Another week another rerun-free Once Upon A Time. Could there be anything better? Well, maybe St. Paddy's day but that's a different story. This week promised the return of Jamie Dornan as Sheriff Graham and of evil Regina. OUAT delivered on the first promise and reneged on the second. Read on to see what I mean in this week's recap/review of 'Welcome to Storybrooke'.
Flynn is camping in the woods with his young son, Owen. He’s teaching Owen how to make a plastic keychain braid and gives him a leather one of his own. Suddenly the curse rolls through and they are forced to ride out the storm in their tent. In the morning they wake up to find that a whole town has magically appeared and their car now has a tree implanted on it.
It’s the 80’s baby
It’s 1983 in Storybrooke and Regina wakes up to find that her curse has worked. Everything is perfect and everyone is unhappy except for her. Their isn’t a thing wrong until Flynn and his son roll into town and ask for a room. This makes Regina uneasy. She doesn’t know them and is worried that they might jeopardize her curse. She makes plans to get Flynn’s car fixed as soon as possible so that they can leave the town but Owen starts to grow on Regina. He gives her the plastic keychain braid he made which brings a smile to Regina’s face.
It’s a welcome relief. As time has gone by, Storybrooke begins to become like Groundhog Day for Regina. Everyday is the same and everybody does what she wants them to do and now the thrill of the chase is gone. She wants something more so she invites Flynn and his son to dinner.
Regina finds out that Owen has recently lost his mother and is unhappy with his life in New Jersey. Seeing her opportunity, she invites them to live in Storybrooke for good but Flynn says no. Naturally, Regina isn’t pleased even though Regina is sleeping with Sheriff Graham and the world is her oyster. She’s still too desperate and insecure to let them go, so she speaks to Sheriff Graham’s heart and directs him to arrest Flynn for drunk driving and bring them back to her. Unfortuately for her, Flynn came by to say goodbye and he heard everything she said and he even saw the heart.
Just as he’s about to bolt, Graham tackles him and tries to arrest him but Flynn escapes by knocking over the heart in the box, crippling Graham to the floor. Flynn and Owen speed off in their truck.
Then a dangerous car chase ensues, which is weird because for someone who just wants to love Owen, Regina came pretty close to killing him with Sheriff Graham’s erratic driving. Flynn and Owen almost make it out of town but Graham and Regina head them off at the border. Flynn tells Owen to run and he does but he turns around not wanting to leave his father. Regina confronts him and sincerely says that she just wanted him to stay but Owen says, “not like this.” Its then that Regina realizes she’s made a grave error and she lets Owen go but for some reason, she keeps Flynn. I wonder why?
Owen comes back with the authorities much later but they can’t find the town of Storybrooke. Regina has cloaked it so that no one else can ever come in. Owen then, vows to find his father.
Back to the Future
In Present day Storybrooke, Regina is saying goodbye to her recently deceased mother when Rumplestiltskin drops by. He tries to convince her to abandon her vengeance and to just be happy with Henry because she can’t have both but Regina is defiant to the end. She hasn’t learned anything.
Rumple leaves to warn Emma, Herny, David and Snow while Regina remains in a spiral of sorrow. She rips her mother’s clothing and finds a spell hidden inside one of them. It’s the curse of the empty hearted. It’s basically a love spell that adheres to the rules of magic by making a person think that they’re in love without actually making them fall in love. It’s a clever way to cheat the laws and Regina plans on using it on Henry.
To counteract this, Emma and Baelfire come up with a plan for Bae to take Henry away to New York to save him while they kill Regina. Upon hearing this, Henry pretends to go to the bathroom and pulls a disappearing act, running away into the woods.
As he’s running, he bumps into the Greg Mendel. Mendel takes a picture of Henry’s bag unbeknownst to him and gets Regina’s number. He gives Regina a call and alerts her to Henry’s location. Meanwhile, the good gang figures out that Henry has gone to the mines and gotten dynamite. He’s going to use it to destroy magic at its source, the well.
Regina finds Henry first, just as he’s about to blow up the well. She magically makes the dynamite disappear and she tries to explain why the spell is good for them. Just then Emma and the gang show up. There is a standoff, with each side trying to lure Henry to them. Henry refuses to choose. He is of the opinion that magic makes people evil and that Emma and the gang are just as guilty as Regina. He’s unable to convince Regina to get rid of magic but he does convince her to burn up the spell. At the end Regina is left alone again as Henry returns to Emma.
Not So Pure
With the spell no longer a threat, Rumple doesn’t have to stand guard over Snow any more but Snow doesn’t want to be protected. She goes to Regina’s house alone and asks her to kill her because she can’t live with the guilt of killing Cora. Regina is tempted and fully admits that she doesn’t learn from her mistakes, so she takes Snow’s heart. Before she crushes it, she notices it has a dark blemish on it and she shows it to Snow. In killing Cora, Snow has darkened herself and Regina figures the best revenge now is to let Snow destroy herself. She puts the heart back in Snow’s body and orders her on her way.
In the distance, Mendel is once again using his phone to record everything. He gets in his car and a leather braid is visible on his keychain. He is Owen.
1. A Star Wars reference came up again. When Flynn was showing Owen how to do a plastic keychain braid, Owen said, “Green and red like Luke and Darth’s light sabers.” This can only mean one thing, Oncers. Once Upon A Time is preparing us for the entrance of the Skywalkers. Either that or this was just an early clue that the kid is actually Mendel. Remember, Mendel’s ringtone is the Star Wars theme. Also remember that OUAT is owned by Disney who also owns daaa-daaa-dunta-da-da-da, the Star Wars franchise. We’ll see what happens.
2. Is it really a bad thing to let your enemy destroy itself? They make it seem evil but technically Regina’s not hurting anybody. She’s just letting nature take its course. I don’t think you can call that evil. I'd call it smart.
3. Jamie Dornan as Sheriff Graham is still unbelievably hot. That is all.
This episode gets a 3.5 on my scale. Unfortunately, the site doesn't allow half stars. The episode was good but for some reason, I don't have the urge to watch it over and over again and that's enough for 3.5 stars instead of 4. It's not for lack of great acting and excellent writing. It's just that somehow, this episode is vaguely memorable yet still somehow necessary. Go figure.
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