Once Upon a Time Recap: Chamber of Secrets

Once Upon a Time Ariel the MermaidThis week on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, mermaid Ariel’s pursuit of true love caused Snow White to stumble, Regina and Rumple formed a united front and (a whole lot of) the truth set someone free.

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IN THE FAIRYTALE LAND THAT WAS…. | Chased by the Evil Queen’s goons, bandit Snow leaped into the drink, where she was rescued by Ariel. To thank her, Snow helped the little mermaid put her best feet forward at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, where she hoped to reunite with Prince Eric, whom she once saved from a shipwreck. Sure ’nuff, Eric was insta-smitten by the flame-haired femme, and even invited her to meet him the next morning for an epic voyage. Knowing that her fin would return in mere hours, Ariel beseeched the sea goddess Ursula for a reprieve — at which point Regina saw an opportunity to pose as the tentacled doyenne and trick Ariel into transforming Snow White into a mermaid! When Regina stopped by to gloat, Ariel stabbed her with a dinglehopper and spirited Snow away into the sea. Later, Snow urged Ariel to meet up with Eric and tell him the truth — but as Regina warned, she would get no second chance at romance. And when Ariel went to beckon for Eric, her voice was gone. Sad.

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IN NEVERLAND…. | Regina is trying to teach Emma to focus, to use her magic, when Hook arrives to confide in the Charmings the news of Neal’s presence on the island. The trio decide to keep it under wraps, which lasts all of 15 seconds, after Snow blabs to her daughter. Being the most skeptical of all, Regina splits off from the group to form a super-evil alliance with Rumplestiltskin. After Regina reveals his vision of “Belle” to be The Shadow, they become confident that the two of them working in tandem can, if not kill Pan and thus save Henry, resign Neverland’s overlord to a fate worse than death. But to do that, they need something from Rumple’s shop in Storybrooke. Since mermaids can swim across realms, Regina uses a seashell to summon Ariel. Regina restores the lass’ voice Once Upon a Time Emma Neal Reuniteand promises to send her to where she can reunite with Eric — Storybrooke!

Meanwhile, Emma, Hook and the Charmings track Neal to Echo Cave and a chasm which can only be traversed if everyone shares their darkest secret. Hook goes first, revealing that in kissing Emma, he realized that he can move on from his first love, Milah (awww!) — and a portion of the bridge forms. Snow goes next, admitting that Emma is great as a daughter-in-name and all, but frankly she and David wuz robbed off the cuddlier, baby powderier parenting moments. Thus, as soon as they get back to Storybrooke, she wants to make baby! More bridge. Then things get awkward, as Charming admits that he won’t be around to start that family with her, since the Dreamshade cure he took has confined him to Neverland, forever. More bridge, yeah, but that did not fly with the Mrs. Emma crosses the bridge, but to unlock Neal must share her own secret — and it is not that she never stopped loving him and always will (which she confesses), but that she secretly hoped that news of him being alive was indeed a trick, because frankly she doesn’t want to deal with all the repeated heartbreak they’ve been through. The cage dissolves and they hug, then Neal shares his own secret: “I will never stop fighting for you, Emma.” Awww.

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Notable quotables:
* “No, death looks more like this.”
* “Why are you here?” “For starters, it appears I’m saving your ass.”
* “He’s just as I remembered. Less wet.”
* “You went to a long-dead dead octopus for advice, and you’re blaming me for your problems?”

REVIEW | As a whole, in terms of story movement, “Ariel” was one of the best episodes of the season. And coupled with the promo for next week, where we get a look at life in Storybrooke, it’s clear we’re entering the back half of the Neverland arc with a great deal of momentum. I mean, Echo Cave… every TV show needs one of those. That was highly entertaining, especially when Charming had to deal such a downer in the wake of Snow’s wish. In the flashbacks, JoAnna Garcia, as predicted, was perfection as Ariel (as well as at times a doppelganger for Amy Adams), and I like how they fooled us with semantics — Regina was Ursula but Regina wasn’t the Ursula. So all those folks holding out for, like, Angela Bassett or Meryl Streep or whomever get their “second chance.”

What did you think of the “Ariel” episode?