Once Upon A Time: “Manhattan”

ROBERT CARLYLE

Grade: A

Airdate: 2/18/13

With all the hype and spending half an episode last week to set it up, I knew this was going to be a good episode of Once Upon A Time. There were a few technical errors and a plot twist that I had called but didn’t want to happen, but I will get to those later.

The episode starts in the Fairytale World with a non-limping, perfectly human Rumple (Robert Carlyle) exciting telling his wife Milah (Rachel Shelley) that he was called to fight in the Ogre War. Rumple says he wants the chance to prove his bravery and not end up like his father: the village coward.

This was definitely an episode that emphasized OUAT problem of having too many main characters and too many story lines than it knows what to do with. So jump to Storybrooke with Cora (Barbara Hershey), dressed in regular clothes,–which might have made her scarier I haven’t decided– talking to Regina (Lana Parrilla) about how she just wants to get Henry (Jared Gilmore) back. This was sad, broken sounding road to redemption Regina. The show needs to decided: can I like Regina or is evil and going to kill my favorite characters?

Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) somehow appears in Regina’s house and tells Cora now is there best chance to kill Rumple because he is powerless outside of Storybrooke. Cora tells him the dagger is more important and Regina suggests they talk to Belle (Emilie de Ravin) for attempt to keep her as part of the plot.

Meanwhile in New York City, Rumple, Henry and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) have tracked down Baelfire’s apartment. He tries to run after they buzz his room and Emma goes after him. She tackles him in an alley and it’s Neil (Michael Raymond-James). I knew the show was going to do this and it doesn’t make any sense. Bae/Neil was 14-years-old when he went through the portal. He was never anywhere time was frozen. So even if he was sent back the moment Regina enacted the curse–which he wasn’t it was way before that– he would be 42. Emma is 28, so they wouldn’t have been teenagers at the same time. Okay, rant is over. I’m just going to take Buzzfeed’s advice and hope Bae’s age is explained at some point.

Neil/Bae agrees to talk to Emma but doesn’t want to see his father. Emma is still rather mad at him for abandoning her. Abandonment and being reunited with your parents was the theme of this episode. He tells her that August (Eion Bailey) found him and told him he had to leave her. Two questions about August: 1) Where is he? 2) How did he know Neil was Baelfire? Neil/Bae says before August talked to him he didn’t know who Emma was. She thinks them meeting was all part of Rumple’s plan. Neil disagrees and thinks they were fated to meet because it wouldn’t have been what his father wanted. Neil/Bae says he doesn’t want to see Rumple and Emma leaves.

Back in the Fairytale World, Rumple is on the front lines and ordered to guard a captured seer, who has terrible CGI eyes on her hands but none on her face. She tells Rumple that he will have a son but he will die if he fights. The other soldiers tell him that the only way to go home alive is to get injured. Rumple then crushes his own foot with a sledge hammer. He is sent home and Milah, who tells him it would have been better if he died because their infant son, Baelfire, would have been better without a father than having a coward for one.

Emma gets back to Henry and Rumple and tells them she lost Bae. Rumple decides to break into his apartment with much protest from Emma. Rumple knows she is hiding something. She sends Henry away and they start screaming at each other. Bae then walks in and tells Rumple to leave Emma alone. Henry then walks in and after being questioned by Bae tells him he is 11-years-old.

Cue family re-unionization crazy: Emma apologizes to Henry for telling him that his father was dead. Henry and Bae meet for the first time. Bae refuses to accept Rumple’s apology after he offered to use magic to make up for it.

Some time has past in the Fairytale World and dark one Rumple runs into the seer, who had escaped and tells him how to find his son. She says he will need a curse, but he will not enact it or break it. He takes her powers when she can’t give him names because it is too hard to tell. She says he can try to figure it all out for himself, but adds there will be a boy who needs him. That boy will also be his undoing. Dark one Rumple says he will just have to kill. The last shot is of Rumple watching Bae and Henry talk on the fire escape in New York.

That was a good plot twist. The other twists come very quickly near the end of the episode. Cora, Regina and Hook found a map Belle had. Cora assumes it is to where Rumple hid is dagger. She wants it so they can control the Dark One and have him kill Emma, Snow and Charming. Pennsylvania Greg (Ethan Embry) also taped Regina using magic on Belle, so being exposed to the outside is still a problem too.

I guess I’ll get used to the idea of Neil and Bae being the same person. It does make that family tree of this show even more interesting, which Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming (Josh Dallas) discussed in their only scene in the episode. Next week’s episode will also focus on family as we meet Snow’s mom. I hope Young Snow isn’t in the episode too much, because she is really annoying.

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