Once Upon A Time recap: The Jolly Roger

In this week's Once Upon A Time, Hook's ego and his good heart duel and everyone loses, our Head Witch in Charge teaches the Savior some new magic tricks, and the Charmings are annoying. And Ariel shows up, but not all is as it seems.

Back in the land of fairy tales, a ship-less Captain Hook gets wasted and celebrates bluffing traveling soldiers out of their gold. Smee informs him that his men have all chipped in to get him a party favor, but once out of sight, the pirate gives the hooker extra gold to be on her way. Aww, you guys, Hook misses Emma so much he can't bring himself to nail a hooker!

But loyalty aside, Killian gets no love. As soon as the lady of ill repute walks away, he gets slammed over the head and threatened with a knife to the throat by the Little Mermaid, who demands to know where Prince Eric is. Welcome back, JoAnna Garcia!

Fast-forward to present-day Storybrooke, where Emma helps David assemble a crib for her future baby brother or sister, a distraction from the fact the Wicked Witch wants all or some of the baby's parts for some kind of nasty spell. "That greenie is clearly one twisted witch," Regina says, after announcing to the Charmings that she's conjured a new protection spell that will keep Zelena's paws off Snow's incubating fetus.

But that's not enough for the Savior. Emma is ready to learn magic and take the fight to that reptilian sorceress. "This is a way of life!" Regina lectures. Emma says she can commit, even when mommy and daddy are clearly displeased that their princess is going to take lessons from the Evil Queen. (Sidebar: I love to see Regina playing nice-ish with the Charmings, just waltzing into their apartment like Chandler during an episode of Friends.) There's still the matter of who is going to babysit Henry while Emma gets her schooling. Memory-wiped Henry thinks David and Mary Margaret are boring. Yeah, kid, we agree with you. So who would Henry rather hang out with?

Cut to the docks, where our guylinered anti-hero looks wistfully at the water and is interrupted by a fat rat in a red cap. Smee tells Hook that while frozen yogurt is enchanting, he wants to get out of Storybrooke and back to the high seas. Hook gives exactly zero fucks about what his men want, declaring he has no intention of leaving Storybrooke (really, he has no intention of leaving those cheekbones of Emma's).

And yet Emma has different plans. She tells Hook she's going to learn magic, defeat Zelena and then be done with it — sorcery, Storybrooke, all of it. She's taking her kid and her cheekbones back to New York and their real life when this is done.

Not far from the star-crossed lovers, the townspeople gather around Ariel, who has washed up on shore looking for Eric, parallel to the story in the flashback where Ariel leverages her information that Blackbeard stole the Jolly Roger to force Hook to help her find Eric.

Which leads me to question what the writers plan to do past this season. In Season 1, everyone lived in Storybrooke with no memory of their Enchanted Forest lives, which we knew about through flashbacks. In Season 2, everyone was still in Storybrooke, but with their memories. Now, in the back half of Season 3, everyone is back in Storybrooke with no memory of the last year in the Enchanted Forest. Will we ever properly leave Storybrooke? They've milked just about the last drop from the foundation plot of Regina's original curse, but maybe this show wouldn't work if it were set solely in the Enchanted Forest.

Speaking of the former Big Bad, Regina takes Emma to her creepy vault for her lesson. First things first: Who is watching their child? When Emma says Hook is a great babysitter, Regina quips, "He's prone to violence, impulsive and with a hook for a hand. What about him would a 12-year-old boy not like?" Then she hands Emma a spellbook written in Elvish. Emma wants the SparkNotes version. Ain't nobody got time to learn to read Elvish.

Bad move. Regina poofs them onto a rickety rope bridge, which she starts magically dismantling. If Emma wants to not plunge to her death, she's going to need to tap into her instincts and witchily make it so. How's that for a shortcut? "No more hand-holding!" Regina yells. At the last second, once Emma's plummeting toward becoming a bag of broken bones, she rises on a pile of wood from the bridge, as if she were on a splintery magic carpet. "Did I just do that?" she Urkels. Regina is impressed — and pissed. She just wanted Emma to retie the rope! Emma's had all this power and she just wasted it all this time? For shame.

In the fairy tale flashback, Ariel and Hook search for Blackbeard. She tells Hook that she's heard stories of him being a hero, not a villain.

Had our Little Mermaid had any sense, she would have spared Hook the encouragement that being good is nothing to be ashamed of, because once he gets into a sword fight on the Jolly Roger with Blackbeard — who fell out of Johnny Depp's closet — and Blackbeard starts taunting him for going soft, Hook chooses his ship and his pirate dishonor over information about Eric's whereabouts. Ariel smacks the shit out of him and tells him what a piece of garbage he is before swimming off to find Eric herself.

This exchange haunts Hook, and in present-day Storybrooke, he comes clean to Ariel about their past encounter, which she doesn't remember because of the curse. Ariel again smacks the shit out of him and makes him swear on the name of his beloved that he would take it all back if he could, and then in a cloud of green smoke reveals that she's really the Wicked Witch. Ugh, I hate shapeshifting.

It was all a (super ridiculously stupid and drawn out) roundabout way of cursing Hook so that the next time he kisses Emma, she'll be robbed of her blossoming powers. The real Ariel found Eric after swimming away from Hook in the flashback, and is living happily ever after. As for Hook, God help him if he tells Emma about the curse — Zelena might need Emma alive, but she can still get rid of everyone she loves if Killian doesn't pucker up.

For an episode that features my favorite OUAT character (Hook) prominently as well as my favorite Disney character (Ariel), this did little for me. We got barely the tiniest morsel of the Wicked Witch's plot, which we know involves her stealing Charming's courage, Rumple's brains and Regina's heart, and something to do with Snow's baby, to rewrite the past and make it so Regina had never been born and Zelena had been raised by their evil witch mother, Cora, instead of being abandoned. Which all just sounds really stupid when you spell it out like that.

Also, there was no Robin Hood in this episode, which I think is a serious miscalculation.

Next week, the gang does a seance and Rose McGowan returns as young Cora! Because Cora is, you know, so helpful and not at all terrifying and demonic.

1 comment :

  1. Shapeshifting is incredibly annoying. Not the best plot this week...but I do appreciate Hook getting a few more lines than usual just for the fun of it.