Sep 14, 2020
Once Upon a Time: Cinderella, armed and dangerous!
This week on Once, Cinderella goes POSTAL… for a few seconds. Also this week, Hook and Emma get baby fever. Rumpel makes Belle a mix tape. And the Evil Queen comes up with a nefarious scheme… to perfect her adopted son’s bad posture.
Let’s review, shall we?
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The Hunger Games
Everyone knows that the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his
pants stomach. (We’re going to go with stomach here, because it’s an 8 p.m. show owned by Disney.) And this is why both Regina and the Evil Queen attempted to feed Hyde into giving them information about the town’s new burgeoning population of homeless people. The only difference, of course, is that the Evil Queen arrived first at Hyde’s prison cell with a five-course meal, wine, and a team of set designers from the recently canceled series Hannibal. Regina, on the other hand, brought a pan of re-heated microwavable lasagna that she probably re-plated from a Stouffer’s TV Dinner, and the only two members of the town’s Neighborhood Watch, Snow and Charming…
Understandably, Hyde is unimpressed with his new, less than Michelin Star accommodations, and refuses to give up any hobo gossip to our heroes, unless Regina frees him from the pokey, ASAP. This, Regina cannot do (at least not with Neighborhood Watch literally breathing down her neck).
Maybe Regina should have chosen to make a move on Hyde’s heart through his pants, after all…
I guess it really shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Hook is good with kids, especially when you consider the fact that, over in Neverland, apart from a few unwashed smelly pirates and a crocodile, prepubescents were literally the only people around with which he could share his Man Pain. Of course, up until this week, Emma has been too mired in her depression, carpal tunnel pain, and endless supply of pillow cases with holes cut in the arms for t-shirts (she wore one again this week! Why, Once Wardrobe Team? WHY?) to notice.
So, Hook, whose sex life this season has consisted entirely of one hastily aborted couch fondling session, sets off on a major campaign to get himself laid more regularly. And that campaign involves him temporarily morphing into the male version of Mary Poppins with anyone under the age of 18 he can find.
Emma, who sees everyone around her having babies, and then promptly forgetting they exist when plot dictates that they do so, is super turned on by the notion of “getting a little Hook in her,” both figuratively and literally. The only problem is that she’s quite certain she’s going to croak by the end of the season, which doesn’t leave her with much time to get knocked up and carry a baby to term.
Emma discusses these fears (again) with her shrink, Jiminy Cricket. Jiminy tells Emma to Carpe Diem, basically, because she’s the star of a show where logic, plot, and timeline consistency aren’t exactly top concerns. So, if the writers decided they wanted Emma to have a baby with Hook and die by the end of the season, they’d probably get it done in the span of two episodes, via a hastily explained “time jump” or “magic, speed-up-the-birthing-process spell.” (The latter of which being a plot device that was actually used on this show with Zelena and her newborn.)
This explanation is good enough for Emma, who by the end of the episode invites Hook to move in with her, while evoking thinly veiled allusions to the couple’s shared leather fetish . . .
Once alone, Captain Hook celebrates his good fortune by twirling his mustache and laughing maniacally, while shouting at the top of his lungs, “My evil plan worked! She bought it.”
Then, he proceeds to punch a couple of babies in the face, just because he can. Just kidding. He probably did something like this…
Now, if only Emma could finally work up the courage to tell the future father of her children/fellow leather fetishist the truth behind her crippling carpal tunnel condition…
The Tale of the Forgotten Stepsister (and the Really Forgotten Stepsister)
This week’s Fairytale flashback is a revisit of the same Cinderella story we’ve already seen twice on the series, which makes the season’s promise of “Untold Stories” a bit of a misnomer, at least as far as this episode is concerned. That said, we do get some tweaks to the well-known tale here. One change is that Cinderella leaves the ball way before midnight, not because she fears her dresses will turn back to rags if she stays, as commonly believed, but rather because she’s insecure about being poor, and fears that everybody at the ball, the prince included, is secretly laughing at her.
This fear is confirmed for Cinderella when her Stepmother tells her she looks like a trash bag, and has the same education level of the family’s pet cat. That line itself is really not important to the plot. I just thought it was funny, but also racist/species-ist? against cats. Because some cats I know, like mine for example, happen to be super-educated, just saying.
But I guess the most important two tweaks to this story, at least for purposes of this episode, are the fact that: (1) Cinderella is so convinced that the prince will never love her that she is actually planning to go into the Land of Untold Stories to escape the feared inevitability of her spinsterhood; and (2) it’s actually her “ugly” stepsister Clorinda, who convinces Cinderella to stay in Fairytale land, so that she can be around to accept her Prince’s inevitable proposal.
As luck would have it, Clorinda has also found love—SECRET FORBIDDEN LOVE—with the prince’s footman, a union of which the Evil Stepmother will never approve.
This gives Cinderella an idea!
Clorinda can escape to the Land of Untold Stories with her Footman, where the Evil Stepmonster can never find them and get in the way of their true love. Everything seems to be going according to plan, until Evil Stepmonster uses Cinderella’s insecurities against her again, to get the latter to spill the beans on Clorinda’s whereabouts before she can escape to the Land of Untold Stories with her Footman. As a result, Evil Stepmonster ends up dragging Clorinda into the Land of Untold Stories with her, while Poor Footman is left out in the cold, doomed to never have a name, or more than one line of dialogue in this portion of the story.
Speaking of no name or dialogue, Cinderella also has another stepsister. But she gets no name, and pretty much stares at the screen dumbfounded for the first half of the flashback, only to be never heard from again shortly thereafter. No one is looking for her. Nobody cares that her entire family abandoned her for another universe. Basically, Evil Stepmonster’s under-achieving cat gets more personality development than this chick. Talk about an Untold Story!
Defeat and Repeat?
Meanwhile, Regina rushes around town trying to figure out a way to defeat her eviler and hornier half. This results in her ultimately hiring Dr. Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll to cook up a potion that will allow her to kill herself, for lack of a better term. (Let’s hope it goes over better than Regina’s lasagna.) Snow White finds herself to be suffering from a bit of an existential crisis.
And why shouldn’t she? The show has been going on for six seasons now. And every season, Snow has to battle two big bads, one of whom is often someone she’s battled before. In fact, Snow has been so busy battling Big Bads that she hasn’t had time to fix that hideous haircut of hers!
So, Snow tells Charming that she’d like to go back to being a teacher, like she was in season one. She thought she was pretty good at it. And hey, if you forget the fact that time was on a Groundhog Day-esque loop throughout most of the first season, which meant that Snow pretty much taught the same “How to Make a Birdhouse” class to the same exact students for 28 years, I guess you could say Snow was about average, as far as teachers go.
Speaking of students, since Storybrooke’s one kid over the age of 2, Henry, seems to be reaching adolescence, Snow has decided she wants to start a high school. She figures Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Frankenstein can teach there right alongside of her, bringing the faculty of said high school up to three people. Never mind the fact that Dr. Frankenstein also happens to be the only doctor in Storybrooke too (I hope he forms two unions, each including only himself, to fight back against these unfair working conditions).
But hey, I guess when you live in a town where half the population is homeless, and the others are trashbags with the education level of cats, you have to improvise a bit when it comes to job creation.
Follow that Stinky Sneaker!
Back in the Cinderella portion of the story, now that Clorinda and her mother have crash landed in Storybrooke, and joined the town’s excessive homeless population, everybody’s favorite Friend to Rats and Rider of Pumpkins decides she needs to find her stepsister. (Again, Clorinda, not the other stepsister, because no one cares about her.)
Cinderella steals her husband’s rifle in anticipation of this meeting, because nothing says, “I’m sorry I ruined your sex life, possibly for all eternity,” like waving a firearm in their face like a raving lunatic. Cinderella’s husband asks Emma for help, because he’s worried that Cinderella will kill Clorinda, because the latter said some mean stuff to his wife, back when the two women were teenagers. (As good a reason to commit cold-blooded murder as any.)
In order to find Cinderella, and prevent her from becoming a homicidal maniac (after all, the town’s only jail cell is currently occupied by Hyde, so no one else is allowed to commit crime), Emma uses her magic to produce Cinderella’s stinky running sneaker, and then follows its disgusting aroma to the gun-toting princess’ whereabouts.
In the midst of all this toxic shoe sniffing, Emma and the gang come upon the Evil Queen, who despite living inside the dark part of Regina’s soul for the majority of her life, somehow comes fully equipped with a designer wardrobe, complete with a treasure trove of weaves and hair extensions. (It’s rather impressive, actually. Perhaps Emma and Snow should consider temporarily moving into Regina’s soul. They could learn a thing or two about fashion.)
Evil Queen, who is in full “throw shade at Emma and make her feel insecure” mode…
…actually makes some really good points about how she’s just as much Henry’s mother as Regina, seeing as she was hiding out inside her soul, while Regina raised him. (This, bringing Henry’s mommy count up to three, for those of you keeping score.)
She even has some motherly tips for Henry about improving his posture so as to project confidence to those around him. Solid advice that Henry’s biological mother could probably benefit from herself, especially since she’s taken to wearing shapeless white sacks on her rescue missions.
Anyhoo, Emma and Co. eventually track down Cinderella, just as she’s falling into a trap set by her evil Stepmother, using Clorinda as bait, to MURDER HER WITH HER HUSBAND’S RIFLE! Families are just the best, aren’t they?
Clorinda kind of wants Cinderella to die too, due to whole “sex life ruining thing,” but then Cinderella reunites Clorinda with her lost love the Footman, and all is cool with them… until Evil Stepmother stabs Cinderella in the chest.
Fortunately, Emma’s on hand to save Cinderella’s life. Unfortunately, she has a bad carpal tunnel attack just as she’s about to do it, and Cinderella starts bleeding out right before our very eyes.
But rest easy, folks. Cinderella doesn’t die. The writers of this show only like to kill off attractive menfolk. For the most part, the ladies are invincible. And so, Emma successfully revives Cinderella, and the latter lives to make exceedingly poor life choices, based on insecurities and a love of assault weapons, for another day…
One Track Minds
Speaking of poor life choices, sometimes our fixation on certain aspects of our lives causes us to act out impulsively, and do things we wouldn’t normally do in pursuit of one specific goal. This appeared to be the case for the Evil Queen, who let a literal monster out of jail, because she was horny… and also because he was going to help prevent Regina from killing her, but mostly because she was horny.
For Hyde’s part, he allies with the dark side of Regina’s soul seemingly just because he really likes her cooking, and also because he wants to get out of jail, but mainly for the cooking.
Then there’s Prince Charming, who makes a deal with Rumpel to find out the truth about what happened to his father. And we all know what it means to make deals with Rumpel. Spoiler Alert: Usually it means bad things, very bad things. (Although, in this case, all Charming had to do to get this information was give Belle a mixtape, because apparently Rumpel is a 13-year old boy circa 1990.)
And Belle, well she listened to the mix tape, despite the fact that it was from Rumpel, a man her unborn son had told her was up to no good, in a dream she had, in which said son was totally inappropriately hitting on her, and it was kind of gross. Rumpel, a man with dark magical powers, who could have filled that mixtape with evil spells that would make her become his lover again against her will (or worse: really bad singing/music). But Belle listened to that mixtape from start to finish despite the apparent risks, because the thought of having her soon-to-be born child grow up without a father simply seemed to much to bear at the time.
And then there was Snow, who believed her husband Charming when he told her he wasn’t going to seek vengeance against the man who killed his father. She believed him, even though he was staring straight at the camera winking at us, with his fingers crossed behind his back, and rolling his eyes intently when he told Snow he was going to let the matter drop. She believed it, because she really needs to think that after the Storybrooke crew battles their 12th villain of the series, things will go back to normal: She’ll become a teacher again; She will grow out her awful hair.
Actually, maybe it’s just me that needs to believe in that last one.
And that’s where we leave our friends from Storybrooke at the end of episode 3, determined, desperate, and clad in some super ugly outfits. Until next time, folks!