates the Dark One habitually. He loves Emma…but unconditionally? Apparently not if she’s the Dark One. So the question of the scene and of his inner turmoil is whether the Dark One is still Emma.

But don’t worry. Spoilers for 5×04 have surfaced that are causing the Captain Swan shippers to explode with glee.

Outlaw Queen

Robin not only will throw himself in harm’s way for Regina, he’ll also make her tea. And be lovely and reassuring.

Also, Robin confides in Killian that he’s excited about the baby. But he does NOT want Regina to know that. Hrm.

Rumpbelle

OMG THE ROSE THE ROSE!

Belle, who has been holding vigil via rose, heads into Granny’s for a spot of dinner. While in there, the rose drops all its leaves (ack!) but then magically restores them (WHA?!). Belle hightails it for the pawn shop to hopefully greet an awake Rumple. BUT HE’S GONE! (He’s in Emma’s hands now. They’ll never escape the Dark One.)

Snowing

SnowingHeroDavid is feeling helpless in the fight to save Emma. The women are all about unlocking the magic, but David’s got nothing to swing a sword at. Mary Margaret reassures him as best she can that he’s still her hero. They kiss.

But then we get to see both Prince Charming and Sheriff David parallel quest. In Storybrooke, he finds the mushroom (signalling that Arthur pickpocketed from him) and brings it to Snow and Regina. Snow shows her love and appreciation: “David, you did it.” David’s manhood is reaffirmed.

Swan Queen

Regina continues to devote all her time to saving Emma.

White Queen

Regina (to Snow): “You are occasionally genius!”

 


Leave a comment

References and Shipping in Once Upon a Time “The Price”

It’s Friday! We take a stand on naming two new ships. Trust us, we’re misfits; our names are better.

Michael’s “Always… no, no… never… forget to check your references.” (now with a sound file)

I intended to talk a little more about Merlin and Percival. But time and toddlers truncated the list a little. So I’ll just note that in the legends, Merlin is variously trapped in a cave or in a tree, so this is entirely legit. The tree theme fits Once much better, no matter how obscure it is. Percival seems to be dead, but the next episode title, “Siege Perilous,” refers to the seat at the Round Table left vacant for the person who eventually succeeds on the Grail quest. Percival.

Beetlejuice

Henry calls his mom on the dock. Three times. While it functions as a narrative device to remind old viewers and inform new ones that calling the Dark One by name draws his or her attention to you, it’s also a direct shout out to Michael Keaton’s second best role. Here he spells it out for you.

The Empire Strikes Back

Not I love youso much Star Wars in this episode, especially compared to last week. There are hints of it in Emma’s dress in Camelot. But the real moment recalls the eighties’ best shipper moment in Cloud City’s carbon-freezing chamber.

Kilian: “You look…”

Emma: “I know.”

Sandman

The Erinyes were Greek spirits of vengeance who targeted oathbreakers. Neal Gaiman’s beloved Sandman popularized The Kindly Ones as irresistable collectors of blood debts. Invoking them with the crass “fury,” tends to draw their attention to you, so they’re a good choice for an episode where we’re being reminded about some of the Dark One rules.

OUaT Fury

Bonus – Reboot: It kind of looks like Hexadecimal. Crazy.

Charon

In order to have a fury and retain some dramatic tension – they usually just annihilate their targets – the writers have it deliver Robin to a body of water where we get some more Greek mythology. A hooded figure approaches on a narrow boat. This is Charon, the ferryman of Hades.

Once Upon a Time 5x02 Charon

Does this mean we’ll be seeing Hercules or the Olympians? Probably not. If anything it’s a visual segue into some Gargoyles references. Anyway, is that an ugly duckling in the lower right?

Guardians of the Galaxy

The magic of friendship defeats the baddie, refies Regina’s position as the new Savior, and 100% references the third highest-grossing film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nerds will tell you that other movies used the trope. Cynical hipsters will point out that Buffy and Captain Planet did this all the time. And yet…

OUaT GotG Friendship is Magic

For what it’s worth, Arthur is the last person to to offer his help. That’s not an accident.

Beauty and the Beast

Yes, everyone knows the rose in the bell(e) jar is a reference. But here they’re showing the falling petals. They’re keeping the awkward thing around because they’ll be referencing every important scene with it.

5x02 Rose Petals

Black Swan

While Once is never going to match Aronofsky’s body horror, the narratological similarity is undeniable. Power and transformation represented by an uncontrollabale dermatological condition. Terrifying and yet desired.

5x02 Dermatological Power

“Only You”

Henry’s boon from the Savior is playing Yazoo’s 1999 remix of their 1982 hit. So’s the jukebox at Granny’s. Technically the town was trapped in the eighties for decades, so I guess this is legit. The lyrics seem to have more to do with Emma and Killian, though.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist

I originally thought the whole shared headphones thing with Violet and Henry was an Eleanor & Park reference. You know, because it looks so much like the cover. But it turns out that “Only You” is actually on Norah’s playlist according to Rachel Cohn, so.

5x02 headphones

Fisher King

We talk about the Fisher King here on The Dinglehopper, and we’ll have plenty of opportunities this season. But this episode made it absolutely clear that this version of Excalibur and the Dark One Dagger (cf Wavy Knife) were connected, indeed pieces of the same thing. So we have the Fisher King’s wound imagery covered.

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

The peril! The irony! Evil Charming and Captain Beauty come to the fore! And a brand new ship which we dub Purple Prose!

Captain Beauty (Captain Book? Belle Hooks!)

Belle opens up to Hook about how hard it is to love the Dark One. They share drinks and emotions. Perhaps soon they’ll realize the folly of loving one who cannot love them back and turn to each other for romantic solace.

BelleHooks

Captain Swan

In Camelot, Emma and Hook get their second ball together. This one is no less dramatic than the first, but at least they’re not the ones at the center of the attempted killing action. Instead, we get a nice little exchange between them regarding Emma’s beauty. “Swan, you look…” “I know.”

In Storybrooke, Dark One Emma finally has a house all to herself, but ironically Hook doesn’t want to use that new chance for intimacy if she’s going to be all evil and stuff. Despite previously being fairly evil himself, he’s no longer into that kind of romance. If it ain’t savior-lovin’, he wants none of it. Is there any surprise that true love’s kiss fails if he’s going to be so judgy?

In general, Killian remains deeply focused and concerned about Emma’s darkness. She still wants a relationship with him, but the implications of her attempted seduction are that her interest is mostly shallow and lusty. (I’m kinda okay with that.) But I’m not sure that’s all of it. Her longing look into Granny’s shows her loneliness. Hook may be losing good opportunities to pull her back to him.

Killian, meanwhile, turns to the rum. Belle asks him if he tried to kiss her. “Aye. She didn’t even flinch. It’s not over. I spent over a century trying to kill the Crocodile. I can spend at least that trying to save the woman I love.”

Evil Charming

When Regina doesn’t know how to dance, David steps forward to teach her. It’s an adorable moment between a couple that rarely gets screen time without that harpy of a woman, Mary Margaret. Did you catch her Snowsplaining David’s response to Regina’s first choice of ball gown? That woman needs to get out of his way.

Outlaw Queen

Regina doubts she’ll convince the town she can be the savior. Robin attempts to reassure her. He believes in her. But then a Fury grabs him, and Regina’s doubts must fall away as she is called to act the savior, not just claim the title.

When she discovers she must sacrifice a life to save Robin from the Fury, she hesitates only a moment before putting her own life up in trade. Seems those two just can’t stop trying to sacrifice themselves to save the other from harm. That’s one definition of love for you–though a short lived one.

In the backstory from Camelot, Robin throws himself in front of Percival’s blade when he attacks Regina. Regina asks Emma to save his life when she herself cannot, even though Emma will have to use dark magic to do it. And, of course, all magic has a price.

Purple Prose

Henry gets prodded by Gramps to go talk to the pretty teen princess in Camelot and woos her with his strange magical music box that was a gift from the savior for saving everyone from an alternate reality. Yeah, that’ll impress the chicks. And because she doesn’t know anything about popular music, she doesn’t think it strange that he’s got obscure 20-year-old tunes on said music box.

Also not registering as strange: Granny has the same song on her jukebox. What, did Henry write the playlist? I’m beginning to suspect he doesn’t really need a pen.

Rumpbelle

Rumple is still comatose. Belle shares how hard it is to love the Dark One with Hook. Clearly her feelings for Rumple are strong, not nearly as “over” as she might want to believe.

In Camelot, Leroy buoys Belle’s spirit by pointing out that the rose is half full, not half empty. “Each of those petals is a chance to save him.”

Snowing

David attempts to soothe Mary Margaret’s clear distress over Emma. He assures her they’ll win and get Emma back. But Snow remains pessimistic–“If we win, Emma loses.”

Swan Queen

Regina negotiates her literal control of Emma’s actions in Camelot to awkward, humorous, and touching effects. But, oh, the fanfic possibilities.

More importantly, Emma is willing to use dark magic to save Regina’s happiness in the form of Robin. She’s willing to pay the price for the magic, even as Ghost Rumple explains that’s not how it works.


Leave a comment

Early Observations about “Mother”

Oddly enough, some parenting of our own delayed this post a day. Things are getting more meta by the moment. And just when everyone’s finding happiness on their own, too.

Michael’s “Always… no, no… never… forget to check your references.”

“Mother” (1988)

Inspired by Tipper Gore’s PMRC and their crusade for Parental Advisory labeling, Danzig’s “Mother” is a more or less a challenge to parents who wish to protect their children from the evils of the world. Sound familiar?

Mother
Can you keep them in the dark for life
Can you hide them from the waiting world

Not about to see your light
And if you wanna find hell with me
I can show you what it’s like

Of course there are also a surfeit of mothers on the show: Emma, Regina, Mary Margaret, Zelena, Cora, Maleficent, (the baby club from 4A)…

Exodus 2:1-10

Lily: They sent me through the portal in my eggshell. Baby Moses in his basket.

So last episode I pointed out how the SuperSport with the Sylvia license plate linked Lily and Mal to 2014’s Maleficent. “Rhea Sylvia conceived Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome with the god Mars. She was a minor forest diety, a spirit of the forest, like the movie Mal.” Here the writers drill further down. The legends of Romulus and Remus as well as Moses are examples of the foundling tale, a trope as old as stories themselves. Maleficent‘s Anastasia is another example.

This is apparently the kind of thing writers get up to when allowed. We’ve seen a reference to another foundling, Sigurd, by way of his partner Guðrún’s name emblazoned on the shop next to Gold’s.

“Dark Star” (1968)

4x20 Dark Star Pharmacy

Naming a pharmacy after a song by the psychedelic rock band The Grateful Dead is both goofy and inspired. Placing the sign for it above Lilith Page, Maleficent’s daughter and unwilling recipient of Emma Swan’s potential for darkness with the star shaped birthmark… well, that’s just a cleverness hammer.

Mirror shatters in formless reflections of matter.
Glass hand dissolving to ice petal flowers revolving.

Like Gudrun they might even have seen the callback to 4A. And they named this ship if anyone wants to sail it.

Annie Hall

Maleficent: But all I want to do now is enjoy our time together. I am your mother.
Lily: Well, I’m grown up now. I don’t need grooming advice from Annie Hall.

4x20 Annie Hall

The prodigal daughter is definitely making fun of Mal’s vest and tie, but there’s a good chance that she’s making another lateral analogy. One of the tensions in everybody’s favorite Woody Allen movie is between enjoying the time we have versus neurotically dwelling on the past.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Chief Bromden and Nurse Ratched:

4x20 Chief Bromden and Nurse Ratched

 

Bonus points for working these folks, whom we’ve seen before into Zelena’s cuckoo scheme subplot.

The Lion King

This is probably the closest we’ll ever get, but it’s actually more interestingly constructed than it might appear at first glance.

4x20 The Boy with the Lion Tattoo

Nottingham’s actually trying to get himself a kingship he has no right to and he’s the nemesis of Robin, the guy Regina believes to belong by her side. This little lion is meant to remind the scary sheriff who he is. Remember…

How to Train Your Dragon

This one seems a like a bit of a stretch, but Mal does say dragons have to be trained how to fly. Even so, I might have ignored it if Killian hadn’t mentioned Toothless.

Mr. Gold: Are you sure you want to start the day tangling with the Dark One?
Hook: The Dark One can’t strike back without charring his heart. You’re toothless, old dog.

 

Why didn’t he say crocodile? Because we’re talking about the descriptor, not the animal.

“Operation Mongoose” 4×21,22

Maleficent: Can’t you just wait a little while longer? Things could look different in a week.

Postneometareference to the season finale, where things look very different indeed.

“Pilot” 1×1

But wait, it’s also referencing the first ever episode? It is. Like a mirror. The parent is trying to get the child to stay in Storybrooke for one week rather than the other way around.

Emma: Listen to me, kid. I am not in any book. I’m a real person. And I’m no savior. You were right about one thing, though. I wanted you to have your best chance. But it’s not with me. C’mon, let’s go.
Henry: Please don’t take me back there! Just stay with me for one week, that’s all I ask! One week, and you’ll see I’m not crazy.

“Heroes and Villains” 4×12

Another episode reference comes full circle as Gold’s plans from the beginning of the arc come to fruition, just in time for villains to finally win.

4x20 Heroes and Villains

 

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

Captain Swan

Killian gloats to Gold that Emma didn’t turn dark. Nah-nah-nah-nah-boo-boo!

Emma’s return to Storybrooke means a big ol’ romantic hug for Capt. Hook.

Killian takes Emma out to the docks to have her look at the horizon. “I can tell your heart is uneasy. And it’s my job, well, I hope it’s my job to protect your heart, even when no one is physically trying to steal it.” He talks to her again about letting go of the anger and resentment she’s holding towards her parents. It is incredibly sweet. And it totally works. Of course, since Lily’s blood is the key to making the ink, totally saving Emma from her darker self doesn’t end up meaning much for the plot, but it does bring Killian and Emma closer and restores the bond she has with her parents. Killian proves, once again, how insightful he can be about love and grudges.

Outlaw Queen

A rough opening scene and conversation between Regina and Robin. Regina, however, shows her character growth by not just ripping out his heart. Actually, she’s pretty calm about the whole thing, if a little wallowing in self-pity. Robin rightfully points out that his moving on is hardly the biggest issue here–his little Roland won’t understand where his mother has gone once Zelena stops using the glamour. This helps get Regina back on focus, and she suggests a forgetting potion to take him back to the time before fake Marian showed up. Furthermore, poor Marian, who died for no other reason than this farce that Zelena cooked up. Regina apologies for Zelena doing all of this to thwart Regina’s happy ending, and Robin suggests they can now pursue that happy ending again, though clearly there are many complications and challenges in front of them. Here Regina wallows a bit more, foreshadowing the reveal that she cannot have children. But Robin just asks, “What do we do now?” It’s a neat scene, echoed later with Lily and Malificent, showing two real human adults dealing with their hopes and disappointments. It certainly kicks the door wide open for these two to continue their relationship, but it doesn’t minimize the emotional difficulties it would mean.

Cora is an Outlaw Queen shipper! (Except not so much as it turns out she’s willing to sub any ol’ scoundrel in for Robin.) When Cora does try to trick Regina into accepting Nottingham (the sexist pig!) in for Robin, Regina doesn’t fall for it. Later she tells Cora: “That’s not what a soulmate feels like.” Regina will understand many years later how right she is.

Regina realizes she’s her own worst enemy in achieving her happy ending and changes her mind at the last minute about writing Zelena out of the story. Instead, she essentially challenges Zelena to a custody battle, showing she’s ready to fight for her happy ending…which is feeling at home in this world. Robin’s just a part of that world. Too bad that decision makes Isaac very bored.reginaworld

Rumpbelle

No real action in this episode, but the teaser for next week certainly promises great things for Rumpbelle on the horizon.

Swan Queen

Regina figures out a way to power the blood without endangering her/our Savior’s heart.

Snowing

When Snow runs in to “help” with Lily in dragon form, Charming runs in after her, clearly concerned for her well-being (and rightfully so).

Anti-ship Moment

Zelena, after hearing Regina’s plans to be happy with Robin despite Zelena’s meddling: “Another woman defining happiness relative to the love of a man.”

zelenaantiship

 


1 Comment

Early Observations about “Best Laid Plans”

The Author shines a light on things and brings down the curtain. Even our toddler has had it with Snow White and Prince Charming. And Rumpbelle is resurrected.

Michael’s “Always… no, no… never… forget to check your references.”

“To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough” (1785) – Robert Burns

This classic poem draws parallels between a farmer’s situation and that of a mouse whose home is destroyed as he plows. It’s a leveling of the field, as it were, ennobling the mouse and humbling the farmer. While the tone of the poem is companionable and its message universal, it’s useful to Once Upon a Time because it reverses the existing order, the theme of 4B.

http://www.bartleby.com/6/76.html

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
Has broken nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
                    Which makes thee startle         10
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
                    An’ fellow-mortal!

Specific to this episode, “Best Laid Plans,” references lines 39 and 40, often translated into modern English as, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” We’re meant to note that for all Snowing’s efforts to ensure Emma’s future, they still ended up at the same verbal exchange Snow witnessed in her vision. It’s extra special because the Apprentice, our mouse, was involved.

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
                    Gang aft agley,         40
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
                    For promis’d joy!

The title is also, again, an hilarious pun. Maleficent’s best laid egg…

Bonus: Jacob Grimm, the elder of the Brothers Grimm who recorded scores of household tales including many of those reinterpreted in Once Upon a Time, was born in 1785.

Was he an Author?

August: There have been many Authors throughout time. It’s a job, not a person. And the one trapped in here was just the last tasked with the great responsibility.
Emma: Which is?
August: To record–to witness the greatest stories of all time and record them for posterity. the job has gone back eons,1 from the man who watched shadows dance across cave walls and developed an entire philosophy,2 to a playwright who told tales in poetry,3 to a man named Walt.4 Many have had this sacred job–great women and men who took on the responsibility with the gravity that it deserved… until this last one.

Eion Baily1

August Booth is played by actor Eion Baily. There’s a chance, however slight, that the word choice here was subtly hinting that he’s the current author or at least a journeyman in training. after all, he was able to add his own story to Henry’s Once Upon a Time book. And he knows more about the Author(s) than anyone outside the Apprentice or the tricksie Peddler himself.

Plato2

In The Republic, Plato has Socrates desPlato's Cavecribe a gathering of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to designate names to these shadows. The shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.

William Shakespeare3

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. His works have been translated into every major living language. His inclusion in the mythology opens up a huge roster of potential background characters.

Walt Disney4

Often suggested as the Author who’d appear this season, Walt Disney founded the company that owns ABC and has produced several popular interpretations of classic fairy tales. But you knew that.

It’s not entirely unreasonable to suggest that the Author trapped in the book is James Lapine, writer of the postmodern revisionist Into the Woods, the film version of which Disney released last year. It makes Charming’s, “As long as we have each other, we can be the best versions of ourselves,” slyly metatextual.

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Snow White plays Lady Macbeth pretty much straight here. Unable to shake her vision, she pushes herself and her husband to ever more egregious acts of evil until, eventually, she cannot take the consequences anymore.

Isaiah 34:14

Lilith, variously a female demon or wicked fairy. In Jewish folklore she became Adam’s first, equal, wife who refused to submit and rejected Eden. So Maleficent’s exiled daughter has a powerful, resonant, ominous name.

Paradise Lost

Finally, some of the juxtapositions in the Comic-Con trailer make sense. What had been useful as a broad metaphor now has specific referents. The first portion in particular.

Snow: I’ve loved you since the first moment I saw you.
Charming: And I’ll love you until my last

Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,(163)
Our labour must be to pervert that end,(164)

Emma: It’s time for all of us to believe; to believe in each other

And out of good still to find means of evil;(165)

Zelena: I tried to be good once but it wasn’t in the cards.

Snowing sought to secure Emma’s good destiny through an act of evil. Zelena managed to twist several benevolent acts toward her own ends. And, of course, as long as you’ve seen the preview, she’s coming back.

The Poetic Edda

For whatever reason, the building to the left of Gold’s Pawn Shop, if you’re facing it, is fronted with “gudrun.” It could have been there all along, but I only remember seeing it twice this season. In one of the stories in the Edda, Guðrún feeds her husband their sons and burns down his hall.

Once Upon a Time

The non-Frozen portions of 4A really come back in force this episode. We revisit “The Apprentice,” “Breaking Glass,” and “Smash the Mirror” all weigh pretty heavily here. But since we open on Snowing tracking a unicorn for clairvoyant visions, I want to focus on that.

Emma Swan has always been associated with the unicorn and it’s nice to see it brought back into the mythology and reality of the show. The unicorn is a traditional Christian salvific symbol, so it’s entirely appropriate that it be involved with every aspect of her story.

1×01 “Pilot”

This is where we first see the unicorn mobile.  It reappears in Gold’s shop in 1×06 “The Shepherd.”

Unicorn Mobile

In addition to the potential Into the Woods connection above, the acknowledgement that the mobile was a gift from Cinderella opens her, via the recent live action Disney release, as a potential focus next season.

1×02 “The Thing You Love Most”

When Regina confronts Maleficent in order to retrieve The Dark Curse, Mal has a diminutive pet unicorn by her side. Ultimately, it’s her concern for this pet that decides the fight against her. It’s interesting that the other unicorn in the story is at least tangentially linked to Swan’s counterpart, Lily.

Unicorn Title Card1×12 “Skin Deep”

This episode reuses the title card from “Skin Deep.” In that episode the unicorns appear on tapestries in Rumpelstiltskin’s Dark Castle.

The first “Sight” from the series The Lady and the Unicorn. The second only appears after Belle attempts to break Rumple’s curse with true love’s kiss. He tears the cover from the mirror and rants at Regina while “The Unicorn in Captivity and No Longer Dead” from the series The Hunt of the Unicorn overwhelms the background. It’s a subtle scenery clue that the savior is integral to his convoluted plans.

At this point, Rumpelstiltskin, Ingrid, the Sorcerer, the Apprentice, Snowing, and the Author all have designs on Emma Swan. With all that pressure, how much control does she have over her own destiny?

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

Captain Swan

  • Killian is clearly deeply concerned about the plan to turn Emma into a villain. Emma emphatically reassures him she will not go dark, though Killian speaks from experience when he tells her darkness can creep up on a person. The two share a long comfort hug where clearly they are oblivious to everyone else around them because one foot away Charming and Snow are discussing the thing which cannot be told to Emma and use Emma’s name. That’s a helluva hug.
  • Killian asks how “the wooden man-child” was as a dual conversation starter. Certainly he knows she’s thinking about August’s well-being, but he’s also attempting to dig a little into her feelings for August. Emma sees immediately what he’s up to and tells him, “Now is not the time to be jealous.” “Why would I be jealous?” Killian responds, adding that he knows she’s partial to men in leather jackets. Emma explains that August is just a friend, but since she’s had a rough time making friends, she holds him dear. Then they notice the sleeping curse coming at them and land in the cutest sleeping pose possible, with Emma laying on Killian’s chest.
  • When her parents finally come clean, Killian attempts to comfort Emma by asking if she’s alright and moving to hold her hand, but she pulls it away quickly before he can touch her. She leaves shortly after.
  • Killian finds her later by the pier. She tells him she just needs some time. He knows to skip the discussion of how she’s doing and goes straight to what will relieve some of her anxiety: “August is awake. Your parents are with him.” “Is he?” “He’s going to be fine. Your friend is going to be fine.” Then she hugs him, bringing back the intimacy and comfort she had rejected earlier and allowing him to carry her emotional burden. It’s quite sweet and says much about how much vulnerability she has allowed herself to have with him.

Rumpbelle

  • Finally, a truly substantive moment for the Rumpbelle shippers out there. Rumple takes his opportunity to be close to Belle during Maleficent’s sleeping spell. He lovingly moves her from the floor to a divan, holds her hand, and speaks softly. “My love,” he begins. He goes on to confess that all magic comes with a cost and he’s wracked up so much magical debt, he’ll never be free of it. He has to change the rules altogether, and quickly. He promises to come back for her if he can and kisses her hand before leaving.

Runaways (Emma/Lily)

  • Emma explains the dearness with which she carries August by reminding Killian of her lost friendship with Lily. Later we find out Lily is Maleficent’s child and thus also Emma’s heart of darkness mate. They are now officially two halves to a whole! The two are meant to be together.

Swan Queen

  • Regina intervenes on Emma’s behalf when Cruella makes a comment about wanting to wring her neck while she sleeps.

Snowing

  • Although the role these two play in the episode is largely antagonistic, that doesn’t mean that their intentions weren’t motivated by love. The concern they share for their child’s well-being brings them together. In all actions, they are united, though their visions of the child diverge.
  • After they go through with the nefarious plan to imbue another child (Maleficent’s baby) with their child’s darkness, they are haunted by what they’ve done. Snow notes they are no longer heroes, but Charming is more concerned with their relationship: “But we’re still here, so how do we fix us?” Snow again shows her concern is with them being good again. She asks, “Do you really think redemption is possible?” Charming says they must “spread hope and faith everyday” and be the best version of themselves. The two commit to being better heroes to raise their child and keep her on the right track.

Wooden Swan 

  • August falls ill from so many recent magical transformations. Emma is deeply concerned. She is so concerned, in fact, Killian becomes jealous.
  • When August wakes and Emma returns, he asks her what’s going on. She dodges the question, but he sees right through it, reminding her that he knows lying. When she makes a connection about the powers the Author would still have, he comments that she’s come a long way from the woman who wouldn’t believe. There is clear affection and intimacy in his understanding of who Emma is


Leave a comment

Early Observations about “Unforgiven”

They were raised to be Charmings not sincere. Is there a Hook up he’s not talking about? And the death rattle is way sadder this way.

Michael’s “Always… no, no… never… forget to check your references.”

Unforgiven

I’m going with the 1992 Eastwood film, here. Based primarily on the themes of buried secrets, folks who cannot change, and hard choices. Even doing terrible things to ensure the future of one’s children. And anyway, the Metallica song is “The Unforgiven.”

Unforgiven 1

Maleficent

David: Maleficent!Maleficents

Maleficent: I was afraid you wouldn’t recognize me.

Finally! A lamp shade for the costume change. I do like it receding into the flashbacks to provide some reasonable continuity.

Maleficent looming over Queen Snow’s baby and the implicit threat hearkens back to both Sleeping Beauty and last year’s remake.

Not to mention the deeper touchstone of a secret betrayal revisited on the family of the betrayer. Where the Frozen arc maintained the story of the movie, this seems to pull more on the themes. Plus they’ve created a sympathetic twist for Maleficent incredibly efficiently.

One Hundred and One Dalmatians (101 Dalmations)

Cruella: If that old bag still wolfed out I would make her into a coat for my collection.

Noted in both the animated classic and the Dodie Smith novel that inspired it, Cruella has a collection of animal skin coats. But the one she wears on the show outshines the rest.

POUND PUPPIES®

ReginaShould have known fish sticks and pound puppy were here for more than a second chance.

A classic toy from the eighties. Similar to Cabbage Patch Kids they came with an adoption certificate kids could beg their parents to frame, thereby increasing the cost. They were revived by Funrise last year, but since the producers had to resolve the lack of knowledge about Frozen by saying Storybrooke was behind the viewing public by a couple years, the reference has to be to the Tonka line or the silly cartoons.

Once Upon a Time

Too numerous to count, which is sort of standard practice this season. The writers are exploiting parts of the timeline that aren’t entirely accounted for to weave the new arcs into the existing story. I reckon some folks balk at apparent inconsistencies, but it’s television.

Of particular note is 2×18 “Selfless, Brave and True”, wherein August Booth reverted back to the young flesh and blood Pinocchio with the help of Reul Ghorm’s magical meddling. Blue was awfully shady last episode, so bringing this in immediately afterward adds some gravity.

4x13 Regina Book 2

 

And what they’re really after in this interrogation is how and why August was able to alter Henry’s Once Upon a Time book in 1×13 “What Happened to Frederick” and whether that’s significant.

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

Snowing

  • 2:38 a.m. Snow wakes to find Charming gone. But Maleficent is there instead, with the other Queens of Darkness, threatening Snow’s family. But it was just a nightmare! 2:38 a.m. again. Snow wakes to find Charming gone. Again. (Is this going to be a Groundhog Day loop?) Except this time it turns out David is sitting on the stairs being an insomniac and trying to drink his way through it (a sign of their secret villainous past).
  • Through the episode, the two act together to hide the secret of Maleficent’s prediction about Emma and Maleficent’s lost child. Though their motivations and actions are questionable–lying is the stuff of villainy–they do act in tandem, bringing them closer together, even as they screw everything up.

Captain Swan

  • Hook brings Emma her craved for grilled cheese. With it he passes her test by giving her a ring, actually, several onion rings.
  • Emma’s superpower is telling when people are lying to her. She uses it on Hook when he feigns forgetful ignorance of how he knows Ursula. But Hook isn’t budging. He leaves with a rather meaningful, “Enjoy your witch hunt.” The line suggests the questionable motives behind David’s gung-ho attitude towards Cruella and Ursula, and how Emma’s being pulled into it without knowing what’s actually going on.
  • Later that evening Hook comes back, perhaps with the intent of coming clean about his relationship with Ursula, but Emma has also had a change of heart. Not wanting her distrust of people to get the best of her or her relationship with Hook, she tells him that while it’s not okay to lie to her, he can have the time he needs to be ready to tell her. “You’re not that man anymore,” she tells him. “It’s not going to change anything between us.” “That’s quite a lot of faith you’re putting on me, Swan,” he responds, showing that doubt, once again, that he can live up to being the boyfriend of a hero. Hook tells her he has no intentions of letting her down. She says, “No matter what, I will always choose to see the best in you.” “And I with you.”
  • As Snow reveals the truth to Regina, there’s a slow-mo walking shot of Emma and Hook walking on the street being uber-cute and happy.captain swan walk

Scarlet Beauty

  • These two are shown together in Gold’s (now Belle’s unofficial) shop. They smile at each other then KISS! scarlet beauty kiss

Rumpbelle

  • gold reactionAnd Rumple sees this kiss from across the street! He is shocked. Takes a staggered step back into the shadows, suggesting his recession into further villainhood.
  • Earlier, when Ursula and Cruella come into the shop to steal the MacGuffin, Belle responds with sincere care and curiosity about how Rumple is doing. “You’ve seen him?” When the ladies give her a line about how terrible and miserable he was, they ask if part of her didn’t want to see him suffering? “I would never revel in his suffering,” Belle proclaims.
  • Ursula and Cruella also lie to Rumple when they tell him that Belle didn’t mention him and that clearly she had moved on. Well, I guess she has, considering the kiss.

Swan Queen

  • There’s one wonderful moment for this ship in the ep. When Emma finally shows up to assist in jogging Pinocchio’s memory, Regina exclaims, “Where the hell have you been?” Then her face shows total relief that Emma is there.

Snow Queen

  • Snow meets Regina in the rain in the dark. Despite having failed to keep Regina’s secret in the past, now Snow wants to share her secret with Regina. It’s a nice moment of growth between them. Snow certainly needs Regina’s help, but there is a leap of faith there that Regina is trustworthy.

Sea DeVil

  • The two bond over their joy at seeing Maleficent back alive and in action against the Charmings.

Cruella DaVid

  • Welcome, new ship! cruella DaVidRight now, this ship largely consists of some tasty comments by Cruella concerning David’s good-looks. But shippers have worked with less.
  • In an Enchanted Forest flashback, Cruella quips after Charming proves a bit obtuse, “If only your wits matched your looks.”
  • When David pulls Cruella over to search her car, she rolls down her window with a “What can I do for you, Sheriff Chisel Chin?”


Leave a comment

Early Observations About “Shattered Sight”

@OED’s Word of the Day yesterday was Maleficent! First recorded in 1678.

Michael’s “Always… no, no… never… forget to check your references.”

Frozen

Of course Anna finds hitting someone in the face and trapping someone in a net romantic. Oh my gosh, why didn’t they get married right there!?!

David: “I’m callin’ you iceman. And you’re from Arendelle!  Whattaya doin’ sellin’ ice? The whole place is Frozen!”

Regina’s self imposeDYWTBASd imprisonment offers another opportunity to show the iconic back to the closed doors imagery reminiscent of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” used in the early episodes of the season.

The extent of Kristoff’s worst self was more or less “I hate it here and you put off the wedding.” Raised by love experts, he’s not the hating type.

Carrot Sherbert.  The Olaf reference you’ve waited all season for.

In the end, it’s Anna’s capacity for familial love that melts Ingrid’s frozen heart. Gerda’s letter and the memories it contains turn her around, but it’s the the younger Of Arendelle sister that lays it all on the line. I’m not gonna lie, it got a little dusty in the room. And it allowed for Ingrid’s act of true love to save everyone.  Once gets it.

Song of the South

Mary Margaret: “Still wanna hold hands and sing Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah?”

Written by Allie Wrubel and Ray Gilbert, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1947. It was Disney’s second win in the category.  The first was “When You Wish Upon a Star,” slyly referenced in the last episode.  The controversial film has never been released on home video.

Swiss Miss

Snow points out Anna’s partial resemblance to the mascot for ConAgra’s winter institution. It might be random and it might not. Disney has a long-standing relationship with the food giant going back more than sixty years. Most recently, Disney’s Peter Pan became the official mascot for their peanut butter.

swiss miss

Snow White

And she asks for a poison apple which is iconic to the show, the Disney classic, and the original Tale 53, Sneewittchen.

Home Alone

4x09 Marbles

“Welcome to the Jungle”

It gets worse here every day.  Regina quotes here favorite terrestrial poet, W. Axl Rose, when she confronts Snow White. “I wanna watch you bleed.”

101 Dalmations

Young Emma grabs a stuffed Dalmation with the claw crane at the state fair. This is a subtle reminder that Pongo actually lives in Storybrooke and sets the stage for Cruella’s entrance next week.

Bonus: The ring around its neck can be seen during 4×05 “Breaking Glass” in Emma’s treasure box.

Harry Potter

The boy who lived gets another shout out from young Emma right before her unstable foster mom tries to get her hit by a car.  She wishes she could “poof home,” or Apparate.

Once Upon a Timetrue love

David and Mary Margaret recast the events of 1×03 “Snow Falls,” or I suppose 3×21 “Snow Drifts” and 3×22 “There’s No Place Like Home.”  Series co-creator Adam Horowitz is with Anna, hitting someone in the face is romantic.  He prefers rocks, but when timey wimey goes all wibbly wobbly, you make due.

Snow also references 2×16, “The Miller’s Daughter,” the episode where she effectively tricked Regina into matricide, sullied her own heart (and now Charming’s as well) and set the stage for the angry Mary Margaret we’ve seen this season.

The grand prize winner, though, is 1×18 “The Stable Boy.” Kristoff calls David “stable boy” instead of scruffy looking nerf her… shepherd.  David follows up by selling Snow out with his reference to the first of her many spilled secrets.  And during the climax of their duel, Regina calls Snow on it and she responds with, “I WAS TEN!” It’s also a good way to point out something the two queens have in common.

As usual, there are many, many more, but they seem to have done something special to close up the arc. Every episode of season four gets a visual or verbal nod, whether it’s the trunk on the beach from last week, the Kingdom Hearts door from “Smash the Mirror,” or the Any Given Sundae scene from the photo found in “Breaking Glass.”

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

With the Shattered Sight spell in full force, it was slim pickings for shipper moments. But it wasn’t completely devoid of great couple moments, even if some of them were antithetical to their normal relationships.

Kristanna

  • Kristanna fared the best of all the couples who actually talked to each other under the Shattered Sight curse. In fact, the worst Kristoff could come up with for aggravations with Anna was that she kept putting off their wedding and had a sister who brought about eternal winter. Perhaps if she hadn’t knocked him out, he would have gotten around to dishing out his Hans resentments, like: “You sang with him?!” Instead, he ultimately proved to be a pretty good guy, even when at his worst.once-upon-time_6

Snowing

  • Being the First Couple of True Love, of course the Shattered Sight curse was shown to hit them the hardest (and the funniest). Snow called Charming a fraud, and Charming called Snow a spoiled little brat. Charming complained to Anna that Snow hit him the first time they met, and Snow rebutted with the fact that Charming caught her in a net. Anna tried to point out the romance (odd though it was) in these gestures, but the spell kept them at each other until Regina arrived.
  • During the Regina-Snow fight, Charming helps Snow win, despite the curse still being in place.
  • And when the curse is broken, it is Snowing that gets the fantastic reunited kiss.tumblr_ng8rwkSe5f1u3pvl5o3_1280

 

Captain Swan

  • tumblr_ng8s7e2SHi1qdsjzio1_250Hook and Emma don’t share a single moment on screen, but even apart, their relationship gets more relationshippy. First, Hook goes to gather Henry for Gold. Henry: “I never liked you, and I like you even less now that you and my mom are together.” Hook: “Emma used that word? ‘Together’?”
  • In fact she did! When Emma goes to get the ultra-hatred unlocked from Regina, she gloats, “I wanted you to see Hook and I together and happy.”

Swan Queen

  • When Emma needs help, she goes to Regina. Sure, it’s to garner her hate like never before, but we all know how thin that line between love and hate really is.