Recaps

Once Upon a Time “Poor Unfortunate Soul”

Photo Credit: ABC/Eike Schroter

Photo Credit: ABC/Eike Schroter

Last week we got a look at Maleficent’s past, this week we’re treated to a glimpse into Ursula’s youth. As it appears is true with most of these fairy tale villains, she began life as a sweet and innocent child who wanted nothing more than to make people happy. It turns out the young and beautiful mermaid Ursula is simply a teenager mourning the loss of her mother. But her dad Poseidon is irked with mankind — as often happens with the Greek deities — and wants her to act as a Siren to lure sailors to their death. Ursula runs away (as teenagers tend to do) and gets tangled up with Hook who is willing to help her as thanks for her choice not to sink his ship. Everything is going along swimmingly, with Hook ready to take her to the paradise her mother loved, until her dad comes along and screws it all up. Just think of all the heartache that could be spared if only parents would listen to their children a little more! Ah, but this is the Disney party line – the children often see what the parent can’t.

Photo Credit: ABC/Eike Schroter

Photo Credit: ABC/Eike Schroter

So Poseidon comes along and tries to tempt Hook into forcing Ursula back home by stealing her voice. Clearly he will never win the Father of the Year award. Hook chooses the high road instead, and offers Ursula a deal. If she steals the squid ink that will help him defeat the Dark One, he’ll take her where she wants to go. It’s interesting that Hook would consider disrespecting Poseidon in this way, being a sailor. He should realize that his life at sea is subject to Poseidon’s whim. Still, he does it and gets his hand slapped for it. Poseidon destroys the squid ink, and in a temper tantrum Hook takes Ursula’s voice as his revenge. Revenge for being deprived of his revenge, that’s a new one. Ursula in turn takes her revenge on her father in a manner that reminds me of the kid from A Christmas Story going blind from all the soap in his mouth. Ursula’s revenge is to turn herself from a mermaid into her version of the original sea goddess for whom she is named. On a side note, this fits in nicely with Ariel’s comments on the matter back in last season’s episode, where she tells Snow White that Ursula hasn’t been seen for a thousand years. Assuming she was referring to the original sea goddess, this allows the mermaid Ursula to step in to those shoes and become the sea witch.

This story, from teen terror, to tentacled sea witch, to forgiving daughter with a happy ending seems to go very fast. It’s our first glimpse into her past, and yet it fails to tell us how or why she was banished to this realm without ending up in Storybrooke like the rest of the residents of the Enchanted Forest. Also, they have made a point to say that villains don’t get happy endings, and that Hook expects to lose his like Regina did. Should we assume that this means Ursula can expect some bad luck in the near future? Time will tell.

August gives us the skinny on The Door this week, and it’s no surprise that things are not as they seem. Gold, being the selfish person he is, doesn’t think twice about messing around with August’s life and future. He steals a potion from the fairies’ stash that can temporarily reverse the effects of a fairy spell. Why any such potion would exist I can’t say, it doesn’t seem to be very practical. Nevertheless, it gets the job done as far as Gold is concerned. He turns August temporarily back to the wooden puppet he once was, which then activates his built-in lie detector. This was a stroke of genius, since we tend to forget Pinocchio’s nose issues. They haven’t used it before and it was a lot of fun to watch. I have to say though, it was a disappointment to have his nose return to normal on its own. In the original tale, birds came to his rescue and pecked away the extra wood. It would have been really entertaining to see something similar happen here. Ah, but I digress. Gold gets most of the truth about The Door out of August before his lengthening nose is singed too badly by the fire. We learn that The Door is in Storybrooke, and that The Author is trapped behind it. Happy endings appear to be one step closer.

Photo Credit: ABC/Eike Schroter

Photo Credit: ABC/Eike Schroter

As thanks for helping restore her voice, Ursula tells Hook the details about Gold’s plan. As it turns out, the whole thing hinges on Emma turning evil, and Gold plans to help her along in that regard. Clearly this is going to play into what happened back in the Enchanted Forest between Maleficent and Snow White. Hopefully we will soon learn why Snow was willing to sacrifice another woman’s child to ensure the future of her own progeny. Whatever happened, it’s unlikely to end well.

Photo Credit: ABC/Eike Schroter

Photo Credit: ABC/Eike Schroter

Moment of Goodness: Earnest Ursula

There is something beautiful about the Young Ursula singing in the bar. She doesn’t have the bubbly enthusiasm we saw with Ariel, instead she shows us a hauntingly passionate person who knows the pain that comes from loss. No wonder her singing can ease the pain of men, she is one who understands that same torment.

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.

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