Before we begin, I should explain what my posts are about. I'm going to mainly be doing TV reviews. The shows that I am reviewing will reveal themselves over time although I can say that there will be some variety in the shows that I review. The Joker Versus Deadpool fanfiction was part of a bonus post that I am releasing on weekends. It won’t necessarily be fanfictions, I might discuss fan theories, movie news or just my general thoughts about something. I also will be doing film reviews when I can, typically new movies that have just come out. At the moment I'm not reviewing old movies but we’ll see.
Enter The Dragon, episode 15 of the fourth season of Once Upon A Time. Regina goes undercover, Hook and Belle plot to stop the villain trio and in a flashback, a young Regina becomes the teacher as she reignites the fire in Malificent's heart.
The episode starts with Regina entering the diner to have a reunion with the three “malice” women. The music playing in the background is a twisted version of the theme. I've always liked the music on this show as it does well to represent the tone of the theme and doesn't take away from the action.
I'm pleased that the women’s first reaction wasn't welcoming. They know who Regina is now, they aren't stupid. Of course at the end of the episode, they gained trust in Regina but who wouldn't considering what she had done. I was slightly confused by the train scene, apparently they were expecting Regina just to let them all die. It’s funny how they were betting on what she would do, some of them actually had faith in Regina turning evil in contrast to how harsh they were with her just earlier.
The flashback sequence highlights Regina’s motivations. Even though she was evil, she was sympathetic. She had lost everything she cared about and watched the person to took those things from her get everything she wants. In Luke Skywalker style, Regina’s arrogance halts her learning and Rumpelstilskin (Yoda) must teach her a thing or two about patience.
Regina gives up on Rumpel and believes the only true teacher she can have is Malificent who had burnt down a forest and there’s still a tree on fire to this day. While that is pretty cool, that’s just not how trees work I'm afraid. She goes up to Maleficent’s castle and discovers it to be in shambles. Scattered with pizza boxes and empty tubs of ice cream, it’s clear Malificent really isn't feeling it any more.
After losing to Briar Rose, she gave up on her evil ways and isolated herself within the castle. While Regina is disappointed, she comes up with the idea for Malificent to literally absorb the fire from the burning tree to gain her powers back. The special effects are done well and we can tell that Malificent has returned to her bad-ass ways. She puts Aurora under a sleeping curse for revenge and Regina realises the value of patience by poisoning a pony. Yay!
Aside from all the fire puns, this flashback sequence was pretty fun. It doesn't have that much relevance except for establishing a relationship with Regina and Malificent. It highlights that villains aren't all that bad, they just have agendas that conflict with the hero’s own motivations.
This episode not only shows a light side to the villains but also shows a darker side to the heroes. They’re plotting against the villains with espionage and hiding secrets from each other. We got to see Snow White’s dark side when she killed Cora in Season 2 but we crossed our fingers that she overcame that and turned good again. Now she’s hiding secrets from Emma and is stopping the villains mainly just to keep their mouth shut. I'm not complaining, it’s a good thing that they’re showing that heroes aren't perfect. We don’t live in a black and white world and TV shouldn't either.
Until there’s an actual name for this team, I’ll just call Malificent, Cruella and Ursula the trio. After the trio begins warming up to Regina, Malificent goes on her private mission with Regina to prove her trust. It almost felt like she was hiding it from the other two but it seems at the end they are in on it. Malificent gets Regina to kidnap Pinnochio so they can get him to tell them about the author.
After Emma finds out about Regina’s plan, she gets in on it to make sure she is safe. As the main protagonist, Emma should be involved when she can be involved. It does make sense for Regina and Emma to team up even when it involves kidnapping a child. I felt really sorry for the kid, especially when I saw his face as he saw Regina walk in. While Gepetto had forgiven her, Pinnochio hadn't.
After Regina and Malificent bring Pinnochio to the cabin, Rumpel reveals himself as the “puppet master” whose “pulling all the strings”. Regina’s awareness of Rumpel’s involvement is definitely going to screw up his plan, especially when she saw him holding the dagger. Using some intense magic, Rumpel reverts Pinnochio into August, something which he should have done sooner but hey, better late than never. Couldn't help but chuckle when August turned to the camera.
The other plot that happened was “Hook” suggesting a plan to stop the trio with Belle. The two find a spot to hide the dagger and Belle, completely ignorant, chooses to leave Hook with the dagger. It’s revealed that it was Rumpel in disguise. The grin that formed on Hook’s face was a great pay off.
When Rumpel returned to Belle and found the rose that Will had given to her, it was very clear that Rumpel was there. If only he could realise that all he has to do is stopping being a scheming jerk and just give up on the whole “taking over the world” thing that he could win Belle back. I would like redemption from him, we've seen him do it before, it’s likely he will do it again. Unless of course, he kills Will which seems very likely.
To sum up for anyone who just feels like scrolling to the bottom just to get my verdict, this was a good episode. It highlighted the good of evil and vice versa, developing Malificent and delving more into the author. I like the story this half of the season, instead of ripping off the plot of a movie that came out a year and a half ago, they are doing an original story based on the show’s own mythology. I really hope the author plot starts ramping up soon, especially with the return of August.