Monday, May 6, 2013

Once Upon a Time...There Was a Wooden Puppet

Once again I'm behind.  I had hoped to catch up while on vacation last week, but the house my family rented ended up having no Internet connection.  Anyway...

Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 18: "Selfless, Brave, and True"

In flashback, August wakes up to discover one of his legs is transforming into wood.  He travels to Hong Kong where he heard about a man called "The Dragon" who can grant any wish for a price.  The Dragon asks August to give him a precious possession and $10,000 before he agrees to proceed.

August goes to a local bar where he encounters a woman he had seen in the Dragon's office.  The two talk over drinks, and the woman reveals that she has an incurable form of cancer.  While she steps away to take a call, August riffles through her purse and steals an envelope stuffed with cash.  He then returns to the Dragon, using the cash and the puppet strings from when he was a marionette to pay for the potion that will return him to human form.  As he exits the office, though, he is chased by the woman, who steals the potion from him.

The woman returns to the office, demanding answers about the otherworldly substance.  As the Dragon begins to transform (as he is truly the mythical creature), she kills him with a taser, stating that she could not allow for anyone else to gain possession of such a potion.

August returns to America and meets up with Baelfire in New York, where he explains the plan for when the curse is broken by Emma.  Right after August drives away on his motorcycle, the woman from Hong Kong "bumps" into Bae, spilling her coffee on herself.  He lends her his scarf and the two seem to hit it off.

In the present, Snow discovers a trailer in the woods while practicing her archery.  August has been living there and is now completely wooden.  He begs Snow not to tell anyone he is living there.

Bae's fiancee, Tamara, shows up in Storybrooke and eats breakfast with Emma, Henry, and Bae.  The two tell the story of how they met on the street when she spilled her coffee and he lent her his scarf to cover the stains.  Henry leaves the storybook with Bae while he and Emma walk to school.  Bae shows Tamara the book and explains that he is from another world, but Tamara thinks it's just a story he's concocted so he can get back together with Emma.

At Granny's Diner, Snow tells Geppetto that she found August living in the woods.  Tamara overhears the conversation and goes to the trailer, where she confronts August.  She tells him to leave Storybrooke and gives him the keys to her car to do so.  Snow, Geppetto, and Emma arrive to find the trailer deserted.

While driving, August finds a photo of Tamara and her grandmother in the car.  She had said this was her special object when the two met in the Hong Kong bar, so discovering it proves that she lied about having cancer.  He drives back to town and calls Emma from the sheriff's office, but Tamara arrives and cuts the line.  Realizing that August had figured out who she was and had planned to tell Emma, Tamara tases him.

Emma and company arrive to find a dying August, who attempts to give Emma the information he uncovered but dies before he can do so.  Henry asks the Blue Fairy if she can do anything to save him, since his last act was selfless, brave, and true.  She turns him into a real boy leaving him with no memories of his adult self, much to Tamara's satisfaction.

Regina, having realized that Greg is Owen, confronts him and shows him the lanyard he had when he was a child.  He refuses to leave without his father, but Regina claims to know nothing of his whereabouts.  The episode ends with Greg and Tamara meeting in his hotel room for a romantic encounter.

The string of good episodes had to end eventually, right?  While I appreciated bringing August back into the current storyline, I felt that killing his character in order to further the plot just as he had redeemed himself was a miscalculation.  Although if the CG budget is to remain the same, I suppose I can understand the studio wanting to be rid of him.  That CG was pretty distracting.  And reviving Pinocchio as a child was a huge disappointment, unless he somehow recovers his memories at some point.

What I felt was a greater detriment to the show was bringing in a second mundie antagonist.  And not just any antagonist, but Bae's fiancee.  I had liked the development with Greg/Owen.  Why couldn't the writers run with that without adding some superfluous unlikable character?  Unless the writers have a great backstory that ties the two together much more strongly than they are now, I will be annoyed.  It's just too easy to create these "coincidences."

While not nearly as terrible as the Smash episode, "The Phenomenon," this was definitely one of Once's weakest outings to-date.

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