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Once Upon a Time “The Jolly Roger” 

Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand
Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand

This week we’re treated to a lovely little tête-à-tête episode with Hook and Ariel. I actually find it kind of fun that Ariel is having such a hard time meeting up with her prince, since in the original tale she was never able to stay with her true love. This time she believes it’s Hook’s fault that Prince Eric can’t be found, and she will do whatever it takes to get him back.

I’m quite fond of Ariel, and Joanna Garcia Swisher’s portrayal of her.  Although she still shows her naïveté, she is a spunky girl and it shows clearly this week in her confrontations with Hook. She’s daring and a little bit sassy, and she dives head first into trouble without thought of the risk. I just wish Hook would get his mojo back; he used to be equally spunky but his love of Emma has tamed him quite a lot. Perhaps his new curse problem will frustrate him enough to give him back his hard edge. That would be nice to see.

It’s also quite a lot of fun to watch David and Mary Margaret work through their insecurities over Henry. Emma makes it clear that Henry finds all the baby talk awkward and would prefer to spend his time with Hook, throwing David into competitive mode. Naturally he decides to try to teach Henry to drive. Sure he’s never taught anyone before, and sure Henry is way too young, but hey – what could go wrong? I found all the scenes with the Charmings to be blissfully uncomfortable this week, how far they’ve fallen from the confident leaders of their homeland. I assume next week they’ll try plying the kid with candy as all grandparents should, hoping to buy their way back into his good graces.

By contrast, Emma is excellent this week.  She teams up with Regina to practice using her magic, and finally shows her true potential. If only she can harness it and use it wisely, although I can’t imagine things will go so smoothly for her. She tends to be at her best only after repeated failures, so I expect her use of magic will go horribly wrong before the season is out. But what a fun ride it will be!

Zelena makes her appearance brief this week, only appearing after Hook laments that he would do anything to get a Mulligan on his decision to abandon Ariel. As it turns out, the whole thing was a trick to bring him to this point of remorse, and wouldn’t you know it? Zelena is behind it all. Posing as Ariel, she pokes at his feelings of guilt with a sharp stick until he breaks, then she slaps a curse on him faster than you can say ‘Jolly Roger.’ So now we know that Zelena is powerless to hurt Emma, but we still don’t know why it’s important. What is she afraid Emma will do? Surely it’s not magic she fears, after all, she’s convinced she can’t be beat. Although I suppose if Emma showed up with a big bucket of water, Zelena would have reason to quake in her boots. Okay, I admit it. This storyline has caught me in its tangled web. Perhaps Aunty Em will appear in a crystal ball and explain it all.

There were many small moments of goodness this week, it’s hard to pick just one. I love seeing the happy family enjoying each other’s company at Granny’s Diner, with Hook outside feeling lost and alone. I love the little touches, like Belle saying a happy ending is just the sort of news the town needs to hear, and having Snow reiterate the thought after being told that Ariel and Eric are finally together. I also love the fun little details included this week, like Ariel and Eric seen twirling in the mirror – because no self-respecting Disney princess would be caught doing anything less – and part of Hook’s fight with Blackbeard taking place in shadow on the ship’s sail. That was a Peter Pan thing, and putting Hook in the place of the hero feels so wrong, and yet so right.

Although this has been a rocky season for the show, it’s clear that they’re still able to manipulate our emotions and toy with our minds in a way that makes us beg for more. With just a few episodes left to sort things out, I imagine we’re in for a heck of a ride.

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

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1 Comment

  1. MByerly

    Blackbeard was a real person, not a Disney character.

    He looked so much like Jack Sparrow that I imagine OUAT wanted to use him, but Disney wouldn’t let them.

    And what is it with pirates and guyliner?

    Hook should have sought Regina’s help with the curse when he had a chance.

    And I loved Regina’s look of horror when Emma fell into the ravine. She definitely has changed although she’s not lost her nasty edge otherwise.

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