Author Archives: nmnelson

once upon a time recapping: straight on ‘til morning

Previously on Once Upon a Time: Second Star to the Right.

This week on Once Upon a Time, it’s the SEASON FINALE! As the destruction of Storybrooke seems imminent, everyone must learn to work together in order to prevent disaster. In Storybrooke, there are new alliances, a few sacrifices, and the revelation of a new “Big Bad.” In Neverland, we catch up with where Hook and Baelfire left off last week.

Once Upon a Time, Hook and Baelfire

In Neverland, Hook and Smee speculate that Bae might belong to “him,” and wonder what they might receive as a rewarding for returning him. However, when Hook goes to question his captive, the revelation that he’s Milah’s son changes his mind. Smee panics as the Lost Ones arrive looking for Bae, but Hook is unwilling give up the key to his revenge. Luckily Bae remains hidden. During a sailing lesson they bond over being abandoned by their daddies, and Bae reveals his father is the Dark One and the dagger is the key to his demise. Later Bae discovers a drawing of his mother on Hook’s desk, and concludes Hook is the pirate that killed her. Hook quickly tells him the real story, but Bae still blames him for destroying his family and asks to be taken home. Hook offers Bae a place on the ship, but the boy is not convinced, claiming that the pirate only cares for himself. It’s enough to turn Hook back to revenge, and he gives up Bae to the Lost Ones. As they hit shore, the Lost Ones compare Bae to a drawing and realize he’s not the one “he” is looking for, but that “Peter Pan never fails.” The boy on the drawing? Henry.

Once Upon a Time, the Charmings

In Storybrooke, Rumple is clearly still worried about the Prophecy and is about to use magic to send his grandson flying from a swing into some convenient pointy rocks (what is it with the death trap playgrounds in this town?) when he’s interrupted by the arrival of the Charmings. As Emma breaks the bad news about Neal to Henry, her parents inform Rumple. They also ask for his help with the self-destruct device, but with his son gone, Rumple doesn’t mind dying. Meanwhile, Gremara take the device down to the mines and activate it. As the Charmings regroup at home, Regina offers to slow down the device to give them enough time to recover the magic beans and portal everyone safely to the Enchanted Forest. Hook arrives, gets punched in the face, and offers to help, since dying wasn’t part of his revenge plan. At Gold’s shop, the dwarves raid Sneezey’s stein since the Blue Fairy has conveniently created a potion (with a hair from Pinocchio’s head) that will restore a person’s memories if drunk out of an object that’s important to them. Leroy offers some to Rumple, since he owes Belle a favor. As the forest starts to reclaim the town, Rumple and Belle have an emotional reunion. Charming and Hook manage to snag one bean from Gremara; Regina prepares to sacrifice herself to save Storybrooke, begging Emma to “let her die as Regina,” not the Evil Queen. Everyone meets up at Granny’s and prepares to go, but Henry refuses to leave without Regina. Snow suggests sending the trigger through a portal like the wraith (since that worked so well the first time), instead of “building a future on Regina’s blood.” Of course, they go down to the mines to discover that Hook has double-crossed them and taken the bean. Convinced they’re doomed, Emma shares a tearful embrace with her parents, calling them “mom” and “dad” for the first time. (Hello emotional turmoil, I’ve missed you!) She then has a “holy crap I can do magic!” moment and combines her powers with Regina, saving everyone from horrible CGI destruction. During the confusion, Gremara kidnap Henry and take him through a portal to “him.” Hook arrives shortly afterward with the bean. Regina, the Charmings, and Rumple sail off to Neverland to rescue Henry, while Belle stays behind with a spell to cloak the town from further minions of the Big Bad.

Image from Once Upon a Fan

In the Enchanted Forest, Aurora, Philip, and Mulan discover a gravely wounded (but alive) Neal on the beach.

That’s it until the fall. Stay magical, my friends!

Thoughts/Theories
• Coming to the end of the season, I find myself a little disappointed. The latter half of season 2 just did not pack the same punch as the first half, nor did this season have the same sense of purpose that season 1 did. This fracturing of one plotline (break the curse) into multiple plotlines (Cora in Storybrooke, finding Baelfire, the magic beans, the Prophecy, Neverland, Greg and Tamara vs. Magic) has made the show feel convoluted and disjointed. With so much going on, the jump from plotline to plotline takes away from character development – i.e., the evolving nature of Emma and Snow’s bond in the first half of season 2 that we don’t really see upon their return to Storybrooke – and leaves a lot of plot holes.
• The rules of travel between realms are infinitely frustrating to me. Rumple’s implied scuffle with Peter Pan suggests that Rumple traveled to and from Neverland at least once, and it’s never explained how Hook returned to the Enchanted Forest, especially considering you can “never leave” Neverland. And the dynamic of the magic beans seem to vary: when Neal falls through the portal, it’s implied his destination is totally random, yet when Gremara and Hook use the beans, they have no issue choosing Neverland as their destination.
• Henry is subject of the prophecy, and also the objective of the “big bad,” Peter Pan. Considering we now know that both of his parents are magical, how much do you want to bet that Henry’s got some magic of his own? I have a feeling this will be one of the big storylines of season 3.
• New drinking game: very time Hook gets assaulted or double-crosses someone, take a shot.

Nicole N. decided to justify the countless hours she spends watching television by writing about it here. She is currently watching Call the Midwife and crying into her tea each Sunday. For more tv-centric musings, check out her tumblr.

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once upon a time recapping: second star to the right

Previously on Once Upon a Time: The Evil Queen.

This week on Once Upon a Time, the conflict between our magic-hating outsiders and the heroes of Storybrooke comes to a head. In Storybrooke, Greg and Tamara unleash a world of hurt upon Regina and while Emma and Co. attempt to find her (and the remaining magical beans). In London, we learn what happened to young Baelfire after he fell through the magic portal alone.

Once Upon a Time, Baelfire

In London, Baelfire travels through the portal and wakes up alone in turn of the century England. Starving, he sneaks into a townhouse through an open window to steal some bread. He’s caught by the young Wendy Darling, and she offers him as much food as he wants. Wendy hides him in the crawlspace, but her parents discover their guest and invite him to stay. That night in the bedroom Wendy is excited for the arrival of “the shadow.” Bae reveals his history with magic and warns her that it comes with a price. Despite his warning, Wendy goes to Neverland when the shadow visits that night. Wendy returns the next morning and confirms Bae’s fears – the shadow never lets children leave Neverland once they arrive. The only reason she was released is because the shadow intends to take one of her brothers. That night the shadow returns, and Bae offers to go with him to keep Wendy’s family intact. En route to Neverland, he gets the best of the shadow and falls into the sea surrounding the island. He is fished from the sea by our favorite pirate, Captain Hook.

Once Upon a Time, Greg and Tamara

In Storybrooke, Emma, Snow, Charming, and Henry try to track down Regina and the magic beans. When they get to her office, however, the beans and Regina are missing and there are signs of foul play. Emma immediately suspects Tamara. On the other side of town, Tamara takes inventory of their stolen items (including the trigger and the magic beans) and prepares to send their data to the “home office” before they get their next assignment, while Greg attempts to torture the location of his father out of Regina. It turns out the two are part of a secret society determined to destroy magic to keep it out of the “real world.” While Emma tries yet again to convince Neal that Tamara is up to no good, the Charmings acquire a spell from Rumpelstiltskin to locate Regina. Lacey overhears his magical dealings, and is intrigued by living with him forever, if only they get the prophecy out of the way. Emma tries to catch Tamara in a lie, but Neal’s fiancé remains one step ahead of her, making her looking like the crazy ex yet again. Emma eventually confesses to Neal that it hurts to see him move on, and he admits that leaving her was his biggest regret. Snow’s magic-induced vision leads them all to converge on the cannery by the docks. Tamara flees, but Greg refuses to leave – tormenting Regina until she admits she killed his father and buried him at their campsite. The Charmings rescue Regina, Greg escapes, and Emma and Neal have a showdown with Tamara that ends with Neal shot and Emma dangling over a magic portal. Just when it seems like everything will be okay, the floor collapses and the two have just enough time for a confession of love before Neal disappears through the portal. A shell-shocked Emma returns to her parents. The news goes from bad to worse when Regina clues them into the trigger in Tamara’s possession. As Greg buries his father’s remains, Tamara informs him of their new assignment – blowing Storybrooke off the map.

Once Upon a Time, Emma

Next week, Storybrooke (and Regina?!) are possibly no more.

Thoughts/Theories
• Poor Emma. Is she ever going to have her happy ending?
• This development with Tamara and Greg and their anti-magical secret society is interesting. I wonder if this proves my theory that the myths and legends of other cultures represent magical realms that may have crossed over into the “real world.”

Nicole N. decided to justify the countless hours she spends watching television by writing about it here. She is currently terrified of Stanley’s oddly-shaped head on Project Runway. For more tv-centric musings, check out her tumblr.

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once upon a time recapping: the evil queen

Previously on Once Upon a Time: Lacey.

This week on Once Upon a Time, everyone has conflicting ideas about the fate of our favorite magical town. In Storybrooke, Regina begins work on her escape plan, but Greg and Tamara have other ideas. Meanwhile, Emma remains conflicted about leaving and instead focuses her energy on Tamara and “Operation Preying Mantis.” In the Enchanted Forest, we see more of Regina’s inner struggle to choose between good and evil.

Once Upon a Time, Snow and Regina

In the Enchanted Forest, Queen Regina is confused why people seem to hate her so much, even as she executes an entire village for refusing to give up the location of the “bandit” Snow White. Fed up with her incompetent minions, she decides to go after Snow herself. With Rumpelstiltskin’s help (and the price of cutting off trade with King George), she transforms into a peasant. The only catch is she doesn’t control the spell, nor can she use magic when it’s active. A disguised Regina comes across some villagers trying to burn and effigy of herself and tries to stop them, only to be blamed for it and sentenced to death. She is saved by none other than Snow White. A feverish Regina awakens to find herself hidden in the woods, tended to by her nemesis. As Snow cleans her wound, she tells of the time a stranger saved her from a charging horse and inspired her to be good. They head out and Regina uses the opportunity to inquire about Snow’s feelings, and is surprised to learn that Snow would forgive the Queen and be a family again if given the chance. This abruptly changes the moment they come across the slaughtered village. Regina pleads with Snow to remember the Queen who saved her from the horse – and gives herself away. She flees and returns to Rumpelstiltskin, prepared to embrace her title of the Evil Queen.

Once Upon a Time, Hook, Greg, and Tamara

In Storybrooke, Tamara and Greg inform Hook that Rumpelstiltskin is very much alive, and offer him a deal: a way to kill magical creatures in exchange for his help in finding someone. Meanwhile, Snow and Charming decide that Regina’s options are to be left behind, or to return to the Enchanted Forest and live out her life in a cell. Overhearing this, Regina decides on a third option: escaping to the Enchanted Forest with Henry via stolen magic bean and then enacting a “failsafe” in the Curse that will destroy Storybrooke. She communicates this to Henry, but he has a problem with the “killing everyone in Storybrooke” part of the plan, so she wipes his memory. At Granny’s, Emma literately bumps into Tamara and discovers a fairy tale cheat sheet in her purse. This, combined with her superpower, leads her to believe that Tamara is the “she” August was trying to warn them about. Snow dismisses her fears, but Henry is all about “Operation Preying Mantis.” Emma explicitly states she’s not getting back together with his father, despite accidentally letting slip about the magic beans and the potential return to the Enchanted Forest. Emma and Henry break into Tamara’s room and are discovered by Neal, who gave Tamara the cheat sheet. They find nothing and Emma slinks away looking like a crazy ex. Hook goes to Regina and offers to help with the self-destruct plan, if it means Rumpelstiltskin will be collateral damage. Regina and Hook go to the vault under the library. Regina reclaims her mother’s bracer from Hook, then pushes him off a ledge (seriously, how has he not broken every bone in his body?) to deal with the tender mercies of a spectral Maleficent while she retrieves the failsafe from Snow’s glass coffin. Regina returns to the library to discover a pissed-off Hook and his new friends Greg and Tamara. She tries to use magic, but the bracer she reclaimed is suppressing her powers – powered by “science” and the “toughest machinery and metals known to man.” Elsewhere, Snow, Charming, and Leroy discover the bean crop has been burned to the ground.

Once Upon a Time, Emma and Tamara

Next week, NEVERLAND!

Thoughts/Theories

  • I understand that a lot of this show focuses on the battle of good vs. evil, and I applaud the fact that many of the characters operate in a “grey area,” the sometimes extreme flips between the two are a little tiring.
  • Is it just me, or was Neal acting a little shady this episode? Considering he’s the mastermind con artist, it’s a little hard for me to believe that Tamara was capable of pulling one over on him, especially considering how collected she’s being over the “fairy tales are real” scenario.
  • I’m curious to see how the “science vs. magic” scenario is going to develop. I wonder if Greg and Tamara’s science operates in a similar way to Dr.Whale/Frankenstein’s.

Nicole N. decided to justify the countless hours she spends watching television by writing about it here. She is currently terrified of Stanley’s oddly-shaped head on Project Runway. For more tv-centric musings, check out her tumblr.

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once upon a time recapping: lacey

Previously on Once Upon a Time: Selfless, Brave, and True.

This week on Once Upon a Time, Belle gets her memory back, but it’s not what Rumpelstiltskin was hoping for. In Storybrooke, Regina restores Belle’s false memories, convincing her she is a barfly named Lacey, which prompts Rumple to woo her all over again. Meanwhile, Emma must decide if she wishes to return to the Enchanted Forest, while Tamara and Greg set their plan in motion. In the pre-Curse Enchanted Forest, we learn Belle’s and Rumpelstiltskin’s romance was sparked when he spared a thief named Robin Hood.

Screencap from Once Upon a Fan

In the Enchanted Forest, Rumpelstiltskin and Belle are in the days before the “chipped cup” incident. Rumpelstiltskin thwarts a thief (Tom Ellis) attempting to make off with one of his wands, and proceeds to viciously torture him, much to Belle’s dismay. The moment he leaves, Belle frees the thief from the dungeon. Rumpelstiltskin returns to find the thief – and the wand – are gone, and forces Belle to accompany him on his quest to track him down and kill him. They encounter Nottingham (played by Red Widow’s Wil Traval), who tries to trade the thief’s location for some time alone with Belle, but Rumpelstiltskin is not in the mood. He uses magic and tongue-stealing to get the information he needs, and the thief’s name – Robin Hood. They come across the thief using the wand to heal the deathly-ill (and pregnant) Marian. Due to Belle’s pleading, Rumpelstiltskin spares Robin Hood at the last moment. Back at his castle, Rumpelstiltskin shows Belle a room full of books for her to clean, and she’s intrigued by his new kindness.

Once Upon a Time, Mr. Gold and Lacey

In Storybrooke, Rumple has nightmares about killing Henry due to the Seer’s prophecy. He lets the bombshell drop that Neal is Henry’s father, but Regina warns him that his new family will never accept him. Needing reassurance of his good side, Rumple offers to get Belle released from the hospital. Naturally, Regina thwarts this by restoring Belle’s curse memories. Rumple discovers “Lacey” at a dive bar called The Rabbit Hole, where she is a scantily-clad, hustling, hard-drinking barfly. His only option to bring Belle back is True Love’s Kiss, but she must reciprocate his feelings first – prompting him to ask her for a date. Meanwhile, Snow and Charming reveal the magic beans and their intention to return to the Enchanted Forest to Emma. As she ponders her decision, Emma lets slip to Regina that she might lose Henry “for good.” On their date, Lacey confesses to Rumple that she doesn’t understand why people are scared of him, and he accidentally spills wine on her dress in his surprise. She disappears into the bathroom for quite some time, and Rumple goes outside to discover her macking on the Storybrooke equivalent of Nottingham. She admits she went on the date out of pity, and that he is not the man for her. Nottingham later apologizes to Rumple, but he’s had it with being good and proceeds to viciously beat the idiot. Lacey discovers him mid-attack and is intrigued by the dark Mr. Gold that everyone’s warned her about. Elsewhere, Regina traces the dwarves’ tracks back to the magic bean field, while Tamara and Greg bring a package into Storybrooke to aid them on their mission – Hook.

Screencap from Once Upon a Fan

Thoughts/Theories
• Rumpelstiltskin’s perspective on magic – “those who steal it have evil intentions” – and his desire to prevent Robin Hood from using it for wrongdoing were really interesting to me, especially considering he uses magic for such evil himself. Maybe he’s trying to spare people his fate?
• Ok, so the curse is broken, and all of these men who are suddenly very into Lacey/Belle fully know who she really is, right? It makes Storybrooke Nottingham’s interest in her really creepy. The whole situation is just a little uncomfortable.
• What are the circumstances of Henry’s adoption? There are too many coincidences involved – maybe we’ll get more of the story in season 3?

Nicole N. decided to justify the countless hours she spends watching television by writing about it here. She is currently terrified of Stanley’s oddly-shaped head on Project Runway. For more tv-centric musings, check out her tumblr.

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once upon a time recapping: selfless, brave, and true

Previously on Once Upon a Time: Welcome to Storybrooke.

This week on Once Upon a Time, August returns only to be taken away from us. (Whhhhhy?) In Storybrooke, August’s actions have finally caught up with him and he’s given up on redemption. Meanwhile, Tamara comes into town with a secret agenda involving magic. Elsewhere in the world, we catch up on what August was up to before he rode into Storybrooke.

Once Upon a Time, August and The Dragon

In Phuket back in October 2011, August wakes up in pain and discovers his leg is turning into wood. The doctor he goes to in Hong Kong sees nothing wrong and thinks August is crazy, especially when he stabs himself in the wooden leg to prove his point. On his escape from the hospital, he runs into a young man who offers to take August to “The Dragon,” a man who can cure things “most people dismiss.” While waiting to see The Dragon, he runs into Tamara in the waiting room. The Dragon (played by Tzi Ma), not only knows who August truly is, but how to cure him, at the cost of a personal item (the string his father used to animate him) and $10,000. August later runs into Tamara at a bar, and they bond over being potentially cured (cancer in her case), and the minute her back is turned he steals the giant envelope of cash she left unattended next to a stranger at a bar. August returns to The Dragon for the vial of his magical cure, but Tamara chases him down and steals it back. Tamara later visits The Dragon – turns out she wasn’t sick at all, but searching for magic – and kills him.

Once Upon a Time, Neal and Tamara

In present day Storybrooke, Nealfire drops the bombshell that Tamara is coming to Storybrooke (and that Hook is back on the loose). Emma is not exactly pleased and she encourages him to tell her the truth. Nealfire, Tamara, Emma and Henry share an awkward bagel breakfast, complete with an endearing “spilled-coffee-love-at-first-sight” tale of how the two met. Henry leaves The Book with Nealfire, and he uses it to attempt to tell Tamara the truth, with disastrous results. Snow finally gets out of bed and heads to the woods for archery practice, where she discovers a completely wooden August hiding in a trailer. Though the lifting of the curse reanimated him, his wooden state is a result of straying from the path of good, and he rejects Snow’s offer to come back to town. Snow, along with Emma and Marco, go to the Blue Fairy to ask her to restore August, but since he strayed from being “selfless, brave, and true,” there’s nothing she can do. Tamara, however, visit’s August’s trailer and offers what’s left of her cure – if he leaves Storybrooke and stays out her way. Meanwhile, Regina realizes Greg’s true identity, and tells him to leave town, since his father isn’t there. On the way out of town, he finds Tamara’s personal item in her car and realizes she was responsible for The Dragon’s death. At the sheriff’s station, he tries to call Emma to warn her, but Tamara has other plans and introduces him to her taser (that works on wood, apparently?). He stumbles outside just in time to “die” in his father’s arms – but Henry recognizes his selfless act, and the Blue Fairy is able to restore him to the little boy he once was, with none of August’s memories of course. Tamara appears at that moment and pretends to be astonished that magic is real. Pinocchio’s honesty has everyone else coming clean: Emma promises not to lie to Henry anymore, and Snow tells Charming about her blackened heart. In a flashback, we learn that Tamara bumped into Nealfire on purpose; in the present, Tamara, a.k.a “Her,” shows up at Greg’s door.

Screencap from Once Upon a Fan

That’s it until April 21, when new episodes return with Robin Hood!

Thoughts/Theories

  • Ha, I was totally right about Tamara! Who is she really, though? Someone from another realm? Someone from the real world who just happened to learn the truth about magic? And if she’s been in on it with Greg from the beginning, why is she using Neal? What is the master plan?
  • I’m curious what “The Dragon” implies in terms of other realms/magics that have found their way to the real world. The Enchanted Forest seemed to have an “Asian” kingdom, but I have to wonder if each culture’s mythologies/fables constitute a realm? Imagine the possibilities if that were true!
  • Is Regina lying about the fate of Greg/Owen’s dad, or not? I want to believe he’s still alive – maybe hidden in Regina’s asylum.

Nicole N. decided to justify the countless hours she spends watching television by writing about it here. She is currently terrified of Stanley’s oddly-shaped head on Project Runway. For more tv-centric musings, check out her tumblr.

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