All magic comes with a price. It seems we should have learned that lesson by now. However, the hard part is when that price comes from a liar.
Yep, Rumplestiltskin/Gold hasn’t changed a bit. He may pretend for Belle’s sake, but he’s still out for himself. And this episode proved it big time.
We begin in the past as a Dark One (pre-Rumple) attempts to get something. It’s the same something that Gold found in the opening episode of the season – a magic cylinder. That cylinder is guarded by an older looking man – the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. But he is only one line of defense, and that second line is a magic spell on the cylinder itself that will keep any Dark One from ever getting it. What and why aren’t explained – yet.
And that’s when our flashback catches up to Anna and Rumple. She approaches Rumple in an attempt to learn about her parent’s trip to the Enchanted Forest. However, he wants a deal. And the deal he wants is for Anna to poison the Apprentice.
She arrives, and she can’t do it, so she drops the poison in the fire and then returns to Rumple, claiming that she gave him the poison to drink. Only it was really the antidote to a poison that Rumple had given the Apprentice the day before. Since he didn’t drink it, he turned into a rat, leaving Rumple free to go back and get the cylinder.
Anna, naturally goes back as well, and that’s when she learns her real place in all this. To break the second enchantment on the cylinder, Rumple needs someone to look into the darkness of their heart and turn away from it – something no Dark One will ever be able to do. And Anna finally does that when she realizes how she has been used and thinks about killing Rumple (although she doesn’t actually do it). It gives him what he needs, a tear. And from there, he’s able to go down and retrieve it.
We also learn what it is – the cylinder becomes a hat that can collect magical powers and then give the owner control over them. Ultimately, this will give Rumple more power, enough power to overcome his weaknesses like the dagger.
It’s at this point that the Apprentice comes back into the picture, still as a rat. He drops down from the rafters, biting Rumple’s hand and making him drop his dagger. Anna picks it up and quickly realizes what she can do with it. She commands Rumple to return her and the cylinder to her own country and return the Apprentice to his rightful form.
Back home, Anna shares with Kristoff what she has learned – their parents feared Elsa’s powers and were on a quest to try to get rid of them. How will she tell Elsa?
But we don’t find out this week since that’s where the flashbacks end.
Meanwhile, in Storybrooke present…
Love is in the air as Emma asks Hook out on a date. He accepts but insists on planning the date himself. Part of that planning is resorting to blackmail once again. So Belle doesn’t find out she has a fake dagger, Gold will restore Hook’s hand. Gold warns that since the hand hasn’t been attached, it hasn’t been changing and becoming a better man like the rest of Hook, but Hook doesn’t care. He wants two hands back.
Unfortunately, it looks like Gold was right. On their date at a nice Italian restaurant (did I miss the name of the place? Tell me there was a Disney connection), they have a run in with Will Scarlett/Knave of Hearts when he accidentally dumps a glass of wine on Emma. Hook threatens Knave, and it freaks Hook out. After the date, which overall went very well, Hook catches Knave trying to break into the library and punches him again – with his restored hand.
Completely freaked out, Hook returns to Gold to attempt to get his hook back, but the blackmail won’t work since Gold has switched the daggers out and Belle has the right one. Instead, to get his hook back, Hook has to go along with something Gold wants done in the morning.
The duo meet down on the dock. Gold enchants a broomstick, which grows hands and starts to walk while the music of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” plays. The broomstick leads them to the home of the Apprentice. He is shocked to see Gold and even more shocked to find that Gold has and can control the cylinder/hat. And in an effort to gain more power in it to overcome his few weaknesses, Gold makes the hat suck in the Apprentice.
Back at Gold’s shop, Gold swaps out the hand for the hook but tells Hook that they are not done with their deals. Even though Gold lied about the dagger earlier (as Hook confirms when Gold uses it on the Apprentice), Gold now has surveillance video that places Hook and Hook only (since Gold magically erased himself from it) at the scene of the Apprentice being sucked into the hat. How would Emma feel to see that? With the blackmail on the other hook (so to speak), Hook threatens to take them both down, but Gold promises that if that happens, something bad will happen to Emma. With that material on Hook, Hook is now the slave of Gold and not the other way around. (I knew that well would run dry very quickly when Hook started doing it last week).
Oh, and that dagger isn’t all that Gold liked about. There was nothing evil about Hook’s old hand. It just allowed Hook to justify slipping more easily into his old, darker ways. So that is still there just below the surface. I think things are about to get very interesting between the two old enemies.
Meanwhile, Emma is on a quest of her own. There’s the fact she is realizing she needs privacy from her parents as they hover before and after her date. But she also realizes the Snow Queen wants something from her. First, there is water under her car. Then she hits a sudden ice patch and skids around. She follows the trail until it grows…well…warm (vanishes) and she is called away. She is obsessed about this since she feels like the Snow Queen knows her.
And there is certainly more to the Snow Queen than meets the eye. David and Elsa poor over the town census and learn that she is in none of the records. In fact, she just recently appeared in town. Why? And what is her connection to Emma?
Meanwhile, the call that Emma gets in the middle of tracking Snow Queen is from Belle, who goes to open the library to find a passed out drunk Knave inside. When he comes to, he won’t reveal why he was there or what the Alice in Wonderland book or the picture of the Red Queen mean to him, although we can tell it makes him very sad. He also doesn’t recall who gave him the black eye, although that is a lie since Hook threatened to kill him if he ever told and Hook walks into the Sheriff’s office just as Emma asks.
Finally, there were Regina and Henry’s scenes. Regina is still trying to find a cure for Marian. Henry doesn’t understand why Robin Hood loving Regina and not Marian enough to break the curse with true love’s kiss isn’t a good thing, and Regina doesn’t explain it to him.
However, Henry comes up with an idea to further Operation Mongoose. He gets a job working part time as Gold’s shop. He figures that Gold must know who wrote the book since he got a happy ending with Belle. He’ll poke around and ask questions to learn what Gold knows. Henry pitches it as getting to know his grandfather.
A couple other odds and ends. They’ve been talking about a new look for Hook, and it debuted tonight. Did you miss it? I’m obviously a guy because I sure did. Yes, it’s a different leather jacket, but overall it feels pretty similar to me.
Did you catch the radio just before Emma spun out on the ice? It announced that temps were in the 70’s in the middle of town and 30 at the ice barrier. It also was about to play a request for Rip van Winkle, who wanted something classic to wake up to. Not sure if that’s hinting at anything coming, but it was fun.
So, what about this hat? Gold obviously hasn’t had it all this time since he was surprised to find it on his honeymoon. Has Anna had it all this time? Is that why Gold had Elsa trapped, to try to get his hands on the hat? Is the house Anna and Kristoff’s? Where are they, anyway?
I do not like Hook being under Gold’s thumb at all. This can’t end well for anyone. Where is that going to go next?
And what exactly is going on with Knave. I get the idea he doesn’t want to be here but back in Wonderland where we left him at the end of the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland spin off. Considering he was happy with the Red Queen at that point, I’m very curious what exactly is happening there. I can’t wait to find out where they are going with that story and possibly get an update on those characters.
Oh, and in Frozen, it was an act of Anna’s true love that freed her. Wouldn’t that, and not a kiss, work on Marian? Of course, she is solid and can’t do anything, but I hope they work along those lines and not the kiss. (The fact that it wasn’t a kiss was one of my favorite things in Frozen.)
I still don’t have any clues where they are going next. But I think this may have been my favorite episode of the new season so far, mainly because again it was focusing on the characters we know and love.
Questions? Theories? Observations I missed? Please hit me up and let’s discuss.