Villains! Heroes! Trickery! Princesses! Pirates! Surprisingly Powerful Hats! Yep, time once again for ABC’s Once Upon a Time, as the fall season draws to a close with “Heroes and Villains.” Which has to do—SHOCKER AHEAD—with Heroes and Villains.
Disclaimer: I have not seen Disney’s classic 101 Dalmatians in years, largely because my eight year old self read the book shortly before we were shown the movie in school, and that self found mistake after mistake and was, to put it mildly, incensed that the movie got SO MANY THINGS WRONG. In retrospect I can see that this was an excellent preparation for later movie adaptations, but at the time, it was a crushing disappointment. So all of my comments about Cruella DeVil should be taken in that light.
Ursula, though? AWESOME.
Previously on Once Upon a Time: Over in Fairy Tale land, Hans took over the frozen land of Arendelle. It’s really not clear why.
Over in Storybrooke, Ingrid turned everyone evil, which was lots of fun, but doesn’t matter since it was never mentioned in this episode, and also put up a giant wall of ice, which was less fun because it prevented people from leaving, and while I’m assuming everyone in Storybrooke is kinda used to this by now, it does beg the question of how people, and by people I mean crucial supplies, are getting in—that is, where on earth is Storybrooke getting its gas (used in this episode), alcohol (used in this episode), food (I think you’re getting the point) and so on, although I guess that does explain why poor Elsa and Anna, several episodes in now, have still not changed costumes. Henry, meanwhile, is doubtless getting his comic books through the Magic of Contrived Cross Promotion. After this, Ingrid had a moment of redemption, which was very sweet, and also meaningless, since she pretty much immediately died, killed by pieces of shattered mirror.
Also, Rumple continued his Quest to Master the Universe through the Magic of Mickey Mouse’s Hat, removing Hook’s heart along the way; Henry continued to look for the author of the fairy tale book in order to give Regina a happy ending; Robin Hood and Regina made out, like, lots; and a broom decided to take a nice stroll through Storybrooke, as brooms do, I guess.
Onwards to “Heroes and Villains.”
Over in Fairy Tale Land: Belle is doing some snooping around when Rumple returns early, carrying a Gauntlet of Evil +5 against Dragon’s Breath. (I am assuming.) It allows you to find someone’s weakness, not that those have been hard to see on the show so far. Belle theorizes that Rumple is just collecting things because he has a hole in his heart. This sort of medical diagnosis irritates Rumple, who magically shoos her out to work on the laundry. This type of boss/staff interaction irritates Belle, who indulges in some monologuing until she is interrupted by an Evil Dalmatian. Oh, sure, it looks cute, but it’s very clearly evil, a point only emphasized when Belle follows it into the woods and is promptly kidnapped. Oh, Belle. You live in a Fairy Tale land and you read fairy tale books and you live with the Dark One and you can still fall for an Evil Dalmatian? I am totes disappointed.
As is Rumple, I assume because Belle took off before the laundry was done, and not, as the script would have it, because mysterious someones, and by mysterious someones I mean Ursula and Maleficent, went to the effort to have a mean raven drop a magical sand dollar containing a little magical hologram of a kidnapped Belle, like, surely even Fairy Tale land has easier ways of delivering messages.
Rumple heads off to rescue Belle and confront Maleficent, pointing out that she doesn’t have the ability to steal from the Dark One. Maleficent points out that she’s not alone, a point proven by an incredibly cheesy effect and what is arguably the most uncomfortable costume we’ve yet seen on this show, making me entirely Team Merrin Dungey, aka the actress who plays Ursula, and the sudden appearance of Cruella DeVil. A few happy threats and CGI moments later, and Belle is in Rumple’s arms and the Gauntlet is with Team Three Evil Chicks Plus a Dog.
In an epilogue, Elsa finally changes out of her costume; Elsa and Anna march off to Anna’s wedding and some post-ceremony chocolate, and Rumple reveals that, naturally, he’s been playing everyone all along.
Unsolved mysteries: What on earth is Cruella doing with Maleficent and Ursula? They’re magicians; she’s just an ordinary person with a massive car, cigarette addiction, and fur fetish, right?
Also, those gloves? Not working with that hair. For me.
Over in Storybrooke: Rumple and Hook start us off with a nice summation of where they are, namely: Rumple is holding Hook’s heart and keeping Hook totally under control, while waiting for the moment when the stars in Mickey Mouse’s Hat match up with the stars in the sky. As I’ve mentioned, not only do I have various Mickey Mouse baseball hats, but I also have one of those plush Fantasia Mickey Mouse hats, and I have to tell you, Rumple, the easiest way to get the stars on that hat to match up with stars in the sky is just to get together with some friends and have a few drinks. No need to pull out anyone’s heart and squeeze it. I’m just saying.
Rumple tells Hook that the main thing is to keep Anna away from Belle, which is all nice, except that Hook then spends the rest of the episode not doing this, so I’m not sure what the point of that bit was. However, this is all prologue to this episode’s Moment of Silliness, wherein Hook and Rumple follow a marching broom to a mansion, and not, as you might think, given the involvement of a helpful broom from Fantasia, to fetch water or do cleaning or anything of that sort, but to find a portal back to Fairy Tale Land.
Again, I just want to point out: broom, walking across Storybrooke, everyone going, whatever.
Meanwhile, untroubled by walking brooms, Regina heals Maid Marian while exchanging intense looks with Robin Hood. Marian is surprisingly chill with all this—I guess getting frozen out of a storyline for weeks does wonders for your tranquility—and assures Regina that it’s totes cool that Robin has moved on. Robin assures Regina that he’s moved on and is ready to be with her and be her happy ending. Regina needs all of that reassurance, since just at that moment, Marian falls over mostly dead. By what can only be described as massive plot contrivance, it turns out that Marian—and only Marian—is still under a bit of a Frozen spell. The only way to save her is to send her out of Storybrooke only it’s a one way trip and Marian can’t possibly go alone and so Robin and Regina have to say goodbye again.
I’m calling shenanigans on this entire contrived breakup, since, and I can’t stress this strongly enough, this time, people who step over the line keep their memories intact, and although yes, since Marian pretty much only has memories of Fairy Tale land, that’s a bit of a problem, but we’ve so far seen Ingrid, Neal, and Pinocchio do just fine with this. What is this, villains can adjust just fine to life in 21st century U.S., but heroes can’t? Well, actually, that could be interesting, but that’s not what the show is doing with this. Second, if that is a problem, have Regina or Emma or even Rumple magic up some Here Are Things You Need To Know About, like ATMs, cell phones, the Disney parks and Taylor Swift, and then send poor Maid Marian off to a better, happier, show. Third, seriously, the rest of Ingrid’s magic vanishes, but not this? Shenanigans, I say. Shenanigans.
Anyway, this does lead to a nice moment between Rumple and Regina where they chat about whether or not villains can get their happy endings. Rumple says yes, because he’s just going to take his. Regina says no, because she’s a good person now, and after one final kiss with Robin she rips her happy ending picture into pieces and just leaves the pieces on the road, like, being evil and heartbroken is no excuse for littering, Regina, and heads off to get booze.
The Merry Men are all totally whatevers with all of this, by the way.
Also Henry goes to chat with Belle. This is important only because Henry tries to call Belle “Grandma,” which doesn’t work for anyone, including Belle, and because in an effort to be helpful Henry knocks over a bunch of things which happen to be hiding the Gauntlet of Finding Weaknesses, like, seriously, Rumple, you need to do some inventory in this place, now.
Meanwhile, Hook, still controlled by Rumple, tells Emma and the rest of the gang that hurrah, he’s found a nice portal back to Arendelle thanks to the goodness that is Rumple. Even with Hook almost crushing Emma’s arm in warning, nobody is as skeptical as this as they should be until they are actually at the portal and Anna rather belatedly realizes who this Mr. Gold they’ve all been chatting about it—totes evil guy. The Frozen cast says goodbye (Goodbye, Frozen cast, you were great even if you didn’t build any snowmen) and Emma and Snow rush off to try to stop Rumple.
Rumple is way ahead of them, having already figured out how to get his Mickey Mouse Hat to fly. I envy this. My Mickey Mouse Hats continue to obey the rules of gravity. He’s also more than happy to just freeze Emma and Snow in place so that they can’t stop him from crushing Hook’s heart. Crush, crush, crush….Fail.
Rumple gets a look on his face that at first I interpreted as “Uh, do we have a prop failure here?” but turns out to be incredulity that he can’t, after all of these years, crush Hook’s heart. Not because, as many of you are probably hoping, it’s all hardened from years of being a pirate, or suddenly stronger because of LOVE EMMA, but because Belle has suddenly remembered that as an official Disney Princess, she’s supposed to be cool. And so she is: she brandishes Rumple’s Real Evil Dagger (later explaining that the Gauntlet of Evil led her to it), orders him to take them both to the edge of Storybrooke, where she points out that the moment she saw the Gauntlet, she knew the truth: Rumple will never give up power for her. Rumple doesn’t exactly disagree with that, but argues that there’s nothing wrong with power. Belle gives a tearful speech, saying that now she can only see the Beast, and commands Rumple to leave. And he does. COPIOUS TEARS. ALSO APPLAUSE, especially from those tired of the word “Dearie.”
Elsewhere, Emma shoves Hook’s heart back into his chest, but rather than doing wild and sexy piratey things with him, she instead chooses to have drinks with Regina. Swan Queen shippers worldwide perked up, though as it turned out, like so many things on this show, this was less a Deep Character Moment and more a Good Excuse to Head Off Together with Henry, who wants to show them something: a room full of blank books. Could this be the home of the WRITER? Color me skeptical. The writers I know scribble things in books. And use computers.
This meta moment is interrupted by ominous subtitles saying Six Weeks Later and a scene set on Madison Avenue. Where, as it turns out, a very depressed Rumple is trying to get a villain coalition together, starting with Ursula, who is currently working at the New York Aquarium. I have no idea why everyone in Fairy Tale land is ending up on the Eastern Seaboard instead of, say, the Disney Animation Studios in California. I also have no idea what strings the Vancouver Aquarium is pulling to get so many shows to film there, but that is a pretty cool tank, plus, sea turtles, so I think we’re all good. Except for poor Merrin Dungey, who is about to be climbing into that hellish costume again. Spare her your thoughts. And get ready for the next two stops on Rumple’s list: Cruella (with car!) and Maleficent (with, um, birds!) You go, Rumple, you go.
Unsolved questions: Who is leading the Merry Men now? Did any of our heroes ask if anyone else in Storybrooke wanted to go through the portal and return to that home, or did they just stick with the general policy of making unilateral decisions on everyone’s behalf? And how can I make my Mickey Mouse Hat fly?
And with that, Once Upon a Time and these recaps are going on hiatus until March, but I’ll be back again in January with at least one look at the midseason replacement: Galavant.
Mari Ness lives in central Florida. Her Mickey Mouse Hat remained firmly on her head as she typed up this episode, no matter how many times she begged it to fly.