Fairy Land Present
At the base of the bean stalk Emma tries to reconcile her knowledge of Jack and the Beanstalk and the reality in front of them – with Hook, at least, mocking her for the story’s dubious accuracy (and Emma’s less than perfect memory of it). Hook tells the real story – the Giants grew the beans that had the power to take them to different realms. But they used it so they could plunder all the realms. Jack and his people fought a terrible war, defeating all but one of the Giants. The beans were destroyed by the giants as they died so no-one else would have them. One Giant survived, the strongest of them all, they have to get past him to get the compass which is among the rest of the treasure the giants hoarded.
Cora has the wardrobe ashes to travel between realms but she can’t find their world without the compass. How’s that for an info-dumping introduction recap? Mulan still doubts Hook but he says they’re safer company, all he needs is a ride back. Extra problem, the Beanstalk is enchanted to repel intruders, you need a bracelet to allow you to climb – and he only has one other one. He invites them to fight it out for the other (Emma gives him the look he deserves).
Mulan argues she should go since she’s the best in battle, Snow argues she should go since it’s about getting home to their loved ones and Aurora argues she should go because… ye gods alone knows. Apparently because she has no loved ones (or talents). Personally I’d take Hook’s bracelet as well, have Mulan and Snow go (the ones with the most battle experience) and leave Emma behind to slap Hook every 10 minutes on general principles. Aurora can… I have no idea what Aurora can do.
Alas, that would be sense. Emma says she’s going because she’s the protagonist, damn it (basically). Which is also why no-one argues with her. She asks Mulan if she has anything that will help her kill a giant (“a hook!” Hook objects, yes he does). Emma and Mulan go off to a side and Mulan gives her poppy seeds (no, really) and Emma asks Mulan how strong her sword is. Mulan says the strongest in the realms and Emma asks Mulan to cut down the beanstalk if she’s not back in 10 hours. Mulan says Snow won’t like that but that’s why Emma’s asking her. Um… why? Because of the giant? He’s been content up there for some time. And Snow still needs the compass to find her loved ones – she might want to get a new enchantment and go up herself. What, if Emma can’t do it, no-one can? Anyway she announces “if I don’t get back you get her home” presumably by cutting off access to the compass which, as far as they know, is the only way to get home. She’s clearly not thought this through.
She goes back to hook and gets her bracelet – and gives him his hook so he can actually climb (or you could give his bracelet to someone you actually trust, I’m just saying).
They start climbing, Hook flirts and decides to psychoanalyse Emma, telling us many things which should have been obvious but, for some reason, the show feels the need to lamp shade about Emma’s character. He’s used to dealing with orphaned children, starved of love. And she tells him she’s never been in love.
On the ground, Mulan rests while Snow keeps watch and Aurora stays up with her. Aurora doesn’t sleep much any more since she was under sleeping curse and has terrible nightmares. Snow, sympathises, she had the same problem after she was cursed. Snow says she’ll watch over Aurora while she tries to sleep. Snow plays mother to Aurora when she has nightmares and needs talking down and back to sleep.
Emma and Hook reach the top of the beanstalk, the devastation of the last battle between the giants and Jack’s forces. Emma’s cut her hand so there follows Hook flirtily treating it and Emma noticing and commenting on his tattoo of Mila. And she puts 2 and 2 together and realises Rumplestiltskin took Mila from him.
Time for the plan – hook makes noise while Emma, perched on a statue, blows the knock-out poppy seeds into the giant’s eyes. It starts well – the giant is attracted – but the size of him surprises Emma since he’s far higher than her perch on the statue. Hook distracts the giant causing him to bend to reach for him – and in doing so bring his face into range of Emma’s poppy seeds – and he collapses.
Time to search for the compass, avoiding the trip wire, they find Jack’s body and his magic sword. Hook is incorrigible in both flirting and greed for treasure. And before they find the compass, the giant returns, burying Hook under debris and grabbing and squeezing Emma. She protests she’s not a thief, she’s trying to save her son, she needs to compass for her family and appeals to the giant’s family. The giant has no family, humans killed them all and can’t be moved that way. He starts squeezing again and Emma bites him, making him drop her. She runs to Jack’s body and grabs the sword, as the giant chases her she cuts the trip wire and the cage falls from the ceiling trapping him.
She asks for the compass he says they’ll kill him anyway – humans massacred them and destroyed their beans/ She says she heard it the other way and he says the victors get to tell the story. He gives her the compass “I’m not the bad guy” she asks if there are any more giants and he says no, he’s alone. He wears a bean as a reminder that all humans are killers. Emma says he’s wrong and walks away. Which is when he manages to burst out of his cage. He stands – and unblocks a tunnel for her to leave by. He lets her leave because she could have killed him and didn’t – she gets one favour. She says she gets 2 favours – because she could have killed him when he was knocked out as well.
She rescues Hook from the debris – then chains him to the wall. She says she can’t take a chance that she’s wrong about him. She tells him the giant won’t kill him, she just needs a head start.
At the bottom, the 10 hours are nearly up and Mulan prepares to cut down the bean stalk. Snow tackles her and they struggle until Emma arrives. Mulan explains she was doing what Emma ordered (why does Mulan follow Emma’s orders?) and Emma shows them the compass and says they have 10 hours before Hook follows them.
Portland, Oregan 11 Years ago
I know, this many different time lines is giving me a headache as well. We follow a ponytailed, bespectacled Emma steal a car and drive it away. Unfortunately, there’s a man in the back seat. She’s rather surprised by this and he’s rather mellow about it. He introduces himself as Neal Cassidy and encourages her to just drive, it’s fine. She tries to refuse to give her name he points out he doesn’t need her name to have her arrested, the robbery’s in progress.
She asks why he was in the car and he invites her to drunks. She says no “you might be a pervert” “I might be, you definitely are a car thief”, then the police pull them over since Emma’s not paying attention to the road. Neal leans forwards and quickly puts his keys into the ignition rather than the screwdriver Emma used and tells the policeman he’s trying to teach his girlfriend how to drive a geared car (he also makes a comment about women that Emma will probably hurt him for later by the look she gives him. She’s good at those looks). When the policeman leaves she does challenge his misogyny and she realises Neal is nervous as well – it isn’t his car either. She stole a stolen car.
Flip forward to the future a little and Emma is now heavily pregnant and clearly very close to Neal. While he distracts a shop clerk asking for directions, she does some shop lifting. While Neal slips some chocolate bars into his pocket, someone comes into the shop and sees him and begins to speak up – Emma quickly feigns labour and Neal hurries out with her to their car. Where Emma pulls the bag out from under her shirt – she’s not pregnant, she’s just using it to steal (oh Once Upon a Time, you tease!) From there to a motel where they break into someone’s room, pretending to be house keeping, to use the shower – and Neal suggests they find a real home, rather than living out of the car. They pick a random spot on the map to decide to settle in – Tallahassee.
Later again, Neal shows Emma a wanted poster of both of them from the post office. He had stolen some expensive watches. He tells her he can’t go to Tallahassee, he has to go to Canada – alone, to keep her safe in case he is caught. Emma offers to fence the watches so they can afford to set up a new identity so she can stay with him – she loves him. She goes to the bus station where Neal has stashed the watches in a locker. She takes the watches to her and gives her one of them to wear – while he goes to fence the others.
As he walks off someone begins following him – he runs but they chase him down and pin him to the pavement. It’s August – Pinocchio. He tells Neal he’s been looking for her for 2 years – and isn’t happy to find that she’s been robbing convenience stores with a low life. Neal counters, reasonably, asking where he’s been for the rest of Emma’s life. August’s excuse is the world is full of temptation and he’s bad at saying no. He’s looking out for Emma and the best way to do that is to get her away from Neal – and if Neal loves her, he’ll leave her. To convince him, August shows Neal the box on his bike, something that will convince him magic is real. He looks inside and then August tells him about the curse.
At the meeting point, Emma tries to call Neal but his number has been disconnected – and a cop is there to arrest her for possession of stolen goods. Neal has run to Canada and gave her up to the police.
Vancouver, 2 months later
August and Neal meet up again. Neal asks about Emma and August tells him Emma got 11 months. Neal protests he should have been doing that time but August wants him to stay clear of her so she can have a good life and do what she’s supposed to do. Neal wants August to give her the money from the watches and the car they lived out of at least.
In prison, Emma gets a package with the car keys in them. And a positive result on her pregnancy test.
In Storybrooke Henry wakes with a terrible nightmare – and Charming lights a candle to keep the nightmares away as he used to with Snow White. Henry describes his nightmare, a red room with no doors and windows and red curtains around the room. It’s dark and he’s in one corner and in the opposite corner is someone else in the darkness. The room was on fire and she was staring at him through the flames.
The same bad dream Aurora has – and maybe the same dream Snow had.
I love Hook, yes yes I do. I shouldn’t but I do.
It’s great to finally see some backstory about Emma – and such a completely unromantic look at Henry’s father and the position she was in when she gave Henry up for adoption.
Mulan is the most underused character ever. She has a lot of potential, she’s a great character and she’s hardly used at all! Severely underused and with no backstory – and there’s an expectation of obedience from her I don’t like.
I don’t know where this dream is going but it seems to be a whole new thread on top of the returning to Storybrooke – unless the woman in the dream is Cora.