Once Upon a Time: The Kids Are Not All Right
When people say, “Love makes you do crazy things,” they tend to be talking about romantic love . . . the kind of love that gives you butterflies in your tummy, a warm gooey feeling in your heart, and that awkward tingly sensation in your pants.
But what about the love a parent feels for his or her child? The kind of love that only develops when a little tiny human enters your world and, at least for the first two or three years of its life, is totally and completely vulnerable, relying on you for even the simplest of life’s necessities, including pooping.
If romantic love can make you do crazy things, well then that kind of love should have the power to render you damn near psychotic. This week’s installment of Once was all about the great lengths parents will go to shield their little ones from darkness . . . even if that darkness happens to be coming directly from the parents themselves.
Also this week on Once . . . . . . everybody gets away with lying to Emma, whose bullsh*t-detecting magical power seems to have been on the fritz ever since she started dating the flying monkey back in Season 2.
. . . Belle gets a little tongue action from someone whose name most certainly does not rhyme with Bumplebiltskin.
. . . Snow and Charming act shady and start (or continue, depending on how you look at it) sucking at life.
. . . and a plot is hatched for Regina to infiltrate Regina George’s Army of Skanks Maleficent’s Queens of Darkness, thereby indicating that I’ve been genuinely onto something with all my shameless Mean Girls references this season. (Never pegged the Evil Queen as a Cady Heron though . . .)
Let’s review, shall we? It’s a Dream . . . within a Dream . . . within a Dream! Remember how in the movie Groundhog Day, the first indication you got that Bill Murray was still failing his Life Test and was going to have to live the same day over yet again, was that his alarm clock kept saying it was 6 a.m. and playing that annoying Sonny and Cher song? Well, that’s kind of what’s happening with Snow this week as she repeatedly wakes up at 2:58 a.m., finds her husband either missing or passed out and useless (which is pretty much a metaphor for Prince Charming’s “character arc” throughout last season), and receives a booty call nightly visit from Vampire Pam . . . er, I mean Maleficent, which is not nearly as sexy as it sounds.
Though most normal folk would take regularly dreaming of Vampire Pam as a sign that they’ve been binge watching too much True Blood (especially those last two seasons, which nobody should have watched at all), Snow decides it means that she and her husband have to kick Ursula and Cruella out of their town before they turn Emma into the scowling-faced lady we’ve been seeing in all the promos . . .
But how do they accomplish this without Emma figuring out what they are doing? If you guessed following the two evil ladies with all the stealth of King Kong traipsing through New York City, you guessed right. (For a former expert thief, you would think Snow White would suck a bit less at surveillance and sabotage. I blame her awful haircut . . . I blame it for everything bad that happens on this show, really.) Oh Baby! Back in the past, we learn that the Queens of Darkness sought out Snow and Charming’s help to defeat the Dark Curse (the first one, back in Season 1 . . . I know there are so many Dark Curses that it’s easy to lose track). Their master plan to save the world apparently involved getting Fairytale Land’s very own Prom King and Queen to talk to some tree and ask it how to defeat the curse.
(And if you think conversing with foliage seems like a rather lame ass solution to the extremely LARGE PROBLEM that was Season 1 Evil Queen Regina, you must first consider the source. I mean, this is Maleficent we are talking about here . . . a woman whose Master Plan to battle her hurt feelings over not being invited to a christening was to turn into a dragon and put a curse on a baby. Evil and cool with great tastes in horn hats though she might be, an expert in the Long Con she is most definitely not.)
Nonetheless, Snow and Charming are game, at least until they hit up the tree and find out that it’s not in a very talkative mood. The reason for this, as it turns out . . . IS BECAUSE IT’S A TREE, AND TREES DON’T TALK!
Just kidding . . . that would be logical. And we all know we don’t watch shows like Once Upon a Time for their logic. (We watch them for the sexy men in tight pants . . .)
Actually, at least according to Maleficent, the real reason the tree is being so tight-trunked is that Snow White is totally preggars. (How did Maleficent know this? Perhaps she shoved a PH stick in the hero’s pee during one of her nightly 3 a.m. stalking visits to figure this out?) P.S. The unborn child . . . i.e., Emma . . . might very well turn out to be Satan’s Spawn.
So, no tree talk for Snow, at least not while she’s carrying that morally ambiguous child in her belly. Talking Trees . . . they can be so judgmental!
That night, Maleficent pays yet another booty call to Snow in her bedroom. (There are no alarm clocks in Fairytale Land, but if there were one, I have no doubt it would say 2:58 a.m.) Tree or no tree, she wants to work with Snow to defeat Regina again. Why? Because she’s preggars too, and would kind of prefer it if her baby wasn’t cursed for all eternity . . . you know . . . like that other baby, who she cursed for all eternity.
Crazy, right? I wonder if Fairytale Land has a Mommy-and-Me class like Storybrooke?
Anywhoo, Snow White is sooooo not having this mommy-to-be bonding moment with Horn Head Maleficent. She’s not sure whether her baby will end up being good, evil, or have a penchant for pirates and wearing red leather jackets. But she does know that her morally ambiguous child will be way cooler, and dress much better, than Maleficent’s . . .
In other words, Snow White is just as judgmental as that non-talking tree!
Speaking of uncommunicative blocks of wood . . .
Remember back when Emma and Pinnochio were kind of a thing? Neither does he . . .
Regina’s been kind of bummed out this half of the season, with her fox gone and with everyone constantly reminding her and Henry of what a crappy person she was a couple of seasons ago . . . Then Henry tells Regina that Pinocchio — back when he was a really hairy grownup who occasionally stuck his tongue down Emma’s throat — was successfully able to insert his own fairytale story into The Book with Almost No Words.
“That means I can write my own version of a happy ending where I get regularly laid by a Robin Hood Prince of Babes and put it into the book so it comes true . . . kind of like The Secret, only with less celebrity endorsements,” exclaims Regina. Or, at least that’s what she would say, if anyone in this episode said or did anything remotely logical or intelligent. Instead, Regina decides to interrogate little Pinocchio about the identity of The Author . . . “Hey, don’t worry, Evil Queen, I got this,” offers Emma. “You may not know this, but Ole Pinocchio used to have a real woody . . . literally . . . for me back in the day. And my morally ambiguous, Regina George Award-winning ass is not above seducing an amnesiac puppet with the appearance and mentality of a ten-year old to get what I want.”
Unfortunately, Pinocchio is about as interested in Emma’s ladylike wiles as that tree was in gossiping with Snow White. Plus, he has little-to-no memories of his motorcycle-riding, swarthy alter ego with questionable personal hygiene.
Emma takes her rejection in stride. And why not? She’s already got a man, one who is old enough to drink something stronger than milk and can stay home alone without parental supervision. But Regina is PISSED. Doesn’t this little runt care at all about her sex life?
She starts laying into the Wooden Kid super hard, until Papa Geppetto tells her to try picking on someone who doesn’t look like he belongs on the cover of a Fisher Price toy box for a change. Regina storms out, and Pinocchio heads to bed for a nap and a nice leg sanding. Later though, Regina feels kind of guilty about the whole child abuse thing and comes to Geppetto to apologize. “Look, I get why you were mad at me,” she admits. “If you bullied Henry like I bullied your sort-of-kid, I’d crush your heart and bake it into one of my famous poison apple turnovers.”
Geppetto promptly forgives Regina for being such a b*tch. And to prove there are no hard feelings, he offers the former Evil Queen Pinocchio’s old man purse, in the hopes that it will help her solve the mystery of who wrote The Book with No Words. Inside Pinocchio’s Man Purse just so happens to be a picture of a door with the word “Author” posted to it.
Great. Another useless wooden object that supposedly has all the answers . . . just what this show needs.
The Resurrection of Not-Vampire Pam
Throughout this recap, I’ve been griping about how our fairytale characters have been pretty lame lately when it comes to charting out Long Cons and Master Plans. Rumpel, however, is the exception to this rule. His plan last week to use the Smoke Monster from Lost to get Ursula and Cruella across the town line was admittedly brilliant. His plan this week to get Snow and Charming to unwittingly bring Maleficent back to life is even better.
It all starts with Ursula and Cruella not-so-stealthily stealing a wooden box from Rumpel’s store and purposefully getting caught doing so by Belle herself, who has been tending to the store in her ex beau’s absence.
When Prince Charming learns of the theft, he tracks Cruella and Ursula down and retrieves the object, but doesn’t tell Emma about it because The Plot Says So. Also acting shady with Emma this week is Hook, who apparently got a little wet and wild with everyone’s favorite fish stick Ursula back in the day and is a teensy bit embarrassed about it.
(Question: When you have sex with a water creature and later regret it, is it still called the “walk of shame” when you escape her oyster bed the next morning, or is it the “swim of shame?”)
Charming later tells Snow about the whole purloined box thing. They immediately recognize the object in the box as belonging to Maleficent and correctly surmise that the Queens of Darkness are trying to bring her back to life. And so the couple set out in the middle of the night to where Maleficent is buried in hopes of destroying it and her all at once. Unfortunately for Snow and Charming, this is precisely what Rumpel wanted them to do. Because, as it turns out, he needs, not the object in the box, but Snow’s and Charming’s blood as the “two people who wronged Maleficent the most” in order to bring Horn Head Lady out of her coffin.
Welcome back, Not-Vampire Pam. Oh, how we missed you!
Having royally effed things up for about the 87th time in this episode, Charming and Snow decide to reveal their secrets to Emma once and for all. But first they overhear Emma telling Hook that she chooses to see the best in him, even if he occasionally “sleeps with the fishes,” and they inexplicably change their mind because . . . Plot . . . again.
Later that night, Snow meets Regina in the rain, hands her a copy of the DVD of Mean Girls, points to Lindsay Lohan’s picture and says “be her, do that . . . to them,” motioning to the three girls in pink standing haughtily behind Lindsay on the cover.
“You do know that three quarters of the way into this story, Lindsay turns into the Meanest Girl, right?” Regina reminds Snow. “You are basically single-handedly ensuring that I get to be the show’s Big Bad again by Season 5.”
“True, but the Maleficent character gets run over by a bus in the movie, which is all I really care about, because I may or may not have accidentally/on purpose killed her baby,” Snow admits.
“That makes sense,” responds Regina thoughtfully.
Back on a mountaintop just on the fringe of town, Maleficent clutches in her fist that object Snow and Charming almost stole from her, which ends up being a baby rattle. “It’s almost 2:58 a.m.,” she thinks to herself, “Time to pay another bedtime visit to everyone’s favorite fairytale princess with the crap haircut . . .
In other nightmarish news, this happens . . .
Next week on Once, Fish Stick and Pound Puppy teach their new pal Regina how to talk smack on Emma in a burn book and what happens if she deigns to wear sweatpants more than once a week.
Also Snow and Regina try to get Maleficent to wear foot cream on her face . . .
Until next time, my Dearies.