All I can think to say to introduce this episode is BEST EPISODE EVER! If you missed it, I would highly recommend that you catch it at abc.com. We finally get to learn about Emma’s mysterious past, including Henry’s dad and how Pinocchio/August fulfilled his duty to protect Emma.
It all starts in the Enchanted Forest. Snow, Emma, Mulan, Aurora, and Hook are set to climb up the beanstalk to retrieve the magic compass that can guide them to Storybrooke. Unfortunately, they’ll have to get past–you guessed it–a giant. On top of that, only two people can climb the stalk: it’s enchanted and Hook has a spell to counter it for himself and one other person. For some reason, they decide Emma should go. Emma clearly demonstrated she isn’t in her element in the Enchanted Forest, but I guess it works out.
The two climb the stalk and meet the last remaining giant (Jorge Garcia). Long ago, a man named Jack (see what they did there?) climbed the beanstalk and brought down most of the race. Hook distracts the giant so Emma can knock him out with magic powder (from Mulan). The two go inside and look for the compass, but they don’t find it in time and the giant wakes up. Hook gets buried in rubble, but Emma is able to capture the giant in one of his own traps. He explains that he is sad and lonely because he is the last of his race, and that he resents humans because they are the ones that murdered his friends and family. Emma doesn’t kill him, though she could have, causing him to realize that humans aren’t all bad and he hands over the compass.
Emma, having never truly trusted Hook, betrays him by leaving him trapped at the top of the beanstalk. She only wants a “head start” and has asked the giant to release him after 10 hours. Emma gets to the bottom of the stalk and the company head off to distance themselves from Hook and find Cora.
That’s all well a good, but the real awesomeness of this episode came from the flashbacks. We meet a younger Emma just as she hijacks her signature Beetle. She’s driving away in it when the owner, Neal, sits up in the back seat (well, relative owner: he actually stole it first). The two share snarky remarks and narrowly avoid a traffic ticket, thus beginning their romance.
They travel from place to place stealing food and sneaking into motels after people leave until one day they decide to settle down. They choose Tallahassee, but before they can make real plans, Neal discovers that he’s still being pursued for stealing some watches several years ago. He wants to flee to Canada but they don’t have enough money to both go. Emma suggests that she go and retrieve the watches so they can sell them (if he went, he’d get caught). She succeeds and Neal gives her one of the expensive watches to keep. He leaves to sell the rest and they make plans to meet after.
In comes August. He corners Neal and tells him about Emma’s destiny and that if she leaves the country she may never fulfill it. You’d think getting Neal to believe in magic would be a long shot, but August shows him something inside a box and Neal is immediately resigned to letting Emma go. WHAT?! What could possibly be in that box?
Well, the episode ends tragically: Neal, at August’s suggestion, calls in an anonymous tip and Emma gets arrested where she was supposed to meet Neal (with the one watch he left her incriminatingly on her wrist), so she thinks he set her up. She looked pretty crushed. Neal sells the watches and gives August the money and the keys to the bug, asking him to give them to Emma. August promises that when Emma fulfills her destiny and the curse is broken, he’ll send Neal a postcard. And then it clicks. Neal is the man that got the postcard in the first scene of the season! Woah! While in the slammer, Emma finds out she’s pregnant.
Finally, in Storybrooke, Henry has a nightmare that he was in a red fiery room with curtains but no windows and a woman was sitting across the room looking at him. Just a nightmare? Well earlier in the episode Aurora had the same dream, but with a man looking back at her. Looks like Henry and Aurora dreamed of each other.
Until next time.