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Once Upon a Time “Ariel” 

Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC


Bubbly. That’s the word for this episode. Bubbly. They could not have chosen a better Ariel than JoAnna Garcia-Swisher. She is the perfect blend of looks and bright personality, and she brings the precocious mermaid to life in a delightful way. My only disappointment in the introduction of the character is that they didn’t have more time to spend showing her social ineptitude. It would have been nice to see more of the culture shock expected of a mermaid on land, with all the awkwardness she must feel. Still, overall I feel they exceeded expectations of this beloved character. She eloquently displays that innocence and purity we would expect from someone who has spent their life insulated from the petty affairs of men, and she bonds with Snow White like a sister she’s known forever. 

It’s also great fun to see Rumplestiltskin playing second fiddle to Regina this week! He has been so engrossed in his own dilemma that he has completely fallen for the tricks being played on him. We are so used to seeing him have the upper hand when dealing with the Evil Queen, it’s a pleasure to see Regina take him to school for a change. When she shows him the truth behind the façade, it shows the cracks in the image he presents to the world. He may be powerful, but clearly he isn’t as wise as he thinks.

Although there are many things that stand out this week, like Emma’s heart-wrenching confession to Neil and Regina leaving the group to strike out on her own, there are two moments that strike a deeper chord with me.

Ariel stands tall

Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC

If this show has taught us one thing, it’s that in this version of each fairy tale, things are never as they seem. After seeing Ariel blindly believe the good news that the bracelet Regina gave her is the perfect solution to her problem and a way out for Snow White, I fully expected her to run off and have a tryst with Eric.  I was pleasantly surprised to see her take a stand and stab Regina in the neck with her stolen “mini trident” fork. Even with the threat of no second chances, her convictions are too deep for Regina to manipulate, and her actions ring true to character. I’m eager to see if her morals become corrupted after her visit to Storybrooke next week, like so many others in this tale.

Regina impersonates Ursula

What a treat to see Regina in the guise of Ursula! No doubt many viewers had the Disney feature in mind when watching this episode, and Regina’s portrayal of the evil octopus was pure genius. Not only did she look the part, with white hair in a spectacular upsweep that mimicked the animated film, but she also managed to include that familiar oily inflection in her voice that is so reminiscent of Pat Carroll’s Ursula.

This episode really shines from start to finish, and I hope we see much more of Ariel!

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

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