Stars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Robert Carlyle, Lana Parrilla, Jared Gilmore, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, Meghan Ory
Writer:
 Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg
Director:
 Milan Cheylov
Network:
 ABC, Sunday nights, 8 p.m.
Original Telecast:
October 14, 2012

If last week’s episode of ONCE UPON A TIME, “We Are Both,” felt like there wasn’t much movement story-wise, this week’s episode, “Lady of the Lake,” makes up for it. We’ve got three locales, two different timelines, plus the usual issues with characters with multiple names. So-o, even though the three main plotlines are inter-woven in the episode, I think it’ll be easier to deal with each one at a time.

We’ll start with the flashback from before when Regina cursed the fairy tale world. Charming (Josh Dallas) and Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) are fighting to reclaim the kingdom from King George (Alan Dale). George had adopted Charming as his son, which we saw last season, then had it all blow up in his face when Charming refused to marry King Midas’ daughter. So now he’s out for Charming’s chitlins, using the help of Sir Lancelot (Sinqua Walls), formerly of the Round Table. Turns out he had an issue with a woman.

So Lance kidnaps Snow, George feeds Snow a potion that will prevent her from having kids, then lets her go. Lance is peeved, so he decides to help Snow and Charming, only Charming is heading for his mother Ruth’s (Gabrielle Rose) cabin. George’s soldiers get there first, and Ruth gets an arrow in the chest. So Charming, Lance and Snow bundle her into a wagon to visit the Lady in the Lake, where they can get healing water, which will not only heal Ruth, but will reverse the potion’s curse on Snow.

Now, here’s the important part. Snow tells Ruth that she’s been cursed. The lake is dry, but Lance manages to find a thimbleful of water left – not enough for the both of them. Ruth tells Snow she must drink it because a mother will do anything for her child’s happiness and well-being. We know that the curse was reversed (can you say Emma?), so pretty much ‘nuf said there, except that it’s really sad.

The second story line takes place in Storybrooke, where David (aka Charming) is trying to find a way to get Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Mary Margaret (aka Snow) back from wherever they landed when they went through the Mad Hatter’s hat. Only he’s trying to keep Emma’s son Henry (Jared Gilmore) out of it, because it involves magic and there’s always a price when you use magic. You know darned well when Henry backs down, it was way too easy, and sure enough Henry goes and finds Jefferson (Sebastian Stan), who is also The Mad Hatter, who has been trying to connect with his daughter Grace.

In a sniffle-fraught scene, Jefferson confesses that he left his daughter and is now afraid to face her. But Henry answers that he, too, has been left and not knowing is the worst part, which encourages Jefferson to seek out his daughter. He also tells Henry to check out Regina’s (Lana Parilla) vault. So Henry calls up his adopted mother, asks to meet her for lunch, steals her keys and goes off. Sure enough, Regina’s father’s coffin is there (Henry is named for him), and underneath, all those scary hearts in containers and more magic stuff. So Henry does what any stupid kid is going to do – he starts indiscriminately opening boxes. Fortunately, David saves him just in time from a couple of snakes, and then makes a pact to work with Henry to find Emma and Snow. Ah, but, King George’s modern counterpart is watching them.

Now, back to the current Enchanted Forest, which is supposedly running in concurrent time to Storybrooke. This takes up where we ended last week, with Emma and Snow imprisoned in a hole and talking to Cora (Barbara Hershey), Regina’s evil mother. Only Cora tells them that she has lost her powers. Snow isn’t buying it and Emma is rather annoyed by that, but then Emma still isn’t totally sanguine with having been sent ahead to the modern world through a magic wardrobe while her parents, Snow and Charming lived in Storybrooke without the memory of their former lives. Nonetheless, the settlement’s leader demands to see the new captives, and it’s Lance and he and Snow are old friends.

Aurora (Sarah Bolger) is still convinced that Emma and Snow were responsible for Prince Phillip’s death, but Mulan (Jamie Chung) tries to convince her otherwise. It doesn’t work that well, so Mulan goes with Emma and Snow to find the other portal – the magic wardrobe. Emma keeps trying to take charge, but she’s not in her element, and almost gets eaten by an ogre, only Snow manages to shoot it in the eye. Oh, and Aurora shows up and tries to kill Snow, but Mulan and Snow finally convince her that Phillip’s death wasn’t Snow’s or Emma’s fault. The fun thing about Aurora is that she’s pretty much a dainty princess type of a ditz – and it really works, largely because we do have such a wide range of female characters in this show, from witches, to wise women, to kick-butt ladies.

Anyway, we finally get to Snow’s old palace and find the nursery where Emma was supposed to have lived, which is trapped. Now, remember the scene where Ruth tells Snow a mother will do anything to help her child? This is where it pays off. Emma wants to get back to Henry, who is her son by birth, but Snow is reminiscing about Emma’s birth and her dreams for her daughter and how they were trashed by the curse. Lance shows, but there’s a slight problem – he’s not really Lance. He’s Cora, who’s out for blood.

Mulan and Emma manage to save Snow by setting fire to the wardrobe, which upsets Emma. Snow points out that Emma will always put Henry first because he is her child. And Emma finally starts to realize that’s what her parents did when they sent her through the wardrobe. As she, in tears, tells Snow, “I’m not used to someone putting me first.” Snow tells her to get used to it.

They take off in the hopes of finding another portal or something or other, and Cora reappears and that’s where that story gets left.

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

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