Over the course of this series run, it’s been one back story after another, but we’ve not seen one concerning THE main character. Emma’s past has been under wraps, with nary a trail of breadcrumbs. That all changes this week however, and we finally get to see who Emma was prior to her bounty hunting days that kicked off the pilot episode.
Last week ended with Emma, Mary Margaret, Mulan, Aurora and Hook as they came upon the beanstalk. There’s been a lot of talk about how Jorge Garcia was cast as the Giant and in this week’s episode, we finally get to see him. I do like how the creators have brought back a couple of the Lost cast members and I had high hopes for this thread. The one sacrifice that was made in this episode is the fact that there is nothing more than a minute or so spent in Storybrooke. I’ll get to that at the end of the recap, along with my thoughts on this episode as a whole.
Fairtytale Land (Present)
Things start off this week in present day FTL with Emma, Mary Margaret, Mulan, Aurora and Hook contemplating the beanstalk. Hook fills Emma in on the beans and after she questions why they don’t just use one of those, he tells her that they’ve been destroyed. Hook goes on to explain that the beanstalk has a spell cast around it and in order to climb it, one must have the ability to get past it. Luckily, he has two bracelets that Cora enchanted to allow passage. He wears one, and has an extra for whoever goes with him. The women bicker amongst themselves, all volunteering, but it’s Emma who ultimately wins the argument. Mulan takes her aside and gives her a powder made from poppy-seeds that will render the giant unconscious and Emma tells her that if she’s not back in 10 hours, Mulan is to cut down the beanstalk.
Hook places the bracelet on Emma and in turn, she gives him his hook back and the two make their way up the beanstalk. Along the way Hook surmises about Emma’s orphan childhood and tells her that he’s seen that look in her eyes before while in Neverland. Hook asks her if she’s ever been in love, and she says no.
Meanwhile, down on the ground, Mulan draws a clocks in the gravel so that she can keep track of time. They all agree to take shifts and Mary Margaret volunteers for the first watch. Aurora says that she’ll stay awake with her, and tells MM how every time she sleeps, she has horrible nightmares. MM recalls memories of how she too suffered from nightmares after the sleeping spell, and how Charming would help her by lighting a candle. She tells Aurora not to worry, because she’ll protect her.
Up above, Emma and Hook finally make it to the top. After a brief sexual tension charged bit where Hook doctors up Emma’s hand, Emma notices the name Mila tattooed on Hook’s arm. She questions him about it and figures out that Rumpelstiltskin had something to do with her death. He tells her that for someone who’s never been in love, she’s awfully perceptive. She tells him that maybe she was once. After they have a look around at the devastation, Hook tells her about the war and then sets off to get the giant’s attention. While Hook bangs on a big shield with a bone, Emma takes position to hit the giant with the poppy-seed powder. All goes according to plan and Emma nails the giant right in the face. Once the giant is asleep, the two make their way to his treasure room.
Down below, Aurora wakes from one of her nightmares. MM comforts her and asks if she wants to talk about it. Aurora tells her it’s always the same. She’s trapped in a red room with no doors or windows. She goes on to say that the room has curtains and that it’s on fire and she can feel someone in the room with her. She tells MM that she can “feel his eyes on me”. Creepy right?
Back up the beanstalk, Emma and Hook continue their search. Emma grabs Hook and he thinks she’s making a move, but really it’s just to prevent him from setting off a trip wire. Oh darn. They find all sorts of treasure, along with the skeleton of Jack the Giant Killer, but no luck on the compass. Things go from bad to worse as the Giant awakens and runs into the room. Things start to crumble and fall because you know, he’s a giant and all and Hook gets trapped under some rubble. The Giant grabs Emma though and starts to squeeze…..so she bites him. Apparently Emma has some mean chompers too, because it actually hurt him and he lets her go. Using her ninja-like skills, Emma grabs dead-Jack’s sword and cuts the trip wire, which lowers a cage pinning the giant to the ground.
The giant is convinced she’s going to kill him, but she tells him that she won’t, she just wants the compass. After some back and forth, he gives it to her, and says that since she didn’t kill him, he owes her. She finds Hook and helps him from the pile of rubble, only to handcuff him where he stands. She tells him that she can’t take the chance of being wrong about him and leaves him there.
Down below, Mulan looks at the time and sees that the 10 hour window Emma gave her is up. She grabs her sword and starts hacking at the beanstalk, much to MM’s horror. MM tackles Mulan and they fight over her sword. Just then Emma lands on the ground and tells them that she got the compass, and that they have 10 hours before Hook is set free so they better get a move on.
Emma’s Past (11 years ago)
Emma’s past starts in Portland, 11 years prior. We see the familiar Volkswagen Bug and see how she got it. Simple answer is that she stole it. After a crude hot wire job, Emma takes off in the car, only to find that the backseat is occupied….by the guy we saw in the season premier who got the postcard that said “broken.” I was wondering where he fits in to the overall story. To say she’s shocked she stole a car with the owner in the backseat is an understatement, and he’s acting quite cool. That is until she runs a stop sign and gets pulled over.
When the officer asks for her license, the guy (whose name is Neal Cassidy btw) tells the officer that he’s teaching his girlfriend how to drive a stick. The officer lets them go with a warning and Neal hops in the front seat and tells her that they got lucky. It’s here that she realizes the car isn’t his and she stole a stolen car. Nothing like a little grand theft auto as a foundation for a relationship eh?
Some time has passed and we see what appears to be a pregnant Emma with Neal as they walk into a convenience store. Neal keeps the clerk occupied, while Emma steals what she can. Another patron walks in and sees Neal lifting some candy bars but Emma spots him and pretends to go into labor. They rush out of the store and Emma’s baby bump is actually a bag full of shoplifted goods. From there, they head to a hotel and take advantage of the facilities before housekeeping comes. Neal tells Emma that maybe instead of living a nomadic life, they should settle down. He tells her to choose the city and she closes her eyes and points to a spot on the map: Tallahassee it is.
Later on, Emma waits for Neal in a park. When Neal shows up, he shows her a wanted poster with his name on it. Apparently he stole some rather expensive watches that he stashed in a bus station locker and the cops are looking for him. He tells her that Tallahassee is out and he has to go to Canada….alone. She tells him that the cops are looking for him, not her and she’ll get the watches so they can fence them. Then they’ll take the money and run. He agrees and Emma gets the bag from the locker. He shows her the watches and then gives her one and tells her that he’s going to get rid of them and makes sure she knows when and were to meet him.
As Neal makes his way, he realizes that he’s being followed and tries to make a getaway. He’s stopped from hopping a fence however but it’s not a cop that’s following him. It’s August. Yeah…remember him? August tells Neal that he’s like Emma’s guardian angel and he’s sworn to protect her and make sure that she stays on the path of her destiny. Neal doesn’t believe him, but August tells him that he’s going to show Neal something, and after Neal sees it, he’ll believe. It’s all very Pulp Fiction in that you never see what’s in the case. It has the intended effect however, and Neal asks what he needs to do.
Next we see Emma waiting for Neal to show up, but it’s a cop that shows up instead. The officer tells her that Neal ratted her out and he tells her to give the watch back. She does, then she gets arrested, thinking Neal betrayed her, and not knowing why.
Two months later, Neal shows up to meet August. He asks August how Emma is and August tells him that she’s serving time in a minimum security prison. Neal feels awful and says how it should be him, not her. August tells him that it’s the best place for her right now and he’ll make sure she stays on track. Neal gives August the keys to the yellow Bug, and a stack of cash, telling him to make sure Emma gets both when she gets out. August tells him it will be done. Neal also wants August to tell him when Emma has fulfilled her destiny. August tells him that as soon as the curse is broken, he’ll send Neal a postcard. So that’s where that postcard in the season premier came from.
Meanwhile, Emma sits in jail, looking a bit shocked. The guard comes in and tells her that she got a package. The guard opens the package and pulls out a set of car keys. Emma doesn’t say anything but notices the key chain as the one that Neal stole and gave to her (it also looks a lot like the pendant that is on one of her necklaces). The guard tells her to cheer up, and tells her “at least you’ll have a car when you get out….and a baby.” Emma sits shell-shocked, holding a positive pregnancy test. I guess it’s safe to assume that Neal is Henry’s father. But who is Neal actually?
The episode ends in Storybrooke with Henry screaming himself awake from a nightmare. David rushes downstairs to comfort him and lights a candle, telling him it’ll help keep the nightmares away. A regular ole nightlight works too…and isn’t a fire hazard. David asks Henry what he was dreaming of, and Henry tells him he was stuck in a red room with no windows and that there were curtains and the room was on fire. He goes on to tell David that someone is in the room with him and he can “feel her eyes on me”.
So…it seems that Henry and Aurora have sharing a dream, but they obviously don’t know it yet. Where is that leading? Not too sure, but I suspect Henry will be a bridge of sorts to FTL. The question is, how long until someone realizes it.
This episode was rather weak overall. I made a comment last week to my roomie saying that this episode would be filled with horrible CGI and it turns out I was right. It was so bad, that it took me out of what was happening on the giant’s turf. Also, Jorge Garcia was totally underused. So disappointing.
I had a reader propose a theory during last night’s episode. She wondered if maybe Neal, is actually Baelfire. It’s an interesting theory and one that can’t really be ruled out at the moment. Gold did, after all, choose Henry to give to Regina when she adopted him. What was it that August showed Neal to convince him that he had to let Emma go? All questions….and ones that will hopefully be answered at some point. Until then however, we get another Ruby-centric episode next week.