The producers of Once Upon a Time apparently like having two bad guys on their show at once.
Both Regina and Rumple are showing signs of becoming good — mostly because of the love for the people in their life. For Regina, it’s Henry. For Rumple, it’s Belle.
So Cora, Regina’s mother, is now a major villain. Hook doesn’t count as a bad guy since he’s clearly being positioned to romance Emma at some point.
Enter Prince George, who returned to Storybrooke a few weeks ago. In this “Child of the Moon,” he’s nothing short of cackling evil. He outright commits murder in this episode, frames Ruby for it and yet Charming lets him live, even after he burns the Mad Hatter’s hat — which at that moment, was the only way of helping Charming reunite with Snow and Emma, trapped in Fairytale land.
Happily, character actor Alan Dale rises above the writing and weak characterization, but it still reflects poorly not only on the producers overemphasis on villains this season, but also on Charming’s weakness as a leader. If that was the point, then so be it. But he’s painted as a good leader, when he hasn’t, you know… led yet.
And while Prince George destroys the hat, not all is lost, since there appears to be yet another way for everyone to get back to their loved ones in the other world. Apparently, Henry and Sleeping Beauty are having the same dream of being trapped in a fire world. (I’ve seen some speculation online that it’s where people go that have fallen to the sleeping curse, which both of them have previously.)
It’s not exactly a pleasant dream, but it does appear to reflect the best way of opening a portal it seems. Whether or not it will require the fairy dust the dwarves uncovered at the beginning of the episode (it seems like they’re the only townspeople actually contributing these days), remains to be seen.
Of course, none of this is even the main plot of the episode. But that main plot is so inconsequential that I wanted to discuss it last.
In Storybrooke, Red fears turning back into a wolf. While she had it under control back in the Fairytale world (thanks to a red cloak), she hasn’t turned in 25+ years in Storybrooke. Now, she’s facing a full moon for the first time since Rumple brought magic to town. (Plus, her red cloak is at first missing in action.)
In the fairybacks, we learn how she met her mother, also a wolf, and what is best described as a good-looking guy. Even though we meet them for maybe ten minutes, we’re supposed to grieve with Red when they’re killed. That’s all a precursor, however, to Red learning the after school lesson that no, no… Snow is her truly family.
Red is framed for being a wolf killer in Storybrooke by Prince George. Who murders someone who was a mouse in Fairytale land, but was a human in Storybrooke.
He’s the second person we’ve learned was an animal in Fairytale land. (Jiminy Cricket is the other one… though in fairness, he was also a human in Fairytale land first.)
Now, THAT is an interesting story. How many other Storybrooke people were previously animals? And is anyone a human in Fairytale land an animal in Storybrooke? The fact that those two questions are infinitely more interesting to me than what happened in this episode does not bode well for the next few episodes.
After a strong start to the second season, Once Upon a Time has had a number of missteps lately. Hopefully things will start to become interesting when everyone gets where they’re going and we see what Cora’s true plan is.