Enchanted Forest: Rumpelstiltskin is sitting at his spinning wheel, but he's fully human and is only spinning wool into yarn, not straw into gold. His skin isn't even metallic. His son, Baelfire (Dylan Schmid), runs into their cottage. "Papa, Papa! They've come for Morraine." Morraine (Conner Dwelly) has just turned 14, so she is being conscripted into the Duke's army to fight in the Ogre Wars. Her parents plead with the Duke's men, noting she's only 14, but apparently the "enlistment" age has been lowered, as Baelfire notes to Rumpy. When Morraine's mother draws her dagger and lunges at the Duke's men, both she and her husband are stopped and then choked by a magical forcefield. In the nearby meadow, a hooded figure sits upon his horse. It is the Dark One, who wields his magical powers to bring about the Duke's will. As the men ride off with Morraine, her mother keens. Bae looks up at Rumpy. "My birthday's in three days. They'll come for me in three days." Rumpy assures they boy, "We'll find a way." (And yes, I botched the age thing in the recaplet. My apologies.)
Sidebar: There's been some discussion on the boards about the Duke's army conscripting girls. Some people think that the Enchanted Forest seems to be a more egalitarian place, although others argue that it's anachronistic to have girls included in the army. That is the argument I'm most interested in addressing. Please remember, that while in our world (this one, with TWoP in it), fairy tales are folk stories that have been passed on for centuries and that is not the case within the text of Once Upon A Time. In Once Upon A Time, the "fairy tale world" is a real universe, which was -- at least until casting the Dark Curse -- inhabited by real people and real magical creatures, like fairies and dragons. Whatever they do isn't an anachronism, because they're not writing a story set in our Europe, in the Middle Ages. This is one of the reasons I persist in calling it "the Enchanted Forest" rather than "Fairy Tale Land (FTL)" as so many of our members do on the boards. Calling it "Fairy Tale Land" tempts me to think of it as less than its own reality and more of a fiction. Within the show Once Upon A Time, the Enchanted Forest is the real world, while Storybrooke is curse-conjured.
Other people have pointed out that perhaps the girls aren't being recruited so much to fight, as to service (and ugh, that's what they mean) the soldiers. So, okay fine. We're all free to interpret the story as we choose. I'm choosing to interpret it to mean that, as in prior episodes, we're getting more evidence that there is more equality between the races and sexes in the Enchanted Forest. If you want to think it's an anachronism, that's fine (but I think you're forgetting what is real within this work of fiction). And? If you want to think of it as little girls being kidnapped to pleasure rutting soldiers, I guess that's your right, but I reserve my right to throw up, reach for the brain bleach, and start singing, "La la la. I can't hear you, over here, in my little, egalitarian corner of the universe. La la la."