Monday, March 23, 2015

A Million-and-One Reasons Why Killian Jones is Better Than Everybody Else

Review/Recap of Once Upon a Time 4.15 "Poor Unfortunate Soul"  - SPOILERS!

NOTE: Yes, I skipped 4.14 "Enter the Dragon." Last week was kind of crazy for me and it slipped through the cracks. To be fair, that episode was completely and totally… meh. You know what I got out of it? More of Pre-Curse Regina's whining, Maleficent isn't as badass as she should be, hints of a Sleeping Beauty story I'd like to see but probably never will, Aurora is an ineffectual wet blanket, Rumple holds onto his title of "One Most in Need of Being Smacked Upside the Head," Killian Jones in the rain is sexy as hell, and Colin O'Donoghue needs to win all the freaking awards in the world but won't because the awards committees are stupid and ABC isn't HBO or AMC. Nothing I didn't already know and neither did you. Good enough? Moving On!


I'm not even kidding - I will probably watch this one as much as I do "Good Form" or "The Jolly Roger" or even the Captain Swan movie from last season.

I derive so much enjoyment from the Hook-centric episodes compared to some of the others OUAT gives me, I wonder why they even bother with the other characters (that's a rhetorical fangirly question - still, I wouldn't complain if a few changes were to take place). And it's not like the episodes that reveal Hook's backstory are treated any different than an episode of, say, Snow and Charming or Regina or Rumple. But I think what's different is that this show has become so saturated with those other characters that when we do get one that's about a different main character (i.e. Hook or Emma or Belle - or even the Frozen backstory from Season 4A) - it suddenly becomes more interesting and novel.

So - where to begin?

Pan's Villainy Revealed - FINALLY!

First of all - we finally (FINALLY) get an episode where we see past!Hook working for Pan (after all that crap was teased last season AND NEVER FULLY EXPLAINED. Nope, I'm never going to let that go) and it's... going to the Enchanted Forest on a cake run.

(Most Feared Monster in Neverland, everybody).

Still, it's great to see pirate!Hook again because, as much as I love Killian's modern look and whatnot, it's easy to forget his origins and I sometimes miss it.

Also great to see is a new twist on the classic story of The Little Mermaid - this time, with a young Ursula and her father, Poseidon (played by Ernie Hudson of Ghostbusters fame - tell me that was not completely awesome!) Turns out, Ursula's the one with the magically beautiful voice, which her father uses to entice ships to run aground and sink - which very nearly happens to the crew of The Jolly Roger (but doesn't, thanks to some quick thinking on the part of the ship's captain and a last minute change of heart from Ursula).

Look Out, Madam Mermaid

Okay - can I just say that my inner four-year-old Disney fan was squealing with joy at the fact that young Ursula in OUAT sings "Fathoms Below" from the movie. And if you have no idea what the crap I'm talking about (first of all - WHAT?) - here you go -

Anyway, Ursula's gone human and is singing in a tavern in order to earn money to get away from her father because she hates that he uses her voice in order to seek revenge for her mother's death at the hand of pirates. Ursula wants her voice to be used to make people happy and to do good things. Hook and his crew are in the tavern and he recognizes her voice as the one that could have wrecked his ship, but didn't - and being the total softie that he is (underneath that angry and vengeful pirate exterior), he agrees to take Ursula wherever she'd like to go.

Problem is, Daddy Poseidon gets wind of Ursula's plans and tries to convince Hook to steal Ursula's voice, but Hook - honorable scamp that he is, promised that he wouldn't hurt Ursula because that's not good form. But he does ask Ursula to steal the squid ink that Poseidon promised in exchange for Hook double-crossing Ursula so Hook could get his revenge on Rumple (confused yet?) Poseidon puts a stop to this scheme as well and Hook, in his anger, steals Ursula's singing voice anyway, which causes Ursula to become the vengeful and evil sea witch - and that's the terrible thing Hook did to Ursula that was referenced two episodes ago.

You Don't Need The Author To Get What You Want

This brings us to present day Storybrooke and the Queens of Darkness. Team Hero figures out that Rumple tricked Belle by using Killian's appearance to steal the dagger from her (oh man - CAN'T BELLE JUST CATCH A BREAK FROM ALL OF RUMPLE'S BULLSHIT?) Killian is rightfully pissed that the Dark One is still at large, so he decides to use his past with Ursula to find out what Rumple has planned. And here is where things start to get interesting.

All through this "Operation Mongoose" business, I'm watching these villains seek to manipulate the system and all I can think is "Hook's got his happy ending and he was a villain once - what gives?" So I am glad that this episode tried to answer that question and actually addressed this whole situation in several ways.

The first one is since Hook has made some pretty big changes in his life and turned his whole outlook around, he offers Ursula her happy ending back that he stole in the first place. If Ursula agrees to cough up the Dark One's plans, he'll give her back her singing voice.

See? No author, no magic, just honesty. Piece of cake.

Except - Ursula's voice is on The Jolly Roger. The same Jolly that Hook traded to Blackbeard for the magic bean to get back to Emma in New York (excuse me while I go cry for a moment... okay, I'm good). But Ursula has ways of getting the ship back - which she does. And... it's a bottled ship.


Sadly, the tiny!Jolly isn't going to be much help, so Hook and Ursula go to Gold's Shop where Belle and Will are totally making out have a potion from Wonderland that can make the Jolly big again (and Hook trades a few snipes with Will - after a bit of a harsh-but-not-undeserved jab at Belle "Oh NOW you check my identity!")


(I'm thinking that's where Hook and Emma are going to take up residence when all this is over. Just a theory, mind you)

Long story short - Killian gives Ursula back the seashell with her voice (it's locked in a safe where the key is in Killian's hook and I just LOVE that!) - but she can't get her voice back because of reasons, so she gets pissed and knocks Killian out and chucks him out into the ocean.

(For a guy who spent hundreds of years sailing the seas, Killian certain spends a lot of time almost drowning)

But never fear! Ariel is here to save the day! (HELLO FRIEND I MISSED YOU TOO!) There's an explanation of why she's here, which I'll save for someone else to dissect - but Ariel, though her appearance is brief, gives what may be THE most important nugget of wisdom in all this Operation Mongoose insanity -

I sure hope he's filing this away for future reference (gif set source)
The Only Payoff For Having Any Faith...

Before I head into my OMG TEH FEELS!!!! conclusion - I have to circle back for Emma Swan. Who, if you remember, is being kept from the truth of her own villainous potential from her incredibly naive-but-well-meaning parents (and who are slowly crawling up my list of People Most In Need Of Smackings - not quite to Rumple-levels, but they're somewhere in there). I'd just like to draw this parallel (that was pointed out to me via Tumblr - but I've got some to say about it).

I think I figured out why Snow and Charming (mostly Snow) have been annoying the crap out of me lately - Snow has got this insufferable way of denying that anything bad is or could possibly happen. I liken it to the part in Season 2 of in Avatar: The Last Airbender where Team Avatar is in the Earth Kingdom capital of Ba Sing Se to ask for the Earth King's help in fighting the Fire Nation. But we find out that the Dai Li (the Earth Kingdom's secret agents) routinely kidnap and brainwash people who even mention the war within the walls of Ba Sing Se. Everyone must be happy OR ELSE!

Snow is kind of like that in her own way - any hint of Emma doing or saying anything that could be construed as "dark" is a problem. But Snow - for all OUAT's assertion that this Snow White is badass and she was a bandit and she knows how to ride horses and shoot arrows and wear pants and go camping - she's still Snow White. She's still that sweet little princess lady who sings to birds and lives in a palace and befriends dwarves and everything is rainbows and sparkles and YAY! They are fooling precisely no one with this tough-woman act, I'm sorry.

Emma, on the other hand, is hardcore into confronting the truth and she is brutally honest. She says that, yes, she wants to kill Rumple just like Killian said he wanted to stab the Dark One with his own dagger and never mind the fact that he'd become the Dark One instead. Now, in reality if he was given the choice, Killian probably wouldn't actually do that, but Emma understands Killian's frustration because Emma's lived with some of those same emotions. Snow is never going to understand that because she's never been the villain. I'm not saying this is a bad thing - but sometimes the sickly-sweetness of Snow White kind of grates on me. Too much of a good thing and all that (and even in the "Next Time" promo - Snow is still trying to appeal to Emma with that sweet nature and Emma, who must have found out about her parents OMG SOOPER DOOPER SEKRIT, is clearly having none of it).

And, as an aside, there is one promo for next week floating around out there that shows Hook going directly to Team Charming with the information that Rumple is gunning for Emma and her potential for Great Darkness(tm). Which shows to me that, yes Hook has kept secrets from Emma in the past, but he has learned from those mistakes and he is NOT going to to that again. Remind me who the evilest of villains here is?

(Just one more on the pile of Reasons Why Killian Jones is Better Than Everybody Else)

...Is When It's Tested Again and Again

Back at Gold's cabin where Team Darkness is keeping no-longer-little-kid-Pinocchio prisoner (long and boring story), Ursula is going on a rampage against Team Hero, who tracked them down to their hideaway. Long story short - Hook comes back with Daddy Poseidon, who is ready and willing to make amends with Ursula. They make up and everything is awesome and Ursula - who to this point was a villain - just got her freaking happy ending WITHOUT ANY HELP FROM THAT DAMN AUTHOR!

(Killian Jones, take a bow, you heroic pirate, you).

Everybody clears out - and here we come to the second way in which Operation: Mongoose was not in fact rendered completely moot. Remember how I said Hook's got his happy ending and I was wondering why no one was paying attention to that fact all the while running around like a bunch of crazies looking for this freaking author when all they had to do was stop and wonder - "Wait... how the hell did he manage it?" Well - while that still isn't entirely an unprofitable line of inquiry, Killian himself is starting to ask that question. And if you ever wondered why I ship Captain Swan so much - I would say look no further than this scene WHICH WILL COMPLETELY TEAR YOUR HEART TO PIECES AND YOU WILL LOVE EVERY MOMENT OF IT!

PUNCH ME IN THE FACE AND BURY ME WHERE I STAND I CANNOT WITH YOU TWO ANYMORE (but I will because you are the freaking BEST on this or any show EVER!)

If that wasn't an "I love you," then I don't know what is.

Beyond my *happy fangirling*, though - just look at this for a minute. NOT ONCE does Killian imply that he wants to the author to give him his happy ending. If Killian Jones wants something, he goes out and gets it himself - or he works damn hard to get it. And until now, he's never thought that he could lose his happiness because of something that's outside his control. Yes, he's worked to become a better person and leave his villainous persona behind and seek redemption - but what if that's not enough? What if it's too late to prove himself? Despite assurances from Emma and everybody else that he is indeed a hero, it's possible that Killian could totally lose everything he's worked so hard to fix. I mean, name one thing (besides the thing with the pistol in the Jolly - which totally didn't work) that Killian did in the present day in this episode that would be considered villainous? He gave Ursula back her voice, he helped her make amends with her father, he's consistently been on the side of good - yet he still thinks of himself as a bad guy.

And then you have Emma, who up to this moment STILL doesn't think that she's anybody's happy ending. I mean - Emma, honey - DO YOU SERIOUSLY HAVE TO ASK? And the answer is - yes. Honestly - she really does. She's never been loved by anyone like this - she doesn't trust easily and she doesn't open herself up that often. I think she still has that fear in the back of her mind that she's going to wake up one morning and Killian's going to be gone, just like every other guy she's trusted with her heart. I mean, these two have both been through so much crap and now they've each finally found another person who cares about them deeply - and the ONLY REASON they could lose this wonderful little thing that they because of a bunch of stupid villains who can't get their own crap together. BUT BY DAMN THEY ARE GOING TO FIGHT FOR EACH OTHER AND THAT IS TRUE FREAKING LOVE RIGHT THERE!

So, this sets up for more drama and angst, but I figured it was coming because, hell, Snowing had their challenges to face. How could Captain Swan (or Outlaw Queen, for that matter) expect to do any less? Personally, I cannot WAIT for this story to unfold - and I'm still hoping for Rumple to get impaled on his own dagger (nobody has to actually stab him with it. He could just be running and trips and he stabs himself. Problem solved)

Other Things I Liked/Noticed -

- I knew the Outlaw Queen reunion was a sham - but I theorized that it was Rumple impersonating Robin the same was he did Killian. I didn't think it'd be a dream sequence. Either way, I'm glad we got to see Robin Hood again, even if it wasn't for very long.

- Hook and Will trading jabs at Gold's Shop. Yes, please - give me more!

- "I'm good at surviving or you're just bad at killing." HOOK WINS ALL THE THINGS!

- Cruella was surprisingly quiet through all of this, but she had some lovely moments - like totally lusting after August. I like to keep my blog on the clean side of PG-13, but I think you can imagine where this crack ship could go.

- And this -

I don't care who you are - that's Twue Wuv, right there. (gif source)
Next Time -

Remember how "Smash The Mirror" was such an important Emma episode for how she sees herself and her relationship with her family? I think "Best Laid Plans" is going to go in that direction as well. But that's just a guess -

Buckle in, kiddos because CRAP IS GETTING REAL!

*runs off to watch that Captain Swan ending again*

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