Once Upon a Time: Curses!

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.


QUESTIONS:

… 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?


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

The actor playing the hunky sheriff is irish.
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The Sheriff is definately the Huntsman, but is he good or bad??? Only time will tell...
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I may be way off base here, but I'm thinking the sheriff may be the Sheriff of Nottingham.
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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. ;)
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I am thinking the huntsman, too, but will wait and see.
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Who knew there would be two fairy tale shows on this fall and both would be really fun to watch?
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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.
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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!
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He's Northern Irish not Scottish that's a Belfast accent
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id put money on the sheriff being a huntsman
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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?
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Rumple actor is from Stargate SGU.
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And also, I am one of the ones that thinks that Regina doesn't remember. But Rumplestiltskin does.
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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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"What will happen when his work visa runs out?" ROFLMAO! I was totally wondering the exact same thing! I like the Sheriff but yeah isn't he from over the pond? How does that work with him being a copper like that and if that is the case than I want to head over to London and be one of those guards outside of the Palace! : )



I'm curious as to "who" the Sheriff is supposed to be in the fairytales. They haven't shown him in the fairytales or eluded to anything like they do with the other characters. Makes me wonder if he's an outsider and if so...how did that come about? Interesting.



I love Emma and when she chainsawed the tree I was in stitches. Neither lady is willing to let up so things will definitely be interesting. I also like Rumplestilskin...he's a villian but then he isn't...it's good stuff.
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Sheriff might replace Grey's Mcdreamy soon eh. lol Is he on that wine ad dancing with the gypsy girl and French music? [Not Patrick]
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Its pretty obvious who the sheriff is...Pinochio. He would only be about 5 years older than emma. jepedo is even his janitor.
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except that everyone is the same age as they were before the curse, so that would mean that Pinochio would be 5 in storybrooke too.
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I like this show a lot better than Grimm. Some of the actors need to work on their acting, but the storyline is interesting, the actors in this show put more depth into their character and the actor who plays Rumpelstiltskin is fabulous! I love how it plays that character. And the actor shows that he got skills. I watch the show just to watch that actor play his character. Rumpelstiltskin is my favorite character.
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Isn't Robert Carlisle great as Rumple, he was from Stargate SGU on SYFY.
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The stories are just SO intriguing! I find this show to be one of the best in the Fall season, as I feel that a lot of shows don't really have a story.



P.S: I really thought that these flashbacks would come later in the story.
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Confusing, irritating, utterly without a drop of suspense or anything resembling an interesting premise. Go Rumpy. He's the only good actor/vaguely creepy character in the whole yucky cauldron of dreckitude.
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If this confused you, I'd suggest you go back to watching reruns of Friends.
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Aw really? Did you see the first one?!
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What a brilliantly put together show! On top of the great characters and stories, I am loving the segues and symbolic links between the two worlds, like the statue of the dwarf pointing--he has a second life as a garden gnome after being petrified by the Evil Queen! Or playing around with the apples--it was such a great moment when Emma takes up a chainsaw! I just love how they are using the fairy tale material in such fun and creative ways. Grimm, the other show using fairy tales, is really dull and dour and uninspired and predictable by comparison. Big bad wolves go after little girls in red hoods--who would've guess it?
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Not as bad as I thought - in fact very entertaining and fun to look at !

Rumpelstiltskins agenda is pretty clear to me and not THAT evil : total control over Emma, the daughter of Snow White. He achieved that by playing masterfully Evil Queen, Snow White and the Prince.

And thank you all for pointing out : Giancarlo is the Mirror, I totally missed that and wondered who he is.
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Rumpelstiltskin is just misunderstood... there are no bad child-stealing fairy-tale monsters, just misunderstood ones.
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Is he supposed to be a Troll, don't care either way-also my fave next to Ginnifer and Jennifer.
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This is random, but I love how Emma, Henry, and Margaret Blanchard all have the same eye color. Just something random that I happened to notice while watching
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We don't know that Regina named Henry "knowingly" for her father, because we don't know if she remembers anything about the fairytale world.
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Regina, I think she does. I think she knows that she is the evil queen, and doesn't want to admit it, because it would ruin her plans. Hence, why she is annoyed with Emma being around, And why she gets up set that her step son can see right through. I know Rumpelstiltskin knows the truth, because he trick the queen where the curse wouldn't affect him.
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Gave this show a a chance and watched it for the first time and THOUGHT IT WAS AWEFUL!
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I really enjoyed the second episode. One of the things that i found interesting was the way both Henry and Rumpelstilstkin tossed the apple blindly over there shoulders. Not sure what it meant if anything but i assume is was shown for a reason.
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I can't believe how i love this show. This is my best one for this year.

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Don't tell ABC You like a show or they will yank it like SYFY and Fox do. lol
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Well ... I'm not convinced. It all seems so obvious. All so simple. Haven't seen any layers in the real world that would confound the Queen. Some twists that she wasn't expecting when she loosed the curse on everyone. This is all just a big soap opera. In fact, Queeny looks like she'd be just as comfortable on Wisteria Lane as she does in Storybrooke. And the fairytale sequences are rather poorly done. There's just no epic quality to them. They need to pay a little more for their CGI. Also, everyone behaves and sounds the same way in the fairytale world as they do in the real world. There really should be a difference. I mean, look at the wedding scene in the pilot. Prince Charming stops the cackling Queen with a hearty "Hey!"???? I'm not asking for a "Meet your doom, Black Witch!", but the fairytale world should be bold and bright and writ large. Instead it's as drab as the real world. And the producers, or the property guys, know nothing about Honey Crisp apples. It looks like the Queen is growing Rome apples, and those are very different from Honey Crisp. At least the director (2nd ep) knows how to take full effect of a languid shot of the lovely Ms. Morrison (lying down in her hotel room reading the psych reports). Nicely done. Too bad the director of the pilot didn't know how to do same with Ms. Morrison's restaurant entrance scene.
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Rumpelstilstkin is hard to pin as a good guy or bad guy. I think he just does what he wants, whether that means helping Emma or Regina, he has his own ideas/agenda.

Worst costume: eyes sewn shut witch. At least the false eye lashes could see! and didn't have to act blind.

I'm so confused about whether Regina or Rumpelstilstkin know anything. Sometimes it seems like they do and sometimes they just look confused (especially Regina). I really can't make up my mind on the matter.
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I think he is neither, he just who he is. A Trickster.
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I also loved Emma's realization that Margaret Blanchard is her mother, Snow White. It was a nice moment.
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the thing I learned from this week's episode was that Rumpelstiltskin is one evil bastard. Both his fairytale land and real world alter egos are evil and conniving. I can't wait to see what happens next with his storyline! He seems to have better control over the people in the town than the mayor, who believes she has everyone under her thumb.
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Another show I honestly didn't expect to like but after reading all the comments and loosely 98% positive feedback :P I had to check it out and I'm really loving it so far. I still love my badass cable shows most, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, etc. etc. But you can't help liking this show. So fun and different. Not to mention a clever, well thought out (so far), serialized drama on network television. A rare thing indeed. Carlyle is especially great, as is the queen. And Gus is the mirror lol. Great show!!
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I think Rumpelstilskin is the only one remembering since it is originally his curse. So maybe the only one that wasn't affected by the curse is the creator.. feel like the storybook Rumpel to give away a curse that would also affect the person casting it.
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Rumpelstilskin: Good guy or bad guy? Neither? I guess he's on his own side. At least he strikes me as that kind of character.



Anyway, I got another question: How does Henry know who (in the real world) is supposed to be who (from the fairy tales)?
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Rem when Henry was talking to the therapist, he said something about Henry thinking he was Jimmy Cricket because of his favorite umbrella. Henry has probably pieced it together or guessed like we are doing...
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In the first episode, Henry explained that after he was given the Fairy-Tale book, he was able to recognize who was who from the descriptions in the stories. In addition, he wasn't born yet when the curse was cast, nor was he born under the curse. His mother, Emma, had been protected from the curse when she was born, and not only was Henry protected because of that, but also because he wouldn't have been born in Storybrooke, so he was born into the "real" world and recognize that things in Storybrooke are just a bit "off."
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im guessing that since he wasnt apart of the original curse he can some how figure it out, just like how no one can leave Storybrooke but Henry managed to.
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Good question, been wondering that myself. Along with who remembers the fairy world. Seems like just Rumpelstilskin and the evil queen....maybe.
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I'm guessing that we are going to find out that Rumpelstilskin is the person that gave the book to Henry to start the battle he was looking forward to.
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actually Rumpelstilskin didnt give Henry the book, Margaret Blanchard or Snow White gave it to him
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I really am surprised by how much I'm loving this show. I went into it expecting to watch the first 15 minutes and give up but it's actually one of my favorite TV hours of the week. Kudos to the writing team and the actors! I hope they keep it up!
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Of course Rumpelstilskin remembers! He gave her the curse so it only makes sense that he would have found a way to protect himself from it.
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He didn't give her the curse... :O
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Ehh yeah he did.. he created the curse and gave it (traded it) to the Evil Queen.
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I think he is supposed to have given her the curse in the first place, since she seeks him out about why it wasn't working and he tells her she didn't kill her most beloved thing. However, I doubt if he orginated the curse, if he is capable of creating a curse this devestating then surely he wouldn't be behind bars?
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the scene by the apple tree with Regina and Mr Gold convinces me that they both know everything. She says she's done making deals with him and he basically lets her know that he remembers her, then she is suspicious of who Henry is, this whole scene screams that she knows and had no idea that he knows too (when he gave her the curse she said he wouldn't remember anything and he had a look in his eye that said, yeah right!

Rumpelstilskin is by nature sneaky and bad, a trickster that is only interested in his gain and seriously messing with people!
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Great second episode! keep it up writers so far so good...
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I like the fact that Regina doesn't remember everything. I had expected her to, but it makes things even more interesting that she's more than a little clueless, especially about Henry's relationship to Snow White.



Also, I expect Rumpelstilskin knows everything, or close to everything... and I guess I'd consider him evil, as I think he gets off on messing with everybody.



And I thought it was humorous that Giancarlo Esposito plays such a happy yet weak character. Miles (or kilometres) different than Gus.
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I totally did not watch the first episode enough because I was surprised to see the actor who plays Gus from Breaking Bad. He is so hilarious as the Magic Mirror. It is good to see him on a new gig especially after what happened to his character in Breaking Bad.



I actually enjoyed the new episode better than the first. To me, the show is getting better, even though it still does not make sense that the witch is letting her stay in the town. The actress who plays Snow White is really lovely and cutesy. I like how this show is becoming a pseudo-Disney television show.
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I would watch Carlyle no matter WHAT he's in.



I'm not particularly fond of the roles he plays in which he has gross teeth and all that, but that's a personal thingy. I like hm for his talent (SGU etc) and he's so great as an actor that I find it odd-ish to see him in a childish role, sounding like an idiot.



But if his past roles - especially his latest one - is any indication, I'm sticking around. I love this guy.



And then there's Emma - previously Cameron on House. I really like her. Did then, do now. Don't altogether agree with her charadcter's stances, but she's someone I can respect both in that show and this one. I think she really shines in this show.



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I don't think the sheriff is the wolf. I got the impression that he is the hunter...

From snowhite? The one that goes around doing the queen's bidding but falls in love with her and helps her out?
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I love your theory! And it would be an interesting way to go, because if the Sheriff is the hunter then he would have a natural sympathy and did, after all, save Snow White. However, as Regina must have realized that the Hunter deceived her about Snow White, how likely is it she would have installed him in this new world as a position of authority? Also, did you catch that little look he gave Red Riding Hood as he was walking into the cafe? Which leads me to believe their stories are connected, which leads me back to him being the Wolf.
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but if u really insist, he could be the hunter from red riding hood. not really from the snowwhite story...
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well, the hunter was killed in the fairytale, wasn't he? right after the queen found out what he gave her was NOT snowwhite's heart :)
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All the "Wolf" references go back to the NBC miniseries "The 10th Kingdom" from like 10 years ago. He essentially did the same thing. Was initially in the evil Queen's employ and did her bidding but fell in love with the heroine and helped her out.
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Great episode! I don't think anyone, including the Regina and Mr. Gold, know who they really are. It seems to me that everybody has their role to play, and they play it well. In fact, thanks to the curse, I think they're ultimately forced to. While the curse affected the evil queen too, she still has the power in the town as the mayor. No one, with the exception of Emma and Henry, are challenging her; and Rumpelstiltskin, his setup is practically a rags-to-riches story: From a caged animal in the fairytale world to getting payed by everybody, but answering to nobody! WOW! I can't wait to see the other characters and the story unfold. Truthfully, I'm in no rush to see these arcs play out.
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Love your capsule review, thanks for the great comment. It's true that they are teasing out where fairyland arcs are going very slowly but you're right, I'm in no rush, the modern world is a faster pace storyline that's keeping me very interested.
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Great show! Hey is Henry's teacher Snow White? And is she Emma's mother? I like the way Rumpelstilskin tells the Black Queen(Regina) that she must do what he wishes if he says the word "Pleeez!" for exchange of the info she wants.Then in the real world at the end of the show, Mr. Gold(Rumpelstilskin) tells her to step aside, but she was hesitant until he said "Pleeez!" Don't think many caught that. Obviously Mr. Gold is holding the cards in this story so far.
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A great and slightly darker episode! Regina doesn't know, or perhaps she does but the others don't. The sheriff is most likely the wolf. Costumes were interesting. Rumpelstilskin is neither good or bad, he just is a servant of fate. I look forward to the next episode!!!
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I agree that the show is great but I disagree about the rest. I think that Rumpelstilskin created the curse (we know he gave it to the Witch but not where it originally came from) with the ultimate goal of getting the dream life. He went from being in a prison to being wealthy and powerful without making the sacrifices (rem he says "Ultimate power requires ultimate sacrifice"). I think he set the Witch up to pay the prices so he could enjoy the rewards.
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This show is so GOOD! There is an intricate complexity and meaningful substance behind the fluffy facade of this fantasy. And for a show based on fairytale characters, they are so REAL. Individual arcs are being beautifully constructed with a surprisingly comprehensive overarching design. Absolutely the best this fall schedule has had to offer (and there have been a few others definitely worth watching). Going into Once Upon a Time, I never thought it was the type of show where I would be arguing with my friend after an episode for 20 minutes about our different theories. The big question (and argument), is just how much everybody remembers? Or, more specifically, how much Rumpelstiltskin remembers? I, for one, think that diabolically clever imp remembers everything. How would he know to bring Henry to Storybrooke otherwise?
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It's definitely interesting that he was able to trace Emma and adopt her baby, but then again they say in the fairy tale backstory that he can see the future. I agree with you that he remembers everything, but also that would be mind blowing to have an amnesiac character who can see the future.
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I think Rumpel knows just about as much as the rest of them in terms of actual memories however each and every one of them is a shadow of their true selves, As Rumpel could see what was coming I think he knew that his memory would be gone but him saying please even if only mockingly was likely to happen I think he senses more than the rest of them due to his natural power just as Snow is able to sense to good in people and has a connection with the animals. Their natural personalities and natures drive them, with or without their memories which is why Rumpel is the way he is (only looking out for himself), I think the queen thinks she is doing the right thing but her nature and instincts direct her to do what she does.
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Great second episode. Great ensemble cast. Especially Robert Carlyle who was just brilliant in this episode in his limited screen time. The show feels very fresh and has a great look, can't wait for next weeks episode. Hope the ratings stayed up, I have high hopes for this one.
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The Evil Queen is so beautiful! Reminds me of old Hollywood, such a thrill to watch her.

She doesn't remember but the memories and her old self are very close, a push in the right direction and she's back! Rumpel knows, in the end he said please and she froze, the magic word from back in the fantasy world. He could help her, I really wonder what he has planned.

The Sheriff must be one of the hunters, a good guy, not a wolf. Who cares if it's legal!? Wouldn't the rest of the world find it strange that no one in the town changed for 28 years? They are protected somehow.

I liked their costumes, felt bad for the little Gnome though.

Don't know about Rumpel, he is bad but I think he is on his on team, using the others to be on top.
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I'm getting some mad deja vu with Rumpelstiltskin. It feels just like the beginning of Stargate Universe. In comes Robert Carlyle with mixed motives and unclear intentions. Is he good or bad? Is he ultimately in control?



Either way, Dr Rushelstiltskin is a fantastic character.

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Yeah, clearly they cast an actor who could handle what will no doubt be a very ambiguous and layered role.
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I need to know more about the Rumpelstilskin character, he obviously knows something. In the fairy tale world we've been led to believe he's omniscient so there's got to be something there, the curse erased everyone's memory, but there's been little mention of anyone's gifts. I actually chuckled last week when i found out his name was Mr Gold, big nod to the Brothers Grimm :)



I'm loving how tight the plot is getting, it's got to the point now where if i'm not waiting for Sunday to watch it, then i'm out telling people that they should!
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They do have a great and attractive cast... The queen is smokin hot, Emma is smokin hot, and Snow White is a cutie...
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I like this show so far. It's nice to watch something "new".
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OMG, is Lana Parilla beautiful or what?! I have to say she's probably the best looking villain around, and she manages to merge vulnerability and resentment and pure as hell evil so well! Love her =)



And Rumpelstiltskin is definitely the big baddy. He totally managed to get all of his wants and needs fixed by manipulating just about everyone. Also, l'm assuming he wants Emma to break the curse because they will all go back to fairyland, but he'll have the ability to control her (cause he knows her name and that's what he does). So I'm guessing little Henry is going to be the ultimate hero here....



Plus, If I remember my fairy tales correctly, Snow White managed to outrun the Hunter as he, well, hunted her down, and eventually he got killed... So, maybe Regina's love interest was indeed a Hunter sent to kill Snow White?!



Anyway, love this show!
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OOOh! I love the hunter getting killed theory, however the Disney version and most of the versions of Snow White I've read include the detail that she pleaded for her life and the hunter took mercy on her. Also, if the Queen was presumably her stepmother, she had to have married her dad, so my assumption was that Snow White was somehow responsible for/connected to the death of her own father? On one thing there is no question: Lana Parilla is effing gorgeous.
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I lost it when she sawed down the apple tree! LOL!
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