PLEASE NOTE: This Recap & Review is SPOILER filled. If you haven't watched the episode and don't want to know what happens, please stop here and come back once you've watched the episode! THE RECAP
The episode picks up from the epilogue of last week's episode "T.A.H.I.T.I." in which the Asgardian Lorelei (Elena Satine) appears in the middle of Death Valley and takes control of a newlywed groom who has vowed to keep her safe. They end up at a biker camp where she meets a biker named Rooster. She is intrigued by his motorcycle and when Rooster he is a leader of a gang with motorcyles, she decides to dump the newlywed for this band of bikers to be her servants.
On the Bus, Skye (Chloe Bennet) tries to get up, but Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) gets her to get back into bed. Skye is impatient about having to stay in bed and have tests run on her. Ward (Brett Dalton) comes to visit and is happy to see her getting better. She feels bad that she went into Quinn's place without backup, but Ward tries to make her feel better by telling her, because of her, they know Mike Peterson (J. August Richards) is still alive. He tells her that they've learned he might be part of some project called Deathlok. Skye tells him that something is wrong with Peterson and he needs help, but Ward says he can't forgive him for not having protected her. Skye wants to get back to training and to train harder.
Meanwhile, Simmons explains to Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) that Skye is getting suspicious about her blood work. But, things just get more mysterious when she can't seem to find any of the "GH-325" in her system. She's healing, but she can't find anything irregular. She also tells Fitz that Coulson (Clark Gregg) doesn't want her to send information to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters and to keep it "in house."
Coulson, continuing to investigate the mystery of his resurrection, secretly meets with his colleague Agent Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández) for help to get into contact with Nick Fury. Sitwell agrees to help, but tells Coulson that Fury is a high level agent who is off the grid and can only be found when he wants to be found.
Back on the Bus, May (Ming-Na Wen) debriefs the team that there are massive energy readings near by California/Nevada border similar to what Dr. Foster found in New Mexico. So, in other words, Asgardian. May tells the team S.H.I.E.L.D. wants them to meet the visitor. And, so, they track the energy signature and the Bifrost opens right in front of them. It is Lady Sif of Asgard (Jaimie Alexander). They recognize her as an ally to Thor and Sif explains that our world is in great danger.
They bring Sif back to the Bus. Coulson has returned and tells May a bit more about Sif. May is concerned about Coulson and let's him know that she's here for him. Sif is confused seeing Coulson as she tells him that Thor told her he perished at Thor's hand. Coulson says that S.H.I.E.L.D. has some tricks of their sleeve and says that Thor will be pleased as he considered Coulson a friend. Coulson asks that he be the one to tell Thor.
Sif then debriefs the team about Lorelei who explains that she has the power to control men. Coulson asks what they can do. Sif shows them a collar that can prevent her from speaking and, therefore, stop controlling men. Coulson then preps the team to try to intercept her.
Elsewhere, at a biker bar, Lorelei is trying to get accustomed to this world. Rooster's wife barges in and wonders what he's doing with Lorelei and why she's wearing her clothes. Lorelei "suggests" to Rooster to get rid of his wife and he chokes her to death.
Back on the Bus, Coulson is talking with Sif and starts asking her if she's encountered any people who were blue. She says she has, listing off several alien races, including the Kree, but says the only ones that have been to earth recently are the Frost Giants of Jotunheim. Getting back to the issue at hand, Sif and Coulson realize that Lorelei is trying to build an army on Midgard.
The group then track her down to the biker bar. They see police outside and Coulson starts to ask if the suspect is inside. One of the officers says that they have and "she is beautiful." They start shooting at S.H.I.E.L.D. and we realize she has the police under control. S.H.I.E.L.D. and the police engage in gun battle. Lorelei is wondering what is going on outside and Rooster explains that there is a woman with a shielf outside. Lorelei realizes Sif has come.
Sif enters the building and Lorelei orders her men to tear her apart. But, Sif can easily take them, but Lorelei is gone by the time she bests them all. Ward also tries to make his way in and ends up engaging in a fight with Rooster. Lorelei finds Ward and takes him under control. She asks him to take her to a place fit for a queen.
Back on the Bus, Sif is upset at Lorelei's escape and that the collar has been broken. Coulson meets with Skye and Fitz-Simmons. He asks Fitz-Simmons to figure out a way to fix the collar. Skye asks what she can do and Coulson asks her to try to track Lorelei and Ward. Simmons, privately, asks Coulson if she can send a sample of Skye's blood to headquarters as she's hit a wall with her limited resources. Coulson, though, tells her no and she demands to know why. He tells her that two men died to keep the drug hidden and they don't know why. He wants to keep it secret until he gets answers from Fury. He tells her to keep focused on the mission at hand.
Meanwhile, Ward has taken Lorelei to Las Vegas. Ward tells her that he would die for her and also admits that he once had feelings for somebody on his team. She tells him to present her with an army and she will give him a gift on his return. But, before that, the two go up to the room and have sex. Later, Lorelei is looking out the window and telling Ward that she had spent 600 years in a cell shackled with a collar. Ward tells her she has nothing to worry about. She tells him to not underestimate Sif as he does not know her, but he tells her he knows his team.
Back on the Bus, May talks to Sif about Lorelei. May wonders why Lorelei controls men. Sif tells her that every warrior needs to build an army. May seems to express concern about Ward. Sif tells her that the man she cared for was under her spell once and that she needs to steel herself to do what she needs to do. She told her that Ward will try to kill her. May says that he may try to kill her, but he won't.
The team track her down to the suite in Las Vegas, but, Ward and Lorelei have disappeared by the time they get there. Ward is using his knowledge of the team to stay off their track. Coulson aks May, since Ward and she has the same training, where would she run to. She says she wouldn't run, but would knock out her main threat. Them.
Fitz shows that Sif that he has repaired the collar, but it turns out that Fitz is now under Lorelei's spell too and locks Sif in an interrogation room. He has already locked up Skye and Simmons as well. Coulson sees Fitz and realizes he's under Lorelei's control. He tricks Fitz into telling her where she is. May confronts Lorelei, but Lorelei knocks her out with one punch. Ward then opens an airlock in Sif's interrogation room. Sif realizes the collar is about to get sucked out and grabs hold of it, only to be pulled out of the airlock as well.
Ward then comes to Lorelei. May tells Ward to fight it. Lorelei tells May that Ward told him who he desired before her and it wasn't May. Coulson breaks out Skye and Simmons. They explain Sif has been sucked out an airlock, but he reminds her that she's Asgardian and to let her back in.
Lorelei goes to the interrogation room where Sif once was. She discovers Sif's sword and seems pleased. But, Sif has made her way back on to the plane. Lorelei asks Sif to please leave her be, but Sif says that she has her orders to bring her back. The two battle.
Fitz tries to help Lorelei, but Simmons finds him and Coulson knocks him out. At the same time, Ward and May engage in battle. Sif manages to subdue Lorelei and places the collar on her. Right before that, Ward is about to shoot May, but, fortunately, she managed to remove the clip. And, at that second, Ward falls back into his senses now that Lorelei has the collar on her. Sif takes Lorelei away and thanks S.H.I.E.L.D. for their help.
May then talks to Coulson about his bottling up what he's seen. She encourages him to talk to Skye as she deserves to know about what he saw. Ward apologizes to May about everything, but she says she told him it was never a risk for her. She does tell him that he was more honest about his feelings with her than he was with himself.
As May suggests, Coulson does go down to talk to Skye and he let's her know what he saw at the Guest House. He apologizes that he couldn't stop them from injecting her with the mystery chemical. While Skye is blown away from the news, she is calm and thanks him for saving her life. She says at least they're in the dark together. Coulson tells her that the two of them will secretly find out answers for their safety and their team's. Coulson says they are going to go after whoever was responsible for this and make them pay.
In the final scene, we discover Coulson's conversation with Skye is being bugged...by MAY!!!! She calls on an encrypted line and says, "He knows. I repeat. Coulson knows."
This is the episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I've been waiting for! While I've really enjoyed the last few episodes, I think this was the type of episode I was expecting from the show when it was first announced. I didn't really expect the Avengers to show up, but I wanted to see more Marvel Universe and how it really connects to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Bringing Jaimie Alexander as Sif was perfect for connecting the two universe. Sif may not be one of the Major Leaguers, BUT, she is well known enough in the Marvel Universe. And, it's nice that she got another chance to have a spotlight cast in her. One of my complaints about Thor: The Dark World was that Sif and the Warriors Three didn't get enough screen time. So, allowing a character like Sif to shine on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. really reminded me of the potential of this show.
And, on top of this, to feature a character like Lorelei from the Marvel comic book universe just adds to this. Again, Lorelei might not be an A-list villain, but, she, again, is a perfect nod to the fans. I'm hoping that this is a sign that Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is on track for where it should be going.
Both our lady Asgardians were absolutely wonderful. As I mentioned, it was great to see Jaimie Alexander again in the role of Lady Sif and to see her show herself a warrior worthy of her Asgardian roots. Elena Satine was absolutely amazing, too. Watching the two of them interact together, I could see Lorelei appearing in a Thor movie. And, again, that's what this series should be doing.
Another big thrill was Sif's references to various alien races with blue skin...Levians, Kree, Centaurians, Sarks and so on and so forth. It just reminds us that the Marvel Universe is large and that the potential in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is endless. Although, it is interesting that she says, outside of the Frost Giants, none of the races have been to Earth. Marvel fans know of the Kree's relationship with the Inhumans, having genetically engineered them from primitive humans millions of years ago. So, it will be interesting, if rumors are true that Marvel is trying to use the Inhumans as their answer to mutants in the Mavel Cinematic Universe how they'll explain their creation. But, just because Sif said in this episode that the Kree haven't been to Earth before doesn't mean it can't be explained in the future if they do indeed link the Kree to the Inhumans. But, I did think it was interesting.
Outside of the Asgardians, we got other great moments in this episode. There's the tension between Ward and May as a result of Lorelei's revelation that Ward actually has feelings for Skye (she never names her, but it's safe to assume that's who she's talking about). I can only imagine some complications arising from this revelation no matter how steeled May can be.
Then, we have Coulson's pledge to Skye that they will find out answers, but that they have to do this secretly.
But, the biggest revelation is May seeming to be some kind of mole within the team. Of course, we don't know what her motivations are, but, wow...that was a twist I did not see.
We've seen this team come together and gel as a team and, now, we'll see how they deal with each other's secrets through adversity.
If I wasn't hooked before, I am definitely hooked now. I'm hoping they'll use this episode as a template of what they can do.
As you know, I am very much a fan of Marvel coming to the Disney Parks. I've written a blog entry about why it makes sense for Marvel to be there. Now, having just come back from Disneyland and meeting Captain America and seeing how much of a draw Innoventions has now become, I thought I'd give my opinion of what I think the Disneyland Resort should be doing next. While I know Marvel is being built into both Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, I'm going to stick with the Disneyland Resort for now. Also, as I write this, I also know that Disney can't just do things without the budget to do so. So, I understand why things can't just happen over night. But, nonetheless, I have an opinion of where they should be going.
I know there are some people who are disappointed that the only Marvel presence that Disneyland has is in the form of meet-and-greets and static exhibits. The Marvel movies are some of the most successful movies these days and, while I am very much enjoying the growing presence in Innoventions, I can't say that I don't agree that Disney now needs to do more.
I honestly think, though, Disney had, at first, reacted out of trepidation of adding this new property to Disneyland. Given some very vocal fears from some fans about Marvel being introduced into the original Magic Kingdom, I guess I can understand it. I was actually surprised when they ended up opening Iron Man Tech presented by Stark Industries at Disneyland itself. I thought that they'd open something at Disney California Adventure before Disneyland.
But, now it has opened up three exhibits in Innoventions and they've all proven to be popular.
So, what next?
In all honesty, I think Disney needs to think beyond that one building. While I think all the exhibits look great, and I do hope they open up more meet-and-greets for future movies (I want to meet Rocket Raccon and Groot some day!!!), I'd love to see an actual attraction. The question is what attraction and where it would go. Right now, the Marvel presence has been a band aid to an attraction that hasn't been a draw for years. So, if they do build an attraction, I would want them to put it into a properly themed area that would not only support the attraction, but meet-and-greets with Marvel characters as well. Say what you will about them, they have proven to be popular among guests, including yours truly. But, is Tomorrowland really the place for Marvel? Does Marvel really say "tomorrow?"
While I enjoy Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, I also find it irritating that it's in Tomorrowland as Monsters, Inc. doesn't say "tomorrow" either. And, given the fact that Disneyland's Tomorrowland already lacks coherent theming, I would hate for them to build an attraction that would serve as another band-aid.
But, they're building the Iron Man Experience at Hong Kong Disneyland, you say? This particular attraction would fit in a Tomorrowland setting as it is solely Iron Man themed and works given Tony Stark's futurist motivations. Yes, they could certainly duplicate it for Disneyland. But, if rumors are true about the Star Wars retheming of Tomorrowland, such an attraction wouldn't really work anymore. So, again, I would want Disney to fit it into an appropriately themed area.
The thing is...what theme would Marvel most fit in. Certainly, the Marvel Universe is vast and spans from Atlantis deep within the ocean to the Nine Realms to the Kree empire in the far reaches of space. But, at the heart of the Marvel Universe is New York City. As it stands, there is no area in either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure that says "New York City."
Now, there have been rumors of a third gate eventually being built, but there is so much infrastructure that needs to be in place before that happens. I don't know if Disney should wait either for a third gate to be built before a Marvel attraction is built. And, it would have to be at Disneyland because, building a "New York Themed" area doesn't really fall in line with the concept of Disney California Adventure. So, for me, the only thing that would make sense would be to reapportion a part of the Star Wars themed Tomorrowland to house a Marvel themed mini-land of some sort. And, one, hopefully, that doesn't look like Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando.
The other thing that Disneyland needs to do is start creating Disney Park specific Marvel merchandise. I think it's missed a giant opportunity having this Marvel presence in Innoventions and not having any merchandising opportunities right there. In fact, when I was there, I had to walk to Star Traders to the old Starcade section to find the closest Marvel merchandise.
I talked with a couple of cast members who said that the Marvel stuff doesn't sell as well in the park, but I think it's mainly because they're selling Marvel action figures and toys that you can find in your local Target or Walmart, but for a much cheaper price. There are no Marvel mash-up toys like there are for Star Wars, no Disney Park specific apparel nor are there collectibles like pins. They have managed to release a vinylmation series with the next one on the way. This is a good sign. But, I just feel like there needs to be more. And, more that guests feel they can't leave the park without.
I know it's really a matter of time before the Disneyland Resort starts adding more Marvel. Disney wouldn't have bought a media company with thousands of characters and adventures at its disposal without incorporating them into the park. But, it's been a year since they opened Iron Man Tech presented by Stark Industries and given the success of the growing Marvel presence at Disneyland, I hope they will soon start moving beyond just using Disneyland Entertainment budget to create magical Marvel memories.
That weekend, it was a beautiful spring day. I loved these vibrantly colored tulips planted out front...
After going to visit Captain America, since I didn't have much more time left before going to meet my cousins for dinner, I went to check out the new Mechanical Kingdoms exhibit at the Disney Gallery. It was a fun exhibit, especially since I love the look of Steampunk, but it was mostly concept art for attractions either at Disneyland Paris and Tokyo DisneySea.
I really wanted this Steampunk Minnie Mouse riding a mechanical unicorn! LOL!
The next day, I got to the park early for rope drop. While I waited, I said hello to Daisy Duck...
...and my pal Goofy!
But, my primary objective of the day was to say hello to Anna and Elsa at the Frozen Royal Reception. I regretted not having visited them more often before Frozen became a box office phenomenon. They can now command lines often up to 4 hours. So, I decided to book it over there right after rope drop. When I arrived, I was told that the wait would be 1 1/2 hours, but I wasn't sure if that included the hour we still had to wait for the meet-and-greet to open.
I wished, though, Elsa could have worked a little more of her cold magic as it was so hot outside. And, I didn't have any water with me so I was dehydrated by the time I got inside. I was also starved, so I wish I could have eaten these. LOL!
After about two hours, I finally got to meet Elsa and Anna. We were told there was a chance that only one of them might be there, so I was so relieved to see them both when I entered. And, usually, I try to get through my meet as quickly as possible, but having waited two hours in the sun, I decided to take my time and get the pictures I wanted to get.
After I left the Frozen Royal Reception, I went to get some water from the water fountain near the Pinocchio bathrooms (remember...dehydrated from two hours in the sun!). When I came up for air, Elsa and Anna happened to pass by and I got a few more photos of them.
After seeing Anna and Elsa, I headed over to the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree in Frontierland to see if, by chance, there were any new characters meeting over there. But, it was the same characters I've seen before. Don't get me wrong. I love these characters and I always have fun meeting them, but I wish they'd shake it up a bit. It seems most of the people that go over there are the Annual Passholders and, if it's the same characters, APs tend to lose interest. Anyway, when I went over there, it was Robin Hood and Friar Tuck, Honest John Foulfellow and Gideon and Suzy (without Perla)...
After I left the Jamboree, I walked through the Ranch and got a quick picture with my gal Jessie...
After having been out in the sun for so long, I wanted to sit down for awhile. I passed through Fantasy Faire and noticed that the line for the Tangled Show at the Royal Theater was short and I could potentially get a good seat for picture taking. And, I did get a good seat where I was also able to see and get pictures of Flynn for the couple of times when he's on the ground. LOL!
After the show, I stuck around to say hello to Rapunzel & Flynn. They are two of my favorite characters to meet!
And Mr. Rider was nice enough to give me his smolder, even though Rapunzel warned me that it could potentially break my camera...
After the show, I saw that the line for Belle was relatively short and decided to say hello to her. I hadn't had a chance to take a picture of her in her new dress. I'm still not that big of a fan of it, although it doesn't bother me that much. I just think it looks too light. I liked the vibrant gold of the original dress.
And, just to complete my Fantasy Faire experience, I visited the Royal Hall to see who was there. The sign said the line was 30 minutes, but I don't think I waited 15 minutes. The first princess I came across was Aurora. I'm not quite sure, though, why she kept posing where her shoulder appliqué covered her face.
Next up was Ariel wearing her new dress...
...and, lastly, but not leastly, I saw Cinderella!
After Fantasy Faire, I went over to Tomorrowland where I got a quick lunch at Pizza Port and so that I could sit down in an air conditioned dining room. Then, I headed over to Innoventions to say hello to Thor and Captain America. When I got there, there was actually a line to get into Innoventions! It's amazing how the Marvel exhibits and meet-and-greets have made Innoventions a place to go.
Fortunately, it didn't take too long to get into Innoventions and I made my way to Thor: Treasures of Asgard. I had heard that there was some new lighting effects in the pre-show that I wanted to see. And, to be totally honest, I wanted to see Thor. It's amazing that, even though I've seen him several times now, I still get goosebumps seeing him. I still got a little weepy watching him interact with guests.
And, after Thor, I went to see Captain America one more time!
After meeting Captain America, my phone was about to die. So, I decided to walk though Downtown Disney and then park it at the Grand Californian for a bit so I could plug in my phone. I noticed that the Starbucks in Downtown Disney had its walls down. It's a HUGE Starbucks and beautiful on the inside. And, they have a huge patio area for people to enjoy their coffee. I wish, though, it were open because it would have been perfect having some Starbucks while I sat in the Grand Californian. LOL!
I sat in the Grand Californian for awhile, just enjoying the air conditioning and the lovely piano music being played in the lobby. Then, I soon realized it was almost time for me to go to meet my family for dinner. I realized I hadn't stepped into Disney California Adventure this visit which is very odd as I usually spend a lot of time there. So, on my way back to my car, I walked through and stopped into the Disney Animation Building, one of my favorite places at the Disneyland Resort. And, I ended up watching the whole animation loop in the lobby!
And, after enjoying the animation loop, I made my way out of Disney California Adventure and said good-bye to the Disneyland Resort for this visit!
I've finally gotten a chance to start binge watching all the Star Wars: The Clone Wars goodness that's been released on Netflix! You've seen my review of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and, so, before I move into the television series, I watched the feature animated film of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
I'm going to be honest. I didn't start watching The Clone Wars until the 5th season. So, until now, I had never watched the movie and the first four seasons. Call me a bad Star Wars fan, but I just couldn't get over how much I disliked the prequel trilogy. And, when the movie first came out, I had heard bad reviews and couldn't bring myself to watch another bad Star Wars entry.
The film begins as the Clone Wars is already well under way. Anakin Skywalker has grown up a bit from the bratty teenager he was in Attack of the Clones and is given a Padawan as a charge - a young Togruta named Ahsoka Tano. The Separatists, led by Count Dooku, have been trying to get more planets to side with them against the Republic. As part of the plan, they try to convince Jabba the Hutt that the Jedi have kidnapped his son. In return for the Hutts' allegiance, the Separatists promise to return Jabba's son. But, you can't hold a good Jedi down nor can you under estimate the light side of the Force and the Separatists plans go awry.
And, so the Clone Wars continue.
While I read a lot of bad reviews about this film, I have to admit that I enjoyed it. Yes, there's a part of me that wishes they didn't so clearly try to target younger audiences. There's some level of eye rolling for me because of it. The wacky droid dialogue just seems out of place, especially when they're speaking to a Sith as dangerous as Asajj Ventress. It just makes her seem less threatening. But, even in its most juvenile outreach to younger viewers, I still felt it was a better attempt to do so than Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
Also, speaking of annoying voices, though...what was with the voice casting for Ziro the Hutt? On one hand, you have Jabba speaking in this deep guttural tone and then you have his uncle Ziro sounding something like Truman Capote. Even if Ziro lived on Coruscant and didn't speak Huttese, why would he sound like that? Why wouldn't his voice be, at least, deep and phlegmy sounding.
Also, admittedly, if I just knew Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker's Padawan, from this film and this film alone and try not to think of how she eventually developed, I might also find her to be an annoyance. But, I think she was a good choice as a Padawan for Anakin, too. In Attack of the Clones, Anakin was brash and impulsive. As we start The Clone Wars, he's matured on some levels, but also still prone to impetuousness. Although, whereas his giving into this emotions can take him to the dark, Ahsoka tends to go to the light. She is a good yin to his yang. And, we get to see this throughout the series run of The Clone Wars television series.
This film has gotten a lot of flack for not having much of a story line, but, truth be told, I got way more out of this film than I did from any of the live action prequel trilogy. Yes, there are still long battles with droids and clones and dazzling lightsaber battles. But, at the same time, I thought it was a fine introduction to the meat of the Clone Wars. I do think, though, that once they get into the shorter episodes where they really have to encapsulate the storytelling, we get even more substance. This movie is really a drawn out version of a television episode on some levels.
I have to admit that the computer animation doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would. While the characters themselves come sometimes look a little stiff, director David Filoni gave them enough stylization to make them interesting. And, some of the backgrounds actually look quite beautiful. In fact, I felt that the scenes on Tatooine had more weight in this animated version than they did in the live action CGI of the prequels.
Is Star Wars: The Clone Wars a perfect Star Wars film? No. But, it is just as good, if not better than any of the prequel trilogy to me. And, what it sets up - 6 glorious seasons of the television seasons - is what I'll forever be grateful for.
I'm one again exploring formats for my reviews. So, let me know what you think of this one where I clearly divide the recap and review. In both cases, please note that there are SPOILERS. So, if you don't want to know what happens, please do not read unless you've watched the episode.
The episode begins with Prince Phillip (Julian Morris) riding to meet Aurora (Sarah Bolger). The two of them seem happy and are expecting a family. Suddenly, the storm clouds come in and, before you know it, all the inhabitants of Storybrooke have returned to the Enchanted Forest. Although, they do not look happy.
We then return to the "Real World" with Emma (Jennifer Morrison) meeting her date with her boyfriend Walsh (Christopher Goram). Emma seems happy and enjoying herself. Her boyfriend excuses himself for a moment and, instantly, Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) comes by and startles Emma. He tries to convince her that her family is in danger. He hands her an address and urges her to go there to see he's telling the truth. He also tells her to use her "super power" if she doesn't believe him.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), Charming (Josh Dallas) and Regina (Lana Parilla) are debriefing Phillip and Aurora as to what has happened. Phillip tells them they are welcome to their kingdom. Snow and the gang decide to take back her kingdom and to take Regina with them. As they prepare, Aurora and Phillip talk in confidence and that they have to kill "her" now that they've returned.
Back in the "Real World," Walsh comes back with a ring and proposes marriage. Emma is unsure and walks out. Walsh stops her and Emma tells her that she feels it's all going so fast. He tells her that they can take it slow and don't have to get married right away. Emma returns home to Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) and Henry asks what she said to Walsh. Emma is surprised that he knew. Henry seems to be content with Walsh joining the family and tells Emma that not everybody is like his father. We learn Emma's only memory of Neal is him setting her up to take the fall for his crime.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, Jiminy Cricket arrives and tells Grumpy (Lee Arenberg) that other inhabitants of Storybrooke are popping up all over. Charming sees Hook getting his horse ready. Hook tells Charming that he's going to go return to his ship. Both Charming and Snow are disappointed by his decision. As Hook leaves, Neal (Micheal Raymond-James) says he's heard about others showing up and hopes that his father might be one of them.
Back in the "Real World," Henry asks Emma if something is wrong. He says it seems like she's always looking for something to be wrong and that it's okay to be happy. But, Emma clearly has the address Hook sent her on her mind. She goes to the address and it is Neal's old apartment. She then discovers a camera with a strap that says "Henry." She then goes to meet Hook and questions him. She wants to know why there was a camera with her son's name on it and Hook says it's proof that he's telling the truth as Henry must have left it in the apartment before the spell. Hook tries to give Emma a potion to help her remember, but she ends up having him arrested for assaulting her.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, Belle (Emilie de Ravin) talks with Neal and tells her that she thinks they can get Rumplestiltskin back. The inhabitants of Storybrooke approach Snow White's kingdom when Grumpy informs Snow that Regina is missing. Snow finds Regina burying a heart. It's Regina's heart. She's trying to bury the pain of losing Henry. Snow White tries to tell her she knows how she feels having lost her daughter twice. She tells her things will get better and reminded her that Henry wanted her to be happy. Regina then takes her heart back and rejoins the group. As Snow and Regina walk back, Snow hears something in a bush. It's a flying monkey trying to take them away, but Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) and his Merry Men come to help.
Back in the "Real World," Emma tells Henry that maybe it's time for her to start looking forward. Henry is excited about the prospect of his mom finding happiness with Walsh. Henry goes upstairs and Emma looks at some photos that she had developed off of Henry's camera. She is shocked and goes to see Hook again who she's had released. She doesn't understand what's happening in the photos that have never happened before. Hook again tells her that it's further proof he's telling the truth. He tells her to trust what's in her gut, which is something Henry also tells her. She decides to take the potion Hook offered her earlier and her memories return. She recognizes Hook!
Back in the Enchanted Forest, Robin Hood recognizes Neal and Belle. Regina asks what Emma thinks about Robin, him being a thief and all. Snow tells her to think of it from his perspective and how he thinks he looks at her. Regina says, "Point taken." As they walk along, they discover the castle is surrounded by a protection spell. But, who? Regina is upset about something taking her castle and wants to storm it. Charming, though, thinks they should keep their people protected and Robin Hook offers up his camp.
Back in the "Real World," Emma has a drink with Hook who tells her he came back to save her. Emma doesn't know how to tell Henry about all this. She doesn't know how to explain this to Walsh either and goes to talk with him. Emma tells Walsh she can't marry him and that she needs to go home to take care of some things. Walsh suddenly tells her that he wished she'd never drank the potion. She realizes Walsh isn't who he says he is and reveals himself to also be a flying monkey. He attacks Emma, but she manages to get rid of it. She then tells Hook she realizes she was never safe there and that they'll leave in the morning.
In the morning, Emma tries to figure out how to tell Henry. She asks him if he believes in magic. He says he does, but in a joking way. She then tells Emma that they're going to go on a trip. Henry is excited about this, but puzzled that they're going so soon. She introduces Hook to him as "Killian" and says they're going. But, before they do, she puts on her familiar red jacket. And, off they go to Storybrooke.
In Storybrooke, Emma asks Hook to watch Henry while he's asleep in the car. She goes up to her parents' apartment and discovers them there. They explain that they've returned through some curse and that an entire year has been wiped out. They can't remember anything...including Snow White's pregnancy.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, we see a figure in back talking to a flying monkey. The monkey has brought her some of Regina's blood and the figure says that she can finally extract her revenge on the queen. She reveals herself to be the Wicked Witch of the West (Rebecca Mader) from Oz.
Anyway, after several months on hiatus, Once Upon A Time is back! And, when I say "back," I mean BACK...IN STORYBROOKE! While I enjoyed the earlier part of the season and the trip to Never Land, I was a little worried that the curse during the mid-season finale would continue to take the characters out of the Storybrooke. One of the things that makes the show fun and special is that we're seeing fairy tale characters living in the "Real World." Yes, we get to see their former lives in the Enchanted Forest in flashbacks, but, the heart of the stories take place in Storybrooke.
This episode was mainly a bridge from the events of the mid-season finale in which the curse brings the inhabitants of Storybrooke back to the Enchanted Forest to the next episode which will start answering some of the questions as to how they returned. But, it was a fun episode nonetheless, including the whole plot line in which Emma almost marries a flying monkey!
The twist is an interesting one with a curse placed on them where they forgot what happened between the time they left Emma and Henry to the point where Emma returns to Storybrooke. The end of the episode leaves us with so many questions. Not only do we wonder what happened in that year and how Snow White is pregnant, but how Hook ended up there seemingly with some memories and what Henry will do considering he has no memories of his fairy tale family.
It will also interesting to see how some of the characters will change. I'm mainly referring to our villainous characters who have been moving toward redemption. During the mid-season finale, we saw Rumplestiltskin sacrifice himself for his family. Hook is now playing a central part in helping Emma save her family and save herself. And, we see Regina becoming chummy with the eternally optimistic Snow White.
And, to do this, we are giving our villains some villains of their own. To say that I'm excited about Oz coming to Once Upon A Time is an understatement. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the Oz stories. Although, it's interesting with the Oz stories being American fairy tales that they'd cast the Wicked Witch with an actress with a British accent. LOL!
So, it will be interesting to see how wicked and evil differ and I, for one, am in for the ride!
On Friday, I headed down to Disneyland with one primary objective that day - meet Captain America!
I didn't know how long the line would be given it was opening weekend. I know that they "sold out" of Annual Passholder registrations the week before. And, given the long lines when Thor: Treasures of Asgard opened, I wasn't really sure what to expect. All I knew is that I was going to wait if it took me all night long.
When I arrived at Innoventions, I noticed that they added Captain America and Avengers banners along side the Thor and Iron Man ones wrapped along the building. In fact, with the exception of Asimo, it looks like Innoventions is all Marvel from the outside.
When you enter Innoventions now, instead of heading to the right to get to the attractions, you now travel to the left past the Iron Man and Thor exhibits, the XBOX and Project Tomorrow interactive exhibits and the Honda Asimo Theater to get to Captain America: The Living Legend & Symbol Of Courage.
Once you make your way around, you see a very patriotically designed area, complete with timeline of Captain America's history.
One of the cool things in the queue is the lenticular graphic of Steve Rogers before the super serum and what he looks like after. In the movie, while we knew he became more bulked up and bigger, you still don't really get a sense as to how much bigger he got. But, if you look at the pictures below, you'll see it is actually quite a bit.
Right before you get to meet Captain America, you see the costume Captain America wore during World War II...
And, finally, it's time to meet Captain America! As with meeting Thor, I got a little chocked up as well. Again, like Thor, Cap is a childhood hero and, to see him fully realized, it makes me emotional.
The friend of Captain America that I met was great. He was very affable and larger than life. I enjoyed meeting him very much.
After meeting him, you get to see a series of Captain America's shield designs.
Now, I've heard some people complaining that the Captain America meet-and-greet is not as nice or big as the Thor: Treasures of Asgard meet-and-greet. But, one has to remember that the one for Thor is probably the most elaborate one they've done for a character. At least to my knowledge. And, I am a huge character person. So, trying to compare the two is a little unfair. That said, graphic design tastes aside, I thought Captain America: The Living Legend & Symbol of Courage was perfect for Marvel's most patriotic hero and a great addition to the growing Marvel presence at Innoventions.