Monday, March 2, 2015

TV Recap: Once Upon a Time 4-12 - Darkness on the Edge of Town

So here’s a little irony for you.  I had to wait to watch last night’s Once Upon a Time because I was out watching Wicked last night while it is here in LA.  You know, last spring’s villain on the show.  No, that has nothing really do to with last night’s episode or recap (other than explaining why it is going up on Monday night instead of Sunday night).

And what a great episode it was.  I’m hooked all over again.  Our heroes are in serious trouble (and yes, I’m including Regina in that heroes mix).

So let’s start with the flashback, shall we?  We start out at Maleficent’s castle as Ursula shows up for a meeting.  Then along comes Cruella.  However, none of them know what this meeting is about.  Heck, the first Maleficent knew about it was when the other two showed up.  That’s because Rumpelstiltskin called it.  It seems that Rumple has a plan for getting them all their happy endings.  It seems there is a curse, and he needs all their abilities to get it.  It takes a little smooth talking on his part, but he soon talks them in to going along with his plan.

And a light bulb immediately went off in my head.  This is why Mal had the curse in the second episode of the series.  Well, not quite, as we learn later since she didn't wind up with it, but at least it is a potential start to that part of the story.

The foursome head out to a cavern on Bald Mountain.  Cruella uses her ability to charm animals to get poisonous beetles away from the door.  Mal uses her dragon fire power to get rid of the fire that is the next barrier.  Finally, Ursula’s long tentacles reach out and get it.

Oops.  It seems that Rumple used the three ladies.  The real reason he wanted them along was for the fourth thing guarding it – the Chernabog.  It will devour the heart of the thing with the greatest propensity for evil.  Rumple walks out with the curse, leaving the three of them to fight and get devoured.  However, they work together.  The Chernabog goes after Mal and the other two climb out of the cavern.  Ursula then uses her tentacle to pull Mal to safety.

End flashback, but we’re just getting started since we’ve got New York and Storybrooke to go.

In New York, Gold is crashing with Ursula while waiting for an e-mail to come in.  When it finally does, they set out to grab Cruella de Vil, whose husband and much of her possessions are being confiscated by the FBI.  It takes a little talk, but she finally agrees to go along with the plan.  That plan?  Head to Storybrooke and find the author to demand they get their happy endings.

However, the ladies aren’t happy when they reach the town line and learn that it is under a cloaking spell and they can’t get in.  They are ready to kill Gold right then and there, but he convinces them he has a plan to get all three of them inside – and he will have to trust them to carry it out.

Meanwhile, inside Storybrooke, things have been pretty peaceful for the residence.  There hasn’t been any progress in Operation Mongoose (aka tracking down the author), and Regina is getting discouraged.  She’s also still hurting over Robin leaving even though she knows it was the right thing to do.  Meanwhile, Hook is also frustrated by the lack of progress in getting the fairies out of the sorcerer’s hat.  He and Belle are bonding a little over how Gold used the two of them, although Hook is angry while Belle is heartbroken.

Then Belle gets the e-mail response she’s been hoping for.  A linguist in Oxford has decoded a spell she found that might free the fairies.  With Regina’s help, they successfully complete the spells, and the fairies are now free.  Along with a dark shadow, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

There’s a party to celebrate at Granny’s that night, and we learn from the Blue Fairy that the sorcerer isn’t the author, even though the sorcerer has the blank books in his house.  She thinks it is very interesting that sorcerer’s house is here in Storybrooke.  She also reveals that the author left clues to his identity in the book, so Henry starts pouring over every page trying to figure out what they might be.

However, at this point the surprise from the hat comes into play when it starts roaring in the streets.  Yep, it’s Chernabog.  Regina and Emma combine their magic, but they only wound it.

Just about this time, Regina gets a phone call from Ursula asking to be let into town.  Ursula and Cruella say they’ve reformed and want a chance to prove it like Regina has done.  Regina isn’t willing to consider it until Ursula hears the roar of the beast and makes a deal.  When Regina learns that Chernabog will go after the heart of the person with the greatest potential for darkness, she knows it is her.  Emma hits on the idea of luring it to the town line, so the two hop in Emma’s bug and start racing to the edge of town.

The VW bug winds up the worse for wear when Chernabog lands on it and punches a hole in the windshield.  Regina transports herself out of the car right to the edge of the town in an effort to lure the Chernabog away, but it doesn’t leave the car.  Still, Emma steps on the breaks and the Chernabog goes flying across the town line, getting destroyed since it is magic entering a world without magic.

At this point, Mary Margaret and David show up and beg Regina to reconsider letting Ursula and Cruella into town, but she wants to keep her end of the deal.  Plus, if she can improve and reform, maybe they have as well.  Emma backs Regina up, so they toss a scroll across the town line.  This was a scroll that Elsa had and left behind, and it allows those who look at it to get beyond the protection spell into town.

Of course, late that night, Cruella and Ursula do the same for Gold.  They complain that they are doing everything again for the new plan, but he reveals that he was the “professor” who gave Belle the spell to release the fairies, knowing that Chernabog would come out as well.  It was all set in motion to get them inside, and Belle has no idea how she was used.  He also reveals that Chernabog was really after Emma, not Regina.  Now the plan is for the two ladies to pretend they’ve changed and go about making friends in town and Gold work behind the scenes.  Just one thing first – they need to resurrect Mal, who is only mostly dead.

And then comes the final scene.  Mary Margaret and David are heading to the woods where they meet up with Ursula and Cruella.  But it’s not a friendly meeting.  Mary Margaret threatens the two.  If they ever reveal about their past encounter in the Enchanted Forest, she will personally rip out their hearts.

What is that all about?  What could Mary Margaret and David done with those two that is so bad?  I’m really curious at this point about what that particular back story is all about.

I’d heard rumors that they were going to explore Emma’s potential to turn evil this half of the season, so I wasn’t that surprised by Gold’s revelation at the end.  In fact, since this entire part of the season is about what makes a hero and what makes a villain, I think we will see lots of people in a new light.  I’m very curious to know where they are going with that.

And yes, I still want to know how they are going to resurrect Mal.  I’m sure that will be part of next week’s episode.

Theories?  Predictions?  I’ve got none at this point.  Heck, back in season one, I thought August might be the author before we learned he was Pinocchio.  I wonder if the author is someone we’ve met, or at least someone we already know.

Anyway, feel free to hit me up in the comments with any theories or thoughts on this episode in general.

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