Once Upon a Time Recap: A Hero's Quest Begins

Once Upon a Time Season 2This week on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, burning questions were answered — including the matter of crossing the Storybrooke town line, and Pinocchio’s fate — as the new playing field was established for Regina, Prince Charming et al.

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TOEING THE LINE | Sneezy drew the short (heh) straw among the dwarves and thus tested to see what happens if one crosses the town line to leave Storybrooke. The answer: You forget your true identity and revert back to solely your ordinary persona. Grumpy assures their “lost” brother, though, that they will dig as long as it takes to find fairy dust and (hopefully) remedy his sitch.

WOODN’T YOU KNOW IT | Early in the episode, just as Geppetto was posting a “Lost” sign looking for his son, we got a glimpse of Pinocchio/August where we last saw him — in bed, and all wood. But then he blinked…. At episode’s end, thanks to a tip from Henry, Geppetto went to reunite with his boy, but saw that he had left — and based on the left-behind hat, apparently had reanimated fully.

HE’S THE SHERIFF | As the de facto leader of the “good” people of Storybrooke, Charming was admittedly a bit flummoxed, and at a loss as to how to get Snow and Emma back from… wherever. He ultimately made a pack with Rumpelstiltskin, to steer clear of each other, in trade for a potion that, like the ring that led fairytale land Charming to Snow, would lead him to the Mad Hatter. Jefferson, though, was of little help, instead overcome with anxiety about how everyone is now doubly cursed. Just as the townsfolk panic and decide en masse to go for broke and leave Storybrooke, Charming blockades their convoy and delivers a pep talk about how having both identities makes them better people. “I am both. You are both. We are both… I will protect you.”

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REGINA’S POWER TRIPS |  The bulk of the episode dealt with Regina’s journey both as a young woman in fairytale land eager to flee her overbearing mother Cora, and here in Storybrooke, eager to regain her son’s faith (if never his love). In fairytale land, Regina learned that she is trapped by a curse to never leave home. To undo the spell, she summons the man known as Rumpelstiltskin, who produces a looking glass portal that leads to an “annoying, little world” that’s of no use to him. Though Regina, when push comes to shove, is at first reluctant to delve into magic like her mom, she ultimately thrusts Cora into the portal, affording her freedom. “How did it feel, Dearie?” Rumple asks of his padwan’s first dabble in magic. “I loved it,” she confesses.

In Storybrooke, Regina leverages what she knows about Rumple — that they both secretly know the Enchanted Forest still exists, and that he has plans that don’t involve ever going back — into him turning the book of spells. After flipping through a few pages, Regina gets her mojo back and uses it to flick away a “bug” and toss a dwarf, all in the name of scaring the citizens and getting her hands on Henry. In the end, though, Regina lets Henry return to living with Charming, admitting, “I don’t know how to love very well…. I want you to be here because you want to be here… I want to redeem myself.” Before leaving with Henry, David asks Regina one last time: Does the Enchanted Forest still exist? Yes, she admits — and then she notes with a wry smile, “I can see I just launched you on a heroic quest.”

PIT FALL | The episode closes with (finally!) a visit to the fairytale land that is, where Mulan and Aurora are dragging Snow and Emma to their “save haven.” There, Snow tries to make a break for it, only to get KO’d by Mulan. When both mother and daughter are throw into “the pit” (aka a cave), they are not alone — Cora is there to greet them.

And a couple favorite lines:

* “Are the nuns still nuns, or are they free to date…?”

* “I will not take childcare lessons from a man who put his daughter into a box and shipped her to Maine.”

* “Oh, right. The whole ‘conscience’ thing.”

* “Don’t fight it, honey, or you’ll get a splinter.”

* Storybrooke Regina saying she’ll do whatever it takes to get her mojo back “even if it means turning green” (which I fancied as a nod to Elphaba).

What did you think of Once Week 2? Too little Emma/Snow? And are we to infer that Rumple actually met Regina once before…?