Stars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Robert Carlyle, Lana Parrilla, Jared Gilmore, Josh Dallas, Raphael Sbarge
Writer:
 David H. Goodman and Liz Tigelaar
Director:
 Dean White
Network:
 ABC, Sunday nights, 8 p.m.
Original Telecast: 
January 15, 2012

It seems pretty clear from this episode, “True North,” that Regina’s grip on the modern day world of ONCE UPON A TIME is slipping. Her fairy tale counterpart The Evil Queen (Lana Parilla plays both) isn’t getting all that she wants, either, but she’s got a heck of a lot more power in the fairy tale land. Or maybe she can be more overt about it.

As usual, we have a version of a fairy tale playing out alongside the story in the modern day world of Storybrooke, this time with Hansel (Quinn Lord) and Gretel (Karley Scott-Collins). Seems The Evil Queen is behind the pair’s abandonment by their father, the Woodcutter (Nicholas Lea). But working in their favor is a compass he gave to Gretel – it will always point them to family. After the children get lost, The Evil Queen sends them to the Blind Witch’s gingerbread house to fetch a talisman, which the children do. In fact, they succeed where others have failed. Supposedly, the deal was, they get the item for the queen, she returns them to their father. Surprise, surprise, she doesn’t.

In Storybrooke, however Gretel’s modern counterpart Ava and her brother Nicholas/Hansel are trying to survive on their own without parents by shoplifting. Only they use Henry (Jared Gilmore) to try to do it and get caught. Good thing for them, Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) is now sheriff and she’s determined that Ava and Nicholas are spared what she survived: living as a foster child. Regina, on the other hand, wants the kids taken to Boston to two separate group homes there.

So Emma tries to find the kids’ father and comes up with an intriguing way to do it. All foster kids, she declares keep something from their parents. Emma has a baby afghan. Ava gives up her antique compass.

Now, here’s where it gets fun. Emma takes the compass to Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle), who produces the name of the man who bought it from him, only we see that the file card Gold refers to is actually blank. Hmmm. And, no surprise, it leads Emma straight to the Woodcutter’s counterpart, Michael Tillman. We know that Mr. Gold does not remember his former life as Rumpelstiltskin, but that doesn’t mean he’s not aware of his own magic. So you kind of have to wonder what’s up here.

Better yet, Mary Margaret Blanchard (Ginnifer Goodwin), who as the counterpart to Snow White, Emma’s mother, sees Emma’s blanket and it seems to be triggering a few things.

Henry (the adopted son of Regina and the birth son of Emma) explains to Emma that no one leaves Storybrooke without bad things happening, which results in a very convenient signal from the compass and things end happily for the moment. Also, Henry points out, that Emma is the first stranger to come to the town, which creates a really, really interesting cliffhanger at the end of this episode.

So far, this season has been about everyone’s back story with very little movement on the eventual great battle between good and evil that Emma’s arrival is supposed to start. So while I’ve got a bit of an itch to see the battle start, the back stories have all been enormously entertaining and are opening up a lot of questions while answering darned few. Meaning, we’ll have to stay tuned.

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

Related Link: Exclusive Interview with ONCE UPON A TIME star Raphael Sbarge
Related Link
: Exclusive Photos from the PaleyFest 2012 event for ONCE UPON A TIME

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Related Link: Exclusive Interview with ONCE UPON A TIME showrunner Adam Horowitz
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Article: TV Review – ONCE UPON A TIME – Season 1 – “True North”

 

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