ABC’s Once Upon a Time this Sunday threatened to take a major step in the direction of foiling the Evil Queen’s master plan and freeing the fairytale characters from their soggy little Storybrooke existence… and yet Emma still refuses to believe.
Make no mistake, August did his darnedest to show the sexy sheriff the light — and even got an assist from Mr. Gold in doing so. (How enjoyable are the scenes where two people “in the know” get to freely talk about it?) But even upon taking Emma to the site of her abandonment as a baby and producing proof that it was he who found her all those years ago, he came up empty. Not helping matters was the fact that when he went to play his
stump trump card by revealing his wooden leg, Emma’s stubbornness refused to let her see it in all its hand-carved glory. Instead, she just saw a pale, slightly hair human leg. (That said, the duo’s back-and-forth escalated into perhaps Jennifer Morrison’s best performance to date, as Emma balked at her “destiny” to save not just the dying Pinocchio but everyone else in Storybrooke. Real wowza stuff.)
Oh, did I mention that August is actually Pinocchio? Though almost a foregone conclusion by way of process of elimination (i.e. he’s not Baelfire) and factoring in knot-so-subtle clues (the donkey paperweight), the reveal still delivered some magical moments, namely when Storybrooke’s Marco (aka Geppetto) bonded with this stranger toward the end of the hour, fixing a clock together as they once did back in the day.
Alas, Marco does not know of that existence, and that visibly upset August, who already and for so long has been kicking himself for abandoning Emma rather soon into his tenure as her real-world caretaker, in order to run away with some other orphans.
(As revealed in flashbacks that started with what I thought was impressive CGI of the whole whale story, the enchanted wardrobe used to protect Emma from the Evil Queen’s dark curse in fact was powerful enough save two people. Geppetto, though, leveraged his role as its designer into a “ticket” from the Blue Fairy for his newly-made-flesh son. It was kind of a dark-ish turn for the kindly man, especially when he lied to keep Snow from accompanying her newborn to safety. But his heart was in the right place and he did compel Pinocchio to assume Snow’s role as the one to make sure Emma fulfills her destiny 28 years down the road.)
Elsewhere, Regina made a calculated bid to sexually prey on David now that Mary Margaret has returned to work, but he wasn’t having any of it. That should garner the guy some favor with the haters.
At the close of the hour, still reeling from her adventure with August and his impassioned plea to buy into Storybrooke’s fairytale origins, Emma summoned her partner in Operation Cobra, and asked Henry if he truly wanted to live with her, his birth mother. No sooner had the lad gushed yes, Emma put the pedal to the metal and motored the two of them down Main Street and towards the town line.
But we all know what happens when (most) people try to leave Storybrooke….