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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: The Night is Full of Dark Ones and Terrors (S5: E8 Recap)

casting

“Becoming the Dark One has made me so much better at miming. Check it out. I’m in a box!”

Here’s a philosophical question to ponder: if someone is an Asshole, but they don’t know they are an Asshole, does that free them from the usual trappings of Asshole-ism? This week’s first of a two-part special (though the second episode frustratingly had absolutely nothing to do with the first), poses this very question, when we learn that Emma, in a quest to save her lover Captain Hook’s life, made him into her Dark One Twin Brother (um, incest much?). The “Dark Swan” accomplished this, while, simultaneously, fully succumbing to the trademark bad hair and weird eyebrows that she’d been assiduously avoiding throughout an entire season of flashbacks.

sword looker

Emma (based on her tragic makeover, mostly) knew full well that she had become a Super Asshole and behaved as such. But Hook (who used to be kind of an asshole back in the day), had no clue he’d been converted into a Super Asshole (i.e. no tragic makeover for him), and, as a result, acted like a pretty nice guy, up until the moment he learned of his Assholeism.

hook pel

Extend that logic, and it is entirely possible that the only reason Emma’s been acting so sh*tty all season, is that she’s really pissed off about her white old lady bun and having to sport those wacky evil eyebrows.

dark one

Confused? Intrigued? Feeling like an evil asshole, due to some poor fashion choices you might have made recently?

However you happen to be feeling, let’s review shall we?

(I say we change things up, and start our recap in present day, this time around. This way, we can experience our Big Assholey Reveal at the same time Hook experiences it, by looking inside that fateful dreamcatcher at the same time he does.)

You Can’t Handle the Truth!

frat boys

When the episode begins, our boys are back in town! Charming, Hook and Robin Hood, a.k.a. The Frat Boys of Storybrooke, are banding together to sniff out that little weasel Arthur, who is hanging out in his stupid tent with his Stepford Doofus wife. First, they confront him about the whole “trying to burn the mushroom that makes you talk to wizards” thing. Then, they ask him about Nimue. When Arthur is able to offer no helpful information about either, the Fratboys of Storybrooke chase Arthur down, in hopes of beating the ever loving crap out of him, something most fans of the show have wanted to do since this douchebag first appeared on screen.

arthur 1

Hook gets into a particularly sexy and homoerotic tussle with King Arthur. But when he starts to lose the battle, Dark One Emma swoops in to rescue her boyfriend’s tight leather pants-wearing ass. “That was really nice of you, Emma,” Hook offers appreciatively. “I’m thinking maybe you aren’t as big of as Asshole as you want us all to think you are.”

dark one

“Nope. I’m still a huge Asshole. I just didn’t want to see your sexy body bruised by stupid Arthur and his stupider sword play games, because he is clearly the worst, ” Emma responds dismissively.

“Tell me now, Emma! Tell me why you became a huge Asshole!” Hook demands.

why i

Then comes the weird moment in the episode, where Emma Swan literally morphs into Jack Nicholson’s character from A Few Good Men. In fact, I’m pretty sure she actually says the words, “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH,” making the exact same angrily constipated facial expressions Jack did when he uttered that same iconic line. (Which, I guess, makes Captain Hook our Tom Cruise?)

Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

https://www.whipclip.com/embed/kqh7q/?pid=happynicetimepeople

https://youtu.be/5j2F4VcBmeo

So, there you have it, folks. Jack Nicholson ordered the Code Red on William Santiago, and Emma Swan turned into a Super Asshole just for her boyfriend. And as much as I adore Captain Swan, and all their eternal broody sexiness, I’m pretty sure I just set the feminist movement back about 50 years by typing that last sentence.

Captain Hook: Detective of Love!

what to see

“I see London. I see France. Dark Ones don’t wear any underpants . . . because they are too binding.”

Fully intrigued by Emma’s Dark One ability to occasionally turn into the greatest actors of all time, and also by the shocking and admittedly ego boosting revelation that he may be entirely responsible for his girlfriend’s Assholeyness, Captain Hook goes on a mission to find out what happened in Camelot that turned Emma into someone who sometimes talks like Jack Nicholson, wears an old lady bun, and has weird eyebrows.

Hook decides to seek his erstwhile enemy Rumpel’s advice on this, because the former Dark One just so happens to be the resident expert on Love and Assholeism. “Anyone who willingly wears eyebrows like that must be feeling super guilty about something. Find out why Emma feels guilty, and you’ll find out the mystery to why she’s such an asshole,” Rumpel advises sagely.

https://www.whipclip.com/embed/kqie8/?pid=happynicetimepeople

“Or I could just become Bella Swan and keep trying to kill myself, so my girlfriend (who I guess would be the Vampire Edward in this scenario) will have to save me and hang out with me, and maybe then she’ll tell me why she’s such an Asshole,” Hook explains excitedly.

depression thing get it

“That wasn’t what I meant,” Rumpel cautions. “Actually I don’t think that suicide attempts are a healthy way to . . .”

“Thanks Rumpel, you’re the greatest,” Hook exclaims excitedly, as he runs to go jump off a building, because making good life choices is for pussies and unattractive people.

Emma saves Hook from dying again. And Hook shows his extreme gratitude for this selfless act by . . . asking Emma once again why she’s such an Asshole. Real suave, Hook!

Hook quickly recovers from his faux pas though, by showing Emma his impressive collection of man jewelry. Because everyone knows that nothing helps a guy get into a girl’s pants (and also learn why she’s such an asshole) like man jewelry.

ouat 4.2 hook squee

Hook admits to Emma that, back in the day, he got a new piece of man jewelry, every time he did something particularly assholey . . . at least until he ran out of fingers. (Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Hook’s feet, so we can’t be sure whether he’s wearing asshole souvenirs on them as well.) Now, he wears the rings as a reminder that he used to be an asshole but isn’t one anymore.

Emma whistles uncomfortably at Hook’s admission of erstwhile assholeism, and later we find out why. She also shows Hook the ring on a pendant he gave her back in Camelot, which now I’m hoping didn’t come off some dead pirate’s fat finger, because that would make the Gift of Man Jewelry a smidge less romantic than we all originally thought it was, and also a little gross / potentially unsanitary.

https://www.whipclip.com/embed/kqjn6/?pid=happynicetimepeople

Hook still insists on wanting to know why Emma is an asshole, so Emma decides to show him the house he wanted to buy for her back in Camelot, in which she now lives. Then, Emma and Hook start making out, and she roofies him with her tongue, because this relationship wasn’t already sufficiently dysfunctional.

i love you

https://www.whipclip.com/embed/kqjpf/?pid=happynicetimepeople

You can check out the rest of this recap HERE!

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