Tangled: Before Ever After Recap
By Shannon Fox, @shannonfox
This is the story… of how TANGLED FINALLY CAME BACK INTO OUR LIVES AND BASICALLY SAVED THE WORLD FROM ITS IMPENDING DESTRUCTION AND DOOM BY BEING WONDERFUL, MAGICAL, AND PURE.
Hello, friends, and welcome to your weekly “Tangled: The Series” recaps! Every week, I’ll be going over the latest adventures from Corona and our favorite princess… from an adult perspective. Well, as adult as one can be while fangirling over a Disney Channel animated series. (But in all seriousness, maybe don’t let the kiddos read this, okay? I do say “dick” later on. Among other things.)
As you probably know, “Tangled: Before Ever After” is the TV movie introduction to “Tangled: The Series”, which means it was double the length of what the regular episodes will be. So while I tried to make this as short and sweet as possible, it’s going to be a bit longer because of that. Anyway, let’s get down to it!
Our story begins just after the events of Tangled, and while Eugene treats us to a nice recap of those events, I’m not recapping… a recap. Let’s not get CRAZY here.
It’s a few days before Rapunzel’s coronation, and she and Eugene are racing through the forest, trying to outrun the guards while getting some major flirt on. Upon reaching the kingdom’s dividing wall to world beyond (BUT WHO PAID FOR THAT WALL IS WHAT I WANT TO KNOW, AND WAS IT REALLY NECESSARY), the guards catch up to them and the princess is ordered back to the castle for the “Welcoming Ceremony”, but one thing is clear: their lives have changed quite a bit since we last saw them!
ENTER FIRST NEW SONG. SQUEE!
Within all that singing (I see you, Mr. Eugene Sorry-Boys-I-Don’t-Sing Fitzherbert) comes quite a bit of information: we’re introduced to Cassandra, voiced by Eden Espinosa, the princess’s lady-in-waiting AND daughter of the captain of the Royal Guard. Also, Rapunzel’s got some MAJOR princess responsibilities, her dad’s totally got issues with overprotectiveness, and Eugene is going to propose! But while he is TOTALLY settling into the life of royalty, Rapunzel is feeling… well… familiar moments wondering when her life will begin, y’know?
MEANWHILE, BELOW THE STREETS OF CORONA, IN THE RAT-INFESTED SEWERS: Lady Caine–some awesome tattooed chick, clearly, and voiced by the incredible Laura Benanti– has got some no-goodness up her lack-of-sleeves, regarding the coronation. Drama!
Back at the castle, Rapunzel is forced to meet the snootiest, most unfriendly coronation guests ever. Seriously, WHY invite these people? Isn’t this supposed to be a PARTY? And honestly, how can anyone not love Rapunzel? SHE IS SO CUTE! Needless to say, it doesn’t go that well.
Then I nearly lost my mind at this gorgeous shot of the castle at night, while Rapunzel’s sitting in the gondola she and Eugene shared during “I See The Light” in the movie, and there’s this guitar playing in the background and let’s move on because I could start screaming about the lantern scene and how perfect it is at any moment. ANYWAY, Rapunzel’s feeling overwhelmed AND underwhelmed at the same time. Eugene tries to make her feel better by being adorable, but gets kiss-blocked for the THIRD time already within the first fifteen minutes of the movie. Turns out he and Cassandra aren’t really getting along that well. But WHY, guys?!
But then it’s Rapunzel’s day off, and she decides to spend it wandering around Corona. Unfortunately, her father makes a ton of royal guardsmen go with her, and they keep her from having any kind of social interaction whatsoever. I mean, they SMACK people’s hands away from her! ONE GUY EVEN GETS SMACKED IN THE FACE AND HE’S JUST STANDING THERE. THIS IS A LAWSUIT WAITING TO HAPPEN! Feeling pretty bummed about how the day went, Rapunzel returns home to attend a royal banquet.
And then… EUGENE PROPOSES. REALLY ADORABLY.
But guys? RAPUNZEL SAYS NO. AND THEN SHE BOOKS IT.
Now, no need to worry too much: Blondie looked PRETTY thrilled that Eugene was proposing, so it’s clearly not her love for him that’s the issue here. Nevertheless, she’s freaked, and Cassandra agrees to sneak her out of the castle. And muh gurl, Cass? She breaks out the weaponry and far-cooler-clothes and makes it happen. And Eugene, who wants have a heart-to-heart with his girl, is left to discover her escape and keep it from her dad (who’s getting to be a BIT MUCH, if you ask me).
Back in the seedy underbelly of Corona, Pocket (weird choice of criminal name there, buddy) is rounding up the thieves of Corona and explains that Lady Caine wants to exact her revenge on the king, who basically went nuts after Rapunzel disappeared and started cracking down on “undesirables”. VERY interesting choice of words there, no?
Just when I’m about to roll up my sleeves and give King Douchebag some lessons in treating Rapunzel better, he has a chat with Queen Arianna, who tells him to chill out a bit. Like, you gotta feel a LITTLE bad for the guy: he lost his daughter for eighteen years, and he’s clearly still dealing with that trauma. I mean, at least you know he cares about her. But more on this in a bit.
Because it’s time for another SONG, you guys!!
Rapunzel is loving her freedom (and ultimately proves that walls don’t keep ANYONE in or out, no matter how big and strong they are, and are basically a bad idea in general. I AM JUST SAYING). Also, gotta love the similarity in the scene of her jumping off the wall vs. her jumping off the tower in the movie. Ooooo, Disney, you’re GOOD.
But then Cassandra takes her to the place where the magical, golden flower was found: you know, the one that saved Rapunzel’s mom? The one that gave her hair its regenerative powers, which made Gothel kidnap her? That one. But now there’s all these scary-looking spikes in the ground around it. A good sign, right?
So, Rapunzel being Rapunzel, she touches one (hasn’t she learned from other princesses that you DON’T TOUCH SHARP THINGS?!). And after some crazy race through the forest from even more spikes shooting out of the ground after them, we see the consequence: our girl has her long, blonde hair back. Uh-oh. Rapunzel’s in troouuubbbllee!
But she’s in even more than she realizes. TWIST: her hair, like Bruce Willis, is UNBREAKABLE!
So while the ladies freak out about what to do, Eugene shows up. Cassandra begs Rapunzel to keep Eugene out and not let him find out what happened (which I don’t like AT ALL). But like… how do you hide 70 feet of hair? You DON’T, and Eugene sees what’s happened the moment he steps into her room. And to give Eugene credit, he kind of freaks out, but also tries to give Rapunzel her space. But he makes it clear that he doesn’t want her hiding stuff from him. WHAT A GUY, THAT EUGENE!
But it’s Coronation Day–again, how are they going to hide all of Rapunzel’s hair? Answer: Cassandra and Eugene basically shove her hair under a huge Victorian wig. It’s ginormous and ridiculous, honestly, but does the trick.
A quick Seedy Underbelly update: the criminals of the town, under Lady Caine’s instructions, get themselves arrested and brought to the castle’s dungeons. This doesn’t exactly bode well for the HUGE party that’s about to happen at the castle.
Eugene, meanwhile, tries to talk with Cassandra about what’s going on with Rapunzel. Cass is less-than-enthused about this, and lets him know exactly what her feelings are about him, his selfish ways, his compatibility and treatment of Blondie, and basically tells him where he can shove it. Ouch.
At the same time, Rapunzel finally gets some alone time with the Queen, and it’s a LOVELY moment: Arianna gifts her daughter with her old journal, AND a new one for her to start writing in. It turns out that the queen was quite the adventurer when she was younger, and suggests that Rapunzel find her own adventures, however she can. “Plus est en vous”, Arianna writes in her daughter’s journal: “There is more in you”.
Finally, it’s CORONATION TIME! While Rapunzel makes her way down the aisle, one of the snooty guests, “The Duchess of Quintonia”, turns out to be none other than Lady Caine! She springs all of the criminals from prison and takes over the coronation, threatening to kidnap the King and some of the guests. And though her dad forbids her to fight back, Rapunzel takes off her wig and becomes the KICK-ASS HEROIC PRINCESS WE ALL KNOW HER TO BE (and Eugene is so proud. Feels!).
With the help of Cassandra and Eugene (see? You guys CAN work together!), she defeats them all. Day saved! The baddies go back to prison, Lady Caine vows even more revenge, and all is well.
But that’s when King Frederic goes from a dude with slight King Triton syndrome, to full-on douchebag. Turns out that when Rapunzel disappeared and the king cracked down on crime, he basically carted off EVERYONE, from ultimate baddie to petty thief (a category under which a certain Flynn Rider would’ve definitely fallen, by the way). Lady Caine’s father was one of the latter, and apparently she hasn’t seen him since. We’re not sure what happened: did they go to prison? Did they get deported? Who knows, but judging all criminals the same is pretty messed up. Apparently, though, he wasn’t done there: after Rapunzel saves the day and is pretty honest with him about what happened on her excursion outside the kingdom, he basically declares martial law, forbids her from talking about magic, and orders her to remain within the kingdom at all times, under his watch. GUYS. THIS IS SUCH A DICK MOVE. I’M SO MAD AT THE KING. LEMME AT HIM.
Thankfully, there’s some good news: after the mess with her father, Eugene and Rapunzel get to talk things out. AND THEY FINALLY GET A SMOOCH. Sure, Rapunzel isn’t being COMPLETELY open and honest with her boy toy… but it is a step in the right direction. And honestly? They’re just so cute and supportive and wonderful to each other. RELATIONSHIP GOALS. I love them.
So okay, things look pretty bleak at the moment. But THIS is where our adventure begins, folks! How will Rapunzel fill her journal? How will she escape this NEW “tower” that her stupid dad has put her in? And what’s the deal with that HAIR?! And who was looking at the spikes at the end of the episode?! I NEED TO KNOW!
Random Notes from Shannon’s Brain
- Quote of the Episode/Movie: “HIDE YOUR HAIR, WOMAN. YOU GOTTA HIDE YO’ HAIR.” – Eugene
- How do they make Pascal’s noises? THEY’RE SO CUTE. Like, he kind of sounds like a wet shoe half of the time, but it doesn’t matter. It’s adorable. Also, can we agree that in additional’s to Rapunzel’s hair, Pascal’s tongue ALSO got the “longer than normal” treatment? Like when he stole that carrot from one of the bunnies? Guys, he was like a MILE AWAY.
- DID YOU GUYS CATCH THE BUNNY ON THE GUARD’S HEAD? I LAUGHED SO HARD.
- My reaction to people hitting high notes in songs is how football fans react to touchdowns. That being said: YO. ZAC. BRO. GET THOSE HIGH NOTES IN “LIFE AFTER HAPPILY EVER AFTER”. GET ‘EEEEMMMMMMM!!!!
- I have never related to Rapunzel more than when she bear-hugged that elderly woman.
- Doesn’t Pocket, Lady Caine’s head henchman guy, sound like a grown-up version of Max from “Goof Troop”? I mean, it’s NOT the same guy– apparently, Pocket is voiced by Jess Harnell, or is Wakko from “Animaniacs”. Which, oh my god, WHAT?!
- Okay, but what EXACTLY are you trying to say about chicks with tattoos, Disney? YOU CALLIN’ ME A VILLAIN? (Problematic, because I actually happen to have a Tangled tattoo, but that’s neither here nor there.)
- What IS the female version of a marquis?
- I love Stan, the guard, so much. That cravat DOES bring out your mustache, baby. YOU DO YOU. (Is it a cravat? Is there a better word for those things?)
- I need to know if that moment when Rapunzel and Cassandra are… well, wherever they are in the castle when they go through the secret passageway… was a nod to Eden Espinosa being Elphie in “Wicked”. Because green face.
- Also, Cassandra’s owl? I’ve named him Lloyd. Just so you know.
- If Fidela (Rapunzel’s horse) doesn’t have the hots for Maximus after the absolute HEROISM he pulled saving Rapunzel, THERE ARE OTHER HORSES IN THE MEADOW OR WHATEVER, MAX.
- How do I put this politely… um, what’s up Cassandra’s BUTT about Eugene? Listen, I totally understand being protective and loyal to your buddy “Raps” (I’m not sure if I’m fully on board with that nickname, but we’ll go with it for now), but real talk, Cass? You don’t TRUST him? Eugene helped to save the “long-lost princess” and bring her back home, while you snuck her out, got her all magic-ed up again, and basically got her grounded in ANOTHER tower for the rest of her life. I’m just saying. Maybe it’s time to put the brakes on the whole “Eugene’s the worst” train, hmm? Like, okay, putting him at the kids table at the banquet was pretty effin’ funny, but let’s tug on those reins, a bit. Icy behavior only belongs in Frozen, and we don’t talk about that here. This is a safe space.
- I adore Rapunzel’s thumbs-up and smile to Eugene and Cassandra after the “morning breath” thing so much, as well as the adamant shakes of their heads at her in return. “I GOT THIS YOU GUYS!” “No, no you don’t.”
What did you think of “Tangled: Before Ever After”? Let us know in the comments, and see you in two weeks for the recap of the next new episode!