Jack Rowand/ABC
April 30, 2015 at 08:41 PM EDT

Once Upon a Time

type
TV Show
genre
Fantasy, Drama
run date
10/23/11
performer
Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla
broadcaster
ABC
seasons
7
Current Status
In Season
tvpgr
TV-PG

Before you can say “20 thingamabobs,” the princesses have somehow procured fancy ball gowns — how? Where? With what money? — and are standing pretty at the fete. And just as quickly, Ariel and Eric dance, kiss, schmooze,carry on, and go home happy. Fine, not quite — but Eric does invite Ariel to come with him on a trip around the realms, after having known her for approximately 30 seconds. Never let anyone say that Disney perpetuates unrealistic romantic standards! Of course, there’s just one problem: CinderAriella’s legs are about thisclose to turning back into pumpkins.

Snow urges Ariel to just tell the prince that she, you know, normally has a tail. Ariel, though, isn’t so sure about the whole honesty thing. (What, she thinks Eric just isn’t going to notice when her thighs fuse together and get covered in bedazzled scales?) So she walks to the shoreline, seeking advice from the legendary Ursula… and much to her surprise, a sneering octopus woman actually does emerge from the depths of the sea.

Ariel, you poor, unfortunate soul! The tentacled temptress is, of course, Regina, who has been spying on the mermaid and Snow via a well-placed mirror at the ball. In her best Pat Carroll drawl, the wicked queen offers to help Ariel achieve her wildest dreams by handing over a magical bracelet that will allow the mermaid to switch lower halves with a human; she’ll get that person’s legs, while that person in return will get her tail.

This is like shooting fish in a barrel. Ariel clamps the bracelet onto Snow, giving Ms. White a tail that prevents her from fleeing Regina. There are a few seconds of suspense… until Ariel comes to her senses, stabs Regina with that trusty dinglehopper, and removes the bracelet, returning Snow and herself to their original forms. They escape Regina — who can’t swim after them in her Ursula disguise because of… reasons — and part ways. Snow sets off in search of conditioner; Ariel goes back to Eric’s castle, hoping to stop him before he takes off on that grand tour.

Alas, she’s foiled by the Evil Queen, who steals Ariel’s voice out of pure spite. But at least she’s still got her looks! Her pretty face! And don’t underestimate the importance of body language, HAAA! “Time to swim back home… LITTLE MERMAID,” Regina sneers, just in case we’ve spent the last hour believing this episode was Once‘s take on, I don’t know, Oliver and Company.

NEXT: To the Caves of Contrivance!

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