Snark Tank; Recap
Once Upon a Time Recap: Live Fast Die Young, Bad Girls Do It Well
Snark Tank is where we recap TV episodes. This Once Upon a Time recap is for the season 4b episode, Enter the Dragon.
Regina Attends Forbidden Magic Con
This episode’s flashbacks begin with Enchanted Forest Regina. We are suckers for Younger Regina, but her appearances usually leave us scratching our heads about the timeline. In this instance she is meeting with Rumpelstiltskin, so clearly their lessons-in-evil were already in progress and she was married to King Leopold by then.
We were once led to believe that after Jefferson, Rumple and Dr. Frankenstein punked Regina by attempting to resuscitate Daniel, Regina was all-in on evil. All of seasons 1 and 2 are meant to show us that after she realized he could not be revived, Regina was hell bent on destruction. But the storyline of The Man with the Lion Tattoo threw that interpretation into doubt since she was told she could actually be happy again. For the sake of our sanity we are going to assume that for purposes of this episode, Regina had not yet met Tinker Belle and heard the big news about Robin Hood.
Regina shows up to her lesson carrying Maleficent’s curse book, which she found in Cora’s things. (There’s a future episode entitled Maleficent’s Burn Book, we’re certain). Regina fangirls over Mal’s ability to turn into a dragon! And Rumple is like “well I heard there’s a fan convention over at Maleficent’s mansion and you should totally go!” So Regina shows up at Forbidden Mountain for the Forbidden Magic Con, featuring the Mistress of All Evil Herself. Rather than the badass Mistress of Evil, Regina finds Maleficent looking like Courtney Love –you know, like a has-been rock star high on too much pixie dust.
The cause of Maleficent’s downfall is King Stefan, husband to Briar Rose, who is the original star of the Sleeping Beauty fairytales. The original Grimm Brothers tale was all about Briar Rose and Stefan. They had a daughter named Aurora but she wasn’t the focus of the tale. Only in later variants did Aurora become the heroine reawakened by her prince. In the original tale there’s a whole subplot about Stefan’s mother trying to eat Briar Rose and her children. (Mama-in-law was the ancestor of Hannibal Lecter.) We covered all this back in episode 35 of our podcast, These Tales are Rather Grimm.
I Will Always Find You! Drop Your Storyline!
In the Onceverse, the show looked to take advantage of the fact that Aurora was not THE Sleeping Beauty by having the daughter of Sleeping Beauty have a love story with Mulan. The show abandoned the story arc in season 3 and Mulan walked away a loser in love, joining the Merry Men, where she was never heard from again. Still Mad.
Anyway Maleficent is downtrodden because Stefan woke up Briar Rose with True Love’s Kiss. Regina is still awestruck about meeting Maleficent, so she wants to help her hero avoid a fate of endless con appearances and kickstarters for doomed documentaries. (HELP MALEFICENT MAKE A MOVIE ABOUT A FALLEN FAIRY WHO LOST HER WINGS! GOAL: $75,000 ENCHANTED FOREST DOLLARS!) Regina tells Maleficent that damn Aurora is getting her happy ending because she’s marrying Prince Phillip!
You can’t spit in the Enchanted Forest without hitting a royal. So question: Regina is at this point a Queen. Doesn’t she know the various Royals scattered about? Do they know her? Is King Leopold a shut-in? What is the deal? Also, would you want to see the Enchanted Royals get their own show like the Royals on E?
Actually I’d settle for Once explaining a new Wrinkle in its Timeline – the news that Aurora is engaged to Prince Phillip. By the end of the episode Maleficent will have put the sleeping curse on her, sending Phillip on an odyssey to search for his fiancee with Mulan. So was this a search that lasted several years before the Dark Curse hit? Because Regina is still several years from casting the curse. At least that’s what we’ve been led to believe.
Maleficent is sort of impressed by Regina’s youthful enthusiasm for revenge. I’m pretty sure Rumple was jealous when Mal took Regina’s chin in her hands and moved in for an almost-kiss. (Oh come on readers, you just know Rumple was hiding in the closet like a Peeling Peeping Tom.) Regina comes up with a plan for Maleficent to take fire from the burning tree which holds her power (or something) and re-transform into a dragon. It almost works until it doesn’t.
King Stefan, who will later show up in Port Charles as a villain named Jerry Jacks, catches Regina and Maleficent and prepares to kill them. But Regina saves the day by learning how to set fire to the rain I mean set her bonds on fire, a skill she struggled with when training with Rumple. Regina’s act of devotion saves Maleficent, inspiring her to put Aurora in a sleeping curse. The two are thus bonded through the act of revenge.
50 Shades of Maleficent
In Storybrooke present, the episode opens with a 50 Shades of Maleficent at Granny’s Diner. She’s in a grey suit and fedora, accompanied by the other chicks in the Pink Ladies: Ursula and Cruella. They need to know if Regina is really a part of the Pink Ladies or whether she is secretly Sandra Dee. Regina and Maleficent are face-to-face but Mal doesn’t even bring up that whole you-turned-me-into-a-dragon-and-kept-me-under-the-library thing. Which is pretty honorable of her!
Regina says: “Kill me, I’m right here bitch.” And then Maleficent is like “You think I wanna kill you? Imprisoning me for 30 years as a dragon is no big. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.”
Maleficent and Regina stare at each other – Lana’s eyes are on fire in this scene. Oh and Regina is wearing a hot chic black leather jacket, if you must know– and Mal literally says “Are you still a bad girl, Regina?” Regina pounds down a shot and crushes the glass in her hand like the HBIC. The bad girls devise a test for Regina. They roll out to the crossroads and stop the car on the tracks. “Show us you’re still down by letting us all die on the train tracks.” They all sit there and prepare to die when Regina, predictably, rescues them at the last minute by whisking them away with some purple smoke magic.
So: To prove Regina isn’t a hero, she was supposed to let them all die, yet by rescuing them she proved she’s still a bad girl. Lol WUT? That scene made no sense and we totally loved every second of it.
Guess you you could say that based on the flashbacks, Maleficent secretly wanted Regina to rescue her, to give her a purpose again like she did in the Enchanted Forest. Or something.
The Pink Ladies then go out partying and don’t we wish we had those deleted scenes? Because the next day Regina is cleaning bottles of booze out of her vault when Maleficent shows up. She’s all smitten “It was good to see you last night. It was FUN last night.”
Regina is like “yeah it beats going camping with Robin and watching Emma swan around with Dread Pirate Roberts, which is all I’ve been doing in season 4.”
Regina has a hangover. Maleficent gives her some aspirin. Unexpected but you know how it is when you turn 350 years old, don’t bounce back from those nights quite as quickly. She tells Regina “I need you sharp tonight” and some other stuff about revenge and also Rumple is totes alive and well in Storybrooke.
Take Me With You
Regina meets up with the Charmings and their allies in the library. These scenes always make me wish for Clue: Storybrooke Edition. Regina fills them in on the plans and Emma objects.
Emma: “These things never end well.”
Regina: “I understand your concerns.”
That these are two-way conversations that no one else dares interrupt proves again that Regina and Emma are the yin/yang of the show, and also that the other characters know they hold all the power.
Emma says “Then I’m in. I have your back. I’m going with you tonight.” It kind of blows Regina’s mind that Emma is willing to do this for her. It’s a testament to Lana Parrilla that she can still pull new reactions this far into her run, but her face in this scene is pure startlement. Give Lana a challenge that feels organic to Regina and she’ll rise to it.
Rumple and Maleficent decide to kidnap August and torture him until he’s ready to spill the beans on the author. This is just awful to watch. Emma is like “nope nope nope noooooo” but Regina helps them get August but leaves her Blackberry behind for Emma to use to track them.
At Rumple’s place (the same rando cabin where he beat up Belle’s dad Mo), Rumple is gung ho on this plan despite August’s connection to Neal. That’s because he has his dagger back. Earlier in the episode Rumple pretended to be Hook, who convinced Belle that she needed to tell him where the dagger was buried so Hook could keep it safe. That’s right, Belle got Cora’d! Can this marriage be saved? (No.)
The Queens of Darkness and Rumple know Regina is pretending to be evil, but still she says “hey I’m over the being good thing. Seriously.” Rumple doesn’t think she’ll let him turn August into a full grown man again – or does he? He knows she’s desperate to find the author, so perhaps he surmises her self-interest will win out. The episode ends with the dun dun dunnnn moment of Eion Bailey as August again.
Random Observations and Questions:
- Regina has a Blackberry; Emma an iPhone; David a flip phone.
- What were the empty wine bottles in Regina’s vault?
- What kind of shots did they do? What else did they do?
- So Regina slept in the vault for the second time this season?
- Belle thought Hook was capable of keeping the dagger safe? From Rumple???
- How come Rumple’s super powerful, all powerful, clairvoyant skill set can turn August back into a man but not open a portal or save Neal?
- Is Rumple’s Rando Cabin also a CIA Black Site?
- Henry shows up for a second to say the answer to the author is behind a drawing of a door. They really don’t want to write for the kid anymore, do they?
- Hey Once, you could insinuate that Regina and Maleficent were more than friends or just actually go there. The in-between stuff is temporarily enjoyable, but feels insulting.
Are we crazy? Would you go to Forbidden Magic Con? Sound off in the comments!