Once Upon a Time 1-20: The Stranger

True confessions time – my brain is fried. As I mentioned in my Castle recap yesterday, I spent Monday and Tuesday this week at Disneyland. Then the last two days have been crazy busy at work. So my insights into Sunday’s Once Upon a Time won’t be quite up to par. But that just gives you an opening to point out all the cool connections I missed.

The Fairy Tale portion of the episode focused on Pinocchio and crossed over into our world. It started with the ending of what we know of the Pinocchio story. We watch him sacrifice his life for his father Geppetto. As a reward, the Blue Fairy turns him into a real boy with the warning that if he isn’t brave, noble, and truthful, he will turn back into a puppet.

But then the Blue Fairy comes back for another visit to ask Geppetto to build the wardrobe that was used to send the baby Emma to our world ahead of the curse. Again, we hear how Emma is the only one who will be able to break the curse. The wardrobe would have enough magic to keep two people safe, James and the pregnant Snow. However, Geppetto says he will only build it if one of those sent through to safety is Pinocchio. The Blue Fairy agrees to lie and say only one person can go through since Emma will still have her mother to raise her and teach her about her true destiny.

However, as we already know, Snow goes into labor early. Blue Fairy’s pleas to send Snow and Emma through the wardrobe fall on deaf ears, and Geppetto sends Pinocchio through into our world with the promise that he will raise Emma to face her destiny and then break the curse.

Only once the seven-year-old Pinocchio and Emma are placed in a bad foster home, Pinocchio takes advantage of a chance to run away with the other older boys and leave Emma to fend for herself.

My biggest problem with the theories that August was a fairy tale character himself was how he wasn’t affected by the curse. And they explained it beautifully by having him come to our world the same way Emma did. And, as selfish as this makes Geppetto, I am thrilled for Snow and James because Snow having aged while James didn’t would have been sad.

And in case you are worried that I gave something away there, they told us pretty early on that August is the grown up Pinocchio. It was pretty obvious when he starts to have more pain and raise his pant leg to reveal a wooden leg. Then, when he goes to visit Mr. Gold and runs into his father, his reaction is also a dead giveaway. But then Mr. Gold confirms it as he and August as discussing his disease and how he needs to get Emma to believe in order to stop it.

Speaking of Emma, she is determined to take Henry away from Regina. But Henry has made a discovery of his own – someone has added the story of Pinocchio to his book. (Obviously, what August was doing when he took a book a few episodes back.)

August is desperate to take Emma on a trip to help her learn about her destiny, but Emma isn’t interested. That is until Mr. Gold refuses to take on her custody case. Since August promises information that will help Emma defeat Regina, she goes along.

The trip takes them into some woods outside of Storybrooke where Emma was “found” by Pinocchio/August 28 years ago. As he tells her about their shared past, Emma refuses to believe it and storms away. August even tries to convince her by showing his leg, but she sees flesh instead of wood.

A defeated August shows up at Geppetto’s wood working business. After helping repair a clock, August offers his services as a part time worker, even with no pay involved. The two are looking very happy at the prospect of working together, although only August knows their true relationship.

Meanwhile, Emma makes another boneheaded move. She meets up with Henry and asks if he wants to live with her. When he says yes, she starts her car and takes off. “We’re leaving right now.” End of episode.

Really? How stupid can Emma be? All that’s going to do is get her sent to jail if they aren’t living on the run for the rest of their lives.

Meanwhile, Mary Margaret headed back to teaching. She has a run-in with Regina, who is unnerved when Mary Margaret forgives her with a smile. In fact, Regina is so unnerved that she tries to get Henry to change classes, which he refuses to do. (And Henry’s lunch box? Tron, of course.)

Finally, Regina attempts to suduce David by manufacturing a car breakdown. When he gives her a ride home, she invites him in for dinner and manipulates him into staying. But when she leans in for a kiss, he backs up and leaves immediately.

The biggest question on my mind after the episode is actually Henry’s book. We were reminded that he got it from Mary Margaret. But who did she get it from? And who wrote those original stories? For that matter, how did Henry figure out about the curse in the first place? Yes, these are things I’ve been wondering about all along, but this episode made me think about them again.

Any theories or thoughts on what we say? Any major plot pieces I missed?

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