This is coming a bit late, but it has arrived none the less. The first recap of season 3 and it is one of the standout episodes from the Neverland arc.
So may I present, the recap of episode 6, “Ariel.”
Shockingly, the episode begins without a recap, but instead begins with a Bandit Snow White running away from the Evil Queen’s Black Knights. As she runs, she ends up at the edge of a cliff and jumps off the cliff into the water below to escape the Knights. Snow is brought from the water by a mermaid. And who is this mermaid? You probably don’t need to ask because, of course, it is the Little Mermaid herself, Ariel. Side note, but totally relevant: Joanna Garcia-Swisher is perfect as Ariel.
Then we arrive to the present where Regina is trying to teach Emma magic in Neverland. Regina says that the magic must come from anger, which Emma does not want to do. But, the second Emma gets angry, her magic begins to work. As her parents watch what happens, Charming is logically nervous about Regina teaching Emma magic, considering who Regina is. Hook comes from the jungle and tells Snow and Charming that Pan revealed to him that Neal is alive and in Neverland. Even though Snow wants to tell Emma the truth, Hook and Charming want to find the proof before they go telling her Neal is alive.
In the past, Ariel and Snow introduce themselves and Ariel tells Snow of the prince she saved, Eric, and how she is going to a ball to try and meet him. According to the legend of Ursula, the sea goddess, on that day mermaids can have legs between the two tides. In other words, Ariel has 12 hours to meet and fall in love with Eric before she returns to being a mermaid.
As Hook and Charmingare about to set off to find Neal, Snow (the worst secret keeper) tells Emma that Neal is alive, which leaves Emma shocked.
In another part of the island, Peter Pan decides to pay Rumple a visit. Pan decides to mess with Rumple’s head by trying to convince him to go back to Storybrooke to Belle and leave his son and grandson behind so he doesn’t have to die for them. Side note 2: knowing who Pan is now, makes him so much more psychotic. In addition to this conversation, Pan says Rumple should start a new family with Belle because she seems “fertile” (ew. Just ew.).
While most of the Nevengers (yes, it’s a thing) want to find out if Neal is alive, Regina doesn’t, because it strays away from finding Henry. So, Regina goes on her own while Hook, Snow, Charming, and Emma, who is still worried about the possibility, set off to find Neal.
Ariel and Snow arrive at the ball in celebration of Ursula and Snow quizzes Ariel on her human lingo, including a fork, or mini trident, which Ariel steals. So many Little Mermaid puns. Prince Eric appears and as Ariel approaches him, he asks her to dance (I find it incredibly ironic that Prince Eric’s real name is Gil). As they dance, Eric realizes that he remembers Ariel from when she saved him and tells her that he wants to explore the world. Because of their connection, Eric invites Ariel to come with him, but because it is too soon he asks for her to meet him if she wants to come before he leaves the next day, which Ariel can’t do because she is a mermaid. After they finish their dance, Ariel tells Snow everything as Regina watches them through a magic mirror. As a way to continue her vengeance on Snow, she thinks of a way to use this situation to her advantage.
In Neverland, Pan watches the Nevengers (yes, I am going to keep using the term), look for Neal, and decides to send him to the Echo Caves (explanation coming).
Again, elsewhere in Neverland, Rumple is talking to ‘Belle’ about starting that new life that Pan was talking about when, suddenly, she is being invisibly choked. Turns out, Regina has found Rumple and is now proving to him who this ‘Belle’ is. Good thing, because the ‘Belle’ figment is actually Pan’s shadow messing with Rumple.
As the exploration continues, Emma tells Snow that she kissed Hook. Emma tells Snow it was “just a kiss,” and Snow wants Emma to know that Neal would forgive her and that she wants her to have her happy ending.
Ariel continues to worry about what to tell Eric since she is a mermaid, so she leaves Snow to have a chat with the mythological creature, Ursula. As she talks to the open sea, Ursula actually appears, but it is not Ursula, just Regina disguised as her, which Ariel doesn’t know.
After Regina gets rid of the shadow, Regina wants to team up with Rumple to destroy Pan. Rumple says there is something in Storybrooke that could help them with the task, so they set off to find a way to cross realms.
In the past, ‘Ursula,’ done with a crazy good impersonation by Lana Parrilla, offers Ariel a way for her to be able to walk forever. Ariel then goes back to Snow and tells her she found a way for Ariel to be with Eric and for Snow to get away from Regina, a bracelet that will switch legs with fins. Ariel puts the bracelet on Snow and gains Ariel’s fins. Snow realizes that this Ursula is not who she said she is and Regina appears.
Snow continues to try and get away from Regina, but cannot take the bracelet off. Regina sends Ariel away and starts to choke Snow to kill her, but Ariel returns and stabs Regina in the neck with the mini trident she stole. Ariel removes the bracelet to switch back to fins and her and Snow swim away.
Back to Neverland, everyone arrives at Echo Caves and Hook reveals that the only way get Neal back is to reveal their darkest secret. See I told you I’d get back to it. Inside the caves, Neal is sitting in the middle in the cage happy that Emma has arrived to save him. Emma is much more nervous now realizing that Neal is actually alive. Hook reiterates that the only way to save Neal is for everyone to reveal their darkest secret.
So he begins, Hook says he kissed Emma and David is pissed. But, since it is old news, Hook says that his real secret is that he is falling for Emma, the first time since Milah. After the secret is revealed, part of a bridge begins to appear. David tries to tell his secret before Snow interrupts him. Snow, while happy to be back with Emma, realizes they missed a lot of the parenting stuff. Snow reveals her secret is that she wants to go back to Storybrooke and have another child. More bridge appears. David then goes and reveals that he wants another child too, but his secret is that he can never leave the island because of the Dreamshade cure that only works on the island.
The bridge reaches the cage and Emma goes across to rescue Neal. After trying to attack the cage with her sword (ironically it’s actually Neal’s), Neal tells her the only way is to tell her secret and he understands anything she tells him. Emma tells Neal that even though she was still in love with Neal, she didn’t want him to actually be alive because of all the hurt they went through. It was easier for him to be dead than alive. The cage disappears and Neal hugs Emma.
Everyone exits the Echo Caves, and Neal thanks them for rescuing him. Snow, Charming, and Hook walk away to the next task and Emma apologizes for her secret. Neal reveals his secret, which is that he will never stop fighting for Emma (aww), which Hook was watching from afar (there’s a feud a brewin’). David apologizes to Snow for the secret, but she brushes him off.
Ariel and Snow arrive on land and Snow sends Ariel to Eric so she can be with him. Eric waits for Ariel as he leaves for his exploration and as Ariel appears to call his name, her voice goes away. She keeps trying, but since he can’t hear her he walks away. Regina appears and took her voice away as a punishment for the fork in the neck. Regina returns to her castle with the smug smile of satisfaction when the real Ursula begins to speak to her and threatens her for pretending to be her. Fun Fact: the voice of Ursula is OUAT celebrity super fan, Yvette Nicole Brown.
Finally, in Neverland, Regina and Rumple appear at the water where Regina summons Ariel. Ariel gets her voice back and they send her back to Storybrooke (mermaids can travel between realms) and promises legs and Eric for the return of the object Rumple needs to defeat Pan.
There it is, my first season 3 recap. So glad we have arrived at this episode because it is one of my favorites.
Hope you stuck around and remember only 16 days until OUAT returns (YAY!).