Flash back to Prince Eric’s ball, where Ariel is torn, because she knows she can’t go adventuring with the prince, but she doesn’t want to ask him to stay here just for her. Snow White tells her to take the road…er…river less traveled and do what’s hard. It might hurt, but at least she’ll know she tried. Ariel changes into her mermaid dress to go by the shore to implore the goddess Ursula for help. She feels like she’s talking to nothing, until suddenly the sea witch herself appears…and she looks alarmingly like the Evil Queen.
Present-day Regina is telling Rumple she needs him because she knows he will take action with her, unlike Team Storybrooke who prefer to sit around and share their feelings. They consider killing Pan, but they know that would require too big a sacrifice. Regina says maybe there’s another way, and a light bulb goes off for Rumple. A fate worse than death. He has just the thing…back in Storybrooke. Figures. So now they have the solution, all they have to do is cross realms to get it.
Regina-as-Ursula offers Ariel a deal, which Ariel takes back to Snow. She slaps a cuff on Snow’s wrist, which immediately turns her into a mermaid. Now Snow can swim away from the Evil Queen, and Ariel can be with her prince! It’s a win-win! Surely there will be no price to pay for making a bargain with a seawitch!
Evil Queen Regina-as-herself shows up, content as can be, and mocks Snow for being stuck and Ariel for being gullible. Regina tells Ariel to leave, and Snow agrees. When she hesitates, Regina scoffs. “Are you going to give up the love of your life for a friend?” She says the word like it tastes bad. Ariel turns to leave and Regina faces her catch of the day.
Before the Evil Queen has the chance to filet Snow, Ariel runs up and shoves the salad trident into Regina’s neck.
Ariel takes the cuff off Snow, grabs her, and flings them both into the water.
Team Storybrooke follow the tracks-that-might-be-Neal’s to a cave, and Hook says he knows this cave. It’s a Cave of Secrets. Pan wants them to save Neal, because he believes that their secrets will destroy them. They enter the cave to see Neal in his cage in the center, a good 100 feet out of reach. Hook says the only way across is to start spilling their guts. Emma, ever the snarky one, asks if the first person to tell their secrets sprouts wings and I hope against all hope that’s true.
Alas, instead, a rock bridge forms a little more with each secret told. The secrets go as follows:
Hook didn’t think he would ever get over Milah until he met Emma.
Mary Margaret thinks Emma is great and all but kids are the best between ages two and nine, so she wants a do-over kid.
David would love a do-over kid BUT they’d have to raise it on Neverland because SURPRISE he almost died and the cure came with a price and now he can never leave.
Those three secrets were enough to close the gap, so Emma brandishes her sword and scurries across.
She starts hacking at the cave like a madwoman but Neal reminds her that that’s not how things work on Neverland, it’s her turn to spill. Her secret isn’t just that she never stopped loving him, but that she kind of hoped he’d stayed dead, because mourning him was easier than facing him and their past.
The truth hath set Neal free and they all scamper out of the Cave of Secrets. Neal says he knows how to get them home as long as they find Henry. Emma apologizes for saying she wished he were dead, but Neal doesn’t blame her for feeling that way. He tells her he’ll never stop fighting for her, and Hook eavesdrops and broods from behind some nearby weeds.
Flash back again to Snow White crawling onto the shore. She barely catches her breath before insisting Ariel swim back to get her man, because Snow White gets high on happy endings, even when they’re not her own. Of course, Prince Eric is waiting on his balcony, stalling his departure as long as possible, still hoping his dream love will appear. Ariel swims up and goes to shout his name, only to find she’s lost her voice. Regina is standing on the dock, a mischievous smirk on her face. She says the only thing worse than being rejected by your true love is never having the chance to tell him how you feel. She sends the little mermaid on her way.
Quite proud of her evil deed of the day, Regina cockily struts home, only to see a golden goddess Ursula waiting for her in her mirror. The image reaches through and wraps gilded tentacles around her body, warning her never to impersonate the sea goddess ever again.
Present day Regina drags Rumple to the shore and uses the Shell Phone to call Ariel. The voiceless mermaid pouts at Regina, who casually gives her back her voice as if she meant to do it eons ago but simply forgot. You see, mermaids can travel between realms with no problem, so Regina needs Ariel to fetch something from Gold’s shop for them. Ariel asks why she would ever help her, and Regina smirks and says because Prince Eric is currently in Storybrooke.
What did you think of “Ariel”? Were you excited to see their twists on The Little Mermaid?
Next week, it looks like we finally get to see what our friends in Storybrooke have been up to all this time!
Here are some of our favorite #queerytales tweets from this week:
Regina and Emma are creating flames together. Can the subtext be any less subtext-y? #queerytales
— Chen Drachman (@shokoshik) November 4, 2013
— Heather Manning (@HeatherBlakely) November 4, 2013
Granny better make room…the degenerate scooby gang is taking in strays left and right #queerytales
— Alexandria (@sankofa07762) November 4, 2013