Once Upon a Time: The Stepford Doofuses (S5 E4 RECAP)

so much dust

This is going to positively murder the ozone layer . . .

From the same people who brought you “Glass in your eyes that turns you into an asshole,” “Black goo that awakens your inner asshole,” and “People who pull out your heart to control you and make you do assholey stuff,” this week’s episode of Once proudly presents “Dust in your face that turns you into a Stepford Doofus.”

You would think by now these people would learn to wear protective goggles and keep their chests covered. But nope, it’s wide open eyes and oodles of cleavage everywhere . . . all the time.

trump snow

This week on Once, King Arthur continues his reign of douchebaggery, and Queen Guinevere is also kind of douchebaggy, but we learn that it’s not entirely her fault. Also, this week, young Henry and his girlfriend unwittingly learn that descriptions of horseback riding double nicely as thinly veiled metaphors for sex. And Emma and Hook, upon watching Emma’s son converse metaphorically about sex, get turned on enough to do a little “horseback riding” themselves . . . because that’s not disturbingly Freudian at all!

watching them

Voyeurism: good . . . child porn: bad

Let’s review, shall we?

(Note: I’ve decided to tackle this recap chronologically, rather than the flippy floppy order in which the events were displayed in the episode, because it makes more sense from a recapping perspective. I get that this sort of undermines the major “twist” of the episode, namely that King Arthur is an asshole. But considering we all kind of figured that out the moment he set foot on screen . . . not to mention last week, when he, you know, killed a guy for no good reason . . . I’m thinking that’s OK.)


In which King Arthur was a cute kid who grew up to pretty much become Smeagol from Lord of the Rings . . .

Little Orphan Arthur isn’t very popular in “Broken Kingdom” Camelot, which is unusual because, for a child, he is really, really, ridiculously good looking. And good-looking kids are pretty much always popular, unless they happen to be super annoying. Arthur doesn’t seem to be too annoying, in the short clip we see of him.

young arthur

However, he does have this tendency to go around telling everyone that he talks to a tree and the tree tells him he’s going to be king. As it turns out, talking to trees and bragging about it is generally frowned upon by popular society, more so than being really, really, ridiculously good-looking and not too annoying is smiled upon. And so, Little Orphan Arthur is bullied and not particularly well liked.

orph king

Future Queen Guinnie likes him just fine though, possibly, because she looks around at all the dumb, uneducated, unwashed masses in her town, then looks at Good-looking Little Orphan Arthur and says, “Eh, so he’s a schizophrenic and possible megalomaniac. I can do much worse!”


Cut to a few years later, when a now adult King Arthur plucks Excalibur from its stone, realizes it’s broken (because it’s missing it’s Dark One Sword other half, naturally), hides that fact from the people of Camelot, and becomes their king, with Guinevere at his side as Queen.

Unfortunately, fame, fortune, wealth, power and a hot wife is not good enough for Ole Arthur. In fact, he becomes so obsessed with finding the Dark One Sword and making Excalibur whole again (even though no one gives two craps about whether or not it’s whole except him) that instead of hanging out with his hot wife and boning her on her birthday like a good husband, he holes himself up in an attic, studying where to find the Dark One’s sword. He does this for days on end, until he starts to look like this . . .

no friends

(But only metaphorically speaking, obviously, because men on Once, even the douchebaggiest ones, are positively forbidden from looking the least bit unattractive ever, unless they are an extra or one of the dwarves . . . No offense to the actors who play the dwarves, of course.)

ouat 4.2 dwarves

While Ole Arthur is busy being Smeagolized, Lancelot is downstairs showing Queen Guinne what a total stud he is (not to mention how much better of a catch he would be then her asshat husband) by orchestrating Guiney’s entire birthday, just the way Ole Arthur promised he would back in the day, and captivating her with some serious f*&k me eyes while he offers her a sexy dance.


carlton dance

Then, Arthur finally comes down to the party. And Guiney is instantly willing to forgive him everything. She truly believes he is finally ready to give her the love she deserves, despite the fact that he hasn’t done anything to indicate he’s remotely capable of this since the two of them still had their baby teeth. (We’ve all been there, ladies, am I right?)


But instead of dancing with Guiney, Arthur is all, “Can’t stay and hang. Gotta jet to the forest to find my half a sword. You know how it is: My Precious! My Precious, and all that! Peace out, Guiney, and Guy Who Wants to Have an Affair with Guiney.”


In which Queen Guinevere learns that it’s generally a bad idea to choose a husband based on what he was like as a ten year old . . .

Now, while Guiney may be a bit blinded by kiddie goggles, she’s no dummy. In fact, she may very well be smarter than her asshat husband, Arthur. “Hey Lancelot, I’ve got a plan that involves using this gauntlet to find my stupid husband’s toy sword before he does so I can get it back. Maybe it will make him slightly less douchebaggy, not to mention I could start getting laid every once in a while.”

Lancelot looks at Guiney dubiously. “Honey, all the toy swords in the world couldn’t cure your husband’s massive douchebagginess. But I’m going to come with you on this trip anyway, in the hopes that our obvious sexual tension will enable me to get a little side action while you wait futilely for your jerk husband to come to his senses.”

Guiney and Lancelot find the location of the Dark One Sword in about ten minutes . . . the same sword that Arthur couldn’t find despite looking for over ten years. This is because Arthur, in addition to being a douchebag, also sucks at life. But there are some obstacles.


First, the black sludge tries to capture Lancelot and turn him into a HUGE ASSHOLE. But Guiney saves him, and they end up making out. It’s hot, in a way that only kisses after avoidance of sludge that turns you into an asshole can be.

make out

Then, Rumpel pops up and prevents Guiney and Lancelot from taking the sword on threat of death. Instead, he offers them a very small vial of red dust that he says “makes broken things appear whole again.” Of course, somehow on this show this translates to “dust that turns anyone who comes in contact with it into a Stepford Doofus.”

Guiney returns home, and Arthur basically attacks her, because he thinks she’s hiding the sword from him, but all he finds in her bag is the Stepford Doofus dust. “Oh I am so leaving your ass,” Guiney says.

“No, you are not,” says Arthur, as he throws the Stepford Doofus dust in her face.

Instantly transformed into a Stepford Doofus, Guiney replies, “Of course I’m not leaving you! Please, by all means, continue treating me like crap, spending all your time humping a sword, and threatening to physically abuse me when I have the nerve to disobey your stupid requests. By the way, would you like to have sex right now?”


“Nah,” replies King Arthur. “I’m pretty sure I’m gay because I always look at Prince Charming like he’s a hot piece of man meat, and look at you, you are like my eighty-five-year-old grandma. Why don’t we dump some red dust on Camelot to turn them all into Stepford Doofuses instead?”

“But you’ve already used it on me, and it was a tiny vial. There can’t be enough left for the whole town AND for the people you use it on at the end of the episode too?” Guiney argues.


“Stop sassing me, woman! You aren’t supposed to have original thoughts as a Stepford Doofus.” Arthur insists, before dumping what appears to be way more than the contents of the entire vial of Stepford Doofus dust on all of Camelot.

Meanwhile, over in present/past day . . .

Charming and Snow White get into a fight over whether King Arthur is a douchebag, and we can’t believe this is still in question

After Emma’s multiple personality disorder almost makes her steal the Dark One Sword from the really crappy right-out-in-the-open place that Regina hid it, she gets really tired and needs to take a nap. This is because multiple personalities can be really insensitive of your sleep needs and constantly keep you awake long past your bedtime. Not that I know this from experience, or anything.

playing dead

While Hook and Henry go take Emma somewhere to rest all her personalities, Charming tells Snow he wants to give the Dark One Sword to Arthur because Arthur always looks at him like he’s a sexy piece of man meat and he finds it really flattering.

the chair

“We shouldn’t because Lancelot says King Arthur is a douchebag. Also because King Arthur walks around twirling his evil mustache, and stroking his evil beard, while a neon-blinking sign follows him wherever he goes that reads ‘I’m a Huge Douchebag,’” Snow White argues.


“But I’m in desperate need of male companionship,” Prince Charming pouts.

“Go hang out with the dwarves then,” Snow White retorts.

“They don’t count because they aren’t as pretty as I am, and King Arthur is almost as pretty,” Charming replies.

Seemingly at an impasse, Charming goes to bro it out with Douchebag King Arthur, while Lancelot goes to hide the Dark One Sword with Snow White in the same spot where he found it in the flashback. Then Charming pops up at the same spot with Douchebag King Arthur, and it turns out that Charming was in on Snow’s plan all along! They both agreed King Arthur was a douchebag and decided to keep the sword from him!

got you

The pair capture Arthur and wrongfully assume that Queen Guiney will be on their side, not realizing that she has been Stepford Doofus-ized. So when Guiney arrives, she frees Arthur, throws the lovelorn Lancelot in the slammer next to Merida (How did she get there?) . . .

enemy friend

. .  . and pours the seemingly never-ending vial of Stepford Doofus dust into Charming’s and Snow’s faces.

the sword

A horse is a horse, of course, of course (unless it’s a metaphor for sex)

Not knowing that their lives just went to crap, Henry, Emma and Hook head to Henry’s love interest Violet’s stable, because in all of Camelot, apparently the best place to nap is on a bale of hay covered in horse poopy. “Who is Violet? Are you porking her yet?” Hook asks young Henry. (Such a cad, that Hook.)

about henry

“Ummm noooooo,” Henry says as he inclines his head towards his mother and tells Hook to shut up with his eyes.


“Hey, Henry, wanna go ‘ride horses together,’ I bet I can really make your heart race,” says Violet, who pops up out of nowhere, with a seductive wink at the camera.

“Sure, Violet, I’ll ride horses with you,” Henry says, also winking at the camera.

heart racing come on

The two exit stage left, because they are minors and all this sexual innuendo between them is making us fans seriously uncomfortable.

“We can ride horses too, love,” says Hook with a wink.

“I thought you’d never ask,” responds Emma, as she removes her top.

“No, I meant really ride horses, because it’s 8 p.m. on ABC and censorship stuff,” Hook corrects.

demon in head

“Dammit,” responds Emma.

So, the two ride a horse. And the mere act of horseback riding enables Emma’s multiple personality disorder to temporarily go away. (If that’s all that it took, real sex with Hook would probably cure her entirely, just saying . . .)


Meanwhile, in Present/Present Day


Dark One Asshole Emma kidnaps Merida and steals her heart, so she can make her train no-longer-Dark One Rumpel to become heroic enough to reunite Excalibur with the Dark One Sword, thereby enabling Emma to become the Biggest Asshole on the Planet.

real coward make him brave merida

Did you catch all the plot points in that last sentence? If not, don’t worry. I didn’t either, and I wrote the damn thing.

Until next time, Oncei-ies!

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TV Show: Once Upon a Time

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