"Poor Unfortunate Soul" is the fifteenth episode of Season Four of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Andrew Chambliss & Dana Horgan, and directed by Steve Pearlman. It is the eighty-first episode of the series overall, and premiered on March 22, 2015.
Hook leverages his complicated history with Ursula to find out what she knows about Gold’s endgame. Gold and the Queens of Darkness torture August for information about the Author as Emma, Mary Margaret and David race to find them. Regina grows concerned for Robin Hood’s safety while she struggles to maintain her cover with the villains. In a Fairy Tale Land flashback, when a restless young Ursula enlists Hook's help to run away from home, she soon learns it isn’t wise to trust a pirate.
This scene is included on Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season.
"A Cow Named Nan"
While Regina is interrogating August, he tells her about an old story he heard in Phuket, about a cow named Nan. The farmer who owned Nan, whipped her, and when the farmer's wife saw the lashes across Nan's back, her husband's cruelty chilled her soul and she left the farmer. August warns Regina that if she keeps working with Mr. Gold and the witches, by the time she is reunited with Robin Hood, she will no longer be the woman he wants to be with.
- The title card features Ursula.
- The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on December 24, 2014.
- The episode is named after the song "Poor Unfotunate Souls" from the Disney film The Little Mermaid. The song is sung by Ursula to Ariel.
- CAST NOTES: This episode is one of seven episodes of the entire series to not feature a co-starring cast member. The other are "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree", "Red-Handed", "The Stable Boy", "Into the Deep", "A Curious Thing" and "Her Handsome Hero".
- REUSED FOOTAGE: A wide shot of the Jolly Roger sailing on Poseidon's ocean was flipped and reused for the opening shot of the Season Six episode "Dark Waters".
- Ursula's singing voice was neither Tiffany Boone's voice nor Merrin Dungey's voice.
- For the scene where Regina is speaking through Mary Margaret, Lana Parrilla did a reading of the lines, so Ginnifer Goodwin could practice to it.
- The cabin scenes took three days to shoot. Eion Bailey had rope burns on his hands by the end of the shooting, from being tied up all the time.
- Regina's dream about Robin Hood was not originally in the script. It was added later, because the network wanted to make sure that the viewers knew that Robin would come back at some point.
- For the scene where Mr. Gold interrogates August by holding him close to the fire, the flames in the fireplace were actually real. Test were performed to make sure that it was safe for the actors.
- For the part where Ariel slaps Hook, director Steve Pearlman was reluctant to film the slap, but Colin O'Donoghue and JoAnna Garcia Swisher both insisted that that it remained in the episode.
- The Enchanted Forest flashbacks take place almost a century after "The Crocodile", and many years before "Darkness on the Edge of Town". (For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
- The Storybrooke events take place after "Enter the Dragon" and before "Best Laid Plans". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- This is the first time Hook has been featured on-screen as Pan's employee; something that was first implied in "Good Form".
- Hook's never-ending desire to destroy Rumplestiltskin was due to the events of "The Crocodile".
- Some of the mermaids native to Neverland appeared on-screen for the first time in "The Heart of the Truest Believer".
- Regina began her undercover work in "Enter the Dragon".
- Regina mentions that she has tortured people, something that she also said in "Save Henry".
- Pinocchio was reverted into August in "Enter the Dragon".
- Mr. Gold notes a time when August previously lied to him. This occurred in "The Return".
- August mentions meeting the Dragon in Hong Kong and the man's subsequent death; events that occurred in "Selfless, Brave and True".
- The trailer where August used to hide was last seen in "Selfless, Brave and True".
- What Regina's dream really means, is revealed in "Heart of Gold".
- Emma recalls Regina ditching her so she couldn't track her movements. She also mentions Regina kidnapping Pinocchio. Both events happened in "Enter the Dragon".
- Belle gave the dagger to a disguised Mr. Gold in "Enter the Dragon".
- Hook remembers Belle used the dagger to force Mr. Gold to leave Storybrooke. This occurred in "Heroes and Villains".
- Belle expresses disappointment over Mr. Gold tricking her again. The first time he betrayed her began in "A Tale of Two Sisters" and ended in "Heroes and Villains".
- Regina shows August the taped together storybook page of herself and Robin Hood. The illustration first appeared to Robin Hood in "Smash the Mirror", and it was torn to pieces by Regina in "Heroes and Villains". She then repaired the page sometime before or during "Darkness on the Edge of Town".
- Hook uses a conch shell to summon Ursula to the woods. The last time this method was used was in "Ariel".
- The bracelet, used to gain human legs, was first used by a mermaid in "Ariel".
- Hook mentions Milah's death, which happened in "The Crocodile".
- Poseidon stated Squid ink can immobilize Rumplestiltskin; a feat accomplished in "The Price of Gold". Squid ink is used on Rumplestiltskin's counterpart in "Nasty Habits".
- Belle and Will's relationship was first made known in "Enter the Dragon".
- Hook mentions Will has been to Wonderland many times before. These events are featured on Once Upon a Time's spinoff series.
- Robin Hood left Storybrooke in "Heroes and Villains".
- Henry received the storybook page of the door in "Unforgiven".
- This is the first time magic mushrooms have been featured in a liquid form and used to enlarge an object. For all prior times the mushrooms have been used in this series during "Hat Trick", "Tiny" and "Down the Rabbit Hole", the mushrooms have always appeared as fungi that need to be ingested to enlarge or shrink a person.
- Ariel references her past adventure with Hook and Black Beard, which occurred in "The Jolly Roger". She also speaks about the Queen of Arendelle punishing Black Beard for conspiring against royals, which references the pirate's actions against Anna and Kristoff in "Fall".
- Emma recalls August telling her to believe in herself; something he said in "A Land Without Magic".
- Hook tells Ursula that he's good at surviving. Hook said the same thing to Regina in "The Evil Queen", and to Emma in "Rocky Road" and "Heroes and Villains". Pan described him the same way in "Good Form". Weaver also tells the Seattle persona of Hook's Wish Realm counterpart that he's a survivor in "Is This Henry Mills?".
- The Author is freed from the storybook in "Best Laid Plans".
- Ursula's backstory is largely based on Ariel's backstory from the Disney film, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning. They are both mermaids who love singing/music due to their mothers' influence. Both have lost their mothers during a pirate attack and have fathers who have a problem with singing/music because it reminds them of their wives' death. Ultimately, their fathers both realize they were wrong and decide to accept singing/music in their lives. In addition, both decide to go against their fathers' orders because they love singing/music.
- Ursula vocalizes the reprise of "Part of Your World" and sings "Fathoms Below" during the episode. Both are from the Disney film The Little Mermaid.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode features Captain Hook and Mr. Smee from the Peter Pan story, the sea witch, the sea king and the little mermaid from "The Little Mermaid" fairytale (the sea witch also takes on the role of the little mermaid from the fairytale), Poseidon and one of his daughters from Greek mythology, the ugly duckling from the titular fairytale, Cruella De Vil from The Hundred and One Dalmatians story, and Robin Hood and Will Scarlet from the Robin Hood ballads.
- Will Scarlet is also the Knave of Hearts from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
- Ursula lures sailors at sea to their doom with her singing voice, just like the Sirens from Greek mythology.
- On Once Upon a Time, Poseidon has a daughter who is a mermaid. In Greek mythology, one of Poseidon many children was Triton, a merman; in the Disney film The Little Mermaid, King Triton takes the role of the titular character's father. None of Poseidon's daughters were mermaids; however, two of them, Kymopoleia and Benthesikyme, were sea nymphs, also known as Nereids.
- Hook and Ursula use distilled extract from mushrooms from Wonderland to make Hook's ship grown in size. In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the titular character eats magic mushroom from Wonderland to grown and shrink in size.
- Gold says regarding August "Let's see if we can pull this puppet's strings"; a reference to The Adventures of Pinocchio, where the titular character is a marionette.
- August's (Pinocchio's) nose grows whenever he lies, an important plot point from The Adventures of Pinocchio.
- Ariel finds Hook unconscious in the sea and pulls him to safety, just like the little mermaid does with the prince in the fairytale.
- Hook takes Ursula's singing voice, similar to the way the sea witch takes the titular character's voice in the fairytale of "The Little Mermaid".
- Ursula says to her father, "All you ever wanted was for me to remain your precious, little mermaid"; a reference to "The Little Mermaid".
- Christopher Gauthier, who plays William Smee, went through 4-5 boxes of cakes while shooting the opening scene.
- REUSED PROPS: The knife Ursula is using to threaten August is the same knife Regina wields in the alternate reality in "Operation Mongoose Part 1".
- The Jolly Roger in a bottle prop was a real replica of Hook's ship.
- HIDDEN DETAILS: The inscription on Hook's safe says "Liverpool".
- According to a prop photograph by an online auction from 2018, the complete inscription reads "LIVERPOOL · W.M. SOPARLO & SONS LTD." However, excerpt for the "Liverpool" part, the entire text is obscured by Hook's hand.
- Emma kicking in the door to Mr. Gold's cabin, was Jennifer Morrison's idea.
- REUSED PROPS: Poseidon's trident is the same prop used by Wish Ariel when the later meets the Dark One in the Season Seven episode "Homecoming".
- HIDDEN DETAILS: One of the boats at the harbor is called Lofoten, the name of an archipelago and district in Norway.
- ABANDONED IDEAS: Poseidon's costume was originally different, and included a big purple feathery boa around his neck. However, it didn't look quite right, and they ended up with a more metallic version of the original costume.
- BRAND INFO: Emma is wearing an Aran Short-Sleeved Sweater from Ralph Lauren (no longer available).
- The opening scene with the Jolly Roger, was filmed over eight hours on a sound stage with lots of theatrical smoke. The crew members were wearing masks so they wouldn't have to breathe in smoke all day.
- The scenes with Ursula and Poseidon at the cliffs, were filmed in hot tubs built with fake rocks.
- The scenes at the Storybrooke harbor was filmed on a real floating dock in Steveston Village. The crew had to move their cameras according to the tide.
|Finnish||"Surkeiden sielujen laulu"||"The Song of the Poor Souls"|
|French||"La Voix de la Liberté"||"The Voice of Freedom"|
|German||"Ursulas Geschichte"||"Ursula's Story"|
|Italian||"La storia di Ursula"||"Ursula's Story"|
|Polish||"Biedna, nieszczęsna dusza"||"Poor Unfortunate Soul"|
|Portuguese||"Pobre alma"||"Poor soul"|
|Spanish||"Pobre alma en desgracia"||"Poor Unfortunate Soul"|