Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Once Upon a Time, Season 4, Episode 15: Enter the Dragon

Evil Regina heads to the Villains to go undercover and…

We pause this recap to spend a moment to simply bask in the awesomeness of Maleficent’s outfit. BASK I say.

…*ahem* Regina makes her case for being big and bad and wanting to destroy some happiness (personally I would have gone with “go speak to Mary Margaret and David. Just have one conversation. Then ask me why I want to turn evil.”) This involves proving she’s evil which seems to involve taking a shot.

Time for a flashback to the Enchanted Forest back to the days when Regina was slowly sliding into evil with lots of bitter hatred for step-daughter Snow White, all fanned by Rumplestiltskin. This is before Regina has magic and she begs Rumple to help – all the while positively hero worshipping Maleficent and her super evil powerful magic of ubervengeance. Since Rumple is taking too long to teach her, she wants to learn from Maleficent.

Dumped on Maleficent’s doorstep, young Regina tries to impress her mentor; and finds Maleficent rather washed out and apparently drunk (or drugged, since it’s woo-woo). She’s all bitter about Sleeping Beauty and kicks Regina out with her pep talks. But she returns with news that Briar Rose’s daughter is getting married – so more vengeance needed! Maleficent is bemused as to why Regina is so invested in her revenge when she realises Regina is on her own bitter vengeance quest. But Maleficent has gone of vengeance- and lost her fire.

Regina tries to get her all fired up – which ends up with them being captured by prince Stefan, Aurora’s father. Maleficent’s magic fizzles embarrassingly. Thankfully, young Regina being the plucky villain that could inspires Maleficent to go all dragony again. She’s back in the vengeance game – and it’s time for Aurora to get the spinning wheel.

And Regina returns to Rumple, freshly eager for super vengeance.

In Storybrooke, Mary Margret and David explain that Regina is going undercover to Emma who does not think this is a good idea. At. All. And Regina is now late to check in. Because they’re playing villain games- which involves parking on train tracks and seeing who I “soft” enough to save them from inevitable doom first. Regina cracks. Personally I think this is less “gone soft” and more not being suicidal. Since when is self-preservation and being smart enough not to play on train tracks heroic? Have they not seen the Charmings?

Emma is all panicky the next day looking for Regina. I would love this a lot more if I weren’t slightly concerned that her worry is “zomg Regina is evil again!”. Even more worrying, the 4 villains hit Granny’s and drank all the booze and I didn’t get to see it?! Seriously that would have been the best night out ever!

Mary Margaret waffles and whimpers when she and David find a burnt out police car. Regina is there and explains she has had to unleash some minor mayhem to convince the villains she’s on their side. The Charmings are, of course, terrible and disapprove of the fact Regina didn’t gain all the villain’s secrets in one night.

The three villains met with Rumple and he does entertain the possibility that Regina could turn evil since heart break does have a habit of bringing out her worst side. He also talks ominously about a war.

Maleficent tries to tempt Regina further to the dark side – with news about them looking for the Author.

Time for a clandestine meeting! Or not “why did you bring the entire Charming softball team and their pirate mascot?!” Line of the night to Regina. Emma is worried that Regina is out of her depth and, unlike the Charmings, actually worried about her. Anyway the villain masterplan is recounted – while Regina wants to change her fate, the villains want to shift the balance so villains always win and heroes always lose. Not so good. Actually that would mean the Charmings losing

Oh look, I’m team villain again. They’re also MUCH better dressed.

Regina has been given a task to steal something so Emma decides that she must join in; if she can’t talk Regina out of this then she will be with her all the way. Unfortunately what she’s been told to steal is… Pinocchio. Emma isn’t a fan of this plan, especially with everyone being dubious and secretive, but Regina thinks a little kidnapping is worth the risk. Emma reluctantly agrees – but Regina dumps her phone that Emma was tracking her on

Killian actually does research, which means speaking to Belle (and interrupting her… date? With Will. Is Belle dating him?) and suggesting that maaaaaybe the Dark One is behind the three villains. Mainly they’re worried about them getting their hands on the dagger to control Rumple or become Rumple – and since Rumple is ultimate cosmic evil power, this would be a bad thing. So she should give the dagger to him

The pirate

I vote no. Belle votes yes. But before she hands it over she checks to see if Rumple is in town and uses the dagger to demand he appear and face her. He doesn’t so she drives off – and Killian gets a lovely evil grin and morphs into Rumple. RumpleKillian also notices that Belle is being “admired” by Will. Bitter Rumplekillian is very bitter indeed.

Regina has won the trust of the villains – and learns that Rumple has joined the bad guys. And he has his dagger. Which also puts her in a difficult position defending Pinocchio should the need arise. The first step involves Rumple turning Pinocchio back to August

The Charmings are the worst. This just has to be repeated every other episode at least. They’re so inept, so clueless.  More and more I am convinced these useless people couldn’t possibly have run a kingdom. Their attempts to use Regina are beyond inept and dangerous

I do like that Emma is genuinely concerned for Regina – not her mission or utility.

Maleficent and Regina are just effortlessly awesome in this episode. Constantly, amazingly awesome. From young, innocent Regina to faded and jaded Maleficent and then them both at the top of their game.

On  a less clear note - I'm not quite sure if we just had a whole lot of sexual tension between two women dropped in a show that continues to erase LGBT people (and, no, I'm not even counting Mulan any more) especially given how many people behind the show have stomped down on any suggestion of female pairings or if it's just because Lana Parilla could have chemistry with the furniture.

I love the Knave, so I’m not bitter that they seem to be dropping him in in a desperate attempt to keep him around despite having no idea what to do with him. Because he’s awesome.

One teeny issue – Rumple can see the future. That was always one of his powers from the seer, way back. Wouldn’t that make him hard to pull an undercover con on?