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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!”

 

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Early Observations about “Poor Unfortunate Soul”

The Little Mermaid gets a big role, but Ariel only gets a cameo. Fans get serviced. And it’s not the size of the ship, it’s the portal under the sea.

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

The Little Mermaid

“Poor Unfortunate Souls”

The episode title is pulled from the soundtrack of The Little Mermaid and while it’s not as popular as “Under the Sea,” it’s denser and more integral to the story. It’s also, appropriately, Ursula’s solo.

The film itself gets a title drop when Ursula confron4x15 Ursula's Charmsts Poseidon.

Ursula: All you ever wanted was for me to be your little mermaid.

And their argument culminates in the same ultimatum from father to daughter as Ariel and Triton’s.

Triton: As long as you live under my ocean, you’ll obey my rules!
Poseidon: As long as you live in my ocean, you will live by my rules.

Ursula in present day Storybrooke is wearing a number of charms on chains around her neck, reminiscent of the shell her animated counterpart used to trap her voice. Here Poseidon creates it and recruits hook to steal Ursula’s voice.

4x14 Triton's Shell

…which is exactly like Ariel’s in The Little Mermaid, because this episode is awesome. At least the ascending vocalization she’s using to lure pirate ships.

She also sings “Fathoms Below,” the first song heard in the animated film.

Ariel herself shows up and saves hook from drowning, much like she did for Eric. And Snow White. It’s kind of what she does.

Ursula’s voice is captured, and returned, with similar graphics and in the same way Ariel’s was in the animated film. It’s also quite similar to how Maleficent’s spark returned to her last episode.

Ariel's Voice

In a similar vein, young Ursula’s costuming is similar to Ariel’s, though with different colors, sort of matching her Vanessa form, but more in keeping with how we’ve seen her on the show.

GlowerhavenAnd finally, Ursula wants to go to Glauerhaven, where her mother loved to sing. It’s not just some random word chosen to be similar to Misthaven, Arendelle’s name for the Enchanted Forest. Grimsby wanted Eric to settle down with their princess.

Frozen

The Jolly Roger was in its diminutive state because Blackbeard had ran afoul of the Nobles of Arendelle.

Hook: Elsa did this?

Ghostbusters

Ernie Hudson, who played Winston Zeddmore in the immortal classic, portrays Ursula’s father, self professed diety Poseidon. Which is terrible funny when you consider this line:

One Hundred and One Dalmatians

Right at the end, there was a well crafted Cruella PoV shot from inside the Panther De Ville that recalled the shaky shots from the animated classic. That they take the time to work those little details in is worth noting.

The movie got nods in a couple lines as well.

Regina (to Cruella): Please, I was torturing people back when you were still playing with puppies.

and

Gold: Cruella will be our guard dog.

Lord of the Flies

4x15 Conch

Hook uses a conch shell to call Ursula, demanding an opportunity to speak. This is actually pretty cool, since it’s a subtle callback to Neverland where there were oh so many Lord of the Flies references. And their history is Neverland adjacent, taking place during the period Hook was working for Peter Pan.

Bonus Pun: Smee: Pan will never notice if a few cakes are missing.

Lost:

Regina sends the Smoke Monster to possess Mary Margaret so she can communicate to Emma and the Charming gang.

Pinocchio

4x14 Pinocchio's Nose

Paradise Lost

Hook: Where is that infernal creature?

Infernal’s an uncommon word that appears fairly frequently in the poem. But the context is perhaps more interesting. Hook offers Ursula an alternative to Gold’s plan, risking himself for the others. While it doesn’t initially work, he persists in trying to rectify his errors and ultimately brings Ursula and Poseidon back together. Everyone involved is simply trying to make what was wrong right and good is brought forth from evil.

Once Upon a Time

4x15 Page 23

Regina’s dream sequence is a reminder about Page 23 and a longing for the happiness depicted therein. It was found in 4×08 “Smash the Mirror,” destroyed in 4×11 “Heroes and Villains,” and Emma discovered it in 4×12 “Darkness on the Edge of Town.”

Ariel and Regina

3×06 “Ariel”

Beyond her timely cameo, and the more or less satisfactory explanation about the sea goddess Ursula vis-à-vis Merrin Dungey’s character, there’s some real follow through with this callback. After the title card, “Ariel” moves right into Regina teaching Emma magic in Neverland with the exhausted and distraught Charmings looking on.

Charming: This is a bad idea.
Snow: She has it in her; she should learn to use it. We just have to trust her.

Trusting her is exactly what they’re not doing these days. And she’s in full control of her magic, having teamed up with Regina to stop Chernabog and destroying August’s bonds in this episode.

It’s also the episode where Hook revealed that kissing Emma gave him hope for happiness again. The happy ending he revealed Emma to be at the end of “Poor Unfortunate Soul.”

Incidentally, Ursula’s bracelet performs the opposite function of the one in “Ariel.”

4×04 “The Apprentice”

4x04 Love is a Weapon

Love is apparently a lot of things on Once Upon a Time. In “The Apprentice,” Rumpelstiltskin called it a weapon. He used it as one last episode, with Belle, just as she used it against him at the end of 4A.

It turns out you can weaponize anything, if that’s your intent. Sort of like how every problem looks like a nail if your only tool’s a hammer. In this case, Ursula’s voice, which is itself kind of a manifestation of her love for her mother, is weaponized by Poseidon.

2×18 Selfless, Brave, and True

August reveals that the Dragon was looking for the Author. He also gets turned back into wood with a potion that can reverse any spell the fairies cast.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Finally! Hook mentioned that Will spent more time in Wonderland than anyone he knew. And Will hooked him up with a distillate of Wonderland’s finest mushrooms to restore the Jolly Roger to its original size,

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

Captain Swan

  • Much of the Captain Swan love in this episode revolved around what Hook was willing to do and own up to in order to assist Emma’s heroic attempts to thwart Gold’s plans. One of the things it meant was facing Ursula and the wrong he had done her in the past–betraying her trust, breaking his code, destroying her happiness, and turning her into a villain. There are two scenes that especially deal with the Hook of then, the villain, and the Hook of now, ostensibly a good guy.
  • The first is between Emma and her parents, where they very quickly discuss whether Hook has “turned” Ursula or vice versa. Emma defends the very notion of Hook being “dark” by empathizing with wanting to shove the dagger in Gold’s heart. Her parents are taken aback–Snow: “That’s not you, Emma.” Emma: “That’s not Hook either.”
  • The second scene is the real swooner and it comes near the end, after Hook has reunited Ursula and Daddy Poseidon as well as Ursula and her happy ending. Ursula’s villainy comes to an end, but Hook is concerned that Regina’s theory about happy endings might be true and that he might be marked with a V rather than an H. In this concern, Emma realizes that if he’s worried about loosing his happy ending, that means he’s found it, and in true doltish but romantic fashion, Emma asks The-Pirate-Who-Traded-His-Ship-For-Her what his happy ending is. “Don’t you know, Emma? It’s you.” She is obviously touched, with tears welling in her eyes, and they share a very sweet kiss.
  • Regarding whether Hook is on the precipice of losing his happy ending as a marked Villain. This is clearly some heavy foreshadowing, but I’ve been on to the writers since 4B started and they overdid the lovey-dovey happiness between these two. It spelled DOOM. And we got the particular spelling of that doom via Ursula who revealed that the endgame was to fill Emma’s heart with darkness. But on the other hand, Ariel’s cameo not only saved Hook’s life and name-dropped Elsa, it also gave the perspective that perhaps the villains weren’t getting their happy endings because they were going about it the wrong way. So, for instance, Ursula teaming up with Cruella, Malificent, and Gold to force the Author into rewriting their endings=wrong way. But Hook giving Poseidon the shell allowing Poseidon to return her singing voice and also allowing Ursula to forgive her father=right way. Hook seems to be learning the “code” of the Book in this episode. “By taking a page out of your book, Swan. I’m going to return her happy ending.”

Wooden Swan (Emma/August)

  • Reunited! Oh, and the concern by Emma and the knowing grins by August! Emma: “It’s good to have you back. Even if it’s not the way it was supposed to be. I’m glad I didn’t have to wait 20 years for you to be you again.”

Outlaw Queen

  • Well, of course it was a dream. Fan service like that just doesn’t come in normal, reality-based packages. With the exception, perhaps, of the recreation of the ballroom dance between Belle and Rumple. But it was brilliant, that joy at finding each other, the kiss that followed. Too bad that Evil Queen Regina interrupted the works with her fireball. It would seem that Regina feared losing Robin if she lost her newly found goodness, but that’s not how she interprets things later to Emma. Regina thinks Evil Queen was trying to protect Robin.

Swan Queen

  • Regina confides in Emma her dream about Robin. Emma thinks it represents the battle between good and evil within Regina and Regina’s fear about losing the good. But that’s not what’s important–the intimacy between these two opened a door for this sharing. A sharing that was Regina’s priority when arriving at the apartment.

Scarlet Beauty

  • Will and Belle got a cute little moment when Hook goes to re-size his ship. Belle questions whether Hook is really Hook and Ursula mentions how “lover boy here” would already be dead if Hook were really Gold.
  • You know, Will may be “the thief” but he seems straightforward with Belle, and that’s something she has lacked with Rumple.

Rumpbelle

  • See the above “lover boy” comment by Ursula, since it also applies here. Actually, most of the moments concerning Belle and Rumple were more anti-ship moments than supportive of their couple status. I didn’t initially want to include them.
  • When the Charmings Team inform Belle that Rumple is in town and ask where the dagger is, the truth comes out that she was completely duped by Rumple. As always? She bemoans whether she’ll ever be free of his deceptions.


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Once Upon a Time “Unforgiven” Previews and Predictions

Coming Tonight: Once Upon a Time 4×13

CAUTION: spoilage, peeking, and speculation

“Unforgiven”David and Mary Margaret suspect Cruella and Ursula have come to Storybrooke looking for something more than their own happy endings – something that threatens to reveal a secret they thought was long buried. Emma begins her own investigation of Cruella and Ursula, but she can’t shake the feeling that her friends and family are keeping something from her. Regina and Henry continue their search for the Author, turning to Pinocchio and Marco in the hope Pinocchio might remember a clue that will help them. Meanwhile, in a flashback to Fairy Tale Land, Snow and Charming cross paths with the Queens of Darkness as the threat of the Evil Queen’s Dark Curse hangs over all of them, written by Andrew Chambliss and Kalinda Vazquez and directed by Adam Horowitz.

Here’s the ABC promo that aired after “Darkness on the Edge of Town”:

Once again we got four sneak peeks of the upcoming episode. This will taper off in an episode or two like it did last fall, but it’s fun while it lasts. In the first, David and Mary Margaret discuss the implications of illegal search and seisure.

In the Enchanted Forest of the Past, Snow and Charming return to the castle to find everyone asleep on on the job.

Hook brings Emma lunch hot off the grill and Emma grills Hook.

Maleficent looms over a baby and teases a terrible truth. It’s her thing.

Producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis teased that two big secrets would be revealed in this episode. From the sneak peeks, we can be pretty sure they have to do with whatever the Charmings did to Maleficent and the secret about Ursula that Kilian’s keeping from Emma.

I’ll take an educated guess based on Ursula’s raison d’être in The Little Mermaid. Hook made a deal with Ursula whose subject was Milah, Rumplestiltskin’s wife. It won’t make his past much darker, but it will increase the enmity between our favorite nemeses.

For the Charming mystery I’ll just shoot an arrow in the dark. I imagine they tricked the stone in her staff away from her to use against Regina or the dark curse, perhaps even for the scheme to protect baby Emma. At the very least it helps explain the crystal globe’s inconsistent appearance in flashbacks. Again, it’s not an action so terrible or unjustifiable that it ruins them as heroic characters. But it’s bad. And, especially if it could have protected the Queens of Darkness in a similar way, it creates a reasonable enmity.

They’ve also continued a a useful visual technique from the first half of the season. With Snow White in particular, clothing is color coded. Check it out.

Here she is plotting to get rid of some bad, but maybe not as bad as her, elements.

4x13 Bad Snow

And here she is in mom mode, wanting nothing more than to protect her child.

4x13 Good Snow

What we really want to explore is if you’ve done a bad thing, can you come back from it? Can you become the person you want to be even if you didn’t start out that way? And vice versa? What makes a hero and what makes a villain is a point of view. – Kitsis

 


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Once Upon a Time “Darkness On the Edge of Town” Previews and Predictions

 

Coming Tonight: Once Upon a Time 4×12

CAUTION:  spoilers, sneak peeks, and speculations

“Darkness on the Edge of Town”With Gold banished from town, the residents of Storybrooke attempt to resume their normal lives. Hook and Belle search for a way to release the fairies from the Sorcerer’s hat, while Emma, Henry and Regina continue to look for clues that could lead them to the Author. But when a terrifying darkness descends on the town, Emma and Regina are forced to confront the true nature of evil. Meanwhile, in New York, Gold and Ursula enlist Cruella De Vil to join their cause, written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz and directed by Jon Amiel.

Here’s the promo that aired after the last episode:

…and here’s the new plot teasing one that aired during the Academy Awards:

For the Spring Premiere, we got four sneak peeks, just in case our fiery anticipation needed fuel. In the first, Rumplestiltskin tells the Queens of Darkness what time it is.

In the second, Emma and Regina do lunch.

And in the third, from the same scene, they discuss hope.

Finally, in the fourth, an ungrateful gargoyle terrorizes Storybrooke

Producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis have repeatedly reiterated that their versions of Cruella, Maleficent, and Ursula are specific to the Once mythology and bare only passing resemblance to existing Disney counterparts. In a sense this is probably true, it’s also true that Maleficent was a major property following Frozen in Disney’s lineup and they’ve brought the character’s costume closer to both the classic character and the updated one. Last year also saw the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Little Mermaid and the marketing surrounding that continues. While there will be plenty of drift, we’re betting all three villains will bring loads of references to the popular films with them.

4x12 The Look

As for predictions, I’ll stand by some of the parallels drawn to Paradise Lost during our commentary on 4A. If the new promo is any clue, the Queens of Darkness are absolutely trying to bring forth evil from good. And, conversely, any redemption sought by Regina follows the mirrored ending of the epic, bringing good, ultimately, from attempted evil.

It seems like they’ll be drawing on that with individual actions as well. Looking at the final sneak peek, the salvific attempt to release the fairies may have inadvertently released Fantasia‘s ultimate expression of evil. We’re curious to see who’ll be tempted and who’ll be tempered.

Mostly, though, we’re just glad the show’s back this week.

And that they made the hentai joke immediately…


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Movie Review: Maleficent

Maleficent PosterThe forthcoming back-end of Once Upon a Time’s season 4 has us trying to bone up on the new villain trio: Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmations, Ursula from The Little Mermaid, and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. We started with the latter, skipping the classic Sleeping Beauty film for the recent re-imagining of the story, Maleficent.

In this retelling, we get a very different view of Maleficent, starting with her joyful youth in the Moors, the fairy-magic world, continuing to her meeting of a young human whom she falls in love with, and then his betrayal of her, turning her bitter and vengeful. When she hears that the human, who betrays her to become king, has recently had a baby, she visits the Christening and curses the child in the familiar way: by the child’s sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on a spindle and fall into a death-like sleep which only true love’s kiss can bring her out of. It’s an ironic out clause–Maleficent no longer believes true love’s kiss even exists.

Then, as the girl ages, Maleficent watches her in vengeful obsessiveness, slowly growing to care about her. She realizes the girl might be the one to heal the rift between the fairy and human lands.

maleficent grinAngelina Jolie stars as the title character with cosmetically emphasized cheekbones and massive horns and wings, and she ends up being kind-of perfect for the role. She plays the traditional villain with aplomb, sporting that bright red lipstick and devilish smile to thrilling effect. Much of her acting happens in close up in her eyes–a wariness toward the “beastie” that is young Aurora, a disdain for the three fairies left in charge of caring for and protecting Aurora, open vulnerability as Aurora gets closer to the curse’s fate and Maleficent cannot call it off.

stefanOpposite her is Sharlto Copley, who also played the infected bureaucrat from District 9, as Stefan, her once love now betrayer and king. Copley’s Stefan is written and acted with less range–after all, he’s the villain here. What he does portray wonderfully is the dangerous madness his betrayal and Maleficent’s curse drive him to.

Elle Fanning does fine in the film, but she lacks the dynamic charisma of Jolie or even Copley in their roles. The world-building is beautiful, though at times a little fake looking, and I can imagine that certain scenes where Maleficent is flying were breath-taking in 3D.

What truly elevates the film is the twists Disney has given to its classic villain’s origins and the concept of true love. The rest of this review will have spoilers in it, so abandon ship now if so desired.

Maleficent

Maleficent is a joyful and protective character until her betrayal. Stefan, a man she had loved and who she thought loved her, drugs her and cuts off her wings. It plays like a date rape, although in suggestion more than explicitness–this is Disney, after all. Her shock and agony upon waking to find her wings gone is truly painful to watch. I had tears well up in my eyes–a testament to Jolie’s acting to portray the anguish. The betrayal makes her into the vindictive villain she becomes, and this makes a statement about the circularity of violence and abuse, especially when her violence turns itself onto the next generation, Aurora, rather than being directed back at Stefan.

But most interesting is a repetition of a twist we see in Frozen as well. Maleficent and Stefan are both sure that true love doesn’t exist. The fairies and Maleficent first try to get Prince Philip to kiss Aurora, but as he points out, they hardly know each other, so how could it be true love? His kiss fails. It turns out to be a kiss of familial love–that from Maleficent for Aurora that stops the violence and lifts the curse. So again, Disney is subverting its own cliches in its modern movies.

 


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Coming tonight, Galavant!

Galavant

With Once Upon a Time on an incredibly long hiatus, ABC had chosen an unusual mid-season fill-in. Galavant is a creatively anachronistic half hour fantasy musical comedy. A genre blending troperific experiment.

It’s been twenty five years since ABC tried a straight up alternate universe where the characters burst into song and dance. It’s also been twenty five years since songwriter Alan Menken won an Academy Award for The Little Mermaid, so there’s some nice symmetry there. Along with co-executive producer and writer Dan Fogelman, with whom he worked on Tangled, he’s crafted some catchy tunes.

The part that stuck for me was, “Yay, a fairy tale cliche!” I’m missing the characters and drama of Once to be sure, but if I’m honest that’s my true love in the show. Galavant delivers on the premise at least. His true love pulls a Cora and goes for wealth and power, leading our hero into a downward spiral in which the series begins.

I’m excited, but wary. Rather than run the who over eight weeks, ABC’s airing two half hour episodes back to back, which reportedly messes with some of the fourth wall audience acknowledgements. Makes me wonder how confident they are in their own “extravaganza.” Even so we’ll be tuning in and delivering our impressions on Tuesday.

Galavant Cast


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Early Observations About “Heroes and Villains”

We bid 4A farewell. Two ships are sunk. The cobra joins the mongoose. And the last Arendelle scene mirrors the first.

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

“Heroes and Villains” – The Beach Boys

Is heroes vs. villains a fair descriptor for the second half of the season?
KITSIS: Absolutely. That is the title of episode 11.
HOROWITZ: It’s “Heroes and Villains.”
KITSIS: That’s actually named after the Beach Boys song.

Frozen

EMMA: [The Snow Queen] wanted to make Storybrooke her Ice Castle.

The perfect “Wait, what?” Anna carries on about how great this Gold fellow must have been and then David tells her he’s Rumplestiltskin.

ANNA: Did you see these bruises?
ELSA: Have you seen Hans’s eye?
ANNA: Yeah. Totally worth it.

Anna Punch

Anna’s wearing the gloves in the family, now.

This scene, with Anna saying, “What is that amazing smell?” instead of Elsa.

The Sound of MusicAnna of Austria

Anna’s skip-hopping arms wide approach to the town line completes all possible riffs on her costume. She hasn’t moved that way at all through the season. While it didn’t seem wildly out of character, it did take a moment to recognize where they were going with it.

When the ad for The Sound of Music Sing Along aired, we had a good belly laugh.

Star Wars

Holo-Belle more or less crying, “Help me, Obi-Wa… Rumplestiltskin. You’re my only hope.”

SW Belle

Wish Upon a Star

Rumple tempts Belle with a honeymoon in “a magical city called New York.” The opening line of this Olivia Goldsmith novel is, oddly enough, “Once upon a time in a magical city called New York a girl under a spell lived on an island.”

Fantasia

The broom is back. With enough personality to outshine some of the other recurring guests on the show, this bit player from “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” struts its stuff, cracks its knuckles, and reveals the portal back to Arendelle. All while its creepy modified theme music plays in the background.

Bonus: Turns out the house does belong to the Sorcerer after all, validating a lot of fans who called it at the beginning of the season.

The Little Mermaid

One of three freebies, everyone’s favorite predatory subprime magic lender Ursula appears as part of a trio trying to swindle Rumplestiltskin.

Her contribution to the plot against Rumple is a sand dollar bearing the holographic message.

After wrapping Belle in her tentacles, she says, “Such a pretty thing.  Seems a shame I’ll have to crack her pipes.” It’s a dialogic stretch to reference the film.

101 Dalmatians

Cruella de Vil, whose costume is a nice mix of mostly animated classic with the makeup of the live action adaptation.

While the green smoke around the Belle-ogram is characteristic of the cloud following Cruella, it apparently wasn’t a big enough clue, so they added a Dalmatian to lead Belle away.

Maleficent

Her raven, Diablo, delivers the ransom message to Rumplestiltskin. At least, his name is Diablo in the animated classic. In the recent reinterpretation, he’s recast as Diaval.  It remains to be seen which one they’ll go with.

Maleficent’s costume has undergone a drastic redesign, bringing it in line with the 2014 film.

Once Upon a Time

Some key themes reappeared in this episode. Color coded clothing showed us a Regina who’d do the right thing in blue and a Belle who’d make some shocking choices in grey and black. Rumple stalked around with Geppetto’s parents hanging in the background, reminding us what an evil imp he is.

But they brought the Frozen arc full circle visually. Our first glimpse of Arendelle’s royal siblings in “A Tale of Two Sisters” was their clasping hands from behind, Anna on the left and Elsa on the right. The shot’s inverted, or mirrored, at the end of their scene with Elsa on the left this time.

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments

Kristanna

  • Not that we got much interaction between the two on screen, but the good news is that once they got back to Arendelle, Anna’s right hook apparently made short work of Hans, and Kristoff and Anna were finally going to get married. Mazel tov!

Captain Swan

  • To be honest, I had been hoping for the Captain Swan relationship to be more central to the episode. Instead, it fell fourth fiddle to the Arendelle crew, the Rumpbelle dissolution, and the coming of the Queens of Darkness. As the plotline involving Gold having Hook’s heart developed, I fully expected there to be some major touching scene between the two. Instead, we got two minor scenes.
  • The first of these was in Granny’s Diner when Gold puppeted Hook into telling Emma where the portal was to get Anna out of the way. Emma finally touched him intimately on the face and asked what was wrong, that he was acting strange[ly]. The only response he could make of his own volition was to grab her wrist with a shaking hand. But does she pursue him or this clue that clearly something is truly messed up? No. Jeez, Emma, can’t you see your man is in trouble?! You are a less than stellar girlfriend.
  • The second was when she reinserts his heart. (Note, there was no romantic anything when Emma and Snow arrive at the clocktower to see Gold about to crush Hook’s heart.) So he asks her to be gentle, but this is Emma, so she just shoves it back in, thinking that it must be like pulling off a band-aid. But as soon as it’s back in, he lays a great, passionate kiss on her. When the kiss breaks (why, oh why, did it have to?), he reiterates that he’s a survivor, and she shyly smiles.

Rumpbelle

  • This relationship, more than any other, was at the center of the episode. Considering how much damage the writers had done to this ship since the iconic dance in the ballroom, I ended up being rather relieved that Belle finally figured out that Rumple loved power more than anything and kicked him out of town. That said, it was an emotional scene, and Robert Carlyle sold it so well, I actually felt bad for Rumple as he lost Belle, then his magic, and crumpled from the return of his crippled leg.
  • First, Rumple wakes Belle from a sleep that I can only imagine he put her in magically and tells her that he’s going to take her to the magical land of New York. She goes to pack her bag happily.
  • Belle saves the day, or at least Hook, by controlling Rumple with his dagger after using the magic gauntlet to reveal to her what Rumple’s greatest weakness is (that’s not good wife behavior). The betrayal is merely in response to the many, many betrayals Rumple has offered her this season. Not even the sort of sweet flashback scene of him trading the gauntlet for her life could redeem him.
  • So she finally forces him out of town, using the dagger to make him go. It’s painful for both of them (and the audience). We know this won’t be the end of it, since Rumple won’t stay gone for long (you, know, just till March), but Rumple’s going to have to work his hinney off to win her back. She’s gotten wise to his unchanging ways.

Outlaw Queen

  • I liked that the first thing we saw Regina do this episode was return Marian’s heart, that there was no hesitation. In return, Marian offers to back off if Robin chooses to be with Regina. How civil.
  • Robin chooses Regina! He points out that though it may be complicated, the most important thing he can model for his son is to live honestly and follow his heart.
  • Not that it matters, because Plot Conveniences Playhouse presents the relapse of Ingrid’s ice curse, and the only way to save Marian is for her to cross the town line into the non-magical world from which she can never return. But Regina won’t let her go alone–she insists that Robin and Roland have to go with her. Which is honorable and stuff, but very sad for the Outlaw Queen shippers around the world.
  • Their good-bye is full of feels. Thank goodness Marian couldn’t see that kiss–not that Robin would know that. Ballsy, Robin!

Swan Queen

  • Emma offers to do shots with Regina after Robin leaves town, but then Henry breaks up their fun with news about The Author (pretentious indeed!). The three of them go to the mansion’s secret room and find the blank storybooks. Emma opts in for Operation Mongoose and reiterates her promise to bring Regina a happy ending.