Once Upon a Time 2-17: Welcome to Storybrooke

Welcome to Storybrooke. It sounds like some kind of recap episode. But it was tonight’s all new episode of Once Upon a Time. And it actually made sense when you figured out what was happening.

For once, we never left Storybrooke. We still had a flashback, but it took place in 1983, when the town was created.

And actually, if you didn’t know that, the intro was kind of cool. We saw a father and son off camping in the woods. As the Flynns (Tron connection anyone?) were talking by the fire with some braided keyholders (at least I think that’s what it was), a storm suddenly came up. The two hid in their tent, and when it was over, some of the trees around them had fallen, including one that had fallen on their car. They’re miles from everywhere, or so they think, but suddenly, there is a town just over the ridge.

And then we switch to Regina, who is waking up in town for the first time. And she is excited because it worked. She is mayor of this town, and everyone respects and loves her. Mary Margaret apologizes when it is Regina’s fault they run into each other. Mary Margaret doesn’t know who David is, and he’s in a coma. And Regina is sleeping with Sheriff Graham. The only hick up is these two people in the town who don’t belong. She talks the mechanic into moving the car repairs along so they can leave town quickly.

And yet, Regina tires of winning much more quickly than she expected. After only a few days, she is realizing that it is a hollow victory since no one is respecting her by their choice. She goes to Gold, who claims to not remember anything, and demands his help with the situation. While he doesn’t really offer anything, he does offer the idea of free choice making a difference.

And that’s when Regina remembers the Flynns. After all, they aren’t under the curse. And the boy, Owen, has been nice to hear. So she invites them over for dinner. While her lasagna isn’t very good, she and Owen do seem to bond while making apple turnovers for dessert. She finds out that Owen’s mother has just died. And so she invites them to stay in town.

The father refuses. After all, they have a life in New Jersey. But Regina isn’t going to take no for an answer. She grabs Graham’s heart and orders him to arrest the father for drunk driving before they can leave town.

Just one problem. The father is behind her in her office and sees and hears the entire thing. Before he can take off, Graham is there to try to arrest him, (for drunk driving while he’s not even driving), but the father manages to get away. There is a chase through town, and it looks like they will get out, but Graham manages to come in from the side and stop them from leaving town. While the father is arrested, he tells Owen to run and call his uncle. Owen stops right next to the town line, and Regina goes to him. “I thought you wanted to stay.” “Not like this.” And then Owen turns and runs away without looking back.

Our last flashback scene shows Owen coming back. He’s got cops with him. They drive up to the rock at the border of the town, but they can’t see any proof that Storybrooke exists. In fact, they claim to have never heard of the town before. Owen stands just outside the town limits and yells that he will find his father. What he can’t see is Regina standing just inside the town limits reaching out to him, crying.

End flashback.

In modern day Storybrooke….

We actually start with Regina in the crypt. She is crying over Cora’s coffin. Gold enters, but he’s not there to gloat. He is there to pay his respects as well. Regina is clearly out to get revenge on Mary Margaret. Gold tries to warn her that she won’t be able to have everything. If she gets her revenge, she will lose Henry. But Regina is going to try to get everything. As she looks around the crypt, she finds a spell of Cora’s and smiles.

Gold then goes to warn David and Emma that Regina is plotting her revenge. Meanwhile, Mary Margaret is staying in bed refusing to eat, obviously feeling very guilty about what happened. David and Gold go back to the crypt to confront Regina, but she is gone. Looking at the missing potions, they figure out the spell that Regina plans to create. She is going to make Henry love her, and to create the spell, she will need a piece of Mary Margaret’s heart. It’s a win win.

Since Mary Margaret is in Regina’s crosshairs for saving Gold’s life, they convince him that he has a debt to protect her. So while David and Emma are out trying to stop Regina, they leave Gold behind to guard Mary Margaret. And at one point, Regina does come in to take Mary Margaret’s heart, but Gold stops her.

Emma, meanwhile, thinks it is best to get Henry as far away from all this as possible. To that end, she enlists Neal, who tries to talk Henry into going to New York with him. With no magic there, Henry can’t possibly be put under a curse.

Meanwhile, Emma has a run in with the stranger. You remember, that guy who had the accident on the outside of town? He’s going into the woods for a hike and to take some pictures. And that’s when I knew who he was. (And give me a little credit because we’re only half way through the episode. We haven’t gotten to the part where the dad is taken yet.)

Anyway, Henry seems to think that it is better to get rid of magic than to run away. To that end, he ditches Neal (after saying he’ll go with him to New York) and grabs some dynamite. His intent? To blow up the well and make magic go away.

While he is running to the well, he runs into Greg (aka the stranger). Greg calls Regina, so before Henry can light the dynamite, Regina shows up to stop him. And while they are talking, David, Emma, and Neal also show up. Henry pleads with them to give up magic. It is destroying his family. It is only causing pain. Regina finally sees that she will lose Henry, so he takes the piece of paper with the spell on it and drops it into the fireball she’s been holding in her hand. Everyone backs down and walks away.

Gold gets the news and prepares to leave Mary Margaret, who first asks him how he can live with himself after the numerous bad things he’s done. He says you keep telling yourself that it was necessary until maybe one day you might believe it.

But Mary Margaret is still racked with guilt. So she goes to Regina, saying kill me. Regina reaches in and takes out Mary Margaret’s heart. But she notices something interesting in it. There’s darkness. And Regina explains that once there is darkness in your heart, it will only grow until it destroys you. Regina starts to laugh. She’s won. Mary Margaret will destroy her own family as the darkness grows, and Regina will get Henry without having to do anything else. She returns the heart to a horrified Mary Margaret.

But their exchange was observed and filmed by someone – Greg. He runs back to his car and gets in. He strokes his braided key chain. “I will find you father.”

End episode.

So now we know who the stranger really is and his connection. So where is his father? That’s what I want to know. How has Regina kept him all this time, even with the curse breaking?

It was nice to see Graham again as well as Cinderella’s mouse Gus (the mechanic). And I found the flashback to Storybrooke interesting. It explains why Regina adopted Henry. She wanted someone to love her. Her motivations haven’t changed much now. But why did she wait so long to adopt someone? And did she select Henry on purpose or have no idea who he was? That’s something that has always made me wonder. For that matter, how did she get him if they can’t leave town and no one else can find it?

And can Mary Margaret over come her black heart? I’m sure there has to be something she can do, but what? I’m seeing the pieces for the rest of the season moving around the chess board, but I can’t make out the pattern yet.

By the way, I have a theory I want to run by all of you. It involves Henry’s book. We haven’t seen it most of the season, so I’m guessing it’s fallen off the writer’s radar. It happens. But I still think we have the clues we need to piece together what it is and why. Remember that when it was missing last season, we saw Pinocchio/August working on it. And he claimed to be a writer when he first came to town. My guess is he wrote the book and managed to get it to Mary Margaret, knowing she’d give it to Henry. And since it had all the truth in it, then Henry would figure things out and go get Emma to break the curse. Am I off base? Or anyone else think that’s the answer? It’s probably the only answer we’ll get at this point, but you never know.

So, thoughts on my new theory? Thoughts on this week? Predictions for next week?

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24 Responses to Once Upon a Time 2-17: Welcome to Storybrooke

  1. Duy says:

    Regina was able to adopt Henry through Gold. It’s mentioned in Season One that the had proper paperwork done and Henry was brought to her. Regina didn’t know how Henry was, she didn’t exactly pick him. Gold did, so maybe Gold knew that Henry was Emma’s son?

    Having that Henry was brought to her, I think cause of this episode, anyone can enter Storybrooke ever since it appeared. They just can’t see it until they pass the border and drive onto the city.

    As for the book, no idea!

    • Mark Baker says:

      I guess I need to rewatch season 1. That would make sense if Gold was involved. He obviously knew all along who Henry was and was working behind the scenes to lift the curse so he could reunite with Neal.

      I was always under the impression that Henry, Emma, and August were the only ones to come and go from town. Of course, it looks like that changes next week.

  2. CJ says:

    Well, based on what we get in the preview, we know who we will be seeing in the next episode. Although I don’t know if the book will hold any further significance. I see the book more as a ruse to breaking the curse. Now that the curse is broken, maybe the book has lost its purpose.

    Here’s a crazy idea. Seeing how the writers love to mix up fairy tales, I’m taking a huge leap here and guess Snow White, with her corrupting heart, eventually turns into the Snow Queen storyline! After all, we need a new villain now that Regina is playing the waiting game… I’m also going to guess that Snow, in a desperate move, would somehow climb the beam stalk back to Enchanted Forest, and then destroy the stalk. That would give a motive for the folks to return to fairy tale land, and maybe continue Aurora and Mulan’s storyline…

    I’m also going to guess Tamara is indeed from the fairy tale land. Maybe she is Tinkerbelle? How about Owen’s dad? When the storm first hit, I thought we were going to get an Oz nod… But that wasn’t to be…

    • CJ says:

      By the way, it is also the second time where Regina did the right thing (destroying the scroll), only to be left alone by the gang – Henry included. Do these people not learn from history!?

      • Duy says:

        Henry should have given her hug or something. Seriously. That woman kept him alive all of these years even though he never liked her. And it’s quite obvious, at times, that he doesn’t want Regina to be hurt. Why can’t he just show that to her?

    • Mark Baker says:

      I know nothing about the Snow Queen, so you’ll have to fill me in if we go that direction.

      I agree. I think the book serve its purpose, and it won’t be mentioned again. It happens on shows like this. If this were a novel where they could go back and rewrite earlier stuff, I’m sure it would be tighter. But as it is, this show is amazingly well written with stuff coming into play weeks later that we only just then get. Witness Greg/Owen this week.

      As for then leaving Regina alone, she was just threatening to kill all of them. It’s not a touchy feely moment. The well was different because we didn’t know for sure who would be coming through it.

  3. cheri says:

    I definitely loved the flashback in this episode, and learning a little more about why Regina adopted Henry. I was surprised to see that Owen was the mystery guy that is in present day Storybrooke. I can see a lot of things happening in the finale episodes of this season. I watched this episode last night after I finished my shift at DISH. My DISH Hopper is able to record six shows at once during prime time hours, so I can record all my favorite shows with no DVR conflicts.

  4. Red says:

    I feel like the writers originally intended a storyline for Greg/Owen. It seemed like the characters story suddenly changed direction with this episode. I still really enjoy the show but I’m afraid it’s going the route of NBC’s “Heroes”. A really strong 1st season with mystery and intrigue followed by seasons of indecisive writing and abandoned plots.

    • Mark Baker says:

      See, I feel the other way around. I think that Greg/Owen was always supposed to go this way. If you think back to the bits and pieces we’ve seen with him, he was looking for this town all along because he is hunting for his dad. In my mind, all the puzzle pieces we’d had with him fell into place.

      In fact, I’m going to guess that the “Her” was called several episodes ago was Neal’s fiancee.

  5. Jay says:

    This was another one of those episodes that cast the villains in shades of gray instead of black and white- seeing that all Regina really wants is to have someone truly love her. She’s just misguided in how to get it.
    You had to feel a little sad for her when Henry’s response to her destroying the scroll was to run to Emma’s arms. Although I do kind of hope that this means he’s going to start easing off the attitude he’s been giving Emma.
    I wonder if Emma’s ability to see through lies broke with the curse, as she didn’t get the real truth from Greg, but wasn’t overly suspicious.
    I think my favorite moment though was Emma popping Neal’s pride over his awesome dad skills with “he’s your son” and Neal realizing Henry was running away instead of going to NYC with him.

    • Mark Baker says:

      And I love the fact that they have given the villains more dimension this season. You nailed Regina perfectly.

      Yeah, Emma sure does seem to be falling for lies these days, although that scene in the diner was priceless.

  6. Steve says:

    Where’s Captain Hook? Why do they introduce a character and then just drop them with no explanation? They did this with Pinocchio/August too.

    • Duy says:

      Pinocchio is coming back.
      Hook… is stuck in NYC… doing something. Hope he does find his way back though.

    • CJ says:

      Hook is still in NY. He will be back though. As will August (as seen in the trailer)

    • Mark Baker says:

      Unfortunately, they can’t keep all the characters around, and then the actors get busy doing other things. That’s what has happened behind the scenes with Pinocchio/August. As I have said before, I really would love to see David’s fiancee/wife Katherine again, and we haven’t seen her all season. I’m assuming it’s because she is doing something else, but I could be wrong.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I too figured it out at the same point that Greg and Owen were the same person, but I feel like its a bit farfeched, everything seems to be too convienet for everybody…. I can’t wait to see August next episode though!

    • Mark Baker says:

      It’s a story. Coincidences are part of things. (Although coincidence is annoying me in my book right now, so I can see where you are coming from.)

  8. Mark says:

    So I think Owen’s dad was lying about his mother dying. I think Owen/Greg has powers or abilities of his own. He mentioned to Regina that the kids made fun of him, that they didn’t understand. That didn’t sound like a problem with a deceased mom, but with him being an outcast, possibly because of a power that scares the other kids. And I don’t think they were camping. I think they were hiding, on the run. Maybe I’ve just gotten so used to surprises that I don’t trust anyone’s motives.

    As for Neal’s fiancee (is that Tamara?), Tinkerbell came to my mind, too. We know that Neal had some involvement in Neverland–he knew who Hook was, knew how to sail a ship, and didn’t age for a couple hundred years. He’s either a Lost Boy or Peter Pan himself. We’ve got Hook, Smee, and the “crocodile.” Peter Pan and Tinkerbell have to be out there somewhere.

    • Mark Baker says:

      I had not considered that Owen’s dad was lying. I just think kids the age Owen was wouldn’t understand what he was going through. But we shall see.

      We seen Neal’s fiancee so little, I haven’t given her any thought. But it looks like she plays an important role next week, so I’m sure we’ll learn more about her.

  9. TTY says:

    I’m assuming Regina is keeping the father in the same place where she kept Belle. She did pass that guy sweeping on her way to check on Belle last season.

    • Mark Baker says:

      If I had to guess, that’s what I would say as well. It’s probably also where Mr. Glass is. (Speaking of any other character I’d like to see again.)

  10. Jay says:

    Here’s a thought…perhaps the person that was killed by Cora in Hopper’s guise was Owen’s dad. That would explain why no one has missed him yet.

    • Mark Baker says:

      That would be an interesting twist that I hadn’t considered. Frankly, I’d forgotten about that plot point because I bet it’s someone our characters don’t know/won’t care about. But if we were to hear about that again, I’m sure this is it.

      Frankly, I expect to find out who that was only if it matters to the plot. Otherwise, it will remain a mystery.

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