May 7, 2020
Once Upon a Time: Maid Marion Gets a Makeover
You are what you steal. If this episode of Once taught us anything, it’s probably that.
From the time that we’re little, all of us are told to be good. Be kind. Don’t break the Ten Commandments, and such.
But are there times when the end justifies the means . . . loopholes where you can accomplish deeds traditionally seen as “bad” or “wrong” and yet still be able to look at yourself in the mirror each day and say, “I’m a good person?”
Maybe . . .
There sure was a lot of stealing going on in this episode, some for “moral,” “honorable” purposes, others for ridiculous, psychotic evil purposes. There were the tangible things like bottles of magical juice, both real and fake, money, a wallet, rent-controlled apartments. And then there were the less tangible things: a heart, a happy ending, the life of another, the face of another?
Confused? Perhaps, I should backtrack a bit . . .
Worst Chase Scene Ever . . .
Let me pose a scenario for you. You have a middle-aged, not particularly athletic-looking, alcoholic writer type running through the woods . . . well, actually it’s more like a leisurely, albeit slightly asthmatic jog. This gentleman is being pursued by two opposing parties.
Party One consists of a former thief and expert marksman, a kickass bail bondsman (who also happens to be a former thief), a dragon-slaying prince, and a swashbuckling pirate, all in their late twenties and relatively physically fit.
Party Two consists of a kind of rough-looking late 50-something guy who walks with a cane and occasionally, when it is convenient for the plot, has a severe limp.
So, how do you think this is going to go? Here are the three options:
- Middle-aged, out-of-shape writer bests them all and gets away
- Party One tackles his ass
- Party Two limps his way to victory
If you chose answer (b) like a logical person or answer (a) like a slightly less logical person with a flare for the creative, you clearly have not been watching this show for a long enough time.
Rumpel wins this round, as we all knew he would, easily overtaking the Author, while Snow and Charming continue to fail miserably at every aspect of life that doesn’t involve “Twue Wuv” and Emma once again proves herself to be the worst bail bondsman ever.
Rumpel finds the Author attempting to slice some wood off a tree and use it to literally write himself out of the mess he’s gotten himself into. There’s only one problem. Apparently authors of fairytales can only write with quills from the Enchanted Forest, and Storybrooke’s forest is just a boring old forest whose only enchantment is the occasional Gypsy Moth problem . . .
Fortunately, Rumpel has a magical pen for the Author to borrow . . .
Unfortunately, he wants him to use it to turn Emma into an Asshole and give all the other Assholes in this story the happy endings they don’t deserve . . .
Ruh roh . . .
Still feeling high from his victory, Rumpel visits Regina in her lair to taunt her with a napkin Robin Hood used to scribble his digits for Regina. People who don’t use modern technology are so precious . . . except when they’re the Unibomber . . . or cultists.
Regina looks longingly at her cell phone into which Robin’s number has been dutifully entered. Should she call it? Wait for him to call her? Send a text with vaguely sexual innuendo-laden emoticons?
As she ponders this age-old question, we flash back to the not-so-distant past . . .
If They Can Make It There, They’ll Make It Anywhere . . .
Robin Hood Takes Manhattan. It sounds like a straight-to-DVD Disney movie. Except this version apparently involves Robin getting pickpocketed within minutes of arriving near Central Park and having to crash in some dead guy’s apartment, which, apparently, no one got around to re-renting, despite the fact that its occupant hasn’t lived there or paid rent in two seasons. (R.I.P Neal!)
As anyone who has ever lived in NYC knows, rent-controlled, let alone rent-free apartments are as coveted as a million dollar bill. And this one is no exception. Robin has barely had time to remove his trademark hood when in limps Rumpel. “My dead son, my apartment,” he insists.
At this point in the show, I’m imagining a totally awesome sitcom starring Rumpel and Robin Hood as a mismatched pair of swinging bachelor NYC roommates. (We’d have to throw Marion and little Roland out the window after the pilot episode, but I could live with that.)
Unfortunately, Robin Hood doesn’t like this idea quite as much as I do. He demands Rumpel leave his dead son’s apartment forever and take his swanky cane with him. It appears our would-be zany swinging bachelor NYC sitcom roommates have reached a bit of an impasse.
And then Rumpel has a heart attack . . .
The doctors at the NYC hospital where Rumpel lands don’t seem to quite know what to do with him. They recommend he exercise more and plot for world domination less. But Rumpel knows what’s really wrong with him. And it’s something only sex with a brunette lady whose name rhymes with Hell and/or a pink heart-shaped bottle of what looks like bubble gum-smelling kiddie perfume can fix. Rumpel . . . wait for it . . . has a broken heart.
“Twue Wuv” strikes again.
Fortunately, Rumpel knows exactly where expert thief Robin can get exactly what Rumpel needs to save his life . . . a brothel . . . just kidding . . . it’s at Monkey Man’s Wizard of Oz’s consignment store . . . Rumpel agrees to give Robin the house and leave him alone forever if he saves his life.
“Or, you can just let him die, and then we get the apartment anyway,” Maid Marion suggests helpfully.
Damn that’s cold! Being a popsicle for half a season has really changed Maid Marion . . . or has it?
But the Robin Hood we all know and . . .well . . . at least Regina loves can’t just let a man die, can he? And besides, stealing a kiddie perfume bottle from a consignment store is easy. And it isn’t as though he hasn’t stolen that exact same bottle before.
I smell a flashback within a flashback . . .
No Money, Mo Problems
Apparently, before Robin Hood was the honorable thief we know today, he was a shitty barkeep who was about to be jailed for tax evasion. “Hey, I’ve got an idea,” says Rumpel, who must have a GPS for really desperate people. Go to Oz, steal me a bottle of Care Bear Perfume from the house of the Wicked Witch, and I’ll pay your debts.”
“Sounds awesome,” says Robin. “But I have to ask? Why Care Bear perfume?”
Rumpel shrugs. “I tell everyone it’s to cure my broken heart, but really it’s just because the bottle is very pretty and it’s always been my secret desire to smell like an eight-year-old girl.”
When Robin arrives in Oz, he finds Knave Will tied up from a heist gone bad and frees him. “What brings you here, New Friend?” Will asks congenially.
“I’m stealing Care Bear Perfume from the Wicked Witch,” Robin answers honestly.
“Oh, would you pick me up some too?” Will pleads.
“Because you want to smell like an eight-year-old girl too?” Robin asks.
“No, because my spinoff show where I was the star was cancelled and now I’m just a lame side character like you. It breaks my heart, and I want a cure for my heart and failed acting career.”
Robin enters the Wicked Witch’s lair and easily steals a bottle of Care Bear Perfume. Unfortunately, the Witch catches him before he can nab a second one, and he has to escape with just the one. “I couldn’t get any Care Bear Perfume,” Robin fibs when he reunites with Will outside.
Then Will makes Robin feel guilty by telling him about this sob story about having to do a genital warts commercial after Once Upon a Time in Wonderland was canceled because he couldn’t find other work. So Robin ends up giving Will his Care Bear perfume and leaves empty-handed.
I guess smelling like an eight-year-old girl just wasn’t in the cards for Rumpel . . . at least not at that time.
Back at the bar, Robin is about to be arrested when all the poor folks he stole from the rich to help come to his rescue. Robin evades prison but still loses the bar. That’s OK, though, because he now has some awesome Merry Men by his side and the manpower to steal all the Care Bear perfume he could possibly want . . .
. . . plus, you know, regular sex with Maid Marion and some necklace he stole from the witch that allows him to change his face whenever he’s bored.
But mostly just the opportunity to smell like an eight-year-old girl for ever after . . .
In Which Robin Hood Prince of Babes Unwittingly Adds Yet Another Notch To His Already Swiss Cheese-Looking Bed Post . . .
Back in present day, Robin has a much easier time stealing the Care Bear perfume from the Wizard’s consignment story. Flying Monkeys . . . they are great for doing funny tricks with bananas, terrorizing little girls named Dorothy, and seducing dumb blondes into thinking they are human and accepting their marriage proposals, but, apparently, they are very poor at security.
He gives it to Rumpel and leaves the hospital, having successfully won back the apartment he would have had to himself anyway if Rumpel had died. Hooray!
The only problem is Rumpel is still dying.
That’s when Marion walks in. “Haha,” she says. “I broke into the Flying Monkey’s store before Robin did (see what I mean about the shitty security?) and switched the Care Bear perfume with Strawberry Shortcake perfume. Now, you are going to smell like a nine-year-old girl instead of an eight-year-old one, and also, like die and stuff.”
“But why?” Rumpel cries. “I’ve always been really nice to you. In fact, you are practically the only person on the show whose life I never tried to ruin.”
That’s when Marion takes off her face and turns into the Wicked Witch.
Apparently Maid Marion has been the Wicked Witch the entire time she was on the show!
To make a long series of interlocking, convoluted flashbacks, short, basically, the Wicked Witch left her body before Rumpel could kill her in Season 2 snuck into the time portal with Emma and Captain Hook in the Season Finale of Season 3, killed Maid Marion, and then used that magic necklace thingy to look like Marion for all of Season 4, including all that time she spent as a popsicle.
Now the Wicked Witch is conveniently back in the story to (1) make Regina seem to fans like slightly less of an adulteress when she ultimately ends up with Robin Hood; (2) occasionally screw Robin Hood as Marion while her soon-to-be-traumatized not-so-much son watches; and (3) blackmail Rumpel into helping her become the unofficial fourth Queen of Darkness in search of an ill-won happy ending . . . well . . . more like replacement third, now that Ursula is gone.
Finally, back in present-present day, Regina learns the truth about Wicked Witch Marion when she finally gets the courage to call Robin and his faux wife taunts her over the telephone.
“See?” Rumpel gloats. “Marion is fake. Now you can get back your boy toy without feeling like a total homewrecker! And I can help you do it! All you have to do is agree to join Team Turn Emma Swan into an Asshole. You in?”
Regina stares hard at Rumpel, her expression inscrutable. After what seems like an overly long time, she finally opens her mouth to speak and . . .
Roll credits. Alas, Emma’s Assholey Fate will have to hang in the balance for another week.
Until next time, Dearies!