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Once Upon a Time – 4.15 “Poor Unfortunate Soul” Review

Once Upon a Time was back and when I say back, I mean back to its charming, wonderful self this week, as Ursula’s backstory with Hook was finally revealed.

The Past

On a trip for Pan for supplies, Hook and his crew are almost lured into the rocks by an enchanting melody. Turns out that Ursula (who was a mermaid) on the request of her father, who wants revenge on all Pirates because one murdered his wife, has her sing to distract the sailors and lure them to their deaths. That’s not what Ursula wants though and later at a tavern where she meets Hook, she shares her plan to runaway to Glowerhaven once she has enough gold saved up. Hook offers to take her there on the Jolly Roger as a thank-you for saving his ship and making him forget his pain for a minute. Poseidon attempts to stop this though and asks Hook to remove Ursula’s ability to sing by using an enchanted seashell and showing her that humans are terrible. He promises that in exchange for this he will give Hook a way to get the Dark One with squid ink.

Hook instead informs Ursula about her father’s plan, and asks her to steal the squid ink from her father’s cave and that he will still complete their bargain.  Ursula completes the task but Poseidon attempts to stop them on the Jolly Roger and destroys the ink; Hook angry at his missed chance at a way to kill his Crocodile takes Ursula’s voice for himself. A young and enraged Ursula grabs her father’s trident and transforms herself into the powerful sea goddess for whom she was named after, and tells her father to fear her.

Some Thoughts

  • I loved that Ursula’s story got flipped and that it was so similar to Ariel’s and that her happy ending was something so simple. To sing and be connected to her dead mother.
  • One thing I really loved about this episode was it didn’t leave me with a ton of timeline questions or questions about Ursula. I was curious about why she needed a ship to take her to her destination but that may have been because if she was swimming her father (who controls the ocean) would be sure to know where she was.
  • So since there are two Ursula’s is this Ursula the one that strangled Regina in ‘Ariel’ or was that the originally goddess that our new Ursula was named after?
  • I liked seeing Smee back too!


At Gold’s remote cabin, Regina, Maleficent, Cruella, and Ursula start interrogating the now restored August about the Author. He tells them about the Dragon who was killed but had been looking for the Author too and that he stole his research. Gold heads out and Regina uses her magic to send a message via smoke to tell Snow, Emma, Hook, and David what’s happening and that Gold is back. The heroes had to Belle to get the dagger hoping to end this before it begins, only to learn of the events of the past night where Gold got the dagger by pretending to be Hook.

Hook uses a conch to summon Ursula hoping to offer her a deal: her happy ending returned for information on Gold’s plan. Hook tells her that what she wants is on the Jolly Roger back in the Enchanted Forest and asks if she can still open portals. She can, and the Jolly Roger is returned to Storybrooke but it appears to have been shrunk and put in a bottle. Hook and Ursula seek out Will, who may have something from his days in Wonderland to help them. With the Jolly Roger restored Hook returns Ursula’s voice but the shell will not return it and a furious Ursula uses her tentacles to knock out Hook and toss him overboard, where he is luckily rescued by Ariel. Ariel happy to be free of the bottle’s enchantment tells Hook how she ended up there and that it was a way for Elsa to punish Blackbeard (whom Hook had traded the ship to for a bean to get to Emma).

Back at the cabin Gold then suddenly returns saying he never went to the trailer but to the fairy dwelling to gain a potion that turns August back into wood temporarily but leaves behind his built in lie detector. Holding August to fire, Gold begins to again interrogate him and he comes clean, saying that the Sorcerer trapped the Author behind a door but doesn’t know where the door is, except it’s in Storybrooke and that an illustration of the door was in the papers that his Poppa gave to Regina. Gold, Regina and Mal leave the cabin to head to the Sorcerer’s mansion to look for the door. The Charming’s arrive the cabin and knock out Cruella only to be surprised by Ursula, who uses her tentacles to strangle Snow. Hook arrives to tell Ursula that only the person who enchanted the shell can reverse it, and with that her father appears (Ariel went and got him). Poseidon apologizes to his daughter for everything, wanting to return her voice so that he can hear her beautiful voice. Ursula’s singing voice is returned to her and she returns to the sea with her father. Hook worries that he will lose his happy ending since Regina was once a villain and lost hers, he tells Emma that his happy ending is her.

Hook learns from Ursula about Gold’s plans, revealing that as long as Emma is in Storybrooke to give everyone their happy endings, the Author will be unable to give villains their happy endings and the only way to change that is to fill Emma’s heart with darkness, forever.

Regina heads to the loft under the guise of getting the page from Henry. She asks if Emma can track down Robin because she’s worried about him and that’s when August awakens to tells them that the picture of the door isn’t just a simple illustration, it is the door: The Author is actually trapped inside the book.

Looking Forward/Final Thoughts

  • I was so excited to see Emma and August share scenes. Their reunion was adorable. Emma has so few true friends and yeah what he did to her with Neal sucked but she’s obviously gotten over it. I always enjoyed the relationship between the two and his supporting her.
  • Concluding Ursula’s plot in the present really brought be back to a season 1 feel because even though she’s been around for a couple episodes it had more of the procedural feel like ‘The Price of Gold’ and ‘True North’ where the plots were resolved and the arc of the season still moved forward.
  • Why did the Sorcerer seal the author up behind a door in a page in the book?
  • I saw a lot of questions about Elsa shrinking the ship but we know she knows magic already and that magic can be learned. I thought it was a brilliant tie in with the Jolly Roger and Ariel.
  • Also loved that Hook’s hook was/is the key to his safe. Also curious if he’ll move out of Granny’s now and back to his ship? Maybe to modern upgrades?
  • Also can we talk about Ariel and her truth telling with the villains going about getting their happy endings the wrong way? Ursula got hers from Hook. I’m pretty sure that’s the writers telling us (like we didn’t know it) that this search for the author is a bad idea and it’s not going to end well.
  • Still not onboard with Rumple turning Emma dark. I want her to beat him. Don’t misunderstand me though, I LOVE RUMPLE, I just don’t want him to turn Emma like he did so many others (or helped).
  • What is interesting is that Ursula’s happy ending was taken by Hook, obviously Mal’s was taken by Snow and Charming. I wonder who took Cruella’s? Maybe Regina? The happy endings seem to be tied to the people Emma is close to?
  • Also that scene with Hook and Emma at the end was so sweet! Emma looked so scared that he might say she wasn’t because she doesn’t think she could be someone’s happy ending. It was perfect.

First of all that promo for next week!! Loved the song! And secondly did Snow miss Enchanted Forest 101? Evil isn’t born it’s made! I am both excited and scared to see what they did and what the spell is that got cast! Is it Sunday yet?

‘Poor Unfortunate Soul” was directed by Steve Pearlman and written by Andrew Chambliss & Dana Horgan



Review Overview

Plot / Story Arc
Special Effects

User Rating: 4.9 ( 3 votes)

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