Once Upon a Time S04E17: "Best Laid Plans" What an episode! If I were at a restaurant I would kiss my fingertips and go "MWAH!" because "Best Laid Plans" was an all you-can-eat feast of crazy that ... more 
Once Upon a Time S04E17: "Best Laid Plans" What an episode! If I were at a restaurant I would kiss my fingertips and go "MWAH!" because "Best Laid Plans" was an all you-can-eat feast of crazy that ambitiously rewrote Snow and Charming as self-righteous baby-snatchers and introduced us, at last, to the Author—who, after all that teasing and tantalizing promotion, was just some dude whose first act of business was to topple all the Charmings to the floor with a single flick of a curtain rod. Author, are you my new favorite character? Let's start at the start: with Snow and Charming sprinting through the forest landscape wearing way too much fur... until they happened upon a unicorn and double-fisted its horn. Apparently when you grab a horn you see a vision of your unborn child? I guess that's how they do ultrasounds in Fairy Tale Land. Charming met an adorable toddler version of Emma, but Snow met a troubled teen version and was like, "She's EVIL. EVIL!!!" Or you know, a hallucination. A teen hallucination with lots of hormones and changes and feelings. Cut her some slack. Elsewhere, Regina and Emma were puzzling over how to open a door in an illustration ("Do we DRAW a KEY?!" Regina asked) when August fell unconscious or something, so they and Henry and Henry's one and only plaid shirt took his ass to the BLUE FAIRY?! Ooof I don't know about that call. We all know the Blue Fairy's solution to August's last big problem was to turn him into an 8-year-old. Maybe keep August the hell away from that bitch? Anyway, while the Blue Fairy internally debated what age to dial August back to this time, Hook caught up with the Charmings and let them know what Ursula had told him: that Rumplestiltskin's big plan was to darken Emma's heart. Emma was like, "Psshhht that will never happen apart from that time I went on a crime spree with a 300-year-old drifter and then last week when I was running around knocking down lamps and almost killing people. My motives have never been ambiguous." Then she and Hook stood there and hugged awkwardly while Snow and Charming stood less than two feet away from them and stage-whispered to each other dramatically. Hahaha it is time to move out of that apartment, guys. Your concepts of personal space have eroded. So anyway. Regina made her way back to her Cool Friends with a phone snap of the Magical Illustration of the Door the Author is Hiding Behind and Rumple immediately was like, "Oh clearly from this random-ass glare I can tell this page is magicked and he is trapped inside." And it was like, Regina, Emma went to all this trouble to make you a magic copy, why didn't you just photograph the magic copy? But then I got lost in how hard Regina was glaring at the ladies when they threatened her Emma. Next: Page 2 (Continued from Page 1) Hook meanwhile was acting all jelly of August, which, LOL. Then, with hilarious abruptness, a curse flew in the window and they both conked out. This is now about the 50th time a wave of purple has flashed through Storybrooke, cursing all in its path, and no one's really getting all that worked up about it anymore. It's like London fog or L.A. traffic at this point. Meanwhile in Fairy Tale Land, we learned that Maleficent had laid an egg while in her dragon form, which, please, show us don't tell us, I would have LOVED to see that play out on-screen. We also learned that Charming has taken to carrying brandy with him at all times. Y'all might recall Charming hiding in the stables to nip some courage in that one episode and his father's history with drinking and wagon-driving and basically what I'm saying is we should all be concerned. This anonymous "peddler" told them to hang a right for the Sorcerer's Apprentice and ask him what to do next. Back in Sleepytown, Maine, Cruella and Maleficent were fantasizing about killing a comatose Emma, and Regina told them to lay off. Everyone who'd been under a sleeping curse was immune for some reason, so Snow, Charming, Henry, and presumably Aurora were running around town. Charming, because he is in charge of having the worst ideas, believed that he and Snow should use this opportunity to destroy the page the Author was trapped on/in, and they learned that Henry had taken the page to the big Mysterious Manor house. (I have to admit, I really loved the effect of light shining through the door and landing on the drawer with the key in it... it was a little moment and a simple effect that actually like, I don't know, created a childlike sense of wonder in me? Unexpected and delightful.) But then while Cruella and Maleficent were searching for the page, Rumple was off, like, taking up-skirt photos of an unconscious Belle or something? Guys Rumple was acting way shady. I don't even know what his weird speech to unconscious Belle was about. I just wanted him and his stranger danger Edward Cullen vibes out of there. Even Cruella called him out, like, "What were you doing in that pawn shoppe? Stalking ur ex?" and he was all, "NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS." Isn't it interesting how Rumple is the all-powerful Dark One, yet he NEEDS the help of these women, yet he STILL treats them like mouthy children? Next: Page 3 (Continued from Page 2) Anyway back in the land of fairy tales, a plan for kidnapping a child was being hatched. The Sorcerer's Apprentice was explaining to Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dumber that their child could grow up to be good or evil, because humans have free will and make choices and have you heard of moral relativism? But if they reeeeally wanted to make sure their baby was born incapable of doing evil instead of like, raising it right, he could suck all the evil out of Snow's womb and put it in another living vessel. Snow's logic was that Maleficent is evil, and her "Dragon offspring" will be evil anyway, so what's a little more evil on top of that? And just like that, she and Charming broke into Maleficent's home and snatched her baby dragon egg. Maleficent, unable to roast them while they were holding the egg, begged Snow, mother-to-mother, to not take her child. And let me just say, Kristin Bauer is SO talented, and she made this moment physically painful to watch. I mean, she gave the sort of plea where there is only ONE heroic response. And that response is, "I am so, so sorry, what am I thinking, here is your baby back, I need to take a long hard look at my life." Snow's response was, "BRB." And they would not BRB. The Sorcerer, in addition to pouring all the evil into the egg, also whisked its butt to another dimension. A chubby little baby fish broke through a couple of the scales and Snow was like, "Wait, hold on, a BABY is in that egg?" and it was like, "Nice try, Snow. Nice try. I see what you did there, but ironically it's very hard for dumb people to play dumb AND all your friends are dwarves who hatched out of eggs, according to this show's batshit insane mythology." Ursula and Cruella, who had actually been standing guard over Maleficent I guess (and how nice of them) came running up to save the baby from the crazed kidnappers Prince Charming and Snow White and, tragically, FELL INTO THE PORTAL themselves. Yikes! So anyway, Henry was in the manor, the door was actually emitting light and it was pretty magical, and then Regina came in with Cruella and Maleficent and he gave her the fake page, which, you know, Swan-Mills family FTW! But then the Actual Evil Villains Snow and Charming came in to get the page from Henry and BURN it and Snow was like, "Waaaait a minute... are we making terrible choices? Because sometimes we can get a little carried away even to the point where we're snatching people's babies. Maybe we shouldn't restart a vendetta with Regina. Maybe we shouldn't lie to our unstable daughter and our poor grandson who appears to only have one shirt to his name. Maybe we should talk this through and not make unilateral decisions for our family of grown adults." So they did NOT throw the page in the fire. Clap clap clap? IDK. Should we reward them for merely not being terrible? Emma certainly didn't when they came clean to her. Hahaha Emma was so mad about them lying to her. TBH I have very little patience for Emma's giant sense of betrayal, because sorry girl but: everybody lies. Let's all save ourselves some shock and surprise and right now come to the understanding that everybody we have ever loved is either going to or has lied to us about something at some point. Sometimes it's to protect us. Sometimes it's to protect someone else. Sometimes it's because the truth is just straight-up not our business! Sure, the closer people steer toward the absolute truth the better, but also we should make some room for understanding when people we trust confess a lie to us, because harshly punishing people for lying only breeds more deceit. Although, granted, we should all hate the Charmings, because they not only separated a mother and child, but then they decided they would use that situation to become better people? That they would save themselves from being "weighed down" by what they did and redeem themselves by helping others? Like that time you guys put your one and only kid in a magic armoire while the entire land got cursed? It's one thing to be a pair of baby-snatchers, but SELF-RIGHTEOUS baby snatchers?!? This was a canon history beat as damaging to Snow and Charming as Regina slaying whole villages of peasants. They were truly atrocious in rationalizing what they did to Maleficent, and making that choice for these two characters was a bold and interesting turn for Once Upon a Time. Meanwhile Kristin Bauer capped off a truly heart-wrenching turn with a scene where she demanded to know what had happened to her baby, and learned what many of you commenters have been saying for weeks now: Her daughter is Lily, Emma's best and only friend! Whaaaat? That girl was not pure evil. Pure awesome, maybe. Great name, too. And, as I mentioned up top, the Author got out. He's the peddler guy! And he immediately scampered off into the night! He's morally ambiguous. He likes to spice up the story. And he's running amok in a town full of villains and morally compromised heroes! Whuh-oh! QUESTIONS: ... WTF are we going back to Oz for next week? ... The Author! Thoughts? ... Snow and Charming: officially the worst? Is making its foremost heroes baby-snatchers a cool move by Once Upon a Time or do you not approve? ... When is the last time Snow seemed even slightly happy? Could the case be made that perhaps NO ONE gets happy endings, regardless of whether they're heroes or villains? Or do happy endings just = weddings? ... Will Lily and Emma hit it off big time again? less 
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TV.com
Mon, Mar 30, 2015 6:20 AM EDT