Without a doubt, “Ariel” is the best episode of season three so far as it took Once Upon a Time to a whole new level. It’s clear this is becoming the show’s darkest season.
Joanna Garcia brought life to the classic Disney sea princess Ariel and made her fit nicely into the Once universe. I think she is one of the characters that they have adapted the best out of all the Disney heroes and villains. I wish they could have made Eric a bit more interesting because just like in the Disney movie, he was boring.
I’m really hoping though that he will show up again so the show can actually flesh his character out and not just from a Once perspective, but from a Disney one as well.
I enjoyed Ariel’s interaction with Snow White and I hope to see more of that in the present. It will be exciting to see how Storybrooke will deal with her, but knowing the show, I’m sure it’s going to be a blast. I think it was a great decision though by writers to allow mermaids to travel between realms, but the one nitpicky question I had was how fast can they do that? Hopefully that will be explored next week because it does matter to me.
I loved that we got all sorts of references from “Under the Sea” to the Ariel losing her voice as well as other little hints. I was hoping for perhaps a certain red crab, but who knows, maybe he will show up later? I’m still wondering how much of the Disney original will be part of the Once version.
The Ursula mythology was one of the strongest elements because when I saw the trailer last week, a part of me was concerned, despite that I think Lana Parrilla is an amazing actress.
However, it turned to be better than I expected and it was great that we actually got to see the real Ursula come at the end of the episode, but I have to give Parrilla huge props for being able to represent the Disney version well.
She sounded exactly like the voice we heard in the movie and she felt like the character as well. The effects/costume that they had for her looked good, but there was a point when it looked a bit too CGI-y.
This episode also had the characters learning each other’s darkest secrets and I think the Echo-cave was an amazing plot device to get our characters to confess those things. The secrets that I was most surprised about were Emma and Snow’s.
I have, however, always had a hunch that Snow probably wasn’t that OK with having missed the important years in her daughter’s life.
But I didn’t think Emma was actually like that about Neal as I thought that it would have made happy knowing that he was possibly alive. Emma is a complicated on the show and Morrison’s performance keeps knocking it out of the park.
The only bad thing that came out of that plot is the potential beginning of a triangle between Neal, Emma and Hook which I don’t want to see. I’m not interested in seeing a triangle drama that already has a predictable ending which is Neal and Emma getting back together. But who knows, maybe they will surprise me with a Hook and Emma relationship?
I’m seriously starting to wonder how they are going to deal with the Charming-situation. Should Charming fans be concerned at this point? Maybe a little bit.
Another thing that was finally wrapped up was the mysterious appearances by Belle who turned out to be Pan’s shadow. That was actually a pretty good twist when we found out as I really bought the idea of Belle just being an illusion through Rumple’s conscious.
Overall, “Ariel” was one of the strongest episodes of the season, if not the best episode of season 3. We still have five more episodes to go before they go on a hiatus and seeing how strong it has been so far for this season, it will likely keep getting better.
Once Upon a Time airs every Sunday night, 8/7c on ABC.