Portland. Phuket. Jorge Garcia. Tallahassee (the title of this episode). Kitsis and Horowitz, we get it. You guys wrote for "Lost" and you created "Once Upon a Time," and you want to remind everyone of the magnificence that "Lost" was.
As much of a die-hard "Lost" fan I was, I feel as though the references to the landmark series are starting to get overused. I get that "Lost" was epic and indeed deserves to be referenced. But if "Once" wants to branch out and really become its own show, or even become the next "Lost," it should probably cut down on the connections.
That said, I thought this episode was the best of what has so far been a lackluster season. The key to a good episode is a good guest star. This time, we had two, and both provided great acting moments the season has been lacking.
The gentle giant
Jorge Garcia's guest appearance as the giant was perfect. As an actor who always provides comedic relief, Garcia managed to make me root for his character. Sure, his yelling was a bit cheesy, but it definitely suited the famous storybook character. As for everyone else's characters, I am starting to get bored. I haven't noticed any character development and a lot of the acting in this episode seemed forced.
Emma's present day storyline dealt with her journey up the giant beanstalk. We get the 411 on the origin of the beanstalk, and how evil giants grew magic beans that provide transportation to other lands.
Hook informs the group that there is one evil giant left that they must get past in order to get the magic compass. However, he only has two magic wrist bands so only one lucky lady can join him on the climb. Of course, all four ladies immediately want to climb the beanstalk. I can't tell if it's because they are all bored or if it's because they all want to spend some alone time with Hook.
Since Emma is "the chosen one" she obviously gets to go. Mulan gives her poppy powder as a repellant against the giant and Emma tells her to chop down the beanstalk if she doesn't come back in 10 hours. Emma gives Hook his hook back and they begin. For some reason I had "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus playing in my head as they began, well, the climb.
During their climb, Emma and Hook bond. According to Hook, Emma has the same look of someone who has never been in love, just like The Lost Boys. Oh right, because he's spent an unspecified amount of time in Neverland. Emma assures him he's right. I like how they carry on a somewhat serious conversation while they are literally on the brink of the stratosphere.
Hook and Emma reach the top, which looks like a typical castle. Cue the giant, who I am going to call Hurley. Hurley grabs Hook but Emma throws poppy at him and he passes out. Hook and Emma go inside where there is a lot of gold, and Emma saves him from a trip wire, much to his delight.
At this point, Hook is been flirting with Emma so much that it gets to be forced and tiresome. Hurley saves the day though, by waking up and grabbing Emma. He squeezes her and it looks like she's about to pass out until she bites his hand. He falls to the ground and a cage falls on top of him. It turns out Hurley is just an angry giant because people stole his beans. So nothing has changed since "Lost."
Hurley lets Emma go with the compass. Then she pulls a fast one on Hook and leaves him chained up at the castle. Per usual, Emma makes a not-so-smart move. I have a feeling Hook is going to be Team Cora from now on in terms of going to Storybrooke. Unless one of those girls seduces him or something.
Here, there, everywhere
Emma's flashback had us hopping from one state to the next, and even across the border to Canada. Anyway, our savior's first flashback shows her 11 years ago when she was into stealing cars in Portland. Specifically that yellow buggy. Turns out it's someone else's, who also stole it! I guess we'll never know who it really belonged to.
They mystery man from the season premiere has a connection to Emma. His name is Neal Cassidy, and he's played by Michael Raymond-James ("True Blood," "Terriers"). I could already tell that his character was going to be more interesting than most of the main ones from his first interaction with Emma.
They conveniently get pulled over by a cop after stealing the car, and Neal assures the cop not to worry -- he was teaching her how to drive stick. Ha. We later find out that Emma and Neal begin shoplifting and get a rush out of it. I have to admit I was fooled by the scene in the convenience store with Emma's pregnant belly. I had to laugh when she pulled a pillow out from underneath her shirt.
The partners in crime later break into a family's motel room, where they find a dreamcatcher, which is totally the same one from Neal's room in the season premiere. Neal tells Emma that their life of crime is getting old and that they should settle down in Tallahassee.
There's one issue. Neal is wanted for a past robbery, so he has Emma steal watches for him at a train station. Then, Neal runs into August! I'm glad he's back and not made out of wood. August explains to Neal that Tallahassee is not Emma's destiny and that he needs to let her go. For some reason, Neal is easily convinced. Soon after, Emma gets arrested by a cop who was tipped off.
Two months later, August and Neal meet in Vancouver. He tells Neal that Emma is "supposed to do what she's supposed to do." Thanks for the clarification, August. Once Emma has completed her task, August tells Neal he will send a post card. Now that first scene from the season premiere finally makes sense. I'm assuming Neal is on his way to Storybrooke and that Emma won't be happy to see him.
The end of the episode shows Emma in an Arizona jail. From Phuket, she receives mail which has keys to her yellow buggy. Oh, and she gets knows that she's pregnant with Henry. Neal, you ARE the father!
Aurora and Henry both have the same nightmare. It involves a red room, with no doors or windows, and there are curtains on fire. An evil being is staring at them from the corner or something like that. Could this be the start of a main storyline?
I say either Aurora and Henry are connected somehow, or this dream will occur with more characters (I hope it's the latter). However, it doesn't make the two any less annoying.
Mulan simply isn't doing Disney Mulan justice. Disney Mulan could take down Snow White any day. Just saying.
I would like to see an episode without flashbacks. I really don't understand the point of them now that the curse is broken, and all they do is take time away from main characters like Regina and Rumpel, who as of late only seem to be in every other episode.
"First beanstalk ... you never forget your first." - Hook