'Once Upon a Time' S4E16: Poor Unfortunate Soul

★ ★ ½


Even though there was a large focus on Ursula, the basket of Little Mermaid easter eggs confused more than strengthened her story. Ursula’s story seemed eerily similar to Ariel’s, including a dead mother who loved music and singing and a father whose opinion on that changed after the mother’s death (The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning anybody?). Ursula, like all mermaids in their teens and early twenties, thought humans were great—and Ursula had her voice taken too. While the material allowed for her to be more redeemable, it was too close to Ariel’s story to be stand-alone.

Once Upon a Time S4E16

Worse, though, was how rushed the episode was. Both Ariel’s and Poseidon’s returns were way too spontaneous. Ariel just happened to be trapped in a bottle, was released, and saved Hook before disappearing again. She offered a decent explanation, but her cameo was extremely forced. However, it wasn’t as forced as Poseidon’s return. Almost ridiculous, it was so forced it could only be comparable to Mr. Sharp’s appearance at the end of Wayne’s World.

Poseidon’s appearance is actually the textbook definition of deus ex machina. We actually have a deity intervening here. Despite it being nice, even Ursula’s happy ending was bullishly fitted into one scene.

Hook’s small scene about getting his own happy ending didn’t make sense. Here he is witnessing a supposedly horrible villain getting a happy ending and he worries that he’ll lose his. The piece of dialogue forced a cute scene with Emma.

Ursula was certainly a missed opportunity. While she was never as powerful or as captivating as Maleficent or Cruella, she could have been a great antihero. With only getting her singing voice back, it’s odd how it wasn’t addressed earlier or how she managed to become "darker" than Regina in scenes where they judge her for not being bad enough. It would have been nice to see a villain who was bullied into helping or redeemed herself with the heroes.

With Emma being the target of Rumple’s plan and the author/sorcerer story imminent, it will be interesting to see who goes bad within the next couple of episodes. Ursula’s story was a nice one, but it was almost indistinguishable to Ariel’s tale.

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Mar 24, 2015 2:19PM EDT

Yes he song she sings is also ariels they could have done something really different with ursulas story but didn't quite disappointed!

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Mar 29, 2015 7:17PM EDT

It really was a low point episode wise. I understand that they're trying to tie in another fairytale - as well as return old characters we haven't seen a while (Bring back RUBY) but I really hate the fact that Hook became such a bad guy, and Ursula a good girl misunderstood. No worse than Snow White whilst she was a thief... It suddenly (the episode) put a new perspective on heroes and villains, as probably intended, but leaving me unsure as to how this will all end up. Nice to see Ariel, but she was only there for story purposes, and if they had to make Ursula good (really wish they hadn't even had to do that) why use an Ariel story - someone Ursula hurt! This episode was as bad as finding out that Charming and Snow caused the loss of Maleficent's baby. I can understand that Regina being evil over a little girl telling one little secret is OTT and villainous, but losing a baby to the "good guys" - less villainous. Same for losing her voice on account of revenge... Sad with where this is going.

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