I grabbed Queenie's, "Let my wrath be unleashed" as this episode's headline, because Once Upon A Time's Maleficent appears to have a modicum of conscience and restraint. [Fools! Idiots! Imbeciles! --Actual Maleficent] And? She's blonde? [No! It cannot be! --Actual Maleficent] That is just wrong, Show.
Look, I have Maleficent issues -- in that I think she is the most perfect villain of all time -- in any medium. [My pet... you are my last hope. --Actual Maleficent] She talks the talk. [Now you shall deal with me, O Prince, and all the powers of Hell! -- Actual Maleficent] And with horns growing out of her head -- before she turns into a dragon? Sister walks the walk. [Did you hear that, my pet? --Actual Maleficent]
Your "Maleficent" -- Show? She has a bedazzled headpiece that looks more like a flaccid joker's hat. [You poor, simple fools, thinking you could defeat me -- the Mistress of all Evil! --Actual Maleficent] I know Snow White's Evil Queen is this show's primary villain, but don't let me catch you defanging, dehorning and dedragonizing my Maleficent, ever again, Show. This sort of insolence I shall not brook. Now, I'll try to put aside my marrow-deep umbrage, so we can talk about what was otherwise a strong episode.
Our World: Thanks to exposition from Henry, we learn that -- because of the curse Queenie cast in the Enchanted Forest -- pretty much no one in Storybrooke, Maine remembers his or her true, fairy tale identity. In Our World, time had always been stopped for them, until Emma Swan decided to stay in town, and their magically created Our World-personal histories and memories are decidedly fuzzy. Mr. Gold (aka Rumpelstiltskin) is an exception to this rule. Regina seems as though she may remember that she's the Evil Queen, or at least waking up to that fact, but it's hard to be sure. So far, the Regina character has been crafted to be both horrible, and horribly sympathetic, which instills in me some faith that the writers are committed to telling us a layered story (even though they miserably misuse Maleficent. Really. I'm near tears, here).
Mayor Regina Mills spends the episode setting up her son Henry's bio-mom, Emma Swan, in a number of ways -- most notably to be arrested for stealing Henry's patient file from his shrink, Dr. Archie Hopper (Jiminy Cricket). When Emma is arrested, Henry convinces Mary Margaret Blanchard (Snow White) to bail her out. And when Emma is evicted from Granny's Bed & Breakfast because of her arrest (which the show deems makes her a felon, even though she hasn't been tried, and believe me, I'll hit that in the full recap), Mary goes a step further and takes Emma in. Emma learns that Henry believes Mary is Snow White, but she plays her cards close to the vest and does not reveal to Mary that Henry thinks Our World's Emma Swan is daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. In an attempt to drive Emma out of town, Regina also manipulates Emma into calling Henry and his fairy tale faith "crazy" within his hearing.
Enchanted Forest: In the Evil Queen's backstory, we learn she got the "No Happy Endings" curse from Rumpelstiltskin, but then traded it to "Maleficent" for the "Sleeping Princess" curse. Since Charming was able to wake Snow White with just a kiss (which is the same way Sleeping Beauty's curse is broken), Queenie wants her curse back. When "Maleficent" won't agree to return it (and she refuses out of reasons that could almost be considered moral *shudder*) Queenie and "Maleficent" have a fantastical, special-effects heavy battle. When Queenie defeats "Maleficent" (as if anything can defeat Maleficent other than the Shield of Virtue, the Sword of Truth and true love) she snags back the curse and sets to casting it, along with the help of some other Enchanted Forest villains. She uses her prized steed's heart for her blood sacrifice, but the spell fails.
Queenie visits Rumpy, who explains that this cursiest of curses requires a much dearer sacrifice than a horse's heart. She must sacrifice what she truly loves. Queenie says what she truly loves has already been killed, thanks to Snow White, but Rumpy knows she's fronting. Queenie struggles with herself, but eventually her evil wins out, as does her desire to start over. She kills her own father (named Henry) and uses his heart for the sacrifice. Girlfriend is hardcore. Rumpy, of course, has laid down certain self-serving conditions in the curse, which I'll cover in the recap.
Emma makes amends with the Henry and agrees to take part in the sting he's named Operation Cobra. She also burns those pages of Henry's Once Upon A Time book which reveal that her Enchanted Forest counterpart is Snow and Charming's daughter -- the savior of that world. By episode's end, Henry and Emma agree to thwart Regina by pretending they don't believe in the Enchanted Forest and curse. Emma is as much pretending to pretend she doesn't believe, because she is having a hard time believing. What she's not having a hard time doing is bonding with Henry. She knows he is in need of something. She knows Regina is, as Emma deems her, soulless. If she can help him by respecting his "belief system," then that's what she'll do.
I will cover the whole story, which includes the Magic Mirror and his Our World manifestation (an editor for The Storybrooke Mirror) in the full recap, but what did you think? I'm looking forward to watching this episode again. If I forget about what was done to my darling Maleficent, and just think of this show's "Maleficent" as another Fairy Tale villain who is well played by Kristin Bauer (Pam, True Blood), I am well and truly satisfied, thus far. I'll be back with the recap, ASAP. In the meantime, please grade the episode at the top of the page and then join us in the forum, where nobody puts Maleficent in a corner...or restraints.
I grabbed Queenie's, "Let my wrath be unleashed" as this episode's headline, because Once Upon A Time's (blonde!) Maleficent appears to have a modicum of conscience and restraint, which struck me as wrong, the first time I watched "The Thing You Love Most." Actual Maleficent and I ranted about this at length in the recaplet (see that red link up there referencing a nutshell), so I'm skipping the rant, this time. I enjoyed this episode a lot, so here is the distilled version of my dissatisfaction: Maleficent is my favorite baddest badass of all time. When I heard she would feature in episode 2, I was thrilled. The thing is, Once Upon A Time wants to tell us the "real" untold stories surrounding our favorite fairy tales, with real seeming to mean less black-and-white. So, while I still think Maleficent should have been fiercer during her first appearance on Once Upon A Time, I do get the writers' choice, here. I even hope to see more of this Maleficent (albeit with a better headdress) in the future. If you want ranting, read the recaplet. If your ire too has cooled, let's get to the story, shall we?
Our World: Over a montage of significant scenes from last week's pilot, we're treated to this opening narration: There is a town, in Maine, where every storybook character you ever knew, is trapped between two worlds -- victims of a powerful curse, that can only be broken by one person... Title card.
Mayoral Manse: Henry Mills looks out at the clock tower and smiles when the previously permanently stuck clock finally advances from 8:15 to 8:16. Cat Stevens's sweet "Don't Be Shy" sings us through the night and beyond. In the morning, Mary Margaret Blanchard (Snow White), is eating breakfast by one of the windows in her hovel, when she is surprised to see the town clock working. Over at Granny's B&B, Emma Swan looks out the window, but it's not clear if she notices the clock. Archie Hopper (Jiminy Cricket) nods as he passes Mr. Gold (Rumplestiltskin). Granny is quite the entrepreneur, um... I mean "job-creator." She arrives at her diner, just as Ruby (Little Red Riding Hood) is putting out their "open" sign. The Sheriff arrives and smiles at Ruby in a way that makes me wonder if he is Our World's incarnation of the Big Bad Wolf, even though I previously expected that he would turn out to be the Huntsman from Snow White.