Once Upon A Time “Best Laid Plans” Review (Season 4 Episode 17)


I love when we get a nice, solid episode of Once Upon a Time. This week, we finally learned the horrible secret that Snow and Charming have been keeping and met the infamous Author.

We start with Snow and Charming visiting a unicorn to see their baby’s future. It’s interesting that David sees the happy baby, while Snow sees the angry teenaged version of Emma. I’m not sure that Snow can jump to the conclusion that vision-Emma is evil; she obviously has mommy issues (and who can blame her?).

Regina continues her undercover work with the evil trio of Gold, Cruella, and Maleficent. Gold easily figures out that the Author is trapped in the book. To get the page of the book, Maleficent puts the town to sleep. If she has this kind of power, why didn’t she do it earlier? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on people who were previously under a sleeping curse. So Snow, Charming and Henry are wide-awake. Gold makes the connection that Henry must have absconded with the book. It’s funny how often Gold forgets that Henry is his grandson.

I was surprised that Hook and her parents told Emma about Gold’s plan to turn her dark. They’ve been keeping everything a secret, so it’s good they came clean. Emma’s convinced that she will never go dark. Instead of encouraging her, Snow and Charming are all doom and gloom. The situation is tapping into their less heroic sides. We see that the Charmings are not exactly perfect with the big reveal of their secret.

Way back when in the Enchanted Forest, a peddler tells them that Maleficent turned herself into a dragon and laid an egg. I’m automatically suspicious of anyone who is helpful in the Enchanted Forest. He tells them to go in another direction, which leads them to the Sorcerer’s apprentice’s cabin. He tells them that if they want Emma to be good, all of the darkness must be taken and transferred to another baby. Charming recognizes this is wrong, but Snow decides to transfer the darkness to Maleficent’s egg. At this point, the only way this can go is wrongly.

They head to Maleficent’s lair to steal the egg. It’s pretty messed up when Snow ignores Maleficent’s cries. It’s also messed up that they didn’t iron out the details on what would happen to the baby. This is probably the worst thing the Charmings have ever done. When they bring the egg back, it disappears into a hole alongside Ursula and Cruella. That means that the child is alive and kicking in our world. Later in the episode, Gold shows Maleficent her daughter, Lilith. Lilith is the demon du jour in many shows right now. I’m not sure she is an appropriate villain for a family friendly show. She’s a seductress and child murderer. Definitely more appropriate for True Blood than Once Upon a Time.

In the search for the Author, Henry protects the book from the villains, but turns it over to his grandparents. Charming’s plan is to destroy the page with the Author. Fortunately, Snow recognizes that’s a bad idea. If they kept Regina from getting her happy ending, I’d never like them again. They decide to come clean to Emma, who then has to decide whether to release the Author. August warns that the Author was trapped because he was manipulating people through his writing, as opposed to being an observer. I don’t know why Emma decides to take the risk and let him go. It doesn’t pay off as the Author immediately flees. It’s obvious the Author is going to try and make Emma go dark. He’ll probably even make a deal with Gold.

I suspect that in the future, Henry is going to become the next Author. He’s obsessed with the book and would be the best person to write everyone’s happy ending.

As an aside, I love Maleficient’s Storybrooke wardrobe. I also throw a lot of shade on Snow White’s Enchanted Forest hair, so it only seems fair to acknowledge when it looks good. It was a million times better this week. CGI dragon Maleficent was not fantastic and the green screen in the Sorcerer’s mansion looked terrible.

In two weeks, we’re revisiting Oz. I’m not sure why, except the fact that it was one of their stronger stories and they want to milk it some more. I’m looking forward more to the return of Robin Hood.