Sunday, March 1, 2015

Once Upon a Time 4.13: "Darkness on the Edge of Town"

“I’m here for the same reason you are, my happy ending. And that’s the truth.”
- Mr. Gold

Denizens of Storybrooke, “Once Upon a Time” is finally back after an interminable hiatus. You have no idea how excited I am for this show to be back. As angry as I was at the end of the winter finale with Outlaw Queen getting their 5 seconds of happiness and the inevitability of Captain Swan, I am thrilled that we get to move forward. So without further ado, let’s get this show on the road. We briefly pop back to the Enchanted Forest pre-curse where we find Rumple recruiting some badass ladies; namely Ursula (sadly not played by Nicole Yvette Brown), Maleficent and Cruella De Vil. He wants to get them all their happy endings. He says they need to find a curse to enact. Since Maleficent was the one who had the curse in the pilot when Regina needed it, I think we are clearly established in the pre-first curse timeline in the Enchanted Forest. Rumple and the girls head down to where the Dark Curse is being guarded and each of the women uses their specific talent to get past an enchantment. Cruella has the power of persuasion. Maleficent can handle dragon fire and Ursula’s tentacles nab the curse itself. This being a Rumpelstiltskin plan, he’s leaving them to die now that he’s got what he wants. Three’s an ancient demon that kills the most evil thing it can find as a last resort. Awesome.

It seems, though that the ladies are going to work together to escape. The demon ends up choosing Maleficent (which isn’t surprising) to try and eat. While she’s distracting the beast, Cruella and Ursula will make a break for it and then use their powers to rescue Maleficent. And it turns out to work just fine, even if Maleficent is a bit touchy about her dress now smelling like fish forever.

In Storybrooke, things are quite idyllic and happy. We see Henry heading off to school and Mary Margaret back in the classroom teaching. Regina has taken over the mayor’s office again and Emma and Hook are rather PDA. It appears the last six weeks have been spent getting back to normal. Well and Hook and Belle are teaming up to save the fairies. It’s kind of an odd pairing but it’s kind of entertaining, especially with them bonding over Rumple ruining their lives. Emma pays Regina a mid-day visit with a kale salad and some root beer which is apparently impossible to open. They chat a bit about the author and his mysterious whereabouts and Regina’s misery before Belle and Hook show up to announce they found a spell that can release the fairies thanks to the translation from an Oxford professor (gracias internet). They head out to the woods to enact it and it seems to work. The fairies are mostly okay but something smoke-like and evil crawls out of the hat and takes off while everyone is distracted with the reunion.

Speaking of Rumple in the present, he’s crashing Ursula’s pad and eating all her ramen. Honestly, watching Robert Carlyle do something as mundane as eat ramen is hilarious. And it seems they’ve got another new member of their unholy entourage to assemble because they find Cruella getting evicted. With some nice words from Rumple, they head off to find Storybrooke. On the way, they stop at a fast food drive thru and oh good lord it wasn’t that funny but I laughed so hard. Just the way Robert delivered his lines is comedy gold (no pun intended).

Because everything that happens in Storybrooke results in a party, Operation Mongoose gets a little boost during a party. Henry, Regina and Emma chat with Mother Superior and she explains that the Sorcerer and the Author are two different people. The Author went missing years ago but supposedly left hints in his work. So now they’re going to be pouring over the storybook even more intently. Well, they will be after they go deal with the latest drama in town. The demon that supposedly was going to eat the Queens of Darkness is loose from the hat. Well, I’m guessing it didn’t eat them since they’re around now and all. Our baddies have arrived at just beyond the town line and while Ursula and Cruella get a little snippy with Rumple for not telling them the truth (i.e. Storybrooke being cloaked and under a protection spell), he does convince them that they’ll be welcomed into town because he won’t be with them. Yeah, I’m pretty sure his wife would have something to say about that. And I wonder if he’d even be able to return since Belle banished him with the dagger.

Regina and Emma try to face off against the demon but they only manage to stun it (I kept yelling at them to cross the streams….maybe because I’ve just watched Ghost Busters). And they can’t put it back in the hat because once it’s out, it’s out. This seems to work well for Rumple’s plan though. He has Ursula and Cruella call Regina on his phone and claim they’ve changed and want redemption and into town. Regina agrees to consider letting them in if their information about the demon helps them destroy it. They really shouldn’t trust these women. At all.

Regina is freaking out that the demon is after her and she’ll have to sacrifice herself to save the town. But Emma points out that beyond the town line is no magic. So, while Charming and Snow are not happy about their newest potential town residents, Emma and Regina put a plan into action and end up destroying the demon. Of course if people were paying attention the demon wasn’t really going after Regina. It was after Emma (the one with the heart with the greatest potential for evil). Regina lets the girls into town and later that night they bring Rumple across the line. He’s going to have to stay out of sight while the girls mix and mingle. But first, we get a crazy twist of an ending. Snow and Charming meet with Cruella and Ursula in the woods and Snow threatens that if the witches tell anyone about their shared Enchanted Forest history, she’ll rip out their hearts herself. Oh snap! Dark Snow is back!

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and I can’t wait to see where the rest of season 4B goes. Potentially Dark Emma, more shenanigans with Operation Mongoose and my poor little shipper heart longing for an Outlaw Queen reunion. Bring it on Once!

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