Once Upon A Time – Season 1, Episode 11 Recap: That Poisoned Fruit Can Really Rot Sometimes

A storm has come to Storybrooke, and it has managed to destroy Henry’s secret castle fort. He and Emma are surveying the damage, and he lets Emma know that he never told his Mom about the place, only her. Well, apparently isn’t that secret because along comes Regina, to remind Emma that she won’t allow her son near any kind of danger – especially from interlopers.

Later that day at Granny’s, Sydney approaches Emma in a drunken stupor, vowing revenge on Regina, He tells her that “Storybrooke deserves to know the truth” about Regina and invites Emma to work with him to take the mayor down. Emma tells him to go home and sleep it off.

Which segues nicely to our flashback in the Enchanted Forest, where we see that Sidney is none other than the genie of Agrabah, who has been freed by Snow White’s father, King Leopold. His wishes? He wishes the genie free, then he wishes to give his third and final wish to the genie, who remind him that wishes (like any magic) come at a price and swears he will never use it.

This of, course,makes it clear to us that King Leopold is a stand-up guy, and seriously a terrific human being. Leopold invites the genie home to meet the family, introducing him to Snow and to his wife Regina, whom the genie instantly falls in love with.

Back in Storybrooke, Regina tears down the castle fort and the story book, which was buried under it mysteriously turns up missing. This pisses Emma off, so she agrees to meet Sidney and hear him out. Sidney tells her that Regina is hiding $50k of city funds, redirecting it someplace else. Extra closet space for her fabulous outfits? Personal bondage chamber?  Lesbian dance club?

Just a thought…

On the other side of town (and in the middle of the woods) Mary Margaret and David are meeting for a sexy, adulterous picnic, where they decide they really need to think about their actions…tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow. That sounds good. They kiss and Disney birds practically burst through the screen because Josh and Ginny are so freaking adorable together.

“I used to think she was a different person,” Sidney tells Emma, back at the apartment… which of course sends us back to the Enchanted Forest, where we see a sad and forlorn Regina, trapped in her loveless marriage, watching her husband gush on and on about his beloved dead wife. She wanders off, and the smitten genie follows, giving her a gift to comfort her – a beautiful mirror “So you can see yourself the way that I see you,”

Back in Storybrooke, Regina and Sidney are going through the town’s books and financial records, searching for that missing $50k. Emma refuses to go covert, even when the transactions covering the details of that money mysteriously burned in the fire that got Emma elected. Emma confronts Regina in the mayor’s office, which gets her no answers, but does give her the opportunity to plant a bug.

Moving back to the Enchanted Forest, King Leopold reads Regina’s diary (okay, maybe he’s not such a good guy), which details the feelings she has for a mystery man who gave her a mirror. He summons the genie, asking him to investigate and find this guy.

Flashing forward to Storybrooke, the bug that Emma planted yields Regina making a call to meet someone on a deserted access road. She’s not surprised or concerned at all when the sheriff’s car is following less than fifty yards behind her, however. It turns out this is because Emma ends up crashing the car anyway because the brakes are tampered with.

This doesn’t stop Emma from setting out on foot, where she encounters Mr. Gold,who’s wandering around in the woods again, as usual. It turns out Regina bought some land from Mr. Gold who pauses to warn them (well, I would say prophetically but it’s more like hindsight…) that “emotional engtanglements can lead us down very dangerous paths.”

We follow that bit of wisdom back to the Enchanted Forest, where Regina’s Daddy (who somehow has shrunk over two feet since he married her mother) is begging the genie for help. He gives the genie a mysterious box, begging him to help her to freedom via the double-headed viper (who has no working means of eliminating waste from its digestive system, but what do I know) of Agrabah, one of the deadliest snakes in the world – it can kill with a single bite.

The genie heads off to find Regina and it turns out the two of them have a little sumpin-sumpin going on. Regina lets the genie know that she’s using the double-headed viper on herself, as suicide is the only way she can be free of her loveless marriage. He can’t bear the thought, and he tells her he’ll kill the king for her, since he’s trusted and can get close to him easily.

Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, August comes upon Henry in the diner, and after looking over his shoulder at his notes, they have a discussion about the mysterious story book. Henry looks him in the eye and demands to know what August is doing in town. August replies with a mysterious “You want to know what I’m doing? Stuff…”

August can do stuff to me. If you know what I mean.
But he probably shouldn’t discuss those details with a minor.

On the other side of town, Emma and Sidney break into the mayor’s office and steal files off the computer via Emma’s handy keyfob and hacking abilities. Emma also finds a keyring with skeleton keys that will most likely be called back to at another time. Regina shows up, and Emma lies like a pro, telling her some kids broke in and she’s investigating. Regina gives her the patented skeptical bitch look.

Sidney and Emma find all the dirt on the $50k transaction and Emma has second thoughts about their less than kosher methods of obtaining said dirt. Sidney brings her back around by showing her all the photos he took of her and Henry at Regina’s behest, which, of course, pisses Emma off blind.

Oh, it is ON.

She and Sidney charge into the city council meeting to confront Regina with the fact that she’s building a second home with all these stolen funds. The town is agog, but only for a moment until Regina reveals the long con – she’s building a playground for the children on Storybrooke. She makes Emma look like a fool on a fool’s vendetta.

Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest, the genie releases the double-headed viper on a sleeping King Leopold, who wakens just long enough to see who did the deed. His final words are chilling: “You were right – I never should have made a wish.”

Back in Storybrooke, Rumple shows up outside the city council meeting to tell Emma that she ought to team up with him if she really wants to bring Regina down. Speak of the devil – Regina shows up to tell Emma that she’s now got ammunition for a restraining order since Emma has computer hacked and trespassed like a common criminal. Emma lost the high ground, and now she’s lost Henry, too.

Emma’s stuck talking to Henry via walkie-talkie, and she vows to find his book. Henry’s pretty sure it’s gone forever, but we see clearly that it’s not – it’s now in the hands of August, our mysteriously obtuse writer friend.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, the genie triumphantly assures Regina that they’re now free to run off together. Regina tells him that the palace guards found the Agraban viper and know that he killed the king. He realizes instantly that he’s been set up, and Regina confirms it. She never loved him – he was only a means to an end – the king’s end. She offers to let him leave, but he says he can’t live without her. He pulls out the lamp, intending to use his final wish.

He wishes to be with her forever, to “look upon her face always.” Bad idea, genie. Now he’s stuck in that mirror, and stuck forever.

Over at Granny’s, Sidney has a drink with Emma, telling her not to give up. There are many more skeletons to find in Regina’s closet. He vows to help her find every one of them.

Regina catches up with him later, and thanks him for doing such a great job pulling the wool over Emma’s eyes. It was he who cut the brakes on the car, and he’s firmly – unsurprisingly – on Team Regina. He’s bugged Emma and he’ll be bringing Regina the dirt for as long as she wants it, the shifty-eyed bastard.

I give this episode three wishing stars out of five.

There was some good backstory, but morose Regina is lethargic as hell, constantly pissed off Emma isn’t nearly as fun, and thirty-eight seconds of Mary Margaret and David (and fifteen seconds of Rumplestiltskin) isn’t nearly enough.

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