Once Upon A Time – Season 2, Episode 14: Oscar-Worthy Performances And Makeup, And Hook Eats Some Floor (Again)

We begin tonight back in the Enchanted Forest, and oh, look! There’s Milah! The child abandoning, husband-belittling floozy tart who selfishly wraps her legs around a sexy pirate while her family suffers.

But I’m not bitter. I am actually just really glad she’s dead. One of the few people I can say that about on this show.

Anyway… Rumple comes running into their hovel, excited and happy and chirping with the news that he has been drafted into the Ogre wars. He’s so thrilled about facing potential death, he does a happy little dance that’s just freaking adorable:

The reason Rumple is so happy about potentially being ripped limb-from-limb is that he can now redeem the family name, previously sullied by his coward of a father, and in so doing, finally put them in a place to start a family without fear of their kid growing up with that legacy. Milah tells him to fight bravely, and off he goes.
Ahead to the present-day in Storybrooke, and Regina is crying on Cora’s shoulder about Emma and Gold leaving town with Henry. Hook overhears and he’s instantly interested – Gold outside of Storybrooke is a man without magic, and he can be killed easily. Cora and Regina shut that nonsense right down, since leaving town would leave them powerless, as well.
Hook demands his vengeance, but Cora convinces him to stay and help them find the one thing that can truly kill Rumplestiltskin: the dagger.
And now we’re in New York, where we see an immaculately dressed Mr. Gold stepping out of a cab in front of a run-of-the-mill brownstone building – the location given on the magic globe as Baelfire’s whereabouts. They check the resident doorbell roster, and don’t find him, but do find one suspiciously blank apartment bell. Emma buzzes it and claims to be UPS, but Baelfire isn’t fooled. He climbs down the fire escape and takes off running, shrouded in a hooded sweatshirt.

Gold begs Emma to run him down and get him to talk to his father, since he’s obviously unable to do so with that lame leg of his. He agrees to stay with Henry, and off she goes, sprinting like a track star. She intercepts him and slams him to the ground, only to discover that Baelfire is…NEAL!

OMG, Bae is Henry’s father and Emma’s long-lost love!

She immediately freaks on him, accusing him of playing her, and he turns around and starts shouting at her because she brought his father to him. She responds with a vehement “Hey! I am the only one allowed to be angry here!” and he finally realizes they’d be better off talking about fairy tale people somewhere off the street.
Back by the apartment, we see that Gold has now bought Henry a hot dog, and they’re discussing the possible reunion with his son.This whole scene is of course, seen through entirely new eyes as we realize that Gold is actually Henry’s grandfather, even though neither of them is aware of that yet. It’s clear to see that Gold has genuine affection for Henry, probably because he reminds him of Bae. Henry reminds him that kids forgive parents, and he’s doing the right thing, by coming after his son.
Down the street at the bar, Neal/Baelfire tells Emma to ask away, and she starts grilling him. He had no idea who she was when they hooked up all those years ago, and would most certainly have avoided her if he did. August was the one who clued him into Emma’s true identity, the very night he abandoned her. He’s always felt bad about leaving her like he did.
“You left me and let me go to prison because Pinocchio told you to?” Emma says seethingly.
“There’s not a ton about my father that I remember that doesn’t suck,” he says, pointing out that their meeting wasn’t a coincidence. His father taught him long ago that sometimes fate conspires against you and maybe he and Emma met for a reason. Maybe something good came out of it.

Emma shakes her head and says “No. Not that I can think of. I just went to jail. That’s it.” Clearly, she’s not going to tell him he’s got a kid. She starts to leave, and Neal points out that she’s still wearing the keychain he gave her as a necklace. She rips it off her neck and lays it on the counter, telling him it’s a reminder to her never to trust anyone again.

Harsh.

Then she tells him he’s got to come with her, because she made a deal with his dad to bring Neal to him. Neal is noticeably unhappy to hear that she’s made a deal, but he tells her to tell his dad that she couldn’t find him – that would get her out of the deal, and he vows she’ll never have to see him again.

Back to the Enchanted Forest now, where we see Rumplestiltskin, dressed for war and being ordered to guard an odd prisoner who’s jailed in a crate. The prisoner turns out to be a powerful seer, who starts telling him all sorts of things about himself that she couldn’t possibly know.
Kudos to the makeup department and the child actress for this character, because the seer is delightfully creepy.
She shares with Rumple that Milah is pregnant, and going to bear him a son. Rumple is clearly overjoyed to hear that, but she finishes the prophecy. He’s going to have a son, but his actions on the battlefield tomorrow will leave his son fatherless.
Rumple is pissed to hear this, of course, and the girl tells him that when the army rides cows into battle, he’ll know she’s telling the truth. There is no escaping it, she warns him.
Forward to New York again, and a frantic Emma is on the phone with Snow, who tells Emma she can’t keep this from Henry. Emma is tearful and torn – she told Henry his father was dead because she wanted to protect him. She makes her way back to Gold, who’s still having a heart-to-heart with Henry.
Henry asks why Gold, who has the ability of prophecy, can’t just see how this will all turn out. Gold explains that the ability is complicated, and he hasn’t always had it. “Seeing the inevitable can be a terrible price,” he points out. The future is like pieces of a puzzle – they never end up the way you think.
Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Regina is paying Belle a visit, and pretending to be her buddy. She freees Belle in place and magics some stuff out of her handbag. One of those things is an index card with a dewey decimal system number on it. Clearly, this is where the dagger must be hidden.

They head over to the library, where they search the shelves but come up only with a map – and it’s a very vague map that neither Cora nor Regina can read. Lucky for them, an ungodly handsome if bruised-up pirate knows how.

Nnnnnnnnngg. That lip lick…

Over at the loft apartment, David is trying to make sense of the convoluted family tree he is now a part of, and Snow remarks that maybe this will mellow everyone out, being related and all.

Back to the Enchanted Forest, where Rumple sees casualties coming off the front lines.and a fellow soldier remarks that the wounded are the lucky bastards, because they get to go home. Everyone else just gets ripped limb-from-limb and eaten by the ogres.

Rumple is visibly shaken by this, but it’s only a shadow of what he feels when the captain arrives and tells everyone to grab a “cow” – their word for the leather saddles that they use to ride into battle. Rumple realizes it’s all true – he’s going to have a son, and he will surely die in battle the next day and leave his son fatherless. He makes a terrible choice, (watching Bobby Carlyle play this scene gives me chills) and takes a sledgehammer to his foot, wounding himself beyond repair, and thereby explaining that limp, finally.

He returns home to Milah, who is holding his son, and clearly wallowing in the shame of having a husband who injured himself like a coward to avoid battle. Rumple admits that he did, but only so that he could come home to her and to Bae. His own father abandoned him, and he won’t sentence his boy to the same fate. Milah scathingly calls him a coward, telling him he should have chosen to die, and unceremoniously dumps the baby in his arms before leaving. Rumple holds his son for the first time, and it’s a beautiful, tender moment. He vows to never, ever leave him.

Forward to New York. Emma shows up and tells Gold that his son got away, but he won’t take that for an answer. He makes his way to Neal’s apartment and breaks in, despite Emma’s protestations. Emma sees that Neal has kept that dreamcatcher all these years, and Gold can’t help but notice that she’s noticing. He knows she’s lying, and he starts screaming at her.Emma sends Henry to wait in the bathroom, sensing that this is gonna get ugly.

Into the screamfest walks Neal, who clearly heard the shouting and is intent on protecting Emma from his father’s wrath. Rumple tries to talk to Neal but he has no interest in talking. Neal starts screaming, and Emma interrupts with “Neal -” and he cuts her off with “Emma, I got this” and they both realize a second too late that they’ve tipped their hand. Gold realizes that they know each other, and he demands to know how.

And in walks Henry.

Emma asks him to go back into the other room, but Henry wants to know what all the screaming is about. Neal asks who the kid is and when she replies that he’s her son, the dots start connecting, and Neal asks how old he is. Henry answers, and Neal realizes the truth. And oh, Michael Raymond James…in this moment, you made me forget there was even a pirate on the show. So beautifully played, and with such love and angst.

         

Henry is obviously betrayed by Emma’s monstrous lie, and runs to the fire escape to decompress. Emma follows him out, apologizing, and Gold tries desperately to talk to Neal, who really, really doesn’t want to talk now. Gold reminds him that in order to fulfill Emma’s deal and absolve her debt, he has to talk to his father.

Back in Storybrooke, Greg Mendell is talking to the mysterious “Her” and telling her that he’s going to stick around town for a while, even though he’s been released from the hospital. Then he sends her video that he shot of Regina, magicking all the stuff in Belle’s handbag. See? This is why we can’t have people visiting Storybrooke!

Hook, meanwhile, has figured out the map and therefore no longer useful. Cora slams him headfirst (of course) into some library shelves and Regina finally catches a clue and realizes her mother is after the dagger for her own purposes: she wants to become the new “Dark One.” Cora reminds her that if they control the dagger, they can get Rumple to kill those pesky Charmings and Emma, and Henry would never blame her for it.

In New York, Henry is trying to make sense of why his Mom would lie to him, and Emma admits it wasn’t a great idea, but she was only trying to protect him…and herself. Henry asks to meet his dad.

Neal is busy listening to Mr. Gold, whom he has allotted three minutes to plead his case. Gold offers to make it up to him – he can turn Neal fourteen again if Neal will just go to Storybrooke with him. Neal tells him to piss off – he doesn’t want to lose any of what he’s lived or go back to being teenage Baelfire again. He doesn’t believe his father has changed, not for a minute. He’s relived the way his father abandoned him on an almost nightly basis, and he wants none of him now.

And with that, he goes out to the fire escape, and settles in to talk to the son he just found out he has. Emma begs him not to break Henry’s heart, and he assures her he won’t be making his father’s mistakes.

Flashback again to the Enchanted Forest, where we see Rumple – now The Dark One – and a grown up seer. He lets her know how pissed off he is that her prophecies came true – and all because she didn’t share the details of how that was going to shake out. He’s come to ask her how to find his son, and she agrees to give him the information – telling him he’ll find his son, and he has to use a curse that he won’t cast to do it. That’s not specific enough for Rumple, and he agrees to take her powers from her in order to see all the details.

This leaves the seer dying, and Rumple reeling – it’s all a jumble and he can’t separate what can be from what will be. She leaves him with one last piece of prophecy: A boy will reunite him with his son, but the boy will also be his undoing.

Rumple replies to that with a jaunty, “Then I’ll just have to kill him,” and we flash forward to Storybrooke again, where Gold is watching Henry through a window as Henry talks to Neal, and the look on Gold’s face is chilling.

I give this episode five hooks out of five.

Such amazing performances, such strong backstory, and oooh, that creepy seer. Outstanding episode!
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