Monday, May 11, 2015

TV Recap: Once Upon a Time 4-21 - Operation Mongoose

Wow.  That was as much fun as I expected, but that ending was wild (if not quite the series changer we were promised).  Is it next season yet?

Before we get there, let’s recap what we saw in this alternative universe.

We start with the Author, aka Isaac, in our world in the 1960’s.  He’s a frustrated writer selling TV’s for a living until the day he gets an offer from the Sorcerer’s Apprentice to write down fairy tales.  Of course, we all know how that turned out.

In our world in the present day, everyone is trying to figure out how to stop him.  They’re looking through the books in the Sorcerer’s house, but those books are all empty.  August shows up and explains that the Apprentice might be able to stop him, and Hook recognizes the picture of the man, so the Apprentice finally gets to come out of the Hat.  Unfortunately, by the time he comes out of the Hat, it’s too late, and Isaac has finished his rewrite, taking everyone to the alternative world.

Everyone, that is, but Isaac and Henry.  Henry finds himself the only one is Storybrooke, and he soon leaves town searching for his family.  As he’s searching, he finds Isaac’s book (now in paperback!) entitles Heroes and Villains.  Henry tracks Isaac to a book signing (where he is signing hardcovers - explain that one to me).  A confrontation leads to the original Heroes and Villains book where Isaac wrote down the story.  Henry uses the key, and he and Isaac are sucked in to that copy of the book.

And so we enter the topsy turvey world that Isaac has created.  In this world, Regina is on the run from the evil queen – aka Snow White – because she destroyed Snow’s happiness.  Regina gave away that Snow was in love with James, and James was killed.  Snow does have David (his twin brother), but only because she is controlling his heart.  Regina is trying to steal enough to leave the kingdom, but she is constantly thwarted by Robin Hood.  Rumpelstiltskin?  He’s the Light One and a hero who saves people from Ogres because doing good is its own reward.  (Yes, he made me a bit sick, too.)

Of course, no one remembers anything differently from the alternative Enchanted Forest they now inhabit.  So when Henry shows up and tries convince them that there is a better world for them, no one is interested in listening.  Regina still tries to rob a coach, but runs into Snow and David.  She barely escapes Snow’s magic with the help of Robin Hood.  And we might have seen sparks flying between them, except Robin is set to marry that day.  His fiancée?  Not Marian but Zelena.

About this time, Henry learns here Emma is in this new realm.  She’s in a tower on an island.  He tries to get Hook to take him, but Hook is a lowly deckhand under Blackbeard.  A little fancy pulley work on Henry’s part gets Blackbeard out of the way and Hook and Henry set off to rescue Emma.  To Henry’s surprise, Emma remembers the truth.  They make their escape, but they have to fight off Emma’s guard along the way – Lily, who turns into a dragon.

They arrive back on dry land to find Snow and David waiting for them.  Hook sacrifices himself so that Emma and Henry can get free and hopefully save the day.  The duo track down Regina and convince her that the only way to get things back to how they should be is to break up Robin and Zelena’s wedding.  True loves kiss between Robin and Regina should do the trick, right?

Meanwhile, Isaac has been doing his best to keep his story on track.  He can’t do any more rewrites because he gave himself a happy ending, thereby making himself a character.  With his future as a bestselling author on the line, he tries to feed Henry to an Ogre, rats him out to Snow (after getting captured by the evil dwarfs) and then goes to the Light One (who is happily married to Belle.  The couple have a new baby).  He convinces the Light One that Henry must be stopped at all costs.

That comes at the wedding.  Emma and Henry have finally talked Regina into going to break up the wedding, but Rumple shows up to stop them.  Emma fights him off for a bit, but Regina can’t do more than peak in the door at the wedding in progress.  (Poor Will Scarlett, this is his only scene in the entire two hours.  And he doesn’t speak, he just stands there next to Robin as the best man.)  Rumple pushes Emma back with magic, and then Henry starts to fight.  Rumple is about to kill Henry when Regina steps in front of him, taking the sword and saving Henry’s life.  As she lays dying, the wedding ends and everyone comes out of the chapel.  Zelena isn’t happy to have her day stolen and her hand turns green.  But Robin won’t leave Regina alone.

However, it’s not a kiss that ends this spell.  (I was rooting for it to be Henry’s kiss this time.)  Instead, Henry finds the quill in Isaac’s things.  (Isaac crashed the wedding to make sure the story ended like it should.)  The quill glows, meaning that Henry is the new author.  But where to find the ink?  Since Regina saved him, maybe she is the Savior in this realm.  It worked, and Henry writes a sentence about Isaac’s plans falling apart.  That’s enough to whisk everyone back to Storybrooke where they remember what had happened in the alternative realm but those who died are alive again and those injured are whole.

Isaac tries to flee town, but he is stopped by Mary Margaret and David, who find out he turned them evil (briefly) because he didn’t like them.  We don’t learn his fate, but I assume he is banished again to the book.  Then again, since he can do no more harm, what does it matter?

Henry, meanwhile, is tempted to use his quill and his newfound power as the Author to bring his dad back to life.  The Apprentice tells him that even the Authors can’t bring back the dead.  To avoid giving in to temptation in other stories, Henry breaks the quill in two.  The Apprentice smiles and says they’ve found a good one this time.

Lily wants to stick around town.  Her necklace is a piece of the egg she was in and her only clue toward finding her father.  Mal and the father were in dragon form when Lily was conceived, so no one knows who her father might be, but she wants to stick around to find him.

And Gold is back to dying thanks to his black heart.  Belle comes in and confesses that she still loves him.  And she tells him again that they could have had love and happiness in this realm if he would have stopped giving in to his evil side.  Gold warns her that once his heart is all black, the darkness within will be free to attack and everyone will be in danger.  So Belle goes and gets help from the party taking place at Granny’s.

The Apprentice comes and hopes to remove the darkness from Gold’s heart and put it in the Hat.  He does get the darkness out, leaving a weakened Gold on the floor.  He puts Gold in suspended animation until they figure out if they can help him readjust to life as only human.  Until that happens, Gold is essentially in a magic coma.

However, the Hat isn’t strong enough to hold the darkness.  It comes out and attacks the Apprentice.  Emma uses magic to get it to flee, but it leaves the Apprentice so weak that he appears to be dead by the end of the episode.  Before he dies, he says there is only one person who can stop this darkness – the Sorcerer himself, aka Merlin.  (And why didn’t I figure out that’s who the Sorcerer was months ago?)

Meanwhile, the darkness is still in town.  It tries to attach itself to Regina, but Emma won’t let it.  After telling Hook she loves him, Emma steps in and allows the darkness to take over her.  The last shot is of her disappearing and the dagger on the ground with the name Emma Swan on it.

The Savior is now the Dark One?  After that close call earlier in the season with Gold manipulating her, she has truly turned evil now of her own accord.  I will be very interested to see how that plays out next season.

The friend I always watch with was trying to figure out who Lily’s father might be.  The best guess we have is Merlin (who we are guessing could turn in to a dragon), but we really don’t know.  Frankly, we were drawing blanks on other famous dragons in literature or the Disney cannon.  I came up with a few, but I don’t think they’ll go with Elliot (Pete’s Dragon) or the Reluctant Dragon.

Overall, I really enjoyed this alternative story.  In fact, I thought it was much better than last season’s two hour finale.  All the nods to the first season were fantastic.  I didn’t quite buy Snow as evil, but the rest of the twists were so much fun, and I enjoyed trying to guess where the familiar characters might pop up.  (Didn’t guess Lily’s role at all.)

I don’t quite see how this ending is the series changer we were promised.  It was certainly interesting and leaves us wanting more for next season, but it’s not as earth shattering as I was expecting.

Still, it is going to be a very long wait until season 5 begins in September.  I’m just thrilled to know the show has been renewed since I’d hate for it to end like this.

Comments?  Speculation?  Hit me up and leave your thoughts.  Meanwhile, I hope you will keep visiting the blog over the summer to keep up with my reviews.


  1. Im wondering if Emma becomes Morgan Lefay (Morgana) depending on which version is That would be something!!

    1. I hadn't considered that, but it is an interesting theory, isn't it?

  2. I was also thinking that of course Merlin would be the sorcerer! Duh. So obvious. Loved the alternate story and how different everyone was. Thank goodness Emma knew who she was all along (as her punishment) so that she could be the voice of reason. All around great episode. I guess they are saying it's a game changer because now Emma is the Dark One. OK - but I agree with you and we know they will find some way to reverse this sometime next season. I have no idea who Lily's father is. I will have to mull on that one over the Summer :) Also, if the apprentice is dead (and maybe he isn't?), then I guess Merlin will be the one to reverse the suspended animation on Gold. I'm glad Belle doesn't really love Will but has loved Rumple along.

    1. I can't wait to see what they do with Gold next season. It will be very interesting to watch him as a normal human without the power he loves so much.