Episode 9: True North


Eat me!

This week centered around the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel and there was a fantastic guest apprarence by Emma Caulfield as the Blind Witch. I am not a big fan of the less-than-stellar child actors nor the usually crappy special effects in OUAT, but this time around, I thought that the oldest daughter (Gretel) was quite good and the special effects came out rather nicely! Usually I find the special effects rather cheesy but this time around I think the cheesiness worked rather well for the gingerbread house! I thought the house looked wonderfully cartoon-y in a way that would be perfect to lure children and gosh, the treats inside really looked yummy! So yeah, the gingerbread house looked pretty fake but it seemed "purposeful," as the house was intended to tempt children to it. There wasn't that much momentum in the main story line this time around, it was more about exploring Emma's back-story in the modern world.

Episode 9: True North

Henry is reading comic books (Hulk vs. Wolverine) when a pretty blond girl, Eva, from his class approaches him. Henry seems to be rather flattered by the attention ;) and agrees to hang out her and her younger brother, Nicholas. Henry happily leaves with them when they get stopped at the door by the store manager, Mr. Clark, who accuses them of stealing.

Judging from his sneezing - he is Sneezy of the Seven Dwarves! When he opens Henry's bag, it's stuffed with candy bars. Henry, looking very hurt, realizes that Eva was only talking to him was so that Nic could put the stolen goods in his bag, though the kids at least have the conscious to look guilty about it :\

Deep in the woods, a woodcutter cuts down a large pine. His headstrong daughter asks for her own ax so that she can help him. To make her feel better the father sets her on the task to gather firewood with her brother. Before they leave, he lovingly places his compass around her neck,

"So you won't get lost. Family always needs to be able to find one another."

With that, the kids set off to gather wood and we see that Hansel is a rather petulant child who plays with his slingshot while his sister Gretel is responsible and focused on her task of gathering wood. As night falls, Gretel uses her compass to head back but their father is no longer where they left him. They hear a man's cry in the distance and they rush toward it and run headlong into The Evil Queen's henchman.

Gretel's fall causes the compass to break :( and they are dragged to the Queen's carriage...

...where the lady herself demands to know what they are doing in her forest.

Apollo = more Lost references.

Back at the store, Regina inspects the stolen items. Interestingly, after she exams the Apollo candy bar (Henry's snack of choice when he went tunnel exploring), she announces that her son couldn't have possibly stolen these items as he doesn't eat candy. It makes me wonder if she is knowingly lying or she just doesn't knows Henry at all >_> Anyway, as they leave they bump into Emma, who is there to deal with the shoplifters. Regina greets her with her usual warmth,
Regina: Miss Swan, must I remind you that genetics mean nothing? You're not his mother and it's all taken care of.
Emma: I'm here because I'm the sheriff.
Regina: Oh that's right. Go on, do your job. Take care of those miscreants.
That scene is honestly pretty funny xD

The number the kids gave is disconnected and when Emma presses further, Eva confesses that it's because their parents couldn't pay the bill. Emma sees that toothpaste is among the stolen items and sympathizes with how they were stealing just to help out. Eva begs her not to arrest them.

Mirrored in the fairy tale world, Gretel begs the TEQ not to hurt them. They are just looking for their father. Feeling more poetic than sympathetic, TEQ murmurs,
"Two helpless children, lost and alone. The family torn asunder. Such a sad and moving story. SEIZE THEM!"
Using a slingshot, Gretel distracts the soldiers and they flee into the woods.

Unfortunately, TEQ magically appears in front of them in a whirl of smoke and ensnares them with tree roots. She comments on how foolish it is to try and escape from her, but adds that she is impressed with their bravery. Thus she offers to find their father if they do something for her in return.

Eva begs Emma not go inside as their parents would be so embarrassed if they see her. Emma tells them of her super power - of always being able to tell when someone is lying - and asks them one last time if everything is okay. They say yes.

However, as Emma drives away, the kids quickly leave the front stoop (aka it wasn't their house), and head to the basement of an abandoned house. When they hear noises upstairs, the kids go up to investigate and find Emma waiting for them. She asks them again where their parents are and Eva admits that they just don't have any, which strikes a cord in the orphaned Emma.

The kids eat hungrily as Emma and MMarg wonder what to do. Eva and Nicholas Zimmer are in MMarg's class and she knows the mother, Dori Zimmer, died few years ago. The father has never been in the picture. When MMarg inquires about social services, Emma admits that she didn't report them. She plans on finding the father instead, who may not know the kids exist and may want them. It doesn't help that Emma also has a jaded view of the foster care system, where children are taken in as "meal tickets" and tossed out as soon as they become too much trouble. Emma was in the foster system for 16 years and fears that not only will the kids not be loved, they will be separated.

Overhearing this, Eva tearfully begs Emma not to let them be separated. Emma promises that she won't let that happen.

When Emma goes to the court house to get the Zimmer's birth certificates, she finds out they have been recently removed by Regina (of course). She goes to her and Regina says that she found out they were orphans and thus has already contacted the state's foster services. When Emma says she is looking for their father, Regina shows her the birth certificates listing father as "Unknown." The group homes are full, but one all-female and one all-male foster home in Boston have agrees to take them. In other words, they will be separated. The kids need a home and Emma is the one who needs to drive them to Boston tonight.

As she leads them through the woods, TEQ tells Hansel & Gretel that in return for finding their father, they need to break into the Blind Witch's house:
"She has something of mine. And I need you to get it back....It's something I need to defeat a very evil and powerful enemy."
It's kept in a black leather satchel and the enchanted home prevents adults from going in and getting it herself. But children can enter, hence her need for Hansel and Gretel. Once the witch is asleep, all they need to do is break in and get it. The only thing they must not do is eat anything. She then draws back the branches to reveal the home...

Hansel looks at it in fascination and Gretel with horror (which pretty much proves that Gretel is the brains of this outfit).

Henry visits Emma at the station and says he's figured out that Eva and Nic are Hansel & Gretel. Now why Henry doesn't tell Emma that Mr. Gold is Rumpelstiltskin is beyond me but maybe he's not sure of that yet. Anyway, Henry rather helpfully adds that their father must still be in Storybrooke because nobody ever comes or goes, other than Emma. He reminds her that Emma is the first and only stranger that came to Storybrooke.

He then changes the subject and asks Emma to tell him about his dad. After all, Henry told Emma who her parents were and now she is even living with her mom (aka MMarg). Adorably, Emma doesn't even try to deny it anymore. She reluctantly tells Henry that after she got out of the foster system, the only job she could get was at a 24 hour diner off the interstate. Henry's dad was a fireman, who worked a lot of night shifts and thus often stopped in at odd hours. He always complained about the diner not having pumpkin pie but always came back anyway. They never got married but they dated for awhile. Sadly, his life got better and Emma went to jail. Right before she went to jail, she found out that she was pregnant and tried to contact him. However, his dad had died saving a family from an apartment fire. She warmly tells Henry to always remember that his dad was a hero. To Henry's dismay, Emma does not have any keepsakes to remember him by or show Henry. But the thought triggers an idea on how she could find the Zimmer's dad.

Eating pretty cookies....allusion to the enchanted house of yum!

Emma shows the kids the only keepsake she has of her parents - the lovely woven blanket with her name stitched on it. She understands what it is like being an orphan and she knows that orphans are particularly prone to holding onto things of their past. She asks them if they have anything that belonged to their parents. After Emma promises to keep them together, Eva hands her a compass that once belonged to their mother's dad their dad (I swear this is a script error or the actress said it wrong because Eva says their "mother's dad" instead of "our dad").

Hansel and Gretel prepare to sneak into the house. Ominously, Hansel can barely resist the icing on the outside of the house and only Gretel's warning keeps him from eating it. Geez, if that was my brother, I would've put a gag around his mouth -________-

The house is packed with goodies and the witch is sleeping soundly in her chair. Gretel quickly see the satchel hanging by the fireplace and goes to get after warning Hansel not to eat anything.

Of course as soon as her back is turned, her rascal of a brother picks up a cupcake and takes a huge CHOMP out of it just as Gretel gets the bag >_<!

As soon as his lips touch the sweet, the witch wakes up and takes a loud whiff of the air as the camera zooms to the remnants of her previous meals....

Licking her lips (literally) and in a girlishly high voice says she smells dinner~ The fact that her voice is rather sweet makes it all the more deliciously creepy!

Genie's lamp again!!!!!!!!!!! Episode 11 is when Genie makes his appearance btw!

Emma interrupts Gold polishing a lamp to inquire about the compass. (Un)coincidentally, Gold does in fact recognize the watch, as it was sold in this very pawnshop. Though he doesn't remember the name, he keeps extensive records of all his sales and quickly whips out a card with the sale information on it. Without blinking an eye, Emma asks what his price is and surprisingly, he simply asks for forgiveness. Emma shortly replies that tolerance is all she has to give, which he remarks is a good start. He tells her that the watch was sold to a Michael Tillman. Although he has no further info, he comments that "often a name is all you need."

Emma thanks him and leaves. As she walks out the camera pans to the slip of paper that Gold read the name off of and was see that it was in fact blank all along....

When Emma shows Michael Tillman, a struggling garage owner, the kids' pictures, he denies the possibility of being their dad. He'd met Dori on a camping trip 12 years and 9 months ago and they'd only done it once. Emma tells him that the twins (huh...Nic/Hansel sure is the runt of the set O_o...he's so young looking) have been living in an abandoned house just so they won't be separated. He is their only chance of staying together. She shares her story with how she met Henry and it's clear that she regrets what she's done; she implies that she wishes Henry could live with her. In the end, to Emma's dismay, Michael refuses.

Emma can't bear to tell the kids that their dad doesn't want them and suggests that maybe they could hide the twins to buy more time. MMarg is incredulous, knowing that it's a bad idea and tells her that sometimes the painful truth can be cathartic - after all, Henry is coping just fine with the news that his biological dad is dead. Emma then admits that the fireman hero story is a lie and that Henry's dad was no hero and that he does not need to know the real story (rape?! assault?!). Before they can make further plans, Regina stops by and tells Emma to get a move on, the kids have to be in Boston tonight.

The Blind Witch throws the twins in a cage and hungrily reaches out to feel how "tender" they are and decides the boy will do. She opens the infamous oven and checks to see if it is hot. To protect her somewhat cowardly brother, the sister puffs up her checks and pretends to be him (you have watch to scene to see how she does it...kind of hard to describe). As the witch ponders whether to use gravy or butter to baste the kid with, Gretel manages to slip the key out of the witch's pocket and throw it to her brother. He gets out of the cage, grabs a can to whack the witch, and TRIPS ON HIS WAY TO HER.

In you go!

Hearing the commotion, the witch quickly figures out that they've tricked her and starts attacking screaming, "Butter it is!" Luckily the kids manage to shove her onto the conveniently located tray and push her into the oven. They lock her in, grab the satchel, and flee.

Interestingly, we see that the Blind Witch has a cookie mirror through which TEQ is watching all the events. Upon seeing the her enemy trapped in an oven, she magically sends a fireball through the mirror and lights the oven ablaze as she smirks, "I would have gone with gravy."

Note: Didn't the Blind Witch already have a fire going under the oven? Or was TEQ just helping things along? Why can't the Blind Witch magic herself out of the oven or at least take out the flames?

Anyway, it seems like the kids were transported there magically or they run really fast because as TEQ turns around, the kids are there, satchel in hand. She opens the satchel and the kids crane their necks eagerly to see what they risked their lives to retrieve -

- the poisoned apple. Hansel seems a little disappointed, "We did all that, for an apple?!" Though honestly, Hansel didn't do much but eat and trip but whatever -_-

Nonetheless, TEQ is impressed, especially with Gretel and creepily reaches out for her (heart), murmuring that she has a "strong heart." Clearly she is considering adding Gretel to her heart collection -_- but decides against it at the last moment. After all, Gretel "reminds me of myself at your age."

eeheh...I just had to include this because TEQ's face is so funny here ^0^

She tells them that this is no ordinary apple, it is for a particularly devious and dangerous enemy, who thinks she is safe from her grasp. She locks the apple away in a box as Gretel demands she find their father for them, like she promised.

TEQ wonders why they would want to return to a father who abandoned them. How about they stay with her instead? She would give them everything their heart desired, their own rooms, valets, carriages, everything. Hansel looks tempted *sigh* but to TEQ's surprise, Gretel firmly refuses, saying they want nothing but their father, who she is certain would never abandon them willingly. Furthermore, they would never want to live with someone as terrible as the TEQ. They'll find their father with out without her help.

Obviously this does not sit well with TEQ, "We'll see about that" and magically whisks them away.

Back in Storybrooke, Henry reminds Emma (again) that the twins cannot leave town without something bad happening. Emma reluctantly tells him that she must, there is nothing else she can do. Right on cue, as the car reaches the town border the engine stalls. Emma gets out her cell to call for help.

TEQ watches Snow hanging out with her posse with a genuinely (hilarious) baffled expression, "Now she's cavorting with dwarves? When did that happen?"

A moment later her soldiers arrive with her new prisoner, the woodcutter, who is demanding she let him go. His children were left in the woods and they may be in danger. She mocks him for leaving them with nothing but a compass, a compass that didn't help them find him anyway.

Then she turns vulnerable and asks him why his children refused her when she offered them everything - all because of "their blind faith in you." The woodcutter replies simply, "Because we're a family and family always finds one another." There is a moment when we see TEQ's eyes fill with tears and we know that though she hasn't cast the Dark Curse yet, her heart yearns for love. She orders her soldiers to release him and tells him to go back to his happy family - if he can find them.

Elsewhere, the children wake up in a strange wood. Hansel is scared but Gretel tells him that it will be alright. She holds the compass in one hand and takes his hand as they set off to find their father.

The camera pans out and we see that the children are stranded in what seems to be an vast and endless forest....

As Emma waits for help, inside the car, Eva notices the needle of the compass begin to move and it swings to point to an approaching tow truck.

Outside, Emma tells him that the car is fine (ooooOOO tricky) and that she wanted Michael to see them just once. She understands how scared he is, she was scared when Henry barreled back into her life too. However, once she got to know him and saw how much he needed her, she couldn't leave him. Despite everything, Michael is drawn to the car and after watching the kids look at him with puppy eyes ^^ he says that Emma doesn't need to take them to Boston after all.

Emma tells MMarg it all turned out okay and they marvel at how it must feel to be reunited with their father. Emma wonders what it must full like and confesses that she thinks that maybe she should stop looking for her parents. After all, if they wanted to her to find them, they wouldn't have made it so hard. MMarg tells her to give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe there were just extreme circumstances that she isn't aware of yet. Emma scoffs and says that it sounds like Henry's crazy theory of who her parents are and the pair chuckle over the absurd possibility of MMarg of being Emma's mom.

Feeling pensive, Emma says she wants a breath of air, grabbing a manila folder on her way out. MMarg finishes putting away her clothes when Emma's baby blanket catches her eye. She admires how beautifully made it is and almost against her will, raises it to her face as though lost in it's scent and memories. She quickly snaps out of it and continues with her tasks, shaking her head over her foolishness.

Outside, as Emma peruses the file she has kept of herself in her search for her parents, Henry pop up bearing pumpkin pie. Very sweet I must admit ^_^ He thanks Emma for telling him about his father (I know this is going to be trouble later) and hugs her warmly. Emma can't bear to tell Henry she lied and quickly turns to the pumpkin pie.

Suddenly a strange man on a motorcycle carrying a mysterious box rides up and asks if there is a place to stay in town. Shocked, Henry asks if he's planning on staying, which he is. Emma directs him to Granny's and is coolly told that she doesn't know his name because he didn't give it. He rides off leaving the pair baffled. When Emma skeptically comments that she though nobody came or left Storybrooke, Henry insists that they don't.

Can we just say that E.Caulfield was an awesome Blind Witch!? It was just a short cameo but she did a great job and she was eerily beautiful yet horrifying with her milky blue-white eyes and sweet, girlish voice. It was hugely more effective than having the cliched old lady crackling in the corner. I haven't been this creeped out since the Pale Man from Pan's Labyrinth (a must-see btw!).

Pale Man, Blind Witch - they both eat kids and use food to lure them in *shiver* It's a pity we won't be seeing anymore of her. Unless she used her magic to douse the flames or you know, magic herself out of the oven like a witch should? Movie magic does seem awfully convenient sometimes... -_-

As for Rumpel, not much of him this time around, but the blank card was a subtle reminder of his otherworldly powers and knowledge of Storybrooke. His helpfulness also underscores how mysterious his goals are, clearly he wanted Emma to reunite the family (and weaken the curse). Though why he wants to do this is still a big question mark.

Naturally, the biggest question now is who oh who is The Stranger!? Episode 10 (airs in 5 hours!), doesn't seem like it'll reveal who he is but looking at the plot pre-releases, I'm guessing it's someone related to the Aladdin (Genie is in Episode 11) or Beauty & the Beast (Belle is in Episode 12). I'm guessing Gaston or Beast, though I'm leaning towards Gaston since The Stranger seems rather cocky and good looking in a stuck up sort of way.

Anyway, Episode 10 in a few hours and it's supposed to be about Charming & Snow so yah! Can't wait to see how James wiggles out of his arranged marriage :}


  1. I can't wait to see Ep. 10 either. So excited the show returned its focus on Charming and Snow.

  2. i missed it darn....but thank you so much for recaps they are a godsend


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