Once Upon A Time Season 1 Episode 2

Apologies for the far too late recap but better late than never, right?  Hello?  Is this mic on?  Anyway, holy crap!  How much better was this episode than the pilot?  I’ll tell you: about a hundred times better.  First of all, the cheese factor went out the window at the same time the bitch factor went up like 100%.  On top of that, imagine my surprise to hear the show open with some Cat Stevens?  I had a good feeling about the episode from that moment.

But, then, it got even better!  Eviler!  Kudos show.  This week’s episode definitely gave Grimm’s first episode a run for its fairytale money.  And, between you and me, I think Once Upon a Time wins this round.  Mother Mayor took off her gloves and slapped the shit out of everyone.  It was glorious.  Especially since it pissed off Emma, who was like game on witch!  Glorious!

Things pick up right where they left off last week with young Henry staring sullenly out his window at the town clock only to perk up when the clock begins to move.  Movement, literally and figuratively for this show.  Time literally flies by, and soon it’s the next morning, and we see young Henry’s pixie haired grandmother, Snow Mary, sitting at her own window eating her cereal, when she too sees that the clock is now working.  The family tree continues with Emma waking up and going to the window.  She seems more uneasy about still being in town than she does about the clock.  We see a few of the town’s folk going about their morning.  Jiminy Cricket aka Archie Hopper the town shrink, Rumplestilskin aka Mr. Gold who owns everything., Granny and Red aka Ruby, who run the local inn and diner and finally Sheriff Graham, aka Sheriff Sexy, because I have no idea how he ties into any of this other than being Emma’s future love interest.  That in itself makes him important, but I guess that’s one tale that’s yet to be told.

This all brings us back to young Henry, happily looking out the window at the working clock, knowing it means his birth mother is still around.  Good for you, kid, because your adopted mother?  What a bitch!  But, I love her for it.  She’s deliciously evil more so in the present than in the past Enchanted Forest life because she really doesn’t even understand her motivations; she’s just being bad because she can and because she wants to.  I love unrepentant evil.  So much more fun.

Speaking of which, she’s catching up on some reading or browsing as she goes over Henry’s fairytale book.  She turns the last page only to realize that there are a few pages missing.  So up she goes to Henry’s room, demanding that he give her the rest of the pages.  Young Henry, who might be my favorite child character ever, dismisses her entirely, saying it’s an old book, pages are bound to be missing.  What do you care?  I care, Mother Mayor snips, because you think I’m some evil queen and that hurts me, Henry.

She tells him she’s his mother, and Henry awesomely shuts her down with, “No, you’re not.”  She asks if he thinks Emma is his mother and says she doesn’t like what Emma or the book is doing to him.  Then, she smugly says, thankfully, both are no longer an issue.  She can’t help but notice that none of this phases Henry and she asks what’s going on, when the town clock chimes.  That surprising event distracts her long enough for Henry to make his escape out the door.

Soon Mother Mayor is outside staring angrily up at the clock when Dr. Jiminy stops next to her to marvel at the clock that somehow fixed itself after all these years.  (And magically tells the right time.  Not that anyone mentions that on the show.)  Mother Mayor isn’t happy about this amazing feat, not that Hopper notices in his good mood.  She spins around either to curse him or…well curse at him when she notices Emma’s car parked across the street.  Poor Mother Mayor.  What a crappy morning you’re having while everyone else is so chipper.  Well, except Emma, who is probably trying to figure out why the hell she’s still in town.

The answer to that comes fast when Emma opens her room door to find Mother Mayor on the other side with a basket of apples in her arm and malice in her eyes.  So deliciously juicy this show has become.  Can you tell it made me happy?  Mother Mayor starts the conversation by telling Emma some facts about the Honey Crisp apple tree.  Why, she’s been tending to one since she was a child and she’s never tasted anything more delicious!  She offers the basket of apples to Emma and says she’s sure Emma will enjoy them on the ride home.

The fake, friendly smile falls off her face when Emma informs her that she’s going to be sticking around town for a while.  I’m not sure that’s such a good idea Mother Mayor says icily.  Emma being here is just going to confuse Henry, and he doesn’t need that.  But Emma’s had enough of this fake concern and points out that this is the second time in twelve hours that Mother Mayor has threatened her, and it just makes her want to stay more.  Told you that would back fire, Mother Mayor.  Mother Mayor tries to play it off, but Emma is no fool and says she’s going to stay until she’s sure Henry’s okay.  Mother Mayor casually says Henry’s being taken care of.  He’s in therapy and only one of us knows what’s best for Henry.  Emma agrees, and we all know each is thinking it’s not the other.

Mother Mayor tells Emma that it’s time for her to go and Emma says, “Or what?”  Mother Mayor gets close and tells Emma not to underestimate her and that she has no idea what Mother Mayor is capable of.  Ohhhh.  That threat takes us back to the Enchanted Forest on the day of Snow White and Prince Coldplay’s wedding where the Evil Queen tells the happy couple that she’s going to destroy their happiness if it’s the last thing she does.  She walks away, and Prince Coldplay throws his sword at her, but she and it disappear and it ends up embedded in the wall of her dark chambers.

As she enters the room, a man, who appears to be her manservant, offers her a drink which she rejects at first but then accepts when he says he was only trying to help.  Hmm.  Her magic mirror, played by GianCarlo Espisito, questions her threat to destroy everyone’s happiness.  How can she do that he asks.  A dark curse.  Both MagicCarlo and the ‘manservant’ are shocked by this and question the wisdom of using such a powerful curse, especially since she gave it away to someone who will not be happy to see her. But Evil Queen has never been interested in anyone’s happiness other than her own, so off she goes.

That someone turns out to be Maleficent, the evil witch from Sleeping Beauty, played wonderfully by Kristen Bauer aka Pam from True Blood.  Oh Show.  I approve.  I had no idea how you planned on introducing the different fairytale characters to the show organically, but this is really well done.  Maleficent and Evil Queen reminisce about their tragic pasts with these fairytale princesses for a while before Evil Queen cuts to the chase.  She wants her dark curse back.  Maleficent refuses and says it won’t bring her loved one back from the dead, but Evil Queen, much like the honey badger, don’t care and wants it back because she wants Snow White to suffer.  She knows it’s in the orb on Maleficent’s staff.  Maleficent says the curse is terrible, and she hides it for the good of all.  She asks Evil Queen who gave it to her, but Evil has no more time for chit chat and suddenly it’s evil witch vs evil witch!  It’s pretty evenly matched until Evil Queen takes aim at the only thing Maleficent has and loves, an adorably tiny unicorn.

Rushing to save him, Maleficent leaves herself exposed and Evil takes advantage of the opportunity to seize her staff and pin her to the wall.  She breaks the orb at the top and takes the curse, which is on a tiny scroll.  Maleficent says if you’re going to kill me just do it, but Evil says why would I kill you?  You’re my only friend?  Aw, the crazy.  Maleficent warns her that the curse will take a toll on her and will leave an emptiness inside her, a void she will never be able to fill.  So be it, says Evil Queen.

To carry out the curse she needs a few more things and gathers various evil beings to help her.  A giant, a witch and a gnome.  She tells them they can all be happy once they help her enact the curse.  She needs a lock of hair from the darkest souls.  I’m sure they were all flattered.  She’s willing to take the hair by force if she must, so none of them waste time in giving her what she wants.  Then Evil Queen takes out the final piece, a prized heart, which she took from her beloved childhood horse.  Poor horsey.  She tosses the heart into the fire and the curse begins to rise up … then dies back down.  Stupid Gnome starts to laugh at her and regrets that soon enough when she turns him to stone.

That takes us back to present day Storybrooke where Mother Mayor is in her garden tending her beloved Honey Crisp apple tree when arrives MagicCarlo, now in full human form as Sidney, the editor of the Storybrooke Daily Mirror.  Oh show.  Sidney has brought her today’s paper and takes pleasure in showing her the front page story which is of Emma’s allegedly drunken crash into the town sign.  Dear lord, if that’s worthy of being the main front page story this really is a magical, fairytale place.  What no recession?  No political scandals?  No Republican presidential candidates?  Can I live there?

Mother Mayor is not amused.  This is not the information she wanted from her journalist for hire.  She wants news alright, just as long as it’s dirt on Emma.  Unfortunately for her, other than bits of trouble Emma got into as a kid, the most he can tell her is that Emma likes to move around.  In fact she had Henry when she lived in Phoenix.  Which makes him curious as to how the baby ended up on Maine.  Mother Mayor doesn’t answer and is angry that this is the best he could come up with.  He’s given her nothing of any value.  She menacingly asks him if he knows what she does with things that have no value to her.  “I throw them away.”  Sidney leaves immediately after promising her that he’ll keep looking.  Life was easier when you were a mirror wasn’t it, Sid?

Life also used to be easier for Emma, who’s now sitting at the counter of Granny’s diner staring at her mugshot on the front page of the newspaper.  Ruby places a cup of hot chocolate with cinnamon sprinkled on top in front of her which Emma says she didn’t order.  Ruby says an admirer bought it for her and Emma looks around, spots Sheriff Sexy and heads on over to politely decline the warm drink even if it is prepared just how she likes it.  Sheriff Sexy sexily says he didn’t buy it and a prepubescent voice pipes up.  “I did!”

That’s right, Emma’s being wooed with cinnamon sprinkled hot chocolate by her ten year old son who says that’s how he likes it too.  Aw.  I really like this kid.  He is not at all annoying.  He requests Emma walk him to school.  How can she say no to cinnamon sprinkled hot chocolate and such a cute invitation?

On the walk to school Emma asks him what’s the deal with him and Mother Mayor.  Henry says it’s not about the two of them, it’s about her curse.  They have to break it and luckily he has a plan.  Step one, identification aka Operation Cobra, which is a codename to throw Mother Mayor off the trail.  Speaking of the Evil Mother, Emma has brought along one of the apples she brought over that morning and is about to take a bite when young Henry grabs it and asks her where she got it.  When she tells him, he yells that she not eat it before tossing it away.  The handy young man also plays exposition fairy for us and explains that the town was frozen in time until Emma got here, but now it’s started again.  They’re all fairytale characters, but none of them remembers their pasts.  Apparently, it’s all a haze to them.  So, does that mean Sheriff Sexy is also a fairytale character?  Hmmm.  Which one?  Also, what does that mean for the children in the town?  Henry obviously aged.  Are the children in his school also fairytale characters?  Is Henry the only one to have aged and therefore that’s why he’s the only one who realizes that something is wrong?  So many questions!

Henry tells her again that as the child of Prince Coldplay and Snow White, she’s the only one who can stop the curse.  Fortunately, they have the advantage right now since he tore out the last pages of the fairytale book and Mother Mayor doesn’t know about Emma’s part in the story.  He gives Emma the pages now and tells her to protect them from Mother Mayor because if she finds out, things will get dangerous.  They arrive at his school and he runs off and thanks her for believing him, which she denies, but he wisely asks, why would she be here if she didn’t?

Snow Mary sees them and expresses how glad she is to see Henry’s smile back.  Emma denies doing anything and Snow Mary points out that she stayed which is reason enough for young Henry it seems.  They begin to discuss Mother Mayor, and Snow Mary says she’s been Mayor as long as she can remember.  She doesn’t seem to find that strange at all but confides in Emma that crazy little Henry thinks she’s Snow White.  Yeah, that’s crazy, lady with no recollection of yourself or anyone else in town, not being exactly as you are right now.  No wonder young Henry wants this mess to be fixed.  Amnesia is not an excuse for stupidity, townsfolk.

This little tidbit hits home for little orphan Emma who realizes she may be standing face to face with her mama.  Snow Mary asks her who Henry thinks she is, and Emma quickly says she’s not in the book.  Still a little stunned, Emma switches the subject and asks where she can find Henry’s therapist.

She’s soon knocking on Dr. Hopper’s, aka Jiminy Cricket’s, door and asking him about Henry’s crazy fairytale obsession.  Dr. Jiminy warns her not to talk that way in front of Henry as the stories are his way of expressing himself and dealing with his problem.  Emma points out that he only got the book a month ago, but he was in therapy longer than that which Dr. Jiminy confirms.  She asks if it’s Mother Mayor who is the problem, and Dr. Jiminy says she’s a complicated woman who has tried and failed over the years to get closer to young Henry.  And you don’t find that strange DOCTOR?  He’s ten for Christ’s sake!  Over the years means between 1 and 10 years old.  What kind of jacked up childhood is he having that he’s hated his mother all that time?  And why does no one think this may be something for child services to look into?  Fairytale or not, that’s just bad shrinking, Doctor.

Rather than answering questions about his terrible doctoring, he hands over Henry’s file and tells Emma to read it over since Henry talks about her a lot and she’s very important to him.  Yesh, Dear Psychiatric board of review …

As soon as Emma leaves with the file, he calls up Mother Mayor, revealing that this was all a plot by the evil Mistress of them all.  She knew Emma would show up and used the opportunity to set her up because as soon as Emma’s getting into the file back in her room there’s a knock on the door.  Sheriff Sexy, with a contrite look on his face, reveals that she’s under arrest for stealing Dr. Jiminy’s file.  Jiminy Cricket!  What happened to your conscience?  Or is that hazy too?

Emma’s pissed and tells Sheriff Sexy it’s obviously a set up, and he asks who would do that?  Cut to the evilest Mother of them all taking Henry out of class to explain to him that Emma’s a con artist who stole his file in an effort to learn more about them so she could take advantage.  She says how sorry she is, but Henry doesn’t believe a word she’s saying.  Which he proves by showing up at the police station a little while later with Snow Mary to bail Emma out of jail.

Emma’s had her fill of Mother Mayor and shows her displeasure by taking a chainsaw to her favorite Honey Crisp apple tree.  I laughed heartily through this.  Petty revenge is always so fun.  Plus I hate heroines who always play the victim, so whenever they can give as good as they get it’s always appreciated.  Mother Mayor flips out as you’d expect, rushing out the house and yelling at Emma that she’s out of her mind.  Emma says, “No, you are if you think a shoddy frame job is enough to scare me off.  You’re gonna have to do better than that.”

She tells Mother Mayor that the next time she tries something like that, she’s coming back for the rest of the tree.  “Because sister, you have no idea what I’m capable of.”  She leaves and tosses a, “Your move,” over her shoulder.  Boom!  And the gloves are off!

This takes us back to the Enchanted forest where the Evil Queen is standing around with her manservant and discussing her faulty curse.  He tells her maybe it’s for the best, that the forces she’s trying to unleash are darker than they can conceive.  She scoffs at this, saying, “Oh now you’re trying to protect me?”  He says it’s what he does and she acknowledges this and concedes that he’s the only one that does.  She asks him why the curse isn’t working and he tells her she’ll have to go to the one who gave it to her in the first place to find out but warns her that revenge is a dark and lonely road and that once she chooses this path, there is no coming back.

She’s soon to find out how dark and lonely when she shows up at Rumplestiltskin’s prison.  She enters as a rat which he sees through immediately.  She tells him the curse isn’t working.  He’s amused and reveals that Snow White and Prince Charming also paid him a visit trying to find out about the curse. She asks what he told them and he says the truth.  That nothing can stop the curse except their unborn child.  All curses, he says, no matter how powerful, can be broken.  And their child is the key.  This doesn’t set well with the Queen, but she’s determined and wants to know how to get the curse to work.

But this is Rumplestiltskin we’re talking about, so of course he wants something for the information.  Comfort and a good life, he says and the queen readily agrees, but Rumple isn’t done.  He wants one more thing.  In this new land, he says, if he were ever to approach her, she must heed his every request as long as he says ‘Please.’  Blinded by revenge or made stupid, you decide, the Evil Queen doesn’t really think much of this demand since, once the curse is enacted, he won’t remember a thing.   So, what’s the harm then, Rumple asks.  So, she accepts, silly woman that she is and demands he tell her now why the curse didn’t work.

Rumplestiltskin tells her that for the curse to work, she must sacrifice a prized heart.  She says she did, her prized steed.  Deeply offended, Rumple grabs her by the throat, snarling that this is the curse to end all curses and she thinks the heart of a horse is a sufficient!  Great power requires great sacrifice he tells her and that the heart must come from something far more precious than a freaking horse.  It must be the heart of the thing she loves the most.  She angrily says that what she loves most died because of Snow White and Rumple asks her if there’s no one else she loves.  She looks troubled and Rumple reminds her that vengeance isn’t easy and that she must ask herself a simple question.  How far is she willing to go?  As far as it takes, the Queen says menacingly and Rumple tells her to stop wasting time and go kill the one she loves the most.

I’ll tell you who’s not wasting time: Mother Mayor.  Back in Storybrooke she promptly has Emma kicked out of her room at the inn, citing to Granny some strange city ordinance about no felons.  Emma isn’t surprised and simply hands over the keys.  Sheriff Sexy shows up at Mother Mayor’s place, already over her abuse of power, when she demands he arrest Emma for destruction of city property.  Mother Mayor isn’t pleased at his defiance, and he says bluntly that they both know she didn’t steal the files from Dr. Jiminy and if she is being set up, then Dr. Jiminy is lying, and if Dr. Jiminy is lying then someone put him up to it.  He asks her if she’s confident that Dr. Jiminy’s conscience won’t get the better of him.

Mother Mayor isn’t happy about his theorizing and accuses him of having a school boy crush on Emma.  She tells him she made him Sheriff and she can take it away if she wants.  Sheriff Wimpy says fine, he’ll arrest her, but she’ll just keep coming after the Mayor and the cycle will continue unless she succeeds in getting Emma out of town.  Mother Mayor shouts that she will succeed and that Henry is her son and she knows what’s best for him.  Sheriff Wimpy says she may believe so, but if this war between her and Emma escalates, the only one to get hurt will be Henry.

This conversation leads Mother Mayor to call Emma, who is none too happy to find a boot on her car.  Mother Mayor points out that in this town she has all the power, but that she thinks it’s time they made peace.  She invites Emma to her office for a talk.  Once Emma gets there, Mother Mayor apologizes saying she has to accept the reality that Emma wants to be there and that she’s here to take her son.  Emma stops her cold saying that’s not why she’s there.  She says she just wants to make sure Henry’s okay and that the more Mother Mayor tries to push her out the more determined she is to stay, especially seeing how troubled Henry is.  The little she saw of his files worried her; he obviously can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality.  During this whole conversation Mother Mayor is subtly encouraging Emma’s talk of Henry’s state of mind, so it should be no surprise that Henry has been in the other room this whole time and when Emma says his fairytale views are crazy, he finally speaks up, hurt to hear what she thinks of him.

He runs off and Emma is pissed when she realizes she was set up.  Mother Mayor doesn’t deny it, saying of course she knew her son always comes to her office at this time, on this day, every week, before his therapy session.  “Your move.”  She tosses back at Emma, who spits that Mother Mayor has no soul and wonders how she got like that.

Which, of course, throws us right back to the Enchanted forest where the Queen has arrived home to a worried MagicCarlo Mirror asking what she found out.  Her manservant asks if she got the information she needed, and she reveals what she has to do.  Telling him, “Daddy, I don’t know what to do.”  Damn, that’s cold show.  Cold and brilliant.  Her father acknowledges that it may sound self-serving, but that she doesn’t have to do it, that she can move past it.  But she’s already convinced herself that she’ll never be happy as long as Snow White goes unpunished.  She says everything she’s ever built will be for nothing and all her power will disappear.  He tells her power may be seductive, but so is love and she can have that again.  He hugs her and she cries saying she just wants to be happy.  Aww, I always feel happy when I curse people too.

He tells her she can have a second chance and that they can find happiness together, but the choice is hers.  She looks at him and smiles, saying that he’s right, she can be happy.  Just not here, and ganks her poor papa.  Damn, she’s evil, and I love her.

This harrowing parent/child scene is a compete contrast to the one that follows as Emma shows up at Snow Mary’s to say thank you for bailing her out and that she’s going to pay her back.  She goes to leave, but apparently a hazy mind doesn’t trump a mother’s heart and Snow Mary invites her in realizing that she needs a friendly ear.  You’ll be shocked to find out that she serves Emma hot chocolate with cinnamon which Emma notes.  Snow Mary reveals that she feels like she and Emma have met before (yes, emerging from your vagina), but she knows it’s crazy.   Emma says she’s starting to reevaluate her definition of crazy.  She also reveals that she’s leaving town because she doesn’t want Henry to get hurt.  Snow Mary points out that the very fact that she wants to leave is why she should stay because she cares about Henry and wants to protect him.  If Emma doesn’t, then who will?

That reassures Emma and leads her to burst into Henry’s therapy session with bad Dr. Jiminy who finally found his conscience and starts to apologize and explains that Mother Mayor made him do it.  Emma brushes his apologies away and says she knows before going to Henry who doesn’t want to talk to her.  He says she thinks he’s crazy and she says no, she thinks the curse is crazy, but that it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.  She says it’s a lot to ask someone to believe in, but maybe he is right.  She says she told his mother what she needed to hear, but that if the curse is real, the only way to break it is to trick the evil queen into thinking they’re non-believers.  Aka Operation Cobra, throwing her off the trail.

This perks Henry up and he’s happier still when she reveals that she read the pages he gave her and the only way to keep the truth out of the evil queen’s hands is to get rid of it.  So, she heads over to the fireplace and burns the remaining pages.  Happy Henry hugs her, saying he knew she’d help him and she agrees and says nothing, not even a curse, is going to stop her from doing  that.

A curse that we see come to fruition as Evil Queen, in her most ominous black outfit, tosses her father’s heart into the pit and gives birth to the curse that we know later destroys all of fairyland and  banishes them to Storybrooke.  She then goes to her father’s grave to say she loves him and reveals a headstone with “Henry, beloved father” on it.  Oh, damn show.  Cold!

Back in the Storybrooke present the mayor is in the backyard tending to her beloved, damaged tree when Mr. Gold shows up surveying the damage.  He remarks that Mother Mayor is in high spirits, and she gloats that it’s been a good day.  Yes, devastating your child is always cause for celebration.  Oh, she means that she got rid of Emma, calling her an unwanted nuisance who she believes is probably halfway to Boston right now.  Mr. Gold pops her bubble by telling her he just saw a happy Emma and Henry walking down the street, thick as thieves.  Mother Mayor is furious and he tells her she should have come to him, that he’d have been happy to help her, for a price of course.  Mother Mayor says she’s not in the business of making deals with him anymore.  He curiously asks her which deal is she referring to?  (He remembers!) And she says, of course, he knows which one. (She doesn’t?)

Mr. Gold laughs and says oh yes, young Henry.  Apparently he was the one who picked up the wee babe and asks her however did she pick the name Henry.  She doesn’t answer and asks, instead, how did he get Henry in the first place and who is Emma Swan.  Mr. Gold says he expected her to know exactly who Emma is and she blocks his way demanding he tell her what he knows about Emma.  He refuses to answer her question and then quietly asks her to excuse him…please.  She has no choice but to do so as he leaves.  She is utterly perplexed by him and her own actions as the screen fades to black.

Oh show.  I love you.  So much evil goodness wrapped up in a wholesome package.