Once Upon a Time Recap: How to Retrain Your Dragon

This week on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, Regina went undercover with the Queens of Darkness, Belle got Hook-winked and in flashback we saw how a forlorn Maleficent got her groove back.

IN THE FAIRYTALE LAND THAT WAS…. | Spying spry Snow White’s life of glee and horse-riding ribbons, Regina gets antsy to dive into her apprenticeship with Rumple, but he warns her not to rush things. When she is found with a spell book of Maleficent’s, Rumple poofs her to outside the sorceress’ castle, where the lone tree still burning from her dragon self’s long-ago rampage still burns. Inside the castle, Regina finds one hot mess of a Mal, doped up on a diluted version of her sleeping spell and ruing her nemesis Briar Rose. Dismissed by her would-be mentor, Regina learns that Briar Rose’s daughter Aurora is to wed — news that surely will light a fire under Maleficent. But it doesn’t, for as Mal admits, she’s can’t turn into a dragon anymore.

Outside, Regina inspires Mal to “get her spark back” via the lone burning tree, and she almost does, but not before Aurora’s father King Stefan arrives to capture the ladies. Using her budding fireball skills, Regina frees herself and distracts the guards as Mal gets her dragon on. Later arriving at Aurora’s room, Mal deflects the young woman’s taunts and pricks her finger, sending her into a 100-year sleep — and then thanks Regina for her support. Back home, Regina tells Rumple that she has learned the keys to revenge: patience, until she can one day take away what Snow loves most.

IN STORYBROOKE…. | Regina begins her undercover op with the Queens of Darkness, who first test her with a game of chicken “Don’t Be a Hero,” at the railroad tracks (inviting the question: how do trains presumably from the outside world pass through a cloaked town?). Failing that test but still having Mal’s vote, Regina suggests they go find some real trouble, which apparently includes torching cop cars. While Regina debriefs the Charmings and Emma, Rumple tentatively OKs the Queens’ inclusion of Regina, surmising that her freshly broken heart might turn her into a “monster” again. Mal later reveals to Regina their objective — to find The Author — which tees up their next task, kidnapping young Pinocchio. After Regina sneaks into Marco’s home and uses a sleep spell on him and the boy, Emma shows up to question the plan. Regina assures that she’ll look out for/not torture the lad, and to keep Emma off her tail ditches her old-school Blackberry.

Elsewhere, Hook busts up Belle’s latest date with Will to warn that the Queens are possibly after the Dark One’s dagger, so they should probably re-hide it. Belle — making us wonder if her name is in fact short for “Brain Cell” — goes along, barely any questions asked, unaware that the pirate she later hands the blade over to is none other than estranged husband Rumplestiltskin. Later, Rumple-as-Hook visits Belle at the shop under the pretense of some “pirate’s oath” nonsense, but really to get the 411 on her and Will. After so much torment and betrayal by Rumple, the new guy “makes me smile,” she explains.

As the episode comes to a close, Regina and Mal arrive at Rumple’s cabin, tipping off Regina to the fact that the Dark One is back in town and in cahoots with the Queens — at which point he comes out of the shadows, dagger in hand. After Cruella and Ursula lug Pinocchio inside (they were conspicuously MIA for the abduction, so they get saddled with grunt work?), Rumple reveals his plan to pump not the memory-less lad for answers, but Pinocchio’s grown self. And with a wave of the dagger, the boy is transformed into adult August — a neat trick Emma probably would have liked to see performed during Season 2, Episode 18!

What did you think of “Enter the Dragon”?

Want scoop on Once, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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85 Comments
  1. A says:

    I am really enjoying S4B!!

    • leigh says:

      I wish I was. There is just something off about it. It won’t make me leave the show, but I sure hope it will pick up.

      • laurelnev says:

        I’m with you, Leigh!

        • aurat22 says:

          I’m not really enjoying it either. For me it’s because we are getting only short little snippets of everybody’s characters and no real advancement with any of them because they are just trying to tell too many stories in too short a time period. I don’t have much hope that it will be fixed this season but hopefully next they won’t be as overly ambitious.

          • laurelnev says:

            I said something similar on the other board. They’re disrespecting character for the sake of plot–like Belle being an airheaded dolt tonight. And this villain-du-jour thing is getting old quickly!

          • Mer says:

            All of these stories could have work if they return to Season 1 and Season 2 format of having 1 full season of 1 arc. This split that they are doing is not doing any favors for the numerous characters they want to introduce.

      • Mike Q says:

        Everything is too forced and the behavior is insane if you think about it for more than 30 seconds. Characters are behaving the way the story needs them to act and not the way the characters would respond to a given situation. It has me very close to turning off the show.

        • Mer says:

          The show has more strength when it if more character driven than plot driven. But Adam and Eddy have admitted that they will drop a storyline if a new idea comes along. With that type of mentality, it’s no wonder that we don’t get consistent characterizations out of our favorite Oncers.

          • It's Delovely says:

            Yep, and it’s a shame that they’re so determined to be “plot” writers, because they’re really much better “character” writers when they actually decide to tell a character driven story. The characters have been acting in service of the plot (instead of the other way around) all season, and it’s terrible to watch.

        • Agreed. Very upsetting. I’m still trying to hold onto some hope that there is a greater reason or plan to why they are behaving this way. It’s getting really difficult though.

    • abz says:

      I’m really enjoying it too. Can’t wait for Ursula/Hook and Cruella backstory. Oh and more August!! I really hope the show keeps him as an adult permanently.

  2. DBianco says:

    Second best episode of the season for me. The twist about Mal having lost her fire and quite literally was fun, Kristin Bauer played that version of the character so well and the chemistry between her and Parrilla is on fire. Very enjoyable duo, in present day scenes, too. I’d like to see more of that soon.
    I saw Rumple posing as Hook coming the minute he interrupted Belle’s date with Will, but I guess the question that’s still left to answer is when exactly he started posing as Hook. Meaning most importantly if it was already Rumple in the library and if Rumple therefore knows that Regina’s undercover and the Charming are all in on it. I feel pretty terrible for Regina that she’s been forced into this undercover mission. And although her scenes in the promo initially had me smiling I’m afraid that’s not the real Robin she’s meeting in the woods either, sigh.
    Nice twist that Pinocchio got turned back into August. Wonder if that’s gonna stick. Probably not.

  3. kat says:

    I actually completely forgot this was on tonight. I really, really can’t stand this author storyline. It makes me think less of every single character who goes along with it.

  4. laurelnev says:

    Liking the Emma/Regina friendship, but I’m not sure about all the rest. All I can say is if it was THAT EASY to bring back August, why didn’t someone do it long ago? He would have been a great addition to the Merry Gang for the last season, and at least something to compensate what they did to Neal. HATED the Rumple/Hook scam. It would have been better had Killian scammed Belle out of the dagger so he could finally get HIS revenge on the crocodile. Belle was WAY too easily duped either way. She should have tested Hook’s loyalty by duping him with the fake one! And where oh where are all our SB favorites, like Grumpy and Belle, these days?

    • Jose says:

      Would that even work though? Rumple is the most powerful entity in Storybook that we know of…. if he can’t recognize his own dagger then his magic is seriously inferior

    • abz says:

      Now, that you mention it, why didn’t they bring him back if they were clearly able to? They could have found out what Tamara and Greg were up to long before they were able to kidnap Henry and Regina, etc. Maybe it has to do with the type of magic. Blue Fairy doesn’t use dark magic, but Rumple is the Dark One and extremely powerful. Plus Marco definitely wouldn’t be happy his boy taken away again.

      • mo says:

        Well when August ‘died’ and the Blue Fairy turned him back into a boy because he finally stopped being selfish, it was for him get a fresh start with Gepetto so I don’t think people were willing to change him back again, Gepetto probably wouldn’t be happy. Or like you said maybe it has to do with the type of Magic so only Rumple could do it (he is the Dark One).

      • laurelnev says:

        Because the plot back then needed them to be unable to, and despite the fact Rumple was at that point working WITH the team, he said he could not do it when they needed August pre-pan. But the 2nd curse, and then the Snow Queen, changed all of the previously established rules, so now, they don’t lose their memories if they cross the town line, you can go out but you can’t come back in, that is unless you’re a freight train I guess.Or because they had the scroll, they could drive to the part of the world with no magic, but Regina could still zap the out of the way on time. Did someone say retcon?

  5. Carly says:

    Another good one. Liking this half-season lots so far. Are we getting more of Maleficent’s past with Briar Rose and King Stefan soon?

  6. Jose says:

    Was I the only one thinking Emma was just….. in the way in this episode? Like seriously he endangered Regina`s life. She was too close to Cruella`s car, she could have been seen. And seriously getting into Geppetto House? This girl doesn’t know one thing of undercover or trailing people……
    She reminded me of the movies about undercover operations having that one cop that is just on the way…..

    • WB31 says:

      She had good intentions, but I wasn’t impressed either. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out that Maleficent saw her going into Marco’s garage and Regina’s in deep trouble with the queens and Rumple next week.

    • buttercupscarlett95 says:

      Not to mention she was driving her father’s truck, which is easily recognizable. Worst undercover operative ever. Didn’t she used to be a bail bondsman?

    • HCDZ says:

      I felt that way, too. I just wanted her to let Regina take care of it by herself!

  7. WB31 says:

    The fairytale land scenes were cool, but the timeline confused me. Regina was still the young woman, before she became the Evil Queen and long before she cast the curse. But Aurora was already getting ready to be married and got cursed? This doesn’t add up to me. Didn’t Prince Phillipp say in s2 Aurora was only cursed for 1 year?

    • irishrose4583 says:

      I was confused by the timeline as well.

    • Martina says:

      I can’t remember that Philipp said something like this. She was supposed to sleep 100 years, which she clearly didn’t. He was turned into a monster by Maleficent and maybe lost his sense of time because of that? Phillipp was definitely freed by Belle and Mulan before the curse came. But he only awaked her after the curse was broken. So I guess she slept for at least 30 year including the curse.

  8. Jose says:

    Am I the only scared about Rumple trying and succeeding in killing off Will? Like seriously when he told belle Will had taken something from him when pretending to be Hook…. it worried me

  9. abz says:

    Knowing that Eion Bailey was returning to the show spoiled the ending for me, but nevertheless I’m so excited to see more of August. Always hated the fact that he was turned into a boy. I hope this isn’t temporary and that the change to an adult is permanent. Sucks for Marco, but WAY more interesting and fun for the viewers I think.
    At first I thought it was Ursula or Cruella impersonating Hook, but I realized it once they were getting the dagger. I really don’t like how once again Belle is tricked. I know Rumple is the Dark One and so powerful, but one of the greatest parts of the first half was finally seeing Belle be less blah and strong and taking more control. Sucks that it didn’t last very long.
    The more I see of Kristin Bauer’s Maleficent, the more I’m starting to like her. I was never a fan of her portrayal in the first season of what is arguably THE best Disney/fairytale villain, but lately I’m liking her.

    • K says:

      Belle is being “blah” for the very first time lately. She has always been smart–until recent plot points demanded otherwise.

      • abz says:

        Not really. I like Belle sometimes and I know she’s smart, but compared to other characters she has never been all that interesting to me at times. She also too easily forgives everything that Rumple has done which is why I liked what they did with her in the Frozen arc with them finally having her wise up and be strong and stand up to Rumple and not writing off everything he’s done with “I know there’s good in you”. I wish she had commanded him with the dagger to do something like poof them back to Mr. Gold’s shop rather than just summoning him.

  10. aurat22 says:

    Remember how finding the author was supposed to be Henry, Regina, and Emma’s quest? Now we barely see Henry! Apparently he disappeared with Ruby and the Dwarfs.

  11. Iris Cristiane says:

    I do love Rumple as a character, but just at this point he doesn’t seem redeemable to me. And one more time he says someones ‘took’ a woman from him… sorry dude but Belle isn’t an object to be taken from you.

    Regina using a child as a bait and Emma being okay with it? Weird. Emma screaming at everyone today because of Regina was a bit over the top. It felt inorganic, whether that was Jen acting or from the script, I don’t know.

    Long story short: the plot was terrible, the dialogue were awful, the acting (except for O’donoghue and Carlyle) were horrible…

    • CbinJ says:

      Agree. I’m warming up to the Evil Queen. A friendship between Emma and Regina isn’t out of the realm of possibility now, but why was Emma just completely freaking out this episode? They should have involved Emma only as it related to her not trusting her parents/ getting closer to that dark side–that would have made sense. It would have been far more interesting if Emma’s parents and Regina hid the fact that they were doing the undercover op. When Em inevitably found out, then she could yell at everybody.

      The guy who plays Hook is definitely one of the most consistent performers on the show. The actor who play’s Rumple is good, but uneven at times–though his job is a lot harder as he has to transform into EF Rumple, then back to the more measured Gold.

      Overall the ep. felt very disjointed. Too campy at times–what was with the evil girls night out and all the drug/ alcohol references for example? This show isn’t necessarily for kids, but we did just have a Frozen arc. I found Arendale fairybacks boring, but I liked the lighter tone a lot better than tonight’s near train wreck.

      • abz says:

        I think her freakout was mainly about Regina. Regina has made a lot of progress and Emma might have been worried about how vulnerable Regina would be to undoing all her hard work in trying to be good by going undercover. It definitely would have a greater effect on Henry especially should she ever turn full-on evil again.

        • Mer says:

          What I love about Emma/Regina’s relationship, is at this point, it is not just about how Henry will be affected. Regina/Emma care for each other just ecause they care. Henry is no longer needed as a bridge between them.

          • Buttercup says:

            Emma may be trying to be friends with Regina, but I don’t think Regina gives two figs for Emma. She double-crossed Emma last night so she could get the information she wants from August. Regina’s friendship is toxic.

          • Mer says:

            I think Regina going undercover is showing how much she cares for her considering that she is putting her life in danger for her. Regina didn’t seem like she wanted to put a sleeping spell on the little boy, but she had to continue to facade of being “in” with QoD. And also insisting on Emma to not be involve to not get hurt.

            Another example is Regina poofing out of the car to get the Chernabog away from Emma. All of these examples don’t scream toxic to me. What is toxic is handwaving any details of wrongdoing of your boyfriend because you are afraid it will destroy the image you have of him.

          • Buttercup says:

            Emma never let a child be kidnapped before she started being friends with the evil queen. That’s character destruction right there. This is the woman who spent all of season 1 protecting Henry, Hansel & Gretel, you name it, but now she’s letting Regina take Pinocchio to the Queens of Darkness? Not to mention just leaving Pinocchio alone with Regina to begin with, after Regina screamed at the kid last week. Regina is a terrible influence on Emma. Emma’s friendship with Elsa was much healthier. Emma may be missing Elsa and looking for another friend who can do magic, but Regina is a terrible choice.

            And how do you know Regina didn’t realize Chernabog was after Emma and poofed out of the car to save her own skin? I don’t buy that Regina is reformed. This woman sent children to be eaten by the blind witch. She raped and murdered Graham. She murdered an entire village because a 10-year old told a secret. She is self-centered and self-absorbed. Not a good friend to have.

        • CbinJ says:

          If there was some explicit dialogue where Emma said she was worried about Regina going to the dark side, I would have had less of a problem with Emma’s erratic behavior.
          But without some more set up–it did just look like erratic behavior. She wasn’t just concerned as is understandable–she was running around town yelling at her parents and Hook like a crazy person. They implied that she was up all night worrying. When Emma disappeared during Smash the Mirror, where was Regina? In her crypt with Robin–which is fine by me, but there is inconsistency there.

          As I implied before I am all for portraying more healthy female friendships (or any friendships) on TV–I don’t think there are enough as everybody is always romantically/ lustfully paired whether on screen or in peoples heads. But if Emma and Regina are going to be in a healthy friendship, there needs to be some more groundwork set up that Regina cares about other people and not just herself and her happy ending. Her sarcasm is for comedic purposes, but behind the snark does she actually think of Snow, Charming, Emma, or even Hook and Belle as friends? Or just “idiots” she tolerates? I think there is still room for that question to be asked, despite all the progress Regina has made.

          • Buttercup says:

            I agree 100% with this comment. : ) Robin Hood and Henry are about the only people Regina treats with respect. I hope they bring Robin Hood back soon so Regina can stop expecting the world to bow to her needs.

      • aurat22 says:

        That whole drinking thing and the torching of the car seemed more like rebellious teenagers on a drunken spree rather than scary Queens of Darkness behavior. I also agree about the Frozen arc. I enjoyed Anna’s comedic moments a lot more than this stuff.

        • buttercupscarlett95 says:

          I miss Frozen, too. I loved Emma’s friendship with Elsa! Her friendship with Regina just feels strained and disjointed. Anna was pure gold, and she and Kristoff were adorable. When Anna started saying her wedding vows in the sunken chest, my heart just broke! I even miss Ingrid. Come back, Frozen characters! I just can’t let it go. (Yeah, I went there).

    • aurat22 says:

      The same with Mila. She “chose” to go with Hook. He didn’t take her.

  12. rk535 says:

    Really great twist! looking forward to seeing where they take this. Kristin Bauer van Straten is so incredible! I have missed her so much since True Blood ended. Hope to see more captain swan in the future.

  13. Jesse says:

    In lieu of breathing fire, sad Maleficent leaves waffle iron on hair too long…

  14. M says:

    “Belle — making us wonder if her name is in fact short for “Brain Cell””
    “And with a wave of the dagger, the boy is transformed into adult August — a neat trick Emma probably would have liked to see performed during Season 2, Episode 18!”
    Hahaha! You get a round of applause twice today for your sassing OUAT, Matt. The only things review was missing was a comment about Maleficent stealing Peggy Carter’s clothes for a cross-show-Disney-marking-promotion and how really really gay the flashback Maleficent/Regina scenes were. Like SUPER gay. I thought they were going to make out several times!
    (inviting the question: how do trains presumably from the outside world pass through a cloaked town?)
    Over at tv.com (I cheated on TVLine, but OUAT says that’s okay) cenobitetx explained it:
    “I was wondering that myself. It reminded me of an MST3K short commentary discussing Cars vs. Trains and the conclusion that Trains are pure, holy creatures that are simply waiting to crush and destroy stupid drivers. So, in this respect, trains are pure, holy creatures that refuse to be bound by Fairy Tale Curses and paultry magical laws.”

    • abz says:

      “…and how really really gay the flashback Maleficent/Regina scenes were. Like SUPER gay. I thought they were going to make out several times!”
      Haha, I thought so too. Got some serious True Blood/Pam vibes from that scene.

      • M says:

        That was my thinking too. She was totally channeling Pam. I wish they’d gone there. That would have been a real twist since the August thing and Lily too have been ruined for weeks.

  15. Ram510 says:

    This was the best episode of 4B so far, eventhough it seemed rushed. I agree with others that something is missing but I think they can pull it together but it’s tough with so many characters to have to try and give time to.

  16. Ginger Snap says:

    Good episode. Nice to see the show back on !

  17. DarkDefender says:

    Train in Storybrooke… In a word : MAGIC
    ~
    It was a test. They weren’t gonna die, but they needed to see if Regina would try to be a hero.
    ~
    So probably not an actual train. Think of it as a magically produced (plot device) train.
    ~
    It’s next stop after Storybrooke was probably Hogwarts.

  18. Buttercup says:

    This was one of the weakest episodes the show has ever had. 4B is a mess. A couple of cute plot twists (although we already knew Eion Bailey was coming back), but no real substance. It feels like the core relationships in the show are being given short shrift in favor of this hunt for the “author,” the purpose of which I still don’t understand. The book just tells what happened in the past. It doesn’t predict the future. Why does anyone think the author can change their fate?

    Emma and Belle acted like total morons. After Emma was all protective of Pinocchio last episode when Regina yelled at him, now she lets Regina hand the child over to the QoDs? And after she lectured everyone earlier in the episode about how dangerous they are! Then, of course, Regina double-crossed her. Emma’s superpower is worthless. And Belle, really, you’re supposed to be friends with Killian now, but you couldn’t tell he was acting completely out of character and totally Rumple-like? Epic fail, Belle.

    The tests the QoDs put Regina through were completely lame. Since when is doing a shot evidence of villainy? And what was up with the suicide by train trick? How was that supposed to test whether Regina was a villain? Villains are usually into self-preservation, not offing themselves.

    Fine acting from Colin O’Donoghue and Kristin Bauer Van Straten were the episode’s saving grace. I hope things start looking up in next week’s episode. If we get much more like this, I may have to find something better to do on Sunday nights.

    • Mer says:

      Buttercup, I never liked the Author plot point at all. For 3 seasons, there was never any inclination that this “Author” writers stories. If that was the case, then Regina would have sought that out some time ago in season 2. Also, proof that the book only records history, when Emma and her pirate sidekick went back in time, the book recorded Princess Leia and Prince Charles to reflect changes.

      I think Belle being friends with Hook is OOC, let alone, giving up precious leverage to a man that has tried to kill her so many times without a geniune apology.

      And again, the tests were super lame, as I said earlier, it was cringe-worthy. With Robin back with his one-impression and overall uselessness to any story in OUAT, I don’t have high hopes for the next episode. One thing I’m looking forward too is Ursula roughing up Hook. That’s about it.

      • buttercupscarlett95 says:

        I’d actually like to see Robin back. Anything to get Regina to stop whining about the useless author. His main usefulness is to monopolize Regina’s time so she stops wasting everyone else’s time on her “woe is me” schtick.

        I don’t really see Belle being friends with Killian as OOC. This is the woman who saw the good in the Dark One. If she can love Rumple, who is one of the most evil characters around, she can be friends with Killian. But she was stupid for not seeing through Rumple’s act. And I still feel clueless as to what she’s doing with Will. We haven’t seen anything about how that relationship developed. It was just thrown at us out of thin air.

        I’m interested in the Ursula back story, too. Sounds way more interesting than looking at pictures of doors in a storybook.

        • Mer says:

          I love Regina but her “woe is me” whining is tiresome. However, I don’ t think she needs a forest hobo to get over that. She needs to realize that she has love and support from people who she has harmed in the past, and needs to be happy with that.

          Belle does have the compacity to love the Dark one. However, we received alot of screen time showing how she got to that point. With Hook, the writers just threw that friendship in our face with no foundation at all. Especially when 6 weeks ago, Hook viewed her as an object (like he always had) in using againt Rumple. There is zero indication that he ever cared for the woman. That is just very rushed development. Just like how you mention how she fell into a relationship with Will. Alot of these things going on in this arc are coming out of thin air.

          I still will prefer this over 4A any day. I wonder if Ursula no longer has her goddess status because of something Hook has done. I am thinking they are going this route, because Ursula right now doesn’t seem to be very powerful.

          • buttercupscarlett95 says:

            See, I thought 4A was much better. More development of the main characters and their relationships. Now, everything seems to revolve around the dumb author storyline. And Regina is my least favorite character now that she is semi-reformed. She was fun as the evil queen, but she is dull as dirt now. At least Robin Hood spiced her up a little. She is taking up way too much screen time.

            I would have liked to see how the Hook/Belle friendship developed, too. I hate that we missed 6 weeks. I want to see what went on then.

            I watch the show mainly to see Emma find her home with her parents, Killian, and Henry. That’s the heart of the show for me. I also enjoy Rumple and his tortured relationship with Belle. Regina was a useful plot device when she was the evil queen, but now she’s just wasting everyone’s time. Get off your rear end, lady, go find Robin, and stop bellyaching. About the only scenes I enjoy now are her scenes with Henry, but those are few and far between.

          • Mer says:

            Disagree but I feel ya. My problem with 4A is that many of the flashbacks of Arendelle had no connection to most of the main characters, which leads to them not getting alot of screen time and being disjointed from the arc.

            It seems that, in this arc, they are rotating the main character’s screen time much better this time around. I just disagree with Robin spicing her up, to me, Regina is like a 14 year old with Robin. Thinking that the world has ended over a 4 day relationship with a married man, I’ll pass on that. Her childishness leads much to desire, and that is coming from me being a Regina fan. Regina says that she is refined and a queen, but getting shagged on a dirty vault with your parents bodies and hearts all around with a man you barely know, it’s not classy.

            I wish they have Emma interacting with her parents. For me, Snow/Charming/Emma/Henry/Regina/Rumple are the heart of the show. Hook is just there to bring Emma coffee and sandwhiches, because of right now, he hasn’t contributed anything useful. Arm candy for Emma, that’s all.

  19. MM says:

    Nice one, I’m one of those who are enjoying this queens of darkness half much more than the frozen half. Yes, these women are campy, but they’re entertaining and fun and yet still have the promise of real evil lurking beneath all that attitude as this episode showed when they had Regina kidnap Pinocchio and now want to torture adult August. I’m also enjoying evil Rumple. I know it must be hard for those who ship him with Belle, but since I personally was never overly invested in them I can enjoy him embracing his dark side like that. Flashback as a parallel to Storybrooke scenes worked perfectly again and the Regina + Maleficent dynamic has a lot of interesting potential with their now basically switched positions, compared to the flashback.

  20. Essie says:

    Another good episode. And August is back! Yay!

  21. ninergrl6 says:

    Boring episode. The flashbacks to FTL were hugely disappointing. I thought we’d get some interesting new twists on the Sleeping Beauty mythology, but Mal’s history was pretty lame IMO. What a waste of King Stefan & Aurora. (Is the fact that Briar Rose is the name of Aurora’s mom & not Aurora herself something that was established in previous seasons?)

    I, too, questioned the train’s sudden appearance. I also wonder what took Rumple so long to impersonate someone. Why not openly walk around town all the time? I was about to give Hook credit for being the one person in town to realize that Rumple was behind the Queens of Darkness, but then it was all a trick. And is Emma the worst sheriff ever or what? First she nearly blows Regina’s cover & then she loses Regina all together. Emma would’ve been better off drinking hot cocoa at Granny’s all night.

    The one positive aspect of the ep was August’s return, although if it was so easy to turn the boy back into the man, why didn’t that happen years ago?

    • Katherine215 says:

      The Briar Rose/Aurora thing is really confusing me, too. I just googled and it looks like the Brothers Grimm gave her mother the name Briar Rose, but OUAT seems to be combining the Disney story and the original story and leaving some stuff out from each. Or something. Way to be confusing, OUAT.

      • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

        Yeah, I wiki’d that a bunch last night, confused as well — they’ve definitely spliced the two.

        • Petter says:

          Shouldn’t come as a surprise. The first thing Aurora said in Broken (Episode 201) was that Maleficent first went after her mother and then her. Thus leaving her Mother Briar Rose and her the Sleeping Beauty. Could still be a bit confusing since Regina reminds Maleficent in The Thing You Love Most (102) that she was defeated by that Sleeping Beauty, but again 201 changed that.

          Either way, great episode and very enjoyable 4b

  22. I enjoyed the Emma and Regina scenes. I liked that Belle and Henry had a moment. I liked most of the flashbacks. Unfortunately, I really can’t get behind the way they are writing Belle. It’s really frustrating me. She seems OOC to me a lot of the time. I really, really have a problem with the Rumple/Belle/Will story line, and all the reminders of the Rumbelle relationship in this episode hit me very hard. I wish one of the few moments for Rumbelle this season that didn’t involve banishment and sobbing, didn’t involve Rumple impersonating Hook. I couldn’t even enjoy a Rumple and Belle moment because Rumple had Hook’s face. There has been so little happiness for Rumbelle for the last two seasons, and not all of it had to do with Rumple’s lies, in case someone wants to mention that. Having this triangle story line with Belle losing her smarts, her strength, and her perceptiveness is just really tough to deal with on top of everything else. I really hope there is a bigger reason for all of this because I’m feeling like I’m at the end of my rope. :(

  23. James says:

    Actually, the fact that a train can go through Storybrooke may have answered a question that’s been nagging me since season 1. Where to the stores and people in town get their supplies? I’ve not seen any car manufacturing plants or anything like that, so they must get their stock from somewhere…but if you are in a cloaked town that no one can find, how to the delivery trucks get there?

  24. It's Delovely says:

    Thanks for this line, Matt: ““Belle — making us wonder if her name is in fact short for “Brain Cell”…” I hate that one of my favorite characters has become a victim of such out-of-character writing. I love Belle intelligence, perceptiveness, and strength. This episode make her look dim-witted and weak. It’s such a shame that they’re writing her character this way just to make this plot happen. I’ve always wanted more screentime for Belle, but I don’t want it at the expense of those qualities I love about her character.

    Belle would never hand over the dagger to Hook, with whom she has a terrible history; he’s only been her “new BFF” for a few weeks. The real Belle would have figured out that something was off about Hook. When Belle was heartbroken after “Skin Deep”, we saw her have an adventure on her own, where she ended up meeting Mulan and Philip. She didn’t rebound with some dude at the tavern. Just last week, Belle is still obviously heartbroken, but this week she’s giggling like a pre-teen over her shallow relationship with Will? None of this makes sense, and I won’t be watching until the Belle I love returns.

    • Mer says:

      OUAT seems to be so focused on romantic relationships, they fail to see how friendships could be oh so important. They could have Belle bound with Snow who has a smiliar backgroun to her. Both with princesses that went on adventures. Heck, Belle is their babysittier, it would be appropriate for her to build a relationship with Snow to help heal from heartache, and not jump into some rebound relationship with a character we never seen her interact with before. It is all out of left field.

  25. gloria 098 says:

    ::( there was no captain swan scenes in this episode WHY!!!

  26. Coltara Cady says:

    This is the episode where I’ve decided to finally give up on the show. I’m not sure if it’s anything about this episode in particular that did it, but I just can’t bring myself to care about torturing myself with the next one. They just don’t care about their characters or telling a good story.

  27. sararnoldi says:

    I like Season 4B but this episode was a little bit “lazy” in my opinion

  28. Lisa B says:

    The lazy writing is getting to me more and more… the whole Belle/Rumple-as-Hook thing is the perfect example. Wouldn’t it have been so much more believable for her to say, “Oh, I hid it under the bed” or something, “What difference does it make, since he’s gone?” and Rumple-as-Hook to THEN say, “Well, you’d better let ME hide it just in case…” and then putting a spell on her so she can’t speak of it rather than the “Make sure you don’t ever mention this to anyone else OR ME…” It was like they were in junior high school. SOOOOOO ridiculous. Belle being innocent and trusting, I can understand. But she is not supposed to be an idiot. I also don’t buy the relationship with the Knave. Have them become close friends–that would be enough for Rumple to be seriously jealous and murderous, which I assume will happen soon. But to see her giggling and kissing… again, not Belle. I honestly don’t know why I’m still watching… I keep hoping for the creators to wake up and do some course correction of their own, but, if anything, it seems to be getting worse rather than better.

    • Mer says:

      What is even more ridiculous is to have Rumple impersonate Hook in the firest place. There is no reason for Rumple to think that Belle would ever be friends with a man that was will to threaten her in blackmail just 6 weeks ago. For Belle to even be remotely friendly with Hook is ridiculous without provided background as to how they got to that point.

      But everyone is being sacrificed to prop up Killy as some trustworthy, epic hero and I’m not buying it at all. I know Hook is A&E’s favorite pet that basically suggested that Hok would never have to answer to any and if so, won’t have any significant reprecussions to face.

  29. Jocelyn says:

    I’m not really getting why people are complaining that it’s too far away from seasons 1 and 2. In my opinion, the writers are going back to the original fairy tale characters than they did with Frozen or even the Wicked Witch. They are showing more of the fairy tale world as well as the modern like they did before and showing how the characters have history with each other, like the earlier seasons. I’m very much enjoying season 4B.

    • Griffin says:

      I’m with you on this. I’ve really been enjoying 4B a lot more than 4A that’s for sure. I think it will get even better as it goes along and we see just what it is each of the villains considers their happy ending. Right now we know it’s making sure the hero’s don’t get theirs but I think there must be an ending that is of a more personal nature for each of them.

  30. kirads09 says:

    I will take all the Regina and Rumple deliciousness I can get. They make the show for me.
    The return of August (adult!) – YEEESSS!!! Now please find a way to magically (or not) resurrect Neal. Please. Otherwise Season 4B thus far – *yawn*

  31. Srdva says:

    Briar Rose is Aurora so how can her daughter Aurora be getting married?!!! It makes no sense to true essence of the story…