Sunday, 22 March 2015

Poor Unfortunate Soul

As if the title didn't make it any more obvious, we now get to see a teenage Ursula (played by Tiffany Boone) and her past with Hook, as it turned out that she was a free spirited mermaid in Neverland with her father King Poseidon (played by special guest star Ernie Hudson) with a beautiful singing voice, but had to use it to lure ships to kill pirates (for revenge on Poseidon's part as pirates killed Ursula's mother) And she develops a friendship with Hook, but Poseidon offers him a deal to get rid of Ursula's singing voice (AKA the only thing she has left of her mother in exchange for squid ink which can mobilize the Dark One as part of Hook's vegeance quest, which Hook refuses. When Ursula discovers this, Poseidon intervenes again & since he would only use her voice for vengeance, Hook takes Ursula's voice & she ends up becoming a villain as she takes inspiration from the sea goddess she was named after & decides to take her own path & for everyone to fear her  along with turning her fins into tentacles. In Storybrooke, now that August is back, the Queens of Darkness, Regina & Rumple try to force him to tell them who the author is & to make sure he's not lying, Rumple forces him to take a potion so his lie detector nose is still intact, where he reveals that the door from the page Henry has is in Storybrooke. Meanwhile, now that the others know Rumple is back, Hook makes a deal with Ursula involving him giving her her her happy ending in exchange for Rumple's plan, which involves getting her voice back from the Jolly Roger. However, when she tries to get her singing voice back & fails, it turns out not only the Jolly Roger came back, but also Ariel & Poseidon as Elsa of Arendelle had put the ship in the bottle as the price for Blackbeard's cruel ways. And it turns out that the reason why her voice didn't return was because the person who enchanted the shell had to enact it, so Ursula gets her happy ending with her voice returning & going back home with her father, but not before telling Hook that Rumple's plan is to darken Emma's heart as she's the saviour & helps people give them their happy endings. And Operation Mongoose has a new lead thanks to August as it turns out that the door from the torn page Henry has isn't an illustration of it, but instead the actual door & that the author is trapped inside the book.
Despite being kind of Hook centric, I actually really enjoyed this episode! It felt nice to have that fairytale feeling back similar to the Ariel episode, with many references to the movie throughout including Ursula singing Fathoms Below (the opening song) & the Ariel's song motif being used throughout for Ursula. I'll admit, I was confused at the start with Ursula being a kind mermaid & I thought her reason for being evil was going to be falling for Hook only for him to leave her, but the real reason (Hook taking her voice/the only thing she has left of her mother away & being sick of her father controlling her) made it more plausible along with the fact that this Ursula & the sea goddess Ursula from season 3 being 2 different entities made her 'retcon' more plausible. The pacing was also nicely done & surprisingly fast in terms of plot progression similar to season 3 along with each character contributing something, including Will managing to give Hook a potion from Wonderland to bring the Jolly Roger back to size. Another part I liked was seeing Ariel again along with mentions of Elsa & Blackbeard & I was genuinely surprised by the continuity throughout including the Jolly Roger situation, Ursula the sea goddess & August mentioning the Dragon to try & get Rumple away. August was also fully used to his advantage which I also very much enjoyed & I love seeing Regina taking her undercover seriously along with her very interesting dream involving Robin & her Evil Queen self. Even seeing Emma indulge in a bit of her dark side because of Rumple was interesting to see & I can't wait to see this be taken further in the next few episodes. And Rumple, while clearly being on the dark side & taking things the wrong way to get his happiness, still managed to keep me entertained throughout! And the twist with the author being trapped inside the book was very very interesting & I didn't see it coming at all, so I can't wait to see them explore more about how they'll go with freeing him/her!
If I had a problem (besides CaptainSwan as always), it'd be they took the whole beginning plot of The Little Mermaid & changed it around for Ursula instead of Ariel & Poseidon taking on Triton's role as the overprotective father & the fact Ursula is leaving so early despite being a Queen of Darkness, but it could've been handled much worse & the acting from both Merrin Dungey & Ernie Hudson was excellent & it was nice to see Poseidon be given his own character arc despite only being in this episode!
Overall, this is much better than I thought it was going to be with a nice tone, fast pace, great visuals & acting along with some more great characters returning & nice plot progression!
Nice to see you again Smee!
Hmm, her singing really is beautiful...and never thought we'd see Neverland again!
Wait, Ursula was a mermaid?!
Hi Winston from Ghostbusters! Hmm, maybe they should've called him when they had the problem with Cora's ghost...
Leave August alone!
Kinda scary Regina possessed Mary Margaret...
Well, at least she knew sooner than later that Rumple's back!
Well, nice to know his retconned Pinocchio memories are also intact!
Hmm, I wonder what he took from Ursula that can give her her happy ending...
Is it just me or does she look like her Vanessa disguise in the movie with that dress? And oh my God, she's singing Fathoms Below from the movie!
Nice continuity with the bracelets that give merfolk legs from season 3!
Wait, I thought Blackbeard now owned the Jolly Roger!
Bit extreme of him to enchant something to take away the only piece of her mother!
Hmm, not so sure squid ink will help since it's only temporary!
Nice for Will to finally contribute something to the plot besides being Belle's unnecessary new love interest!
Nice to see you again...Robin?!
Huh?!
Oh, it's just a nightmare...
Bit odd for them to gag August while they want information out of him!
No, no! Please don't turn him back into wood & make his return pointless, please please please!
Ugh, not again!
Bit odd for Emma to actually want to kill Rumple...
Ooh, that giggle actually make my spine tingle!
ARGH!
Wait, the door is in Storybrooke?!
Well, at least Hook has somewhere he can properly live now that he has his ship back!
Hmm, you know, maybe another reason why he probably didn't take that deal other than his code is cos Bae told him about Rumple's dagger!
I knew a part of his selfish self was still inside him!
Nice to see you again Ariel! And interesting to hear Elsa was the one who put the ship in the bottle...
Poor Ursula!
Haha! Nice Tangled reference!
AWW! So nice to see them reunited!
Oi! Leave Mary Margaret alone!
AH! So Ursula here is named after the sea goddess Ursula from season 3! Makes much more sense now!
Pretty weird seeing Poseidon in Storybrooke!
AWW!
Well, at least they haven't caught on that Regina's actually the mole!
So Emma's the key to giving people happy endings as she's the saviour & Rumple wants to corrupt her...seems forcing the author to rewrite their endings isn't as simple as it seemed!
Wait, Regina doesn't have Robin's phone number?!
Wait, the author is IN the book?! Very interesting lead!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Enter The Dragon

In this episode, we get to see Maleficent's backstory along with some insight to the Sleeping Beauty story (finally) & her & Regina's friendship origins as it's revealed that Maleficent (who's pretty much a parallel of a retired washed up celebrity in this episode) actually cursed Aurora in adulthood before her wedding to Philip for revenge against her mother Briar Rose thanks to some motivation from Regina (who's growing impatient at Rumple for not teaching her how to stop Snow White) despite King Stefan (played by Sebastian Roche) trying to stop them. And we also get to see the origins of Maleficent & Regina's friendship as she grew impatient of Rumple not teaching her how to get her revenge on Snow White & she goes to Maleficent, where she ends up motivating her to be evil again & gets her revenge on Stefan by cursing Aurora. In Storybrooke, the Charmings get Regina to successfully go undercover by pretending she's evil again to Maleficent, Cruella & Ursula, during which it turns out Maleficent wants Pinocchio as he's a clue to find out who the author is. But then Rumple reveals himself to Regina & end up turning Pinocchio back into August in order to force him to tell them who & where the author is! Oh yeah, and Hook gets Belle to do a favour by giving him Rumple's dagger, only for it to be revealed that Hook really was Rumple in disguise all along. (Well, at least it's a start for his quest to win her back!)
Honestly, out of all the season 4 episodes so far, this is definitely the weakest next to White Out & it's mostly for the same reasons, in particular when it comes to the flashbacks. Although it was more interesting to know about Regina & Maleficent's friendship origins, the problem is that we don't know why & how Maleficent became a recluse despite previously being the evil ruler we know her as along with the fact that the Regina wanting to destroy Snow formula returning (even if she does nothing & it's mostly to learn a lesson about patience). And King Stefan was severely underused & wasted (well, at least they didn't turn him into a one dimensional villain like the Maleficent movie) & the way they dealt with cursing Aurora felt anticlimactic given that she apparently did it for sacrifice in season 2 when in here she was cursed just like that! And I'll take it that her mother Briar Rose (an admittedly clever way of bringing Aurora's alias into the mix) was the original Sleeping Beauty if Aurora knew she was a princess the whole time, wasn't cursed as a baby & no fairies were involved!
The Storybrooke scenes definitely fared better thanks to the interactions between Regina, Maleficent, Ursula & Cruella even if the last 2 had more of a back-seat compared to the other two and we don't follow on from Snow & Charming's dark secret or that Emma has the potential to be dark. It was nice to see Emma & Regina interacting & for the former to finally have suspicions about everyone keeping things from her while the latter was going undercover. As for Belle & Rumple's subplot, it was enjoyable to see even if it was a bit weird one minute she says that she's afraid of him & may need the dagger for protection & the next she says that she's not over him...well, at least Rumple's one step closer to winning her back despite using Hook's body (which won't be a smart idea later on if Belle talks to the real Hook about it)!
As for August returning, I am so so happy they decided to bring him back because he has remained one of my favourite characters since season 1 & I was so so upset when they decided to retcon his very interesting story in season 2 (yeah, still haven't forgiven them for some of the dumb decisions they made during season 2) but for them to fix that problem I have always had was very delightful to see.
Overall, so far this is a weak edition with the flashbacks being mostly pointless & unengaging despite some good Storybrooke scenes with Regina & Maleficent and it's refreshing to see some old faces again (which shall be the same for next week as Ariel's returning)
Interesting wardrobe choice, Maleficent!
Am I the only one who finds it strange blue ribbons exist in the Enchanted Forest?
Hmm, why would Cora of all people have Maleficent's spellbook?
Uh, what does that burning tree have to do with anything?
For once I agree with Emma, getting Regina to go undercover has it's flaws!
You mean to tell me they're risking their lives just to see if Regina is still evil?!
Aww, can't help but love seeing Henry & Belle interacting!
Eek! 
Did you really expect them to reveal their plan just like that to Regina?!
Well, Maleficent looks...different!
Oh yeah, almost forgot Gold had his cabin in the woods!
Bit weird he doesn't recognise King Leopold's wife AKA the queen!
Rather strange the wedding invitations are engraved on metal plates!
OK, this is not the Maleficent I know just giving up!
Hmm, I wonder what lead they have that Regina doesn't know yet other than Rumple helping them...
HAHA! 'Now I see you brought the entire Charming softball team and their pirate mascot!'
Hmm, nice seeing Emma being a more open minded person sticking by Regina!
Hmm, I wonder why it's just them two...
Pretty awkward given that Hook beat Will up yet he's acting like that never happened...
Rather unusual he suddenly wants Rumple's dagger...something doesn't feel right here.
OK, why do they want Pinocchio despite him saying he doesn't remember any of his August memories...?
So her horns aren't real...nice way of explaining the costume change compared to season 1!
Well, that was easy given that she hadn't used her spells in years!
Well, Stefan looks different compared to the long hair & beard! At least he isn't a crazy one dimensional tyrant! 
What the hell are his guards wearing?!
Aww, love seeing them bonding!
Hmm, nice of Emma to check up on Regina!
Pretty epic fail if they can't get themselves out of rope!
Just when I thought the CGI was getting good...
Uh...what is she doing?!
Nice to see you again Aurora!
'I have my own special curse in mind for your Prince Philip.' Must say, I'm surprised they remembered she turned him into the Yaoguai in 2x11!
Hmm, bit weird she's saying she's afraid he's already in town...
'Dark One if you're here, come and face me.' Bit weird Hook turned to face her the moment she said that...
I KNEW Hook was really Rumple in disguise!
OK, this bit felt rather hot knowing that it's really Rumple & why do I get the feeling he got Belle the rose?
Still can't help but feel sorry for him!
Uh..what was the point of cursing the horse?
Well, someone was going to find out sooner or later that he's back!
Nice to see you again August! You have NO idea how much I've missed him!