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ONCE UPON A TIME: Much Ado About a Dunce Cap (S5: E9 Recap)

(Please note: This is the recap for Once’s Episode 9: “The Bear King”. To read the recap of Episode 8: “Birth” click here.)

Sometimes life interferes with art, and that art, must in turn, adapt itself to life, or perish. Sometimes that adaptation process leads to better, more innovative, art. And sometimes the adaptation process leads to . . . well . . . “The Bear King.”

This is not to say that “The Bear King” was a terrible episode of Once. I for one, have seen many worse episodes of the series . . . like that random black and white one about Dr. Whale / Frankenstein, for example.

dr whale

Instead, I am merely noting that, the American Music Awards’ upcoming and inevitable preemption of next week’s Once, naturally resulted in ABC having one less week to air a full order of episodes. And this, in turn, resulted in the showrunners’ decision to offer up an immediate follow-up to the series’ landmark episode “Birth” that had significantly less impact on season 5’s main storytelling arc than I suspect it would have, had the episode aired next week, as originally intended.

Let’s review, shall we?

You Hat Me at Hello

 

Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of DunBroch (where being a ginger head is a dominant trait, and everyone has a nearly incomprehensible Scottish accent) Merida’s daddy, then-King Fergus, made a deal with a witch in exchange for a stupid-looking helmet, which was supposed to make Daddy’s clansman like him enough to die horribly painful deaths in battle on his behalf.

doody_head_beer_helmet_1

The King’s receipt of a Stupid Hat that makes him popular, and everyone else around him dumb and suicidal, couldn’t have happened at a better time. After all, his kingdom is about to go to war. Also his daughter, Merida, is about to fight in her very first battle.

The King hires Mulan to help Merida learn how to fight, probably because the Kung Fu Panda and Buzz Lightyear were busy that day.

kung_fu_panda_2_2011_hd-HD Buzz-Lightyear-Toy-Story1

https://www.whipclip.com/embed/kqr11/?pid=

On the first day of war, Mulan distracts Merida with training on the King’s instructions, because the King doesn’t want his daughter to die for his popular ginger ass. As a result Merida witnesses from afar, but isn’t able to prevent, her father’s untimely demise at the hand of a masked warrior, who stabs him in the gut, and steals his Stupid Hat right off his dead head.

It’s kind of heart-wrenching actually. So heart-wrenching that I can’t make snarky jokes about it. So instead, enjoy this adorable picture of a basket of puppies . . .

puppies

The Bear Necessities

That was then, this is now . . .

In present day, Merida is about to be crowned Queen of DunBroch. But then that witch from the beginning of the episode crashes the coronation, and tells Merida, she needs to return her the Stupid Hat, or all the gingers and people with bad Scottish accents in her kingdom will get turned into bears. . . quite possibly even the cute cartoon bears with the toilet paper on their butts from the Charmin commercials.

A fate worse than death!

A fate worse than death!

Merida finds her old pal Mulan to ask her for help finding the Stupid Hat. But Mulan isn’t in a very helpful mood, due to #LesbianHeartbreak.

felt aobut heartbreak

Soon after, Merida herself, experiences a setback, when she begins to doubt her family legacy, and by extension, her own ability to lead her kingdom, as a result of her father being dumb enough to think that wearing Stupid Hat would make him popular with a bunch of dudes just because some old lady told him it was so. This revelation freaks out Merida so much, that she actually offers up the ability to rule her kingdom to those three douchebags she almost married during the movie Brave, if they manage to find the Stupid Hat before she does.

Brave (2012) weird guys

“Stupid Hats are our specialty!”

But then Mulan meets up with Erstwhile Werewolf Red, who is back in the Enchanted Forest due to “feeling different than other women,” and “not fitting in,” and suddenly #LesbianHeartbreak Mulan is feeling #hopefulandhorny. And so, with Sexy Red in toe, Mulan leads the charge in finding the Stupid Hat that Merida needs, in order to save her kingdom from becoming #Bear-yUnhappy.

hook and red hook and red 2

Also searching for the Stupid Hat are King Arthur and Wicked Witch Zelena, aka Mr. and Mrs. The Worst. King Arthur wants the hat because, apparently, spraying his kingdom with Stepford Doofus dust wasn’t enough to secure their loyalty, because he’s just that terrible and inherently unpopular of a person. Zelena wants the Stupid Hat because she’s having a really bad hair day today.

No Fair! Zelena is already wearing a stupid hat. She can’t have two!

Red uses her wolfy sense of smell to ascertain that Arthur was actually the guy who killed Merida’s dad back in the day, which means he should currently be the proud owner of the Stupid Hat, which, as we already know, he isn’t.

When Red, Mulan and Merida confront Arthur, he admits that the Stupid Hat Arthur pried from King Fergus’ dead head was actually a fake Stupid Hat. (Don’t get me wrong, it was still a STUPID Hat, it just wasn’t the same Stupid Hat that had the power to make you popular.)

found hat

You know what this means don’t you? Merida’s dad, King Fergus, was a good ginger! Sure, he wore Stupid Hats, and spoke with an incomprehensible Scottish accent, but he didn’t use either of those things to become popular, and make his kingdom members die for him. They were dumb enough to do that all on their own, all dunce caps aside!

Merida is elated! Her dad is a ginger hero! Also, she didn’t have to lose her kingdom to those three douchebags she almost married. In fact, they (and everybody else in town) like her now, because she was willing to give up being Queen to save the rest of the kingdom from being turned into bears by an old witch. So, Merida is popular now. Also, she has the Stupid Hat. She found it in the water, right where her dad buried it right before she died.

Note: It is currently unclear whether: (1) Merida’s getting the Stupid Hat that makes you popular and 2)Merida actually becomes popular are related. But I think we are supposed to think they are entirely coincidental because “morals” and because “impressionable kids are watching.”

very pop

You can check out the rest of this recap HERE.

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ONCE UPON A TIME: Merlin = Sexiest Tree Ever (S5 E5 RECAP)

merlin free

Merlin . . . making trees everywhere super jealous . . .

This week on Once, we learned that, if you betray your family members and wave your hands around erratically, you too can transform a tree into a hot person! Speaking of learning, young Henry discovered that there is no place in the world that is darker than the dreaded Friend Zone. Also this week, Rumpel found inspiration in his dishware. Plus, the dreamcatcher industry got a ton of free advertising, courtesy of ABC.

Let’s review, shall we?

You Got Tree-d!

Once upon a time, there was a sexy sorcerer named Merlin, who cried on his sword about a lost girlfriend vanquished by the Dark One. So, the Dark One used that sword and that tear to turn him into a tree, because turning him into a vegetable seemed too “on the nose.”

veggie-tales

“Hey, we resemble that remark!”

Speaking of “on the nose,” Emma learns this piece of information about Merlin by staring into his dreamcatcher. Apparently, dreamcatchers not only catch your dreams, but also all that other crap rolling around your head at any given time. Pretty scary, right? Remind me to wrap my head in tinfoil next time I’m around one of these dreamcatchers, because that will totally protect my brain from their nosiness. Tinfoil keeps out everything!

tin-foil-hat

Other things Emma learned from staring at her dreamcatcher: how King Arthur turned her parents into Stepford Doofuses!

Emma freezes her Stepford Doofus-ized parents right before they take the Dark One sword from Regina in order to relay these important pieces of information to the erstwhile Evil Queen.

Regina and Emma decide together that, since a tear over lost love was the ingredient that tree-d Merlin, a similar tear from someone else (mixed with some of Emma’s dark magic, naturally) will un-tree him!

“Hey, remember that time your mom murdered your boyfriend right in front of you? I bet that will make you cry!” Emma offers to Regina.

intense

the love

So, Emma and Regina relive the flashback from the episode during which Cora kills Regina’s first love Daniel, and, as it was designed to do, it makes Regina cry. But it also gives Emma some insight into Regina’s inner asshole. “Man, that sucked!” Emma exclaims sympathetically, as she puts the offending dreamcatcher back on the table. “No wonder you were such a raging bitch for the first two seasons of the show, before the writers decided to randomly make you into an overall nice person who’s just a little bit snarky sometimes.”

heart break

But alas, Regina’s tears aren’t enough to un-tree Hot Merlin. “I guess the brutal and traumatic death of a character that only appeared in two episodes isn’t sad enough,” Emma reasons. “Especially now that you have a new boyfriend. Because, on this show, only current love interests matter, and everyone else can go to hell . . . which, by the way, is probably where your boyfriend Daniel is, after he was turned into Frankenstein’s monster and killed all those people.”

“OK, so, whose love story is sad enough to untree Merlin?” Regina wonders.

“I’m thinking the rejection of a thirteen-year-old boy by a thirteen-year-old girl he met two days ago and thinks is kind of attractive,” Emma responds.

“Seriously? A tweenage crush gone sour? Did you forget that my mother MURDERED THE MAN I WAS GOING TO MARRY WHILE I WATCHED?” Regina asks incredulously.

“Yeah, but that was like a long time ago, and, like I said, you have a new boyfriend now, so suck it up and get over it, because this ridiculousness is needed for the plot,” Emma answers insistently.

Emma Gets Her Tear

When Henry’s new love interest’s father catches Henry pining over Violet in Camelot, he tells the poor kid, in no uncertain terms, that he disapproves of the courtship. “My daughter needs to marry a knight so he can die at a ridiculously young age on the battlefield and leave her to care for the twelve kids he and she dutifully popped out during the two years they managed to be married before his death. It’s the Medieval Dream! You, modern-day wimpy boy, who will probably live to a ripe old age and only impregnate my daughter 2 or 3 times tops, are simply not marriage material.”

“I want to learn to be a knight so I can die at a young age, after I marry Violet and turn her into a breeding mare,” Henry explains to his moms, Regina and Emma.

“You? A knight?” Emma and Regina snort simultaneously. “She won’t buy it. Better off putting out what works for you . . . like the fact that you live in a modern day world that actually has plumbing, so that your girlfriend will no longer be forced to poop in a chamber pot.”

so different

Inspired, Henry, serves up a modern day date for Violet, complete with candlelight dinner, lasagna, soda, and that same damn song he plays every time he sees her. (Hey, Henry, it’s time to get yourself a Spotify account. They are free now!)

“You seem like a cool enough guy for me to use your bathroom every once in a while, but we are never gonna bone. Sorry!” Violet exclaims, before rushing away.

never be a hero

Henry is devastated by this rejection and rushes to his moms to cry about it. Apparently, these tweenage tears over an unceremonious friend-zoning are way sadder than Regina’s “my fiancé got his heart ripped out of his chest by my mother and died in a puddle at my feet” tears, because Emma uses them, along with some weird dance moves that remind me a bit of the Macarena, to successfully un-tree Merlin.

tear dip

white and dark

“Hello, my name is Merlin. And boy are my arms tired from holding them upward in tree pose for a million years. Also, I’m sexy. I’m too sexy for the tree I used to be. Any questions?” Merlin asks.

hes back

“Do you like my cool cape? It came with the tree!”

“Yeah, can you suck the asshole out of me?” Emma inquires hopefully.

“Do you really want the asshole sucked out of you?” Merlin responds.

And, although the answer would seem to be super obvious, it’s to be continued, because we have to check up on the present day portion of this story . . .

You can check out the rest of this recap HERE.

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