'Once Upon a Time' Recap: 'Poor, Unfortunate Soul'

Hook and Ursula’s past

We already knew that in the past, Ursula wanted to run away from her father, Poseidon, and that somehow Hook got involved. This week, we got the story straight.

Image via Facebook from Once Upon a Time

The episode opens with the Jolly Roger heaving through the waters of Neverland, when Hook and his crew are mesmerized by beautiful singing. As they’re sailing towards it, the singing suddenly stops. Hook looks through his spyglass and sees that they are headed straight for an area full of jagged rocks. They avoid them, barely. When Smee inquires about the singing, Hook tells him it was a mermaid luring them to their death (similar to the Sirens in ancient Greek myths).

As it turns out, Ursula’s mother was murdered by a pirate, or so her father, Poseidon, espouses. He is so angry with the loss of his wife that he wants revenge against all mankind. He orders Ursula to sing in order to steer ships astray, leading the men to their death. Ursula is heartbroken by this as she shares her mother’s love of people as well as her enchanting voice. She pleads with Poseidon not to make her sing murderously anymore, but he insists that her mother would have wanted revenge. Ursula points out to him that he is the one who wants revenge. His response is typical of the parent of a young adult: so long as you live in my ocean, you will follow my rules. She retorts that maybe she doesn’t want to live in his ocean anymore, and she leaves!

We next see young Ursula singing in tavern, where she is approached by Hook. He recognized her voice as the one that almost sank his ship, but didn’t. Because she spared his ship, he offers to buy her a drink. They converse during which time Hook confides in Ursula that he lost Milah and is consumed with the desire for revenge on her murderer. He then tells her that her voice is a gift that can soothe even the most tortured soul, as hearing it made him feel calm. She also confides in him, telling him how unhappy she is with her father forcing her to sing ships to their destruction. She’s singing in the tavern to save money for passage to a far away city. Hook offers to take her there for free and tells her to meet him at his ship in the morning.

As he is walking back to the ship Poseidon’s men grab him. Poseidon gives Hook an enchanted sea shell that has the power to take Ursula’s voice away. He thinks that without her voice she will not have a reason for leaving. When Hook refuses, Poseidon offers to supply him with magic that will defeat Rumpelstiltskin, squid ink.

Ursula shows up the next morning to find Hook with the shell. She knows what it is and begs him not to use it. He assures her that he won’t, knowing that it is all she has left of her mother. However, he confesses that her father offered him squid ink to defeat Rumple, and he suggests that in return for not taking her voice she steal it for him. Ursula seems to think this is a small price to pay for her freedom and soon returns with the ink.

Unbeknownst to her, Poseidon shows up and destroys it before she hands it over, saying his daughter isn’t going anywhere with Hook! In a fit of anger, Hook takes Ursula’s voice to keep Posiedon from using it to wreck any more ships. Distraught, Ursula leaves at which point Poseidon commands Hook to give him back the shell, but Hook keeps it so Poseidon can’t return it to Ursula.

Ursula later lashes back against her father, takes his trident and uses it to make herself like the sea goddess for whom she is named. She tells him, reminiscent of Galadriel when Frodo offers her the ring, that she will be more powerful than him and all the ocean will meet her every whim, and glaringly adds that he doesn’t need to protect her, he needs to fear her! YIKES!

Image courtesy of Tina Kaawaloa/INFevents.com

[new page = In the present]

Ursula’s happy ending

The Queens of Darkness stand watch while Rumple questions August, who fibs that he stole research from the dragon Tamara killed. It gave information as to the whereabouts of the author. Rumple decides to search August’s old trailer to see if it’s there and leaves, at which point he is questioned as to whether he’s told Regina the rest of the plan. So, obviously Regina inquires and is told that she’ll have to do more to prove herself before being let in on that.

Meanwhile, Emma, Mary Margaret, David and Hook are looking for Regina. Emma expresses guilt over allowing Regina to kidnap Pinocchio. She feels responsible for his safety. Right about that time, a black smoke leaves the cabin and engulfs Mary Margaret. It is Regina, using Mary Margaret to send a message: Gold’s back.

They immediately go to tell Belle about it and ask about the dagger. Confused, she admits that Hook has it. Hook is rather shocked by this and Emma quickly figures out that Gold used Hook’s form to trick Belle into giving him the dagger. Hook realizes that they have to know what Rumple’s plans are, and so he sets out to find out from Ursula. How? By offering her the happy ending she’s after. He summoned her with a conch shell, and though it took a bit of convincing, Hook was able to get Ursula to make the deal.

There’s one catch to Hook’s end of the bargain, the item Ursula desires is on his ship, which is not here in Storybrooke. He gets Ursula to open a portal in the ocean, but rather than them going through it, the Jolly Roger came to them. However, there was another problem, it was now a ship in a bottle!

Hook takes the bottle to Will, because he knows Will spent quite a bit of time in Wonderland, a fact that leads him to believe that Will may know a way to restore the Jolly Roger to its former glory. Conveniently, Will has just what Hook needs, and a little douse is all it takes.

Once on the Jolly Roger, Hook gives ursula the enchanted shell that contains her voice. When she takes it her voice flows out, but stops short of her throat. She is almost in tears because it didn’t work...villains can’t have happy endings, at least not without the author. She is so frustrated that she refuses to honor her part of the deal. As a result, Hook pulls a gun on her declaring that he has to stop the dark one because he’s already taken too much from him. She scoffs and tells him he hasn’t changed at all, he’s still just a selfish pirate. Then, she snatches him up with one of her tentacles an before throwing him overboard, comments that you should never go up against a woman who has eight hands, especially when you only have one!

Ariel just so happened to be in the water nearby and rescues Hook. It turned out that she had to save Blackbeard to learn where Eric was, but then Blackbeard terrorized so many people, including Anna and Kristoff, that Queen Elsa trapped the Jolly Roger in the bottle. For some reason Ariel was there when it happened and was also trapped in the bottle.

Back at the cabin, Regina has a dream that she meets Robin in the woods, but they are interrupted by the Evil Queen who throws a fireball at them and yells at her to get away from him. Later, when she tells Emma about this dream, Emma thinks it’s Regina’s subconscious fearing that she’ll turn back to evil, but Regina has a feeling that it means Robin’s in trouble. Emma agrees to track him down so that they can get in touch with him.

When Regina first wakes up, Gold returns with a special potion that will temporarily turn August back to wood, but leave on lasting effect when he returns to his human form, his built in lie detector. Now, Rumple is able to discern that there is a special door through which the author can be found. It was created by the sorcerer. He also confesses that Regina knows about the door, because she’s seen the page he tore out of the book. She is not able to produce it, however, because she gave it to Henry. Gold seems to accept that.

Gold decides to look for the door at the sorcerer’s mansion. Regina offers to stay and watch August, but Gold explains that since she’s the only one who’s seen the illustration of the door, she must come and help them find it. He jests that Cruella can be the guard dog.

While Hook is with Ursula, Emma and her parents find the cabin. Emma busts in and confronts Cruella, but before Cruella can finish her sentence, Mary Margaret conks her over head with skillet...banditry 101. They untie August, but before they can leave, Ursula comes in. Emma demands to know where Hook is, at which Ursula replies that he’s shark bait. Emma raises her hands to attack, but Ursula protects herself by wrapping a tentacle around Mary Margaret’s neck. Just then, Hook shows up with Poseidon to tell Ursual that the reason she was unable to retrieve her voice from the shell was because only the one who enchanted it can undo it.

Ursula is shocked to see her father. He explains that Ariel brought him to her and he apologizes to Ursula for how he handled things when she was younger. He returns her voice and she begins singing. He says he’ll leave her in peace, but before he can leave she tells him that she has missed him and wants to return with him. As they leave together, Hook uses the opportunity to express his fears to Emma, fear of the succumbing to the darkness and fear of losing his happy ending.

Emma and company soon realize that Cruella is gone. They rightly assume she’s gone to warn Gold, Maleficent, and Regina. Cruella finds them as they are walking out of the mansion gates, and tells them that the heroes rescued August and it was all because they have a mole. She looks right at Regina dead in the eye as she claims to know who it is. Then, she names Ursula, telling them that she just traded them in for a reunion with her daddy.

Since they did not find the sorcerer’s door in the mansion, they decide that Regina should get the page from Henry, and bring it to them. Regina goes to the Charming’s apartment to check in and get the page. While she’s there is when she tells Emma about her dream. More pressingly, however, she discovers that the illustration of the door is the door, and the sorcerer is trapped in the book.

In the end, Hook walks Ursula and Poseidon back to the dock as they prepare for their return to the sea. She tells Hook that Gold’s plan is to get rid of Emma, but not by killing her. She explains that as long as there is a savior the author cannot rewrite happy endings, because he did not give them here. Emma was the one who bestowed the happy endings in Storybrooke. So, Gold wants to neutralize her by filling her heart with darkness, forever!

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Carissa Shuman

Carissa is a writer, editor, and artist with a love for science and science fiction.

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