We're back with a more traditional tale, in this week's exploration of Hansel (Quinn Lord), Gretel (Karley Scott Collins) and their Storybrooke identities, Nicholas and Ava Zimmer. But while the Enchanted Forest backstory is full of whimsical high camp, it is in Storybrooke where this episode's strength lies.
We open in Storybrooke. Henry is flipping through a Wolverine vs. Hulk comic, when a pretty blonde girl approaches and asks what he's reading. He surprised she's talking to him and stumbles over his answer. Ava says she thinks she's seen him at school. Henry is all smiles until a boy walks up to them. "Come on, Ava. Let's go." When Ava introduces this interloper as her brother, Nicholas, Henry is all smiles again. Nicholas is eager to leave, but Ava invites Henry to come hang out with them. When the get to the pharmacy doors, they're stopped by the druggist, Mr. Clark (Sneezy). He demands to search Henry's bag. Henry soon realizes Ava and Nicholas were using him to smuggle their shoplifted booty out of the store. "That's why you were talking to me, so your brother could put that stuff in there." Poor baby.
Enchanted Forest. The Woodcutter (Nicholas Lee) is chopping down a tree when his daughter, Gretel (Ava) joins him. He sends her and Hansel (Nicholas) to gather some kindling. Before they leave, he places his compass around Gretel's neck. "So you don't get lost. A family always needs to find one other. I love you. Be safe." The show has made an interesting choice here, in defanging the Hansel and Gretel story. In the traditional tale, the family is too poor to feed the children. The mother persuades the father to lead the children deep into the forest and then leave them. I'm a little disappointed that Once Upon A Time chose not to go there. This show is certainly sweet enough as it is. I'd like to see it go dark, more often.
When Hansel and Gretel return to the spot where they left their father, he is not there. They hear a struggle and run toward the sound, which leads to them stumbling out onto the Evil Queen's Road, where they are stopped by the guards leading her carriage. Gretel stumbles and breaks the glass covering the compass face. The knights grab the children. Queenie exits her carriage and glares. "What are you doing in my forest?"
Storybrooke, Mr. Clark's Store: The nasal-voiced Mr. Clark tells Regina Henry was shoplifting. When Henry denies his involvement, with a wordless, nervous nod, Clark tells Regina to have a look at the evidence. On the counter are things like shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, cans of soup and some candy, including an Apollo bar (for the Lost fans). Regina tells Clark, "My son doesn't eat candy and he knows not to steal. It was obviously those two." She heads toward the door with Henry, when who should walk in, but Emma. Regina assumes that Emma is there to interfere in her mothering of Henry, but she's there in her official capacity, as sheriff. Satisfied with that answer, Regina takes Henry and leaves, ordering Emma to take care of the "miscreants."