After all the episodes that we’ve seen Red/Ruby helping out Snow or in Granny’s, she finally gets her chance in the spotlight. This episode has an interesting take on Red Riding Hood and Peter and the Wolf.
In fairytaleland, it’s the time of the month when the wolf comes out to play. Hunting trips only ever end with good men slaughtered and Red is sick of being cooped up in the house under her grandmother’s watchful eye. One morning, she finds Snow hiding out in their chicken coop and takes her in. She confesses that she’s in love with a boy from the village, but Granny isn’t keen on their relationship. Snow urges Red to do what she thinks is best for love, and Red gets it into her head that if she kills the wolf, there’ll no longer be any danger and so Granny can’t object to her relationship with Peter.
On hunting down the wolf during daytime wearing their gorgeous cloaks, Red and Snow discover that the wolf is actually human! And they think it’s Peter! They form a plan for Red to sneak out and tell Peter, but it all ends in blood and tears as it turns out that Peter isn’t the wolf, but Red. Her cloak is the only thing that stops her from turning during the full moon and she’s gone without it so that Granny doesn’t know that she’s not in the house. It turns out that the condition is hereditary; just as Granny and Snow find Red, the hunters begin to descend. We end with Snow and Red running away from the scene of the crime.
Ruby in Storybrooke looks a bit like a hoochie mama and I love it! She works with her grandmother in their B&B/café and all she wants is to move out of town and make something of herself. When Granny suggests that Ruby takes on a greater workload, Ruby quits and moves out. MM and Emma feel sorry for her, so invite her to live with them while she finds a place of her own. It turns out that Ruby is really good at general admin, so Emma takes her on as assistant in the sheriff’s office.
Kathryn is still missing and although David has been cleared as a suspect, he’s distraught. MM finds him wandering around the forest in a trance and when she and Emma locate him again, he can’t remember his whereabouts or actions since the previous evening. Emma sends Ruby to the toll bridge in search for anything that might be suspicious and of course, what Ruby finds isn’t pretty. Contained inside an intricate box is … a severed human heart. Lovely.
Ruby admits that she isn’t cut out for the kind of work required in the Sheriff’s office and begs Granny to let her come back. This results in a sweet heart-to-heart where Granny confesses that the reason she wanted Ruby to take on more work is so that she can eventually take over the whole place one day. A big hug ensues, but of course the episode can’t end on a high.
Elsewhere in Storybrooke, Emma arrives at David’s workplace as the bearer of bad news. MM is also present and both are in shock when Emma reveals that a heart has been found. They still don’t know that it’s Kathryn’s, but the odds are high. If that wasn’t enough to shatter David, there’s more. Fingerprints were present inside the box’s lid: Mary Margaret’s.
Red Handed was my first ever episode of Once Upon a Time and I didn’t pretend to understand. We watched another two episodes before seeing the pilot and so I’ve really enjoyed seeing how the previous episodes built up to the action seen in Red Handed, Heart of Darkness and Hat Trick. Boy, am I glad that I’ve re-watched Red Handed now. Not only do I understand everything that happened better and enjoyed the run-on effects of watching the episodes in the right order, but I also have a much better appreciation of some of the more subtle things that take place in the episode that I wouldn’t have understood had I not seen the previous episodes.
The big reveal about Red/Ruby was a shocker the first time I saw it and although its impact was not as huge the second time around, it has given me the opportunity to reflect better on Red/Ruby’s character throughout the series. She’s appeared as a recurring character in most of the episodes in Storybrooke, but her appearances in fairytaleland have been fewer and further between. This episode shows how she and Snow first met and the discovery that she was a werewolf must have been something of a bonding experience, considering that we’ve seen that the pair are still close in later episodes. As Emma doesn’t yet have a role in fairytaleland, I’m glad that Snow has someone that she can rely on. I’d definitely like to see Red get her own HEA.