Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Once Upon a Time, Season 1, Episode 21: An Apple as Red as Blood

In fairytale land, Prince James has been captured by King George, his erstwhile wannabe father (after he ran out on his wedding with Princess Abigail, the daughter of King Midas whose wealth would have saved George’s kingdom). They put James in a guillotine while George goes to his portable throne (does he have these impressive e wooden thrones everywhere, just by his execution tools or does he employ a man to carry it around in his wake, I wonder?). The blade turns to water, however, with the intervention of Regina – who wants to buy Prince James off King George to use him to get at Snow White

Meanwhile an assault force has gathered. Snow White leading Granny, the 7 dwarfs, a large number of fairies and Red Riding Hood – the Queen is there but they decide to go forward anyway while the Queen is busy menacing Prince James with an apple.

They storm the castle, slicing through several guards (reminding us, again, that Snow White is several times more awesome than Mary Margaret the Wet Lettuce). I do like a good fight scene.

Once they arrive for the rescuing, however, she finds a mirror – James is already at Regina’s palace – Regina gets to taunt her and demand a parlay – with Snow coming unarmed. Which she does (Red’s right, she is too noble for her own good). Her friends disapprove most mightily

At the parlay Regina tells her that Daniel died at her mother’s hands – because of Snow White when she failed to keep her secret. Regina offers Snow a choice – eat an apple cursed to trap her in her body dreaming of endless regrets, or James dies. Of course Snow crunches down on the Golden Delicious, causing James to have psychosomatic angst.

Her friends turn and find Snow – unconscious without breath. Time for a wailing about her noble sacrifice (rather than a slapping for her silly one). Of course James is still in prison randomly screaming at Regina’s magical CCTV.

In the real world we begin this episode with a wonderfully dramatic dream from Regina, imagining all of Storybrook rising up against her and having her beheaded. Regina is definitely losing her grip on the town. She checks on Henry and thinks he’s there, but, of course he’s already been taken by Emma

Who is trying to leave Storybrook right now with Henry. But Henry says she can’t leave – she has to break the curse and heroes don’t run. More dramatic scenes of Henry begging Emma not to leave everyone and her family

Regina wakes to find that the apples on her tree have all gone rotten.  She stomps off to confront the wisecracking Gold, because she thinks it’s a sign that the curse is weakening. Regina is not a very happy bunny at all and also expresses her wish to get rid of Emma – but killing her would apparently break the curse. There you go Henry! A solution! Of course that was a clause inserted into the curse by it’s creator – Gold – so Regina wants him to change it. But he can’t because there is, obviously, no magic – and he wants to curse broken anyway.

So Regina decides to make a deal with Gold. Ooooh dear, that never ever ever ends well. She even says she will give him anything if he gets rid of Emma without breaking the curse (oh Regina, this is pure desperation). But Gold points out she has nothing he wants (ouch). And extra points for Gold slipping into Rumplestiltskin’s speech patterns. That’s more than a little creepy. He also reinforces her dream – when people remember who she is and what she did, they’re going to be out for blood.

Regina seems to have a plan – and leaves a card with a white rabbit on the bike of a school girl called Paige, Jefferson’s (the Mad Hatter’s) daughter. Having seen the card, Jefferson goes to see Regina. She wants him to use the hat to go back to fairyland – he can’t make it work without magic, but she happens to have a little reserved. He agrees on the condition that he forget, that he gets a new story and with his daughter and they both forget who and what they were.

To open the portal Regina has to give the hat her last trinkets of magic to try and power it up – including a ring from the man she loved – but it’s still not enough. All he can do is reach through and get one object – allowing him to reach through and get one of Regina’s apples. To the kitchen! It’s time to bake!

Henry turns to Augustus to try and change Emma’s mind (since Augustus did so well last episode). Augustus is also becoming more and more wooden – and Henry can see it, giving him complete confirmation of his beliefs. But also that Augustus has to bow out of the fight.

Emma returns home and is confronted by an angry Mary Margaret. It’s like being assaulted by a cucumber, she’s just so wet. Mary Margaret is not impressed by Emma’s attempt to leave without saying anything after all her pep talks about being in it together

She goes on to seek advice from Archie the therapist (Jiminy Cricket) who also points out how weak her custody claim is – and, at last, acknowledges that Regina is also Henry’s mother. Objectively, while Henry is happy, from the professional’s point of view, Henry has retreated further into his fantasy land. While he’s happy to reassure Emma, he doesn’t see the war between her and Regina as doing any good.

Emma and Regina meet up for angst and snark. Emma has a deal – she leaves town so long as she still gets to visit Henry. She also concedes that Henry is Regina’s son. Awww, let us celebrate this peace with an apple turnover. Uh-huh – look even if you don’t believe Henry and Augustus and Jefferson, about fairy land at very least don’t accept apple-based food from the evil queen.

Henry goes to Emma and we have a touching and emotional (and well acted) goodbye scene as Emma tells Henry her plan. In between the emotional protestations – Henry sees the baked apply badness and knows it for what it is. In a moment of desperation, Henry throws himself on the unexploded strudel and eats the turnover – and collapses. He took a pie for the team

Regina decides to go taunt Gold about her secret baking plot. Probably not the best idea she ever had all things considered

I’m glad that Archie, at least, acknowledged Regina’s motherhood.  We see a lot of Regina’s grief and worry in this episode – it’s really well acted and I almost feel sorry for her (she’s an awesome character and really well acted). It’s interesting to see a villain worrying and fretting – normally we see classic, angry villain defiance. Not fear. It’s a new twist and very humanising. We’re also seeing how much Regina is sacrificing – first her father and then the last gift from the man she loved and lost.