Wow. This week’s Once Upon a Time left us with quite a few big reveals. First, August’s identity was (mostly) revealed, thanks to some digging by Mr. Gold. Second, the origin of the curse is also revealed, and the reason the whole curse came about is likely not what you think.
Before we begin, it’s important to note two reveals in Storybrooke. First, Regina stated that the curse was essentially the work of Rumplestiltskin, which we already knew. But it’s interesting to note how much of the responsibility she places on him. Second, Mr. Gold told Regina that he’s only broken one deal in his life, and the deal regarding Kathryn wasn’t it.
A Deal’s A Deal
In the fairytale world, Rumple was settling into life in his village after gaining his power. But his life has drastically changed. His small family now has a servant…and the fear of the surrounding villagers. He may have negotiated an end to the Ogre Wars, but he also killed a man who accidentally hit his son with a carriage. Even his son Baelfire is ostracized by the other children who don’t want to risk any retaliation by his father.
Bae is just as upset about his father’s new power as the rest of the villagers, but he’s the only one who can explain that to Rumple. He makes his father promise to give up the power if he can find a way to get rid of it without harming him. A tip from a young girl leads Bae to the Blue Fairy, who gives him a magic bean (yes, it’s slightly ridiculous). This bean will transport Bae and Rumple to another world…a world without magic.
While Rumple follows Bae into the woods to travel to this other world – clearly skeptical that a world without magic actually exists – he cannot follow through. A portal opens and Bae pleads with his father to leave with him and go to a world where he can finally be normal. But Rumple is too afraid to do it, and Bae falls through the portal, disappearing into our world.
Rumple screams for his son and then summons the Blue Fairy, who tells him that Bae is now lost to him forever. But the magician vows that he’ll find a way to get his son back and throws out different suggestions on how to get to the world. None of them will work, the Blue Fairy says. None of them but…a curse.
What does that mean? It means that Rumplestiltskin is not only the originator of the curse that brought the fairytale characters to Storybrooke, but he manipulated the Queen and her situation to ensure that the curse he wanted was performed so that he could come to this world and find his son. In other words, the Queen may believe that this whole plot was her doing, but the truth is that she is as much of a pawn in Rumple’s game as the other characters are in hers.
In Storybrooke, August awakens, clearly disoriented, in pain, and unable to really move. He calls someone to say they need to “accelerate the plan”. Then he asks Henry to help distract Mr. Gold while he searches the back of his shop. Unfortunately for August, Mr. Gold’s interest is piqued when he finds August snooping. This leads to Mr. Gold following him and talking to Emma about August’s appearance in town. Eventually he finds a connection between August and the Mother Superior (ie. the Blue Fairy), who mentions that August is looking for his father in town.
Naturally, Mr. Gold believes that August is Bae, especially after he finds a sketch of the dagger with Rumple’s name on it in his hotel room. He follows August out to the woods and confronts him. August responds, calling Mr. Gold “papa”. The pair have a reunion that ends with Mr. Gold showing August the location of the dagger, which followed Mr. Gold to this world when the curse took effect.
But, a moment later, Mr. Gold’s and the audience’s discovery was all but shattered when August tries to use the dagger to command him. Mr. Gold knows that August isn’t really his son, because Bae knows that there is no magic in this world and wouldn’t try to control him like this. Thus, all of our hopes that August’s identity has been revealed are cruelly dashed.
More information follows a moment later, though, so all hope is not lost. Confronted by an angry Mr. Gold, August reveals that he’s sick and dying and needs magic to help save him. He had hoped that Emma could help, but he says that he’ll die before she gets a clue (which, frankly, is probably true). August is definitely from the fairytale world, although his true identity is still unknown, and Mr. Gold doesn’t seem too inclined to discover more. Instead, he tells August to try again with Emma. So, in a sense, August’s secrets were revealed, but, like most other mythology shows (particularly LOST), we have even more questions now.
Frankly, I liked that the Once Upon a Time writers chose, for a time, to make August Rumple’s son. It’s a theory that’s been making the rounds for a while now (including the theories of August being a grown-up Henry or the boy who found Emma on the side of the road), and it’s nice to see fans’ theories validated…at least for five minutes. But frustration set in again when all of the answers were seemingly taken away. Yes, August is definitely from the fairytale world, which is nice to know and sort of eliminates the “older Henry” theory altogether. But I definitely need to know more.
The one thing I loved was the origin of the curse. The Queen may think she’s in charge, but it’s become clear that she’s less in control of the situation than she may think. Even her crown jewel – the curse – is actually a result of Rumple wanting to find his son.
Speaking of the Queen, Regina was in for an upset after Kathryn was brought back to Storybrooke by Mr. Gold. He suggested that she could certainly be implicated in this whole mess, but Regina is nothing if not resourceful. It’s clear that Emma believes Regina was responsible for Kathryn’s abduction, and even told Sidney he should find a way to support Emma instead of Regina, as he’s backing the wrong horse in the race. However, Regina is a master of manipulation. At the end of the episode she had Sidney confess to kidnapping Kathryn in an elaborate plan to find her, get a big story, and get his reporting job back.
Emma was furious at Sidney’s clearly rehearsed “confession”, and she told Regina as much. Then came the big reveal: Emma is tired of playing Regina’s games. She tried to take someone that Emma loved (Mary Margaret) and now Emma is more than prepared to retaliate by taking someone that Regina loves: Henry.
It’s about time that Emma finally stood up to Regina like this. My only fear is that, like in previous episodes of Once Upon a Time, Emma could blunder up her plan – either by playing it too safe or because she’s being played herself. Let’s hope this time she succeeds.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
With Kathryn back in town, some shippers may have been worried about what her presence might mean for Mary Margaret and David. The good news is that Kathryn told David it’s clear that they’re not right for each other. With her blessing, David attempts to reconcile with Mary Margaret. Unfortunately, she understandably cannot let go of the hurt she felt when David believed she killed Kathryn. He claims that he’s just human, but she felt betrayed. Oh, Once Upon a Time writers, how cruel you are to the shippers, who will have to wait even longer until the pair are reunited in Storybrooke. I can understand how some fans of their relationship might be upset, but it would be unbelievable for Mary Margaret to just forgive David. Yes, he’s only human, but he also believed she was a murdered. Her hurt feelings are ones I can definitely understand. However, all hope is not lost. Writer Jane Espenson hinted that fans of the couple might be happy by the time the finale rolls around.
A new episode of Once Upon a Time will be airing on April 29, and it looks like we’ll be getting all new episodes each week until the finale on May 13. You can watch a preview for next week here.
For more coverage of the show, including reviews, photos, spoilers and sneak peeks, browse and bookmark our Once Upon a Time page. You can also watch the latest Hulu episodes there.