So I have fallen a bit behind on my reviews of this show, and for that I apologize, but that is over. I am back with a brand new review, and what an episode to review!
To start off, I have to say, I loved this episode. Even the flashbacks, which I usually don’t like that much, were great. Granted that could be because we finally got Ariel and I have been looking forward to her appearance for quite some time, was sad over the lack of Sebastien though. Since we’re on the topic, lets kick this off with talking about the flashbacks. I have to say, the reason why I liked them so much was how they did Ursula. The making her this legendary sea goddess instead of a witch was an interesting choice, and it honestly had my really curious. The fact that she was this great and legendary figure was just so outside of what I expected that when I first saw it I was honestly surprised. I gotta give Once Upon a Time this, they are good at throwing the curve balls. What I also liked was Regina’s round about way of attacking Snow in this episode. Her manipulation of Ariel to make Snow vulnerable was rather smart of her, would have worked to if she hadn’t come down with a sudden case of fork in the neck. The reveal at the end of Ursala actually being a real was the icing on the cake. Her rage at Regina was fantastic, and I am honestly hoping that we see more of her. I think she could be a very interesting addition to the cast, possible even a new villain.
Snow and Ariel’s friendship was fun to watch, but I didn’t find it overly fantastic. It was far from bad, and I genuinely enjoyed it at times. Snow’s immediate acceptance of Ariel and her strong desire for Ariel to get her happy ending was nice to watch, but I think that a bit more could be done with their friendship. I understand that they only the flashback parts of this episode to work with, but still felt limited. I am hoping that Ariel will have some more appearances down the line and we can see more of her and Snow’s friendship. I did find myself wondering where/how Snow and Ariel got the dresses to wear to the ball, but the scenes there were amusing enough. What was best about the flashbacks was all the little nods and references to Disney’s The Little Mermaid. While not anything unexpected or amazing, they were fun enough to earn a grin from the Goon.
Jumping back to the present we start with Regina giving Emma some lessons in spell slinging. While brief I did enjoy this. Emma having the potential to use magic is one of the things about her character I have always wanted to see further explored and developed, but we so far have gotten very little of it so I am very happy to see that something is being done with that. I also see this as a major step forward in Regina and Emma’s relationship. By Regina showing Emma to use magic she is helping to level the playing field between them, she is showing Emma a degree of trust which I see as a major step forward for her character on her shaky road to redemption. I can honestly say I would love to see these two actually become friends. I also loved Emma’s willingness to learn magic, but wanting to avoid going dark side like Regina did. It ties into the whole thing about her ability to use magic being spawned from True Love, which I think is safe to say is white magic whereas Regina’s is full on evil, makes for an interesting student/teacher relationship, that lets be honest, probably won’t see to much development. For some reason I just can’t see this becoming a plot point for the show, but I could very will be wrong.
Regina departs and we see the rest of the gang off to try and rescue Neal. Now this I liked. I was fully expecting Hook to keep this a secret longer for a bigger dramatic reveal later, I was happy to see I was wrong. I believe this also showed a big step forward for Hook. At this point we all well and know that he has the hots for our favorite Savior, and he could have very easily kept the news of Neal being alive a secret in the hopes that he could have built up more of a relationship with Emma, but nope. Granted he said this to Snow and David first, which does make sense. Hook doesn’t fully trust Pan to be telling the truth, and there is no reason he should, and wants to try and spare Emma the pain that the false hope that hearing about Neal could be alive could bring. This of course doesn’t go as planned as Snow tells Emma right away, which again makes perfect sense, she wants her daughter to have the happy ending that she and David got, and she knows that Emma needs hope. This was a touching scene between the two, and I love the mother/daughter scenes with them. We really need to see Emma get more comfortable with this situation so that we can see more of them.
What I thought was most interesting about this was how Neal was being held. To free him each of them had to reveal a dark secret about themselves, all of this done because Pan was hoping that it would drive them apart. As Hook said, it was all part of his game. I love that this is something with Pan. That everything he does is a game to him and this makes sense. Pan is still a child, so the fact that he would approach everything as game fits in perfectly with that, granted he is an evil child with evil goals so his games tend to revolve around death, destruction, and general all purpose evil, but still, they’re games. Granted the secrets revealed here weren’t all that surprising for the most part. I think we all knew that David was going to reveal his current predicament, they did have to do this so they would have a reason to figure out how to get him safely home, and Hook’s was pretty easy to predict as well. I think the biggest one here was Snow’s. Since the breaking of the curse we have seen her showing nothing but love for Emma and the strong desire to build that mother/daughter relationship with her, and while her love for Emma hasn’t diminished in the slightest, her rage over never being able to have the relationship she wanted with her daughter was a bit shocking to see. I can see the potential for some fall out from that little reveal. On the flip side though, Emma may be a big sister soon! If that isn’t cause for celebration I don’t know what is!
Emma’s big reveal wasn’t to shocking either, granted it led to my favorite part of the episode. Neal’s total acceptance of this secret. I loved this, it was fantastic. Neal knows that what he did in the past hurt Emma horribly, and he could have been hurt or angry over this but he wasn’t. He just accepted this as fact and resolved to fix it, to put his family back together. And honestly, I am pulling for him. I really like Neal, I didn’t want to at first, I really didn’t, but he has grown on me, and damn it I want him and Emma together!
While Emma and crew were busy with this, we had Regina meeting up with Rumpel. Not much happened here. The biggest being that the vision of Belle Rumple has been seeing is actually Pan’s shadow manipulating him, which was devilishly smart move on Pan’s part. Rumpel is his biggest threat so it makes sense that he would do what he could to throw him off his game. After that we got a brief scene of them arguing back and forth about how to deal with Pan, Rumpel being less willing to kill him now that he knows Neal is still alive. Instead they decide on a “fate worse than death” for our favorite evil child. Nice little throw back to the season 2 premier with the wraith, makes me wonder if that is what they plan to unleash on Pan, guess we’ll see. The episode closes out with Regina calling on Ariel to help them, returning her voice and telling her that she will be able to find Eric in Storybrooke if she helps them. I am happy for this, we haven’t seen Storybrooke yet this season and I am bit a interested to see how the gang has been fairing there while Emma and the others have been away.
Overall, great episode in my humble opinion. We finally got to see Ariel, they did an interesting thing with Ursala’s character, and we had the resolution of David’s secret. Lot of fun to watch and I can’t wait for next week’s episode.