Jul 6, 2021
Once Upon a Time: The Bad Girls Club
Who’s the evilest of them all? Three new contenders for the crown arrive in Storybrooke, but the true winner is someone you’d never expect…unless you saw the promos
Mean Girls. Every high school had them. Awful people, really. Rude, narcissistic, materialistic bullies, who seem to have been put on this Earth for the sole purpose of making everyone else’s lives miserable.
So, how come they always seemed to be having so much more fun than you?
In real life, mean girls are people to be feared, despised, and generally avoided at all costs. But in the wily world of fiction, they are our secret spirit animals. They have the best lines, wear the coolest outfits, and drive the fastest cars. While the good girls are sitting home on Saturday nights playing Scrabble with Granny and going to bed early so that they can wake up in time for church, the mean girls are out tearing up the town. And from the comfort of our living rooms (and without that pesky fear of getting arrested), for a short window of time we get to tear up the town right along with them.
TV villains can do that for us. They allow us a perfectly safe outlet to take a walk on the dark side, to unleash the hidden divas that lie within us all . . .
That, my dearies, is why Season 4B of Once seems so very promising. Because, for the first time since Evil Queen Regina’s reign of terror back in Season 1, the Bad Girls have taken the wheel. And that means that we are in for a very bumpy ride!
In Which Once Gets It’s Very Own Black Smoke Monster
Once upon a time, in a place called Fangtasia the Forbidden Fortress, a.k.a. Vampire Pam’s Maleficent’s crib (Man, I am just never going to get used to this!), a trio of very nasty ladies meet up for a surprise blind date orchestrated by none other than the Dark One himself. And if this is starting to sound to you like the beginning of the best Rated M for “Mature” fanfiction ever, you are not alone . . .
But because this is ABC and not HBO, the dating activity Rumpel has planned for his naughty lady friends is decidedly G rated.
Basically, Rumpel wants them to help him steal some potion thing that’s going to supposedly make their lives better or something. As far as heists go, Ocean’s Eleven it most certainly isn’t. In fact, stealing the “happiness potion” actually seems ridiculously easy in comparison to . . . well basically everything involving magic that anyone on the show has had to do ever.
Basically, the master plan goes something like this:
1) Cruella de Vil breathes on some bugs and makes them go away. (Because, apparently, in this incarnation, The Lady With the Weird Hair Who Likes to Kill Puppies is also Dog Whisperer with a Bad Case of Halitosis . . . probably from all that smoking she’s always doing.)
2) Vampire P Maleficent puts out a suspiciously small fire by spinning around in a circle. (A hose probably would have worked just as well, but wouldn’t have looked nearly as cool.)
3) Then, Ursula grabs the potion with her tentacles.
Unfortunately for the ladies, in this particular retelling of Mean Girls, there may be three Regina Georges but there is only one Lindsay Lohan. And HE is about to majorly f*&k them all over . . .
Hey look! It’s the Black Smoke Monster from Lost posing as that Evil Gargoyle thing from Fantasia!
Before skipping out with the Make You Happy Potion (where I’m from, we call it “Booze”), Rumpel helpfully informs Cruella, Maleficent and Ursula that Black Smoke Thing will feed on the “heart most capable of darkness,” which I guess makes this kind of a competition.
And the award for Worst Person Ever goes to . . .
Way to go, Maleficent! Vampire Eric would be so proud of you!
Just when it looks like The Lady With the Horn Hat is about to be vanquished FOREVER (only to rise from the grave somewhere in Bon Temps, Louisiana), Ursula surprises everyone by rescuing that Poor Unfortunate Soul (see what I did there?) from the Fires of Hell (which would require a much bigger hose and/or a heck of a lot more spinning to put out) just in the nick of time.
Actually, that was kind of sweet. No wonder Ursula lost out to Maleficent for Black Smoke Monster’s Regina George Award. She definitely strikes me as more of a Gretchen Weiners now . . .
Meanwhile, back in present day . . .
Ramen Noodles: Nourishing Down-on-their-Luck Bad Guys and Poor Hungover College Students Since . . . A Really Long Time Ago
Having successfully bypassed all that drama with the cast of Frozen and the ice cream lady who kept dropping glass in people’s eyes and turning them into assholes, the residents of Storybrooke are enjoying a relative return to normalcy. Snow is back to teaching, and showing off her horrifying haircut to impressionable minors. Hook is back to being Emma Swan’s unemployed sexy boy toy.
And Henry, despite the fact that he now looks and sounds about 35, is back to attending fifth grade.
Blue Fairy is still missing since that time Rumpelstiltskin arranged for her and her friends to be vacuumed up into a hat box, along with the roughest looking Mickey Mouse/Sorcerer’s Apprentice ever . . .
And while I, and probably the rest of the Once Fandom, would probably love it if she stayed that way . . . (Some people don’t need glass in their eyes to act like assholes . . . They do a great job of it all on their own.)
Belle and Hook inexplicably want her back. (Clearly, these two are gluttons for punishment.)
While researching how to remove Blue Fairies with Large Sticks Up Their Asses from vacuum cleaners, Hook and Belle girl talk a bit about their mutual ex-boyfriend Rumpel and how they are both “totes” better off without him. But they are both kind of weepy when they say it, so it’s hard to believe them.
To prove that she is so over Rumpel and that they are never, ever, getting back together (like, ever), Belle tries to throw herself into her work at the library. Unfortunately, no one in Storybrooke actually seems to know how to read, which would explain why the only book in town that anybody actually reads only seems to have pictures in it. So instead she researches Blue Fairy Vacuum Removal Methods on a computer that, from the looks of it, may very well be older than the Dark One himself.
Also throwing herself into a research project is Regina, who still wants to find the mysterious “Author” who drew lots of pictures of her life sucking, in the hopes that she can bribe him to cross those pictures out and replace them with ones where she gets laid regularly by this fox . . .
You know, in a totally non-bestiality sort of way . . .
Meanwhile, back in NYC, Ursula and Rumpel have become reluctant roommates who steal one another’s Ramen Noodles and bicker over who finished the last of the toilet paper and forgot to change the roll.
(Super Villains: They are just like us!)
But fear not, because Good Ole Rump has a plan . . . a plan that involves hopping over to Long Island and picking up Cruella and her kickass car . . . also some fast food from the place where Hurley used to work on Lost.
In case you thought I was kidding.
(Between this and the Ramen, I don’t think we’ve ever seen Rumpel eat this much. I guess plotting for World Domination really works up an appetite.)
Pandora’s Hat Box
Back in Storybrooke, Belle is super excited because someone contacted her on her computer from circa 1985 and taught her how to extract the Blue Fairy from the hat box. (NOOOOO! DON’T DO IT!) The way it’s done is almost too easy. Basically it involves Regina waving the Dark One Sword over the box and saying “Bippity Bobbity Boo.”
Suddenly, the forest is crawling with pesky nun fairies, including the odious Blue One. Oddly enough, hairy Mickey Mouse seems to still be stuck in the box, but nobody cares or even seems to notice. Also in the “fail to notice” category . . . THIS GUY.
See what happens when you let annoying Blue Fairies free from the hat boxes where they clearly belong? Bad things. Very bad.
Speaking of bad things, Rumpel and his Drag Queen-looking friends have just arrived at the town line, which they are magically barred from crossing. And Rumpel has a plan he hopes will allow them to get back in . . . a plan that involves Ursula calling Regina on his flip phone that looks almost as old as Belle’s computer.
No wonder Belle and Rumpel worked so well as a couple. They are both pretty much the slowest technological adopters ever.
In Which Smoke Monster Gives Out Another Regina George Award . . . But Not to the Person Actually Named Regina
Over at Grannys, the Storybrooke townsfolk are inexplicably having a party for the extraction of the Blue Fairy from the hatbox, which is basically like having a party to celebrate cavities, economic recession, or genital warts.
Blue Fairy, being her usual unpleasant self, sits in the corner with a perma bitchface on while Regina tries to politely glean from her information about the Author of the Book that Contains No Words in It. Blue reluctantly reveals that the Author hasn’t been seen in eons and that he or she is a different person than the Sorcerer, whose home the book was found inside.
We interrupt this important plot point to bring you more Black Smoke Monster . . .
Emma and Regina rush outside in an attempt to vanquish this demon with their glow fingers, but to no avail. Then, as if on cue, Ursula calls Regina with some info on Ole Smokey in exchange for her and Cruella being allowed to cross the town line.
“OK, so here’s the situation,” Regina informs her frenemy Emma. “The Black Smoke Monster from Lost doesn’t want to murder everyone in town, just the winner of The Regina George Award. And since that’s clearly me, all we have to do is hop in your cool yellow car, drive to the town line, and then I can Pied Piper his ass out of existence.”
It sounds to Emma like a pretty good plan. So you can imagine The Savior’s surprise when Smoke Monster totally ignores Regina and focuses all its attention on her.
Sorry Evil Queen. Looks like you just got demoted to Gretchen Weiners . . .
Anyway, the plan works. Ole Smokey gets driven out of Storybrooke and goes back to Lost Island to try to convince its inhabitants that they aren’t actually in purgatory, when that’s clearly where they’ve been the whole time . . .
Thankful to be free of the reminder that she is no longer Storybrooke’s resident Regina George, the Now-Slightly-Less-Evil Queen Regina is more than willing to let her fellow supposedly reformed villainesses (villaini?) into town. Emma graciously agrees that this is, in fact, the right thing to do.
However, the sassy Swan Queen duo meet surprising opposition to their plan from Storybrooke’s sappiest couple, Snow and Charming.
Huh? What gives? These two like EVERYBODY! Even that disgusting blue fairy! So, why are they suddenly being so judgy? Do our resident prom king and queen still have some residual asshole-making glass in their eyes, or is something more sinister going on here?
As if to prove the latter, Snow and Charming plan a clandestine meeting with two of the three Queens of Darkness to remind them that “What happens in the Enchanted Forest stays in the Enchanted Forest” . . . also to threaten them that if they reveal their secrets to anyone in town, especially Emma, Snow will personally rip both their hearts out of their chests.
And in that moment, Snow White officially became the Tony Soprano of Storybrooke, which I guess makes Charming, Carmella . . .
Later that night, Ursula and Cruella follow through on their promise to let Rumpel Keyzer Soze-walk his way back into town.
(His recent bout of helpfulness having apparently made up for the fact that he royally screwed them over and tried to feed them to the smoke monster a few commercial breaks ago. Bygones!)
To reward them for their loyalty, Rumpel now reveals to his new pals how it was he who reached out to Belle on her ancient computer and provided her with the spell she needed to free that snooty fairy (but not Hairy Mickey) . . . a spell that also brought Old Smokey Monster to town in the first place.
Pretty clever, huh?
And that was basically the episode in a nutshell. Next week on Once, Vampire Pam rejoins the Evil Band, effectively pitting two winners of the Regina George Award against one another. Also the Blue Fairy accidentally gets flushed down the toilet . . . or not.
A girl can dream, can’t she? Until next time, my Dearies!