Tumultuous, Family Chaos Thrives in ‘Once Upon a Time’ Season 2 (Blu-ray)

once upon a timeThe introduction of magic to Storybrooke was a warm and destructive welcome in Once Upon a Time Season 2. The second season was filled with highs, lows and a lot of tumultuous, inter-family chaos. Although we discovered most of our characters fairy tale identities, new mysteries unfolded with some of our beloved characters, while more worlds were added to the over-arching mythos. The Blu-ray release collects the entire season, also giving us a few meaty bonus features that explore the muddled and magical world of the Storybrooke kingdom.

In the first season of Once Upon a Time, Storybrooke was always a dull place. Outside of Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle), the characters didn’t have the same zing they had in fairy tale world. What kept us watching was the Lost-style mystery in discovering the real identity of everyone in town. The unfolding origin tale was always exhilarating, even when the low-quality green screen got in the way. Who could forget that scene with King Midas that looked like a college After Effects project?

However, with the truth out and magic running rampant, Storybrooke ended up becoming more exciting than the fairy tale world in Season 2. Charming (Josh Dallas) walked around with a gun, people got hit by cars and Regina (Lana Parrilla) went on a non-stop, spell-casting bender. It was exciting to watch, especially when fairy tale world started introducing new characters that we didn’t care much about – like Mulan (Jamie Chung) and Princess Aurora (Sarah Bolger).

Thankfully, just when fairy tale world was starting to get dull, Cora (Barbara Hershey) and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) brought some much needed tension and a lot of excitement to the mix. Hook’s origin and relationship to Rumpelstiltskin was brilliantly executed. Also, watching Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) team up was something of a magical, mother daughter team-up that was applause worthy.

Unfortunately, Season 2 did have its pitfall moments. The writers seemed to play around too much with Gold and Regina’s characters, arguably the most likable characters for their twisted villainy. Sometimes they’re good and sometimes they’re evil. But, it’s only fun to watch the two when they’re playing the roles of the bad guy and gal.

The second half of the season does get confusing at times as new relationships are discovered. There is also a trip to Neverland that may just change the way you look at Peter Pan and Captain Hook.

The bonus features are worth watching in their entirety. The Blu-ray has an exclusive look at the “Fractured Family Tree” that unfolds in Season 2; it’s narrated by Modern Family star Sarah Hyland. My favorite special feature is the Good Morning Storybrooke show. It comically explores the relationships and personalities of some of the secondary characters, like Grumpy/Dreamy, who don’t get as much time during the main show. Community star Yvette Nicole Brown and The League star Paul Scheer serve as hosts to the fictitious show-within-a-show.

Overall, Once Upon a Time Season 2 is a great watch. The season finale will have you reeling from a few tearjerker moments as well as intriguing revelations. Here’s hoping that in Once Upon a Time Season 3, Regina and Gold find a way to maintain their cold-calculating edge.

Once Upon a Time Season 2 [Blu-ray]

Starring: Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Jared Gilmore
Studio: ABC Studios
Release Date: Aug 13, 2013

Rating:
8 / 10

Once Upon a Time Season 3 Character Wish-list

We already know we’re heading to Neverland in season 3 of Once Upon a Time this fall – which means we’ll meet Peter Pan – but there’s still plenty of other characters we’re hoping we’ll meet for the first time during the new season.
Here’s our wish-list for season 3:

Ariel.

Producers have been talking about a desire to bring on the most-famous mermaid outside of Splash since the beginning and now, knowing that we’re heading to a world with a LOT of water, it seems like the perfect time for us to meet Ariel. The show hasn’t shied away from mixing fairy tale characters in other universes – think Hook and the Queen of Hearts in cahoots this season – so why couldn’t Ariel show up on the beach when Emma and team dock at the beginning of next season?

Tinker Bell.
Seems like a no-brainer to meet Tinker Bell if we’re heading to Neverland next season, but the question has to be asked: will she be a good guy or will she be aligned with seemingly evil Peter Pan? Or maybe she’ll switch sides seven times per episode like Hook seemed to this past season.

Rapunzel.
While Once Upon a Time’s effects on a TV-budget have mostly underwhelmed (and in some cases embarrassed the show), perhaps they could give us a credible character with insanely long hair. More importantly, given the show’s desire to make princess heroines bad-ass (see Snow White), it would be great to see Rapunzel go toe-to-toe with some nasties next season.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
If Frankenstein can be on Once Upon a Time, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before we get other classic Universal monsters on the show as well. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is indeed a classic and would fit in well with the team Emma is currently leading to Neverland to rescue Henry—half of the characters have switched sides between good and evil multiple times already.

Alice.

And finally, sure, we’re getting a spin-off that takes place well before Once Upon a Time’s current timeline, but if that show can share characters like the Queen of Hearts and likely the Mad Hatter, why can’t Alice take a visit to the original show?

That’s our list… who do you want to see pop up on the show when it’s back in either September or October?

‘Once Upon a Time’ Season 2 Episode 16 – It was a time to kill for one princess

One would hope to never take a life—especially on purpose. But when that person is Cora, who has committed unspeakable acts… would you really feel that bad?

That’s what we’re going to wonder for the rest of the season for Once Upon a Time. Because in last night’s episode, Snow White straight up murdered Cora.

(But we’ll get to that.)

In the fairybacks, we learn how Cora was picked on by Ava, Snow White’s mother, and grew to lust for power that she could use to bring vengeance upon the royals. Rumplestiltskin helped her grow her power—he taught her how to spin straw into gold for instance. More importantly, we also learn that he was in love with her, though she was not in love with him back. Not after she voluntarily removed her own heart so she could continue on her quest for more power.

That quest takes on new meaning when in present time, Cora realizes that Rumple is now dying and decides she’s going to take his powers and become the Dark One.

To protect Rumple, everyone gathers at his shop. Emma uses invisible chalk and her growing powers to set up a barrier to delay Cora and Regina’s entry into the shop. While she’s setting that up, Snow White discovers the candle that Cora had tried to get a young Snow White to use to save her dying mother.

I have it “for a rainy day,” Rumple tells her. Rumple intends for it to be used in case he dies and he suggests Snow White use it so that Cora is the one that dies in his place.

Regina and Cora then arrive and are able to use their combined magic to bust open the door. On the other side of it, Emma, Charming and Baelfire are waiting inside with swords drawn while Snow White escapes out the back.

Charming gets knocked out of the shop, while Baelfire and Emma are able to fight them off before making their escape. Cora starts to sense someone (Snow White) is going after her heart, so she sends Regina to stop her.

Snow White finds Cora’s heart and lights the candle. She lets its wax drip on the heart and then whispers Cora’s name over it, just as Rumple instructed her to do.

Back at the shop, thinking he’s going to die, Rumple asks to call Belle and tell her he’s dying. She of course still doesn’t remember him.

Regina intercepts Snow White while she’s trying to leave with the heart. Snow White tells her, however, that she was going to give the heart to Regina to place back inside her mother’s chest. That’s the final part of the spell to kill Cora and save Rumple.

But Snow White lies and insists that placing the heart back in Cora’s heart will make her mother love her again.

Back at the shop, as Cora tells Rumple he was the only one she ever loved and prepares to stab him with his dagger to steal his powers, Regina plunges Cora’s heart back into her body, thinking she’s going to cure her mother, when in actuality, she is murderer by proxy.

With her heart, Cora is able to finally look on her daughter with love she’s always felt. But that lasts only a moment before Cora collapses dead, while Rumple is back to full strength and takes his dagger back.

Regina holds her mother’s dead body when Snow White comes in and she looks ready for vengeance as the episode closes on a monster of a cliffhanger.

Producers have promised, and previews have indicated, that Snow White will be distraught over the death. She certainly was when she entered in that final scene. I just hope someone will say, “OK. Murder—not cool. But Snow White, you do realize Cora was pretty evil right?”

Once Upon a Time: Ding Dong the Witch will Die

Once Upon a Time tackled an interesting question this week—one that’s been tackled many times before. How much does our upbringing by our parents drive our morality as adults?

We open with a fairyback with young Snow White and her mother as they approach Snow’s birthday. We learn that Snow White was a bit of a bitch back then in that she mocked a servant for touching her tiara. We are royals, Snow’s mother tells her, “but that doesn’t make us any better than anyone else.” After giving her daughter a lesson in being a beloved monarch, Snow White’s mother collapses.

Back in Storybrooke, Snow White is also celebrating another birthday – though she doesn’t want to – and she receives that tiara from Johanna—that servant from the fairyback, which Snow White and Charming didn’t know was in Storybrooke. Charming later heads into the sheriff’s office and gets knocked out by Hook who is looking for his, well, hook.

Snow White visits Johanna, meanwhile, and after hearing a loud noise nearby, discovers Regina and Cora digging for Rumple’s dagger in the woods. Snow heads to the sheriff’s office and discovers Charming still knocked out on the floor. She shares what she learned while out in the woods and comes up with a plan.

Over in New York, Baelfire and Henry are bonding while heading to a pizzeria with Emma and Rumple, who wants Emma to convince Baelfire to come back to Storybrooke with them.

Back in Storybrooke, Snow White confronts Regina about her partnership with Cora and offers her a chance to join the side of “good” in the coming war. Regina refuses, however, and continues to blame Snow White for why she is the way she is. She even insists that she’s the “good” person in this story.

In the fairyback, Snow White continues to worry over her ill mother. When they’re alone, Johanna confides in Snow White that if medicine can’t cure her mother, perhaps magic can. We learn Johanna is the first one to introduce the Blue Fairy to Snow White.

While Emma doesn’t think he’ll agree to it, she does ask Baelfire after lunch if he’ll do it. He tells her he needs to tell her something that complicates matters. (Of course this complication would be a woman in his life every fan suddenly though.) Before Emma can learn what that complication is, Hook stabs Rumple in the lobby of Baelfire’s building with his hook. Emma knocks him out when Baelfire comes down and recognizes who he is.

They carry Rumple upstairs while Hook gets locked up in a storage room and discover that Hook has poisoned his hook with something that only has a cure in fairytale land—or Storybrooke. Rumple suggests taking Hook’s ship, The Jolly Roger, and Baelfire offers to sail it back to Storybrooke. Because a plane wouldn’t be faster?!

Back in Storybrooke, Snow White and Charming go to visit the Blue Fairy to seek her help in finding Rumple’s dagger before Cora or Regina can. After that scene ends, we see Snow and the Blue Fairy meeting for the first time in a fairyback. The Blue Fairy says she can’t save her mother—until Snow presses. The magic that can bring her back is forbidden to fairies and Snow White has to promise she won’t tell anyone. The Blue Fairy offers her a magic candle that can save her mother, but it will kill someone else.

Back in NY, Emma tells Rumple about Cora and Regina’s plans. He refuses to say where the dagger is to help Snow White and Charming get it first. So in Storybrooke, the Blue Fairy tries to find it without his help. Charming suggests dark magic to find it and Snow White encourages it, until Charming gets a phone call from Emma about where the dagger is.

In the fairyback, Snow White tells her mother about the candle and how she couldn’t use it. Her mother tells her how proud she is for refusing the call of dark magic to save her life before she dies.

Back in Storybrooke, Charming retrieves the dagger from the clock tower when Cora and Regina appear. Cora conjures Johanna and Regina rips out her heart to blackmail Snow White into handing over the dagger. In a fairyback, we see how Johanna was there for Snow White after her mother died, as well as the fact that the Blue Fairy Snow thought she was talking to was actually Cora in disguise.

Cora reveals in a monologue that Snow White’s mother was poisoned—which means we’re probably going to need a fairyback at some point to explain why Cora hates Snow White’s mother. Ugh.

More importantly, she promises Snow White’s mother’s dead body that she’ll turn Snow White evil one day.
With the fairyback over, Snow White discovers through a random, innocuous thing that Cora says, that she was impersonating the Blue Fairy and that Cora killed her mother. Rather than see Johanna die, Snow White hands over the dagger and Regina puts the heart back into Johanna. It doesn’t do her much good, however, as Cora throws Johanna out the window, to her death. For those hoping for a reaction from Regina about how that was wrong—you were out of luck. She didn’t care.

At Regina’s house later that day, Regina uncovers how much of what has happened in her life has been caused by Cora’s desire to see her Queen. For instance, it’s her fault that Regina would be in the pastures when Snow White rode past—where Regina helped rescue her, leading towards that eventual marriage offer from Snow’s father. Thanks for the ret-conning producers.

The episode ends with two things that should be shocking, but aren’t. First, we meet Baelfire’s complication in NY. It’s a fiancée named Tamara. And second, Snow White resolves to kill Cora. If that actually comes to play, then perhaps this meandering episode will have been worth it.

‘Once Upon a Time’ Season 2 Episode 14 Review: Manhattan

Once Upon a Time - Ep 2.14 - Recap

The producers/creators of Once Upon a Time once worked on Lost and last night’s episode saw them bring over a popular device from that show—using a flashback to create shocking revelations in the present. Did it work as well as it did on Lost? Not as much as you’d have hoped.

Father and Son Meet. Well, Two Different Fathers and Sons Meet.

Happily the show has us discover Baelfire’s true identity in the opening minutes. And it’s the person we all thought it would be. Neil: Henry’s father and Emma’s ex.

When Emma asks if he’s Gold’s son, he has no idea what she’s talking about. But once she says the name Rumplestiltskin, Neil immediately shows recognition. Emma meanwhile is accusatory thinking this was all part of a larger plan. Neil convinces Emma to join her in a bar because he doesn’t want to see Rumple and can explain himself.

At the bar, Neil claims he didn’t know who she was when they met. We then have an opportunity to see what August showed Neil earlier in the season in a flashback. On his typewriter, there was a paper with a message that read: “I know you’re Baelfire.”

Emma doesn’t believe in coincidences, but Neil believes it was fate that brought them together—to help break the curse.

Neil says that perhaps something good came of them being together and Emma opts not to tell him about Henry. She also claims to be over him, until Neil points out she’s wearing a keychain around her neck that he gave her. She takes it off and hands it back before saying he needs to go see his father. Neils begs her to lie to Rumple about where he is, but Emma is unsure.

Emma calls home to tell Snow White who Rumple’s father is. Snow encourages her to come clean and tell Henry who his father is—she had previously told him he was dead.

When Emma does go back to see Rumple and Henry, she lies and tells Rumple that his son got away. Rumple takes them back to Baelfire’s apartment to wait him out. Henry even offers to be lookout. When Emma gets weird around a dreamcatcher hanging on the window, Rumple starts to realize Emma is lying to him and starts yelling at her. Henry leaves and they both get in a screaming match until Neil arrives and tells Rumple to leave her alone.

Neil tells Rumple he came back to make sure he didn’t hurt Emma. He also says he doesn’t want to talk to his father. Rumple then realizes that they know each other. Henry comes in and calls Emma his mother. Neil realizes quickly that Henry’s age makes him his son.

Henry, upset with the revelation that Emma lied to him, climbs out the fire escape and Emma goes after him. Neil offers Rumple three minutes to talk to him. On the fire escape, Emma and Henry talk. Emma says she lied because Neil was a bad guy and broke her heart. Henry accuses Emma of being like Regina because she always lied to him.

Inside, Neil and Rumple have a heart to heart, but Neil is unbelieving of Rumple’s true intentions. Rumple even offers to turn Neil 14 again so he can forget everything that’s happened to him. Neil tells Rumple that he thinks of how Rumple let him go into the pit most nights—the pit that brought him to our world. He then tells Rumple to leave.

Neil goes to talk to Henry. Emma warns him to not break his heart. Neil says he won’t do what Rumple did to him; Emma reminds him that he did the same thing to her years earlier. The other Father and son then have a heart to heart.

OUAT ep - 214 Hook, Queen, Cora

A Building Threat to Rumple from an Unlikely Force.

It’s in the fairyback that we learn this meeting was predestined long ago, but came with a warning.

First we see Rumple, pre Dark One, telling his wife Mila that he’s been called to the frontlines of the Ogre War and he’s happy about it. Mila says they’ll start the life they’ve always wanted when he gets back.

Near the battle, Rumple is asked to guard a cage with a prisoner to help them defeat the Ogres. He looks in the cage when the prisoner calls his name and discovers a child with her eyes cut out and replaced with stitches. Those eyes are now in her hands and she claims to be able to tell the future.

After giving her water, Rumple learns from her that he’ll be a father and his actions on the battlefield will leave the boy “fatherless.” Rumple starts to disbelieve her but she is unrelenting. He later starts to panic as the prediction the Seer made earlier starts to come true about riding into battle the next day. He goes to see her, but she’s gone.

Realizing he has no other choice, he grabs a nearby hammer and smashes his leg—finally explaining why he’s had a limp this whole time. He returns home and is overjoyed to hear Baelfire’s name. But he’s also in incredible pain as Mila yells accusations at him about hurting himself to avoid fighting. Rumple tells her he did it because of what the Seer told him.

Rumple says he did what he did so he would never abandon his son. Mila tells him he sentenced him to a worse fate: growing up as his son. As she leaves, Rumple holds his son for the first time and promises him that he’ll never leave.

Towards the end of the episode, we see another fairyback with Rumple as the Dark One. He meets the Seer who is now a woman. He demands she help him find Baelfire. She tells him he will find him after many years, will require a curse that will rip everyone from the land that he will not cast, that he will not break the curse and yada yada yada—basically everything that’s transpired in the series so far.

Rumple forces her to continue talking and she tells him to take the Seer power from her. Rumple does. As Rumple takes the power, he realizes it’s too much for him to handle. He can’t tell what he’s seeing. It’s sort of a torment.

As gratitude, she offers him one last piece of the puzzle. She tells him, “You will be reunited with your son. And it will come in a most unexpected way. A young boy will lead you to him. But that boy is more than he appears. He will lead you to what you seek. But there will be a price. The boy will be your undoing.”

“Then I’ll just have to kill him,” Rumple says.

OK. So that was surprising. But, two things to consider:

– If Rumple knew Henry would lead him to his son, why did he object when Emma wanted to bring him along?

– Didn’t Rumple say Emma was the one with the power? Or will we see Henry start to be able to us magic as well?

The Other Threat Rumple Will Soon Face.

While Rumple starts to worry about Henry, there’s another threat he’ll have to contend with—as well as a continuing one that the rest of the town needs to worry about.

In Storybrooke, Cora is with Regina discussing where Henry has gone. Cora looks remarkably normal and like she fits in. Hook comes in, demanding to know where Rumple is. Cora says that once anyone leaves, they’ll lose their magic abilities—but they’ll keep their memories since they weren’t a part of the curse.

Hook wants to leave immediately, but Cora convinces him to stay by telling him that Rumple’s dagger is in town and is the only thing that can kill him.

Back in Storybrooke, Regina goes to visit Belle. When Regina learns Belle’s memory is gone, she casts a spell to put her asleep and then rifles through her things. She discovers the Dewey Decimal number for a book on a notecard in her purse. Why she had to cast magic to see that as opposed to using her hands? No idea.

Except of course, it was so the stranger, Greg, could videotape it and send that video to his wife. Stupid moment by Regina solely so Greg had more evidence.

Hook, Regina and Cora go to her library to find that book, assuming Rumple’s dagger is there. But the book is missing from its rightful place—instead, there is a map that Hook things he can read. Cora knocks out Hook, however, and tells Regina that she wants the dagger to control Rumple, not to kill him. She’ll use him to kill Charming and Snow White so that Henry will only want to be with Regina.

Right… because after the murder of his mother and grandparents, he’ll run screaming into the arms of Regina?!

Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 13: Tiny

Like the first half of the season, Emma is off on a side journey completely separate from the rest of the cast—though this time, it’s with Henry and Gold. Charming, Snow White and the rest of the town, meanwhile, deal with the arrival of Anton, the Giant, while a potential other threat emerges.

The search for Baelfire

Gold comes to see if Emma is ready to go looking for his son, Baelfire, at the beginning of the episode—and he’s not too happy that she wants to bring Henry along. He refuses to tell them where their eventual destination is, but that they’ll need to fly to get there.

At the airport, Rumple is annoyed by Henry’s constant questions and gets annoyed by the security protocol. Rumple is especially nervous about taking his shawl off to go through security and forgetting who he is. (That shawl allowed him to cross over the town line without forgetting who he was.)

After he takes it off, he has trouble walking, but Emma helps him through.

Once he passes through the metal detector he puts the shawl on immediately and appears to suffer no after effects from taking it off, even if he looks nervous about it. (Henry, meanwhile, is more interested in the nearby Cinnabon.)

Rumple later has a freak-out in the bathroom and punches his hand repeatedly in a stall. When he goes to heal the blood from his hand, he finds that he can’t use magic anymore. Is that because he took the shawl off? Or because he’s so far from Storybrooke.

On an airplane, Henry pigs out on Cinnabon while Emma notices how nervous Rumple is on the plane. (He does look especially twitchy in that scene. Even more than usual.) And we learn the flight is heading to New York, which we’ll see in next week’s episode.

Anton the Giant comes to town

With Emma gone, Charming continues trying to run the town—though he misses his sword. He’s also got the dwarves patrolling the town for Cora.

Regina shows up at Charming and Snow White’s place after Emma and Henry leave with Rumple, where she learns she was framed for the murder of Archie. She feigns innocence and lies about knowing Cora is in town. She’s also not pleased to learn Emma has taken Henry out of town.

Looking for a lead on Cora, Charming and Snow White question Hook, who they demand take them to his invisible ship, which Grumpy hopes can take everyone home back to Fairytale Land.

The team discovers Cora is holding Hurley–er, Anton the Giant captive on the ship.

In the first fairyback for the night, we see Anton argue with his fellow Giants about why they’re still growing beans even though they refuse to talk to humans anymore.

“It’s what we do,” one of the Giants tells him. “It’s the labor, that makes us who we are.”

(Sounds like something one of the dwarves would say.)

After one of the Giants destroys a harp Anton is holding, he decides to climb down the giant beanstalk and take his chances with the humans.

Back in Storybrooke, the team discovers that Anton is, well, no longer a Giant. And he’s very, very angry with Charming for something he did. He fights with them but manages to get away after trying to kill Charming.

At the diner, Charming comes to the quick conclusion that Anton is mad at his brother—the real Prince James.

In a Fairyback, we see James for the first time in a number of episodes. And he’s about to have sex with someone when the King walks in.

The King sends James to go talk to Anton who is wandering around the town, scaring citizens. Jack, a girl, who James had almost had sex with earlier, tags along. She gives Anton a mushroom that she claims will make Anton smaller—temporarily. She claims to have good intentions in giving him the mushroom but we know better.

Back in Storybrooke, Hook is visited by Regina who claims Regina needs her “things.” Hook informs Regina what’s going on with Anton in town and Regina is happy there’s a distraction loose.

In another Fairyback, Anton is having drinks with Jack and James at a local bar. Anton enjoys being amongst the humans when he witnesses James getting into a fight with one of the royal men. Jack tells Anton that the kingdom is out of money and if they don’t pay off their debtors, the town will be burned to the ground. Jack tells Anton a magic bean would help—clearly they had less than good intentions in making Anton small.

Anton doesn’t realize the deception and instead offers to get treasure from his brothers to help out.

Back in Storybrooke, Anton is not happy when Regina approaches. “I hate humans,” he says—no doubt after the distrust he will no doubt soon experience in the fairybacks.

Regina instead offers Anton something that will make him bigger again. He eats it almost immediately and it works just as advertised.

Back in the fairyback, Anton goes to steal treasures for the humans when one of his brothers tries to talk him out of it. They then realize someone has followed Anton back up the beanstalk.

Just as fighting is about to break out in the fairyback, Anton is tossing cars around in the present time and causing mayhem. Charming confronts him and tells him what happened to James. Snow White tries to tell him to calm down and tells him that Emma is her daughter. (Anton liked Emma when he met her earlier in the season.) Anton says he’ll stop what he’s doing if Emma comes to talk to him—which of course, she can’t do since she’s at the airport with Rumple.

Back in the fairyback, Anton finds James and Jack came up the beanstalk not for the treasure, but for the beans. Jack says plainly they’re not his friends and demand the beans. The humans later are somehow overrunning the Giants – did the royal guards follow Jack and James up the beanstalk and we didn’t see it? – and Anton is told by one of his brothers that he needs to destroy all the beans to get them to leave.

Eventually both Jack and one of Anton’s brothers are stabbed badly. James winds up leaving Jack behind. (She’s still alive—she’s got to be living amongst the Giants now as a prisoner right?)Anton succeeded in his mission, though James makes off with a lot of what he came for. Anton is given a preserved part of the stalk so that he can grow beans in “new land.”

So we know how much Anton hates the humans—especially somehow that looks like Charming. While chasing Charming, Snow White and Grumpy, Anton falls through the pavement of the road before disappearing in blue smoke. He has shrunk back down to normal size and is barely hanging on.

Charming goes in to save Anton. (Sidenote: Is it a little unreasonable to wonder how Charming thinks he can support Anton’s weight when he’s about to grab on to pull him up from the sinkhole?) After saving him, Anton is pretty much forgiven by Charming and everyone else. And he’s given the home that he’s always wanted, since according to Grumpy, it’s filled with dwarves, fairies and werewolves.

Anton shows the stem of the beanstalk to everyone at the diner, suggesting that it may help them all get home. He’s about to grow it, when he realizes it’s likely all part of Cora’s plan. But the dwarves promise to protect it at all costs.

Anton’s even given a pickaxe to help break up the Earth from the dwarves. When he holds it, it spells a name on the handle: Tiny. Looks like we’re back to 8 dwarves again. (Rest in peace Stealthy.)

Charming and Snow White discuss whether or not they should go home. Charming wants to return back to the fairytale land, but Snow White won’t go without Emma—and she doesn’t expect that she’d want to come with. This will clearly need to be discussed when she returns home from New York.

A new threat

While all of that was going on in Storybrooke, Ruby goes to visit Belle, who wants to know if Rumple really was casting magic. Ruby lies and tells her it was a hallucination. The nurses arrive to sedate her when the stranger from outside of town walks in, looking suspicious.

Later on in the episode, Greg, the stranger, goes to visit Belle and tells her that he also saw the magic. We’ve yet to see the arrival of his girlfriend/wife/whomever, that he called in last week’s episode. Seems like we’re heading for a season finale that reveals Storybrooke to the rest of the world.

Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 12: Setup for Future Revelations

The most interesting part of last night’s Once Upon a Time could have been a throwaway line—or it could be set-up for more revelations down the line.

After learning that Dr. Whale was Frankenstein, both Emma and Henry were surprised, as he’s not exactly a fairytale character. Henry took out his fairytale book and wondered aloud, who else might be in town that they don’t even know about?

Charming and Snow White weren’t as concerned (or as interested.) Instead, their focus was on the stranger that crashed into town in the earlier episode. Apparently, he loves touring towns in the Northeast of the United States. And he has a “her” calling him repeatedly.

The “heads” of the town debate whether or not they should allow him to live—after all, it was likely he saw Rumple perform a magical act in the previous episode. But they quickly realize – with the exception of Leroy/Grumpy – that they’re not killers and can’t allow him to die.

Emma goes to question him after Dr. Whale saves him and the stranger lies, claiming he saw nothing because he was too busy texting. At the end of the episode, he calls his “her” and tells her she’s not going to believe what he saw.

Dr. Whale wasn’t exactly in a saving mood at first. (Mostly because he was drinking.) In his fairybacks, we begin to fill in more of the pieces of his backstory. His father loved his brother, Gerhardt, more. Gerhardt loves his brother and dies in an accident. Victor brings him back to life, he’s a monster, Rumple helped, yada yada yada. More importantly—we don’t know the fate of Gerhardt as Frankenstein’s monster by the end of the fairyback. Is he actually in Storybrooke and we don’t know it yet?

While everyone worries about the fate of Dr. Whale (who is saved from suicide by Ruby—perhaps a romance will start there?) and the stranger, Cora goes to visit Regina and convince her that she is the only person who can help Cora regain the trust and love of Henry. (The other villain, Hook, is only in the episode a little to flirt with Emma while he’s in the hospital recuperating and demanding the return of his hook.)

Meanwhile, Belle has no memory of who she is, and is of course freaked out by Rumple fawning over her. Everything he tries to jog her memory has no effect. But the end of the episode, his mind is back on Baelfire as Cora presents a device that will allow him to find his son. (The map leading to him looked like it was pointing towards Maryland—anyone else see a different state?)

Since Emma is the only person in town to have explored the US outside of Storybrooke, Rumple “kidnaps” her and demands she accompany him on the trip, after he threatens to kill Snow, Charming and Henry if anything happens to Belle while he’s gone.
Will Rumple’s magic work once he lives the city limits? And how much more trouble will happen in town while Emma’s gone?

Once Upon a Time is off for the next three weeks, so we won’t find out until February.

Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 12: In The Name Of the Brother

Fairy tale flashbacks or Frankenstein (aka other world) flashbacks, which do you prefer?

In this clip from Once Upon a Time Episode 2.12, Gregory Itzin guest stars as Alphonse, Victor Frankenstein’s father. Itzin was the infamous president on 24, we all loved to hate. Speaking of which, is anyone else anxious for more on the 24 movie? It seems as though HBO’s Entourage is closer to a feature film than the famed Jack Bauer show.

Once Upon a Time: In the Name of the Brother:
While Dr. Whale treats the outsider, the townspeople decide what to do with the man who may know Storybrooke’s secret. Meanwhile, Cora meets with her daughter and Gold tries to meet with Belle. In another world, Victor tries to convince his father Alphonse that he can bring back the dead.

Once Upon a Time Episode 2.11 will have ramifications for weeks to come

Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 11: The Outsider

For a show that can often be accused of moving at a glacial pace when it comes to storylines, Once Upon a Time seemed awfully happy about only letting our main characters think Archie was dead for a grand total of one and a half episodes.

Seems like a waste, but then again, how many of you out there would want to put up with multiple episodes of Henry not taking care of the dog properly and generally moping around?

The meat of the episode, however, was on what led to the discovery of Archie on Hook’s invisible ship in the first place. Hook fakes wanting to kidnap Belle in her library, when in actuality, he wants to get into Gold’s pawn shop undisturbed. He’s looking to steal a scarf from Mrs. Ex Rumple (that Rumple killed in fairytale times) that Gold was planning to enchant and use to move across the Storybrooke city limits without losing his memory.

He successfully tested his spell on Smee earlier in the episode. Since Smee wound up helping Hook get the scarf, Gold turns him into a rat.

Belle does some of her own investigating and discovers Hook’s ship after he randomly leaves a nautical rope knot behind. After freeing Archie, she sticks around to try and find the scarf. She’s almost killed by Hook, but Gold arrives to save the day. Belle pleads with him many times not to kill Gold since he’s better than that now—but not before Gold gives him quite the thrashing.

The fairyback sequence showed Belle after leaving Rumple and trying to track down a mythical beast with a ring of fire around his neck. (Nope. Won’t try to even attempt the spelling of it.) After meeting Mulan (who subsequently gets hurt), Belle winds up putting out the flames on the beast and discovering – with some fairy dust from Grumpy – that it’s actually Prince Philip who was enchanted by Maleficient.

The fairyback serves two purposes. One, it ties up some loose ends about how Belle then gets captured by Regina and locked away in the tower for Hook to later discover her, as well as how Mulan meets Philip. Two, there’s a long drawn-out metaphor about how Belle never gives up on the beast (AKA Rumple.)

In the real world, she accompanies him back to the town line where he successfully crosses over so he can go look for his son Baelfire. At that moment, Hook arrives, shoots her and causes Belle to fall over the line—losing her memory in the process.

Before Gold can exact his revenge, however, an outsider drives through town and hits Hook before going off the road. Both look very hurt.

An outsider coming to town and discovering magic is exactly something the townspeople worried about earlier—the dwarves think Storybrooke is no longer safe since it has magic and believe they should return to Fairytale Land. (Snow and Charming, meanwhile, want to buy a bigger house in Maine.)

The identity of the stranger will remain hidden until next week. And while Regina was only seen in the fairyback this week, it’s likely she’ll re-emerge next week as well, wanting to exact her revenge—not knowing that with Artie being alive, Emma’s feeling a bit guilty right now.

Sort of a boring episode, especially because of the non-important fairyback, but the ending is likely to have ramifications for weeks and episodes to come.

Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 10: The Cricket Game

How you feel about the Once Upon a Time “Cricket Game” episode may depend on whether or not you believed the producers of the show would kill off a major character like Artie without seeing him die and/or because his character has gone largely unused this season.

I actually did buy into it for the majority of the episode that he did die. They killed the Huntsman just as he was becoming interesting. I even speculated that maybe the actor just wanted off the show.

But no, Cora found him of more use alive, since as the town’s therapist, he was privy to all of their secrets. Then again, isn’t her goal just to basically kill everyone and turn her daughter evil again?

Actually—no. We don’t know her true goal. And that’s why Hook is becoming an increasingly more compelling villain.

Kill Rumple. That’s his goal. Pretty standard. Cora’s? A bit more opaque than that. Perhaps we’ll get a better sense of what her end goal is—world domination perhaps?—by the end of the season. But for right now, it seems like it’s about doing nothing more than making trouble.

In the meantime, we did get a fairly entertaining premiere for the winter episode of Once Upon a Time. The main goal of last night’s episode? We learn whether or not Regina truly has changed and wants to be a good person.

She does! Too bad no one believes her since Cora framed her for Artie’s “murder.” Emma believed her, however, till the very end, when she used her own burgeoning magical abilities to see what Artie’s dog saw—that “Cora” murdered” Artie. This was a great extension of an interesting plotline and also showed that Emma, for all her past faults, is becoming a more well-rounded, thoughtful character.

In the boring fairyback, we learn that Snow White too grappled with whether or not to believe Regina was capable of change. Not surprisingly, she learned that she wasn’t, and it was what led to Regina’s banishment in the first place.

Random side-note: am I the only one who keeps watching this fairybacks secretly hoping one of them turns out to be a Lost season 4-style flash forward?

Anyway. By the end of the episode, Emma has tell Henry that Regina isn’t capable of change and that she murdered someone he felt very close to. Regina witnesses this conversation, which we aren’t able to hear the dialogue of, from a nearby car.

Seemingly, we are lead to believe, this is what causes her to go back to her mother (as she intends) and brings on the Evil Queen persona again. (When she attacked the fairy earlier, that was somewhat in defense.)

It’s a fairly standard plot diversion for a show that wants to redeem a previously evil character – see Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6 or so – but I’m hoping the Once producers have a surprise up the sleeves. More importantly, I’m curious to see how long will producers string out the fact that Artie is alive on Hook’s hidden ship?

Hopefully they won’t string that plotline out as long as they strung out the one about David’s wife being missing last season. Oh yeah. And whatever happened to her…