Friday, 28 September 2012

Once Upon a Time: Hat Trick / The Stable Boy / The Return

Episodes 1.17, 1.19 and 1.19

Episode 1.17: Hat Trick

Could he get any broodier?
This was my third episode of Once Upon a Time before I started watching from the beginning and good thing that I had seen it before because our TV went weird and didn’t record this episode. What I will say will be very brief indeed because I can’t really remember much of it.

In Storybrooke, MM has escaped from jail and Emma has gone out to look for her. She meets an elusive man called Jefferson and gives him a lift back to his mansion. He invites her in and offers a drink; Emma, Emma, Emma. Surely as Sheriff and more importantly as a single, attractive young woman, you should have learnt by now not to accept drinks from strangers? Clearly not. She’s knocked out and when she wakes up, tries to escape. Who does she find behind a door when she’s looking for a way out? Only escaped fugitive Mary Margaret. Jefferson finds them, makes Emma tie MM back up and drags Emma away for a special task that he has in store for her …

Jefferson needs Emma to make his hat work so that he can return to his own land. Somehow, he knows that she is the saviour who can restore magic to Storybrooke and he is desperate enough to trap her in his home with his hat until it works again. Emma is still a non-believer and isn’t giving up that easily …

Jefferson in fairytaleland is The Mad Hatter. He lives with his young daughter (so many single-parent fathers in this show!) in straitened times. When the Evil Queen asks him to help her retrieve a lost item, he can’t help but accept. Using his magic, spinning hat, they enter a portal where they find themselves in a kind of halfway-area with numerous doors into presumably different realms. Only two can pass through; only two can come back. The door that they take takes them to – you guessed it – the land of Alice in Wonderland. While they don’t meet the eponymous Alice herself, they do encounter the Queen of Hearts who is less than happy to see intruders in her garden. The Mad Hatter is horrified to learn that the item that they came to retrieve was the Evil Queen’s father – he is captured while Regina and her father escape, leaving him trapped in Wonderland forever …

Like the wonder-woman she is, Emma knocks crazy Jefferson into unconsciousness and escapes with MM. A daughter-to-mother pep talk results in MM agreeing to return to jail with Emma so that they can sort out MM’s charge legitimately in order to beat Regina. We then see a furious Regina confronting Mr Gold as to why MM hadn’t disappeared on finding the key … it seems that MM isn’t Mr Gold’s only client … 

Episode 1.18: The Stable Boy
Now I see where the phrase 'Like mother, like daughter' comes from
This episode sees Regina’s very scary mother take centre stage as we discover the reason for Regina’s hatred for Snow. It’s an interesting one – I mean, Regina, a normal human being? Really?

Regina is a daddy’s girl; understandable since her mother is an even bigger bitch than she becomes. Her mother is the one with magic and very unhappy that her daughter isn’t making the most of the opportunities that she’s been given to find a good match for herself. The reason: Regina is in love with Daniel, the stable boy, but too terrified to tell her mother of their secret relationship. One day during a clandestine meeting, Regina hears the terrified screams of a young girl astride a horse she cannot control, and Regina rides to the rescue. Who is the little girl, I hear you ask. Snow White, of course.

Snow’s father is overcome with gratitude and proposes marriage to Regina (fast, right?) as he can see that she will be a good mother to his orphaned child. Snow is ecstatic; Regina, less so. One night, Snow happens upon Regina kissing Daniel in the stable and angrily confronts Regina about it. Regina confesses her love for Daniel and Snow (in her naivety) is so enthusiastic that she wants to go and tell her father right away! Regina makes Snow promise not to tell anyone else, but what good is a promise if it isn’t broken?

Regina’s mother, like the manipulative bitch she is, manages to find Snow’s weak spot so that she blurts out the truth. What happens next is so horrible that I seriously considered feeling sorry for Regina, but then thought about it a little and couldn’t find it in my cold, black heart to do so. Regina’s mother bursts into the stable just as Regina and Daniel are about to run away. Understandably, she’s angry, but (pretends to) give her consent to the match. As she and Daniel are coming together for their pseudo-welcome-to-the-family hug, she sticks her hand in Daniel’s chest and squeezes, stopping his heart. The one thing running through my head during this scene was: WHY ARE YOU STILL STANDING THERE REGINA? DO SOMETHING!!!

In Storybrooke, Regina urges MM to confess. MM, of course, has no knowledge of their previous history in fairytaleland, so is completely bewildered as to why Regina hates her so much. She agrees to a meeting with the DA to iron out some details before the trial and King George (DA) manages to make her blurt out that yes, MM did want Kathryn gone. Way to cement your jail sentence, MM.

In the meantime, August has come along to help Emma emancipate MM. He suggests that they head down to the Toll Bridge where the heart was found and what do they find? A shard of snapped-off shovel. In the middle of the night, the pair practice their B&E skills on Regina's garage only to find a broken shovel whose jagged marks match those of the segment they found! Breakthrough, I hear you say; not quite. Emma returns the next morning with a warrant in hand, only to find a shiny new shovel instead. Logically, Emma concludes that August is working alongside Regina as he was with her the previous night, but he protests his innocence. I’m still divided on this one.

As MM is taken away in cuffs, Mr Gold remarks rather ominously “there’s still time for a little magic” … Emma discovers (finally!) that Sidney is working for Regina and Mr Gold’s ‘magic’ is revealed … Kathryn is ALIVE!

The girl who plays Snow as a child is so so so like Ginnifer Goodwin it’s scary. It’s not just that they look-alike; they do the same facial features, the same body language, the same tonal inflections when they speak. I had trouble believing that they weren’t related or even the same person. It’s great, but she’s a little too intense at times. 

Episode 1.19: The Return

Poor, sweet, innocent Baelfire ...

 So. As Kathryn clearly wasn’t dead, whose heart had been found and how had the lab got the results wrong? The trails will all lead back to Regina and it won’t look good on her and she knows it.

In fairytaleland, Baelfire doesn’t like his father’s new powers. The other kids shun him and he knows that his father gets up to bad, bad things. They strike a deal: if Bae can find a way of getting rid of his father’s power without killing him, Rumpelstiltskin will do it. Rumpelstiltskin is clearly devoted to his son, but doesn’t have much faith that he will find a way.

Bae finds the answer with Reul Ghorm, whom we otherwise know as the Blue Fairy. The only solution she can think of is to send them both to another realm – a realm without magic. With the help of the last ever magic bean in existence (maybe we won’t be seeing Jack then) Bae opens the portal. Rumpelstiltskin, however, has changed his mind. Now that he’s experienced such power, he’s understandably terrified of a life without it and refuses to jump with his son. Bae slips through just as the portal closes and Rumpelstiltskin immediately regrets his decision. He calls on the Blue Fairy to find a way of being with his son, but nothing will be able to bring them back together … except for a curse …

In Storybrooke, Booth wakes from a nightmare and I had the unshakeable thought that he was Bae – it makes a lot of sense. He, alongside Regina, Mr Gold and Jefferson know of the other world and ever since he arrived in Storybrooke, he has been trying to get Emma to believe. He was the one who had Henry’s book when it ‘disappeared’ and we’ve seen him give very precise and foreboding advice to both Henry and Emma. When we see that August recruits Henry to distract Mr Gold while he sneaks into the back of his shop to search for something, my suspicions about August were more validated.

Mr Gold is very curious about Booth and asks Emma about it at MM’s welcome home party as she is vindicated after Kathryn’s mystery reappearance. I love Emma’s attempt to describe August: “a typewriter wrapped in enigma wrapped in stubble.” God, I love the stubble. Not quite so much as Graham’s, but almost. At the same party, Emma turns David away at MM’s request. The next day, David catches MM in town and tries to tell her that he’s sorry for not believing her before and that “I’m human. I fell for it”, but to no avail. Despite knowing that he loves her, MM can’t bear for them to be together because “it’s like something in this world doesn’t want us together” and “keeps pouring poison between us”! If only she knew how accurate this statement is! I just want to cry.

Look at all that stubble-y goodness!
In a rare show of vulnerability, Mr Gold turns to Archie for advice. Mr Gold might not want to pour out all the lurid details of his complicated past, but Archie knows that honesty can’t go wrong. So Mr Gold and August meet in the woods and both pour their hearts out in what is really quite a sweet scene. Mr Gold begs for his son’s forgiveness and then they have a big reunion hug where actual tears are involved … only it turns out that August isn’t Bae, because no way would anything be that easy. Interestingly, Mr Gold doesn’t seem to want to punish August in any way for impersonating his son … that was kind of surprising, but I guess seeing as Mr Gold wants to see Emma save Storybrooke for whatever ulterior reasons he has, then it makes sense that he wants August to continue in his role trying to convince her.

In other news, Emma returns to her office and finds a distraught Sidney and a gloating Regina. Knowing that all the trails will lead back to her, Regina has persuaded Sidney to confess to Kathryn’s kidnapping and botching up of the lab results. Emma sees right through the façade, but what can she do? And the sad thing is: Sidney is madly in love with Regina. How much more of a bitch can she get?

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