I knew it had to happen—an episode that didn't quite knock it out of the park for me. But I am left to question was it the content and the choices made in the episode that did it or the overall episode itself? I don't know. After a year in Storybrooke, we finally get a look at Emma's "origin" story. Of course, we knew it wouldn't be a fairytale and yet—in some ways it was. Fresh out of the foster care system, Emma's boosting the very familiar yellow bug she tools around in town. Unfortunately for her (or maybe fortunately) the car came with a passenger—Neal.
You remember Neal, the guy who received the Storybrooke postcard at the end of the season premiere that just said "broken"? It came via carrier pigeon.
Knowing that Emma ended up in prison and had to give up her baby actually made watching Emma be so happy with Neal painful. They were happy-go-lucky thieves, knocking over convenience stores to eat—they didn't hurt anyone—just stole stuff. Neal and Emma planned to go to Tallahassee and settle, make honest mates out of each other. There was just one problem: Neal was wanted for boosting watches from a high end store in Arizona. He left them all stored in a bus station locker.
Emma fetched them and they planned to meet up after Neal fenced the items and then they could have their happily ever after. Now here's where it gets messy.
In an unexpected twist, we August pursues Neal up an alley and tackles him. Pinocchio has been looking for Emma for two years (remember, he abandoned her in foster care. He's upset to find Emma thieving for a living, but delighted when he realizes that Neal actually loves her. That might make it easier for him to do "the right thing."
He tells Neal that Emma has a destiny and Neal is in her way and then he shows him something in a box that convinces him to go along with August's bizarre plan. So what was in the box? I dunno—a fairy? They didn't show us. Instead of meeting, Emma—Neal turns her into the police and she's arrested for being in possession of stolen property. He'd given her one of the watches from the heist. Emma ends up in a minimum security prison.
August tells Neal she's safe and in eleven months she'll be out and can get on with her destiny and it's a good thing.
Pardon me, but wtf? How is her going to prison a good thing? Sorry Pinnochio, your logic fails here. Neal sold the watches and he asks August to send the cash and the car and the keys to Emma. He cares and feels like crap that she is in jail for his crime (okay, I like him at least he understands what he did wrong). August promises that he'll take care of her (we know he fails) and that he'll get the stuff to her. The longing look he gives the money tips us off—he fails to send the cash to Emma, just the car key. In jail, Emma gets the key and has a pregnancy test in her hand. Yep, Neal it seems is Henry's dad.
So, was August the one that sent Neal the post card? Is he still Peter Pan? I hope so. And dude, August owes Emma huge for screwing her life over—TWICE.
Meanwhile in the Land of Giants
Killian Jones (damn I love his name) leads his merry band of Princesses to the beanstalk and Emma takes the cuff to climb up the beanstalk with him. She makes Mulan swear to cut it down if she and Killian aren't back in ten hours. Up the long climb they go with Killian flirting with Emma. He also tenderly treats her blood cut hand—cause giants can smell blood you know. Emma's definitely intrigued but her bad experience with bad boys makes her wary to trust him.
Together they fell the giant and hunt for the compass, but when the giant awakes, Killian is smooshed and Emma captured. She manages to wiggle free and takes the giant down with the trap and Jack the Giant Killer's sword. Seeing her own loneliness reflected in the Giant's eyes, they strike a bargain. Emma doesn't want Henry to grow up abandoned like she was and she is desperate to get home. She doesn't want to kill the giant either.
They strike a bargain and she gets the compass and then goes to pull Killian out of the wreckage and then Emma locks him in a manacle. The giant will hold him for ten hours and then let him go. Killian can't believe she is betraying him when he didn't do a damn thing but keep his word. This is also after Emma realizes that Killian is hunting Gold because of what happened to Mila and he recognized the orphan lost girl in her because he spent a long time with the Lost Boys in Neverland.
Emma made an enemy she didn't need to have. Because he will show up again and if Neal is Peter Pan—maybe they are setting up that conflict. I don't know. But her choice left a really bad taste in my mouth.
Aurora is plagued by them of a red room with fiery curtains and someone watching. Snow confesses she had them after her cursed sleep as well. So she offers to watch over her. Snow also opens a can of whoopass on Mulan when the warrior tries to keep her word to Emma to cut down the beanstalk. Snow and Emma are reunited and mom tells her don't do that again. They are going back together. Emma's still not used to the fierceness of a mother's love on her side.
And we make a pitstop back in Storybrooke where Henry is plagued by the same nightmare as Aurora. I am thinking it's a dream about Cora watching them—the Queen of Hearts is coming…
Cue the ominous music.
What did you think of Tallahassee? Do you agree with Emma's choice? August's? Neal's?