Once Upon a Time Season 4 Episode 15 – TV Review
I’m still waiting to see Snow and Charming murder a baby, Once Upon a Time.
Quit holding out on me.
TL;DR Regina goes undercover with the Villainess Triumvirate, and is tasked with kidnapping Pinocchio; Gold tricks Belle and gets his dagger back; flashback Regina (before she became Queenie, but after Rumple started tutoring her) goes to Maleficent for better magic training, and helps her enact some overdue revenge.
So the first half of this season was a Frozen cash-in, and the back half is an Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent cash-in.
The Storybrooke goings-on are pretty simple this episode. Regina begins her ploy to infiltrate the Villainess Triumvirate. They do some garden variety pranks to test her loyalty, but it turns out they’re aware of what Regina’s up to. They decide to use her, anyway, and have her kidnap Pinocchio (much to Emma’s disgust, thought she grudgingly allows it). At which point Gold reveals himself, and they turn Pinocchio back into August so they can interrogate him about the Author. Meanwhile, Gold poses as Hook and manipulates Belle into giving “Hook” the Dark One’s dagger to hide from any possible attacks from Gold. Oops. The flashbacks take greater importance, with a young Regina growing frustrated with Rumple’s slow tutelage, and defecting to a more draconian teacher: Maleficent. What she gets is a drunken, broken woman, who long ago failed in her quest for vengeance. Regina whips her back into shape, though, as Aurora’s wedding is afoot, and Maleficent regains the drive and magic power she needs to incinerate King Stefan, and curse Aurora. Regina then returns to Rumple with a newfound mission of not just simply murdering Snow, but taking some inspiration from Maleficent and formulating a curse, instead.
And that little girl named Regina grew up to be… Regina.
While I’m still aching for some baby murder (or magical abortion. Whatever. I’m not hard to please), this is an otherwise punchy episode.
Emma and the Charmings get pushed out of focus in favour of Regina in both the Storybrooke and Enchanted Forest plots.
And I am always an advocate of more Regina.
Why I hate this episode:
Emma still manages to, again, show off her ridiculously awful sheriff/bounty hunter/detective skills. She tails Regina and finds out she’s going to kidnap Pinocchio. Regina manages to convince Emma that it will be fine, but Emma insists on tracking Regina to make sure things don’t get out of hand. So Emma just chills around in Pinocchio and Geppetto’s house while Regina simply drops her phone on the ground before leaving. Emma is shocked to discover she now can’t track Regina. Jesus, did you really not see that coming?
Not to be outdone in the disproportionate expectations stakes, Snow and David are horrified to discover that one night of drinking isn’t enough for Regina to have extracted the entirety of the Villainess Triumvirate’s nefarious plan, and the ruse will have to continue. What the fuck, guys?
As someone who’s never seen the Disney Sleeping Beauty, I was having a bit of a confusing time with the flashbacks. Some quick Wikipedia-ing told me that in Disney’s version, baby Aurora, the princess of the Sleeping Beauty tale, is King Stefan’s daughter (just like last year’s live action Maleficent, which I did see, btw). When she goes into the good fairies’ protection, she is renamed Briar Rose to keep her identity a secret. In Once Upon a Time’s Enchanted Forest, King Stefan’s wife is named Briar Rose, and his daughter is named Aurora. From what I could gather, the Maleficent Regina meets has already played out the events of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, and we’ve had some name switching to make Briar Rose the princess’ actual name, and Stefan her prince, instead of Phillip. Is that right? Or did I massively misunderstand?
In any case, Maleficent’s new revenge is disappointingly cut short by the episode. She burns King Stefan with her dragon breath, and then goes and pin pricks Aurora to put her to sleep. She proclaims she has a much meaner curse in store for Prince Phillip, but Regina goes home before we get to see it. Boo.
Flashback Maleficent looks much better with her crazy drag hair than she does in her crown of horns. Although, I don’t miss that hideous pink dress and the Shirley Temple curls from her earlier OUaT appearances.
Her 1940s gangster look in present day Storybrooke certainly is striking, but it’s a bit too wtf to take seriously.
Oh, and Gold continues to be jealous of Will. Just kill him, then. Gosh.
But it’s not all bad:
His deception of Belle is wonderfully cruel. And kudos to Once Upon a Time, because I didn’t pick it until pretty late in the game. It was only when Belle attempts to summon Gold, at “Hook’s” suggestion, and nothing happens that I knew what was up. You can’t summon someone to your side who is already at your side.
August’s return reminds me of the sloppy second half of season 2 (Remember Tamara and Greg, and how their big conspiracy organisation turned out to be Peter Pan? Pfft), but good on Gold for making sure to pursue an important lead on the Author. Whether August will revert to his old self, or just be a very confused eight year-old in the body of a sexy thirty-something is yet to be seen.
Flashback Maleficent is a fabulous, drunken mess when Regina first finds her. She uses an alteration of her sleeping curse to drug herself for relaxation (with a needle point and all). And that day drinking hair is divine. Why is mine just greasy and flat?
Regina almost gives up on the depowered, old lush, but news of Aurora’s impending wedding is exactly what she needs to inspire her. She has Maleficent inhale a burning tree outside her castle (it’s been burning for decades from when dragon-form Maleficent razed the woods nearby), which later restores her transformation magic. This is great, because King Stefan intends to excecute Maleficent and Regina to prevent Aurora’s wedding from being ruined.
Regina’s first test with the Villainess Triumvirate is to play hero chicken: Cruella parks her car with the four ladies inside on some train tracks, and whoever is the first to use their magic to save them from the oncoming train loses. Regina loses, but they keep letting her drink and burn police cars with them.
The Villainess Triumvirate are actually onto Regina’s scam the whole time, and use her to kidnap Pinocchio. They do apparently tell her the truth about their motives, which she relays to Emma and co: they want to find the author to not only ensure their own happy endings, but to turn the heroes’ happy endings into unhappy ones. Cool.
Gold holds some hope that he might even be able to legitimately get Regina on their side. Also cool.
Oh, and Ursula really is the odd one out when it comes to the Villainess Triumvirate (plus Regina). Which is probably why she is notably ignored this episode.
Tags: august, aurora, author, belle, Briar Rose, Cruella, emma, Enter the Dragon, geppetto, gold, hook, i just hate everything, ijusthateeverything, King Stefan, maleficent, Once Upon a Time, ouat, pinocchio, Prince Phillip, regina, rumple, Sleeping Beauty, storybrooke, Villainess Triumvirate, will
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