Dark Hollow is more of a set-up episode than a pay-off episode. Fresh off last week's confessions, Emma, Hook and Neal have to work together to trap Pan's shadow. It will serve as their way off Neverland. There's tension of the triangular kind because Hook chooses to be honest with Neal about kissing Emma. Both Colin O'Donoghue and Michael Raymond-James bring great physicality to their roles. Even when they're not tussling, their stances and gestures bring to life their rivalry.
Meanwhile, Snow and Charming set off to find Tinker Bell and tell her Neal has a way off Neverland, but Snow is so angry with Charming from keeping his poisoning and cure-with-restrictions from her that I'm tempted to call her call her Frost Bite.
When Ariel gets to Storybrooke, the dwarfs -- most of whom are enjoying the peace and quiet with the royals out of town -- bring her to Belle. Belle didn't get the cloaking spell around Storybrooke before John and Michael Darling found their way to Storybrooke, though, so the ladies have to contend with them. The Darling boys are there to thwart Belle and Ariel because they need to save Wendy's life. Wendy, of course, is the occupant of the other cage back on Neverland. Belle assures them that Team Operation Cobra Rescue will save Wendy, too.
"Ariel" left me with such a high that I've decided to refrain from grading "Dark Hollow" until I submit the recap. I can't yet tell if this episode also sends me soaring over the moon, or if I'm still there because of last week's. I have to watch it a few more times, so I'm off to do that right now. If there are any veterans (or their families) reading this, thank you so much for your service.
I'll be back with the recap, ASAP. In the meantime, please grade the episode up top, and then join us on the boards, where we might have lit Neal on fire to attract Pan's Shadow.
This week, I'm happy to report that at the urging of forum member SilverShadow, I have now watched Disney's version of The Little Mermaid. I'm now better equipped to compare Once Upon A Time's Ariel to Disney's. I mostly mention that here because I downloaded it from Amazon onto my TiVo. Disney is stingy with their properties, so I couldn't rent it; I had to pay about $20 for it. If I'm audited for claiming the download fee as a deduction, I'm submitting this recap as proof that it was a professional expense.
Before we get to the recap proper, can we just take a moment to talk about The Little Mermaid? Thank you for your indulgence. In addition to being the wrong age when the Disney version came out, I have to confess that I never wanted to see the film because as a child, I hated the Hans Christian Andersen original. It's depressing. Also, the subtext of it -- giving up your voice for a man -- is fairly nauseating. While the Disney version ends better for Ariel, its subtext still sends some troubling messages to little girls. Give up your voice for a man. Leave your home, family and friends forever for a man. Change who you are for a man. Blah. And hey, Mouse House, how come Ariel has to leave her world anyhow? Since you were prettifying the whole story, why didn't Triton zap them with his trident so that they could travel between Ariel's world and Eric's at will? And if this happens in sequels, I don't care. I never like your sequels. The first film should stand on its own.
This is my long way of saying I'm so grateful to Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis for giving us empowered versions of Snow, Red, Aurora, Ariel and the like. I still have some problems with some aspects of their Belle, but "Dark Hollow" does her some justice. Speaking of "Dark Hollow," since I've now justified my tax deduction, let's get to it.
Previously on Once Upon A Time, Regina teaches Emma to harness her anger and magically light a fire. Charming confesses that he can't leave Neverland without dying. Regina and Rumpy discuss ways to beat Pan that don't involve killing him. Regina enlists Ariel's help by giving her the magic bracelet that will give her legs and explaining that Prince Eric is currently residing in Storybrooke. Oh, I have to say, now that I've seen Disney's Prince Eric, I understand why so many people on the boards were underwhelmed by OUAT's version. Pan tries to tempt Rumpy to return to Storybrooke and Belle. And now, we open...