Hello, fellow Once Watchers! My apologies for the missing review last week; I was caught by that winter’s curse known as the flu. Fortunately, time and an abundance of medication have helped me overcome. Before I dive into this week’s episode (which was wonderful) I want to touch briefly on last week’s installment. It’s not a secret that I haven’t been as in love with this season so far as compared with last, however last week - really changed my opinion on that.
Learning about Emma’s time as a thief, how she got pregnant and ended up in jail was first-rate. Plot is critical of course, but I need reasons to be invested in the character and their story, which is the plot essentially, too. And at this point? I am definitely invested. Okay, enough about the past, let’s talk about this week…..
Child of the Moon
This episode was full of fairytale characters, some whom we’ve met before and some we haven’t, plot movements and overall interesting reveals. We start with the dwarves mining for fairy dust and they certainly stumbled upon an impressive amount of diamonds underneath the town. These are critical to bringing Snow and Emma back from Fairytale, where they’ve been trapped for an unknown period of time at this point. Celebrating the discovery of the diamonds takes us to the pub, which is an interesting location that we haven’t spent much time in so far.
It is nice to see Charming really embracing his role as both a leader and a parent to Henry. Often in television with younger children, like Henry, the maternal role is played up. This isn’t to say television fathers don’t have their purpose just that often it comes more naturally to women. That is not the case here. Of course there is Regina, striving legitimately to be a good mother and person to Henry (and we’ll come to her later on) but at this point we are witnessing Charming falling naturally into the parent role. This is something he hasn’t had practice with, of course, because he never raised Emma yet he steps very confidently and for the most part is largely successful. Consider his reassurances of Henry that the nightmares cannot hurt him and that he’ll be there to protect him when he wakes up, for example. Or an even more telling move which is to call Regina to stay with Henry when David is called away. Despite King George’s threats to reveal David for the leader he isn’t (by blood), David truly serves his kingdom well on every level, particularly at this point in the series.
The key plot of this episode centers on Red and her constant struggles to both control and accept the wolf. Meghan Ory conveys so poignantly the earnest concern that Red has as the first full moon since the curse ended. Red is one of my favourite characters on Once as she is strong and independent but also realizes that she needs to accept help at certain points. Additionally, how clever is it to have Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf as one in the same?
Flashbacks this time tell us about Red’s mother, Anita. Red and Snow part company briefly after Red tears her hood and worries that she’ll hurt someone during her change. It was obvious to me at this point, that she doesn’t hurt anyone given that in Storybrooke she tells David “last time” and references Peter. Of course she is fine save for the appearance of Quinn who steals her hood and takes her to Anita. It is alleged here that Granny stole Red from her mother – I hope at some point we get to learn the actual story, which is probably somewhere between the “hunters shot yours parents” tale and the “stole you as a baby” spin that Anita presented. If Granny stole Red, which is possible given everything we learned about Anita and her black and white views on people and the world; then Granny is more than likely justified in this action if you ask me.
The wolf pack story was well executed and didn’t fall into the more juvenile animations and plot points reminiscent of Twilight that was a concern on viewing the trailer for this episode. Instead it was very simply Red remembering being the wolf once she accepted change was inevitable. The friendship of Snow and Red was also very sweet to see more fully in this episode, to the point where Red chose Snow over Anita (rightfully so, in my opinion) even though it ended with Anita dying. (Side comment: was it just me or when the men burst into the den after Snow, was Mulan among them? If so, there should be even more animosity toward this character than we’ve seen to date.).
Dreams and Wolves and Hats, Oh My!
So that was Red’s Fairytale story this week. What about the related Storybrooke plot? Well, Red’s story cleverly tied together the fairy dust mining, Hatter’s hat, Mary-Margaret and Emma’s disappearance and Spencer’s agenda in a nice little bow. It always impresses me when show writers can do this because it indicates good levels of forethought and future planning to a reasonable degree. Additionally, it makes me feel that the powers that be have some respect for the intelligence of the audience (and let’s be honest, not all shows can say this).
So to demonstrate that David wasn’t fit to led the town as Sherriff, Spencer snatches Red’s hood and, one step beyond that, actually executed someone to frame Red. Poor Billy has a chance to be a human being and maybe go on a date and ends up in the dumpster instead. As David explained, Spencer created a reason to get power.
Kill the Beast!....But Just Who is That Exactly?
King George. Let’s chat about him for a second. This actor plays the slimy, despicable character so very well. On Lost he was the equally off-putting Charles Widmore and here he is just nasty. Spencer is the epitome of absolute power corrupting absolutely. With Regina, she turned evil (for lack of a better phrase) after substantial wrong doing toward her by those she trusted. Spencer, for all intents and purposes, is just bad, plain and simple. In the end, after a showing of pitchforks and torches, after David has talked the mob down from hurting Ruby by demonstrating his unshakably faith in her was rightly placed; it dawns who had the motivation to executed such a twisted plot. The moment we saw Spencer standing by the fire I knew absolutely that he not only had the hat, but that he was going to destroy it. Once he burned the hat, I thought first that David would kill him and finally, that when Red said she was going for a wolf-run, that she was going to hunt him down and kill him. This didn’t happen (that we saw) but I’m sure there is still time for revenge against Spencer one way or another (send him back to Fairytale to live alone and miserably, maybe?).
…Sleep, Perchance to Dream…
As if all this wasn’t already a well moving plot with great character detail and plot advancement, there was one more seemingly minute nugget that just might be the key to reuniting Snow and Emma with Storybrooke. For weeks now we’ve been hearing about these nightmares of Henry’s, which we discover from Gold is occasionally the result of a sleeping curse. Sometimes the soul visits this netherworld where it is trapped during the sleeping curse. And Henry is not the only one with this lingering effect, so is Sleeping Beauty. The result? Communication between worlds and, one can’t help but speculate, maybe travel too, somehow?
Overall, this is my favourite episode so far this season. It had brilliant character pieces and relationship moments between more than just the typically friends and lovers, not to mention that excellent ending. Now, next week we’re pre-empted by the AMA’s, I believe, so we’ll have to wait a bit to see the ramifications of this dream-chat unfortunately. Until then, this episode has left me with a couple questions to consider: are there other wolves running around in Storybrooke or is Red the only one who crossed over? Finally, what about the other mice and like critters?