Hook: “You know something, Swan? Whenever you’re around, I inevitably find myself tracking through some manner of woods or forest courting danger.”
Emma: “Here I thought you weren’t afraid of anything, always looking for the next adventure.”
Hook: “Oh is that what this is?”
David gets some character development this week as he confronts not only his guilt over abandoning Emma twice, but also his fear in raising his new child when he doesn’t know how to be a father. Meanwhile Emma is back in full sheriff mode with Hook, tracking down the Wicked Witch the old-fashioned way (or should magic be the real old “old-fashioned” way)? The main storyline with Zelena’s motivations slowly reveals itself, and although there are some nice moments, and a clever take on what the Wicked Witch is after, there was just a little something off about this whole episode after last week’s fantastic hour.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, David is roaming the castle’s hall and stumbles upon Emma’s nursery, which should not be there since this is Regina’s castle, so we know this is a dream. And it turns out to be quite a disturbing dream. Emma appears in full princess gown regalia, which honestly I had been hoping for the writers to come up with a good excuse to put Jennifer Morrison in a gown because we see her so much in hard leather jackets. Anyways, she’s gorgeous and talking to David about needing to get ready for the ball by getting some dance lessons. Normally I enjoy Emma/David bonding moments immensely because I’m amazed how well Josh Dallas is able to convey an authentic fatherly vibe towards a person who’s the same age, but here because they’re the same age, it came off slightly… non-father/daughter-ish. Then Emma turns cold and tells him this never happened, because he failed her. Then her unicorn mobile starts whirling, doll heads start spinning, and she gets pulled into the magic wardrobe where she shouts, “Don’t fail the next one!”
David awakens and finds Snow in a good mood, and then she tells him she’s pregnant. He looks stunned obviously since his nightmare dream turned out to be a prophecy (but c’mon David, look at Snow’s belly). Then he goes to the place all men go when they find out their wives are pregnant, to the stables to get a drink from his secret flask. Robin Hood pops in to stash his gold-tipped arrows that Regina gave him for his help in breaking into the castle (damn Regina, that’s more of a 3rd date gift) and shares a drink with David. (Don’t worry, Hook, it’s only because you’re not there with David. You’re not being replaced as Charming’s bromantic partner.)
David tells Robin Hood that he is afraid of being a father this time and feels dread, and Robin tells him of a magic night root filled with diamonds in a haunted forest (of course) that will let him overcome all his fear. David immediately decides to go for it, because magic never comes with a price, right? He sets off immediately and finds the root amazingly fast, but then hears a scream from a nearby tower and goes to investigate.
Why it’s a woman with incredibly long hair put in a braid draped down the tower. She asks him if he’s a prince, and he asks if she’s a princess. But really Storybrooke-educated David should know immediately that she is Rapunzel, but then again this does get confusing when you think about it because if he read about her, this means her story already occurred, right? My head hurts. Rapunzel reveals that her parents rule a kingdom and that she ran away because she was afraid she wouldn’t be as good as them and her brother was next in line but he died. She tells him coming to get the root was the greatest mistake of her life, and that she can’t escape because a witch has her trapped inside.
Right on cue, the witch arrives and climbs the tower. David goes into hero mode and attempts to kill it, but it turns out he can’t because the witch is actually Rapunzel – or rather Rapunzel’s fear manifested. He tells Rapunzel to face her fears, but Rapunzel says she doesn’t want to leave. Let me get this straight, she says that coming to get the root was a huge mistake, but now she also doesn’t want to leave? Man, Rapunzel’s kind of a wuss. After getting thrown from the tower David tells Rapunzel to “cut her fear away” (hint hint) and she then cuts her hair and then her fear falls off the tower. Too easy. Rapunzel then tells David that her brother died saving her life, and she was afraid to face her parents. But he tells her they’ll forgive her because they’re her family. And then magically he brings her back home to her parents’ kingdom… which is where, exactly, since most everything was destroyed in the curse? And why are Regina and Snow awaiting them in that kingdom while Rapunzel’s parents are in shock to see their daughter? How did they know to be there before David? I just felt they shoehorned this story in just to use a popular fairy tale.
David admits to Snow that he is afraid he won’t be a good father because he didn’t raise Emma, but Snow reassures him that they will do everything together like they always do. It’s a good thing that David was able to face his fears without taking that root, and everything will turn out okay. Except that it won’t, because David’s fears follow him back to Storybrooke.
In the pow wow at Snow’s apartment, Snow, Charming, Regina, Emma and Hook make plans to track down the Wicked Witch. And we know Emma’s in righteous investigative mode because she’s got the sheriff’s jacket back on. Regina suggests that whatever they do, someone has to take care of Henry. So you’re tracking down a really powerful witch, so let’s send two humans and the savior who hasn’t been practicing magic for a while to do the bulk of the work.
Cut to Rumplestiltskin in his little jail spinning straw. He’s not the same as he was last week, slightly more Gold this time, but he’s still not his usual dark self. Zelena reveals to the audience how she is controlling him – his dagger – and he expects her to kill him. But she wants him alive and “keeping up appearances,” so she shaves his beard with his dagger, telling him basically that she had to do this for her father because he was a drunk and couldn’t do it himself, and reminiscing how both she and Rumple both looked on the outside how they were on the inside. She “accidentally” knicks him with the blade and draws blood, in what is the fastest and cleanest shave without shaving cream in human history. Then she heads to the pawn shop, sweet talks Belle and then magic-freezes her before opening Gold’s safe with his blood and taking that very same night root stored in a jar. At least her giant green gemstone is obscured – so there’s no way to think she’s the Wicked Witch. You know, other than she’s completely new to the town.
David, Emma and Hook are in Regina’s office being very CSI when David notices a footprint with holly berries. He recognizes this plant growing by the T(r)oll Bridge and they get ready to set off when David gets a call from Snow telling him they need to meet the midwife. David seems especially hesitant about leaving the investigation, but Emma tells him to go and he shoots one last look at Hook and Emma like he’s leaving his teenage daughter home alone with a boy on a school night.
Snow meanwhile is way too trusting of Zelena, who pulls off the Mary Poppins vibe very well. David arrives and Snow doesn’t like that David doesn’t seem to be enjoying this. Zelena offers to make tea, and then David and Snow try to have a super-secret conversation behind Zelena’s back when they are very much talking directly in front of Zelena. She crushes part of the night root in David’s tea, and then asks him to reveal his fears about the baby because she knows they lost a daughter the first time. David says he has no fears and then (no, David, don’t do it!) drinks the cup. Why does no one think to make a census of all the new people in town who weren’t there previously? And then someone can freak out a la Lost when someone who wasn’t on the manifest disappears? But no, Zelena claims to have been a friend of Johanna – you know – Snow’s nanny that appeared and died within the same episode before so she can’t verify the claim.
Regina takes Henry on a tour of the town, and he admits that NYC is too crowded and that he suspects that Emma pulled him to Storybrooke for more than just a case and that she wanted to escape. He says that she would never have allowed him to miss school and that he liked Walsh because he made his mom happy, and he would have liked a bigger family during the holidays. Regina tells him that she’s sure he’ll have a bigger family before he knows it. No kidding. Guess what, Henry? Your adopted mom is the Evil Queen, your adopted aunt is the Wicked Watch, your grandfather is Rumple “the Dark One” Stiltskin, and oh, your mom is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Be careful what you wish for.
Hook and Emma are in the woods with the berries and having their adorable banter until things get serious when Emma mentions the adventures Hook must have been on before he decided to come save her. Hook concurs and then Emma whirls on him and tells him he’s lying and wants to know what he’s hiding from her. Methinks he went to find her a good deal earlier than when a magical bird told him to. (I’m guessing he went the day after arriving back in the Enchanted Forest). But Hook sticks to his story and tells her he saved her from what would have been a loveless marriage, and then asks if she was seriously considering marrying Walsh. And we get another trademark Captain Swan moment where Hook steps in closer, but unfortunately it gets a little too overwhelmed by their theme music. (Yeah I think they’ll be dragging this resolution out until the end of the season.) And then Hook and Emma find themselves in Kansas.
Emma: “But as usual, he wasn’t who he said he was, and I got my heart broken again. Enough humor for you?”
Hook: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m glad to hear you say that.”
Emma: “You’re glad to hear I got my heart broken?”
Hook: “If it can be broken, it means it still works.”
Is this a beautiful landscape or what? Emma and Hook sneak closer to the farmhouse completely coated in snow, and Emma reveals some of her bail bondswoman tactics by sneaking around before she almost shoots the lock off a storm cellar. Hook stops her and reasons that sneaking around a farmhouse is one thing, but going down a one-way hole in the ground or unlocking a barrel of (flying) monkeys is not the best idea. Also shooting a lock? I think that will give away your position to anyone in the farmhouse. He wants to get some magical reinforcements, which is logically the best thing to do if we didn’t know that Rumplestiltskin was locked in there.
David arrives near the bridge to rejoin Hook and Emma, and brings his sword, which is strangely adorable because he thinks he can defeat the Wicked Witch that way. But then we see the same hooded figure that he faced with Rapunzel following him. He calls Emma telling her he found the witch and is going for it. But it’s not the witch, it’s his own fear manifested. And we get two Prince Charmings for the price of one. David’s sword gets broken, and he says he’ll die to protect his family, but his fear wants him to admit what he is afraid of. David finally says he’s afraid he won’t be a good father, but that won’t stop him. And David plunges his broken blade into his fear doppelganger, which conveniently disappears in a poof of smoke right when Emma and Co. arrives.
David tells them it wasn’t the witch, it was his fear, something he never even admitted to Snow. Regina looks concerned and wants to know more and what happened to his sword. David tells them it disappeared, and then Regina tells him the Wicked Witch is setting them up and stole his courage. So if we’re thinking The Wizard of Oz, this has to mean that three other people will face trials with their heart, brains and home. Wild speculation time. I want to say we can rule Hook out, because he was on his ship the whole year so Zelena doesn’t know who he really is. Regina could be heart because of Henry, Emma could be home because of her fractured memories, but she could also be heart… but then who could be brains?
Back to the story, the gang arrives at the cellar, but someone busted the lock. Regina feels dark magic and then David turns the light on and reveals a spinning wheel, so now they know Rumplestiltskin is back. Hook looks slightly dismayed, but Regina looks a little too happy – deviously happy – that he is alive.