Once Upon a Time
So, I have egg on my face. I was feeling pretty proud of myself for my declared theory (declared a long while ago) that Stranger Booth was really Baelfire all grown up and through about 2/3 of this episode I was ready to do my end zone dance but then … well, I did not do any gloat dancing. So, back to square one, who is Stranger Booth? And a new query, what is his affliction? And also, who does he call in the opening scene? I suspect we’ll get some more information in next week’s episode since its called “The Stranger” but we have more pressing things to discuss … Enchanted World.
Rumplestiltskin’s son, Baelfire, has a kerfuffle with a guy trying to get his donkey down the road until the man realizes who Baelfire is or rather, who his daddy is. When Rumple emerges to see what’s the matter, Donkey Driver gets real apologetic, real fast but all too late. Once Rumple sees that Baelfire has gotten a scrape on his knee, he turns Donkey Driver into a snail and squishes him. Which, you know, over reaction. Maybe. Baelfire really didn’t want that to happen but you can’t fault Rumple’s fatherly concern, right?
At their home, Bae is ready to lay into Rumple about the Donkey Driver killing and the magic using and the hurting people all the time thing but Rumple is really just confused. For him 2+2 = turn cart man into snail and squish him. And by the way, son, remember that I stopped the Ogre war and saved about 1000 lives that day so you know, give some credit where credit is due. Baelfire asks his papa to give up the magic, has Rumple even tried to get rid of the dark power? That would be no, especially since the engraved knife still has Rumple’s name and it’ll take his death to be dislodged from the power (their maid walks in on this last bit of information … which surely won’t bode well for her).
Bae proposes a to Rumple that if Bae can come up with a way for Rumple to abandon his dark power without having to die, Rumple will do it. Rumple is really not into this and wonders if having the Dark One for a dad is so bad? Bae answers that he really just wants his old dad back. Well, Rumple says, in that case, we have a deal. I think part of Rumple’s acceptance is that he doesn’t think this is possible and so he doesn’t really think he’s agreeing to much.
In the woods, Rumple leaves Bae to play sword fight with some kids while he conducts his “business.” Of course, the kids all flee when they see Bae coming because who wants to play with the Dark One’s kid, amiright? Well, all the kids flee except for young Morraine. Turns out that she’s not so scared of Rumple and actually thinks he’s kind of amazing cakes. Bae makes note of the fact that he’s getting worse every day with his dark powerness and tells her that if he can just find a way, Rumple’s agreed to change back to good ole’ dad. Morraine is very helpful and suggests he look to the Reul Ghorm, the ancient being that rules the night and who is bigger and more powerful than anything, including the Dark One. When Morraine hears Rumple coming, she takes her leave. Rumple tells Bae that they need a new maid and Bae is incredulous seeing as their old maid was a mute who wouldn’t tell anyone about the knife. Rumple makes the good point that even mutes can draw a picture.
Bae sits in the woods calling for Reul Ghorm and the Blue Fairy presents herself. Bae is skeptical and asks how he knows he can trust her? She explains that there is light/good and dark/bad magic and she’s on the light side. When she gets a good look at Bae, she senses that he’s been touched by dark magic and when he explains that his dad is the “Dark One”, she is all damn, son, not much I can do about turning him good again. The best she can offer is to move them to a place where he can’t have the same powers, a place without magic. Bae has a confused because the magic is everywhere and the Blue Fairy explains that this is true in this Enchanted World but not true everywhere. Further, what is ailing Rumple is specific to this realm alone. Can you leave everything behind, she asks? Baelfire doesn’t hesitate to say that if it brings him back his original recipe dad, he’ll do whatever. Blue Fairy tells him he’s a good son and the part that keeps Rumple a little bit human. Convinced, the Blue fairy gives Bae the last magic bean and advises him to use it wisely. The instructions are simple: follow wherever it leads and it’ll save you both. What can go wrong?
Bae runs home and tells Rumple about Reul Ghorm and since Rumple has his handy Gaelic translation dictionary, he figures out that Bae has been chilling with the “Blue Star” or “Blue Fairy.” He scoffs since fairy magic doesn’t really mix well with his whole “dark power” thing he’s working. The idea of a world without magic troubles Rumple since he’d be weak, common and Bae is like, “a duh. What did you think we were talking about the other day?” Bae asks Rumple if he’s backing out of their deal and Rumple says no, pish, no.
Out in the woods, Bae plants the magic bean and a huge green vortex hole rips open in the ground but Rumple just.cant’.do.it. Bae calls his father a coward and a deal breaker and slips through the hole which closes immediately after he goes through. Regretting his hesitation and cowardice, Rumple begins screaming for Bae to come back. Later, but still in the woods, a slightly unhinged Rumple is screaming for Reul Ghorm to show herself which she does. Rumple asks how he can follow Bae and she is none too pleased with Rumple. You had your chance and blew it and there are no more magic beans so, sorry. Liar, Rumple accuses, and the Blue Fairy says they “don’t do that.” Lie? I guess she means? There has to be another path, Rumple half threatens, half pleas, and when he hits upon maybe a curse, Blue Fairy flinches which is all the confirmation that Rumple needs. She warns him the price to be exacted would be great, like this entire world in favor of the next world, kind of great and Rumple is all, I don’t care. She doubts he’s got the power to pull it off anyway, what with his rotten core, and he becomes completely unglued screaming that he’ll do nothing else until he finds Bae, nothing. When he starts taking knife swipes at the Blue Fairy, she wisely takes her leave, leaving crazy pants to himself.
Stranger Booth wakes with a start has he has experiences the worst Charlie Horse ever. He gimps over to a phone and calls … someone. He tells someone that its taking too long and they need to accelerate the plan. Cut to Stranger Booth and Henry hatching a plan falling under Operation: Cobra, Sub-mission : Make Emma Believe. Henry heads into Mr. Gold’s store under the ruse of wanting to buy Mary Margaret a “so happy you didn’t kill your boyfriend’s wife” gift. Stranger Booth takes the opportunity to slip into Mr. Gold’s office and snoop but of course, Mr. Gold discovers him before Stranger Booth gets to find … whatever it is he’s looking for. Mr. Gold directs him back into the main shop area and looks … concerned?
The Hospital. Emma visits Kathryn and tries to get some information on where she’s been. All Kathryn knows is that her air bag deployed in the car accident and when she woke up, she was in a dark basement where food and water was provided. When she woke up again, she was in a field and she wandered her way back to town. Dr. Whale says there were lots of drugs in her system. Kathryn is having trouble imagining everyone thinking she was dead but she has to understand with the DNA matching her heart an all, what were people supposed to think? Emma tells her that she thinks someone was trying to frame Mary Margaret. Dr. Whale assures us all that the hospital staff is being grilled about the doctored DNA results and Kathryn wonders who would do all of this? Really? No one comes to mind?
Cut to Regina yelling at Mr. Gold in his shop about breaking their deal. Mr. Gold says he’s only broken one deal ever and sadly, it wasn’t this one (aw, he misses his son). They have a semantics debate over “intent” and its role in their nefarious plan to frame Mary Margaret and he clarifies that their deal was for something “tragic” to happen to Kathryn. He is putting abduction into the tragic basket. She starts to put it all together that the evidence, once revealed, will all lead to her and calls him a bastard but she’s also confused since they’ve been in this “thing” since the beginning; it was Mr. Gold that even made the curse that brought them all here to Storyb
rooke, so why betray that work? Mr. Gold tells his majesty that she is a smart woman so she’ll have to figure it out.
The Hospital. David visits Kathryn and startles her awake when he goes for the creepy “kiss my estranged wife’s forehead while she’s sleeping even though I love someone else that I thought, maybe, probably killed said estranged wife” move. He’s full of the apologies (for the lying, the cheating, the list is long) but she’s cool and says she gets that they weren’t right for each other. They part with a forehead kiss.
Mary Margaret’s Welcome Home Party. The party is in full swing and it seems like most of the town has turned out to their small apartment. Feeling the bitterness still, she quips to Emma that she didn’t think she had this many friends a few days ago. Well, no, they thought you were homicidal hussy a few days ago. It’s a quiet town, you should cut them some slack. Stranger Booth tells Henry he didn’t find what he was looking for in Mr. Gold’s office but he thinks it’ll find him. Present time and Henry gives Mary Margaret a bell which, ok. David shows up and Emma makes excuses for Mary Margaret not seeing him. At least she feels bad shooing him away and even comes up with the idea to send him home with Henry. Mr. Gold asks Emma what she knows about Stranger Booth and expresses his suspicions of him since he doesn’t trust people with aliases. (he knows names, he mentions). Emma still thinks Mr. Gold is a snake and says she is ready to believe Stranger Booth (she also gives us the recap title right here) over Mr. Gold any day of the week and twice on Sunday. She also thinks Mr. Gold maybe kidnapped Kathryn and produced her at the 11th hour for some reason. Mr. Gold is getting mixed vibes over whether Emma thinks he’s working for or against Regina and she thinks he’s maybe working diagonally? Which, I understand what she means but it would have been clearer if she just said, both. I think.
Mr. Gold sneaks into Stranger Booth’s room at Granny’s and examines his typewriter and wooden paperweight. Flipping through his papers, Mr. Gold uncovers a detailed drawing of Rumple’s “Dark One” knife. He is not happy.
Granny’s Diner. Emma joins Sidney and confronts him about the bug. He defends Regina and calls her an amazing woman and a good mayor. Emma can’t believe what she’s hearing and then it dawns on her that Sidney loves the mayor. She leaves him with a warning that he either gets on the right side of things or she’ll take him down with Regina.
Mr. Gold follows Stranger Booth as he heads out on his bike. We see that they are now at the local nunnery and Stranger Booth is speaking with Mother Superior (who, you’ll remember is the Blue Fairy over there) while Mr. Gold watches. When she takes her leave from Stranger Booth, Mr. Gold pounces and asks her, via threat to double the nunnery rent, what were she and Stranger Booth speaking about? He wanted advice. Seems he is estranged from his father and is looking to reconnect. Why haven’t they spoken yet, Mr. Gold asks and she tells him that they had a difficult parting and there are many issues to be resolved.
On the Street. David tries to confront Mary Margaret and she tells him to speak if he needs to. He enumerates all of the things he didn’t do for her (stand by her, believe in her, etc. The list is long. David sucks ass). Mary Margaret seizes on this to make him try and imagine what feeling deserted by his true love would feel like and he has the gall to defend his actions based on the wait of the framed up evidence. He totally misses the point of faith in your loved one. Mary Margaret says its like something is trying to keep them apart (pouring poison between them which totally gets it right) and she doesn’t want to erase their good memories by continuing to make bad ones (like him not believing her) so better to split now than keep testing whatever wants to keep them apart. David is a simpleton and so he merely pleads that he loves her. She knows and for her, that’s what makes this all so sad.
Mr. Gold shows up at Archie’s shrink office and says, without saying, that he needs to talk to someone. Inside, Archie is surprised to learn that Mr. Gold has a son, how old is he? “Let’s start with something easier.” Which made me laugh out loud but Archie kind of pushes past it. Archie asks Mr. Gold why he thinks he might have found his son and Mr. Gold explains that there is a man acting in a way that he’d expect his long lost son to be acting. But, he continues, he might just be seeing what he wants too. Archie is confused, wouldn’t your son recognize you? Mr. Gold non-answers that there was a lot of conflict at the end of their relationship and he thinks his son might know who he is but he’s still angry and maybe wants to kill me. Archie’s response: “…”. Mr. Gold says that he’s spent his entire life trying to fix what went wrong and now his son is here and he doesn’t know what to do. Archie suggests honesty; repeating to his son what he’s just told Archie and Mr. Gold admits that honesty has never been the best color on him.
The Dark Streets of Storyb
rooke. Mr. Gold confronts Stranger Booth and says he knows who he is and what he’s after. Stranger Booth says that at least the lying can stop then … “Papa.” When we return, Mr. Gold tells Stranger Booth that “you were right Bae, you were always right. I was a coward and I never should have let you go.” He adds that though it might be little consolation, he has spent every waking moment looking for him since they parted. He continues that he understands he can’t make up for the past but perhaps he can ask Bae to be the bigger man (again) and forgive him. “I’m so sorry son, so sorry Bae.” Its all very touching and they embrace and Bae forgives his papa. When they break away, Mr. Gold half asks, half states that Bae was looking for the knife? And Stranger Bae admits that if he found the knife, he would have an idea of whether his dad had changed. Mr. Gold suggests they go see and they head out to the woods, natch. Mr. Gold and Stranger Bae dig up the knife and (Mr. Gold hid it there shortly after Emma came to town and things started changing) and he gives it to Stranger Bae because he chose the knife once but now he chooses his son. Stranger Bae looks at the knife and calls it remarkable. He then points it at Mr. Gold and says “By the power of the darkness, I command thee Dark One.” Which is an odd thing for a son to say to his father? Mr. Gold asks, equal parts shocked and pissed, if he’s trying to control him? Stranger Bae says again, “I command thee Dark One!” You’re not my son! TWIST!!!
When we return, Stranger Booth is acting offended and the insinuation that he’s not really Baelfire and Mr. Gold tells him that (a) Bae would never try to control him with this knife that he despises and (b) Bae would also know that this knife cannot harness magic in this world because there is no magic in this world, which is exactly why Baelfire tried to bring Rumple here oh so long ago. Stranger Booth asks a good question that Mr. Gold does not answer, “why bury a useless knife?” Having snatched the (still very sharp) knife back, Mr. Gold starts asking the questions, such as, who are you? And, how’d you know about me and the knife. Stranger Booth says he “hears things around” and Mr. Gold assures him that no one in Storyb
rooke knows nothing about no stinking Rumpelstiltskin or a Dark Power knife. Stranger Booth corrects him that no one here remembers which tells Mr. Gold that this stranger is from the Enchanted World. Stranger Booth admits that fairy told him about the knife which does nothing to calm Mr. Gold down. Inn fact, he makes the point to Stranger Booth that if he knows who Gold really is, then he has to appreciate the slim chances of making out of these woods alive. So why bother? Stranger Booth tells him that he’s got nothing to lose seeing as he is sick and dying and all. He needs magic like yesterday to save him and its taking too long convincing “the Savior.” Mr. Gold tells Stranger Booth that she trusts him and that might be enough to convince her (see next week’s episode set up folks). Mr. Gold backs off and confused, Stranger Booth asks if he’s letting him go? The way Mr. Gold figures it, Stranger Booth is going to die either way so at least maybe Mr. Gold can get something out of him if he lets him go now. I would love to see Mr. Gold at a flea market haggling prices.
Wrap Ups. Regina is waiting for Emma in the Sheriff’s Office and congratulates her since she’s about to get a confession. Which is when Sidney walks in and makes a full confession including borrowing Regina’s skeleton keys and also, planting the knife in Mary Margaret’s bedroom. Emma is having trouble keeping her bile down but gets out a question of why come forward now? Sidney says his grand plan was to “find her” and be a hero as a means to returning to his former glorious newsman state. Emma simply isn’t buying this and she Regina into the hallway for a smackdown. Once alone, she makes it clear to Regina that the two of them are about to start a whole new game that Regina can’t even imagine yet. And to be clear, Emma cares not a lick about herself or Regina but only that Henry is safe and away from Regina, the sociopath (her word, not mine). “Since you took away something I loved, now I am going to take away something you love. I am taking back my son.” The “so suck it bitch” was implied. And scene. Whew, see ya’ll next week.