Stars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Robert Carlyle, Lana Parrilla, Jared Gilmore, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, Meghan Ory
Writer: Christine Boylan and Jane Espenson
Director: David M. Barrett
Network: ABC, Sunday nights, 8 p.m.
Original Telecast: November 4, 2012
We’ve always known Emma (Jennifer Morrison) had a rough childhood – we saw glimpses of it last season when August/Pinnochio (Eion Bailey) showed up and told her how he tried to protect her in the foster home where they were taken after Regina’s (Lana Parilla) curse sent everyone to the modern world of Storybrooke, Maine. But this being ONCE UPON A TIME, we knew that they producers weren’t going to just leave it there. And in “Tallahassee,” they don’t.
But first, we’re going back to where last week’s episode ended: The Beanstalk. Hook (Colin O’Donaghue) starts in on Emma because they need to climb up. But there’s only enough magic for two, which means Emma will have to slug it out with Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), Aurora (Sarah Bolger) and Mulan (Jamie Chung) for the privilege of going. As Hook continues needling Emma about her issues, Emma flashes back to 11 years before in the Real World.
She’s a cute young thing, bent on making trouble, particularly stealing a yellow Volkswagon bug that looks more than a little familiar. Oops, so does the guy hiding in the back seat. His name is Neal Cassady (Michael Raymond-James), and he’s that guy we saw getting the postcard from Storybrooke, with the word Broken on it, at the very beginning of the season. So I spent more time pondering who he was, than I should have the really puzzling part – why was Emma wearing glasses and we haven’t seen sign of contact lens or glasses since? I mean, bad eyesight is one of those you can’t just correct without expensive surgery and we’re supposed to believe Emma wasn’t that rich.
Back at the beanstalk, Emma convinces the others and that she and Hook should do the climb. You see, there’s a really mean giant – the last of his breed because the others were killed by humans – at the top and he has the magic compass that the evil Cora needs to navigate her way around all the different alternative universes so that she can get to Storybrooke with the ashes of the magic wardrobe that got Emma and Pinnochio there, in the first place. Emma tells Mulan quietly behind Snow’s back to only give them 10 hours, then cut down the beanstalk in order to save themselves.
As they climb, Hook starts busting Emma’s chops about her issues and feelings of abandonment. Emma blows him off and swears that she’s never been in love. Except that we go back to the flashback, she’s really, really pregnant and she and Neal are trying to shoplift a convenience store. Okay, she’s not really pregnant, but she and Neal are in love and decide that they’re going to drive off to Tallahassee, Florida and make a home together.
Ah, but there’s a catch. Turns out that Neal is wanted for robbing a jewelry store of some pretty fancy watches. He tells Emma that he can’t drag her down with him and that he must head for Canada. But Emma volunteers to get the watches from the locker where Neal stashed them. He gives her one, then takes the rest to sell to his fence, and agrees to meet Emma later.
The interesting thing is that as Emma and Hook climb into the Giant’s castle, Hook starts coming on to Emma, but Emma spots his tattoo with Milah’s name on it and guesses that she’s why he wants revenge on Rumpelstiltskin. They work together to lure the Giant (Jorge Garcia) out of his castle and get him to breathe the poppy dust and knock him out.
Down below, Aurora is having trouble with nightmares. Snow reassures her that it’s an after effect of the spell. So Aurora tries to sleep and sure enough, she has a horrible nightmare. She’s trapped in a red room with no doors or windows and there’s a fire and on the other side of it she can see someone looking at her and his eyes are glowing or something. The part to pay attention to is that it’s a he that Aurora sees. Snow reassures her and convinces her to try sleeping again.
Neal starts to find his fence, but realizes he’s being followed. A chase ensues, but the guy that catches him? It’s August, who manages to convince Neal by showing him his magic box (and what is in that thing?) that Emma has another destiny to follow. Emma then gets arrested – turns out there was security coverage of the lockers and they know she got the watches. Some months later, Neal and August catch up with each other in Vancouver, Canada. Neal wants to know when he can hook up with Emma again and August says he’ll send him a postcard. Yes, it’s a scream of recognition moment. Problem is, Emma’s currently got her hands full in the Giant’s castle.
While she and Hook are going after the treasure that Hook just can’t keep his hands off of, the Giant wakes up and comes back. It takes some scrambling, but Emma traps the Giant in one of his own traps, but chooses not to kill him – much to the Giant’s surprise. He doesn’t entirely buy it, but agrees to let her go and one other favor, which must mean that he wasn’t to kill Hook, either. Because Emma tricks Hook and chains him up in the castle, gets the compass and heads down the stalk.
Just in time, too, because Mulan is just starting to chop the darned thing down, with Snow fighting to stop her, when Emma drops in. She explains that she left Hook tied up to give them a head start on tracking down Cora.
Next scene, we have the flashback, Emma is in jail and receives some car keys. She also has a pregnancy test wand. Yeah, Neal is definitely Henry’s daddy. Oh, and speaking of, back in Storybrooke, Henry (Jared Gilmore) is having a nightmare and David (Josh Dallas) comforts him. Funny thing is, Herny’s nightmare is just like Aurora’s – red room, no windows or doors and someone looking at him and her eyes are glowing or something. You think those two saw each other somehow? Keep in mind, Henry almost died at the end of last season from the sleeping curse.
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