Feb 2, 2021
Once Upon a Time RECAP: Captain Hook Gets a Little Handsy (S4:E4)
Back in the very late 90s, there was a ridiculously bad movie called Idle Hands about a teenage boy who somehow managed to get his hand possessed by a serial killer. (Don’t you just hate it when that happens?) What followed was 90 VERY LONG minutes of the “evil hand” killing the teen’s friends, family, and, most depressingly, his cat (who, spoiler alert, was the only remotely likeable character in the entire film). Through it all, the teen just stared dumbfounded at his super busy body part, like a guy on a really bad acid trip . . .
This week’s installment of Once Upon a Time was a Disney-fied take on that story, with a twist, or, dare I say, a hook, at the end that made the premise much more palatable.
(More importantly, I am happy to report that no cats were harmed in the making of this episode . . .)
. . . just a knave . . . and some really old guy.
Let’s review, shall we?
The Mad Hat-less
Once upon time, there was an old guy who spent his whole life guarding the hat box of a colorful, but rather unstylish, hat . . .
One day, an evil guy who wore too much facial glitter . . .
Not that one . . .
Or that one . . .
That’s the one!
(His name is Zoso, but let’s for the storyline’s sake call him Dark One: The Prequel)
. . . tried to steal the colorful, but unstylish, hat away. He failed, but only because the hat apparently had some sort of internal security alarm that prevented evil people who wore too much facial glitter from touching it. (Sorry Frankie from Big Brother.)
Ugly hat wearers everywhere rejoiced!
But their happiness was only temporary, because sometime in the not-so-distant future, an evil glitter face somehow got his hands on that colorful, unstylish hat . . .
. . .which meant that no ugly hats were safe. Not even THESE . . .
Meanwhile, over at Granny’s . . .
“I’m going to make him an offer his hand refused.”
Emma finally gathers up the courage to ask Captain Hook out on a date . . .
Hook is thrilled, of course. But there’s only one problem. You see, it’s really hard to get to second base when you only have one hand. Possible, but difficult. And Hook really wants to get to second base with Emma because he’s kind of in love with her. Also, because . . . boobs.
And so our “handily challenged” Lothario pays a visit to Rumpelstiltskin’s shop, where he finds his oddly bulbous-looking extremity conveniently hanging out on the shelf in a glass jar.
Hook threatens to tell Belle that Rumpel is lying to her about the true location of his Dark One Sword (i.e., how he still has it in his possession) if the sometimes-villain doesn’t reattach his hand to his body as soon as possible. Rumpel gallantly obliges his blackmailer, but not before warning the pirate that reattaching his old limb to his new and improved body may have some unintended side effects.
“Back when you had two hands, you were kind of a douchebag,” Rumpel explains tactfully. “What if your hand’s douchebagginess somehow rubs off on your ‘Reformed-by-Love-And-Therefore-Slightly-Less-Douchebaggy-Personality?”
“Then, I’ll just shove it up your ass,” the Captain replies. “Unless you’ve been doing that with it yourself already, in which case, I really don’t want to know.”
Hook ignores Rumpel’s warnings and comes to pick up Emma at her parents’ house, dressed like John Travolta’s character from Grease. (I know it’s not exactly modern, but at least he’s graduated to the right millennium of fashion . . . baby steps.) Perhaps to make Hook feel a bit less dated, Emma coordinates her outfit with her date’s, even going as far as to do the whole Sandra Dee Ponytail and HairPoof Thing.
And as if this whole scenario wasn’t Leave it to Beaver enough, Mama Snow cements the awkwardness of this moment for all time, by doing this . . .
Killian’s totally game though. I guess one of the perks of dating a guy from the 1800s is that, unlike his modern day counterparts, this guy is not the least bit freaked out by (a) having to pick up his nearly thirty-year old girlfriend from her parent’s house, or (b) being treated by said girlfriend’s parents like a 17 year old heading off to his first prom. Hook even gives Emma a single red rose, which is a classic panty-dropper move in any century . . .
Emma is suitably impressed that Hook will now be that much more adept at tying shoelaces, but actually seems much more turned on by the rose and Hook’s new outfit than the “thing with five fingers,” which basically all of her jerky ex boyfriends had to offer. Let that be a lesson to you folks still out there in the dating pool! That thing that makes you the most uncomfortable about yourself is probably not nearly as noticeable to the people you care about as it is to you.
Because, honestly, I’d date a guy with horse hoofs for hands, if he looked like this . . .
(Because there is no shame in a guy who knows how to rock a good pair of leather gloves . . . or, in the case of a guy with hoof hands . . . really large mittens.)
Emma’s and Hook’s date goes swimmingly well! They find a nice restaurant that isn’t Granny’s (who knew such a place existed in Storybrooke), order some wine, and stare lovingly into each other’s eyes for a bit. Hook even manages to work in a little Hand Action before dessert . . .
But then, that Annoying Knave Guy from last week spills wine on Emma’s dress. So, Hook’s “hand” gets all evil and starts roughing him up big time. (But let’s be honest, dude kind of had it coming. Take it from someone who has ruined many a pale colored dress with red wine or ketchup. That sh*t’s devastating.) Emma seems a bit surprised by Hook’s intensity, but not enough that it prevents her from making out with her new beau outside her parent’s door and promptly agreeing to a second date . . .
Then she comes home to find her parents sitting up on the couch, eagerly awaiting all the juicy, handsy, details . . .
But then Hook finds the dress-ruining Knave skulking around town, and “his hand” proceeds to smash the guy’s face in . . .
This causes Hook to conclude that his Douchebag Hand needs to go back to the shop where it came from. (Second Base just wasn’t in the cards for him.)
After Captain Hook breaks into Rumpel’s car and assaults him, the dapper “antique shop owner” agrees to remove Hook’s offending hand again. But this time, he’s going to make him work for it . . .
But what will Rumpel make Hook do? Something related to a fairytale flashback, of course!
Because Characters in Fairytales Refuse to Read the Fine Print
When we last left Anna from Frozen, she had just escaped Bo Peep and the Black Sheep Mafia and was riding off into the sunset in search of Rumpelstiltskin . . . You know, because getting screwed into making a bad deal with Rumpelstiltskin is a Rite of Passage for all the characters on this show . . . like getting your period for women or sprouting your first chest hair for men. It’s unpleasant, but inevitable.
(Don’t worry, Anna. Disney princesses don’t actually get their periods.)
Anna asks Rumpel for intel on her parents, and Rumpel agrees to oblige if Anna simply signs a contract
in which she sells her soul to the Devil and agrees to die a terrible, horrible, no good, excruciatingly painful death and drops some pink potion into an old man’s tea. Sounds easy, right?
Anna looks at the contract. And begins to read it, but . . . you know . . . words . . . BO-RING. So she just signs the darn thing, and skips off on her merry way. Then, she meets the old guy. And SURPRISE, its the Oldest Apprentice Ever from the beginning of the story . . .
And sure, he kind of looks Charles Manson. And, yeah, he could use a bath and a haircut . . . and an eyebrow waxing . . . and that may very well be blood in his beard from munching on a toddler or a small puppy. But he just seems so gosh darn nice! Way too nice to drink a pink potion created by an evil guy who wears way too much glitter on his face!
So Anna dumps out the potion. Life-Altering Evil Contract Consequences Be Damned!
But then Rumpel tells her that the potion was actually an antidote to prevent the old guy from turning into THIS . . .
You see, Rumpel had already poisoned the old guy. And he knew that Anna would resist the temptation to commit an evil act, even if it would help her sister. And it was precisely that triumph in the face of evil that Rumpel needed to open that hatbox from the beginning of the episode, and extract that colorful, but unstylish hat . . . a colorful, unstylish hat which, as it turns out, has the power to break the Sword’s control over the Dark One.
Pretty clever huh? Not quite. You see, Anna technically didn’t triumph in the face of evil because, at least according to her, she never even considered poisoning the dirty old man!
Rumpel mulls this over for a moment. “No biggie.” He shrugs. “Now, you’ve broken our contract and have to stay locked up here for ever, abandoning your sister and your lover . . . unless you attempt to murder me.”
Anna unfortunately fails in killing Rumpel, but not before she cries her “I took a temporary trip to the dark side of my soul, and all I got was this stupid t-shirt” tears all over Rumpel’s Dark Sword . . .
. . . thus providing Rumpel with precisely what he needs to open the hatbox and control the colorful, but unstylish, hat . . .
But what Rumpel doesn’t count on is Old Guy Mouse jumping down from the rafters to bite him and Anna taking advantage of the distraction to pick up the Dark Sword and use it to control Rumpel . . .
She commands the Dark One to turn Old Guy Mouse back into Old Guy Guy, send her back to her home with her boyfriend, and never ever hurt her or her sister again for as long as they both shall live.
Smart girl . . . now, if only she’d learn to read contracts . . .
So, by now, you probably have a pretty good idea of what Rumpel is going to use Hook to help him do, right?
I Know What You Swept Last Summer . . .
With the help of a broom so quick on its feet that it puts the Roomba to shame . . .
. . . Rumpel locates Old Guy/Former Mouse/Apprentice and has Hook hold him down while he uses Colorful-But-Unstylish Hat to suck him up like a vacuum cleaner.
Well, now THAT was disturbing . . . (I mean, I know the guy was kind of dirty looking, and probably smelled bad, but that’s no excuse to vacuum him!)
Then, Rumpel removes Hook’s “Evil Hand” again, but not before telling him that it wasn’t possessed with the spirit Old Douchebag Hook after all . . . which basically means that Hook was being douchebaggy all by himself!
And that, my friends, is what makes Once Upon a Time so much better than that crap Idle Hands movie, because it forces all of its characters (even the really, really, ridiculously good-looking ones) to be accountable for their own misdeeds, just like they would be in the Real World. After all, blaming the “hands” would never stand up as a defense in a court of law
unless, of course, you are O.J. Simpson.
P.S. Rumpel got Captain Hook on tape looking like HE was the one responsible for vacuuming up Old Dirty Apprentice, so now the pirate is basically his blackmail bitch for life . . .
Speaking of Dirty Apprentices, guess who got a new job working at Rumpelstiltskin’s shop in hopes of helping his mom get the happy ending she “deserves” with an already married man?
Riiiight, because this isn’t going to go badly at all . . .
Next week on Once Upon a Time, the Snow Queen freezes some more sh*t, and Robin Hood considers pouring some red and blue dye on Maid Marion and turning her into a snow cone . . .
Until next time, Onceians!