This episode was all about TEQ as we dive into how she brought about such a powerful curse. I think there were some complaints about the slow pacing but I thought it was perfect. The twist at the end was satisfying and it was actually quite moving to see TEQ show her softer side, even for a moment. Mr. Gold is definitely emerging as one of the most interesting characters even though he didn't have much screen time this time around.
Season 1, Episode 2: The Thing You Love Most
The episode opens showing the clock now in full motion :) Indeed in daylight, Storybrooke seems remarkably normal. We see everyone starting their day, Archie, Mr. Gold, Ruby, Granny, Sheriff Graham.
Meanwhile, Regina is paging through the fairy tale book. However, when she sees that the last three pages of the book are torn out, she confronts Henry. Henry is dismissive per usual and her day doesn't get any better when she hears the clock tower chiming the hour for the first time.
Figuring that Emma is still in town, Regina comes bearing gifts (bet Emma doesn't want her gifts either). She comes with a basket of Honey Crisp apples (Trivia: the apples that are ACTUALLY being shown are Red Delicious apples...Honey Crisps look nothing like what's being shown -_- they are rounder and a mix of green/yellow/pinkish red). Anyway, Regina launches into a passive aggressive spiel about how hardy Honey Crisps are and how they can weather any storm. She has a Honey Crisp tree she's tended since she was young and they bear the most delicious fruit she's ever tasted. She hopes Emma will enjoy them on her drive home. Let's just say, Emma's face says it all:
|Either that or she's wondering how this apple-obsessed woman doesn't know a Red Delicious from a Honey Crisp.|
Emma is does not intimidated and doesn't back down; in fact she adds that the more Regina threatens her, the more she wants to stay. Regina pointedly says that any problem Henry has is being taken care of by his therapist, Archie Hopper. Gauntlets are thrown to the familiar words of "you have no idea what I am capable of."
Cut back to fantasy world, right after Charming has thrown his sword at her. TEQ is in her lair raging and a rather docile servant offers her a drink. She takes the drink and oddly enough, thanks him afterwards. The Magic Mirror, slightly mocking, asks her how she intends to fulfill her rather dramatic threat of destroying everyone's happiness.
The mirror blanches at her smug reply, "The Dark Curse." Both the servant and mirror are vocally opposed to her using it. Furthermore, she's traded it away and the person she gave it to "won't be happy to see her." She has a rather interesting dynamic with the servant and he looks crestfallen when she asks when she's ever cared about anyone's happiness but her own. She orders him to prepare the carriage - she is going to the Forbidden Fortress.
The person she is meeting is Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. They're the definition of frenemy and they trade not-so-subtle insults about being bested by Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Turns out that TEQ traded the Dark Curse to Maleficent for the Sleeping Curse, which was "undone by a single kiss." Maleficent tellingly says even the Dark Curse cannot bring someone you love back from the dead. She suggests a pet instead ;)
TEQ is having none of it and says she knows the curse is hidden in the orb of her staff. Interestingly enough, even Maleficent views the Dark Curse as uber-evil and that whoever created the curse makes them look moral; but when she asks where TEQ got it, she doesn't reply. A fight ensues and TEQ strikes at Maleficent's weakness - her pet.
Maleficent demands she just end it, but rather heartbrakingly, TEQ refuses, after all, Maleficent is her only friend.... Maleficent tries again to persuade her not use the curse because all magic comes with a price - it will leave a void that will never can filled - but her plea falls on deaf ears.
A circle of baddies gather around the fire to unleash the curse. TEQ demands a lock of hair from those with the darkest souls. To throw a little complexity to the mix, one of the baddies, a blind women (
In a show of power, she makes trees wrap a cage around them. They all offer their hair.
The last ingredient is a "prized heart" - in this case from her childhood steed. She flings the heart int the fire but after a dramatic whirl of smoke, the curse vanishes. The others scoff and The Red Gnome mocks her. He gets turned into a statue xD
...and now sits in a certain somebody's garden. As Regina lovingly tends to her "Honey Crisp" tree, the human version of the Magic Mirror - Sydney, a reporter for the newspaper, "The Mirror" arrives proudly bearing a paper with Emma on the front page as a criminal who ran into the town sign.
He's rather servile and clearly under Regina's thumb. He's been doing some background checks on Emma and there's not much to reveal. She's been in foster homes and never stays in one place long but that's all he found out. egina is pissed that he's found nothing useful and sends him scurrying.
Meanwhile Emma is at Ruby's coffee shop reading the paper when an admirer sends over a mug of hot cocoa. She spots Sheriff Graham and tells him she's not interested even if he did correctly guess that she likes cinnamon on her cocoa. As it turns out, to her embarrassment, Sheriff wasn't the one who sent it...
...it was Henry ^_^ who likes cinnamon on his cocoa too eheh He asks Emma to walk him to school and on the way he tells her about Operation Cobra aka how they're gonna break the curse. He also throws away the apple Emma was gonna eat from Regina ;)
Emma plays along and Henry shows her the last three pages of the book - the part with Emma in it. He tells her to read them but to hide them from Regina. Henry also thanks Emma for believing him - if she didn't she wouldn't have stayed. MMarg sees how happy Henry is and thanks her for staying as well. She also tells Emma that Regina has been mayor ever since she can remember because nobody else has ever had the courage to run against her. They joke about how Henry thinks Regina is the Evil Queen and Emma asks which fairy tale character Henry think MMarg is.
When MMarg says Snow White...it's obvious that the fact Henry told her that she's Prince Charming and Snow White's daughter is running through her mind. When MMarg innocently asks who Henry thinks she is, Emma lies and says she isn't in the book. The lack of an age gap definitely makes this weirder >_>...
Anyway, Emma asks where she could find Archie and goes to his office. She wants to understand Henry more and asks Archie to help her do so. Archie tells her not to call Henry crazy and that the stories are simply a way for Henry to communicate with the world and help deal with his problems. He offers Emma Henry's file to read.
However, as soon as she leaves, Archie calls Regina to tell her Emma took the file. When Archie asks how Regina knew Emma would come, she smiles and said it's because she was the one that put the idea in her head (at the very beginning of the episode when she told Emma that all of Henry's problems are being taken care of with a therapist).
Sheriff Graham shows up while she's reading the file and says Archie claims she stole the file from his office. It's obviously a setup but she is arrested anyway. Regina comes to school and tells Henry that Emma is con-women and stole his file to learn more about him. Henry doesn't believe her and brushes her off. Honestly, Henry must REALLY be sure that Regina is the evil queen because the way he treats his mother is downright cold!
Meanwhile, Emma is at the police station and Sheriff Graham is skeptical her claims she's being setup. Emma implies that the Mayor controls the police force too. Henry and MMarg shows up to bail her out and Henry's delighted because he thinks Emma was "gathering intel for Operation Cobra." When Emma asks why MMarg is willing to bail her out, MMarg says it's because she trusts her ^_~ ooooooo
|The silver box! That was what held the heart of her prize steed :)|
The next thing Emma does is go and chop off a branch from the Mayor's beloved apple tree. Emma threatens to come back for the rest of her tree if Regina toys with her again. Regina has no idea what she is capable of.
The servant is trying to comfort TEQ that maybe it was for the best the curse didn't work. Their conversation is rather odd:
TEQ: Oh, so now you're trying to protect me?The servant suggests she go to the person that gave her curse originally and he warns her that "revenge is lonely road where there is no going back." But TEQ is determined because for her, there is nothing to go back to.
Servant: It's what I do.
TEQ: I know. You're the only one who does.
After transfiguring out of the form of black rat (I just used the one of the white one eating the apple because it's so cute ^_^), we find out it was Rumple who gave her the Dark Curse. Rumple tells her that Snow+Charming came to visit him too and she smiles when he tells her that they were worried about her curse. He also laughingly warns her that every curse, no matter how powerful, can be broken. In this case, the child is the key.
In exchange for telling her why the curse didn't work the first time, Rumple wants comfort in this new land. Power, luxury, every thing that he doesn't have now. He also extracts the promise that TEQ will do whatever he asks in this new world, no matter it is. Regina agrees, believing that it's a non-issue since Rumple won't remember anything in the new world (OR WILL HE)?!
When Rumple finds out that she sacrificed a horse as the "prized heart" he scoffs at her foolishness. The curse to end all curses requires the greatest sacrifice. For the Dark Curse to work, the heart must be from the one she loves most. TEQ says that the person she loves most is dead because of Snow White (reallyyyyyyyy.. .did SW kill TEQ's lover or something? SW is fiesty but I can't imagine her killing someone). But Rumple coldly reminds her that she must decide how far she's willing to go and that vengeance is never easy...
Granny tells Emma she can't stay at the Bed & Breakfast anymore due to Regina's machinations; courtesy of a "no felons rule" that the Mayor kindly called Granny to remind her of.
Meanwhile, back at Regina's house, she is telling the Sheriff to go arrest Emma again for destroying her property. However, the Sheriff shows resistance by saying he knows Emma was framed and that ultimately, arresting Emma wouldn't be the best way to get her out of town. Regina thinks he has a crush on Emma, which is clouding his judgement. But when he reminds her that the more she fights with Emma, the more Henry will get hurt, Regina relents.
Emma finds her car locked by one of those tire thingies. Right on schedule Regina tells her to meet her at her office to talk things over, slyly suggesting that she can walk if she wants.
|White horse = Prince charming's horse?! Woods = Red Riding Hood? The Huntsman?|
In a very woodsey looking office Emma tells Regina that she's worried about Henry's fairy tale obsession - that it's crazy.
Which is when Henry interrupts from behind, in shock that Emma called him crazy. He flees and Emma demands to know if Regina set this up too. Which of course...she did. Emma is appalled that she is using Henry as a chess piece and wonders how in hell she ever got like this.
TEQ storms through her lair and the servant and mirror want to know what Rumple said. However, for the first time she seems indecisive. "I don't know if I should say...I'm conflicted." The servant, ever helpful, says if he knows what it is, he'll try to help.
TEQ: I have to cut out the heart of what I love most.
TEQ: Daddy, I don't know what to do.
O_O!!! I look back and it all makes sense and I should've seen it coming but this was a shock to me! For some reason, I guess I was having that mental block about how evil villains not having moms/dads around. In comforting tones, Dad says she doesn't have to do this. That she can move past it and start anew. TEQ is cries that what SW did to her, took from her is eating her alive and she just can't go on like she is now. And if she moves on, she'll lose her powers, everything she worked for. To which her father replies, "Power is seductive, but so is love. You can have that again."
It strange to see such nobility in such a dark place and so strange to admire a man who no doubt helped his daughter do so many evil things. He seems so servile but now we can see that his servility was in fact a kind of quiet strength and dependability. It's easy to see why he is the only person left TEQ loves. The fact that he is trying to protect her (from herself) when it matters most and is so loyal to her is admiral despite what she's becoming. How much can you begrudge a parent's love for their child, no matter who the child is?
Father and daughter embrace and a tear rolls down her cheek. For once she is showing an emotion besides anger and it is moving. She murmurs quietly, "I just want to be happy."
Dad: And you can be. Of this I'm sure. I believe if given the chance. We can find happiness. Together. The choice is yours.
Surprisingly, TEQ pulls back and smiles comfortingly and says he's right, she can be happy.
The dad's hopeful, loving face is just killing me.... Then she adds, "Just not here." And stabs him ;_; Even as she does this, however, her eyes fill with tears and we can see a glimpse of just how vast a void the curse is going to leave in her heart.
Emma pays MMarg back for the bail money and MMarg invites her in. In a cozy scene, MMarg gives her cookies and cocoa topped with cinnamon surprising Emma. MMarg apologizes and says it's a quirk of hers to add cinnamon to her cocoa. Emma and MMarg talk and there is sweetness in how well they get along and Snow advises her since we know they were mother and daughter in another world. Emma reveals she is going to leave because it seems her presence is hurting Henry but MMarg asks her to think about who will protect Henry if she does.
At therapy, Archie attempts to cheer up a depressed Henry but asking him if he thinks he's Jiminy Cricket. We also learn that the umbrella is Archie's good luck charm. Uncharacteristically, Henry sullenly replies that he doesn't think Archie is anyone.
Emma bursts in and to his credit, Archie apologizes for his part in setting her up, but Emma pays no attention to him as she rushes to Henry, who is in no mood to talk. Emma then tells Henry that what Henry tells her is crazy but that it doesn't mean it's not true. She believes him. Also she only said he was crazy because that is what Regina "needed to hear." After all, the only way to beat the Evil Queen is to trick her into thinking that they are non-believers. After all, that is what Operation Cobra was all about!
She tells Henry she read pages (whattt we can't we see them?!) and that since they're so dangerous, there's only one way to prevent Regina from ever seeing them.
She's totally forgiven ;)
Alone with her father's heart, TEQ casts it into the fire and unlike last time, black smoke rolls out of the fire and spirals into the sky. Successful, TEQ stop by a grave to leave a single black rose and to say "I love you, Daddy."
And we find out that her father's name is nothing other than - Henry.
Mr. Gold comes to call on Regina, who is in high spirits thinking Emma has left town now that Henry is mad at her for calling him crazy. Mr. Gold pops that bubble commenting he just saw them together. He suggests that she ask for his help instead, he'd be happy to help....for a price. Regina scoffs and says she's not into making business deals with him anymore. But...
Mr. Gold: To which deal are you referring?
Regina: You know what deal.
Mr. Gold: Oh right, the boy I procured for you. Henry. Did I ever tell you what lovely name that was. However did you pick it?
Something dawns on Regina and she interrogates Mr. Gold on why he brought Henry to her in particular - and if he did it on purpose to bring Emma here. Mr. Gold plays dumb and doesn't answer her questions except to say, she knows exactly who Emma is. She demands a direct answer but she seems to have no hold over him as he coolly refuses and in fact politely "suggests" that she excuse him. It seems that she is powerless to stop him from leaving as he pleases and it's clear who holds the real power here.
Oh HO...so it was Mr. Gold that got Henry for Regina. So many questions!
Why did Regina want a child in the first place? To be honest, having a child hardly seems to be making her happier. My guess is that the child - Henry - is her way of trying to fill the void that was left behind when she killed her father. I suspect that if Mr. Gold brought her an "ordinary" child, this might have worked (who knows, she seems so heartless now). However, given that Henry has blood ties to the fairy tale world, it's fittingly ironic that even in this new world, Snow White (via her daughter and grandson) is still thwarting her in her quest for happiness.
Another thing I'm wondering is why Mr. Gold seems to want Regina's reign over Storybrooke to end. He's living the good life now; he's clearly the most powerful citizen in town, even more so than Regina herself. Why would he bring Emma to bring the hierarchy down? What's his agenda? I also want to know why he didn't forget his origins like TEQ thought he would. Anyway, I sure hope they explain how Rumple got to be so magically powerful soon.
The entire exchange at the end of the episode pretty much proves that both Regina and Mr. Gold know EXACTLY who they are. However, while I detect a frisson of fear in Regina as things begin to fall apart, I'm starting to feel that this is exactly what Mr. Gold wants. I still wonder about the origins of the Fairy Tale Book itself as well. I wonder where MMarg got the book from. Regina herself would hardly allow something like that to circulate...why do I suspect the book may have come from Mr. Gold himself? Which leads to back to the same question, Why does he want to the curse broken?