Once Upon a Time (2011–2018)
2 user 4 critic

Poor Unfortunate Soul 

Hook tries to make a deal with Ursula as flashbacks show their complicated past, while Regina struggles to maintain her cover with Gold, Cruella and Maleficent.


Steve Pearlman


Edward Kitsis (created by), Adam Horowitz (created by) | 2 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ginnifer Goodwin ... Mary Margaret Blanchard
Jennifer Morrison ... Emma Swan
Lana Parrilla ... Regina Mills
Josh Dallas ... David Nolan
Emilie de Ravin ... Belle Gold
Colin O'Donoghue ... Captain Killian 'Hook' Jones
Jared Gilmore ... Henry Mills (as Jared S. Gilmore)
Michael Socha ... Will Scarlet
Robert Carlyle ... Mr. Gold
Eion Bailey ... August W. Booth
Kristin Bauer van Straten ... Maleficent
Tiffany Boone ... Young Ursula
Merrin Dungey ... Ursula
Chris Gauthier ... William Smee
Ernie Hudson ... King Poseidon


Hook revisits his complicated past with Ursula to find out what she knows about Gold's ultimate end game. 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 increasingly concerned for Robin Hood's safety as she struggles to keep her cover with the queens of darkness. In the Enchanted Forest flashback, a restless young Ursula enlists Hook to help her run away from home, but she soon realizes that it is not wise to trust a pirate. Written by krbruin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This episode explains how Ursula and Captain Hook have met in the past. See more »


Maleficent: [to Regina] If you're having trouble sleeping, I have something that might help.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening sequence shows Ursula. See more »


Referenced in Nostalgia Critic Real Thoughts: Congo (2015) See more »


Fathoms Below
Written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
Performed by Tiffany Boone
See more »

User Reviews

Poignant soul
7 June 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

When 'Once Upon a Time' first started it was highly addictive and made the most of a truly great and creative premise. Really loved the idea of turning familiar fairy tales on their heads and putting own interpretations on them and the show early on clearly had clearly had a ball. Watched it without fail every time it came on and it was often a highlight of the week. Which was why it was sad when it ran out of ideas and lost its magic in the later seasons.

Season 4 had a lot to live up after Season 3 being as impressive as it was. At this early stage of the season, one can see a lot of promise, some may argue that it is capitalising on 'Frozen's' success but there is much more to the season than that. This promise was apparent from the get go, with a great season opener in "A Tale of Two Sisters". As far as the previous Season 4 episodes go, they were all decent to brilliant with the only small dip being "Family Business" and the best being the "Smash the Mirror" two parter.

"Poor Unfortunate Soul" for me is another great episode from Season 4, one of its best, most emotional and most interesting, and of the show. Not quite one of the very best 'Once Upon a Time' episodes, but almost.

Loved the back-story for Ursula, which gave her a softer and more human side where one can see why she came to be the way she became. The 'The Little Mermaid' touches makes one nostalgic and didn't come over as cheap (the nod to "Part of Your World" brought a lump to my throat). Maybe there was too much of a tie in to Ariel, but can't think of any other nit-picks.

Credit is due for the character and plot progression as well as some shocking revelations that one doesn't expect at all. The using of elements from one character's past to another is handled very well. It's not just Ursula that's interesting. The villains' subplot had tension and showed them as quite ruthlessly dangerous, while Hook is perhaps at his most dastardly yet and Regina shows that she is much more than a standard villain that one can understandably initially perceive her as.

All the acting is strong. Merrin Dungrey and Tiffany Boone give intensity and poignancy to Ursula, while Ernie Hudson is a suitably stern and kindly Poseidon. Robert Carlyle relishes his scenes, Lana Parrilla continues to make Regina a fascinating complex character and Colin O'Donoghue has roguish charm and a dastardly air.

Furthermore, "Poor Unfortunate Soul" is a very handsomely mounted episode visually, the settings and costumes are both colourful and atmospheric, not too dark or garish and never cookie cutter. It is photographed beautifully too. The music is haunting, ethereal and cleverly used with a memorable theme tune.

Writing has the right balance of humour, pathos, mystery and intrigue, or corn or cheesiness here. This aspect has come on such a long way since when 'Once Upon a Time' first started, much more complexity and nuance.

Overall, another great episode. 9/10 Bethany Cox

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 2 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

22 March 2015 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed