I have to admit when I saw the preview for this episode I filled with joy and then extreme dread. Why? Well it is basically the same fears that I had when I found out OUAT was going to be doing “Beauty & the Beast”; I love “The Little Mermaid” and to see that the OUAT writers were going to tackle another staple Disney movie from my childhood, well it gave me pause to say the least.
First, there was their choice of who was going to be playing Ariel, I know, she can’t look like see did in the cartoon, that is a given. However, I have seen JoAnna Garcia in a few other TV shows and I was not entirely convinced that she would be a good fit for this role. Second, well it is OUAT so you know they are going to put their own twist to a much beloved Disney movie, I have to say I’m not too thrilled with the whole Pan thing but I am not going to get into that right now. Finally, I was not sure how they were going to introduce this new character in the middle of this big huge ordeal that the Charmings are going through.
I was very pleasantly surprised by everything that happened last night. Yes, there were times where you were just like, okay why are you telling me this story about this other character in the middle of “Operation Rescue Henry” (yeah, I don’t remember what name they actually gave it)? However, given how choppy OUAT has been lately it was not completely noticeable.
So where do our beloved characters stand currently:
Hook and The Charmings
Hook tells David and Mary Margret (Charming and Snow) that Neal is alive, at least according to Pan. Snow for some reason decides she cannot keep that secret from Emma and blurts out that Neal is still alive while Hook and David try to make an excuse as to why they are splitting up the camp again. Of course Regina does not want to go after Neal and Emma is torn. It’s a tough call so I can’t really blame her but I also can’t blame Regina for walking off and being all peace out losers.
After Regina storms off the Charmings and Hook go after Neal into some ridiculous place called Echo Cavern (Echo something). Hook explains that the echo or your secrets is how you get out and explained it with some vague proverb that I don’t recall, it still did not make much sense but it is Neverland so I am not going to question it. Once our band of heroes makes it to the center of the cave they see a cage with Neal it, small problem, the cage is about 100 feet away from the edge of the cavern that they are standing on. There is no getting to Neal without sharing some deep dark secrets.
Finally Charming has to tell Snow that he cannot leave the island and has to stay there forever. This is a hard blow to her since she just finishing sharing her deepest secret, she wants to start their family again since they missed out on raising Emma. Hook tells everyone that he is falling in love with Emma, which apparently is a big deal since he thought he would never love again. I would think it would be more of a big deal since Neal is there and can hear him but that is just me. Anyway, with each secret a bridge grows from where Neal is to where the cheerful rescuers are; Emma crosses the bridge and tries to break the cage but of course she has to share the last secret to get it open. That secret is that she had wished that Neal was actually still dead; but only because it is too hard for her to imagine going through losing him again.
Now that everyone is out of the cavern Charming tries to talk to Snow but she blows him off. Hook slumps off behind them not saying anything to Emma or Neal. However Emma and Neal take a moment. Emma tries to apologize but Neal won’t let her. He also tells her that he will never stop fighting for her (aww).
Rumpelstiltskin and the Evil Queen
In the middle of another one of his pity parties Regina showed up and put an end to his bemoaning of the fact that he has yet again let down his son. Thank goodness because I really was not sure if he was ever going to snap out of his self-loathing long enough to do something to save Henry. I mean, I get it, you’ve been defeated by Pan, Pan is evil, if you kill Pan than you die too; but we’ve been caught in this vicious cycle of “oh-woe-is-me” for a bit longer than my liking. So the fact that Regina was there to give him the push he needed to get into action again was very much appreciated by me. Will they both end up screwing things up for everyone else and making the whole situation worse; probably; but that’s okay because at least they are doing something now that can be marked as progress. Woohoo!
Ariel, Snow, and Regina
That’s right our favorite little mermaid is introduced to us through flash backs to the Enchanted Forest realm. Snow is being chased by some of Regina’s guards and does a swan dive off a cliff to get away from them. She is slowly sinking when who comes along and saves her, Ariel of course. Once Ariel gets Snow to shore they exchange bits of their stories with each other and we find out that Ariel wants to go to this ball that Prince Eric is throwing that very night, super convenient. Ridiculously scheduled balls aside Snow offers to help Ariel out.
The two are able to procure dresses that certainly do not look like ball gowns to me but no one else seems to mind. Sadly though Ariel finds out that Prince Eric is leaving tomorrow morning to go on expedition to see the world, which he invites her to go on but she cannot because in a few hours her legs will turn back into a tail. She leaves the ball and tries to commune with the sea goddess Ursula and cannot believe her luck when Ursula shows up with a solution to her problem. Unfortunately for her Ursula is actually Regina who has been keeping tabs on Snow and has decided to take Ariel’s dilemma and use it to her advantage.
Happy to have a solution to her problem Ariel runs back to the docks where Snow is waiting for her. She announces that she has something that will help both of them and then snaps a bracelet onto Snow’s hand before even explaining to Snow what is going on. If it was me I would have been, oh hell no, and let her fall into the water instead of letting that bracelet touch me, but Snow is a lot nicer than I am. Anyway, the bracelet gives Snow a tail and Ariel explains that she gets to keep her legs and now Snow can be free to start her life over again.
I am not sure why Ariel thought this was a good solution to Snow’s problem because she was basically banishing Snow to live in a world that she knows nothing about but she keeps going on and on how Snow having a tail is the best thing that could ever happen to her. Hello, you just gave up your tail, why do you think it is awesome for someone else to have it?
Regina shows up and Snow realizes what is going on, and sadly so does Ariel. Regina and Snow both tell Ariel to go be with Eric; Regina telling her that there will be no second chances and Snow saying she can handle herself; but Ariel fakes them both out and stabs Regina in the neck with a “mini salad trident”. She whips the bracelet off Snow and then they both swim away.
Safe again on land Snow tells Ariel to go back to the docks because she sure that Eric is still there. Ariel does not think so at first but decides to give it a try anyway. She gets to the dock and sees Eric is still standing there and starts to shout for him but alas, she no longer has a voice. Regina shows up all smug and explains that she meant what she said about there being no second chances. Now Ariel will never be able to tell Eric who she is or how she feels.
Fast forward to present day Neverland and Regina is on the shore with Rumple and blows into a conch shell. It turns out there is something that Rumple left in Storybrook that they need to stop Pan. However they cannot travel between realms but a mermaid can. Ariel shows up and starts to say she will not help Regina but Regina explains that Prince Eric is in Storybrook and that is where they are sending her.
Overall Score: 7 out of 10
So your typical OUAT twist that could have gone horrible wrong but somehow manages to work out. I think over all this episode was pretty good. Not as good as some of the others from the first or second season but I will be generous and give it a 7 out of 10. I am still not excited about how choppy the episodes have been lately so that is why some points got taken off.