Once Upon a Time: Curses!

By Lily Sparks

Oct 31, 2011

Because it's Halloween, Once Upon A Time may not have raised the eyebrows of any casual channel-surfers last night, but we knew. We knew "The Thing You Love Most" was no holiday special: witches with their eyes sewn shut and baby unicorns are just how Once Upon a Time rolls. While I couldn't help but giggle over the fairyland villain club, I got completely caught up in the episode's fairy- and real-world storylines, which were both carefully constructed and emotionally plausible.

"The Thing You Love Most," impressed me with Emma's explanation of why she was still in town, and how well it set up the necessity of her playing along with Henry's fairytale theory. If I had a biological 10-year-old son who'd crossed state lines on his own to find me, and then his adopted mom threatened to destroy me after I found him the SECOND time he ran away, I would want to know everything about the loopy chick in charge of my DNA nugget, too. Plausible!

We found out a lot about Regina this week: She is complicated! And exactly how much does she remember from the fairytale world? I had assumed she was aware of the curse, as she clearly has the town in her clutches and hates Margaret Blanchard, but she looked genuinely confused while poring over the story book. She apparently did not know Henry's connection to Snow White when she adopted him (which I had also assumed was the case). Rumpelstilskin arranged things so that baby Henry was the child she adopted. That's a fascinating twist. The Evil Queen's beef with Snow White is not who is fairer, but a true vendetta: Somehow Snow White was responsible for the death of the person she loved most. That makes both characters much more interesting to me.

The show also took the opportunity this week to cement its relationship to the Disney versions of these familiar fairytales, by specifically naming Sleeping Beauty's evil queen Maleficent. How glamorous and awesome was Pam, a.k.a. Kristin Bauer? After years of seeing her in vampire makeup, she was shockingly gorgeous with just her natural skin tone, and while the conversation by the fire didn't further the plot much, it did further the smile on my face.

Emma's insistence on staying in Storybrooke meant a battle between her and the Mayor—Regina got the town newspaper, The Mirror (helmed by Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito! Do you think he's also the town pixie dust/meth lord?), to run a smear campaign, set up Emma to be arrested for having Henry's psych files, and also put a boot on her car. Emma, in a laugh-out-loud moment, took a chainsaw to Regina's apple tree. Apparently Storybrooke's Ye Olde Chainsaw Rental Shoppe doesn't ask too many questions.

Regina's escalated efforts to remove Emma only entrenched her further in the small community: Margaret bailed Emma out, and there was some flirtation with the Sheriff, who seems on her side as well. (He is so obviously the Wolf. Money on the table: I'm calling it.)

Lana Parrilla gave a stellar performance as Regina/the Evil Queen—she has the face of a 1950s Coca-Cola ad, but there's so much going on in her eyes, and she can bring the rage with just a twist of an eyebrow. Ultimately the show cemented Regina as a true villain, because she is willing to hurt the ones she loves to get what she wants. We know this because she pretty much said it directly to the camera, yes, but it was also illustrated both by her killing her own father to set off the curse that has everyone locked in the present day, and by her setting up Henry to overhear Emma call his fairytale belief system "Crazy." The connection between the two betrayals was underlined by the reveal that she named Henry for her father, the one she'd just killed. Henry is not safe, you guys! Sleep with one eye open, Henry.

Emma's moment of setting things right with Henry completely solidified the show's premise. She convinced him that she believes in his theory and had to call him crazy to throw Regina off.

I can't commend the writers enough for providing us with a solid reason for why she would encourage Henry and stick around to engage in his curse theory. Having a believable, solid logic behind the "real world" and the emotional justice of the show makes the lace wiglets, angry gnomes, and poisoned apples of the fairytale world a lot less ridiculous.


… Does Regina remember the fairytale world? Did she set up the basic tenets of the world and then erase her own memory, or what? Rumpelstilskin made some knowing statements about "You know who she is," but aren't we assuming every character deep down kind of senses his/her old personality? Could that be what he's referring to?

… The Sheriff is clearly the love interest, but what will happen when his work visa runs out? Isn't he like Scottish or something? Is that legal? Could I go be a "Bobby" in London?

… Who got the worst costume this episode: Eyes-Sewn-Shut Witch, Angry Acne Gnome, Daddy Henry, or all the ladies having to deal with those big-ass false eyelashes?

… Rumpelstilskin: Good guy or bad guy?

» A Few Predictions for ABC's Once Upon a Time, Based on Its Parallels to a Possibly Forgotten Miniseries Called The 10th Kingdom
» Once Upon a Time: Too Crazy Not to Root For

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  • saecrew Nov 25, 2011

    I may be way off base here, but isn't the movie coming soon....Snow white and the huntsman?? That twilight girl is the snowwhite.....

    Anyways.....love this show....hope the show goes on and on and on and........for long time.

  • cgad66 Nov 25, 2011

    Love this show! Very cute way of summing up the show so far, lol.

    The actor playing the hunky sheriff is irish.

  • moname91 Nov 19, 2011

    The Sheriff is definately the Huntsman, but is he good or bad??? Only time will tell...

  • Thnunumber6 Nov 11, 2011

    I may be way off base here, but I'm thinking the sheriff may be the Sheriff of Nottingham.

  • JolarEQ Nov 12, 2011

    I think you're off on that one. Sheriff of Nottingham is from a completely different set of "fairy tales" than Snow White, Prince Charming, et al. I think that he may be the Huntsman. Possibly the wolf, but that would be too close to Fables for comfort. ;)

  • cgad66 Nov 25, 2011

    I am thinking the huntsman, too, but will wait and see.

  • JigShaun Nov 09, 2011

    Who knew there would be two fairy tale shows on this fall and both would be really fun to watch?

  • silverswan1 Jan 05, 2012

    So, you like Grimm too, wish it was not up against my regular faves Fringe and Supernatural . Surprised ABC has not put their good stuff on Fridays now. lol Hope i did not just jinx it.

  • JigShaun Nov 09, 2011

    I don't think Regina remembers, but she does have an agenda other than just being evil. I don't believe she just adopted Henry to replace her beloved father. I think she needs him for something. Also, why did she want to keep such a close eye on Charming, and why keep him hidden from his wife? If that's who she really is. The explanation about him saying her name was obviously a lie. If Rumpelstiltskin doesn't remember, then why did he arrange for Regina to raise Snow White's grandson? And what's with the apples? Between the clock, and Charming suddenly waking up, and nobody really remembering their past, shouldn't Emma be starting to actually wonder if there is more to this story? I thought this show would be silly, but the way it's slowly giving use breadcrumbs (see what I did there) plus the great cast, has really grabbed my interest!

  • Stacylouisepope Nov 08, 2011

    He's Northern Irish not Scottish that's a Belfast accent

  • NeverFallAway Nov 07, 2011

    id put money on the sheriff being a huntsman

  • Sheikia Nov 05, 2011

    I am really liking this show. I did not think I would, but I heard all the good reviews and decided to check it out. It's kind of cheesy, but it works. Also, like LOST, the show is very good at slowly revealing secrets and making you more interested. The most interesting parts of the show are finding out which fairytale character each person is based on clues, and also the whole business with Rumplestiltskin. Obviously, he remembers the curse, but why would he bring Henry to the queen? Does he want the curse broken, or is he just messing with everybody for fun?

  • silverswan1 Jan 05, 2012

    Rumple actor is from Stargate SGU.

  • Sheikia Nov 05, 2011

    And also, I am one of the ones that thinks that Regina doesn't remember. But Rumplestiltskin does.

  • addicted Nov 04, 2011

    I think Regina remembers everything but she didn't know that the child was saved.... She's scared that Rumpelsomething is saying tricky things almost like he's remembering stuff. For her plan to continue no one can know the true.

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