(Cross posted at Agony Booth.com)
This week on Once, we finally found out who murdered Prince Charming’s dad, and it actually wasn’t who you thought it would be . . . until it ended up being exactly who you thought it would be. In other news, someone is getting married . . . maybe. In still other news: Alt-World Robin Hood is a bad kisser, and also kind of a douche.
Let’s hop to it.
Sir Robin of Sucks-ley
How about we get the side plot out of the way first, yeah? Snow White stays asleep through most of this Charming-centric episode, on account of that whole “the couple can’t both be awake at the same time” curse. (Yeah, that’s still a thing.) But the writers do drag her out of bed briefly, once at the beginning, and once at the end of the episode, to talk to Regina about her love life.
That’s right folks, Snow White has officially been relegated to “Sassy Best Friend in a Rom Com” status on this show . . . except, she’s not that sassy. Also, at this point in the show, Regina’s probably tighter with Emma, than she is with Snow White. So, I guess we have to downgrade that role to “Not-So-Sassy Second Best Friend in a Rom Com.”
Anyway, Regina’s all “OMG, Snow I just brought Alt World Robin Hood to the Real World. And he looks just like Dead Robin, because they are both played by the same actor. So, obviously, I am like out of my mind excited about this, because he and I are going to have so much sex that they are going to have to change the name of this show to Once Upon a Porno.”
To this, Snow responds, “Aw hell nah, Girl! You trippin! Have you even watched the first five seasons of this show? Given your luck with men, Alt World Robin is probably either going to be brutally murdered while you watch, in another two episodes, or is going to literally end up being Lord Voldemort (seeing as this series is playing faster and looser with what constitutes “fairytales” and “copyright infringement” with each passing week).
Regina promptly ignores Snow’s advice, like any good Rom Com romantic lead must do, at least for the first 65 to 72 minutes of the movie. She then rushes off to find Robin Hood in the streets where he’s making himself right at home in this new land, by mutilating a basket of small puppies, while attempting to decapitate the Sheriff of Nottingham with his trusty bow and arrow. (OK, OK, the puppy mutilation part is a lie, but you see where I’m going with this, right?)
Regina manages to stop this Very Public Murder, which she must do because the only other law enforcement official in town (Prince Charming) is currently taking a nap. (Well . . . I guess there’s Emma. Wait . . . is she still a law enforcement official on this show? Or did she quit that job when she got promoted to Savior of the Universe? These are the burning questions that plague me, when I write recaps at 1 a.m. on a work night.)
The Reformed Evil Queen then promptly notices that Robin Hood got a boo-boo on his hand, in the course of his attempted decapitation of another human being. “I have just the thing to fix this,” Regina says excitedly. “Come to my evil lair of potions and spells that you can eventually use to destroy this town, as the probable next Big Bad on this show, and I’ll clean that boo-boo right up, you poor baby.”
(Seriously? Man up, Evil Alt-World Robin Hood! What’s the matter? No one wears Band-Aids anymore? You can even get one of those cute ones with the cartoon characters on them!)
In the Evil Queen’s old evil lair that apparently now doubles as a pediatrician’s office, Regina wastes no time curing Robin’s boo-boo with magic instead of Band-Aids, and sticking her tongue down his throat, in short order. The good news is that he kisses back (otherwise, that would be super awkward). The bad news is the kiss is totally gross, probably because secretly evil Alt World people have notoriously bad dental hygiene.
“Snow, wake up, I made a terrible mistake,” Regina tells her narcoleptic friend toward the end of the episode. “Alt World Robin is a bad kisser, which means he’s probably crap in bed too. What a waste of a perfectly good portal jumping slot. I knew I should have invited Alt World Ryan Gosling instead!”
“That should be the least of your problems,” Snow scolds. “Look outside, Alt World Robin is running through the streets carrying your Evil End the World Music Box that he stole from your lair, while punching out The Pope and kicking a baby.”
“Really?” Regina responds. “I should probably do something about that . . . once I finish this delicious mug of chamomile tea you gave me. Is it Sleepytime Brand?”
“Ugh!” Snow groans. “I’m so sick of this sh*t. I’m going back to bed. Wake me up when something interesting actually happens, like the inevitable Apocalypse in two episodes.”
Meanwhile . . .
Cold Case: Charming’s Dead Dad Edition
The Ghost of Prince Charming’s father haunts his son in the middle of the night to remind him that the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death are a dangling plotline that the show has decided to dredge up again just in time for Captain Hook’s and Emma’s impending nuptials.
That’s right folks. Captain Hook has decided he wants to pop the question to everybody’s favorite Savior. He even went out and bought a ring. Surely, the answer to this Dead Dad Mystery won’t do anything to get in the way of Hook’s dream of marriage to Emma, will it?
So, Prince Charming is pretty uncharacteristically manic throughout most of this episode. (Lack of sleep and hallucinated conversations with ghost dad’s will do that to you.) He quickly enlists Captain Hook’s help in breaking into his daughter’s shed, and stealing her magic Deux Ex Machina. (Hey, we wasted at a third of the episode on Alt Robin’s boo-boos and poor French Kissing skills, so we gotta solve this mystery ASAP.) Hook reluctantly agrees to conspire in Prince Charming’s misdemeanors against his adult daughter, but, fortunately, draws the line at going into Emma’s bedroom stealing her diary, and searching in her underwear drawer for drugs and condoms.
The Purloined Deux Ex Machina informs Prince Charming and Hook that Charming’s dad was last seen in Pleasure Island, a realm featured in the film Pinocchio. And, wouldn’t ya know it? Pinocchio just so happens to be back on the show in a recurring role! This is doubly important, as Pinocchio not only happened to see Charming’s dad, shortly before his untimely demise, he is also The Author with All The Answers to Everything That Happens on This Show!
Through a mixture of flashbacks and Pinocchio narration, we learn that Charming’s dad was a poor drunk who was forced to give up one of his twin sons to Rumplestilskin, in exchange for purchasing the ailment to an illness they both were experiencing at the time. A few years later, Charming’s dad is getting soused at a pub, when the king stops in to inform everyone that his son is missing. The king’s son, just so happens to have the same name as the kid Charming’s dad gave up, James. So, of course they have to be the same person, because who the heck names their kid “James,” right? (I mean, apart from roughly ten percent of the population at any given moment in American history.)
Charming’s dad, who, up until this point, didn’t give two flying f*cks about the kid he did get to keep, is now completely dead set on rescuing the one who is now a rich prince. Baby Charming gives pops a lucky coin for the road, which later ends up being found on his rotted corpse. (Should have gone for a rabbit’s foot or four leaf clover instead, maybe?)
Rumplestilskin, who, as we know, has a soft spot in his heart for screw-up dads hoping to reunite with their kids, so they could screw them up even more, rather willingly offers Charming’s dad the current whereabouts of James. It turns out, the little schmo ran off to Pleasure Island.
Once in Pleasure Island and with a little help from Plot Device Pinocchio, Charming’s dad finds James, who informs his errant papa that he ran away from home, because he doesn’t want to be a knight and murder people. “Would you rather be the dirt-poor son of a drunk shepherd, in danger of losing his farm, and constantly on the verge of homelessness?” Charming’s dad asks hopefully.
“HELL YEAH!” James exclaims, because sometimes kids are dumb.
Unfortunately, for Charming’s dad, the King easily hunts down him and James, takes back his prodigal adopted son, and orders his henchmen to murder Charming’s dad and make his death look like an accident.
Upon learning the “truth” about what happened to his dad, Charming wants to murder the King HARD! Captain Hook tries to talk some sense into him, and ends up handcuffed to a bike rack for his troubles. When Charming confronts the King, (who is already in jail, by the way) the latter has no remorse for what he’s done AT ALL! This even further infuriates Charming. But just before he can avenge his father’s death, Captain Hook frees himself from the bike rack to stop him.
Captain Hook somehow convinces Prince Charming that vengeance is kind of overrated (and HE would know!). This heart-to-heart talk causes (1) Prince Charming to break down in tears, and (2) the two enemies-turned-bromantic-buddies to share the manliest of back pats with one another. So, Captain Hook, of course, sees this as the perfect opportunity to ask for Charming’s blessing for him to marry Emma. (Smooth move, buddy! Get him, while he’s feeling soft, vulnerable and mushy.)
Charming whole-heartedly gives Hook his blessing and welcomes the erstwhile villain officially into the royal family, as the future Mr. Emma Swan (because, let’s be honest, she TOTALLY wears the leather pants in that relationship).
And this, my friends, would be an excellent, happy, and satisfying way to end this episode.
So, of course, the writers had to go and screw it up.
Two minutes before the credits roll, Pinocchio Plot Device comes scooting by on his motorcycle with the pages of the fairytale that made up the flashback in this episode. Hook glances down at them and sees the face of Charming’s dad. This causes him to remember that it was not actually the king’s henchmen, but Hook himself, who murdered his possibly-soon-to-be-wife’s grandfather, during the course of a robbery of those same henchmen.
Oops. Well, THAT’S AWKWARD! We are probably going to want to leave that little yarn out of the wedding’s champagne toast . . .
Until next week, folks!