Monday, October 20, 2014

ABC's "Once Upon a Time": don't mess with Mr. Gold! (recap of "The Apprentice," OAD 10/19/14)

Last night was the fourth episode of this season's "Once Upon a Time." Titled "The Apprentice," it continued the Frozen arc but introduced a new element drawn from "the sorcerer's apprentice" part of Fantasia. There was a walking broom complete with arms, and even a mouse!

The Snow Queen, played by Elizabeth Mitchell ("Lost" and "V"), wasn't much in the episode, nor was Elsa. However, Elsa's younger sister, Anna, was featured prominently in the flashback sequences, where we saw her deal with Rumplestiltskin. As just about everyone else has learned, dealing with Rumplestiltskin is generally not a good idea, as it's not that different from making wishes via the monkey's paw. Anna does get the best of him, though, when a mouse(! - formerly the sorceror's human apprentice, turned into a mouse by dark magic) drops on Rumple's hand and bites it, causing him to drop his magic dagger; by picking up the dagger, Anna gains control over him. She forces him to return her to Arendale with the sorceror's hat - but not the dagger.

In Storybrooke, Captain Hook blackmails Gold into restoring his (Hook's) hand. In the past, Hook and his crew mercilessly bullied Rumplestiltskin when the latter was a sniveling, cowardly farmer. Rumple's wife left him for Hook. When Rumple became the Dark One, he came back to repay the favor, killing his wife and cutting off Hook's left hand. (Thus, in the "Once Upon a Time" universe, Rumple is the "crocodile" from Peter Pan.) Hook's leverage over Gold is that Hook knows that Gold, in trying to show himself fully redeemed, pretended to give the dagger of control to his love, Belle, but secretly swapped it with an inert dagger. Before restoring the hand, Gold warns that it is the hand of the man Hook used to be. Hook disregards the warning, but then while on a date with Emma Swan, acts inexplicably violently with his left hand on more than one occasion. He later returns to Gold and demands that Gold undo the hand restoration. Gold laughs at him and claims to have swapped back the dagger of control. Hook has no choice but to make a deal with Gold. Gold restores Hook's hook, and makes the pirate accompany him on a mission, which turns out to be to get the sorceror's apprentice sucked into the hat (which Gold somehow had recovered, no doubt to be explained later).

Hook then asserts to Gold that he's fulfilled his side of the deal. Gold gets really menacing: he says that the hand wasn't cursed; rather, Hook was just acting the way he always wanted to. Hook threatens Belle, and Gold threatens Emma in response. Gold produces a videotape of the surveillance of their encounter with the sorceror's apprentice, which Gold threatens to release to Emma. Hook points out that Gold is on the tape too, but then Gold waves his hand over the tape and magically erases himself from it. Bwahahahaha!!!


* I'm not sure simply erasing himself from the tape is going to work for Gold; after all, Hook doesn't have magical powers, so how would he be able to manipulate a glowing hat into sucking up the apprentice?

* I loved it when Hook arrived to pick Emma up for their date, showing off his restored hand subtly, and when Emma noticed, she asked, "So what do I call you now, Captain Hand?"

* There's apparently a strong divide between "Once Upon a Time" fans over whether the romance between Emma and Hook is a good thing. I find Hook far more interesting than Emma's past suitors (Sheriff Graham and Neal/Baelfire).

* Again, Snow White and David/Charming didn't have much to do in this episode, other than be the protective/curious parents seeing their (adult) daughter go on a date. David did correctly point out that they never got to see go to her prom. It seems the writers have also run out of things to do with Snow and David, so they are fading into the background. Strangely, though, Regina/Evil Queen didn't have much to do in this episode either.

* This was definitely a Gold-centric episode, and he is returning to full morally questionable form. The scenes between Gold and Hook crackled with subtle malevolence, and both actors really shined in portraying the clear shift of power as it gradually dawned on Hook how easily Gold had manipulated him completely into a dead-end.

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