“I’m good at surviving, or you’re bad at killing.” – Killian Jones
Remember, dearie, all spoilers come at a price~
Last review I said that the flashbacks in Once Upon a Time were getting boring and tedious, due to their repetitive nature of Character A (generally Regina) trying to get revenge on Character B (generally Snow White). This week’s flashbacks featured a similar pattern of revenge seeking, but it was not necessarily the main focus of the flashbacks. This brought a breath of fresh air into the episode, and made the flashbacks as equally enjoyable as the events in the present.
Thus, I will amend what I said last review: the flashbacks themselves are not getting boring, the constant seeking of revenge in flashbacks is getting boring. Basically, Once Upon a Time plays off of two pieces of information: where the characters are originally in the Enchanted Forest, which is heavily based upon classic fairytales the viewers are familiar with, and where those characters end up in our world. You know Point A and Point B, but in-between those are open to be filled. However, if a defining thing, like revenge, guides characters from Point A to Point B there are only so many paths they can take in flashbacks.
What made the flashbacks for this story fresh was that we were able to see how Ursula ended up as the villain we know and love today, which was an unexpected twist on a beloved fairytale. Turns out Ursula used to be a mermaid with a beautiful singing voice, who was manipulated by her father, Poseidon, to lead sailors to their deaths. Deciding that she wanted her voice to be used to make people happy, Ursula steals a bracelet that allows her to have legs when she is wearing it so that she can live on land. (Does this sound familiar to anyone?) When Hook finds her singing to earn passage on a ship, he offers to take her to her desired destination. Daddy Poseidon steps in though, believing the only way his daughter will accept living as a mermaid is if she loses her singing voice. Through some twists and turns, Ursula’s voice gets trapped inside a familiar white seashell. Angered by her father and the loss of her voice, Ursula uses Poseidon’s trident to turn herself into the sea goddess Ursula.
This retelling of “The Little Mermaid” reminded me why I love Once Upon a Time. The show not only manages to connect seemingly unrelated fairy tales into one story, but also puts unexpected twists on them. And it is those twists that keep the show alive. Though Once Upon a Time places emphasis on the present, it is truly the past that runs the show. When the pasts are based off of stories we have known intimately since childhood, the writers have to work to make things unpredictable.
So, what have they given us?
Ursula has more similarities to Ariel than we may have thought. Peter Pan is actually an adult who had to let go of his son in order to live as a boy forever. Rumplestiltskin is actually the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. Red Riding Hood is the wolf.
These are the twists; these are the things that keep the story alive!
When you pair that up with an interesting story happening in the modern day, then you have yourself a winning episode!
Now what exactly did happen in the present during this episode? Well, August spills the beans about the author to the “Queens of Darkness” and Rumple. And by that I mean that he basically provides the villains with information that has them running in circles and is therefore useless. The heroes are able to rescue August, which involves Mary Margaret hitting Cruella upside the head with a frying pan like something out of the movie Tangled. Honestly, though, I would not mind if Mary Margaret took up cooking ware as her weapon of choice, as it adds a bit of humor to dramatic rescues. Meanwhile, Hook manages to help Ursula regain her singing voice, which gave her the happy ending she wanted. So, she decides to ditch the Big Girl Villains’ table and return to the sea.
As a trade-off for her happiness, Ursula tells Hook the plot of the coming episodes. So long as Emma, who gave people their happy endings, is still playing the role of the savior, no villain is going to get their happy ending. So, Rumple plans on turning her heart evil, allowing the tables to turn so that the Author can rewrite the villains’ story.
And where is that mysterious Author? Well, as it turns out the Sorcerer trapped him behind the door in the picture. Literally. The Author is trapped behind the door in the storybook. So, you can take my prediction about the Author’s door being inside the Mad Hatter’s hat and throw that out the window. Should have known wishing Sebastian Stan might reprise his role as the Mad Hatter in a flashback was asking for too much.
With this most recent development, it seems like the fate of Storybrooke is resting on the possession of a piece of paper. Certainly this will not end terribly, like with the page ripping or possibly being caught on fire or anything.