One great thing I’ve noticed in the first season of this show is that the writers seem to have mapped out the whole series in advance and while they’ve made adjustments based on what’s popular on Television and Film (the appearance of Frozen within Once Upon a Time is a key case in point) they still seem to have a clearly defined idea of where they want to take this show and where they want the characters to go.  This is much more refreshing than what happened in Lost – or at least what I feel happened in Lost and other shows like that, where no one it seemed knew what was going to happen next.

While Season 4 is currently on TV I’ve only managed to complete Season 1 (on Netflix) at this point so this post and the subsequent ones might have some spoilers or comments from the episodes I’ve seen but they won’t include the most current episodes.

For those of you that have not seen or heard of Once Upon a Time – you can read my full review of the Pilot episode here.  However in a nutshell an Evil Queen has taken all of our favorite story book characters to a new land without magic… Storybrooke, Maine!  Here all of our hero’s and villains live a normal life with no memory of who they were or where they came from.  Into this land comes Emma Swan as the Savior.  The hero that will defeat the Evil Queen and return these characters of legend to the land they truly call home.

Episode Summary

The Mayor/Evil Queen (Regina) has Henry’s book as mentioned in my last post, and as she’s looking through it, she discovers that the last few pages have been torn out. When she confronts Henry to find out what happened, he lies and tells her that its just an old book and its not surprising that some of the pages are missing. He has however removed these pages specifically and given them to Emma as the pages specifically relate to her and her past as the child of Snow White and Charming.

If you recall from my previous post, the Evil Queen pronounced that she would be casting a terrible curse on everyone at Snow White and Charming’s wedding. After she made this pronouncement, she went to see Maleficent. Maleficent it seems has the Evil Queens Dark Curse and after a quick but vicious battle, the Evil Queen won it back. When the Evil Queen completes the spell however, it fails to do anything as while she had sacrificed the heart of her prized stallion, it was not enough. The Queen would have to sacrifice more – but she didn’t know what.

She goes to visit Rumpelstiltskin who agrees to help her understand why it failed, but only if she ensures that in the new land he will be rich and wealthy. The Queen also has to promise to do anything she asks as long as he says “please”. The Queen agrees to this easily as if her curse comes to pass, he will remember nothing anyways. Rumpelstiltskin then tells her that for her curse to succeed, she must cut out the heart of the thing she loves the most … he also tells her that he’s already informed Snow White and Charming that their daughter will be the only thing able to break the curse.

The Queen returns to her castle where she confides Rumpelstiltskin’s solution to her valet & father. Realizing quickly that he is the only thing she still cares about he tries to dissuade her, but is unsuccessful as she stabs him through the heart. Returning to the site where she was unsuccessful in her first attempt to launch the curse, the Queen tries again, this time with her fathers heart and thick black smoke starts to boil out. As the curse takes shape, she lays a black rose on her father’s grave. The headstone bears the inscription “Henry, Beloved Father.”

Henry and Emma agree to come up with a plan to break the curse – Operation Cobra – and while Emma is doing it just to humor Henry, Henry obviously believes very strongly that each character in his book is somehow linked to someone in town. Emma becoming ever more concerned about Henry’s state of mind, visits Archie Hopper – Henry’s therapist – who tells her that she should go along with his psychosis as to do otherwise would be damaging to Henry. He subsequently gives Emma Henry‘s file (not too much concern about Doctor patient confidentiality here!) and while Emma is reading this, she is arrested again when Archie claims (under duress from the Queen of course) that she stole it.

Regina continues to try and push Emma out of Storybrooke and while her search with Sidney (the editor of the Daily Mirror) for something negative about Emma after her  previous accident and incarceration didn’t turn up anything, she’s hoping that this second arrest will make Henry see that Emma is not good for him (NOTE: in these early  episodes its really hard to tell if Henry is onto something or if he is really insane. Regina seems really normal and while the fairy-tale elements of her life portray her  as the Evil Queen she definitely doesn’t act that way with Henry). Not only is this attack by Regina unsuccessful, Emma retaliates by attacking Regina’s apple tree with a  chainsaw!

Trying to fix her apple tree, Mr. Gold appears and tells Regina that he can help her get rid of Emma. Not wanting to make another deal with him (she mentions that he’d helped her get Henry from somewhere) she rebuffs him. However as she asks him questions about Emma and his past, he ddeclinesto comment and when Regina tries to block his exit, he leaves after asking her to “please” let him by. As Gold walks away, Regina gives him a meaningful stare and the question becomes does he remember?

Wow – writing this post now, its hard to believe that all of that happened in just one episode! It wasn’t that long ago that I watched it, but this while only the 2nd episode of the series is one of the most pivotal and has so much information in it is scary! Keep tuned for Episode 3 – coming soon

It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity of visiting our friends in Storybrooke, but I’ll try to catch you all quickly over the coming months so that we’re reasonably up to date by the next season.  If you’ve never seen this show before, allow me to give you a (very brief) recap of what’s going on.  You could also read my previous posts which give  you quite a bit more detail at these links – (EP1) Pilot, (EP2) The Thing you love most, (EP3) Snow Falls.  Once Upon a Time is an episodic television show where we are generally introduced to new characters and story’s each week – the twist with this show however is that these characters story’s are told from the point of view of where they are now in Storybrooke, Maine AND ALSO who they were before in a fairytale world.  You see an Evil Queen (the Mayor of Storybrooke) has taken all of our favorite story book characters to a new land without magic… Storybrooke, Maine!  Here all of our hero’s and villains live a normal life with no memory of who they were or where they came from.  Into this land comes Emma Swan as the Savior.  The hero that will defeat the Evil Queen and return these characters of legend to the land they truly call home.

In the fourth episode we’re introduced to another “throwaway” character.  Unfortunately as I’ve mentioned earlier most episodes so far introduce new characters and story’s but as you can imagine this would quickly get unwieldy with hundreds of different characters running around so quite often the characters that a story is based around are seen only once – they do still serve a purpose in helping to drive the underlying story (Emma as the savior) forward and while some episodes do feel like “filler” episodes, there are generally 1 or 2 different things that are definitely worth noting.  In The Price of Gold, we’re introduced to a young pregnant woman (Jessy Schram) in Storybrooke.  It seems that her paramour and the father of her child left her when he found out that she was pregnant leaving her to have and look after the child on her own.  Emma meets her while doing her laundry and helps her realize that she shouldn’t feel sorry for herself and that giving up the child would be a mistake.  She explains a similar mistake that she herself made – with Henry – and the constant regret that this caused her.  In the Enchanted Forest, Cinderella (“Ella”) is about to receive a wish from her fairy godmother, but the godmother is killed first by Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) and robbed of her wand. He grants Ella (Jessy Schram) her wish to escape her home, but in return requires her to sign a contract. Rumpelstiltskin transforms Ella into an elegant woman complete with glass slippers, warning her that all magic has a price.  One thing you will learn is that Rumple is a constant in the show and while he’s meant to be one of the baddies – he is simply too delightful as a character to really despise and he really is awesome and amazing!

As the story progresses we learn that in Storybrooke, the girl (Ashley) had offered her baby up to Gold (Rumplestiltskin).  After Emma’s speech to her however she realizes that doing this would be a significant mistake and breaks into Gold’s office to steal the contract that she signed with him.  Gold however catches her in the act and while she’s able to knock him out and escape, he knows that she’s taken the contract and enlists Emma’s help to find “an item of value”.  Similarly in the Enchanted Forest, Rumplestiltskin approaches Ella (Cinderlla) at her gala wedding ball.  He tells her that the price of  his help is that she needs to give him her firstborn child.  When Ella tells Thomas (her husband) about this deal, they enlist the help of Charming, Grumpy and the Blue Fairy to trick Rumple by offering him a “new deal”.  The new deal would be for Ella’s twin children in exchange for Rumple also helping improve the crops and wealth of the kingdom. A skeptical Rumpelstiltskin agrees, but as he signs the contract, he is rendered powerless due to a special red quill pen, that was created by The Blue Fairy. He is captured, but Thomas disappears soon after. Ella demands that Rumpelstiltskin tell her what has happened, but he claims not to have done anything. He reminds her that all magic has a price, and that until her debt is paid she will never see Thomas again.

Back in Storybrooke, Emma finds out that Ashley’s boyfriend – Sean – actually didn’t even know he was going to be a father and in fact it was his father that had negotiated the deal with Gold in the first place.  Sean’s father didn’t think that Ashley was suitable for his son and has forced him not to get involved with her.  Unable to persuade Sean to help her, Emma realizes that Ashley has stolen Ruby’s car and is attempting to escape Storybrooke.  However as we learned in an earlier episode, if any of the characters from the Enchanted Forest attempt to leave they will die – fortunately near the town lines, Emma and Henry find Ashley’s car crashed, with Ashley about to deliver the baby.

Emma gets Ashley to the hospital in time for her to give birth to a beautiful baby girl.  As Gold tries to take the child away Emma makes him realize that no court would authorize a contract for sale of a child and Gold could be in severe legal trouble.  Mr. Gold then offers a deal for Emma in which he’ll give up his questionable claim to the child and in return, Emma will owe him a favor. Emma agrees. After she leaves, Sean shows up to see his child, and they name the girl Alexandra. The episode ends with Emma agreeing to become Graham’s deputy.


I guess as mentioned at the start, this episode is one of the throw away ones … while Ella and Thomas do appear a couple more times they actually aren’t really key characters in the story and aren’t ones that you’re really going to become too invested in.  Perhaps the most interesting part of this episode is the magic ink that can incapacitate Gold/Rumplestiltskin … this will play a factor in future episodes and is worth remembering.