Stars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Robert Carlyle, Lana Parrilla, Jared Gilmore, Josh Dallas, Raphael Sbarge, Eion Bailey
Writer: Ian Goldberg & Andrew Chambliss
Director: Gwynett Horder-Payton
Network: ABC, Sunday nights, 8 p.m.
Original Telecast: April 29, 2012

You’d think “The Stranger” would have come closer to the season finale of ONCE UPON A TIME as it’s definitely rich in pay-offs. Oh yes, oh yes. Like the whole August Booth (Eion Bailey) storyline. Ever since he showed up at the tale end of “True North,” we’ve been wondering about him, especially as we find out that he does know more than he should about the fairy tale world.

But as we saw last week, August is on a fixed deadline and needs to get Emma (Jennifer Morrison) to believe in who she really is – the daughter of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), aka James, so that she can free the town of Storybrooke, Maine, from the curse Regina (Lana Parilla), aka The Evil Queen, put on the fairy tale world bringing them to the town, aka a world without magic.

But Emma came to the real world outside of Storybrooke as an infant, via a magic chest constructed by Geppetto (Tony Amendola). She grew up outside of the town where time was stopped, raised as a foster child, had a baby of her own that she gave up for adoption, Henry (Jared Gilmore), who was adopted by Regina, though for reasons we don’t know yet. In fact, before August, she was the first stranger ever to come to town and the first to get time going again.

But even more weird stuff is afoot. Henry realizes that there’s a new story in his book – it’s about Geppetto and a wooden Pinnocchio, starting with an all-too familiar raft and a whale. Pinnocchio, however, insists that Geppetto take the raft’s float. Pinnocchio is wood, he’ll float. Sure enough they all wash up on the shore and the Blue Fairy (Keegan Connor Tracy) shows up and bing, Pinnocchio is a real boy (Jakob Davies).

But real characters in this show tend to have issues, and surprise, surprise, so does Pinnocchio. He’s grown up to become August Booth, whose flesh is getting more wooden by the minute. So he asks Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) to nudge Emma to believing in who she is.

Emma, for her part, is trying to get custody of Henry from Regina. Regina, for her part, gets it in the face when Henry confronts her with her reality as The Evil Queen. But then Emma goes to Mr. Gold to get him to take her case for Henry’s custody, but he won’t and indeed, nudges her toward August.

Regina must be sensing that something is slipping, because she manipulates David (aka Prince Charming) into helping her with some groceries and invites him to dinner. And comes on to him – which doesn’t work. Nor does her mirror (apparently Sidney is in jail, having confessed to setting up Mary Margaret – aka Snow White).

Back to the fairy tale world, the Blue Fairy talks Geppetto into building the chest that will take Snow White (who is pregnant with Emma) and Charming safely to the real world where they can raise Emma so that she can break the curse. Except that we know from the pilot, that only one person can go through the chest. Well, no. Geppetto lied. Two people can get through via the chest, but if he’s going to build it, one of those people will be Pinnocchio. So he sends the boy through the chest and we see the seven-year-old come through the tree in our world, followed soon by baby Emma wrapped in her afghan.

It gets even more interesting when August tries to tell Emma what really happened and why he got sucked away by an older kid in the group home. He shows her his wooden leg, but all Emma sees is flesh. Oops. Turns out Emma’s denial is pretty strong.

“You’re our only hope,” he tells Emma. “Then you’re all screwed,” Emma replies as she goes stalking off to get Henry and run off with him.

So while we have considerable pay-off on the August Booth line, there is one really nice cliffhanger and I, for one, am anxiously awaiting next week’s episode.

AGREE? DISAGREE? LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD – COMMENT BELOW

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Article: TV Review: ONCE UPON A TIME – Season 1 – “The Stranger”

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Comments:

  1. It’s too repetitive

    Jay

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