Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Once Upon a Time, Season 4, Episode 14: Unforgiven

For 5 brief seconds, Mary Margaret almost pretended to be a tough and no-nonsense character last episode. So now she’s having guilt dreams about some nebulous thing she did to Maleficent and the terrible revenge she will wreak against Mary Margret’s family

I have to vote in favour of terrible revenge being wreaked against the Charmings. More wreaking!

She wakes up and she and David fret over the upcoming vengeance wreaking

At this rate I’m going to stop even pretending I’m not Team Evil.

Time for an Enchanted Forest flashback – David and Mary Margaret returning from the honeymoon with Mary Margaret focused on the Evil Queen (Regina) still being out there looking to do some vengeful wreaking. They come home to find the whole castle is under a sleeping curse. In the castle they’re met by the three villains looking to make a deal. Of course, Regina got the Dark Curse that created Storybrooke from Maleficent back in season 1 so they know she has it – and don’t particularly want her to use it either. To defeat Regina they need to speak to a magical fae tree of knowledge (hereby known as the Wikitree) that doesn’t like evil people so much (though cringe at the ego of David who assumes “most valiant heroes” means him and Mary Margaret).

The villains plan to escort Mary Margaret and David to the Wikitree. On the way they run into guards who don’t really want to let villains cross a bridge – so Maleficent roasts them. Mary Margaret and David protest… and let it go. They do try to ditch the villains to go to the Wikitree alone – but it refuses to answer their questions. They failed the valiant hero test. Someone Wasn’t worthy.

They draw swords when the villains catch up which is kind of hilarious given how powerful the three are. Apparently the tree rejected them not because they’re not worthy (c’mon that could be an answer!) but because Mary Margaret is pregnant and her baby isn’t a valiant hero. Opportunities of heroism are few in a womb – and potential for great good comes with an equal potential for great evil (super duper evil).

That night we inch closer to the big dark secret – Maleficent visits Mary Margaret to appeal for them to work together in the name of their shared motherhood. Maleficent is pregnant and doesn’t want her child to suffer Regina’s curse. Mary Margaret refuses in the name of their integrity and keeping her baby pure.

In Storybrooke the villains are having trouble fitting in (and the Knave is present, all is good in the world – also did he just call granny “mum?”) with added snark of bringing up Regina’s evil past in front of Henry which Regina considers a terrible faux pas. She still insists to Mary Margaret that redemption is possible and she’s not really entertaining Mary Margaret and David’s fears

So David goes to Emma (and it seems Ursula and Killian have had dealings in the past) to convince her to follow the villains

Who go to Gold – Belle’s – shop to be duly threatened with a toad potion. At some point in the past the villains kidnapped Belle (Cruella barely remembers it, it all blurs together) and they congratulate her on what an utter mess Rumple has become for lots of Belle conflict. While they talk, Ursula uses her tentacle to steal a box. This is part of their plot to bring Maleficent back

As David and Emma stalk the villains, Emma realises there’s a little more to David’s obsession than “aargh villains!” But Belle has discovered the missing wooden box (she has some awesome inventory skills) so they pull the villains over. David finds the box, insider which is what looks like the head of Maleficent’s staff. He lies to Emma and says he didn’t find anything.

Waaaaait, doesn’t everyone know by now that it’s impossible to lie to Emma? Emma grows ever more suspicious but doesn’t call him on the lie. To add to the suspicions, she asks Killian who he knows Ursula and he dodges the question. And then Mary Margaret and David try to convince her they’re going “hiking” and totally don’t care about the villains

Y’know, it wouldn’t take a magical lie detector to sniff the bullshit here

David goes to Mary Margaret and they realise that the villains are trying to resurrect Maleficent and to stop this they need to do away with her remains buried under the library. They head off – and run into Ursula and Cruella – Ursula knocking them both unconscious with one tentacle.

They also take the opportunity to taunt Rumple about Belle, of course. They resurrect Maleficent with the blood of Mary Margaret and David – the blood of the people who wronged her the most. Alas, Cruella chooses to cut hands, not throats.

Maleficent is back – and her first order of business is to promise epic revenge pain on the Charmings (I approve!) David and Mary Margaret realise they have to tell Emma because they’ve given up their delusions of adequacy and realised they’re far too incompetent to solve things themselves

Over to Regina and Henry and a nice little moment with Regina dealing with bad memories and still mourning the loss of Robin. As they examine the book, Regina find it has been altered and Henry explains that August (Pinocchio) added his story to the book in an attempt, way back in season 1, to get Emma to believe in fairy tales. Of course, August has been turned into a small child now.

A child who doesn’t remember anything so Regina calls in Emma since she and August were close. He still doesn’t remember anything and Regina gets a little villainy. Gepetto takes exception. Recognising she was out of line, Regina goes to Gepetto afterwards and apologises, recognising she’d never let someone speak to Henry that way and being redeemed means staying on the path of redemption. Gepetto gives her all of August’s possessions he kept.

Over to Killian and Emma who have a moment – Emma understands that Killian doesn’t want to share all the secrets of his past nor does he have to – but she doesn’t accept him lying. But she’s sure that it can’t be that bad because she recognises her own habit of expecting the worst of people –why she even thought the ultra-pure Mary Margaret and David were lying to her?!

Really, Emma? Really? Even Jiminy Cricket would have been able to smell those lies! Amusingly this is overheard by her parents who are now assaulted by many many guilt weasels. They do tell Emma about the resurrected dragon-witch but chicken out of telling the big dark secret.

Instead Mary Margaret goes to see Regina to tell them about Maleficent and wants Regina to go undercover as a villain to learn what they’re planning. And to make Regina agree she reveals her big secret (which must be kept from Emma for her own good, of course). As Mary Margaret makes her big dramatic speech about the damage of breaking trust, we see the ominous object of Maleficent’s that the villains stole was a baby’s rattle. Mary Margaret reveals that Maleficent lost her child because of them

I actually wish to make the case that Regina should have murdered the Charmings and conquered their kingdom and not just because they’re both so very soggy. Have we ever seen them display any competence as rulers? The one time Mary Margaret was called upon to show a shred of capability as mayor she fell to pieces (and quickly handled the title back). Their rulership has continually shown ineptitude – from ridiculous mercy towards their enemies to nonsense like this where the monarchs go on holiday when there’s a deadly enemy stalking the kingdom. Other than royal familyness, when have either Charming displayed any qualities that suggest they SHOULD rule?

I am faintly amused to see Mary Margaret’s endless plaintive love and hope and goodness mutterings disappear when her dirty laundry may be aired.

Emma and Killian – I’m not running with this. She talks a good game, but at the same time she was pretty much pushing Killian to reveal his past whether he wanted to or not. So her downplayed it with a transparent, dismissive, sort-of-lie (and even then it was more an evasion) – in the world of people with actual social graces this is a polite way of indicating you don’t want to discuss something. And Emma needs to turn her lie detector on again

Regina, of course, steals the show. Her continued messages of redemption and the difficulty of not slipping into old habits – awesome as always.

I am glad that Killian and Ursula have some kind of history - between Cruella's one-liners and Maleficent's dominant story, Ursula was fading to the background (we still haven't seen any power from her beyond having tentacles)