ONCE UPON A TIME, S4E4 ROUNDTABLE: ‘I love it when they say that’


By Josh Axelrod and David Oliver 

This was kind of a filler episode, but it was about as much fun as filler episodes can possibly be. It was full of some cute Disney references, cemented Hook and Emma as a power couple and pushed the story forward just enough. Let’s get magical:

Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), “Once Upon a Time,” photo courtesy http://www.zap2it.com


JOSH: I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I call this a Hook episode. His struggle to suppress the darkness within was the most pressing conflict this week. It made sense that he would want to look his best for Emma (i.e. having two hands), but he should know better than to blackmail The Dark One twice. He got lucky that Rumple didn’t have any leverage over him the first time. Twice was just pushing it.

So naturally, his new hand would create some problems. Of course, it turned out to all be a classic Rumple manipulation. He only made Hook think the hand was influencing him to show the captain that he hadn’t entirely changed. And now Rumple has turned the tables, blackmailing Hook with visual evidence of trapping the poor Sorcerer’s Apprentice in that hat. Hopefully Hook finds a way to get out of this endless loop of one-upping Rumple, because this can’t end well for his relationship with Emma.

DAVID: Why did Hook think for a minute he could trust Rumple? That seemed pretty cavalier, even for a pirate. It’s an interesting conflict though. But now that Neal is out of the picture, Emma and Hook are basically destined for each other, so no matter what happens I’d bet the two end up happy.


JOSH: This was by far the most likable (and beautiful) Emma has been in a long time. I loved that she took charge and asked Hook out, which he totally didn’t see coming. And she even did everything in her power to keep her mind off The Snow Queen and all her Storybrooke problems during the date. It was the first real indication we’ve had that Emma genuinely wants to make her relationship with Hook work. I like happy Emma. Let’s keep her that way.

DAVID: #HappyEmma forever! It’s so rare she’s not scowling, to be honest, which is a shame because Jennifer Morrison is quite the multi-faceted actress. The whole thing with her parents is so weird – they’re basically the same age – but she carefully makes it work when they start questioning her about her date. It feels very genuine, all curses considered.


JOSH: Once a crocodile, always a crocodile. Turns out Rumple hasn’t changed at all. He’s still lying to Belle about the dagger, he locked the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in the hat and has Hook under his thumb. Unlike Regina, Rumple seems to be reverting closer to villain status this season.

And my god, I forgot how creepy flashback Rumple was. Only he could bring out the darkness in sweet, innocent Anna. I thought she might actually try to stab him, but instead she withstood those impulses. Big mistake, because something tells me this hat is part of the reason she was separated from an amnesiac Elsa.

DAVID: Rumple is the true villain of the show, no matter how human they try and make him. I just feel so bad for Belle. Perhaps someone else could be her true love?


JOSH: Of the three “Frozen” characters (okay four, sorry Sven) given significant screen time this season, Elizabeth Lail’s Anna is by far my favorite. She totally captures Anna’s delightful awkwardness and her spunky sense of adventure. Her interactions with Rumple and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice were a good reminder that Anna is very much like Belle in the sense that she’s basically pure of heart. She’s also a little badass, as she was able to keep that hat out of Rumple’s hands. Of course, now she knows her parents went to him to find a way to get rid of Elsa’s magic. That knowledge probably won’t go over well in Arendele.

DAVID: Fantastic casting! Kristoff is too attractive, to be honest, and Elsa seems distant and cold (pun intended). My question though: where is she in Storybrooke?


JOSH: It’s almost sad to see Henry duping Rumple, even though his logic for why Rumple might know something about the storybook’s author is sound. If he could find a happy ending with Belle, why couldn’t he know something about the way to Regina’s happy ending? Of course, in order to get this information, Henry had to make his grandpa believe he genuinely wanted to work in his store and become something of a mini sorcerer’s apprentice. Rumple seemed genuinely excited about the prospect of bonding with his grandson. Though after all the awful things he did this week to Hook and Anna, good riddance.

DAVID: Stick it to him, Henry! Really hoping Regina continues to rise above and be good, but I’d hedge my bets on her turning evil for a spell before the series ends (which probably won’t be for awhile, but hey, you never know).

Disney Easter Eggs 

  • Rumple turned the Sorcerer’s Apprentice into a mouse. Hi Mickey!
  • That brief shot of two people at the restaurant sharing a spaghetti strand? Classic “Lady and the Tramp.”
  • The Knave of Hearts was caught with an “Alice in Wonderland” book and a picture of the Red Queen. I have no idea how he fits into the overall story beyond being a prick, but hopefully his Wonderland connection fits into the overall story at some point. Also it might be a great excuse to bring back Sebastian Stan’s Mad Hatter!

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