Monday, 16 January 2012

Once Upon A Time, Episode 9, True North

As Henry reads a comic book, two kids browse through the corner store. Hold on. Corner store? I thought Ruby's pub/diner/laundromat was the only store in town.

The girl talks with Henry, and he gets all red faced and smiley. She keeps his attention as her brother hides items in Henry's backpack. When they begin to leave the store, the pharmacist accuses the girl and her brother of shoplifting with Henry as an accomplice.

Back in fairytale land, where forests are abundant—seriously, everyone's story takes place in a forest—we see a woodsman chopping down a tree. The shoplifters are actually Hansel and Gretel. Their kindly hardworking father tells them to collect firewood.

They're in the forest, it should take them two minutes. The father gives them a compass, telling them that families should always find a way to each other. They should also find a way share the bathroom in the morning, but that's another story.

Once the kids have found a few twigs they hustle back, only to realise their father has vanished. The Evil Queen's carriage almost runs them over, and one of her guards breaks the compass. This compass is getting a lot of air time.

Do you know what else used to get air time? The Sheriff, that's who.

The kids manage to fight off the guards and struggle with the Evil Queen. She likes their tenacity and fighting spirit. She decides not to kill them, but instead gives them a quest, which is different than giving them a guest.

The Mayor storms into the corner store after the pharmacist called her about Henry having a backpack full of unpaid goods. I can't help but notice he has a head cold. Would you trust a pharmacist with a head cold? Come on, he's surrounded by medication?!

The Mayor convinces the congested pharmacist that Henry is innocent. Sheriff Emma shows up and questions the kids. They say their parents are poor and will be ashamed. Emma reaches for the toothpaste they tried to steal, and furrows her pretty brow. Wow, she's so gullible.

The Evil Queen, looking like she's going to a Prince concert, is wearing her best 'Purple Rain' tribute outfit complete with a tiny black cowboy hat. She uses Hansel and Gretel in one of her grand schemes. If they complete a task for her, she promises to find their father.

Didn't we just establish this in the last scene? Dear ABC, You're giving me cramps.

I guess they paid for that green screen and they're going to use it as much as possible, damnit!

Emma drives the kids to a nondescript house. The girl feeds her another story about shy/poor/invisible parents. Emma lets them out of the car, and then pulls away.

Why is she not following them inside? Because she's not wearing the right leather jacket today, that's why.

The kids duck away to their real hideout—some creepy basement where they film all the horror movies. They hear someone upstairs and go to investigate, which is the opposite of what happens in the horror movies.

A-ha! Emma confronts them and the girl confesses they don't have any parents.

Emma brings them to Mary Margaret's. School records show their mother died, and that the dad is unknown. Adament about keeping them away from Social Services, Emma pleas with Mary Margaret to keep them at the apartment while she looks for the father.

When Emma tries to get a copy of their birth certificates, she finds out the Mayor has already taken them, and has called Social Services. She informs Emma the brother and sister will be separated, and taken to Boston where lovely group homes await them.

Emma refuses, but the Mayor tells her as Sheriff it's her job, and also, she's the only one who can leave Storybrooke.

Hit the pause button. Dear ABC, If Emma's the only one who can leave, how can the kids leave too?

At the delicious gingerbread house of the Blind Witch, the Evil Queen tells Hansel and Gretel to get the black satchel inside, but warns them NOT to eat anything. I see nothing that could possible go wrong.

Henry visits Emma at the Sheriff's office telling her the true identity of Hansel and Gretel. He reminds her that no one comes or leaves Storybrooke, so their missing father must be in the town somewhere.

Has anyone checked the pub/diner/laundromat?

Henry sheepishly asks about his biological father. Emma gives him a small smile and says she met him working the night shift at a diner. He was training to be a fireman, and came in every late shift for pie. They had some fun, but then he moved on with his career, and she got in some trouble and went to jail. After she found out she was pregnant, she tried to find him and learned he died saving a family from a fire.

Hmm. This sounds too good. I think she's lying.

After lying, oops I mean talking to Henry, she gets an idea and asks the kids if they have a keepsake from their mother. Gretel gives her the broken compass. Hansel doesn't have much to say. In fact the compass probably got a bigger paycheck than he did for this episode.

Quietly, Hansel and Gretel break into the Blind Witch's house. Holy gumdrops! It looks like Willy Wonka threw-up all over the place. Every surface is covered in cupcakes, cookies and sugared candy. As the Blind Witch sleeps by the fire, Gretel reaches for the black satchel just as Hansel picks up a cupcake piled with purple frosting. Again with the color purple, I'm sensing a Prince theme.

He takes a bite and the Blind Witch wakes up, showing us her outrageous glaucoma infliction. The fireplace erupts in flames, illuminating a pile of tiny human bones.

Emma goes to the pawn shop and shows Mr. Gold the compass. He examines the piece bestowing the quality of the crystal. He tells her it was actually bought in his shop by a Mr. Michael Tillman.

Funny, I was expecting something like Mr. Bob Axeman.

Emma finds out Mr. Michael Tillman is the town mechanic. He shrugs saying it was only a one night stand on a camping trip. He says he's barely managing the shop, and can't afford to raise two kids.

What do you expect? Everyone in town goes to the pub/diner/laudromat.

She tells him they have been alone since their mom died, and how they'll be split up if he doesn't claim custody. Unmoved, he tells her he can't give them what they need.

Mary Margaret is making cookies with the kids and Henry. No one goes to school when the script doesn't allow for it. Emma tells Mary Margaret the father doesn't want the kids and confesses she told Henry a bogus story about his real father being a hero.

Yup, saw that coming.

Inside the gingerbread house of doom, Gretel manages to steal the key from the Blind Witch. She tosses it to Hansel who unlocks the cage, and helps his sister push the Blind Witch into the stove. Gretel grabs the satchel and they both escape, leaving the Witch to burn in her oven.

Hmm, that was easy.

The Evil Queen eagerly takes the black satchel, her eyes growing wide as she reaches inside.

What is it? A new pony tail clip on? A spell to bring back the Sheriff?

It's a red apple. Yes, THAT red apple.

The Evil Queen admits to Hansel and Gretel that she's sent many children into the Blind Witche's house, but they are the only ones to have escaped. She admires their cunning and offers them a place in her palace. Hansel thinks having his own room with cable and Nintendo Playstation sounds pretty cool, but Gretel stands her ground, saying they would never want to live in a horrible place with her, and that their father will come for them.

Emma puts the brother and sister in the car to go to Boston. Henry pushes away from the Mayor and tells Emma if the kids leave Storybrooke something bad will happen. Something bad has already happened, Henry. The Sheriff died!

I need closure and maybe some therapy.

As they approach the town limits, the car breaks down. Wow! *rolls eyes sarcastically* I did not see that coming.

The Evil Queen holds the apple, looking in her magic mirror and sees Snow White with the dwarfs. I'm guessing she found them with the help of her whistle made by Schmexy Huntsman *sniff*. The guards bring in the long lost father, bound as a prisoner. The Evil Queen asks him to explain why the kids refused her. He tells her because they are family, and family always finds one another.

The Evil Queen doesn't like all this talk of loyalty to family. She has so many layers. Let's not forget she ends up cutting her father's heart out.

Hansel and Gretel wake up in the forest, convinced the Evil Queen has set them free. The compass is broken, but Gretel smiles and takes her brother's hand as they walk deeper into the woods. A wolf is howling in the distance. Quick! Find the wolf and follow him...all the way to the animal shelter in Storybrooke.

Emma stands by the stalled police car and calls for a lift. Guess who shows up?

No. Not the Sheriff.

The broken compass begins to spin and points in the direction of the tow truck. Hooray, it's the woodcutter/mechanic. Emma confesses she lied about the car, and that she wanted him to see the kids before he made his choice.

He realises she's taking them to Boston to live in some horrible Charles Dickens inspired orphanage. And through the miracle of television, he sidesteps the slew of paper work and red tape, and decides to keep them.

Emma returns to Mary Margaret's apartment and talks about finding her own birth parents. She mentions Henry's theory that they're actually mother and daughter. They laugh about it because that's as crazy as some guy getting sole custody of two kids he can't even prove are his.

Mary Margaret sees Emma's baby blanket. *Gasp* Will she remember? She lifts it to her face, takes a deep breath...and puts it back down.

Emma is sitting in the police car, reading through old news paper clippings. Henry shows up with pie for her because that's what he does best. He reminds her that she's changing things in town, and they're closer to breaking the Evil Queen's curse.

Hello...what's this? A stranger arrives on a motorcycle. He takes off his helmet and looks a little like Schmexy, except he's not, you know, so I don't like him.

He says he's just looking for a bed. Emma points him in the direction of Granny's Bed and Breakfast. I'm thinking once he gets a look at Ruby in her short shorts, he'll pick bed over breakfast. As he races off, the camera spends a little extra time on his old fashioned suitcase strapped to the back of his bike.

Quick! What fairy tale character had an old fashioned suitcase?

The mysterious music starts, and Henry reminds Emma, and us, that strangers don't come to Storybrooke.

Who is the stranger? The Pied Piper? Jack from the Bean Stalk? The Muffin Man?

And what about the pharmacist with the runny nose? Not a very good cover...Sleeping Beauty. *wink*

Who do you think the stranger is?


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