Episode 605 “Street Rats”
Written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz
Directed by Norman Buckley
In this episode, we got a glimpse of Agrabah, without the whimsy of the Genie.
Aren’t people from the Middle East supposed to sound like people from the Middle East? For some reason, they all sound British, with the exception of Aladdin (Deniz Akdeniz) who sounds like he’s from Australia or New Zealand. It’s almost like watching Doctor Who where the only people who don’t sound British are Americans.
Anyway, in a flashback to Agrabah, Jafar (Oded Fehr) took three thieves into town while lecturing on the problem with thieves. He then called them street rats before transforming them into … well … rats. All the while, Aladdin (sans Abu) was there pickpocketing everyone watching the spectacle. Gutsy move. His actions seemed a bit blatant, but nobody noticed. Way to establish that he’s quite the thief, albeit a bit awkward.
Princess Jasmine (Karen David) showed up and wanted to hire Aladdin to retrieve the Diamond in the Rough from the Cave of Wonders so she can fight Jafar. When she expected him to pick the lock on the entrance to the cave, he jokingly said “open sesame”, and the door opened to his astonishment. (There were people on Twitter who didn’t know the phrase originated in another story in the same collection as Aladdin, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves from One Thousand and One Nights.)
In there, Aladdin and Jasmine found a large diamond resting on the blade of a balanced scimitar. He did a weight switch a la Indiana Jones, though with much better success. Granted, a pillar fell and Aladdin discovered he had magic by stopping it. There were no darts or rolling boulders to contend with. And Jasmine realized he was the actual Diamond in the Rough, and she told him he was the Savior. At no point was there a lovable and whimsical Genie. There’s no way anyone could replace Robin Williams. But it was still a little bit of a let down leaving that part of the story out.
Jasmine gave Aladdin a golden scarab which represents heroism. Then Jafar had him follow the red bird to show him that the path of the Savior would only lead to his demise. He gave Aladdin a pair of golden shears that once belonged to the Fates and could sever his future as the Savior to save his life. Jasmine went to seek help from her father, the Sultan (Cedric De Souza), only to find him under Jafar’s control and playing with a toy castle. Jafar imprisoned her in an hourglass trap. In flew Aladdin on the flying carpet to save the day, freeing them from Jafar’s control. When Aladdin offered for Jasmine to join him in going after Jafar, she declined and wanted to protect the kingdom.
In Storybrooke, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Archie (Raphael Sbarge) followed the red bird to find the Oracle, since Emma thought she could help better than he could. They found her dead. They stopped Jasmine who was running away. In the interrogation room, she revealed who she was to Emma and David (Josh Dallas). And she referred to Aladdin as “the Savior”, which stunned both of them as well as an onlooking Snow (Gennifer Goodwin). Then came one of the best parts, Emma knowing her story because she saw the movie. Although a bit awkward that she saw the movie Aladdin but not the movies for all the other characters. But it was a fun little fourth wall break.
The Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) disguised herself as Archie and sent the real Archie to Zelena’s (Rebecca Mader) house since he wouldn’t divulge what he and Emma spoke about in their sessions. She then confronted Emma in front of her family and got her to reveal her visions to them. They were angry that she hadn’t been open and honest with them, and the Queen left satisfied. But they told her that they would stand beside her and do everything they could to help her live. Regina (also Lana Parrilla) was bothered by the insinuation that she might be the figure in the black hood.
One thing I haven’t really cared for much on this show is they turn villains into heroes, but then change them back before the new facet of the character can be fully explored. This happened when the Evil Queen convinced Zelena to once again embrace her wicked side as an example to her baby. So she turned Archie back into a cricket locked in a cage above the baby’s crib. The only one they continue to explore as a hero, and quite effectively, is Regina. I hope that continues.
Regina made a potion that would link the magic of the two Saviors so that they could find Aladdin. It led them to a crypt underneath the Storybrooke cemetery. Jasmine found the scarab she gave to him by a skeleton and left assuming he was dead. But then he appeared out of a corner, alive and well, to Emma and Henry (Jared S. Gilmore). Apparently he had been in Storybrooke all along. Okay, that’s a bit far fetched. But not as much as other things they’ve tried in the past. Anyway, he wasn’t a Savior since he used the shears to cut ties to his fate. When he went to Jasmine, she wanted his help saving Agrabah. But he no longer had the power.
Emma gave the shears to Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) since she intended to do what she needed to do, whether she would live or die. He promised to bury the shears “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, giving a clear setup for the next chapter in the tale.
All in all a good episode. I like that the writers aren’t over stretching stories to fill time, such as the four episode arc with Jekyll and Hyde. Though I expect we might not be fully done with that story. Still, moving it along from one subplot to another is working well so far this season. I wish they would linger a bit on the villains’ heroic sides for more than just Regina. And as good as it is to have new characters’ histories mix with our main characters, it’s a bit overdone and it’s good to see that the only crossover with Aladdin is the title of “Savior”. Also, the Three Bears Salon with Goldilocks treating Zelena and the Evil Queen as they discussed the queen’s plans was a nice touch.
I’m excited to see what they do with Captain Nemo!
Once Upon a Time airs Sunday nights at 8/7c on ABC.