Before she was known as a "Queen of Darkness," flanking Magnificent and Rumplestiltskin alongside Cruella De Vil, the Sea Witch Ursula played a different role on Once Upon A Time . She wasn't a witch, she was a legendary sea goddess who hadn't been seen in thousands of years. Next week's episode will delve into her history with Killian "Hook" Jones, which has been hinted at on the show. However, I'm more interested in how this lines up with what we learned about Ursula in Season 3 when Ariel was first introduced.
The casting call for the younger Ursula reported by TVLine described the witch as a young princess. She was kind and musical, but "if you cross her, you may find her more terrifying than even the most powerful kings." So, Ursula's a witch and a princess and a sea goddess? That's a lot of titles for one lady!
Joanna Garcia Swisher will reprise her role as Ariel in the upcoming episode "Poor Unfortunate Soul," so it's likely that these discrepancies will be addressed. Then again, Aurora's cameo in "Enter the Dragon" was short and Ariel could just be swimming around Storybrooke in the present with Eric. Just in case, let's recap everything we know about Ursula before her big flashback.
The first time we hear about Ursula, Ariel is explaining "mermaid mythology" to Snow White. She is the one who calls Ursula a sea goddess and tells the outlaw that every year at the highest tide, her kind is granted the ability to walk on land. Snow White wonders why Ariel can't ask Ursula for more time to woo her man, and Ariel responds that no one has seen her for a thousand years and is allegedly a "long dead myth." See? The Once Upon a Time timeline is always finding new ways to make my head hurt. Have Rumplestiltskin and Captain Hook really been alive that long?
Also, why would a villain be so generous to grant this gift to all the mermaids? The Ursula we know is a mobster who doesn't give anything away without a nasty price. Is Ursula on Once Upon a Time somehow cursed with her octopus posterior, and casts this spell in order to give herself a vacation?
Later in the episode, Ariel prays to Ursula for guidance and is met by an imposter — Regina, pictured above. The then Evil Queen tricks Ariel and takes away her voice. Ariel has since traveled to and from Storybooke and has just recently reunited with Prince Eric. Did she ever encounter the real Ursula on her journey? Regina gets a terrifying warning from the "real" Ursula at the end of the episode. She communicates via a small statue, and is voiced by Community's Yvette Nicole Brown. The goddess promises revenge if Regina ever impersonates her again.
Another interesting tidbit? On Once Upon a Time, Ursula's father is Poseidon. In Greek mythology, Poseidon is Triton's father. That would mean that Ariel is Ursula's neice, like Scar in The Lion King. This lines up with the Disney musical's interpretation of The Little Mermaid as well, and explains their supernatural powers.
Let's hope OUAT finds some magic that lets "Poor Unfortunate Soul" merge the version of Ursula we met in "Ariel" with the Queen of Darkness we've gotten to know this season.
Images: Eike Schroter/ABC (2); ABC (2)