Once Upon a Time: Heroism for Dummies

sword looker

You know what’s hard? Being a hero on a Show About Heroes. Why? Because every time you try to do something heroic, there are always at least ten other people lining up to do it first.

In short, the key to being a hero on a show like Once upon a Time is basically trying find something heroic to do  that no one else could possibly have any interest in doing.  This way, you have no competition . . . like, for example, saving a trio of funny looking ginger kids from getting their head sawed in half by an arrow (because who the heck wants to do that?) . . . or saving your erstwhile girlfriend from becoming a hungry bear’s Happy Meal.  In summation, since no one else on the show, apart from Merida, gave two craps about her brothers, and only Rumpel seems to remember that poor Belle is even still on this show, both characters got their hero stripes relatively easily, all things considered.


Oh, and Emma Swan?  Still the Biggest Asshole on the Planet . . .

Let’s review, shall we?

“A Doofus Took My Gingers!”


Hook,  Charming, and Merlin take turns “magicking into unconsciousness” and beating the crap out of a bunch of Arthur’s guards,to break Lancelot out of the pokey.  Belle is there for no apparent reason, and just kind of stands around awkwardly, looking half-bored, while all this testosteroney stuff goes on around her.  This is pretty much how I look when someone makes me watch sports on television . . .

“We can’t break into Lancelot’s cell, the magic is too difficult,” whines MERLIN THE GREATEST WIZARD OF ALL TIME about what appears to be a bunch of plain bars, and not much else.

It’s a good thing you are so pretty, Merlin . . .

merlin free

“Hey Merlin, The Greatest Wizard of All Time, why don’t you try this spell I have here in this spell book entitled, “How to break plain prison bars and commit a first degree felony . . . magically,” Belle offers.

“Oh, so that’s why you were randomly standing around during our Male Bonding Prison Breakout Session earlier.  You are here to provide important information, and also to remind fans that you still exist, because a lot of this episode just so happens to be about you,” Merlin exclaims out loud.

clever one smeone noticed

“That’s right,” Belle responds, “I’m also the only person in Storybrooke who knows how to read, and I keep it that way, by filling the only library in town with only picture books.”

Using Belle’s spell, Merlin frees Lancelot from prison.  He also frees Merida, because she is standing in the prison cell right next to Lancelot, and to not save her too would make things really awkward for everyone involved.

Merida shows her gratitude to the Storybrooke crew for saving her from becoming the newest cast member of Orange is the New Black (Orange looks terrible on gingers!) by . . . kidnapping Belle.

worry wake

At first, I thought Merida might be taking Belle as a hostage, so she can use her as leverage to obtain something of value from the Storybrooke crew.  Then, I remembered that the only person on the show, who cares enough about Belle to fork over cash for her safe return is Rumpel the Coma Patient.  And Coma Patients tend to be really bad at hostage negotiations.  (Other things coma patients are bad at: staring contests, playing Jenga, reciting lines from the screenplay of A Few Good Men.)

Actually, Merida wants Belle to help her come up with a spell that will reunite the ginger lass with her even ginger-ier kidnapped brothers .  . .  something Belle probably would have willingly done anyway, without all the strong arming.  Though her hair is admittedly pretty friggin awesome, the other stuff between Merida’s ears (i.e. her brains) are clearly a little lackluster.  Generally, when you require the services of someone who knows witchy spells that could screw you up for life, the way to ask them for help is not to knock them unconscious.  (Maybe that’s why Merida’s movie is called Brave, instead of Smart or Common Sense.)

just asked

Fortunately,  Belle is a total mensch (she’d have to be to  put up with Rumpel for all this time), and decides to help Merida find her brothers.  She does this by performing a locator spell on the boys.  Upon doing this, Belle and Merida learn that the boys are set to be executed by the three doofuses Merida was supposed to marry in the movie.  Talk about taking rejection poorly!

the suitors

“I’ll show them!  I’ll turn into a bear and eat everybody in town.  That will teach those doofuses not to mess with my little gingers!” Merida exclaims triumphantly.


“Yeah, but if you eat everybody in town, you’ll be super lonely.  Plus, since you haven’t proven to be all that bright, you’ll probably screw up and eat your brothers too.  And doofuses and ginger give bears really bad indigestion . . . or so I’ve heard.  I’m going to screw up the bear spell on purpose, so you are forced to use your brains to save your brothers.”

“My brains?”  Merida asks incredulously.  “But you just told me I’m not that smart.”

“Yeah, you are right, better to use the fact that you are pretty good at shooting stuff,” Belle capitulates.

So, Merida shoots a bow and arrow in the general direction of her ginger brothers, and, in doing so, is able to intercept each of the three arrows headed for  her brothers’ ginger brains.

saving boys


The townspeople are so impressed by this,  they decide to make her their queen . . . which would be like us electing our next president based on his ability to win the video game, Grand Theft Auto, against all the other nominees.

the queen

Merida is then united with her three funny – looking brothers and they all live Ginger-ly Ever After.

To the one or two males who are reading this recap, let this be a lesson to you: getting dumped is no reason to go out and start murdering gingers.  It always ends badly.  Stick to killing brunettes.  It’s much easier.

Sh*t my Talking Mushroom Says.

Back in present day Storybrooke, Regina is looking for some wackadoo in town to have a conversation with a giant mushroom and ask it why Emma is still the Biggest Asshole on the Planet.   Unfortunately, while Storybrooke is jam packed with wackadoos, apparently, only the wackadoos chosen by Merlin, The Greatest Wizard of All Time to Ever Get Stuck in a Tree for Thousands of Years, are special enough to speak the language of the talking mushroom.

Enter Wackadoo #1, King Arthur, who sucks royally, is totally evil, and is really terrible at hiding it, but the folks in Storybrooke are too dumb to figure this out.  “I’ll help you converse with a giant mushroom,” offers Arthur laughing maniacally, as he strangles puppies with one hand, and decapitates babies with the other, while stroking his evil  mustache with his big toe.  “Just give me some privacy, while I do it, so I have time to plot to destroy the world via mass genocide, the apocalypse, and worst of all, The Kardashians.”


“Okey dokey,” responds Snow White cheerfully, as they exit stage left.

Once alone, King Arthur attempts to burn the Talking Mushroom, but isn’t smart enough to wait around to make sure it actually burns.  “Sorry, Storybrooke people, the Talking Mushroom just wasn’t in a very chatty mood today, I guess.”

arthur 1

“I think King Arthur might be f*&king with us,” offers Charming, as he steps over a pile of dead puppies, the first edition of the book Mein Kampf, and a Kanye West for President button .  . . also the un-burned mushroom.

fire toss

“You had one job, King Arthur!”  Yells the Kardashians, shaking their fists in anger.


So, the Storybrooke family is forced to call in Wackadoo #2, Henry, Mushroom Whisperer Extraordinaire.  Henry throws the mushroom in the cauldron, and is instantly faced with a hologram of sexy Merlin, which, for all those interested, is totally what I want for my next birthday.  Only in my hologram, he’ll be naked.

“I’m sorry, I can’t come to the talking mushroom right now, because I’m being tortured by Emma the Asshole,” explains Hologram Merlin.  “If this is an emergency, contact this chick named Nimueh, Merlin out!”

So, I guess the Greatest Wizard of All Time isn’t the Greatest Wizard after all.  Some chick named Nimueh is better, maybe the whole “stuck in a tree for thousands of years” thing should have given it away . . .

Bear-y Unnecessary Roughness

Back in Biggest Asshole on the Planet Emma’s storyline, Merida remains compelled by Asshole Emma to force Rumpel to be brave, so he can be considered a “hero” for storyline purposes, and remove some stinking sword from a stinking rock.  Unfortunately, because, as I may have mentioned, once or twice, Merida may or may not have ridden the short bus boat to school, back in the day, Rumpel easily evades her.

Then Asshole Emma compels Merida to attack Belle, first with just her sword, then by turning her into a bad CGI version of a giant bear.  It’s the bad CGI version of a giant bear version of Merida (“MerBer” or “Bearida,” as she is lovingly referred to by friends and family) that finally gets Rumpel off of his ass and dipping his toe in the pool of heroism.  Rumpel stares down MerBer and throws some dust in her face . . . not the dust that makes you into a Stepford Doofus from previous episodes . . . the dust that makes you, well, not a bear.

Merida returns to human form, and Rumpel gets to wear the “Storybrooke Hero Number 5,762,534” tee-shirt for the rest of the season . . . or until he screws up and does something shitty, whichever comes sooner.

had it in you

The Sword and the Groan

Back in Camelot, Merlin reaches out to Not-Yet-The-Biggest-Asshole-on-the-Planet-but-still-Super-Assholey Emma, revealing himself to be the creepy usher who told her never to remove Excalibur from its stone, that time in the late eighties when Emma was at the movie theater stealing candy from extras.

kid and usher

It’s funny how when Merlin was an usher, I thought he was creepy, and now that he’s The Greatest Wizard of All Time to Get Stuck in a Tree for Thousands of Years, I think he’s sexy.  Does this make me shallow, I wonder?

Also, Emma visits Zelena in jail, and brings her onion rings to satisfy her pregnancy cravings, while also inviting her to join her Mean Girls Club, in exchange for protection from Storybrookes 80 billion heroes.  (Emma gets to play the role of Regina George, naturally, while Zelena is a total Cady Heron.)  Zelena isn’t quite sure she should accept,  having once murdered Emma’s boyfriend at all.  “Meh, it happens,” shrugs Emma, before exiting stage left.  “Call me if you want to go shopping for more evil black clothing.”


Then, back in present day, Rumpel removes Excalibur from it’s stone on Emma’s behalf, in direct contradiction of Creepy Usher  / Sexy Wizard Merlin’s instructions, but warns Emma, in no uncertain terms, that now that he’s Storybrooke #5,762,534 he’s coming for her Asshole Ass.

heroes all over

Be afraid Asshole Emma, be very afraid . . . of dust that might turn you not into a bear . . . if you ever decide to turn into one.

Until next time, Onceies!

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TV Show: Once Upon a Time

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