Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Once Upon a Time...in the Big Apple

Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 14: "Manhattan"
Summary: In New York City, Emma, Rumpel, and Henry go to an apartment building where Baelfire supposedly is living.  Emma deduces that the blank buzzer likely corresponds to his apartment and calls the apartment, pretending to be a UPS delivery-person.  This roots him out, and she chases after him while Rumpel and Henry remain at the apartment building.

When Emma catches up to Bae, she immediately recognizes him as Neal, and the two go to a bar to talk.  Neal/Bae assures Emma that he didn't know who she was when they met and that it was a coincidence, not part of Rumpel's master plan.  Emma asks him to return to the apartment building to speak with Rumpel so she can fulfill her end of the bargain, but Neal refuses.

Returning to the building, Emma lies about having found Neal, so Rumpel hits all of the buzzers, winning him entry.  Once in Neal's apartment, he questions Emma, aware that she is lying to him and begins to threaten her for breaking the bargain.  Neal enters, demanding that Rumpel leave her alone, which proves to Rumpel that the two know each other.  Seeing Henry, Neal repeatedly asks how old he is, realizing that Henry is his son.  Upset that Emma previously lied to him about his father, Henry runs out on the fire escape, and while Emma tends to him, Neal agrees to talk with Rumpel.

Neal resents what he views as Rumpel's abandonment and has no desire to reconcile.  He then exits to the fire escape to speak with Henry.

In Storybrooke, meanwhile, Regina finds a Dewey Decimal call number in Belle's bag at the hospital, which she discovered through magic (which we learn was recorded by Greg on his cell phone).  Regina, Cora, and Hook go to the library, where they find a map leading to Rumpel's dagger, which they hope to possess in order to force him to kill David, Snow, and Emma so that Regina can have Henry all to herself again.

And in the fairybacks, Rumpel is conscripted into the army during the Ogre Wars.  While at camp, he is asked to stand guard over a blind redhead girl with eyes in the palms of her hands.  She predicts his future, saying that his actions will leave his son fatherless.  Rumpel takes this to mean that he will die in the war and begins to seek a way out, eventually crippling himself with a hammer.

He returns home to find that his wife has given birth to a son.  Ashamed that Rumpel has become a coward like his own father, she speaks venomous words and leaves.

Years later, after having become the Dark One and losing Bae, Rumpel meets the seer in the woods and demands information from her about how to find Bae.  The seer predicts that he will be reunited with him after a curse is cast and that he will neither be the one to cast nor break the curse.  Feeling this is still not enough, he takes the seer's power from her.  Before dying, the seer foretells that Rumpel will be reunited with Bae by a boy who will lead to Rumpel's undoing.

Obviously a long recap, but there were a lot of details in this episode!  While I had predicted (back in season one!) that Baelfire would be revealed as Henry's father, I still really enjoyed this episode.  Allowing the magic to take a backseat to the human drama was a wise choice on the part of the writers, and the acting here was some of the best in the series.

I'm very much looking forward to the ensuing drama from the last line of the seer's prophecy.  With the boy now revealed as Henry, Rumpel's plan to kill him will be a great test of character.  Will he kill Henry, who has the power to unite all of Storybrooke's major players, in order to save himself?  Or will he sacrifice himself heroically to stop Cora?  There are some really interesting possibilities here.

I am, however, growing increasingly irritated with Regina's wavering character.  Given the progress she had made earlier in the season, I really can't see her working with Cora to murder Emma, Snow, and Charming.  Unless she is only pretending to play along so that she can somehow kill Cora?  I hope it's the latter.  Regina deserves to be the complex, nuanced character that we saw at the beginning of the season.

And can we please just oust Greg already?  I don't feel like he's adding anything to the plot save a minor diversion.  Even with his video footage, I don't think many will believe him.  There's this thing called VFX, you see...

Anyway, one of the best episodes of the season.  I hope we get more episodes like this.

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