Jan 21, 2019
Once Upon a Time: A little bit un-savior-y
It’s that time again, Oncers! Time to reunite with our favorite red leather jacket-wearing heroine and her band of fairytale character pals. Time to head off on new adventures, battle evil villains, make questionable fashion and hair choices, and egregiously bastardize even more increasingly obscure bedtime stories from your youth.
On deck for fresh bastardization this season are: Aladdin, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
Also this season on Once, EMMA SWAN MIGHT DIE! (And if you believe that, I have a totally flyable magic carpet in my storage closet that I could sell you for twenty bucks. Contact me in the comment section if interested.)
Let’s get on with it, shall we?
I’m on a Horse!
Riding through an Anonymous Barren Wasteland is a man on a horse. So you’re forgiven for temporarily thinking you’ve stumbled into one of those Old Spice commercials. Not the ones where Terry Crews screams at you nonsensically for 2.5 minutes. The ones with this guy:
But wait! There’s a man on a magic carpet shooting at the Man on a Horse! I don’t remember that happening in the Old Spice commercials. Maybe the man on the magic carpet is Terry Crews. Maybe I’ve just unwittingly come up with the theme for Old Spice’s next ad campaign. You’re welcome, Old Spice.
The Man on the Horse runs into a hut of some sort and asks for help from the Savior. Obviously, this is a bit confusing, because fans of Once know of only one Savior, and she always wears a red leather jacket, which would be very uncomfortable to wear in a desert, not to mention a bit smelly.
A young girl tells the Man on the Horse that the Savior is very busy and can’t see him now, which anyone who’s ever worked as an executive assistant will tell you is code for “He’s shopping online for golf clubs and can’t be bothered to talk to your unimportant ass.”
Then the Man on a Magic Carpet appears. It’s Jafar from Aladdin. We know this because he’s wearing that funny hat Jafar always wears, and is carrying his trademark cane with the snake handle. Jafar uses his snake cane to turn Man on the Horse into a brown puff of smoke that may or may not be a fart. Then he turns the cane on Savior’s Executive Assistant and makes her pass out. (Then again, maybe she just passed out because the fart that used to be Man on the Horse was so smelly.)
There’s a man huddled in the corner of the hut. Jafar refers to him as Aladdin, but also as the Savior. However, “Aladdin” doesn’t look very Savior-y. For one thing, he has no red leather jacket, though that might be for the climate and hygiene-related reasons I mentioned earlier. For another, his hands are shaking uncontrollably, and he seems like kind of a wuss.
Jafar tells Aladdin it’s the Savior’s curse to help people until he or she is all used up and then die a thankless and horrible death. Well, that’s cheerful! Remind me to give Jafar a job at the greeting card company I was planning to start next year.
Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke…
Hook and Emma are getting a wee-bit PG-13 on the couch in Emma’s house. Emma wonders whether maybe the pair should take off their jackets before things between them escalate to NC-17, but Hook demurs. Apparently, sex in leather jackets is a common fetish amongst pirates. Who knew? I hope Storybrooke has a really good dry cleaner.
Unfortunately, because this an 8 p.m. show on ABC, this week’s installment of Fifty Shades of Leather Up My Crotch is interrupted by some strange vibrations being felt around the house, which isn’t nearly as fun as it sounds despite current circumstances. Apparently, there’s a new blimp riding above Storybrooke, and it’s about to crash land into a tree, but miraculously kill nobody in the process, Lost-style.
The whole town comes out to witness the crash, because blimp crashes are the Storybrooke equivalent of the rented bouncy castle at a neighborhood block party. Our Big Bad of this portion of the season, Mr. Hyde, is on hand to laugh maniacally and tell the residents of Storybrooke that Rumpel has given him the keys to the town. Hyde’s first order of business as new Town Ruler, apparently, is to overpopulate it with homeless people.
Great plan! Move over Trump and Hillary! Hyde for President in 2016!
Emma and Regina don’t really like homeless people. So, they decide to shoot Hyde with the red dust that they can occasionally make come out of their fingers when they do jazz hands together. This red dust oddly seems to have no effect on Hyde. Then, again, he does seem to have a really bad case of pink eye the next time we see him up close, so perhaps Emma and Regina can take some credit for that.
While giving Hyde pink eye, Emma gets a weird “memory” flash of herself fighting a hooded being. When it’s over, her hand is shaking like Aladdin’s did in the earlier scene. Coincidence? I think not. Emma’s boyfriend and leather sex buddy, Hook, asks Emma if she’s okay, and she lies for Plot Reasons and says that she’s just fine.
Dream a Little Dream of Beast
Former Town Ruler Rumpel apparently gave his job away to Hyde in exchange for intel on how to wake Belle from the sleeping curse she put on herself so she wouldn’t have to bone him anymore. (If you think pirates and saviors are kinky, just imagine what kind of dirty things sparkly-faced beasts are into.) Hyde instructs Rumpel to meet this Morpheus guy, who will give Rump some dirt to throw on Belle so he can intrude on her dreams, Freddy Krueger-style. (As if sleeping in a dusty box for an entire season without showering didn’t make her dirty enough.)
Upon learning that Belle’s dream is basically the Disney version of the Beauty and the Beast movie, Rumpel decides to use the dream to make Belle fall in love with him again, so he can use True Love’s Kiss to wake her up from the dream. This shouldn’t be so hard, because Dream Belle conveniently doesn’t remember what a turd Rumpel has been to Belle for the better part of five seasons. What follows is more or less a fast-forwarded highlight reel from the Disney movie, complete with that admittedly epic Ballroom Dance Scene, but minus the singing ceramic and brassware.
About a minute and a half later, Belle genuinely seem to have re-fallen in love with Rumpel. Unfortunately for Rump, just as she’s about to suck face with him, Belle suddenly recalls the whole “he’s been a turd to you for the better part of five seasons” thing. And that’s when things get Really Weird. (You know, because up to this point, everything I’ve mentioned in this recap has been totally normal…)
So that Morpheus guy, who looks about 25, suddenly pops into the dream to applaud Belle for not sucking face with Rumpel… the Turd. Instead, he explains, he’d like to suck face with Belle to wake her up from her sleeping curse.
“Don’t get me wrong, dude. You are cute and possibly more age-appropriate for me than Rumpel. But I’m not in love with you yet. Give me a few margaritas though, and maybe I’ll change my mind… Except, I can’t have margaritas, because I’m pregnant. So we may just be shit out of luck.”
“No, silly! You love me because I’m your unborn child!” Morpheus explains, which disturbs me greatly, because for about half a second there, I was seriously considering shipping Morpheus and Belle as a romantic couple.
Then Morpheus kisses Belle as promised and wakes her up. Rumpel is overjoyed. “So, we can go back to boning now?” the Beast inquires hopefully.
“Go Rump yourself!” Belle retorts, before exiting stage left so she can try to convince herself that she wasn’t temporarily attracted to her kid.
The Sister Act
A new, completely exorcised of evil (and therefore, slightly less fun to hang out with) Regina has graciously allowed her still evil (and therefore, still a blast) sister Zelena to live with her in her mansion, while the latter is raising the spawn of Regina’s dead lover Robin. Now, this is a sitcom I would watch! Are you listening, TV networks?
Things get a bit tense between the two sisters when a scatterbrained Zelena admits to losing a feather from Robin’s bow that’s basically the last memento Regina will ever have of her lost love. Regina tells Zelena that she’s not at all upset about this, which, anyone who’s ever been a woman will tell you, is passive aggressive she-speak for, “I HATE YOU SO MUCH! DIE, BITCH, DIE!”
However, after head-shrinking sessions with both Snow White (which makes sense) and her thirteen-year-old son (which doesn’t make sense at all), Regina learns that she’s using her anger over the Feather Incident to sublimate her resentment of Zelena over the part she played in Robin’s demise. (Apparently, someone in the writers’ room at Once has been re-reading his Psychology 101 textbook from college.)
So, Regina maturely returns home to have it out with Zelena, for realsies, over their many issues with one another. Interestingly enough, Zelena has some beef with Regina, too… the latter of whom’s literal disavowal of her evil self is viewed by her still-wicked sister as a direct betrayal of their shared genetic code for sociopathy.
Ultimately, this results in Zelena and her baby angrily moving out of Regina’s house and back into her own, where she instantly encounters… wait for it… The Evil Queen herself! She immediately welcomes her fellow twisted sister with a pair of matching alcoholic beverages and plans for world domination.
Now, that’s what I call a party!
Follow That Bird!
In Plot Convenient fashion, Jekyll instantaneously comes up with the idea to fashion a giant vibrator-type thing and use it to disarm Hyde. The problem is that when the time comes to use the darn thing, Emma’s hands are shaking so badly she can barely get her target off. (See what I did there?) Hyde eventually is disarmed, though.
However, before Mr. Pink Eye is carted away to Storybrooke’s one-cell prison, he manages to make some choice comments to Emma about her recently acquired Savior-Syndrome that make our heroine believe this mutton-chopped villain might just be the cure she’s seeking.
When Emma visits Hyde in prison, he instructs her to follow a red bird into the forest, and that bird will lead her to the answers that may or may not cure her gnarly case of carpal tunnel syndrome. Emma does as instructed, and comes upon the Savior’s Executive Assistant from the beginning of the episode. The young girl calls herself an oracle, and shows Emma a longer version of the vision she’s been having throughout the episode, the one of her engaged in a Matrix-like battle with a dark hooded villain. However, at the end of the vision this time, Emma is disarmed and mortally wounded by her enemy.
The young girl tells Emma that this is her fate, and she cannot change it. But is that true? Are we really destined to lose our series’ main protagonist by season’s end?
Probably not. Some have speculated that the young girl to whom Emma spoke was not the Oracle from the beginning of the episode at all, but rather Jafar in disguise.
This theory is bolstered by the fact that (1) Jafar has been known to pal around with a certain red bird named Iago; (2) to display the vision to Emma, the girl used a cane with eyes that looked suspiciously like Jafar’s snake staff; and (3) earlier in the episode, Henry just so happened to mention how villains often twist the truth in a way that will inflict the most harm against heroes.
That said, Emma is probably destined to have a Matrix-like battle with a dark-hooded figure at the end of this season, so Jennifer Morrison should really start working on her karate moves and swordplay.
Elsewhere in town, Snow White welcomes all the obscure fairytale characters/homeless people from the exploded blimp to Granny’s for food and shelter, figuring that maybe she can somehow wrangle this into a tax write-off. After learning she has less than half a season to live, Emma meets the rest of the cast at Granny’s to perform her mandatory share of soup kitchen duties. Hook once again asks his girlfriend if she’s okay, to which she responds, “Absofrigginlutely,” which, anyone who’s ever been a woman knows, is passive-aggressive she-speak for, “DO I LOOK LIKE I’M OKAY? MY HAND HAS BEEN SHAKING NONSTOP ALL EPISODE, AND I JUST SPENT THE LAST TWENTY MINUTES TALKING TO A HALLUCINATION IN THE WOODS. WHAT KIND OF IDIOT BOYFRIEND ARE YOU?”
And so, the premiere episode of Once ends with Storybrooke’s population having instantly doubled with increasingly obscure storybook characters just waiting to be bastardized. That means lots more people needing to be “saved”. But what will happen if there’s no longer a Savior to save them? Tune in next week to find out. Maybe.