In 2011, Emma arrives in Storybrooke. Meanwhile, in Phuket, at 8:15 AM, August wakes with a local lady and a wooden leg (not a euphemism). Since he's there years after surgeon extraordinaire Jack Shephard has come, gone, and died, his search for a cure leads him to a man called The Dragon. Normally, I'd be all over a show for Orientalism, but since Once Upon A Time happy magicalizes all of our cultures, I'm pretty sure I'd be guilty of... well, probably something icky that I'd later regret.
Anyhow, unlike regular mundanes, The Dragon can recognize August's ailments and says he can cure him. He needs an item that holds personal value for August (the string Geppetto used to animate him), oh and ten grand. Tamara is also hoping The Dragon can help her cure her fake cancer. Even though her cancer is fake, she's come armed with her personal item (a picture of her and her grandmother) and plenty of cash.
August meets up with Tamara in a bar, so he pinches her cash, gets the cure for himself and takes off. The problem is, his wooden leg is slowing him down. Tamara catches up to him and steals the cure, except it's hardly stealing, since August purchased it with her money. So we can rest assured that Henry's prospective step-mother won't prove evil like fairy tale step-mommies, right? Wrong. Tamara doesn't even have cancer. And for some inexplicable reason, she kills The Dragon (with a taser or stun gun, I'm never sure of the difference, I mean, I think Taser is a brand name, but I never know what I'm looking at). She also retrieves her photo.
Storybrooke. Present. While Snow is taking target practice in the woods, she finds an old trailer. A fully wooden, but still animated August is hiding inside. He begs Snow not to tell anyone where he is, so she runs to Marco (Geppetto) and Blue and gives them the whole story. By the time Emma, Marco, and Snow get to the trailer, August is gone. You see Tamara tempted him to leave town, go to New York and get the rest of The Dragon's elixir, which she assures him will work. He just has to promise one thing: never to return to Storybrooke.
As August is driving out of town, Tamara's photo falls to the car's floor. Since back in 2011, August returned to The Dragon's lair (what would you call it) and found the magical man dead, August realizes Tamara must have killed him. He bangs a U-turn and hurries back to Storybrooke.
The Sheriff's station is empty when August arrives, so he uses the desk phone (it's a rotary) to call Emma's cell. He starts to warn her about Tamara, but Tamara rips the phone wire out of the wall, and then tasers...tases...shocks August (eventually) to death. Yes, her stun gun is so powerful, it not only kills magical men who are starting to morph into a red cloud of smoke, but wooden men, too. I wonder if it is made from the same substance used to make Ruby's Knife That Can Kill Everything, Except When It Can't, on Supernatural.
August isn't quite dead yet, so he musters enough strength to stumble outside. Geppetto, Snow, Emma and Henry have just arrived. He has a touching reunion with Geppetto, tries to warn Emma, fails, and dies. Since what August did (by returning to town) was selfless, brave, and true, Blue appears and restores his life, sort of. She turns him back into a real -- but little -- boy, one with no memory of what he wanted to warn Emma.
In other news, Regina recognizes Gregor Mendel as Owen Flynn, tells him (lies, probably) that his father left town shortly after he did, and orders him to get out of town. Also, Tamara fakes being jealous of Emma for Neal's benefit. I say "fakes" because by episode's end, it is revealed that she is Greg's HER. When she goes to see him at his room at Granny's, they waste no time before sucking face.
I will be back with the full recap, ASAP. In the meantime, please grade the episode at the top of the page and then come on over to the forum, where people can just disappear, but usually, they're asking for it.
There is no "Previously on Once Upon A Time" recap this week (at least not in my market), so I'll start with a time/date note. In Phuket, Thailand, when it was 8:15 AM ICT on Monday, October 24, 2011, it was 9:15 PM EDT, on Sunday, October 23, 2011, in Storybrooke, Maine. I mention that because the Once Upon A Time pilot premiered on Sunday, October 23, 2011, at 8:00 PM EDT, and also because we open in...
Phuket. October 24, 2011. It's morning. As the digital clock flips to 8:15, August wakes in pain. Suffer, you lying, thieving, manipulative bastard. Suffer. When he sees that his left leg has reverted to wood, he wakes his...slumber party guest Isra who, mercifully, is played not by Bai Ling, but instead, by an actress IMDb.com names as Dianne Doan. Since this Twitter account seems to back that up, and because I suck at paying attention to the credits, Dianne Doan works for me.
Upon waking, all Isra sees is a normal human leg, rather a wooden one, so she tells August to be quiet, so she can go back to sleep. If you could see the state of their beach bungalow, you'd understand why. Their whole conversation is in Thai, but when Isra asks August what the hell is wrong with him, he answers in English: "I'm turning into wood." This is a family show. I'm not going there. Title card.
Storybrooke. Present. Morning. David prepares a breakfast tray for Snow, complete with a vase full of Snow Drops. Emma thinks that instead of more coddling, David ought to boot Snow's bonny butt out of bed, so she can move past "this." Henry comes downstairs and asks if everything is okay. Emma lies, "Everything is fine, kid. Get your coat. We're going to be late." Emma, I know you're still new to the parenting gig, so here is a PRO TIP: When you don't want to lie to your kid, but don't want to tell him the truth, it is absolutely fine to say things like, "I don't want to talk about it," or "This is between your Grandpa and me," or, "Not now," or even (use sparingly) "Mind your own beeswax." Henry has to know Emma is lying, but he just says, "Goodbye, Gramps," and is out the door. Once she's alone with her father, Emma says, "I know you think that [Snow] needs our help, but at the end of the day, she's the only one who can help herself."