Monday, January 30, 2012

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 11)

This week's episode of Once Upon A Time was entitled "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree".

Emma finds herself a very unexpected ally in Sidney, the editor of Storybrooke's Daily Mirror newspaper. It seems he wants to expose Mayor Regina.

In the land of Fairytales, we get the story of King Leopold who messes with a Genie and three wishes. As this show has been telling us since the start, magic always comes with a price.

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

Starting out, as always, in the land of Fairytales, King Leopold finds the lamp containing the Genie of Agrabah (nice nod to Disney's Aladdin). The Genie offers the standard three wishes with provisos, quid pro quo, etc. The King says he wants nothing and grants the Genie his freedom. He then uses his second wish to give the third wish to the genie.

They retire to the castle where we learn Leopold is Snow White's father who he considers the fairest of them all. The Genie however has an eye for Queen Regina (I like the touch of her name being the same). When the Queen shows sadness, the Genie offers her a mirror so she can see what he sees - that she is the fairest.

The King soon summons the Genie when he has discovered Regina's diary which reveals her feeling love for another. The King locks Regina away to keep her from another while he charges the Genie to locate the man that has taken his wife's heart. The Genie will only have to look in a mirror to do that.

Regina's father brings the Genie a box containing a two-headed Agrabah viper. He wants the Genie to bring it to Regina. When he does, she acts as if she cannot bear to live any longer. The snake's poison will kill instantly. The Genie stops her from taking a bite and instead offers to deliver the snakes to the King to kill him. That night, he sneaks in and lets the viper do its work. As the King is expiring, the Genie admits he was the man that the Queen fell for.

The Genie goes to the Queen to tell her of his deed. She says he must leave for the guards have connected him to the snake from his homeland. The Genie realizes he has been set up. Regina admits the deception and how she used him to do what she has wanted done for years, to have the King killed. The Genie refuses to leave her side and uses the final wish to always be with her. Magic has its price - and the Genie is trapped in the mirrors, always to look upon the Queen's face. Thus, he is imprisoned once more.

Over in Storybrooke, Henry and Emma inspect the storm damage to his play castle. The book is still safe though in his hiding place. Regina shows up and takes the boy away, telling Emma she is sheriff now and has to be more responsible.

Sidney comes to Emma after Regina has fired him. He wants to expose the Mayor, saying he knows of $50,000 missing from the budgets. Emma wants to do things by the book. They find that some records are missing, checked out three weeks ago. Emma goes to talk to the mayor who explains that they were likely destroyed in the fire at her office a few weeks back, the fire started by Gold to help Emma win the election. Emma goes but not after first planting a bug.

Emma and Sidney overhear the mayor on the phone, planning to meet someone. They go to catch her in the act but the brakes give out. They have to go on foot and fail to find Regina. They do find Mr. Gold however who tells them that the mayor has bought some land off of him. Emma then decides they need to break into Regina's office, knowing they'll have about six minutes to hack her computer. They print off details about a construction project on the land. Regina arrives - Emma lies and says she was investigating the alarm, thinks it was some kids. Regina dismisses her and Sidney.

Though they have the blueprints, Emma feels guilty for what they have done. Sidney pushes her to act by showing her all of the surveillence photos Regina made him take of Emma and Henry secretly meeting. This ignites Emma's fire again, and they go to the City Council meeting to expose Regina. It turns out, though, that the plans are not for a new home but for a playhouse - a safe place for Henry and the other children to play. The idea for the design is something she saw in Henry's book once.

After being beaten, Gold offers once more to help Emma. She declines. Regina asks to speak with Emma alone, tells her she knows Emma broke into her office but does not plan to pursue it further. Instead, she tells Emma that she will only be able to see Henry when she allows it, and right now she is not allowing it. Beaten, Emma keeps her word and stays away from face to face contact with Henry (only using their radios from a safe distance). Emma vows to find Henry's book (which, it turns out, is in the hands now of the mysterious stranger!).

Emma meets Sidney at the diner and the two have a drink together. Sidney tells Emma that even though they lost this one that they are still allies.

Later, however, Sidney meets up with Regina and plays the hidden tape of his last conversation with Emma. He tells Regina that Emma totally bought into everything. Regina is pleased. It all went as planned. Sidney was the one to cut the car brakes to make Regina look guilty. He helped Emma find the plans and pushed her to commit criminal acts. Sidney had never left Regina's side. It was all an act.

And why wouldn't it be? The magic wish does not let Sidney leave Regina's side, ever. He is bound by the love and the magic from Fairytale land.

I really liked the twists and turns this week. The parallels between both stories really worked well. I actually felt some sympathy for Regina not once but twice, only to be caught by the fact that she is truly evil and would have thought of everything for every situation.

Bravo, show, bravo.

We get a break next week (Superbowl Sunday - no one wants to compete with that). So, we'll be back on February 12th with a new spin on the tale of Beauty and the Beast, with Rumpelstiltskin cast into the role of the beast. Interesting. See you then.

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