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Once Upon A Time, Season 3, Episode 18

Ghost Story

We open on Regina in a mirror, putting on earrings. She seems to be glaring at herself, but I think that’s just her face’s go-to expression. The doorbell rings. Regina opens the door but no one’s there. She looks down to see a basket of green apples on her doorstep. A voice says “a gift.” It’s coming from inside the house!

It’s Zelena, leaning against Regina’s table and drinking a glass of wine. Zelena says she saw Regina’s apple tree in the yard and thought she could use something better. Red apples are too sweet. Zelena likes green apples, because people like things “a little sharper.” Regina counters that green apples are just “bitter” because we need to be bombarded with metaphors for Zelena’s resentment because of her upbringing. And in case we didn’t get that, Zelena picks up a tchotchke from Regina’s table. Regina reprimands her “that’s not yours.” Zelena bellyaches: “Story of my life.” Ah sibling rivalry. It is wicked, isn’t it?

Zelena says she dropped by to make sure Regina is okay after their “fight.” Regina’s not buying it but says she’s fine. Zelena says she loves Regina’s furniture. (Who wouldn’t? I’m redoing my home office and I told my husband I want the décor to be “Evil Queen’s House.” He said “Evil Queen? Is that your new nickname?” That was unnecessary, I think, but I digress.) Zelena wants what Regina has.

Regina counters that if Zelena wants her super power to be envy “go right ahead.” Zelena says, “Envy is just another word for ambition.” Regina answers “well that’s just not true.” I love when she cuts to the chase.

Zelena blathers on about her own work ethic and accuses Regina of casting her curse as a form of running away. She says Regina turned her back on every opportunity for happiness. She accuses her of not taking risks, of not really living her life. She calls it a waste and adds bitingly “I can see why our mother was so disappointed in you.”

But Regina doesn’t take the bait and points out that Cora gave Zelena away. Understandably this does not go over well with Zelena. She tells Regina that Regina doesn’t know the whole story and “that’s exactly what’s going to hurt you.” Regina laughs. These two are both so good with their game faces.

Regina asks why Zelena is really there. Zelena says she’s there as a distraction so that the Dark One can get Regina’s heart. Now I take back my game face comment because Regina looks both frightened and furious. Then she throws a letter opener at Zelena. She had to know that wasn’t going to work. Zelena magics herself away.

In Storybrooke’s woods, Robin Hood and his men are guarding Regina’s heart. Rumple as the Dark One threatens Robin’s son, the adorable Roland. Robin says his crossbow never misses its target as he aims at Rumple. I thought it was the Enchanted Forest (EF) bow and arrow that never misses. Anyway, Robin shoots at Rumple who diverts the arrow toward Roland. Rumple says he doesn’t want to, but he will. His eyes look evil but I think he really means it. Zelena has control over him. He’s forced to do this. Robin refuses to sacrifice his son for Regina’s black heart, so he gives in and gives Rumple the heart. Rumple says thank you and that he is truly sorry.

Now Regina shows up. Robin tells her that Rumple has her heart. In a very unRegina-like fashion Regina does not throw a fit and asks if anyone was hurt. Robin says no and apologizes. Regina says “nothing’s worth the loss of a child.” Well I guess I can sort of see why Robin likes her in spite of the fact that she had his face plastered on wanted posters all over the EF.

Regina says there’s a bigger problem. Even though Zelena has her heart, she’s still alive. That means Zelena wants something other than to kill Regina’s, and that ain’t good. But Regina vows to stop her.

She heads to Gold’s shop where she rifles through the assorted EF paraphernalia until Belle comes in yelling at her. Why weren’t you watching the store, Belle? Regina says she needs to destroy her sister because her sister has her heart.

This makes Belle wary. Is Regina under Zelena’s control? Regina calms her worries. She had the foresight to protect her heart from that. She needs to find out what Zelena wants and asks Belle what she has here. When Belle replies “self-respect” I laugh because a person with self-respect wouldn’t keep insisting her boyfriend has a good heart despite all evidence to the contrary.

But Belle is talking about Regina and how she would never help someone who imprisoned her in a castle…..blah blah blah. If I’m not mistaken, Rumple imprisoned her in a castle, but we don’t have time to reason with her. Regina says all that is in the past, then gets right to the point. She needs to defeat “the person who’s puppet mastering your boyfriend.” That gets Belle’s attention.

Belle says she’s been doing some research, trying to match the items Zelena has collected to various spells. Because books are our friends! Belle wants to know what’s so special about Regina’s heart. Regina says she doesn’t know, and then asks for “the candle.”

Belle brings her Lumiere. Regina doesn’t want it. “Not that, Liberace.” Hee. I guess it’s plausible that Regina had seen him on TV over the past almost 30 years, but I’m guessing Belle has no idea who or what Regina is talking about. In any case, Regina needs the candle Mary Margaret used to kill her mother. Belle knows exactly where it is, but says its power is gone. Regina says it’s not about how her mother died; it’s about how she lived.

So we cut to the EF where a youngish, Rose McGowan Cora is serving drinks in a tavern. In the process of keeping away from the handsy patrons, she falls onto a handsome man. He asks her to join him at his table. He apparently has been watching Cora closely because he knows exactly what to say to get in her pantaloons. He tells her she carries herself like a lady. Cora has heard the “dress for the job you want” advice and says, though she was born a peasant, she is trying to be better.

Now the handsome man loses his smooth moves and clumsily drops a handkerchief out of his pocket so that it happens to land with the royal crest visible. Cora practically foams at the mouth. The guy gives her a cockamamie story amount wanting her to like him as himself, not a prince. Yada yada yada. Come on Cora, you’re smarter than this!

Nope. She’s not. He says he’s leaving town but he asks her to marry him with a ring made of straw for metaphorical purposes. He wants to meet her two weeks to give her the real thing. Dontcha think this is all happening a little fast, Cora? No, she doesn’t. Blinded by ambition when he calls her “Princess Cora,” she moves things along even faster by offering to spend the night with this bozo. So. Yeah. He keeps a straight face but I know he’s already thinking of his locker-room stories.

In Storybrooke present, Emma walks into the library at Regina’s house. (We’ve never seen that room before, have we?) Hook has an apple. Emma makes a joke about watching out for the apples in this house. When Hook doesn’t laugh, Emma asks him what the problem is. Hook is worried about the Wicked Witch. Emma says Regina has a plan. Hook is sure she does, and he’s still awfully mopey.

Mary Margaret and David are here, too. They’re arguing over baby names. Mary Margaret wants Leopold after her father. David worries that people will make fun of him. He’s right, and by the way, Snow got to name the first baby. Maybe it’s time to give David a turn.

Regina comes in with some tea, then yells when David tries to take a sip. Turns out it’s a deadly poison for summoning dark forces. Then don’t call it tea, Regina. Emma wants to know what’s going on. Regina fills them in and tells them they need to talk to her mother.

At Zelena’s farmhouse, a flying monkey comments on Regina’s battered heart. Zelena says that’s the point. She puts it in a trunk next to David’s sword for safekeeping. She pulls a snazzy suit of the wardrobe. The monkey is jealous.

In the storm cellar, Zelena tells Rumple she’s got Regina’s heart, Charming’s courage, and Rumple’s brain so it’s time to celebrate. She wants Rumple to wear the suit. This is getting kinky. Rumple says not so fast, she hasn’t got everything. Zelena says it’s just a matter of time before the baby comes. Now she tells Rumple to get dressed or she’ll torture him.

Back at Regina’s house, the séance begins. She says it’s fairly simple to summon the dead. You just need the murder weapon and the murderer. She nods toward Mary Margaret who looks sort of upset and hurt but really, she can’t argue with that.

Regina lights the candle. The group holds hands around the table. The fireplace goes out and a portal opens in the ceiling. Regina calls for her mother, demanding “do not ignore me now, Mother. You owe me this.” That’s not a very good way to get your dead mother to do your bidding. The table shakes; the candle goes out, Mary Margaret yelps. Then Hook apologizes for bumping the table and ruining everything. Is there a reason that he doesn’t want them talking to Cora? He did used to be in cahoots with her.

Regina pouts because nothing happened with the portal and she thinks her mother doesn’t want to talk to her. Whatever secrets she had she wants to keep.

But she won’t keep them from us because we’re going to an EF flashback. Cora stands waiting at the crossroads in the pouring rain, so if we didn’t already know this was going to end in disaster, the downpour is a good indicator. Her so-called beloved stands her up.

Two months later, Cora comes upon Jonathan in a gazebo. She wants to know what happened. Jonathan is kind of snarky and Cora notices his boots, gloves, and shovel and realizes he’s the gardener. She’s shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that he lied to her. She says he took her virtue. He begs to differ. He says she practically forced it on him when she thought he was a prince. Well, he does have her number. Then he calls her a harlot, which is uncalled for and most likely dangerous. Oh, stupid, stupid Jonathan, you don’t know who you’re dealing with. She may be powerless now, but that’s going to change, and I bet you’re the first person she comes after.

She wants Jonathan to support the baby. He says, yeah, good luck with that. He knocks her down then runs away but guess who comes to the rescue. It’s Prince Leopold who is not the same actor who played Prince Leopold in previous seasons, but is still bald and doesn’t look that much younger.

Back at Regina’s house in Storybrooke present the Savior posse figures out their next move. When everyone leaves, Mary Margaret hangs back to talk to Regina. Regina says she’s “not in the mood for a heart to heart.” Mary Margaret has a pretty good comeback. “I’m not sure that’s physically possible right now.” Regina doesn’t laugh but admires her gumption.

When they walk back into the library, the doorway to Regina’s front hall magically disappears and I’m not sure what that means. Did Regina magic the house to keep herself protected inside? Is Zelena trying to trap Regina? Did Cora’s ghost try to trap Regina?

Moving backward in time to the EF, Cora walks with Leopold telling stories of her childhood. He finds her delightful, but he seems a little mousy. When Cora gets chilly just as they coincidentally happen upon a fire pit, Leopold admits he doesn’t know how to build a fire. Cora does and starts building one. Leopold says when he’s king he wants to be a man of the people, but how can he when he can’t do simple things, like light a campfire? Cora gets him to blow on the embers, which has the dual advantage of teaching him how to make a fire while simultaneously being sexy.

They talk about kings and the necessity of marriage and heirs. Cora asks him if he has anyone in mind. He says yes…. And she waits with baited breath. Then he says “Princess Eva” because he just doesn’t see what is going on here. Cora, used to disappointment, does not look defeated. She looks resolved to turn this around. She asks about Eva. Leopold says he’s never met her. She gets all up in his face and says “what’s the use of having power if you can’t choose whom to wed.”

At the mayor’s mansion, Mary Margaret apologizes for murdering Regina’s mother. Regina admits that the situation is very complicated—Cora did kill Eva. Regina tries to understand her relationship with her mother, why Cora never told her she had a sister and, and why Cora gave up Zelena.

Suddenly, something goes bump in the night. There’s an odd light coming from underneath the door of an unused room. (This is supposed to be horror movie scary, I think, but I just keep wondering how many bedrooms and bathrooms the mayor’s mansion has.)

Regina opens the door to a ghostly figure spinning ghostly thread. The ghost turns its head and I swear, to me, it looks just like Lindsay Lohan. But Regina calls her mother. Either way, the ghost does not look happy. (She is in her Rose McGowan form, not her Barbara Hershey form so I guess in the afterlife one reverts to one’s youth. This comforts me.)

After the commercial, Emma practices her magic at Granny’s. She’s getting good at it. To impress Hook, she magics the hook right off his arm and onto a pendant light. But this is mopey Hook. He is not amused.

Belle runs in. She has cracked the code of Zelena’s plan.

And now we’re back at Zelena’s farmhouse and va va voom she is wearing a low-cut dress. Miss Gulch never wore clothes like that. I still like Regina’s wardrobe better—more tasteful, less overt. Rumple looks dapper in his new suit. This is a very odd scene. Zelena pours his wine then taunts him because she didn’t use the dagger to control him, he came to her kitchen by his own volition. That’s not exactly true though. She did threaten him with torture.

Zelena says she knows he’s after her secret—why she needed courage, a heart, and a brain, and this specific baby. She details her plan about traveling back in time and tries to get Rumple on board because he’ll see Baelfire again. But all I can concentrate on is the food. Is that chicken pot pie? Is that what Wicked Witches make for romantic dinners? Did Almira Gulch ever have a romantic dinner?

Rumple is obviously not hungry. He says time travel spells are against the fundamental laws of magic. Zelena pours herself more wine and says magic doesn’t fail, people fail. She says she can handle it because she’s superior. Rumple is intrigued. She’s going back to reclaim her life and she’s inviting Rumple to come with her.

Back to the Lindsay Lohan ghost. Regina says the ghost shouldn’t be there. The spell was only supposed to open a portal for talking. Mary Margaret guesses the apparition is there to get her, because she’s the murderer. Now the ghost comes after Mary Margaret. And Regina blocks the way and says “Back down, Mother” like a teenage girl arguing about curfew. She demands to know what Cora did to Zelena. Cora doesn’t want to discuss it. She tosses Regina aside and goes after Mary Margaret.

Regina magics herself and Mary Margaret back to the library but it’s not that easy to get away from a ghost who is angry at her murderer and her bitchy daughter. The ghost follows and Regina tries to hold her off.

We cut to the EF where Cora meets up with the cad who impregnated her. He’s heard she’s marrying the prince. He makes unseemly jokes about her saying “yes” to him, “several times in one night. It was quite impressive.” I think he’s patting himself on the back here. Ick. Jonathan calls her a fraud and wonders if Prince Leopold knows she’s pregnant. Then he extorts money from her to keep her secret. This guy’s a real prize. Cora agrees to it. And she’s overheard by evesdropping Princess Eva.

After the break, we’re back at the mayor’s mansion where Regina is still holding off Lindsay Lohan. Mary Margaret begs for forgiveness but it’s kind of too late for apologies. Regina says this isn’t about Mary Margaret, it’s about her and Cora. She stops the ghost’s attack and demands answers. But even in death, Cora’s got the moves, she pushes Regina aside again and slams herself into Mary Margaret’s body. I hope this doesn’t hurt the baby. It seems dangerous but it is useful because, being possessed, Mary Margaret relives everything that happened to Cora leading up to Zelena’s birth and abandonment.

Mary Margaret sees Cora in the great hall of the castle. Leopold confronts her about her lies. People are talking. They say Cora’s pregnant. Cora insists she’s not. I don’t know how she plans on keeping that secret. But it turns out she won’t have to. Eva comes in and accuses Cora of being a liar. She tells Leopold to check Cora’s pockets where of course he finds the gold and jewels that she was going to give to Jonathan. Barbara Hershey Cora would not be dumb enough to get caught like this, but this is Rose McGowan Cora. She’s young yet so I’ll cut her some slack. The guards drag Cora out of the castle.

Eva goes on about giving him a child he deserves, one who is pure as snow. I liked Rena Sofer Eva, but this young Eva gets on my last nerve.

Back at the mayor’s mansion, Regina removes Cora from Mary Margaret’s body and shoves her back through the portal. It reminds me of when she shoved Cora through the looking glass to Wonderland.

As usual, Belle, David, Emma and Hook arrive as soon as Regina has done all the heavy lifting. Mary Margaret starts to come to. The group argues about taking her to a doctor. Regina says there’s no time for that. Belle tells Regina what she’s learned about Zelena’s plan to go back in time. David wonders what she’s trying to accomplish. So Mary Margaret tells him the whole story of how Eva and Leopold forced Cora to give up Zelena. Emma says “I thought our family were the good guys.” Regina responds with my favorite quote ever from her. “Life is too messy for it to ever be that simple.” People who don’t live in fairy tales should know that, Emma.

So the Savior posse takes this story through its natural progression and determines that Zelena wants to go back in time to kill Eva so that Cora marries Leopold. Regina, always one step ahead, says if that happens, Snow and Emma and Henry would never have been born. Mary Margaret points out that Regina might not have been born, either.

Hook tries to lighten the mood by remarking how it’s a good thing no one’s ever succeeded with a time travel spell. David guesses that the baby is the key but since the baby’s not born yet, they have time. David? Have you looked at your wife lately? She’s ready to freaking pop. And I’m sure she’s not looking forward to another ill-timed birth with a fairy tale villain breathing down her neck. So she reminds David that they don’t have very much time.

In the EF, a shabbily-dressed Cora gives birth in a peasant’s hut. When she’s healed up (because she seems to be walking fine) she brings the baby to the woods and leaves her there with some final motherly advice. “Life is cruel and full of betrayal.” Yep, especially when your mother abandons you right from the get-go. And in a reversal of Snow’s comment upon putting infant Emma in that tree, Cora says “I must give you away to give me my best chance.” Very nice, writers. I admire the symmetry. And it’s so like Cora to say something like that. Baby Zelena must know what’s going on because she starts crying and a tornado whips up. Some have conjectured that baby Zelena started the tornado and that could be the case since she used magic that scared her adoptive father when he and his wife found her. Still I don’t think it’s absolutely clear where the tornado came from. Maybe we’ll find out in a later episode.

Back in Storybrooke, a very grown up Selena finishes dinner with Rumple. Rumple thanks her for “showing me something I should have seen long ago.” I think he’s talking about Zelena’s boobs but he’s not. He’s talking about how he should have helped Zelena learn magic. He pours Zelena more wine. He’s trying to get her drunk. I think he has a plan.

After she talks about how past mistakes can’t harm them anymore, Rumple leans in and kisses her neck. Zelena has obviously not gotten any for a loooong time because this just makes her melt. (I mean not the way a bucket of water would make her melt, but, you know.) She seems to be really enjoying Rumple’s company when he ruins everything by trying to get the dagger. She stops him and tells him now that he got her all hot and bothered without a happy ending, he is uninvited on her trip to the past.

Rumple nobly talks about honoring his son’s sacrifice by killing Zelena. She orders him back to his cage, adding a Kardashian-like “doll.” Rumple leaves and Zelena looks hurt. She thought Rumple really had the hots for her. Foiled again, Zelena.

At the mayor’s mansion Regina cleans up the mess ghost Lindsay/Cora left. Mary Margaret walks in and Regina asks whether she should be on bed rest. Mary Margaret says Dr. Whale cleared her and told her she had a “tough placenta, which somehow came out creepy.” Doesn’t Storybrooke have any other doctors? I would imagine it’s unethical for Dr. Whale to treat a one-night stand.

Regina gets another good line. “You officially have a less damaging relationship with my mother than I do. And you killed her.” I have to say it again. I love me some Regina. Mary Margaret is upset and confused about her own mother. She can’t believe her mother could be so sneaky and vindictive and wonders what changed her—which is a sure sign that Mary Margaret will be going back in time with Zelena, and probably Regina, and most likely the rest of the Savior posse. Regina thinks maybe if they knew more about their family’s history they would have gotten along better. Mary Margaret says they would have found something to fight about because she was a “brat.”

Mary Margaret wants to stop wasting time “being haunted by the past.” So I guess that means Regina is fully redeemed in her eyes. Okay. Regina says they can be haunted by their “impending lack of a future.” Mary Margaret goes all Pollyanna saying Zelena won’t win if the Savior posse works together and she knows that Regina will find happiness. It’s quite the pep talk.

And it works. In Storybrooke’s woods, Robin sits by the fire as Regina approaches. He apologizes again for losing her heart and promises to get it back. Regina grabs him and kisses him. It seemed hotter when Emma did that to Hook. And I still haven’t forgotten that, for all intents and purposes, she raped Graham. Robin kisses her right back, though, so I guess I’m okay with it.

I liked this episode. We learned more about Cora and we got to see Emma’s magic progress a bit. Hook is still mopey and Mary Margaret is still pregnant though, so we’ve got a long way to go. And I guess we’re doing a Back To The Future thing now. Alrighty, it’s not a fairy tale, but I’ll try to keep up.

To discuss this episode, go to the forums: http://freejinger.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13046&p=724763#p724763

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My Five Wives, Season 1, Episode 7–We’ll Be There for You

Sister Wife Solidarity

We open on the moon over the mountains. So picturesque. So peaceful. But there’s turmoil in the Williams household.

It’s Rhonda’s night and she and Brady are lying on the bed with their son. They want him to go to sleep which would most likely be easier without the cameras in his face. Rhonda and Brady discuss the mammogram scheduled for the next day. Rhonda says she won’t mind if the results take a while because she wants to just pretend everything’s okay. I completely understand that. Brady asks if she wants him there when she gets her mammogram. Rhonda says he’s too busy and she’ll go by herself.

Paulie and the other wives meet. Paulie suggests they help Rhonda out during this difficult time. I’d like to know if this is a producer-driven meeting or if this is what is expected of the first wife—to rally the troops around one who needs support. Paulie thinks it would be nice to clean Rhonda’s house for her. Robyn wants Rhonda to feel taken care of. This seems like a lovely gift and it’s nice to see the wives working together to do something nice for another member of their group.

While Rhonda drives to her appointment, she reflects on her mother’s unsuccessful battle with cancer. She says her mother did “exactly what she was supposed to do….have faith in God….eat healthy. And in the process she died.” Heartbreaking. Rhonda says she believes doctors are inspired by God. “I feel like we take a step back into the dark ages when we close our eyes to new perspectives.” Glad she can think for herself, especially in a situation like this. Rhonda says she struggles with the way she was raised. You are supposed to trust Heavenly Father with the body you’ve been given. It’s a shame she’s been made to feel this way.

Rhonda gets her mammogram and I sympathize. As she points out, they are unpleasant. But she says she has children counting on her so it’s something she has to do. I really give her credit. In spite of her upbringing and in spite of her fears, she is sucking it up and getting it done.

Brady pulls up to a construction site. He says he’s worried about Rhonda and can’t focus on work. He can’t imagine his life without Rhonda.

Back home, it’s dinner time, the kids are flinging what appear to be dinner rolls at each other. A few of the kids are at a table. The wives and some older kids are eating on couches. Do any of the houses have a table big enough for everyone? 24 kids – 1married daughter living away + 5 wives + Brady = 29 people. Tough to find a table that seats that many. I don’t think the Duggers even have a table that big. Still, eating in the living room has so many hazards, especially since they appear to be eating soup. Stain removal must be a nightmare.

Okay, now the boys are playing rough. The wives talk about how the children behave “when the kids get together.” Do they not see each other every day? I’m confused about how this works. Also, what happens if one mom yells at another wife’s kids? Does that make the bio mom mad? This is the kind of stuff I want to know, but it’s not to be, at least not today.

Later, one of the kids leaves; he is sleeping over a half-sibling’s house. I wonder how often that happens, but of course I don’t expect to find out. Rhonda comes in. It seems very late—she did tell us she works late. She is happy that Brady is there. It must be so difficult to go through a cancer scare and not know who, out of five wives and 24 children, is going to have your husband’s attention.

Rhonda tells Brady the test showed some suspicious things and they are going to compare it to her previous mammograms. The results could take a week.

It must be Nonie’s night, because Brady tell us that if he went to Nonie and told her Rhonda was having a hard time, she would tell him to go be with Rhonda. Yes, in a case like this I think she would. Brady also says Rhonda would send him back to Nonie’s and it’s an impossible position for him to be him. Yes, it is—which is why so many of us have a hard time understanding the attraction of polygamy.

Rhonda tells us how sometimes she wishes Brady could spend some time with her, but that’s not reality for her. You have to stick to a schedule.

After the commercial, it’s a snowy morning and the kids are off to school. The wives sit around watching the blond toddler from the scene in Rhonda’s bedroom walk around the room. They seem to be making fun of Brady when the little boy toddles back and forth. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” I guess there’s something to be said for having a group of women to make fun of your husband with—misery loves company and all. But, again, I wonder if sometimes one wife takes offense in a “don’t-make fun-of-my-husband” sort of way.

Robyn tells the other wives that the boys were running amok at Thanksgiving dinner and need to learn some manners. Rosemary says that she thinks the boys should wear shirts to dinner but if nobody else feels the same, she’s okay with not worrying about it. Well, I, for one, am not okay with that, Rosemary. I think if they’re going to eat together, there need to be rules across the board. Just because there are a lot of kids doesn’t mean they can act like barbarians.

Oooh, Paulie tells us that she thinks the not-wearing-a-shirt thing starting with her son, Josh, the earnest one. Well, that’s awkward. So now all the wives decide the boys should wear shirts to dinner. Robyn says the kids don’t know what is expected of them and need to take an active stand on teaching them manners. Well, what took them so long? They should have had rules in place for decades, no? Am I being too judgy? Rhonda thinks the younger kids will follow what the older ones do.

Brady walks in unexpectedly and says the last time he found them together someone was pregnant. Don’t these wives spend any time together?

Anyway there’s going to be a “manners” talk and guess who will deliver it. Nonie thinks the kids will be more responsive to Brady. He agrees to sit down with the boys to discuss table behavior.

At Rosemary’s house, Robyn asks Rosemary how her anniversary night away with Brady went. Rosemary tells her how nice it was. I’m glad Rosemary had a nice time but how is it that they discuss romantic getaways with their shared husband but they haven’t talked about table manners for the kids? I am baffled about how plural marriage works.

Rosemary says they have an established tradition that on the 20th anniversary, the wife gets a ring. (But table manners have not been established? Oh and remember that Rhonda couldn’t afford a mammogram for awhile? But we’re buying rings for five 20th anniversaries? I just can’t.)

Robyn says she is really excited for Rosemary to get her ring, but her face says otherwise. Turns out she’s afraid Rosemary getting a ring will hurt her (Robyn). Hmmm. She describes how excited Brady was when he got Paulie her 20-years-of-loyal-service anniversary ring, but when Robyn’s anniversary rolled around Brady neither took her to look for rings, nor got her a surprise ring. Rosemary looks very upset for Robyn (probably because this kind of crap happens to Rosemary All. The. Time.). Robyn is crying. She doesn’t know how this could have happened. I do. Brady is overextended and he doesn’t have time (or money) for ring shopping.

It’s one thing for a traditional wife to get angry when her husband forgets an anniversary. It’s another for that to happen with a polygamist wife, who has to watch her husband’s other wives get better treatment. Uuugggh.

Rosemary comes to sit next to Robyn. She feels Robyn’s pain. I think these two are the most overlooked wives. Paulie’s the first wife, Nonie makes herself heard, and Rhonda is the last, newest wife. Robyn and Rosemary always seem to fall through the cracks.

Robyn says her 20th anniversary was the worst day of her life. Brady did try to make it up by getting her a ring a couple of weeks later, after Robyn said she didn’t want one. Robyn wore it, but her heart wasn’t in it. Robyn has tried to get over this, but she can’t. She wants Rosemary to have a good experience on her 20th anniversary but she’s worried that she (Robyn) will be hurt and jealous if Rosemary gets a special ring. I appreciate her candor. I think she’ wounded and pissed and I don’t blame her. (Also, if Brady plans to get Rosemary a new ring for their next anniversary, why did he just spend $254 each to repair her two old rings?)

Rosemary suggests she and Robyn go together to talk to Brady. Solidarity ladies! I love it! Robyn thanks her for listening and “being my friend.”

After the commercial break, the wives bring cleaning supplies and lunch to Rhonda’s house. It’s a surprise and Rhonda is really touched. So am I. Robyn remarks that in a situation like this, being part of a polygamist family is a good thing because Rhonda has so many people to love and support her. If Brady’s not available, she still has the wives. They tell Rhonda to sit down while they clean. That adorable toddler, who’s getting a lot of airtime this episode, “helps” mop the floor.

Now it’s time for the table manners talk. I think this is one of the downsides of a family with so many people. Shouldn’t teaching kids’ manners be an ongoing, daily activity? It shouldn’t have to be decided on by a committee, and special time for a “talk” shouldn’t have to be arranged.

I’m surprised to learn that the oldest boy, the earnest one, feels that requiring a shirt for dinner is “pathetic” because “you can swim without shirts.” Swimming is an entirely different activity from dining, young man. One boy tries to game the system. He wants to know which wives are opposed to shirtless suppers and they’ll only wear shirts at their houses. Brady also tells the boys “not to be gross around your sisters.” Around each other they can fart all they want, but he wants them to be gentlemen around their sisters. One boy—who I think is the same joker who talked about dating non-humans during the sex talk—wants to know what to do if they can’t help farting. There’s one in every crowd. Brady challenges the boys to give their mothers a compliment that night.

After the commercial break, the Coalition of Underappreciated Wives (Robyn and Rosemary) have a private meeting with Brady. Rosemary wants a “safe talk” about “a particular ring.” Brady says when he sees his somber-faced wives come in he knows one of them needs moral support. No, Brady, it means somebody is in BIG TROUBLE, and that somebody is YOU.

Robyn talks about how hurt she is about the ring. Brady says he understands why she would be hurt. Robyn shakes her head—I think she is really, really mad and I’ll project my own thoughts here: nothing that man could say about the situation would make me feel better. Too little too late buddy.

Brady wants a “do over.” Robyn rightly says “you can’t just ‘do over’ 20 years.” Yay! I’m on her side. Brady looks like this is all a mere annoyance to him. Robyn blows up about Brady not understanding her feelings. She’s crying and I’m finding it hard to understand her. Did she just say Brady took her shopping for Paulie’s ring? Oh, for crying out loud, this guy has no sensitivity chip.

Robyn says “you were buying a ring for another woman and I loved you for it.” Wow. Robyn wanted the same thing for herself, a reflection of Brady’s love for her. Brady looks sorry he has to deal with this. I’m not sure if he’s sorry about the ring thing, but he says he is.

Isn’t anyone uncomfortable that Rosemary is witnessing Robyn’s epic meltdown and Brady’s non-apology?

Brady says he didn’t try to hurt Robyn. He says he’s known generally what’s wrong but she’s never put it all out there. I guess he’s been distracted. He’s got all those kids and a wife waiting to hear if she has cancer and another wife who wants to get pregnant and another wife who can’t close a window by herself and it’s very easy to let a sweet, quiet wife fall through the cracks.

Brady says “sometimes I’m just really stupid and I screw up.” Sometimes?

Robyn says she wanted the sentiment to come from him. She wants him to want to do something sweet and special for her instead of her having to ask. Now Brady talks to her like she’s a first grader and I want to smack him. “You want me to come up with the solution?” “No,” says Robyn, “the solution is I’m leaving your sorry ass.”

No, that was just my imagination running wild. What Robyn really does is nod. She does want him to come up with a solution and she wants him to do it before Rosemary’s 20th anniversary. Now Rosemary says her ring can be put off until this is resolved. Way to back up Robyn, Rosemary, but lordy there are so many complicated emotions going on in this room my head is spinning.

Brady thanks her. Robyn starts bawling again and I am completely unsatisfied with this result. The ship has sailed. Brady has treated Robyn as an afterthought. He’s trying to make amends because he was told to, not because he really wanted to make Robyn feel special on her anniversary. IT’S TOO LATE! Now he’s thanking Rosemary for coming in with Robyn. Yeah, I think this would have been an even bigger battle if Robyn had come alone.

Brady explains to us how Robyn felt betrayed and he’s glad he can make this right. It seems to be enough for Robyn. (Did I mention that it’s not enough for me?)

Robyn leaves her unwanted ring with Brady and I don’t know what he’s going to do. Get her another ring? A tennis bracelet? I don’t think there’s any amount of jewelry that would make me feel better in this situation.

It’s dinner time at Rhonda’s house. Let’s see how this goes. Everyone’s got a shirt on, so it’s a step in the right direction. There’s a group blessing. Brady reminds the kids of their manners. It looks like the boys are falling in line. The wives are happy. One nice boy offers to do the dishes. If I were cooking for 29 people every fifth night, I’d have asked for help way before then.

Rhonda brings the mammogram results home to read with Brady. The doctor recommends a sonogram to help evaluate the situation further. She says the doctor is concerned and wants to do a biopsy. Rhonda is upset. Brady cries and doesn’t want to talk about it on camera. (Yes, Brady, some life events should not be filmed for the masses.)

Rhonda tries to suck it up and put a brave face on for the kids. She says she has to do everything she can for her health even though she was raised to believe that she wouldn’t be a good person for seeking medical treatment. If she was a good enough person God would heal her. I’m horrified that children are actually brought up this way. But Rhonda says she is going to be aggressive and let common sense rule. Good for her. Let’s hope next week she gets some good news. And on a lighter note, let’s hope next week Robyn gets a diamond-studded tiara that she can hock for a one-way ticket out.

To discuss this epidode, go the the forums: http://freejinger.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=21415&p=724588#p724588


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Worldly Distractions: Mad Men 7.2 – A Day’s Work



After a slow-moving (but satisfying) season premiere, will the action start to pick up? Let’s find out!

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Worldly Distractions: Community 5.13 – Basic Sandwich


COMMUNITY -- "Basic Sandwich" Episode 511 -- Pictured: (l-r) Yvette Nicole Brown as Shirley Bennett, Jonathan Banks as Professor Hickey, John Oliver as Professor Duncan -- (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

Okay, I’m not going to get into the same wailing as last year, because I thought it would be the series finale, and we all know it wasn’t. On the other hand, this really could be the end of the show. So, let’s just say that it’s been a really fun season (better than Four, anyway, but getting punched in the face is better than Four), and an incredible adventure all the way. Let’s see how this season finishes.  Will they save Greendale? Probably.

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My Five Wives, Season 1, Episode Six, Do You Want to Know a Secret?

My Five Wives, Season 1, Episode Six, Do You Want to Know a Secret?

We open on another shot of those gorgeous mountains. Inside, Brady and the wives are in a meeting. I wonder if this is a weekly thing. That would make sense. Lots of logistical stuff to work out, I would imagine.

During this particular meeting we learn that Rosemary is finally going to get her night away for her anniversary. Rosemary remarks that because Brady doesn’t have a lot of time, it’s common that these dates get put off. Her anniversary outing is currently four months behind schedule. Brady says there have been a lot of anniversaries/birthdays in the last few months and that’s why it’s hard for him to keep up. Robyn pokes fun at how difficult it must be for Brady to have these nights away. That’s the first passive aggressive move of the episode. (I’ve decided to keep count.)

Robyn suggests they have a poker night—these are fun polygamists!! Rosemary wants to finish the wine. Brady wants beer. Partaaaaaay at Robyn’s!!!

Cut to Rhonda folding jeans. Through the window, she sees Paulie walking toward her house. I get a knot in my stomach because history has shown that when Paulie comes to talk to you in private, some sort of trouble’s a’brewin’. This time, I suppose, it’s not trouble, per se; but it’s not pleasant. Paulie asks if Rhonda has thought about letting the other wives know about her cancer scare. Rhonda doesn’t want people worrying about her. Paulie says everyone loves her and they want to support her and if the situations were reversed wouldn’t Rhonda want to know about a possibly sick sister wife? Yes, she says, she would. I wonder if this is Paulie’s job—to keep communication flowing among the wives. Rhonda decides that she will tell the others, but seems slightly shaken.

Brady goes to a jewelry store. Nonie’s wedding and engagement rings have been broken for years and he wants to have them repaired as an anniversary present. The young man at the counter seems eager to help him. No wonder: he says it will cost $254 per ring. Brady says that seems steep. It seems a little high to me, too. But Brady wants to “keep a smile on Rosemary’s face.” You could have fooled me.

Back at the house, it’s Rosemary’s night. She talks about her class. I guess she is a music teacher. She mentions woodwinds—bassoons and saxophones. Now that’s interesting. I’d like to hear more about Rosemary’s musical talents. But instead she tells us about how she is looking forward to her night with Brady. But she spoke too soon because Brady’s cell phone rings. It’s Paulie. Her window is stuck open and it’s very cold. She wants Brady to come fix it. That’s the second passive aggressive move of the episode.

Rosemary is rightly upset and then we get down to the nitty gritty. Apparently, over the 19 years she’s been “married” to Brady, she believes Paulie has made it a point to take away her time with him –not as much with the other wives. Rosemary gives Brady the benefit of the doubt. She thinks he’s just trying to keep everyone happy and will never side with one wife over another. I am not as charitable. I think Brady should know better and make damn sure Paulie has tried every other option before he hauls his ass out of Rosemary’s bed to help Paulie. I wonder if he sees a pattern in Paulie’s requests. I’m guessing no. Anyway, Rosemary tells us she feels like she’s been taken advantage of for 19 years. And I don’t understand. Why doesn’t she say something? Isn’t that the way these families are supposed to work? Or must everyone defer to the first wife? That would suck.

After the commercial break we are treated to more shots of gorgeous mountains. How do they get anything done all day? I’d be too busy staring at those mountains to fold jeans. Brady talks to his and Robyn’s daughter, 20-year-old Hannah. Hannah is apparently an artist and Brady wants her to do a tattoo design for him. First poker, then beer, and now a tattoo. This is a rockin’ family. The tattoo will symbolize the five wives and 24 children. That’s gonna be a big tattoo.

Now it’s poker night. Brady suggests strip poker. The ladies all laugh, except Paulie who sort of smiles. They play a game where the winner picks a card and reads what “prize” they’ve won. Brady wins the first hand and wins a foot rub by a wife to be decided by spinning a bottle. Rosemary wins the (booby) prize but seems happy enough. Rhonda makes a joke about Rosemary massaging when it’s Rhonda’s night. I don’t get it. I thought he was getting the foot massage now, but nope.

Rhonda wins the next hand and she doesn’t have to cook dinner on her night. Brady has to do it. Why couldn’t Rosemary win that prize?

Nonie remarks how much she loves poker night. It does seem like fun. The next round involves someone having to tell a secret. Of course, the camera pans to Rhonda. But the bottle points to Nonie. She doesn’t want to tell the secret that she’s planning on having a baby because the only thing that will go through her sister wives’ minds is that she and Brady are having sex. This is the second time she’s made this observation. And for the second time I will ask: don’t they already know everybody’s having sex with Brady? Or do they repress that until someone turns up pregnant? Inquiring minds want to know.

Nonie wins next and gets a five-minute lap dance from Brady. Well, this is shaping up to be an interesting party. But disappointingly, Nonie wants to trade for the massage. I’m getting confused again. Does that mean Rosemary doesn’t have to give Brady the massage? Does Rosemary have to give Nonie the massage? Does Brady have to give Nonie the massage?

Nonie tells us that Rosemary is a licensed massage therapist. That’s interesting thing number two about Rosemary this week.

Rhonda wins next. She gets quiet when she sees her card. I guess it was supposed to be Brady’s because it’s a “Brady-gets-to-get-his-tattoo” card. Rhonda is opposed to it. Brady says all the wives have to agree on it because “we’re in a committed, loving relationship.” Robyn says she would like it. Rosemary thinks it would be “hot.” Nonie, in what is maybe her most reasonable moment all season, says she’s not sure what she thinks about it, but it’s Brady’s decision. Paulie needs to give it more thought. In their former religion, she was always taught not to mark your body, not to put holes it in, no tattoos. If I’m not mistaken, though, her ears are pierced. Let’s look at the next scene. Yup there’s a big old earring dangling from a hole in her ear. So I guess that policy is flexible.

Brady compares getting a tattoo to his wives coloring their hair or piercing their ears. Rhonda says they were always taught to look at their ancestors for guidance. She says some ancestors pierced their ears, but she doesn’t know of any who had tattoos. Maybe she’s not looking in the right place. Tramp stamps are not always visible.

Nonie says Brady would love them with pierced ears and dyed hair or without. And now Brady says something interesting. He says the leadership in their former church told him to tell the wives to take their pierced earrings out. He said “it’s their ears, they get to do what they want.” Very good answer, Brady, but I guess that’s one of the reasons they left their church—or their church left them. I hope we get to hear more.

After the commercial, Brady takes his leave from Rhonda to take Rosemary on her overnight anniversary trip. He asks if Rhonda will do his hair for his “date” with Rosemary. Seriously, Brady? Come on, even you have to know that is inappropriate. But Rhonda agrees to do it while hemming and hawing about whether she needs to talk to him about something. Oh no Rhonda, why did you have to wait until he’s walking out the door with Rosemary to tell him about your cancer scare? That’s passive aggressive move number 3.

Please believe I am in no way making light of her possible illness. I get that she’s worried beyond belief. And if I were her, I’d make damn sure my husband knew it too. But the timing leaves something to be desired. This is supposed to be a loving family but they seem to be subtly undermining each other (well, they subtly undermine mostly Rosemary). I understand Rhonda’s fear and worry. Certainly cancer takes precedence over an anniversary but was there not any other time previous to this when she could have told him? Now he will spend his time with Rosemary worrying about Rhonda.

Rhonda tells us how she put off having herself checked out because of money and then she had a baby, and my heart is breaking that she hasn’t been able to get to a doctor. My mind is wondering why Brady thinks it’s a good idea to pay for jewelry repair when one of his wives can’t even afford a cancer screening.

Brady shows his concern by offering to cancel his night with Rosemary. He thinks she won’t mind. Oh Brady, Rosemary will absolutely mind. I haven’t known her for decades like you have, but I am certain of that.

Rhonda says how hard it is when she needs time with Brady but he has to leave. Couldn’t they have had this conversation with Brady on her night? I think she was peeved about him asking her to fix his hair and that’s why she chose this moment for her revelation.

Brady calls this the part of being a polygamist that’s “unique.” I think it’s the part of being a polygamist that’s a freaking “nightmare” for all concerned. But he soldiers on and leaves with Rosemary. They arrive at a lovely bed-and-breakfast. Rose petals have been strewn on the bed and in the tub. The room has a beautiful view. They stand next to the bed and I’m so afraid Brady is going to talk about this being “where the magic happens.” Thankfully, he doesn’t.

At home, Nonie’s doing laundry and Rhonda comes in. Nonie is very excited to tell Rhonda that she and Brady have decided to have another baby. Didn’t she just say she didn’t want to tell the other wives because it would upset them? What’s her deal? And now we get more insight into this relationship. Rhonda calls Nonie “brave” for telling and Nonie says she knows this isn’t something they normally do. Nonie says she told Rhonda because they had already talked about it. Rhonda is glad that Nonie shared and acknowledges that now she’s going to think about Brady and Nonie having sex, (aren’t we all?) but she is happy for Nonie (the rest of us, not so much I think). Nonie isn’t sure if she’s going to tell the others. And I think this is a problem. Now you’ve got secrets and factions and hurt feelings for people who feel left out.

Back at the bed-and-breakfast, Brady gives Rosemary her repaired rings. It’s kind of an underwhelming moment. Neither of them seem to be that into the other. It does look very cold out, though, so maybe that’s the problem. Rosemary asks if Brady would marry her again. Brady says he would. Now Rosemary starts crying about “the sun breaking through the clouds.” I guess she didn’t think Brady would want to marry her again. That makes me very sad for her.

At home, the wives are having girls’ night out. I guess this is what they do to occupy themselves when Brady is away with another wife. Robyn wonders what Brady and Rosemary are doing. Oh, let’s not go there, ladies. They giggle about it. Robyn says Nonie still has to tell a secret. Nonie says she doesn’t have secrets, but we know better. And I’m tired of talking about this.

Now Rosemary and Brady are dining out and admiring the repaired rings. The waitress brings an appetizer and …..wait for it…..its shrimp again!!!! So far we know two out of five wives like shrimp and one out of five doesn’t. Paulie and Rhonda, we’re waiting to hear from you. Brady says he likes shrimp. He didn’t used to but he’s not afraid of change. He apologizes for being the guy who always changes.

Now it gets interesting again. Brady asks how Rosemary is doing with Paulie. Rosemary responds that “we’re doing better.” She admits that she feels like Paulie is taking her time away from Brady and it’s been on purpose. Rosemary says she is partly to blame because she didn’t make a big enough deal of it. Brady says it is his fault—I guess this is his chivalrous moment, taking the blame away from another wife. Still Rosemary felt like this was a personal attack. She starts crying and asks him not to do it anymore. Brady wants to go to a “positive place.” Rosemary laughs, but still seems sad.

Brady and Rosemary come home. Brady goes right in to see Rhonda. (I’m wondering where does Brady actually “live?” Where does he unpack? Does he have clothes spread over all the wives’ bedrooms? Where is his home base?)

Brady and Rhonda decide that she will call the doctor next day to get an appointment. Rhonda decides that she has to figure out a way to tell her sister wives about the scare. Now Brady says he was worried about Rhonda all night but he and Rosemary still had a good time. There are so many things wrong with that sentence that I don’t know where to begin. Sensitivity is not this guy’s strong suit.

Rhonda tells us she’s scared. I don’t blame her.

After the commercial break, we are at another Brady/wives meeting. Rhonda invites everyone to come watch Brady make dinner. Nonie wants him to wear an apron and nothing else. Everyone laughs, except for Paulie again. Now Rhonda breaks the frivolity by telling everyone about her health problems. Brady points out that Rhonda is playing it down and that it’s scarier than she’s making it sound. I’m not sure that’s supportive behavior but I think he might be trying to frighten the women into calling a truce among themselves.

Rhonda asks everyone to pray for her. Nonie is in tears. Brady gathers the wives around to bless Rhonda. Nonie says there’s power in that. Everyone is crying. Brady recites a prayer as he and all the wives lay their hands on Rhonda. I am always skeptical about this type of religious demonstration, but Rhonda says she felt peace come over her, so I am glad it worked for her. Rhonda says she’s glad she told everyone and that this is one of the joys of polygamy.

Yes, I can certainly see how it would be nice to have all these people in your corner rooting for you and supporting you. But the constant jealousy and manipulation and jockeying for position must be wearing. There’s enough of that out in the world. Things should be different at home.

If you’d like to discuss this show, go to the forums: http://freejinger.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=21415&p=722467#p722467

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Once Upon A Time, Season 3, Episode 17, The Jolly Roger

The Pouty Pirate

We open at night on a carriage in the Enchanted Forest sometime in the past year. (For brevity’s sake, I’m going to call the Enchanted Forest “EF.”) The carriage comes to a stop before a mysterious knight who tells the guards that this is a stick-up. The carriage drivers think this is the funniest thing they’ve ever heard, which is a sure sign that they are about to die/be robbed. The knight gives a sign and torches/flaming arrows alight throughout the woods. I’m glad that the treasure in that carriage is not mine because the guards don’t even try, they ride away.  And they really should have tried because the “army” in the forest turns out to a party of four: Hook (disguised as the knight), Smee, and two nameless pirates.

In some exposition, Smee and Hook discuss how Smee is no longer a rat as a side effect of the curse breaking. Thanks, I was wondering about that. They open the chest to find it’s stuffed with jewels and gold. Hook says, “You don’t need a ship to be a pirate.” The pirates think this is a laugh riot, I’m guessing because Hook is their boss.

Cut to a tavern where Hook and crew hoist a few brewskies and toast “the most clever dastardly band of pirates ever to sai……” then Hook remembers “ever to stride on the open roads,” leaving us to wonder, where is the Jolly Roger? Did Hook lose it when the Storybrooke gang was cursed back to the EF?

Smee tells Hook that the crew has bought him a gift. A “tavern maid” sashays across the room to him. I’m going to keep referring to her as a tavern maid the way I did when I watched this with my daughter who, although she is 15 and knows everything, does not like to discuss EF hookers with her mother.

Hook and the “tavern maid” walk outside while the pirates laugh in a manner that is a little too suggestive for an 8:00 p.m. show, I think.

Out in the alley, Hook hands the tavern maid a pouch of coins and basically tells her, “Let’s not and say we did.” She walks away with her second payment of what is turning out to be a profitable, if very slow, evening.

Hooks walks away morosely and I assume he’s still pining for Emma. I would say he’s off his game when he gets clocked with a stick, but ever since we’ve met him, he’s gotten knocked out an awful lot for someone who’s supposed to be a swashbuckling pirate. And he’s usually getting knocked out by girls. This time is no different. The assailant turns out to be Ariel. She holds a knife to Hook’s throat.

Cut to the Charming residence in present-day Storybrooke where David is having a tough time assembling a crib. The directions do look complicated. Emma tries to help because apparently she has to be the Savior in every single situation. A very pregnant Mary Margaret rests nearby and suggests they call Marco (Gepetto) to come help. Both David and Emma are too proud to ask for help, but I wonder if there’s a reason Mary Margaret brought him up, since he hasn’t been seen since last season.

Snow wonders why they are wasting time on a baby crib when—hello people!!!!—a wicked witch has high jacked the town. She makes a lot of sense, though she does look like she’s ready to pop any second and that baby will need a place to sleep. David and Emma agree that they need to go on with their lives. David says they are making a statement that they are not going to lose another baby when in walks the person responsible for them losing their last baby, Regina. Everyone seems to forget this. I don’t, but I still love Regina. She gets stuff done.

For instance, she has put a protection spell around the building to protect the baby from Zelena. Mary Margaret wonders why Zelena would want a baby. Regina replies “The number of spells involving baby parts would surprise you.” (LOL, but I have kind of a dark sense of humor.) Mary Margaret does not and looks very perturbed. Regina calls Zelena “one twisted witch.” Has Regina forgotten about the time she killed her own father to cast a curse? Or the time she murdered a whole village because they wouldn’t tell her where Snow White was? Or the time she tossed her mother through a looking glass? Or the time…… well you get the idea. But Regina obviously doesn’t.

Emma doesn’t want to hide in the Charming apartment. She wants to play offense against Zelena. She suggests that Regina teach her how to harness her magic. As a team, Emma thinks she and Regina could defeat Zelena. Regina agrees to teach her. The Charmings go along with it and say they’ll watch Henry. Emma doesn’t think that’s a good idea. The Charmings want to know why. She’s tries diplomacy first. “You guys are tired.” When that doesn’t work, she says that all the talk of the new baby bores Henry. David and Mary Margaret take umbrage at that and want to know who could be more fun than they are.

Cut to Hook in Storybrooke harbor having a meeting with Smee. Smee wants to go back to pirating. Hook says they can’t leave town without being abducted by Zelena’s flying monkeys. Smee says the Jolly Roger can outrun them but points out that Hook won’t tell them what happened to the ship during the past year. Hook tells him to mind his own business and seems very ticked off that Smee even brought it up. Well that piques my interest. Smee apparently can’t read the room because he suggests they get another ship and leave. Hook snaps and says he has no intention of leaving town. Smee, still a little slow on the uptake, says that while Storybrooke has its charms (frozen yogurt!), he wants to get away from the Wicked Witch. Hook gets steely eyed and says, “Question me at your peril!!!” Whoa Nellie!! That was piratey! This may be the Hook who commanded Smee on the Jolly Roger, but it’s certainly not the Hook the rest of us know and love. Smee finally takes the hint and leaves.

I guess Emma and Henry have been listening to this exchange because they’re only standing a few feet away from Smee and Hook. Emma notes that he used to be a rat. Hook says that in many ways he still is. I barely remember the Peter Pan story, but I seem to remember Hook and Smee squabbling, but still sort of liking each other. Here, Hook really can’t stand Smee.

Emma asks Hook to look after Henry. Hook puts on his best, rakish, I’m-about-to-use-a-double-entendre face and says there’s no need for Emma to use Henry as an excuse to get close to him. He sidles up to her and, much as I love me some Hook, he’s really quite the close talker. He just did the same thing when he was yelling at Smee. No need to get all up in her business, Killian.

Emma explains she needs Hook to watch Henry so Regina can teach her magic. Hook tells her it’s about time she embraced her magic. She says she just wants to defeat Zelena and get Henry out of town since “he belongs in the real world.” Hook tells her she can’t just pretend the past year never happened. He tried to return to the person he used to be and it didn’t work. It really didn’t. He’s no decadent, debauched pirate. And he’s not a romantic rogue either. He seems to be tortured by something.

Emma asks him what happened over the last year. Did she not just hear him yell at Smee? At least Hook is nicer to Emma when he says “It matters not.” I don’t know why he’s talking like Yoda all of a sudden, but okay. Moving on.

Mary Margaret and David walk along the beach reminding each other that they can be fun. Aww, their feelings are hurt. But Mary Margaret, sweetie, you’re nine months pregnant. You know what’s fun at nine months pregnant? Lying in bed with a snack. Still they are determined to be fun for Henry. They happen upon a crowd on the beach and discover that Ariel has washed up on Storybrooke’s shores.

Ariel says she’s been “under the sea” looking for Eric (because she’s always using quotes from the movie). The Charmings tell Ariel to talk to Hook because he’s the only one who still has his memories of the past year. Yeah, but he’s not talking.

Cut to the alleyway in the EF. Ariel holds the knife to Hook’s throat. She accuses him of kidnapping Prince Eric. He denies it. Seems like Ariel has not had much knife practice because Hook pretty easily grabs the knife and holds it to her throat. Ariel says she knows the ship that took him was the Jolly Roger. Hook angrily demands to know if she’s certain it was the Jolly Roger which leads Ariel to believe that he’s not lying. Boy is Hook mad. What has gone on this year?

Ariel says the knife Hook is holding is from the armory on the ship. Hook looks at it closely. Then starts laughing and runs away. Ariel looks confused. Hook gathers up his men and tells them he knows who has the Jolly Roger—Blackbeard. Smee is terrified because “Blackbeard is the most cutthroat pirate ever to hoist a sail.” Then he quickly remembers himself and says to Hook “after you, of course.”

Hook decides to take back the ship and make Blackbeard walk the plank. Smee has grown accustomed to life on land and has enjoyed getting rich from robbing carriages. Hook insists the Jolly Roger is not just a ship. He hasn’t been himself since he lost her. He’s got a weird dynamic going on with that boat. Smee doubts they could find Blackbeard. Hook calls him a coward. He knows where Blackbeard docks his vessels and that’s where they are headed. Ariel says she’s coming too, to find Eric. Hook says very few people have held a knife to his throat and lived and suggests she leave. Hook is bending the truth here. We’ve seen lots of people get the best of him and live. Didn’t Emma tie him up to be eaten by a giant? Didn’t Belle hit him over the head to escape the Jolly Roger in Storybrooke?

Anyway, Ariel says pirate code says Hook owes her for telling him where the Jolly Roger is. Smee agrees. Hook looks like he wants to strangle Smee for the second time this episode.

Back in present-day Storybrooke, Hook teaches Henry to cheat at dice. See Mary Margaret and David? That’s fun. Jared Gilmore’s growth spurt has been apparent this whole season but in this scene he looks particularly adolescent-ish to me in this scene.

David and Mary Margaret walk in and introduce Hook to Ariel. He looks pained. She asks him if he knows what happened to Eric. Hook says no.

Meanwhile back at Regina’s vault, Regina cautions Emma not to touch anything. Emma doesn’t listen and picks up what looks to be some sort of reptile claw. Regina has no patience for this nonsense, grabs the claw away, then asks where Henry is. When Emma tells Regina that Henry is with Hook and the two seem to get along. Regina replies that Hook is “prone to violence, impulsive, and has a hook for a hand”—catnip to a 12-year-old boy.

Emma says she trusts Hook because he brought her back to Storybrooke. Regina replies that of course he did because he yearns and has doe eyes for Emma. Regina shouldn’t throw stones. She’s come close to doe eyes with Robin. Emma says she doesn’t yearn for Hook. We’ll see.

Regina gets down to business and takes out a spell book written in another language, which Emma mistakenly calls Spanish. Regina snidely replies “We’re not making tapas, we’re making magic. It’s elvish.” She is getting all the good lines in this episode.

Emma thinks reading about magic will take too long which is when Regina decides to use tough love and magics herself and Emma to a dodgy looking rope bridge over a gorge.

Cut to Granny’s diner where David questions Hook about Prince Eric. Everyone seems to be pushing Hook’s buttons today because he snaps that if he’d seen a prince he’d remember it. Ariel doesn’t understand how he could vanish without a trace. Mary Margaret suggests they find something of Eric’s at Gold’s shop and use a locator spell to have it take them to Eric. This is the last thing Hook wants. He looks guilty but snaps out of it and tries to walk away, but Mary Margaret wants him to help look. She and David will watch Henry.

Hook pulls David aside and tries to talk him out of looking for Eric. He says it will only end in heartbreak because Eric is probably dead and he doesn’t want to give Ariel false hope. David goes all noble on Hook and says there’s no such thing as false hope… you have to believe…. Blah blah blah. Sometimes he can be so tiresome, just ask Henry.

Back in the EF, Hook, Ariel, and the pirates walk through the forest. Ariel complains about the difficulty of land travel versus sea travel. Hook, being a sailor, concurs. Ariel gets her cloak caught on a bush, Hook uses his hook to release it. Ariel has a fit because the cloak belongs to Eric and “now you’ve ruined it.” She’s exaggerating. I think it can be sewn up, but she is tired from all the walking and misses her true love so I’ll cut her some slack.

Hook won’t though because he doesn’t have time for a lovesick mermaid. He reminds her that they are going to see Blackbeard and she should be scared. Pirates are bad people and Blackbeard is the baddest of the bad. Ariel says she’s heard good stories about Hook, how he is a hero. This really bothers Hook. He does the close talking thing again when he tells Ariel “Don’t believe every story you hear.” He really wants his street cred back.

In present-day Storybrooke at Gold’s shop, Belle is glad to see Ariel and tolerates Hook. The three look around the shop. Hook goes into another room and is very happy when he finds his spyglass, but less so when he finds Eric’s cloak. Ariel asks how Hook knew it was Eric’s. Instead of saying “Because I remember the tantrum you had when I tore it,” Hook lies and says the clasp looks like it’s from a maritime kingdom. I think that’s kind of lame, but Ariel and Belle do not. They are thrilled that Eric may be in Storybrooke. Ariel hugs Hook. Hook looks very uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, back on the rickety bridge, Emma freaks out and Regina insists she do magic on instinct to save herself. Regina uses magic to make the bridge collapse. Emma begs for help. Regina wants her to save herself. When the bridge finally gives out, Regina looks panicked for a second, but then Emma floats back up, safe and sound. Emma cannot believe she was capable of making the bridge float back up. Regina thinks it was overkill. “All I wanted was for you to re-tie the rope.” Apparently Emma is an advanced student. Emma wants to know why Regina is mad. Regina says Emma has been wasting her potential.

In Gold’s shop, Belle uses a locator spell on the cloak. For someone who doesn’t have magic, she’s getting a lot of practice casting spells. Remember when she made the protective bubble around the town? The cloak starts moving. It’s very creepy. Also, it looks like it’s moving very quickly. I don’t know how Ariel, who only has legs sporadically, can keep up.

Back in the EF, Hook and Ariel approach the Jolly Roger. Once again, Hook talks about the boat like it’s a woman…..”You’ll soon be back in my loving arms.” What is up with that? Ariel questions him. He says “You have your love. I have mine.” Poor thing, he’s grasping at straws without Emma.

In what has to be the easiest ship take-over in pirate history, Hook walks up to a sailor, smacks him across the head and tells the other pirates he’s taking his boat back. (As a side note, my daughter and I were both hoping that Johnny Depp would somehow show up in this scene. Disney owns ABC so it might have been possible. But alas, it was not to be.) There is some sinister music as Blackbeard (who is NOT played by Johnny Depp) appears from below decks. I think he’s supposed to be very frightening, but I’m just not feeling it. The sword battle begins. The crew cheers. Blackbeard taunts Hook saying he’s heard he’s gone soft. The sword fight moves behind a sail and we see the shadows of Hook and Blackbeard fighting. It’s a very nice scene. I’ve heard others say this is a callback to the Disney movie, but again, it’s been so long since I’ve seen the movie that I can’t say for sure.

Hook maneuvers so that Blackbeard steps onto a loose board in the deck and gets his foot stuck. Smee was wrong. This is not “the most cutthroat pirate ever to hoist a sail.” This is a klutz. He’s down for the count and Hook holds his sword to Blackbeard’s throat. Blackbeard yells “Finish it.” Hook raises his sword to strike the final blow. But Ariel screams for him to wait. She hasn’t found Eric on board and she needs to find out where he is. Blackbeard admits he is holding Eric on an island for ransom. He wants to prove that Hook is no longer a pirate. Blackbeard gives Hook a choice, surrender the Jolly Roger and he’ll give Eric back or kill Blackbeard and Eric will die.

Back in present-day Storybrooke, Ariel and Hook are still following the floating cloak. It leads them down to the docks. Then it disappointingly sails into the water and sinks. Ariel and Hook take this as a sign that Eric is dead. I scream at the TV “You’re a freaking mermaid!! Dive in and see for yourself if he’s down there!!!” That’s because it was my first time watching this. Later, it becomes clear why she doesn’t.

In town, David and Mary Margaret argue about their plan to get Henry to spend more time with them. Mary Margaret insists it’s dangerous and illegal. David assures her he’ll be safe and also he’s the sheriff and he won’t arrest himself. David, David, David, I know you never actually raised a child, but this is a baaaad idea. And Mary Margaret, you’re a teacher for goodness sake! You should not have let this happen. It’s also kind of pathetic that a dashing prince who fights ogres and evil queens and a former bandit feel like they have to “act cool” to make a kid like them. Of course, it’s a disaster. Henry can’t drive. ‘Cause he’s 12.

Back on the docks. Ariel is sad. Hook tries to comfort her. Ariel tells him he’s “more than a pirate” and thanks him for trying to find Eric. She walks away. Hook continues to look tortured.

In the EF, Hook makes Blackbeard walk the plank. Ariel begs him to stop. She says she knows underneath Hook is a good man. She wants to find Eric, but Hook apparently wants to resuscitate his bad-boy reputation. He wants his ship. “She’s mine. She’s all I need.” He’s has really got to get over this weird attachment to that boat. He is bitter about love and tells Ariel it would be best if she never found her true love. “It brings wasted years and endless torment.” Geez, Mr. Happy Pants. He slashes Blackbeard’s arm to lure the fish and Blackbeard goes, rather quietly and submissively, I think, off the plank. I don’t see any fish, but the water churns up in what I assume is a feeding frenzy. The whole thing happens so fast and Blackbeard seems so easy to vanquish. I don’t know what’s going on here.

Hook triumphantly claims the Jolly Roger and tells the crew they are free to join him. Ariel slaps Hook and calls him selfish and heartless. She says she feels sorry for him because he will never be happy. Ariel jumps off the plank and swims away as a mermaid to look for Eric.

Back in Storybrooke present, Hook turns into a romance-novel-type pirate and comes after Ariel on the docks. He wants to make a confession. He tells her how their paths crossed during the missing year and how he sacrificed Eric for his ship. Ariel slaps him again and calls him a monster. He says he did it to fill a void left by a broken heart. He says he’s sorry. And this is where it gets weird. Ariel wonders how she can trust a man who doesn’t believe in love, which seems kind of like a non-sequiter because obviously she shouldn’t trust him or accept his apology. Hook says he does believe in love. Ariel says that to prove it Hook should swear on the name of his true love. Don’t trust her Hook!!!!!

But Hook is blinded by heartache and says, “I swear on Emma Swan.” At this point, a green mist surrounds Ariel and she transforms into her true state, Wicked Witch. She zaps Hooks lips with more green mist.

Zelena says she wants to corrupt Hook’s love. She knows that Hook has been haunted by his guilt and she used that knowledge to curse Hook’s kiss—the next time his lips touch Emma Swan’s all of her magic will be taken from her.

I think the writers are playing with us here. So many people ship Hook and Emma and are just waiting for them to hook up hotly like they did in Neverland. So now here’s a twist. They CAN’T kiss. So we are all just going to have to be patient as the sexual tension builds for the rest of the season. I think it would have been interesting if Zelena had cursed Hook to make it that he has to get Emma to kiss him or she’ll lose her power. That would mirror the Little Mermaid story nicely (trying to get a kiss and always missing) and it would give Hook and Emma some interesting scenes. But that is not the direction the writers have chosen to go.

Hook says he’ll simply tell Emma what Zelena has done. Zelena one ups him and says if he does, she’ll send the Dark One to kill Emma. Finally, FINALLY Hook comes to his senses and realizes that Zelena is bluffing. If she could have killed Emma, she already would have already. Zelena needs Emma’s power removed before she can do anything to harm her.

Zelena responds that while she can’t hurt Emma, she can hurt her parents, her friends, her child. Hook vows to stop her. Zelena says he can’t and if he doesn’t kiss Emma and remove her powers, everyone she loves will die.

Back at the Charming abode, Hook knocks on the door. Emma wants to know what he’s been doing all day. Hook lies about helping Ariel find Eric. Regina is surprised that Ariel is in Storybrooke—hopefully she’s suspicious and will get to the bottom of this because again, she’s the only one in town who actually accomplishes anything—maybe that’s a benefit of being jaded about love. Regina says they can look through the mirror to see what Ariel is up to. Emma thought Regina couldn’t use mirror magic to look between worlds . Regina replies that she can’t, but Emma can because she’s so powerful. Hook is nervous that his lie is going to be found out, but the ladies insist. Emma does it and they see Ariel and Eric hugging. So I guess Ariel really did find him when she jumped off that plank. Regina looks disgusted at this show of true love.

Emma turns dewy eyes to Hook, “You did this.” Hook resists the compliment, but Emma says he’s full of surprises. Oh, NOW she looks like she wants to kiss him. She’s been putting him off since she came back from New York, but NOW she wants to jump his bones. Great timing, princess.

The Charmings and Henry return. Regina is furious that David let him drive the truck because apparently the evil queen makes a better mother than Snow and Prince Charming. Henry is surprised at her concern. She covers by saying as mayor she can’t allow things like that.

Henry says it was fun. David points out that he and his wife are, indeed, fun. They discuss—in code for Henry’s sake—Ariel’s story. Mary Margaret, with her pregnancy hormones all aglow at the true love story, suggests a dinner at Granny’s. Henry wants to drive. Everyone says no.

Hook gives his regrets. Emma says she’s tired of living in the past. Aargh, now that Hook is cursed she’s practically throwing herself at him.

The Charmings, Regina, Emma, and Henry have a nice dinner at Granny’s while poor, lonesome, tortured Hook uses his spyglass to watch them through the window.

Next week looks like to be a time travel episode. Honestly, this shows shifts between time zones and realms so often, it’s already hard to keep up. Next week, they go back in time to try to talk to Cora. Not old Barbara Hershey Cora, young Rose McGowan Cora. We’re all going to have to pay very close attention.

If you’d like to discuss this episode, go here: http://freejinger.org/forums/posting.php?mode=reply&f=14&t=13046

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