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Once Upon a Time: Heroes and Villains Review
It seems like a long time ago that Frozen came to Storybrooke, and its time spent chasing Snow Queens and plot holes feels longer still. After half-a-season of ice castles and orphan children, I must admit – I’m tired of breaking curses and I’m tired of happy endings. So are the ladies and gentle-imp of Heroes and Villains, it would so happen. Against all odds and all the clichés in the series’ arsenal, the Once Upon a Time you fell in love roared back in fine form this week, heroes, villains, and all.
Of course, all that couldn’t be done without tying up loose ends. As tradition would dictate here at the half-season mark, our main cast said its fond farewells to Anna and Elsa as the two made their timely return to Arendelle for Anna’s wedding. Just like you’d expect, their scenes were the predictable Disney fluff, and an ungloved Elsa holding hands with Anna sealed the deal. It’s sheepish moments like these that make it hard to forget how silly Frozen seems alongside the show’s more contemporary adaptations, to say the least.
Princess pleasantries aside, the episode lost no time picking up elsewhere. To say that Once Upon a Time feels like a new show is only as remarkable as the new woman Regina’s grown into in the time it’s taken to thaw out a stone-cold Marion. Lana Parrilla never ceases to impress me with her ability of going from happy to sad to annoyed all in one scene. It’s been hard watching her happiness always be one step away, even while its provided her uniquer outlets to contend with. Her finding a “drinking buddy” in Emma at Granny’s, albeit briefly, was a sight for sore eyes with their amusing back and forth. I’ll admit I’m liking Regina the most thus far this season, even if it’s meant Robin has to be wrested from her arms for the hundredth time.
Speaking of Emma (and sure, why not?), she and Hook enjoyed a brief reunion in the midpoint of the hour. It’s beyond me, however, why Emma has yet talk to Hook about what the hell happened while he was away and why he lied to her – even if all he says is that Rumple was controlling him. What progress Emma didn’t make with the ‘ole one-hand she at least made helping Henry and Regina unlock what could be the literal treasure trove of the series’ ultimate secret.
Like with all good things about Once Upon a Time, it’s Rumplestiltskin as usual who stands at the center of them. So be it that Heroes and Villains should prove no different for The Dark One. It’s Rumple who’s made the most selfish decisions, if not the most honest. It’s nonetheless his one, true love of power that’s stood between him and his love for Belle for which Rumple pays dearly. Rumple’s greed caught up to him again, this time at a literal crossroads of sorts, all in tune to Robert Carlyle’s ever-faithful performance. And it’s Emilie de Ravin who arguably sees her best moment as Belle by episode’s end, finally facing Rumple and making the harder choice for both of their sakes.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned indeed, much less three of them, and the Disney estrogen was in full supply this week. Enter the “Queens of Darkness,” or rather, “Currently Marketable Disney Villainesses.” Diving back into Rumple’s past provided us with our three ladies of the hour – Maleficent (Kristin Bauer van Straten), Ursula (Merrin Dungey), even Cruella de Vil (Victoria Smurfit) for who knows why. Likewise, pairing up the likes of Maleficent and Ursula can’t help but conjure up imagery of teaming Donald Duck with Superman and The Hulk.
Though it begs to ask what Cruella will have to do beyond adjusting her coat and smoking incessantly, the three’s mutual stake in the Enchanted Forest – and a curious Arthurian gauntlet of Rumple’s – tied their stories into the present day rather nicely, if not oodles better than with Frozen. Might we also ask how many Dalmatians will be born in Storybrooke between now and the season finale?
Whatever sins were committed by Ursula’s plasticky tentacles or the return of Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent headgear are surely forgiven, because costume designer Eduardo Castro outdoes himself in the wardrobe department, as does the episode’s killer cliff-hanger. That a wayward Rumple is being set up as the Charlie of a Disney’s Charlie’s Angels is an amusing prospect, but just what they intend to do together we’ll have to see.
Halfway into the season, Once Upon a Time may still not know who it is, but Heroes and Villains showed us what it wants to be. Many hands make light work, but time will tell if it’s too many for Once Upon a Time to juggle come its springtime premiere. That question alone makes for an interesting act to follow in the season’s latter half, one with all the devilish trimmings. I sure hope so, because being evil never sounded like so much fun.
- Mr. Gold Taking Charge Of The Series Again
- Regina's Search is Bearing Fruit
- A Potentially Awesome Villain Team-Up
- More Anna and Elsa Fluff
- Cruella De Vil? Huh?