Written by Michelle Salvatore
(Sorry-not-sorry about skipping the recap for last week’s episode. There was a game-changing episode of The Good Wife on right after, and I spent the next 48 hours scraping bits of my blown mind off the walls.)
This week on Once Upon A Time, we get to meet Ariel. An introduction that I’m sure had absolutely nothing to do with The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition being available now on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and Digital HD.
Despite being highly anticipated since the season began – and I say this as a grown-ass woman that owns a Little Mermaid iPhone case – Ariel’s back-story was the most frustrating part of this episode. Mainly because I’m pretty sure it was written in about an hour.
Back in the Enchanted Forest days, Snow White was saved from a couple of the Evil Queen’s henchmen by the
pregnant teen from Reba mermaid Ariel. This isn’t one of those badass evil-homicidal-whores-of-Poseidon mermaids we encountered five episodes ago; nope, this mermaid has red hair, glitter for brains, and a crush on a prince she’s barely met. If only she could find a new BFF who would give her some realistic advice about love, life, and healthy priorities.
Snow White just so happens to have stumbled upon our fishy friend on the highest tide of the year. It’s during this time that the mythical Goddess of the Sea, Ursula, grants all mermaids the ability to walk on land for twelve hours. Ariel budgets that this should be enough time to make Prince Eric fall in love with her at the royal ball being held in Ursula’s honour. Snow White decides to tag along, and promises to keep Ariel’s mermaidness a secret from the Prince. Because this plan wasn’t very well thought out.
I guess he’s kind of cute if you’re into insurance salesmen and/or potential axe murderer types.
Even though Prince Eric has been scientifically proven to be the best Disney prince, this episode made him seem like a gigantic tool. During the course of one dance he not only declares that he’s goin’ sailing around the world the next day, but also that Ariel is totally the Love-Of-His-Life. Then the dance ends, he tosses her a “meet me at dawn and join me on my adventures, or bye forever” ultimatum, and then just leaves. Seriously, as soon as the song’s over he walks four feet away to continue casually schmoozing with the other non-love-of-his-life guests. Classic scrub behaviour.
Is it really too much to ask for a little more to work with than “they are in love because love at first sight and that’s it”? If we’re going to bastardize some beloved fairy tales once a week, can we at least try to inject a little more depth in them too?
Anyway, post-swoon Ariel quickly regroups with Snow White and I can’t even properly recap their discussion because I was blinded with confused rage. What the hell was she so enchanted with? Why is she talking about asking him to give up his dreams for her when it’s pretty clear that he’s happy to go on his sea-trip without her? Why not just tell him she’s a mermaid? The guy lives in a place called The Enchanted Forest and threw a banquet for a legendary sea-witch; he’s probably pretty chill about that stuff. And why can’t she just sail around with him? She travels by sea, ships travel by sea; this is not really a problem, kids.
Snow White doesn’t point any of this out because, again, she shouldn’t be anyone’s first-choice for advice. Instead she’s like “well, you got three hours until your legs are sushi again so, go talk to the ocean about it or something. I dunno.” Which is the perfect opportunity for the Love Of My Life, Regina, to show up disguised as Ursula and start wrecking some lives. This is a surprise to Ariel because she didn’t think Ursula existed, and trying to understand how she can believe that but also not question where her twelve-hour legs came from is just another example of when I threw my hands up in the air and gave up last night.
UGH! I brought tentacles six years ago to Fendi, and they said no!
After Lana Parrilla courageously delivers some “Part Of Your World” lyrics as dialogue with a straight-face (because subtlety never sold any Blu-ray™ Combo Packs), she gives Ariel a magic bracelet that has the power to swap bottoms with a human. I’m a hundred percent serious. That is what it does.
Ariel, because she’s a rude fish, walks up to Snow White
like “What up? I got a big cock!” and slaps the bottom-swapping bracelet on her without even asking. Now suddenly Snow White has a tail and Ariel has perma-legs. I’m a hundred percent serious. That is what it does.
Regina shows up and takes so long Darth Vader-choking Snow White that even the world’s dumbest mermaid has enough time to stab her in the neck with a dinglehopper, and rescue Snow White once again. The two of them escape into the sea because for some reason Regina’s magic only has a one-foot radius? Or isn’t waterproof? Or maybe has a time delay? Wait, how did they get away from her?
Ariel doesn’t end up joining her probs-a-sociopath Prince’s boat trip the next morning because Regina steals her voice as punishment, and therefore Eric couldn’t hear her calling to him. At no point did clapping her hands or splashing around a bit occur to her.
Even for Once’s standards, this was some half-assed stuff – I’m still not entirely convinced that this week’s screenplay wasn’t written on a napkin. And we haven’t even talked about what’s happening on The Island yet.
(I’ll be quick, I promise)
Peter Pan is still on a mission to be the creepiest teenager on TV regardless of how little screen time he had. He used the word “fertile” this week, and my uterus shriveled up and died in discomfort.
Rumpel is having more Lost-y hallucinations of Belle. Nobody cares, and all of this moping around is castrating one of my favorite characters. Thankfully, Regina abandoned her alliance with the Charming Family and asked him to join forces, spawning some of the best one-liners she’s had all season. Even more so this week than usual, she was the only one who made any sense at all in any given scene.
The Charming Family and Captain Hook found Neal imprisoned inside a magical cave where, in order to rescue him, they had to reveal their darkest secrets. Hook admitted he loves Emma, Emma admitted she loves Neal but also wishes he was dead (why do we even let her talk?), Neal admitted that he
tried to kill Sookie Stackhouse loves Emma, and Prince Charming confessed that he’s now cursed to stay in Neverland forever which really pissed off the ol’ ball and chain.
Going back for a second, I’d like reiterate that Captain Hook just openly admitted that he is in love with his step-grandkid’s mother. I’m still the only one who is bothered by this? Okay, fine.
This “Cave Of Truth” thing was such a needed cop-out that I’m not even going to complain about it, and I’m equally as thankful that Hook just told everyone that Neal was alive instead of hiding it until the season finale. I think we’re all very tired, and just want to go home.
My head hurts, you guys.
Click here and here for my previous OUAT Recaps. And I’m sorry. For all of it.