August is back! That was the biggest news about this episode; we had to wait long for Pinocchio to return after he went off in the season finale of S1 (or premiere of S2, depends on how you look at it), and was only seen in flashbacks ever since. Now he’s finally back… but again, not for long…
I admit that I thought of that episode as slightly confusing. Also, while I was happy that August is back, the lack of Rumple and more or less also Regina (she showed up briefly, but didn’t play a bigger role in that ep) sort of made the whole episode not that interesting. It still was, of course, but… I don’t know, I get that feeling that the two Rs indeed carry this show a bit.
Anyways. We start off in Phuket. It’s October 24th, 2011, 8.15am. And August wakes up in pain when his leg suddenly starts turning to wood. Looking it up, my first thought was confirmed when I saw that Oct. 24th, 2011 at 8.15pm was exactly the date and time Emma decided to stay in Storybrooke… and thus made time progress again.
Still trying to grab the logic behind that. August was never affected by the Curse; so why does Emma half-breaking it has any effect on him? My only idea here would be that the Curse not only put FTL’s/SB’s residents’ lives on hold – but also magic. Therefore the consequence of August not being as good as the Blue Fairy had once demanded him to be can only hit him once magic is “active” again, or at least active in our world.
August’s biggest problem is one we already know from his encounters with Emma – only those who believe (and know?!) can see his wooden leg. So of course his girlfriend, or affair, or whatever she is, can’t – nor can the doctors at the hospital he goes to. And yes, I shut my eyes out of reflex when he rammed the scalpel into his leg. Ouch! ^^
So I don’t know how it is handled in Hong Kong (no idea how he got there – that’s where I have to criticize the show a bit, because that’s one hell of a time jump, as this is supposed to be several weeks later, and you wonder what took him so long… and so far), but the doctor’s reaction was a bit… overreacted. Sure did August do something awful, what with the scalpel in his leg, but obviously feeling no pain (and not bleeding either I guess), but he had him being chased by security like he was a mass murderer. I actually expected more behind that and was almost a bit disappointed when there wasn’t.
Surely the guy who then helped August wasn’t behind that. Or at least I very much doubt that, since there was no indication to that. So the whole chase was a bit too much for my taste; maybe they wanted to bring in more drama with that, by to my mind that was unnecessary.
August is sent to a man named “The Dragon”, obviously some kind of (witch) doctor who is supposed to be able to help. And here is where it gets interesting – at the Doctor’s, August meets Tamara, of all people. Of course he doesn’t know her (still not so sure about the other way around); but that’s gonna change soon.
The Dragon tells August that he can help him – but he’ll need a talisman (the whale necklace I think his father made him?!) and 10.000 Dollars. American Dollars, of course. Money August doesn’t have. Desperate he leaves, goes into a bar – and comes across Tamara. Who has the money. But as she says, she also has cancer, a hopeless case, and her last hope is the Dragon.
Here comes the part where I’m not sure that they only met by chance. Because I wouldn’t leave my bag to be watched by a stranger I’ve just met, especially not when before I’ve more or less shown said stranger that I have a huge bundle of money in that bag. But that’s exactly what she does when her phone rings. It would have been easy to just grab her bag (more a purse) and take it with her when she goes into another corner of the bar. Instead, she leaves it there as enormous temptation for August. And he falls for it. He grabs the money and runs away. Which is of course very bad for his conscience (where’s Archie when you need him?) and doesn’t make his situation better, in any way.
Shortly after he buys the potion, a magical one obviously, all pink and sparkling… something we’ve seen a few times in Rumple’s hands. So I know, technically, that Rumple can’t be there. He’s in SB and can’t leave; even if he can remember by now, since he supposedly remembered the moment Emma decided to stay (if not earlier, this is yet open for explanation). But I very much doubt that he can be in Hong Kong – especially since we saw earlier this season that he’s never set a foot on a place before, and whatever magic there is in SB when Emma weakens the Curse with her arrival would never be enough to “teleport” himself somewhere. And if nothing else, the Dragon is dead, so he simply can’t be Rumple.
Nevertheless this strange feeling that there’s more to the Dragon than meets the eye; that maybe he’s from FTL after all, or one of the other magical lands, or that he has some connection to them. Maybe even a connection to Mulan? It should be very weird to have someone who is able to use/produce (whatever it is we don’t know) magic, but has no connection whatsoever to FTL.
Intriguing is also what the Dragon tells August when he gives him the potion – maybe the magical elixir can help him with his leg, help him with staying human and not turning to wood. But he can only heal himself. And he is right. All August had to do was to stay unselfish, brave and truthful; to help people, help Emma, be a good man. Of course that’s a lot easier said than done, and I guess more so in our world than in FTL.
On the other hand I doubt that it would help now – the damage is probably already done, so even if he would become completely “good” (as in, selfless, brave and true, like the ep title says), it could still be too late and thus useless. So his last hope is indeed the potion – that, however, Tamara comes to get back. And does get back, leaving behind an August winding in pain in an alley.
Tamara meanwhile returns to the Dragon – and now, at the latest, know that she’s much more than just a woman seeking help and being maybe as desperate, if not more, as August because of her illness. Especially since there is no illness – no cancer, nothing. She just wanted the potion – she wanted the magic of it because it is, as she says, “rare in this world”. Finding it has not been easy.
Which leaves me with the question – how does she know about it to start with? Because of Greg? Will come to that later, but it could be a reason… It wouldn’t explain though why she is so eager to find and get magic. Of course power could be a reason; the things one could do with magic, something we otherwise don’t have in our world. Or… well, or they don’t want magic at all. Quite the contrary, they want to get rid of it for some reason. Yes, I’m completely missing this reason; this is all so shady and unclear that it yet doesn’t make any sense to be honest. Because suddenly we see Tamara kill the Dragon with a taser – special one, as Adam explained after then episode when people started complaining that a taser is an extremely lame way. And when Tamara does, she says that she “can’t risk anyone else finding [him]”. And his magical abilities I guess.
Again I can only ask why because so far there is no reason at all that has at least been hinted at. To be honest this drives me crazy, because either it’s very well planned and written, or not entirely thought through so that the solution will be not the best.
In today’s SB we have two plots that come together. One is about the Charmings, the other about Tamara, Neal, Emma and more or less also Henry.
Once again we see that Bae and Henry get along very well, which I don’t get tired of just loving. They are too adorable. And I think that the closer these two grow, the more the dynamics will change, between Rumple and the Charmings, between Emma and Neal, between Henry and Rumple, and so on.
Right now, we have other problems thought. Neal (this is getting confusing, the switching between his both names…) confesses that he’s invited Tamara to come to SB, also because he needs some things from his apartment. Emma is everything but happy about that development, and surely this is not just about Neal turning SB “into a freaking theme park”. Which I thought was interesting as a reaction – despite her obviously still not full acceptance of her real identity, she’s nevertheless quite protective of SB’s residents, regarding their background. She does recognize the risk and danger for SB that comes from strangers.
But of course she also doesn’t want Tamara there because she still clearly has feelings for Neal. And by the way – we don’t learn that here, but I’d really like to know what Rumple thinks of Tamara, his daughter-in-law-to-be. When they were in Manhattan, it very much seemed like he’d actually ship Emma/Bae; maybe because he thinks Henry needs a real family (and a father!), maybe because he does see the love between his son and Emma, or maybe because it would fit into his plans, what with reconciling with the Charming family and all, but in any way don’t I imagine him being happy about his son’s choice. Well, he sure won’t be once they get to know the real Tamara.
For now, Neal still believes that his fiancee is just a normal human and good person, and invites Emma to stay and wait to then get to know Tamara better. Emma’s not happy – I wouldn’t be either – and advises Neal to tell Tamara the truth about who he is – before she finds out herself.
Really I’m not sure if this is the best advice. How would you expect someone to react to such news? And why tell at all? Why not confront with tangible proof? Just telling doesn’t work, can’t work. Well, usually, when it’s completely news to someone. If not… well…
For now, we find Emma, Neal, Henry and Tamara eating bagles. In awkward silence. Until Henry asks how those two have met. And Tamara tells a nice little story about spilled coffee and a borrowed shawl… and Emma flees.
Tamara of course notices that there’s more between those two, and this is where it gets suspicious; or should have, for Neal. He tells Tamara about his true identity – and all she does is accuse him of only wanting Emma. If I’d been Neal then my first reaction would have been: I just told you the craziest of stories and you only care about possible feelings I have for a woman I haven’t seen in 10 years and who didn’t tell me I have a son? (or something along those lines). All she Tamara shows is jealousy that doesn’t make sense, not even when she would ignore Neal’s words because they are too crazy.
The other thing is – when Tamara accuses Neal of still having feelings for Emma, that he wants to be with her, he never denies it. He only says that he doesn’t want to force Tamara away with what he tells her, but no word of defiance comes from him like one would expect it – like “not true, I don’t want to be with her, I don’t love her anymore” etc. pp.
The little side info we get in this whole scene is, in a half-sentence, that Hook was gone from the storage room Emma left him in. Question is – did Hook free himself, or was that Tamara? For all we know it’s very well possible that this is her doing; only that I’m not sure if she’d really let him run, or if she would use him in another way.
What I wondered was whether Tamara always knew that Neal is from FTL. I actually believed initially that them meeting only happened by chance, and she only later learned who he really is. That maybe she knew it before he told her in this ep, or that she even didn’t know and was shocked now, because she has some agenda to kill FTL people or whatever, and it would mean that she’s have to kill Neal as well.
Thankfully, at least that was answered – no, she always knew. Back in 2011, she watched a conversation between August and Neal in New York (did she follow August?), and then initiated the accidental meeting between her and Neal we heard about before – with the coffee and the shawl.
Here is where the stories merge, so we go into the other SB plot: the Charmings. We start with Emma playing the mother for Snow where it should be the other way around. When David prepares breakfast to bring it Snow to her bed, Emma objects, telling David that Snow needs to get up and get a grip of her life again. And surprisingly, Snow does get up (probably because after she’s heard Emma’s words) – but not to return to the others’ life, but to pack a bag and flee once again, this time also physically – she says she needs time to think things through and is off to go into the forest, away from everyone and everything. Not even David she wants with her.
Speaking of – David again proves that he has rather naive qualities when he tells Snow that the Beans are soon ready to be harvested. And that they can then return to their land (something Snow more than once has made she doesn’t want), which he believes will make everything better. Wow. Actually, I have to say that this isn’t naive; this is almost stupid. How is this gonna make everything better?
Besides that there isn’t really anything to make, and then on the other hand there is. But it is more a psychological problem than anything else. Snow’s “depression” – for the lack of a better word – I already criticized last time. It makes her a completely pitiful character, and while I’ve never been a fan of her, I now like her even less. She’s made a decision, and she knew she was making it; not to be able to live with it makes her worse a character than practically everyone else.
Alas, we needed her to go into the forest – to have her find August. In classic Snow fashion, this also finally brings her back into the “society”; brings her back to the daylight and stops her sulking and bathing in self pity for the moment.
How she finds him has me still puzzled. She shoots an arrow, missed the tree trunk… and hits August she didn’t even see? Something was odd (and off) in that scene and it took me a few moments (and rewatch-es of the scene) to at least half-get it. Maybe it was the editing, I don’t know. Doesn’t really matter, since it was only a bridge kind of scene, leading to Snow wondering what happened to the rest of her arrow (August broke it in two before he ran away, leaving the rest stuck in his leg) and following the alleged stranger – to find an old trailer. And inside it August. A very wooden August. He’s still in the condition Emma left him in the S1 finale, only that he now can move again. We learn that after the Curse was broken he was once again able to move, but remained wooden nevertheless.
Snow then reports that Neal/Bae is (back) in town, which brings August to ask a question about Emma and Neal, and their relationship, and… okay, why didn’t Snow wonder about how August knows Neal/Bae? That really confused me. August shouldn’t know Bae, because Bae left FTL long before the Curse, and there is no reason why Neal and August should know each other – or at the very least know who they really are because usually you don’t tell someone just like that. There is a lack of questioning that may be explained with Snow’s recent condition, but in general – well, for me it would have been the first question to ask. How does he know him? As far as I know, no one has any idea that Neal and August met before.
What the follows is a classic suggestive conversation. August says something that hits home with Snow, and she replies something that can be easily applied to her – it’s an advice she gives him, only to realize that in the end she’s first and foremost advising her. Actually when she was telling August that he needed to stop feeling sorry for himself I could only shake my head.
With a new task at hand, Snow suddenly forgets her depression and is her old, too-helpful self. August says that he doesn’t want to face his father like this, as the old man would “know” – know that Pinocchio was unfaithful to himself and what he had once promised to be. Snow of course thinks that he has to tell Gepetto nonetheless, and goes off right back into society. Huh? That easy? Seeing that before she spent two or three episodes lying in her self-pity, uh, bed, this was an extremely quick rehabilitation. Bit too quick.
This is where I got the feeling that even the writers by now find her a bit boring and rather “play” with the other characters because they are far more interesting. And they are. What’s there much for Snow at the moment? She’s killed Cora, will have to face Regina’s wrath (possibly) and her heart is turning black. Okay. But does it make her more interesting? Not really. I guess it comes from her whole “I am such a good person” act we got to know her with never worked for me to start with. People need edges, and hers were revealed only later on, showing that in some way, she is way worse than Regina or Rumple or anything else.
While Snow is talking to Gepetto and Emma – and the Blue Fairy who then tells them that she can’t do anything to help August – the wooden man himself gets another visitor – Tamara. By now we know that these two have met before, and of course Tamara, when she hears that August is (back) in town when Snow broadcasts it at Granny’s, has to fear that he will recognize her and maybe become suspicious.
So she makes a deal with him (sighs) – she never used all of the potion, there’s still something left, and it’s in her NY apartment. He just has to leave town and go there to get it. For August, there is no reason to stay, not at the moment at least, so he agrees. However, as soon as he sits in the car – which is Tamara’s – he finds prove that Tamara must have killed the Dragon because the talisman she gave the Chinese doctor, a photo of her and her grandma, is once again in her car. And how else should she have gotten it back?
So August turns around and heads back into SB to warn the others. Of course it would be too easy if that worked out.
Meanwhile the others are at his trailer only to find it empty. And Snow learns that Gepetto sent Pinocchio through the magical tree trunk, effectively taking Snow’s chance to be with her daughter. Snow slaps Gepetto when she hears that – and then blames her dark side. If this isn’t a nice excuse.
It’s also an interesting development (finally) regarding Snow – because obviously for now she’s unable to control this dark side in her whenever emotions boil up. She just hurts someone else or whatever fits the situation. If we think that through and consider where this could lead… Plus, question is – is this really a new side to Snow or has this always been waiting inside her? As we remember, she wasn’t the nicest child; quite the contrary, she was spoilt and arrogant. What if this dark side is just the now fully grown part that was suppressed back when she was a child and her mother died; when she promised to be good?
We all know that there’s always good and bad inside someone; that’s the whole premise of the show. There’s nothing one-sided, ever. And now Snow’s bad side resurfaces, but because it was sleeping/suppressed for so long, it may just be that much stronger and more… evil.
Back to August who arrives at the Sheriff’s station. Of course no one is around since they are looking for August, so all he can do is call Emma – unfortunately, as it always is, he just doesn’t say beware of Tamara, she’s an evil witch, but no, we have to take the long speech and… have it interrupted by Tamara cutting the line (or pulling the plug).
With August being as much a risk as the Dragon, his fate is pretty much decided – she “kills” him with the taser. He stumbles out of the station, right into the arms of Gepetto and Emma. And once again we get the long speech that never gets to the point in time (yes, this is getting old, really), so all he can say before he dies is “She is…”.
Now, I know this must come from us knowing the truth, but – for all their suspiciousness and carefulness, they never once consider the “she” to be someone who’s recently come to town, who they know nothing about?! There’s no reason to suspect Regina (and thankfully they don’t), but next to her, where is there still left? Who do they think could do this? At least Emma I expected to at least for a moment take into consideration that the stranger, may she be Neal’s fiancee, for all that’s worth, is the bad guy (girl) here, but no… nothing.
At least August is not gone for good… well. Henry notices that by sacrificing his own life to help them all he fulfilled his promise in the end, so he can still be saved – and indeed can the Blue Fairy “revive” him. However, only by turning him into a boy again. Big Reset Button I call that. Little Pinocchio can of course not remember what happened, and who he wanted to tell the others is the felon here.
To me, this solution was a bit cheap. I’m sorry, but the whole story, how this played out – first the two elaborate speeches that never got to the point in time, then the reset button, that’s a very simple way. I just hope that they’ll find some way to somehow reverse this all and bring August back – including his memories. Maybe they need him like this to bring him back in just the last second before something really terrible can happen due to Tamara.
Now, about Tamara. Adam has revealed that Tamara has no FTL identity. She’s definitely from our world. Which makes everything she does even more puzzling. But I had a thought. Maybe Tamara isn’t from FTL – but what if her grandmother was? She’s the only person so far we also know from Tamara’s life (apart from the obvious people). Maybe her grandmother was part of FTL and was banned or something like that. Was sent away, in whatever way and for whatever reason, and had to live her life in our world, away from magic and everything she knew. It’s possible she was so angry at whoever did this to her that she raised her granddaughter with all that knowledge – and a mission: to once have revenge in her name.
Admittedly that would be very drastic, seeing as Tamara seems to kill the FTL characters at random. But maybe she has a certain target and until she finds it she has to take care of everyone who could come into her way – like the Dragon, or now August. Casualties of war, in some way.
Which brings me to think that those who are really in danger at the moment are the ones with true magical powers – namely Rumple, Regina, even Emma… and who else should be the real big target her than Rumple? Then, however there were pictures of the finale shoot that showed someone else in Tamara’s and Greg’s hands…
Little thought on the side: People who don’t know and believe probably see August as a normal man of flesh and blood. Only he and the FTL people (and I guess Tamara) see him as wood. I wonder what difference it makes for him, and technically also for everyone else. Okay, so of course it would make a huge difference for him, but what about associates who don’t know of that condition? I’m thinking of basic things here, like eating and… stuff 😉 I really wonder how this would look to an outsider, and at which point they’d realize that something’s not right.
Okay, last bit: Tamara and Greg (who was remembered to be Owen by Regina, btw, and whose father Regina claims is not in SB anymore – I believe her, to be honest) not only know each other, something I suspected before – they are lovers. Apart from being a tad disgusted by that scene when they, um, devour each other, I just thought: yup, they deserve each other.
So finally we know who “her” on Greg’s phone is. But then this means that all this was a big plan. They always wanted to come to SB (okay, not so surprising), and Greg was probably sent by Tamara because she couldn’t know whether August would be there, among the others, when she appeared and he’d recognize her.
Plus I don’t think she ever planned for Bae to come to SB; this must be a problem. Now they’ve been together for what, two years almost? Would she really kill him? Where is this gonna go? Tamara and Greg have to be psychopaths to be willing and ready to kill just like that. Oh yes, I’m definitely looking forward to that explanation.
This may be a bit too early to speculate about it, but I had some thoughts on Bae, Hook and Emma I just couldn’t get rid of. It’s pretty much obvious that Emma and Bae are still in love with each other. It’s also no secret that Hook fancies Emma, in whatever way. The latter may not be that serious, though I do believe that there is some truth to all his innuendo; I wrote my extended analysis and opinion on that in an earlier review.
Now Hook is about to return, and Bae is still there (and hopefully soon without any need to worry about Tamara, at least romantically). And: they know each other. I doubt that’s a one-sided thing; they have to know each other, especially since we by now more or less have the confirmation that Bae spent a good while in Neverland before he came to our world. However, it didn’t seem like they were on good terms or even friends; more like enemies.
Count in that to the whole triangle we could get between Hook/Emma/Bae will make it much more interesting; a lot more than it already is, because yes, I still ship Captain Swan, even though I absolutely love the thought of Swanfire as they are adorable, and much more than they were back then IMO.
Then we have the fact that Bae is not only Hook’s enemy (possibly), but also the Crocodile’s son, and the father of Emma’s son as well as the father of the Crocodile’s grandson… and this will make for one hell of a messed up family… again. In addition to that Hook will probably tell Bae what happened to his mother the moment he finds out who Milah was for Bae.
Then there’s another two small moments: One, Henry forgives Emma. Not a big scene, just a short moment. Guess there was not much more needed. But, with Henry finally being on good terms with both his parents… who’s to say that he won’t try to play matchmaker?
The other thing is that Snow tells Charming what she did – that she went to Regina. Immediately he reprimands her – Regina could have killed her. Only that this is what she wanted, she tells him – and then reveals that her heart has started to darken. David, always the optimist, believes that there are other paths to redemption than the one August has to take. Me? Not so much. But we shall see. This is going to be a long path, in any way…