Warning: This post does have SPOILERS.
NDM Jen is a HUGE fan of “Once Upon A Time” & will be here every Monday to recap the episode and share her thoughts. Be sure to check back every week and share your thoughts with Jen, too!
There was a whole lotta plot crammed into this episode, in a very wordy, dialogue-heavy kind of way. We got some answers to lingering questions…but of course, we also got a whole new list of questions.
The episode begins “A long time ago….” with a red-robed man in a mysterious chamber, sweeping. Given that the episode is called “The Apprentice,” it was a reasonably safe assumption that we were meeting The Sorcerer’s Apprentice….and I was very relieved that he was not a five-foot-tall mouse. The Apprentice is visited by the Dark One, who tries to steal a box (the box, the one Gold found in the season premiere that contained the hat), but is thwarted by the enchantments protecting it. The Apprentice tells him that every Dark One has tried to break the enchantment and open the box, but all have failed. “No one who has succumbed to the darkness in their heart can break it.” Which, honestly, confused the heck out of me, because we already saw Gold open the box in the premiere, yet this Dark One couldn’t even touch it?
In Storybrooke, Emma asks Henry if he’s okay with her dating Hook. He’s not, but he says he wants her to be happy, so she goes to Granny’s and asks Hook out on a date. When she goes back out to her car, there is a huge puddle of water around it (but no water anywhere else on the street, and no Snow Queen to be found).
In anticipation of his date, Hook goes to Gold and asks him to reattach his hand. Gold is reluctant, but Hook threatens to tell Belle about the dagger, so he agrees. He warns Hook that reuniting with his hand might also reunite him with the pirate he used to be, and bring out the worst in him. Hook scoffs, so Gold proceeds, but not without a parting shot: “Don’t say I didn’t warn you!”
Mary Margaret and David are trying to help Elsa, by going through the Storybrooke census records, looking for anyone who might be Anna. Emma enters, ready for her date, and there’s a lot of cute, embarrassing parents-whose-daughter-is-going-on-her-first-date moments, including a Polaroid of Emma in her dress. Hook arrives, IN MODERN DRESS (still all black, but…BOOOOOO! Stick with the trench coat, Captain!) (Especially since Elsa IS STILL IN THE SPARKLY BLUE GOWN!) He hands Emma a flower, and she’s surprised by his lack of Hook. David does some over-protective dad stuff, and the date begins.
In the Enchanted Forest, Anna finds Rumplestiltskin, and asks for his help. He reveals that he knows exactly who she is, AND why her parents visited him, but he won’t tell her unless she makes a deal with him. He tells her that for her part of the bargain, she has to go see a man who lives at the foot of the Dark Mountains, and put a potion in his tea. She signs the contract, and goes to the old man’s cottage. He is, of course, the Apprentice. And he’s still sweeping. Yeah, okay, we get it. The magic broom. Is it me, or are they REALLY beating us over the head with the movie tie-ins this season?? Anyway, of course Anna is too tenderhearted to dose the old man, as she’s sure the potion is some kind of poison.
Hook takes Emma to an Italian restaurant (where we’re treated to another movie moment in the form of a Lady-and-the-Tramp-spaghetti-eating visual by a couple of other restaurant patrons). Will Scarlet is at the bar, and instead of sneaking off unnoticed by Sheriff Emma, he somehow manages to dump a drink on her. Hook reacts somewhat violently to the accident (and realizes it’s because of his #HookHand)(feel free to get that hashtag trending), but Emma says she’s not going to chase after Will, because she doesn’t want to spoil the date.
Henry and Regina are in her vault, going through potion ingredients, as Regina is still trying to save Marian. Henry tells Regina that he knows Robin still loves her.
Hook takes Emma home. Kissing happens, but Hook starts freaking out about his #HookHand again. Mary Margaret and David are waiting up for Emma, and there’s more family cuteness. Emma needs to get her own place.
Will Scarlet tries to break into the library, but Hook comes along and catches him, and beats the stuffing out of him. #HookHand.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, Anna returns to Rumplestiltskin and says she gave the old man the potion. Rumple says “Good, he’ll live, then,” and explains to the horrified Anna that the potion he gave her was an antidote to the poison the Apprentice the day before. She confesses that she DIDN’T give him the antidote, and insists that they return with more to save him…but Rumple shows her the Apprentice in his crystal ball, and we see him die. No, I’m sorry. We DON’T see him die, even though Rumple said he needed to antidote to live. We see him turn into a mouse. A mouse. A MOUSE. Sigh. I’m just gonna leave that there…
Anna races back to the Apprentice’s cottage (to do what, exactly? Catch the mouse and name him Mickey?) but Rumple beats her there (handy thing, apparating). In a very complicated monologue, Rumple explains that he won’t change the mouse back, because the Apprentice was guarding something Rumple wants, but he also needed someone who had turned away from the darkness in their heart, and that’s why he gave Anna the potion to give the Apprentice, because he knew she would think it was poison, he knew she would think about giving it to him, and he ALSO knew that she wouldn’t, which would make her a person who’d turned away from the darkness. But then Anna counters with, well, Rumple, you failed, because I NEVER thought about giving it to him. Rumple pulls out the contract she signed, and says she has to be trapped in a tower, now, for failing to fulfill the contract. She pulls a sword, and he says she’ll have to kill him to get out of the contract. Really eggs her on, taunts her, encourages her to kill him. Of course she can’t, because ANNA, but now she IS a person who has turned away from the darkness, and he catches one of her tears on his dagger and trots off into the cellar to retrieve the box. And I guess this explains why Gold was able to open the box in the premiere, because his dagger still retained the power of Anna’s tears?
Back in Storybrooke, Gold engages in another long twisty bit of dialogue, this time with Hook, who demands that Gold take his #HookHand back, and threatens once again to tell Belle the truth about the daggers. Gold says he’s already switched the daggers, but he’ll do it if Hook makes a deal with him. Hook doesn’t want to, but Gold points out that since his magic put the #HookHand on, only his magic can take the #HookHand off.
The next day, Emma is driving through Storybrooke, and spins out on a patch of ice. She catches a glimpse of the Snow Queen (not hard, since she’s walking around town in a crazy beaded gown) and chases her, but is interrupted by a call from Belle, who has discovered a beaten and drunk Will Scarlet passed out in the library.
Hooks is sleeping rough on the docks, Gold finds him and says the broom will help them find an old friend. And then the broom starts walking off through town, to music that sounds very similar to the iconic moment in Fantasia:
Honestly, I’m really over the in-your-face movie moments this season! It started off badly for me with the Beauty and the Beast ballroom scene in the premiere, and it’s just getting worse!
But before we meet the Apprentice in Storybrooke, we go back to his house in the Enchanted Forest, where Rumple has retrieved the box from the underground chamber. Anna demands to know what her parents were doing in the Enchanted Forest, and Rumple tells her they came to find some way to take Elsa’s powers away. He says only the Sorcerer ever figured out how to take magical powers away from someone, but conveniently, he put that power in the very box that Rumple is now holding. Then Mickey Mouse jumps on Rumple and startles him sufficiently enough for Anna to grab the dagger. She quickly realizes that she can control Rumple with the dagger, and demands to be sent back to Arendelle with the box, and says that Rumple has to turn the Apprentice back into a man, and that he can never harm her or Elsa. Rumple has to obey, and Anna disappears with the box (although the dagger gets left behind).
The magical marching broom leads Gold and Hook to the Apprentice’s house. Gold takes the box from him, and opens it with the dagger (revealing that he totally lied about switching the daggers. Again.) The Apprentice tells him he’ll never have enough power to get what he wants, but Gold sucks him into the magic hat (did I really just write that sentence?)
Anna is reunited with Kristoff in Arendelle, and confesses her disappointment that her parents were trying to get rid of Elsa’s powers.
Gold removes the #HookHand once again, but tells Hook that their deal isn’t done. Hook says, yes it is, I know you lied about the dagger, I’ll tell Belle. Gold says he has Hook on video at the Apprentice’s house, and if Hook messes with his marriage, his “one happiness”, that he’ll destroy Hook’s relationship with Emma. He also tell Hook that there’s nothing wrong with his hand, that the bad pirate stuff has always been in him, and the #HookHand just gave him permission to act on it. Gold is simply too clever; Hook is no match for the Dark One, and now, apparently, is bound to work with him somewhat indefinitely.
Emma questions Will Scarlet in the jail. She asks him why he was found with a copy of Alice in Wonderland, and why a ripped-out illustration of the Red Queen was in his pocket. He says it doesn’t mean anything. Hook walks in just as Emma is asking Will who beat him up, and Will covers for Hook and says he doesn’t know. David shows up and says that Sarah Fisher, the name the Snow Queen has been using, isn’t in any of the Storybrooke census records, which means she didn’t come to town with the curse.
The episode ends with Henry and Regina, still in the vault. Henry tells Regina that his Grandpa Gold must know who wrote the book, because he’s a villain who is getting a happy ending (at least, as far as Henry knows, right?) He offers to go undercover to find out what Gold knows, and asks Gold for an after-school job. Gold somewhat reluctantly agrees, but then rather ominously says, “You can be my apprentice,” and sets him to work sweeping the floor. With the magic broom.
So, OMG. Are you enjoying the movie references?? I really am NOT, they are so over-the-top! I would much prefer a return to the subtlety of previous seasons. Elsa’s dress continues to annoy me. The mouse. THE MOUSE. The marching broom. I just don’t know. Am I being too critical? What do you think?
Where’s the Will Scarlet storyline going? I mean, we know he was the Knave on Once Upon A Time: Wonderland, but are we going to have to spend a lot of time establishing that fact for those who didn’t watch that show (not to mention the oblivious residents of Storybrooke)? And if Cora was the Queen of Hearts (or Red Queen, if you prefer), does that mean she’s coming back? Can she come back?
What’s Gold up to with the hat? Who’s powers does he want to take away? Regina’s? Doesn’t seem like she’s doing too much with her powers these days, especially nothing that would threaten Gold. Elsa? The Snow Queen?
Who is the Snow Queen, and how did she get to Storybrooke? When everyone got their memories back, didn’t they think it was weird that no one remembered who Sarah Fisher was in the Enchanted Forest?
And, the most pressing question of all….IS HOOK GOING TO START WEARING HIS TRENCH COAT AGAIN???
I need to know.