I know many people have not been a big fan of Once Upon a Time with the new season and say it should have ended with the first season. However, I still enjoy watching it and waiting to see what twists the stories will take. I am sure that the writers have something big up their sleeve.
This episode starts of in 2011 with August (Pinocchio) somewhere in Asia with his leg turning to wood. In the time frame of things, this is after he made Neal leave Emma and just before he ends up going back to Storybook. He freaks out and goes to the hospital, where they just think he’s crazy, and he runs into a kid who says he knows a place where he can get help. The kid takes him there to meet a guy named The Dragon. The Dragon says that he can help him and that he can also see that his leg is wood and he also knows his real name. He takes the string that was used to first animate him when Geppetto created him and he also needs $10,000. The Dragon tells August that if he brings him the money, he will be able to make it so that he will never turn into wood.
This is where the twist for the episode begins. When August is going to see The Dragon, he runs into Neal’s (now) fiance Tamara who is also there to get help. This was before Tamara had met Neal. After August talks to The Dragon, he runs into Tamara at a bar and she tells him her story, that she has cancer with only a few months to live and has been all over the world looking for alternative cures. The Dragon had also asked for $10,000 from Tamara and Neal sees it in her purse. She steps away to make a phone call and he steals it and goes to The Dragon. I do like that they have August display physical pain because he is not being truthful and good. The Dragon does give him a small potion, but says that only he can cure himself. Tamara, however, is smart and is able to track August down and confronts him. They end up in a chase and the pain from August’s wooden leg causes him to fall and Tamara gets the potion. At this point, we assume that she cured herself of her cancer and that is why she is still alive and with Neal. However, there was a small seed of suspicion planted when at the bar Tamara was talking about how The Dragon asked for a personal item and she said “Who carries something like that with them all the time?”. Thinking back on it, it hints that she may not necessarily be a good person.
Back to the current timeline, Tamara shows up because Neal had asked her to come. Emma warns him that she should be honest with him and he tries to tell her about who she really is, but she won’t believe it and leaves to go stay at the hotel.
Snow White finally gets her but out of bed and goes out in the woods. She is shooting her bow and very focused when she misses and she goes to find the arrow and ends up finding August living in an abandoned trailer (I believe this is the trailer that we saw in the last episode where the young boy and his father were camping and it got damaged). August is not completely wooden, though when the curse broke it did allow him to move again. Snow tries to convince him to come back into town, but he refuses. Once in town, she finds Emma and Gepetto (so convenient that Gepetto just *happens* to be there) and tells him that she found August and what had happened. They decide they must go and talk to the blue fairy to see if she can help. The blue fairy, however, says that there is nothings he can do. When she first animated Pinocchio, she told he that he would remain a real boy if he stayed brave, selfless and true. However, he may be able to help himself, but he must do it by himself. It is also here that Gepetto admits that he sent August through the wardrobe with Emma, but the issue is pushed aside and not mentioned again. I expected it to be a much bigger deal that it seemed to be. I think they could have used this for a bigger plot point at a later point where Snow is forced to make a difficult decision and this plus her blackened heart would come into play.
While Snow talks to Emma and Gepetto about August, Tamara is sitting in the diner and over hears the conversation. At this point it is clear that she is up to something because she does not have a look of shock that Neal was trying to tell her the truth, but more like she has a plan in mind. Afterwards, she shows up to the trailer to see August. reveals to him that she is Neal’s fiance, and asks him to leave town. She reminds him of his desire to protect himself and offers him “salvation”. She tells him to leave and gives him her car.
August gets in the car and is driving out of town but he is putting the pieces together in his head. He knew Neal already and he knew she wasn’t up to any good. He also remembered that he found The Dragon dead when he went back to ask him to make another cure for him and he suspects Tamara. He turns around to go and find Emma to warn them. He gets to the police station and is able to call and say he needs to warm Emma about Tamara, but she shows up and cuts the phone line. It is here that she tells him her evil plan (because that’s what bad guys do right?). She admits to killing The Dragon. Tamara never really had cancer and had really been traveling the world looking for real magic. She took the bottle that The Dragon had given August and that it showed that the liquid contained nothing that was found in this world. She threatened to kill him, and he started to transform into something or use magic, but she used a stun gun to kill him before he could complete. I do think this was a bit of a cop-out because I wanted to know more about The Dragon. Why did he know about Pinocchio and what realm is he from? Perhaps he will come back in some form later, I hope so because I would really like to know more.
After Tamara finishes telling her evil plan she attacks August with the stun gun and he collapses. My concern here is, well, he’s made of wood. I suppose there is some kind of magic that is animating him, but I don’t think the stun gun would kill him. Maybe I am thinking about it too much, but it seems like an unlikely way to kill a magical wooden being. He is able to stumble outside where Emma, Snow, David, Henry (apparently Henry is rarely in school), Neal, and Gepetto find him. He is about to tell them about Tamara but he dies. Henry pipes up and says that he was brave, truthful, and unselfish and can have a second chance and that they need the blue fairy, who conveniently shows up right at that second. The blue fairy is able to use her magic and turns him back into a real boy, but literally a boy. Tamara had popped up in the background beside Neal looking shocked, but when they ask boy August if he remembers what he was going to tell them, but luckily for Tamara he does not. After that, they all kind of disperse, because someone dying and coming back as a small child is totally normal, nothing to see here folks.
After that, there are a few events that make things start to click into place and bringing out the new twists. Tamara comes around to Neal and tells him that she’s going to stick around a while. Regina also realized that Greg (the guy that crashed into Storybook) is the boy she tried to abduct. He is back to look for his father, though Regina says he is not there. Later, he is talking to the mysterious girl on his phone when she shows up to his hotel room only to reveal that it is Tamara. And lastly, they also show that August finds Neal after he had started turning to wood again. Neal says that he is going back to Storybook and we see that Tamara had been following August the whole time. It is here that she plots her approach and hook for Neal and runs into him.
Overall, it was a fairly good episode. It brought in a lot of twists and turns and kept me quite interested it. There are some things that bothered me though (shocking wood, really?!), but it seems that we have a new bad guy and gal in town and I am curious to see what they will try to do. I give it 7.5 nerd glasses out of 10.