Monday, January 16, 2012

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 9)

Taking a look at the show's ratings, last week's episode "Desperate Souls" saw a jump of the ratings (10.35 million viewers). This is more in line with the first month of the show as opposed to the sligh slide it had taken in December.

This week's episode was entitled "True North" and features the guest star Emma Caufield (known as Anya on Buffy the Vampire Slayer). In this episode, the new sheriff tries to aid runaway children Nicholas and Ava in locating their birth father before they are torn apart in foster care. On the Fairytale side, we learn the tale of Hansel and Gretel and the Blind Witch (Caufield).

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

We'll start with Fairytale world as we meet Hansel, Gretel and their father. He's busy chopping wood and sends the kids off to get some kindling. He gives them his compass so they can find their way if they get lost. When they return, the man is missing and they instead run into the Evil Queen and her guards. The kids try to flee, but her magic stops them. She says they are foolish yet brave, just what she needs to help her. She offers to reunite the children with their father if they do an errand for them first. There is a Blind Witch who has stolen something from her that she needs back, but magic prevents the Queen from entering the candy house. Only children are immune to the blocking spell. The only rule is this: they are to not eat anything no matter how tempted.

Hansel and Gretel wait until night fall to enter. The Blind Witch is asleep and Gretel is about to retrieve the satchel as instructed when Hansel bites a cupcake. The Witch awakens, traps the children in the house and locks them up. She is about to prepare one to cook for her dinner when the kids overpower her. They throw the witch into the oven, grab the satchel and run. Watching from her magic mirror, the Evil Queen sends a fireball to cook the Blind Witch (because, you know, this is a family show and we can't have the innocent children commit such a murderous deed - the Evil Queen has already killed a lot so far).

Returning to her castle, we find that the satchel contained a poison apple (one the Queen intends to use on Snow White who is now living with the dwarves). The Queen offers the children to stay with her at the castle as they were the only ones she enlisted that succeeded (the bones in the Blind Witch's fire were those that failed in the task). Gretel defies the Queen, insisting they want their father. Angered, the Queen uses magic to send the children to the furthest point in the forest of the kingdom. She then has the guards bring the father whom she had captured. She demands to know why they turned down his offer. He tells them that a family is a strong bond. She releases him.

In Storybrooke, Henry is reading Hulk vs. Wolverine (a Marvel comic, and Marvel is now owned by Disney that owns ABC so nice cross-pollination there) when he meets Nicholas and Ava in the store. They stuff items in his book bag and the shopkeeper is upset when they try to leave. Sheriff Emma is called in as is Regina. She takes Henry home. Emma offers to take the kids home. They give her a false address. Turns out they are alone with no parents. Emma follows them and wants to help them find their father (since their mother has died). She would rather do that than turn them over to the foster system that will seperate them. However, Emma has no choice as Regina has already intervened. She called Social Services and they expect the children to be brought to Boston. Clearly Regina wants to make them suffer (as she knows who they are and what they did to her back in Fairytale world).

Henry tells Emma that he suspects the kids are Hansel and Gretel. He then asks about his own father. Emma says he was a firefighter who died saving a family from an apartment fire (which she later tells Mary-Margaret was a lie to protect Henry from the truth). Emma then shows the kids her baby blanket, the one thing she had from her parents. She asks if the kids have anything. Ava gives her the compass that she has. Emma takes the compass to Mr. Gold to see if he might know where someone would have purchased such a thing. He says he knows the piece and that he did sell it to someone. He pulls a card and asks Emma for forgiveness (for lying to her for the election). Emma offers tolerance. Gold is okay with that and tells her the name is Michael Tillman. As Emma leaves, we see that the card Gold pulled is blank (so clearly he knows all about who is who in this town too).

Emma goes to the garage where Tillman works, gives him an impassioned speech about kids growing up not knowing their parents. He says he cannot help her take the kids. This leaves Emma with no choice. She has to take the children to Boston and Regina shows up to make sure. Henry warns Emma not to try to leave town with them as bad things will happen (the curse). She drives off but as she approaches the town limits her engine dies. She calls for assistance and Tillman shows up with his tow truck. He sees the kids and realizes he should take them after all. Another happy ending thanks to Emma.

Later, Emma returns home and talks to Mary-Margaret. She reveals Henry's theory that her mother is Snow White, thus Mary-Margaret. M-M sees Emma's blanket and sniffs it. Henry finds Emma and she almost tells him the truth about his father but stops. Just then a mystery biker with a wooden box strapped to the back of his motorcycle rolls up into town. They talk with him briefly before he drives off. Emma says to Henry "I thought you said strangers don't come to Storybrooke". Henry says "they don't".

So, we get one happy ending (yay), one brutal ending for the Blind Witch (boo - I wanted Emma Caulfield to be around in present day), more of Regina and Gold moving the pawns about for their own reasons, and one very big mystery (the stranger) who will play into the next episode. Not bad for an hour of TV.

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