Review: Once Upon a Time 1.11: Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

By Heather S. Vina

February is Fundraiser Month at Innsmouth Free Press. If you enjoy this review, please consider making a donation to the site, for a chance to win one of our books. You can also like our Facebook page, or our book pages, either on Facebook or on Amazon. Thanks!

Written by: Story by Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss

[spoilers ahead]

Recap: Storybrooke

It’s post-storm, and Henry and Emma are at his “castle” which is quite a bit the worse for wear, where he’s checking to make sure that his fairytale book is OK. Seems he stored it in a locked box and buried it in the sand. Emma’s surprised to find out that Regina supposedly doesn’t know about his “castle”, but it turns out that she does. She finds the two and chides Henry for being late for his appointment with Archie. She orders Henry to the car, then tells Emma that the place is too dangerous for Henry to be hanging out. Emma needs to stop letting her emotions cloud her judgment.

Later, at Granny’s cafe, Emma complains to Mary about Regina and Mary tries to console her that Regina is just jealous of her relationship with Henry, right before Mary gets a text from David asking her to meet at “their” spot and she takes off. A drunken Sidney sits at Emma’s table and tells her that he will work with her to take down Regina. Seems he’s ticked off over the failed election. He tells Emma that Regina got him fired from the paper, so he started working on an expose against her and found something about her that the public deserves to know about. Emma tells him to go sleep it off and leaves.

Fairytale Land

A Genie-decked-out Sidney is in a magic lamp, staring forlornly at a magic mirror. He rolls his eyes when his lamp is picked up by King Leopold (Richard Schiff), who rubs it, causing the Genie to appear and give his speech about three wishes. But the King doesn’t desire anything for himself; he’s quite content. All he wants is happiness for anyone who enters his kingdom. The Genie rolls his eyes again and talks about how long he’s been doing this. The King points out that the Genie doesn’t seem very happy and the Genie points out that he’s in bondage. So, the King uses his first wish to grant the Genie his freedom, which works. The King then uses his second wish to grant his third wish to the Genie. The King seems a little naïve, frankly.

The King asks the Genie what he’s going to do with his wish, but the Genie tells him that, in all his aeons doing this, he has learned that this magic comes with a price, so he plans on never using his wish. When the King asks him what he’s going to do with his freedom, the Genie tells him that he wants to do what he could never do before: Find true love. The King urges him to come back to his kingdom with him and meet his family.

At the palace, the King introduces the Genie to Snow and to his wife, the Evil Queen, who is, interestingly enough, all dressed in white instead of her usual black. As soon as the Genie sets eyes on her, he’s smitten.


Emma comes rushing at Henry’s call to find bulldozers and construction men tearing down Henry’s “castle”. A frantic Henry is even more worried when he sees that the place where he buried his book has been dug up and the book is gone. Emma goes over and confronts Regina, who is overseeing the destruction, about tearing down Henry’s beloved castle. Regina gets on her moral high horse about how she’s not a villain – she’s really protecting Henry and Emma needs to “learn her place.” When Regina walks away, Emma pulls out Sidney’s business card and calls him, telling him that she will work with him. Because the good guys on this show really are that dumb.

Mary meets David at their “place”, the toll bridge, where he surprises her with a picnic. They kiss and she tells him that they have to figure out what they’re doing together, since they’ve obviously started an affair and he’s just as obviously still with Kathryn. But he tells her that they will figure it out tomorrow.

Because, apparently, this curse has turned the formerly morally-strong Prince Charming into a weak-willed cheater.

Emma meets in secret with Sidney, who tells Emma that fifty thousand dollars is missing from the City Fund and Regina is responsible for it. He wants Emma to help him do illegal things to uncover the truth, but Emma tells him no. Now that she’s Sheriff, she has to do things the legal way. Sidney warns Emma of Regina’s “wrath”, but Emma’s unafraid. She asks Sidney, if he was so terrified of Regina, why did he end up in her pocket. He tells her sadly that he once thought Regina was a different person.

Fairytale Land

It’s the King’s birthday and there’s a celebration at the Castle. The King gives a speech to the partygoers, telling them that no gift is as great as the gift of his daughter. Every day, he looks upon her and remembers her mother, who, like her, was the “fairest of them all.” The Queen is watching tearfully and leaves the party, with the Genie following her. He finds her out in the garden, where there’s a lone apple tree. She tells him that the tree is from her childhood garden. Like her, it doesn’t belong there and yet, it cannot leave. She tells the Genie that, no matter how hard she tries, she can’t live up to the wife and life that the King had before. The Genie commiserates with her and gives her a mirror, that she can use to see herself as he sees her, as the “fairest in all the land.”


Emma and Sidney are digging through the county records. Emma finds some records missing. Unfortunately, they can’t get a warrant since Regina owns all of the judges, so Sidney tries again to convince Emma to do it the illegal way, because sometimes, you have to do something bad for a good reason. Mary, thinking of her own cheating affair with David, agrees.

Has no one ever heard of the old adage, “The way to Hell is paved with good intentions”? Jeez!

Emma again refuses and tells Sidney that they need to talk to Regina, first. So, off they go to confront Regina over the missing money. Regina has her usual cable-car of explanations, and Emma and Sidney end up leaving empty-handed. Or so Sidney thinks. But after they leave, Emma tells Sidney that he “won.” She will do whatever it takes and she proves that by telling him that she just planted a bug in Regina’s office.

Fairytale Land

The King calls the Genie in to ask him to help find the man that has taken the Queen’s “heart”. He shows the Genie the Queen’s journal, which has her talking about a man who gave her a gift of a mirror, and who has “awakened” feelings of hope for love and companionship that she thought were gone. The Genie, of course, figures she’s talking about him, but tells the King that the Queen would not act on these feelings. But the King is not convinced. He tells the Genie that love can make people act foolishly. He wants the Genie to use his wits to find out the identity of the man.


Sidney is listening to the bug in Regina’s office and reports to Emma that Regina made a suspicious call talking about giving a mysterious person the last of the money that night in the woods. Emma and Sidney follow Regina in the Sheriff’s car, but as they are driving, the brakes give out and Emma ends up crashing the car into a sign. When they get out, Sidney looks at the car and tells Emma that the brakes have been tampered with. He thinks Regina is on to them.

Emma takes off, determined to find out what Regina is up to, and ends up running into Mr. Gold, who tells her and Sidney that Regina was there to meet him. She gave him the money to buy the land that they are standing on. When Emma quizzes Gold on why Regina wants the land, he tells her that he doesn’t know. As he walks off, he warns Emma about “emotional entanglements” leading people down dangerous paths.

Well, he would know!

Fairytale Land

The Genie is at the Queen’s tree, waiting for her, when the Queen’s father, Henry (Tony Perez), comes, instead. He tells the Genie that the King has locked the Queen in her room and won’t let him see her. He begs the Genie to give the Queen a box. It is the only thing that will free her from her “wretched life”.


Emma and Sidney literally break into Regina’s office, looking for proof of what Regina is doing with the land. Emma manages to uncover some files on Regina’s computer and prints them, but wants to stick around to find Henry’s book. Regina arrives. Emma lies to her, telling her that she heard the alarms and came to check it out as Sheriff. Regina and Emma do some word-swordplay, before Emma leaves with Sidney.

Fairytale Land

The Genie is let into the Queen’s room and the Queen greets him with a grateful hug. She tells him that her love for him grows, but the King has read her diary and found her mirror. Soon, the King will discover that her lover is the Genie. The Genie gives her the box that her father gave him and the Queen opens it to find two snakes inside. The Queen tells the Genie that she plans on letting the snake bite her, so that she can be free from her life. She tells the Genie that she’s sorry that they couldn’t be together in this life, but maybe in another. As she is about to put her hand in the box, the Genie stops her. He tells her that he will kill the King for her. She hugs him in gratitude and tells him that she doesn’t know what she would do without him. He tells her that she will never find out.


Henry is sitting at the counter at Granny’s café, furiously trying to write down all he remembers from his book, when he’s interrupted by the Stranger (Eion Bailey), who asks him what he’s doing. Henry tells him, but balks when the Stranger sits down and probes a bit more. Henry asks what he’s really doing there, but the Stranger just tells him, “Stuff.” He then wishes Henry luck with the stories.

Emma and Sidney believe they have proof that Regina is building something for personal use, but Emma is upset that they got it by nefarious means. She doesn’t like that she stooped to Regina’s level, when she promised Henry that she wouldn’t. She points out that they can’t use it as evidence, since they stole it and it’s “fruits of a poisonous tree,” but Sidney says that they don’t need to do it legally. When Emma still balks, Sidney pulls out a box of photos and shows them to Emma. They’re of Emma and Henry, at all sorts of times and places. Sidney tells her that Regina made him follow Emma and Henry, and she knew about Henry’s castle weeks earlier. She just waited to destroy it when it would hurt the most. Emma finally agrees.

Regina is presiding over the City Council and Town Meeting, when Emma and Sidney interrupt and Emma tells the crowd that she has proof that Regina has stolen funds from the city for her personal use. She pulls out the papers and accuses Regina of underhanded things. But of course, since this is Once Upon A Time, where Evil always wins, Regina really was using the funds to build a park, a safe place for Henry and all of the children to play. The legs of Emma have been firmly cut out from underneath her.

Fairytale Land

The King is asleep in his bed when the Genie enters his room with the box of snakes. The King awakens just in time to see the Genie standing over him, right before the snakes both bite him in the neck. The Genie gives the dying King a speech about how he is forever in his debt, but he has to save the Queen from the King. It’s a self-serving and sick little speech. But as he’s turning to leave, the King grabs his arm and tells the Genie that the Genie was right – he never should have made the wish. Even a selfless wish backfires in the end.


Sidney and Emma are leaving the town meeting, when Gold greets Emma outside. He tells her that if she really wants to take down Regina, she’s going to need a strong ally. Emma takes his hint that he means him, but tells him that she’s still not interested. He tells her “one can wish,” and then walks away as Regina arrives.

Regina pulls Emma aside and tells Emma that she hopes Emma will go back to her job, which is upholding the law, not breaking it as she knows that Emma did. Emma tries to point out that she knows Regina is still dirty and cut her brake lines, but Regina overrides her and tells her that she is going to have to come up with more than just disdain to come at her with. And until she does, she will stay away from her and Henry. She threatens Emma with getting a restraining order against her, and tells her that until she says so, Emma is to stay away from Henry.

At the new park, the kids are playing while Henry is just sort of looking around. He sees Emma in her car and waves her over, but Emma stays put. He pulls out his walkie talkie and asks her why she isn’t coming over, and Emma explains that she has to stay away for a while, because she let Regina get to her. She was upset about Henry and his book, and made a mistake. But she promises him that she will find a way in. If his book is out there, she will find it for him.

Meanwhile, the box where Henry locked his book up is being broken into. The Stranger has the book.

Emma runs into Sidney at Granny’s café and they commiserate with each other over being fooled by Regina. He tells her that there are still a lot of skeletons in Regina’s closet, and that she has an ally in him. Emma toasts to that and tells him that they won’t be fooled again.

Fairytale Land

The Genie runs into the Queen’s room to tell her that the King is dead. The Queen tells him that the guards know that the snake that killed the King was from the Genie’s homeland, and they know he killed him and are coming after him. He has to leave; now they will never be together. The Genie finally gets a clue that the Queen set the whole thing up. She reveals her true colours when she smirks at him and tells him that she planned the whole thing. He should be grateful she’s giving him a way to escape. But the Genie isn’t grateful, because all he wants is to be with her. So, he pulls out his lamp, and makes his wish to always be with her and look upon her face. He disappears and reappears in the hand mirror he gave her. The Queen smirks as she sees him screaming “No!” in the mirror. Seems like he got his wish. I might feel bad for him that he was just completely and utterly played by this woman who clearly doesn’t care one whit about him and never did, if he hadn’t been so evil to the guy who freed him and hadn’t done anything to him.


Sidney is in Regina’s office with Regina, where he reveals that the whole thing was a plan of his and Regina’s to get Emma to trust Sidney. Sidney was the one who cut Emma’s brakes and he bugged his conversation with Emma where Emma foolishly told him that they won’t get fooled again. Sidney promises Regina that she will know everything that Emma does. Smirking at him, Regina puts her hand on his knee and tells him that she doesn’t know what she would do without him.

Yep, because on this show, Good is as dumb as dirt and Evil always wins.

Review: I have to say, I am getting a lot fed up with this show right now. I don’t know what message this show wants to promote, but right now, the only message that I am getting loud and clear is that Evil will always win because it is much more powerful and awesome than Good – that stupid little weakling – will ever be. And I don’t like it.

I don’t like watching the Evil Witch beat out Good, week after week. I don’t like seeing her smirk around and play people like violins, maneuvering them like her little pawns on the chessboard of her life. I’ve never been one for enjoying stories where the bad guys win and the good guys lose. It’s just not my cup of tea and the fact that that seems to be all this show is about is really frustrating me. They need to have Good come up with some wins, soon, or the show is an entire joke. Because, for all of their touting that Good wins and True Love wins, that’s not what they’re showing.

So far, Good’s champion, Emma, is dumb and stubbornly blind to the truth. While she might get a little victory here or there, Regina continues to win the battle, time after time.

Prince Charming, that noble gentleman who turned away from an arranged married under threat to his life to follow his heart, is now a cheater who doesn’t have the moral fortitude to leave his marriage to be with the woman he claims to love, but would rather try and have both women, instead.

Snow White, who was all that was good and loving, is now a married man’s mistress, who has no caring for the wronged wife that she is helping to hurt.

The only one other than Regina who seems to be coming out ahead is Gold, but we still don’t know what his game plan is, so whether or not that is a good thing is up in the air.

I always knew that the premise of this show was going to be a tightrope balancing act to sustain, but I had hoped that they would balance it out better than this. Right now, it seems like Good should just lay down arms and give up, because the writers are never going to let them truly win against the all-encompassing evil that is Regina.

And I’m disappointed with what they did with the Genie. Unlike the Hunter, he doesn’t have the excuse of being controlled by the Evil Queen. The Genie was an all-powerful being for aeons and he just let himself be completely played. Having very fond memories of the Robin Williams version of the Genie from Aladdin, I hated this weak-willed, murdering version of the Genie. Even in the end, when he discovers the truth that the Queen never loved him and was using him all along, he still wants to be with her. There was nothing sympathetic about his character to me and that seems to be following the course in the real world, too.

That being said, the mystery of the Stranger is intriguing me, at least. Hopefully, they won’t dumb his character down, or dampen the interesting mystery that is his character, to serve their favourite victor, the Evil Queen. I am very intrigued by what he is up to. How did he know about Henry’s book? How did he know where to find it? Is he the writer of said book? Does he know what is truly going on in Storybrooke? What did he do in town before, that even Regina seems to be unaware of? Right now, I’m thinking Henry would be better off dropping Emma as his champion and looking towards the Stranger, because I think he has a better shot of getting somewhere in this battle, especially if he believes.

We’ll see.

At this point, I’d just love one episode where we didn’t have Lana Parilla ending the episode with a smirk on her face, and another victory under the belt of the Evil Queen, who is playing everyone around her and being incredibly successful at it in both worlds. And I’d really love it if the Good guys could come out of it without looking dumb, acting like cheaters, and getting their butts kicked.

Next Week: It’s the story of Beauty and the Beast and it looks like the role of “Beast” in this particular version will be played by Rumpelstiltskin.

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

Snow White, AKA Mary Margaret

Evil Queen, AKA the Mayor Regina

Magic Mirror/Genie, AKA Sidney Glass

Rumpelstiltskin, AKA Mr. Gold (only appeared in real world)

Prince Charming, AKA David (only appeared in real world)

Still Missing In Storybrooke World:

King Leopold (Dead)

You can watch episodes of Once Upon a Time on its official site and own it in HD on

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 1.11: Fruit of the Poisonous Tree