Once Upon a Time: Manhattan
by Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)
Welcome back to our favorite fairy tale! This episode was more heavily focused on Mr. Gold / Rumpelstiltskin, which happens to be many people’s favorite character. Gold, Emma and Henry land in New York and go to the place they believe Gold’s son, Bae, lives. After finding someone that could be him, Emma gives chase and catches the would-be Bae, only to find out that Bae is actually Neal, from the episode Tallahassee. He also happens to be Henry’s biological father (we’ll refer to him as Bae going forward), but Emma doesn’t mention their son. Bae and Emma go to a bar to talk and Emma tells him that he has to take him back or he knows what Gold will do. Bae tells her to say he lost her and that will be that.
Emma returns to Gold with the news, but he isn’t going to just hop on the next flight to Storybrooke. So he goes to Bae’s apartment and breaks in. While searching the apartment, Gold realizes Emma lied to him. Before Gold can retaliate, Bae enters. The truth comes out that Bae is Henry’s father, sending Henry to run out as Emma, too, has now lied to him. Gold tells Bae he wants to talk, and if he doesn’t, he knows what will happen to Emma. So they have a brief conversation to which Bae says Gold let him go, abandoning him, and now he’s doing the same.
Back in Fairytale Land past, we see Gold who is able to go to war to prove himself a man for his wife. While in camp, he’s asked to guard a wagon which contains something that will help them win the war. Upon examining further, the wagon contains a seer. She tells Gold that if he goes to war, he will lose his life. In an attempt to get out of the war, he takes a sledge hammer to his leg, thus breaking it (and the reason for his limp and cane). He’s able to return home to a wife who has given birth. She’s disgusted that he injured himself on purpose to get out of the war and now everyone knows he is a coward and their son will grow up with that shame.
He finds the seer again after he becomes “The Dark One,” and tells her that she didn’t give him all the details of his future and now his life is the way it is. She tells him it would have been the same regardless. So Rumple takes her power of seeing the future from her and she dies in the process. Just before she passes, she tells him that he’ll meet his son again but a young boy will be his ultimate undoing. Rumple’s response: I’ll just have to kill him then. A quick jump back to Manhattan where we see Gold looking at Henry, now knowing that this is the boy that was foretold!
In Storybrooke, with Emma and Gold gone, Regina and Cora put a plan into action. The goal is to find the black dagger that Gold has hidden, which is the only thing that can kill him. The plan is to get the dagger and use Rumple to kill Charming, Snow and Emma, leaving Regina blameless in Henry’s eyes. Hook is able to decipher a map which should lead to the dagger and Regina pays a visit to Belle. She’s able to put Belle unconscious and uses magic right after in the room. Unbeknownst to Regina, Greg (who accidently entered the town) videos Regina doing the magic and sends it to someone through his cell phone!
Personally, I think Rumpelstiltskin is the most interesting character in the show. Maybe it’s the way Robert Carlyle plays both Rumple and Gold, but he feels a step above the rest in terms of his performance and garnishing the viewer’s attention. This episode now confirms that I was incorrect in thinking Bae would turn out to be Peter Pan (that would have been so much fun, though!). After this episode, does this mean Bae will remain an active member of the show? He does live in Manhattan, so is he willing to go to Storybrooke to be with his son? It’s not like we need another backstory to delve into. Not really sure where they’ll go from here with this arc.
As for those in Storybrooke, Regina is back to her evil ways. I kind of liked her switching to a “nicer” version of herself. And with Cora and Hook there, did there really need to be more bad guys? I worry about OUaT in that there are so many characters and the story is so vast, will it be able to maintain viewers’ attention season after season? When stories become so large, they can lose audience members. Look at Heroes. I guess we’ll see how it all plays out. Time to start watching those weekly Nielsen ratings.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars