Review: Once Upon a Time 1.02: The Thing You Love the Most

By Heather S. Vina

[spoilers ahead]

Written by: Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz

Recap: Storybrooke

It’s the same scene from last week: In the nighttime, Henry is watching the clock move. The clock moves all the way and it’s suddenly daytime. Montage, with Mary eating breakfast at her window and looking surprised, as she sees that the clock is working now. Emma wakes up at Granny’s place, kind of surprised that she’s still there. Archie is walking his dog on the street and passes Mr. Gold. Ruby is putting out the sign for Granny’s restaurant, as Granny returns with some groceries and the Sheriff arrives for breakfast. Henry is happy and excited, and Regina is desperately reading through the fairy tale book when she stops on a page showing her as the Evil Queen. She’s furious to see that the pages at the end are missing.

Regina goes to see Henry, who is getting ready for school, and demands to know where the missing pages are, but he tells her it’s an old book. Pages go missing. She tells him that it hurts her that he’s so distrusting of her, because she’s his mother, but he scoffs and tells her that she’s not. She tells him that she doesn’t like what Emma and the book are doing to him, but that Emma won’t be an issue, anymore. He has a look on his face. She notices and wants to know what is going on. But before Henry says anything, the clock tolls and Regina turns, shocked to hear it. Henry runs off.

Regina is at the street, staring at the clock, when Archie comes up and remarks that it’s finally working. Regina sees Emma’s car on the street.

Regina comes to Emma’s place with a basket full of apples and tells Emma about her apple tree, the Honey Crisp (I’m told they are not as red as the apples in the show. They are clearly using Red Delicious, and not Honey Crisp, as props), and how hearty it is. She hands Emma an apple and tries to persuade Emma to leave when Emma admits that she is staying for a while. Emma points out that the fact that Regina has threatened her twice to leave, now, makes her want to stay all the more. Regina says that she has Henry’s “problems” under control because he’s in therapy. Only one of them knows what’s best for Henry and both women think it’s them. Regina tells Emma that it’s time for her to go and not to underestimate her: “You have no idea what I’m capable of.”

Fairytale Land

Back to the Snow-White-and-Prince-Charming wedding scene, where the Queen threatened to destroy everyone’s happiness. When she disappears at the end, she reappears at her dark castle, where an older man offers her a drink. The magical mirror taunts her about the awfully big threat she laid on everyone; how is she going to accomplish it? The Queen answers, “The dark curse.” Both the Mirror and the man point out that she gave away the curse and that “she” won’t be happy to see her. The Queen tells them that she doesn’t care about anyone else’s happiness but her own. They’re going to the Forbidden Fortress.

At the Forbidden Fortress, the Queen sits down with Maleficent, the witch from the Sleeping Beauty tale. They trade snarks and barbs back and forth on each other’s failures, before the Queen comes down to business: She wants the dark curse she traded to Maleficent. Maleficent denies it to her and suggests getting a pet, as they are quite comforting. Maleficent points out that whoever created the curse was even more immoral than they are. They end up fighting and the Queen gains the upperhand when she goes to attack Maleficent’s pet. She takes the curse from her, but tells her that she won’t kill her, because she’s the only friend she has. Maleficent begs her not to do the curse. All power comes with a price and it will leave an emptiness inside her that she will never be able to fill. The Queen says, “So be it” and leaves.

In the dark forest, the Queen has called together several evil characters. A blind woman, who looks like she might be the old blind witch from “Hansel & Gretel”. A horrible-looking Giant, the one from “Jack & The Beanstalk”. And, according to Wikipedia, the Horned King from “The Black Cauldron” and the Red Gnome from “Snow White and Rose Red”. The Queen wants a lock of hair from them all. She tells the blind witch that she guarantees they will all be happy when her curse goes down. Considering that she just told her own people that she doesn’t care about anyone’s happiness but her own, I’m thinking that’s a lie. She threatens them all and everyone gives in.

The Queen throws the hairs into the fire and tells them that the only thing left is the heart of her favourite childhood beast. She throws it into the fire and a dark cloud starts swirling around, but the curse dissipates. The gnome laughs at her failure and she freezes him.

Storybrooke

In Regina’s apple tree garden, that same gnome statue sits. Sidney, the editor of the Storybrooke Daily Mirror, and also the alter ego of the Magical Mirror, brings her the latest issue of the paper, with a smear job done on Emma about her crashing into the sign. It’s not what Regina wanted, though. It turns out that Sidney couldn’t really find out much about Emma, other than that she was in a lot of foster homes, and got into trouble as a kid, but those records are sealed tight. Since then, she’s been clean. The only thing is that she likes to move around. Sidney points out that she had Henry in Phoenix and wonders how Henry ended up in Maine. Regina ignores his question, and focuses on the fact that he found nothing she can use against Emma. She then threatens Sidney with what she does with things that hold no value for her. Cowed, Sidney goes off to keep looking.

Emma is at Granny’s restaurant, where Ruby presents her with a cup of hot chocolate that has whipped cream and cinnamon on top. Emma didn’t order it, but Ruby glances over Emma’s shoulder and tells her that an admirer did. Emma sees the Sheriff and goes over to talk to him. He teases her about staying and how she crashed into their sign, but Emma is having none of it. She tells him she’s not there to flirt, and puts down the cocoa, but the Sheriff tells her that he didn’t send it. From the table behind him, Henry pipes out that he sent it to her. He likes cinnamon on top of his cocoa, too. Emma points out that he should be in school and he asks her to walk him.

On the way to school, Emma asks about what is going on between him and Regina, but Henry said it’s not about them; it’s about the curse. He tells her that he’s come up with a plan for their breaking the curse and step one is naming it with a secret name, so that no one will figure out what they are up to: Operation Cobra. Emma goes to take a bite of the apple that Regina gave to her, when Henry sees and shouts at her. She stops and tells him that his mom gave it to her. He snatches the apple and throws it away. Emma is a little shocked, but says okay. She asks him what the people do remember. Henry tells her that everyone’s pasts are hazy to them and if she asks them, she will see. Emma summarises that everyone has hazy memories, has never aged, and is stuck in a town that keeps them oblivious to their true identities. Henry’s happy she finally gets it and points out that that’s why they need her: to break the curse, because she’s the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Henry tells her that, right now, they have the advantage, because the Queen doesn’t know about her. And the missing pages from his fairy tale book? He pulled them out so that Regina wouldn’t find out about Emma, because it would be very bad for her. Interestingly enough, in the drawing of Charming putting Baby Emma in the wardrobe, you can make out the “Emma” that Snow had stitched on her daughter’s baby blanket. So, Henry was smart to take the pages out.

Anyway, Henry gives the pages to Emma and tells her to read them to help her believe. They’ve arrived at the school and Henry tells her that he will catch up with her later, to work on their plan. He shouts out that he knew that she would believe him, but she points out that she never said she did. He asks her, why else would she be there, then runs off into the school, happy.

Mary comes over, having witnessed the whole thing, and tells her that she’s glad to see Henry smiling again. Mary asks if Regina knows that Emma is staying and Emma tells her she does. She asks how someone like Regina got elected to Mayor. Mary tells her that she’s been Mayor as long as Mary can remember. No one will run against her because they are afraid of her. Emma asks Mary who Henry thinks she is, and Mary admits that Henry thinks she’s Snow White. Emma is shocked. She takes a moment and then tells Mary that Regina mentioned that Henry is in therapy. She asks Mary if she knows where the Doctor is.

Emma tracks down Archie at his office and questions him about Henry. He claims patient confidentiality, but she asks him if he knows why Henry has a fairytale obsession, which seems crazy to her. Archie tells her that he hopes she hasn’t used that word in front of Henry. Henry is using this as a lifeline for himself in dealing with his problems. Emma tells Archie that Henry just got these books a month ago (Fast worker, that little kid! Realised the truth, figured out who everyone in town is, tracked down his birth mother, brought her to town, and got her to stay, all in a month!) and Archie has been seeing him for longer than that. Emma points out that Henry’s issues stem from before that book, from Regina. Archie says that Regina’s attempts to bring Henry closer keep backfiring. He goes and pulls out Henry’s file, and hands it to Emma, telling her to take a look at it. Woah, he sure changed his mind in a hurry! Emma asks him why he’s doing this. Archie tells her that Henry talks about her a lot; she’s very important to him. Just make sure he gets the file back.

As soon as Emma leaves, Archie calls Regina and tells her that she was right: Emma was just there. Regina asks if Emma took the file and Archie tells her yes. Archie asks how Regina knew that Emma would come there. Regina smirks and tells him that she’s the one who gave her the idea.

Wow, Archie, that’s not very Jiminy Cricket of you! So much for being a conscience! Very disappointed.

Emma is reading the file in her room, when the Sheriff comes knocking at her door. According to Archie, she came into his office and got into a row with him, stealing Henry’s file. Emma denies it all, but the Sheriff goes to arrest her anyway. She tells him that she’s being set up.

Regina interrupts Mary’s outdoor lesson with her class (cool school, that they have classes outdoors!), so that she can “sympathetically” tell Henry about Emma’s arrest, and how she’s a con woman, trying to learn about them so that she can take advantage of them. Regina tells him she’s sorry, but he points out that she’s not. She tries to tell him that it will be good for them, but he just ignores her and tells her he has to get back to class.

The Sheriff is taking mug shots of Emma, while Emma points out that Regina set her up. The Sheriff is disbelieving. When Emma asks her what Regina has her hands in in the town, the Sheriff points out that she’s the Mayor; she has her hands in everything. Emma pointedly asks if Regina has her hands in the police force, too, but they are interrupted by Henry and Mary’s arrival.

Emma is worried about Henry’s reaction to the news that she was reading his files, but Henry claims that she’s a genius and thinks she was just gathering intel for their operation. He tells them that Mary is there to bail out Emma. When Emma asks Mary why she’s doing it, Mary tells her she trusts her and seems as surprised by that as Emma is. Emma gets the Sheriff to uncuff her and then tells them that she has something to do.

Regina is sitting in her office when she hears the sounds of a chainsaw. She rushes out to find Emma cutting off one of the branches of one of Regina’s beloved apple trees. Regina demands to know what she’s doing and Emma tells her that it’s going to take more than a shoddy frame job to stop her. And if Regina comes after her again, she’s going to come back for the rest of the tree. She throws Regina’s words back in her face about her not knowing what Emma is capable of, then strides off.

Well, maybe not the smartest plan in the world, since this IS something that Regina can legitimately arrest her for, but it was damn satisfying to watch!

Fairytale Land

The Queen is standing in front of the place where she tried to start the curse, alone. The old man comes up to her and tells her that maybe it’s for the best. The Queen snarks that now he’s trying to protect her, but he calmly tells her that it’s what he does. She backs down and tells him that he’s the only one who does. He tells her that helping her is his life, but all she wants to know is why the curse didn’t work. He points out that she needs to go back and ask the person who created the curse in the first place. He tells her that, once she goes through with this, there’s no heading back from it, but she tells him there’s nothing for her to come back to.

At Rumpelstiltskin’s prison cell, the Queen confronts him over the curse he gave her. She tells him that it’s not working. He brings up Snow White and Charming coming to see him, worried about the curse. The Queen demands to know what he told them and he tells her that he told them that the curse would happen. But their child would be the key in stopping it. He warns her that all curses can be broken. Regina demands to know what she did wrong and Rumpelstiltskin tells her there’s a price for that: He wants a comfortable, good life in the new world…and he wants her to heed his every request. If he should ever come to her, and he asks for something and says, “Please,” then she must give it to him. The Queen has no fear of this, since she points out that he won’t remember any of it, but he still demands it. She agrees, and Rumplestilksin points out that the heart she was supposed to sacrifice was to be the heart of someone that she truly loves, not a horse. This curse won’t come easy and she needs to ask herself how far she is willing to go. She tells him that she is willing to go as far as it takes. Rumpelstiltskin points out that she knows what she loves, so go kill it.

Storybrooke

At Emma’s room, Granny stops her before she goes in and tells her that she has to kick her out. Because of a ‘no felon’ rule that the Mayor’s office conveniently just called her about.

Regina is cleaning up her tree and demands that the Sheriff arrest Emma for “destroying city property.” Since when are trees, that she raised since childhood, city property? The Sheriff doesn’t want to and points out that he doesn’t think arresting her is a good plan. He tells her he knows that Emma didn’t steal the files, and that Archie lied, and eventually, his conscience will demand that he come clean. Regina threatens the Sheriff, telling him that she made him Sheriff and she can take it away just as easily. The Sheriff tells her that he will go arrest Emma, but she will keep coming at Regina, and Regina will keep coming at her, and the fight will escalate, with Henry ending up the one hurt. This seems to set Regina back for a moment.

Emma is heading to her car when she sees a tire boot on it. She gets a call from Regina, who tells her that it’s time they made peace. Why doesn’t she come over to her office, so that they can talk? I feel like adding here, “Said the spider to the fly,” ’cause this just isn’t going to go anywhere good.

At Regina’s office, Regina starts up by telling Emma that she is coming to accept that Emma wants to be there and wants to take Henry away from her. But Emma tells her that she has no intention of taking Henry away from anyone. All she wants to do is make sure that Henry is okay. The more Regina pushes her out, the more she wants to stay, especially seeing how troubled Henry is. Regina prods her to go on and Emma admits that she only got through a few pages of Henry’s therapist notes, but the fact that he thinks everyone in town is a fairy tale character worries her. Just as she says the idea is “crazy”, Henry reveals himself, having overheard the last part. He runs off and Emma realises that Regina set her up. Regina smirks in evil delight over her masterful plan to break her son’s heart. Ugh, I really can’t stand her. Emma can’t, either, as she points out that Regina has no soul.

Fairytale Land

The Queen storms back into her castle. She admits to the old man that Rumpelstiltskin told her that she has to cut out the heart of the thing that she loves the most. The old man realises it’s him. She turns to him and calls him “Daddy”. He’s her dad? I never guessed that. I don’t know why, but I didn’t.

Anyways, Daddy tries to get her to realise that she doesn’t have to do this, but the Queen is adamant that Snow took everything away from her and she can’t let her get away with it. It’s eating her alive. Daddy tries to get her to realise that she can have a new life, but the Queen tells him that her power would be gone, so what kind of life could she have when everything she worked for would be gone? Daddy tells her that power is seductive, but so is love, and she can have it again if she only tries. He hugs her and she tells him she just wants to be happy. He tells her that she can be happy. If they are given a chance, they can find happiness together. She just has to make that choice. The Queen pulls back and tells him that she thinks she can be happy but not here. She then stabs him in the stomach and kills him. Crying, she tells him that she’s sorry and yeah, I don’t believe her one whit.

Storybrooke

Emma arrives at Mary’s place, which looks like an apartment that, though decorated nicely, is still pretty rundown. The walls are really bad. Anyways, Emma is paying back the bail money Mary put up for her, but Mary realises that Emma needs to talk and invites her in.

Emma is taking a sip of her hot cocoa when she realises that Mary has put cinnamon on top of it. Mary tells her it’s a quirk of hers and she hopes Emma doesn’t mind. Emma doesn’t. Emma asks her about Mary remarking that she trusts Emma. Mary tells her that, ever since she has arrived in town, Mary has had the oddest feeling that they’ve met before. Mary tells her that she thinks that Emma is innocent. Emma thanks her, but she tells her she’s leaving, anyway. She thinks it’s best. Henry will only keep getting hurt if she stays. Mary asks her what happens if she leaves and Emma has no answer. She tells her that she thinks that the reason that Emma thinks she should leave is the reason that she should stay. Who will protect Henry if Emma won’t?

Henry is sitting in Archie’s office, depressed. Archie tries to get him to talk, but Henry isn’t in the mood. He tells Archie that he doesn’t think he’s Jiminy Cricket, anymore. Emma bursts in and brushes past Archie’s attempts to explain why he lied about her. She goes to Henry and tells him that the only reason she stayed was because of him, because she wanted to get to know him. He tells her that she thinks he’s crazy. She tells him that she thinks the curse is crazy, not him, but it doesn’t mean it’s true. He points out that she told his mom she thought he was crazy and Emma tells him that she told her what she needed to hear. She tells him that the only way to break the curse is to trick the Evil Queen so that she doesn’t know that they are on to her. Isn’t that what Operation Cobra is all about? Henry perks up again and tells her that her idea is brilliant.

Emma tells him he was right about the pages: They are dangerous and the only way to stop the Queen from seeing them is to destroy them. She tosses them into the fire in Archie’s office. They watch them burn. She tells Henry that now they have the advantage and Henry leaps up to hug her. He tells her he knew she was there to help him and she tells him that she is: “And nothing, not even a curse, is going to stop that.”

Fairytale Land

The Queen stands in front of the fire of the curse and throws her father’s heart into it. This time, the dark cloud of the curse continues and spreads out over the land. She walks away and goes to her father’s grave, telling him that she loves him. Big surprise, but when the gravestone is revealed, it lists his name as “Henry”.

Emma walks Henry out of his appointment and the two look very happy.

Mr. Gold goes to talk to Regina in her garden, where she is sanding off the broken stump of the tree that Emma cut. Regina’s happy because she thinks that she has gotten rid of Emma, but Mr. Gold casually reveals that he just saw her walking down the main street with Henry, looking “thick as thieves.” Regina is shocked. Gold tells her that maybe she should have come to him to fix the problem, as he has done for her before, for a price. Regina says that she’s not in the habit of making deals with him, anymore. He asks what deal she’s referring to and she tells him he knows which one. Turns out that Regina asked Gold to get her a son and he’s the one who got her Henry. He points out that ‘Henry’ was an interesting choice of name. He wonders where she got it from. Regina wonders if Gold wanted this all to happen; where did he get Henry? Does he know something? Who is Emma Swan? Gold denies knowing what she is talking about. He tells her that he thinks she knows exactly who she is. He tells her he must be going and turns to leave, but Regina blocks his way and again demands that he tell her what he knows about Emma. He tells her that he is leaving, and to move…please. Regina’s face falls a bit. She doesn’t stop him as he leaves. She watches in some fear as he walks away, tossing a bitten apple over his shoulder.

Review: I have to say that I cannot stand the Evil Queen/Regina. Don’t get me wrong: Lana Parillo is a great actress and is doing a great job with her. I just don’t find her sympathetic or interesting, at all. She’s not the type of bad guy that I find fascinating or charismatic, so much as she’s the type that I just can’t stand. No matter how much a story will try and sell me that a villain has a sob story that justifies what they are doing, there are some things that I just don’t find justifiable in any way. I already didn’t like her, but her murdering her father, who seemed to genuinely love her and want the best for her, just so she could be happy, sealed the deal for me. I also don’t think that she loves Henry. I think she tells herself that she loves him and she’s using him to try to fill the hole in her heart that she has because of all of the soul-destroying things that she has done, but I don’t think that she loves him. I think the only person she cares about is herself.

She actually reminds me of Sylar, from Heroes, another villainous character that a show tried to make sympathetic and failed miserably. You can only take characters so far, and have them do so many horrible things, before you lose all credibility for any claims to sympathy. For me, you don’t get to use the excuse of “Someone was once mean to me” to justify destroying and hurting a bunch of innocent people.

On the other hand, Rumpelstiltskin is a villain that I find interesting. Robert Carlyle is doing an excellent job with both versions of this character. I like how he’s bad without trying to claim a sob story as justification for why he’s bad. I’m curious about what he’s up to and what his goal is. I tend to think that the real puppetmaster of this show is him, not the Evil Queen/Regina.

That final scene between Regina and Mr. Gold was rife with innuendo. The characters were both throwing barbs to see what the other knows. Unlike Regina, though, I think Gold fully knows what is going on and knows what she knows. I still don’t know if he has known all along, but considering that he’s the one who created the curse, I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t have put in some protection for himself against the curse. I also think that he did want to bring Emma to town, to either stir things up or to break the curse, all for his own goals, of course. I think he is getting Regina to do all of the dirty work, so that he can reap some currently unknown rewards.

There was a bit too much of the Evil Queen and her “why me” sob story for my tastes this week, but at least we got it out of the way. I would have liked to have a bit more bonding between Emma and Mary, especially something more meaty to the scene of Emma realising that Mary is Snow White and this is her potential mother. That scene felt too short for as huge as it was. I really am enjoying the scenes between Mary, Emma and Henry, and I hope we have more of those.

I cry foul on the whole “cinnamon on cocoa” thing being a sign that these people are all related, though. It’s sweet, don’t get me wrong. I love cinnamon on cocoa, too, but my mom can’t stand it, so the whole “This means that they are related” thing rang false for me.

It did make me crave cocoa, though!

I was really disappointed in Archie. I don’t remember the Pinocchio tale that well, but I also don’t remember Jiminy Cricket being such a wuss. He was Pinocchio’s conscience, so it was pretty disappointing to see the conscience fail in such a huge way. And I didn’t like how Emma talked freely in front of him at the end. Even if she still doesn’t believe this whole thing, she knows that Archie easily caves into Regina, so spilling this stuff in front of him wasn’t a good idea to me.

That being said, I loved that end scene and I was very happy to see Henry looking happy, again!

I’m enjoying seeing the fairy tale characters showing up. Sidney’s kind of a weasel, but I like Giancarlo Esposito. Kristin Bauer van Straten was good as Maleficent and I like that even she thought the Queen was going too far. No Prince Charming in this one, except for the flashback scene, which was a bit disappointing. I could like the Sheriff, but we will see. I like how he seems to genuinely care about Henry, but we will see if he actually stands up for what is right or not. That will be the real test for me.

All in all, a very good second episode! Despite my intense dislike for the Evil Queen, and the idea of her having some kind of sob story that is supposed to make me feel sympathy for her, I am quite enjoying this show!

And next week looks really exciting!

This week’s Fairy Tale Characters Who Make Appearances In Both Worlds Are:

Snow White, AKA Mary Margaret

Evil Queen, AKA the Mayor Regina

Rumpelstiltskin, AKA Mr. Gold

Red Riding Hood and Grandma, AKA Ruby and Granny

Jiminy Cricket, AKA Archie Hopper

Magical Mirror, AKA Sidney

The Dark Gnome, AKA the stone gnome in Regina’s garden

Still Missing In Storybrooke World:

Henry, the Evil Queen’s father (deceased)

Maleficent

The Blind Witch

The Giant

The Horned King

You can watch episodes of Once Upon a Time on its official site and in HD on Amazon.com.

About Heather S. Vina

Heather’s been a fan of science fiction since she was five years old and developed a crush on Captain Kirk, while watching reruns of Star Trek: The Original Series. A huge Anglophile, she loves reading and watching (and mocking!) TV, but hasn’t figured out a way to make a living doing either, yet. But she lives in hope!

Heather S. VinaReview: Once Upon a Time 1.02: The Thing You Love the Most