Thursday, July 2, 2015

Once Upon A Time- Episode Analysis (The Stranger)

The mystery of August’s true identity is revealed.  It turns out that he was Pinocchio this whole time.  The moment this fact is confirmed brings new light onto the little clues that had been popping up this whole time.  Like him saying that he always tells the truth in’ What Happened to Fredrick.’  In fact, in the last episode, when Mr. Gold was snooping through August’s room at Granny’s, there was a little donkey figurine acting as a paperweight.  And I do find it so sweet that August/Pinocchio held on to the hat he once wore as a boy.  You could also really feel his torment when he first came face-to-face with Marco/Geppetto, who of course does not recognize or even remember him, and even more so when August reaches out to his amnesiac father by requesting a job as his assistant.

Gushing aside, August/Pinocchio is becoming increasingly desperate to get Emma to start believing in the fairy tales within Henry’s book, on account that he’s running out of time.  As we’re shown very early on in this episode, he’s slowly starting to turn back into a wooden puppet.  The reason for this is explained in the Enchanted Forest subplot, which shows Geppetto and Pinocchio’s take on the events we saw in the pilot episode, with Geppetto creating the magical wardrobe that was used to transport baby Emma to safety before Regina’s curse hit.  Geppetto, fearful for what could happen to Pinocchio once the curse strikes, makes a bargain with the Blue Fairy.  It turns out that the wardrobe’s power would only allow two people to travel through.  Geppetto announces he will only build the wardrobe if the Blue Fairy tells Snow White and Prince Charming that only one person can go through, in order to ensure that Pinocchio will be able to go through the wardrobe and be spared as well.  Jiminy attempts to reason with Geppetto, but without any luck, as Geppetto refuses to back down.  (Which reminds me, who else couldn’t help but wince when Geppetto practically threw the reminder of what happened to his parents into Jiminy’s face?  I know he had a point and all, but DANG!  That was harsh!)  However, on the day the curse is cast, the Blue Fairy tells Geppetto they have to call off their deal, as Snow White is giving birth to Emma at that very moment, pointing out that baby Emma will need her mother in this new land.  However, after the Blue Fairy leaves, Geppetto decides against telling Snow White the truth.  Instead, he instructs Pinocchio to go through the wardrobe first, charging him with looking after baby Emma.  Pinocchio is hesitant, but he ultimately agrees and goes through the wardrobe, with Jiminy giving him a final warning to ‘remain brave, truthful, and unselfish.’  However, when Pinocchio and baby Emma enter into the Land Without Magic (our world), and are taken to live in an orphanage, Pinocchio fails to keep his promise to Geppetto at the first sign of temptation.  To be fair, you can sort of understand Pinocchio’s reasons for wanting to leave that place.  (Seriously, who spit in Mr. Raskind’s soup?  You’d think ensuring that a baby’s crib won’t break with the kid inside it, possibly leading to a bunch of serious and costly legal trouble, would be a tad more important than being all territorial about a bunch of tools.  Not to mention you shouldn’t have left your precious tools lying around if you didn’t want anyone touching them.)  Plus, it is a bit much to entrust such an important task on a seven-year-old.  On the other hand?  Pinocchio!  You had ONE JOB!  Anyway, because Pinocchio/August chose to break his promise and left Emma behind to run off to Phuket, he is now reverting back to his original state as a wooden puppet, a process that began at 8:15 PM, EST- the same time Emma began staying in Storybrooke.

Meanwhile, in the present day, August tries to convince Emma of the truth by admitting to her that he was the seven-year-old boy who had found her as a baby.  (Remember how I commented about how ironic it was that August rode into town right after Emma was looking at the old news article discussing that moment?  August, were your ears burning?)  However, Emma, ever the stubborn one, refuses to believe what August is telling her.  Her denial is so strong, it even prevents her from seeing that August’s leg is turning to wood.  This does raise the of question how she can still question that the stories in Henry’s book is true after all she’s seen.  Like I said back in my analysis of ‘Hat Trick,’ I think I would have at least been open to the possibility after that.  But Emma’s statement about how she doesn’t want the town to need her pretty much sums it all up nicely.  I think, deep down, she does believe, but she refuses to accept it, because doing so would mean accepting that she is indeed the Savior.  And how could she possibly be that, when she has spent her whole life feeling like she didn’t matter to anyone?  Henry’s words back in the second episode were truer than even he probably knew.  ‘The hero never believes at first.

The confrontation between Mary Margret/Snow White and Regina in the school yard was a really deep scene.  I think the highlight was when Mary Margret warned Regina that if she keeps up acting the way she has been, it would only leave a hole in her heart.  You’ve got to wonder if hearing those words coming out of Mary Margret’s mouth made Regina remember how she got this same warning from Maleficent in ‘The Thing You Love the Most.’  On the other side of things, how creepy was it that Regina tried to put the moves of David/Charming?  First with indirectly inviting him to stay for dinner, and then attempting to kiss him?  That is just wrong on so many levels.  And not just because this man was her stepson-in-law.  (As we’ll see later, this family tree is already messed up enough as it is.  It doesn’t need any more help.)  Was she just trying to prove Mary Margret and Maleficent were wrong about her having a void in her life that could not be filled?

Really liked how the first scene showed August/Pinocchio installing a deadbolt onto the door of Emma and Mary Margret’s apartment.  It’s so awesome how the characters are not forgetting the fact that Regina has a skeleton key that could unlock their door at any time.  Seeing how this show doesn’t get into the bad habit of forgetting the minor details really makes this show seem realistic.  (Well, as realistic as a show that features the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming as the main character can be.)  It’s also the final clue to August’s real identity- showing him to be so skilled with wood and tools.  He’s clearly held on to the things he’d learned from his carpenter father, Geppetto.  And we’re also finally given an explanation as to why August had Henry’s book taken apart in ‘What Happened to Fredrick.’  He was adding his own story to the book, which for some reason, wasn’t included originally.)

The final scene cements this episode as the first part in the season’s three-part conclusion.  Emma, still shaken up by her last conversation with August/Pinocchio, contacts Henry in the middle of the night with the walkie-talkies they’d been using since ‘Desperate Souls.’  After asking him to confirm that he wants to come live with her, she announces that they’re both leaving Storybrooke and promptly starts to drive off with him in the car.

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