So, Jack the Giant Killer was a woman? Who knew? It was great to see Anton, the giant Emma befriended again, but that whole backstory they gave him? Someone give that guy a hug, cause he needs one! To say it was bad luck that the humans he ‘befriended’ were Charming’s conniving twin brother and his equally deceptive girlfriend would be a severe understatement. (Props to David/Charming for how quickly he realized Anton was mistaking him for his twin). As tragic as it was that he put his trust in the wrong people, which resulted in the death of his brothers, it’s made even more tragic by the fact that Anton had the right idea prior to this encounter. First with his questioning of why they still grew the beans when no one even used them, which was an obvious nod to tradition vs. change, and then his understanding that the actions of a few bad humans didn’t necessarily mean that all humans were bad. It’s really a shame his encounter with Prince James and Jack made him change his mind. Thankfully, he’s reminded of his earlier belief that not all humans are bad when David/Charming saves his life, and he receives a warm welcome to Storybrooke, with everyone offering him a fresh start. He even becomes an honorary dwarf when they start creating a field to grow a new crop of magic beans from a preserved cutting Anton got from his dying brother. I get a kick out the irony of that- the giant Anton, someone who is from a species known for their large stature, becomes ‘adopted’ by the dwarfs, who are traditionally depicted as little men.
I really liked seeing Ruby/Red doing what she could to comfort the amnesiac Belle. Always nice to see the show writers remembering stuff like the fact that these two women had been developing a friendship. Of course, that moment is brushed aside rather quickly to remind us that Greg Mendel is still around, as well as the little issue of him seeing Gold conjuring a fireball at the town line.
This episode also brings up a nature vs. nurture debate, when David/Charming is left wondering how he could have turned out if it had been him who was raised by King George and Prince James had stayed with their birth mother, Ruth. Mary Margret/Snow is rather quick to reassure him it wouldn’t have made a difference because David and Prince James had different hearts. On the other hand, we have seen hints of darkness in David sprouting up here and there. First with him willing to simply allow the wrath to take Regina before Emma talked him out of it in ‘Broken,’ and then how he came close to shooting Albert/King George in ‘Child of the Moon.’ While you could argue that he was justified in his anger in those situations, it still showed him teetering on the edge.
Also, Snow, while it really was great of you to apologize to Regina for doubting her in this episode, it was rather cold of you to say that Emma didn’t have to tell her she was leaving Storybrooke with Henry to help Gold find his son. Seriously, you should have just stopped at ‘we didn’t know where you were,’ which was the honest truth. If you wanted to add something more to that, just tell her that Emma didn’t feel comfortable with leaving him behind when Cora was on the loose. I’m sure Regina would have understood of that. And maybe then, the whole issue of Regina running back to Mommy Cora (and her trying to use Anton’s justifiable anger at Prince James to get rid of David/Charming) could have been avoided entirely.
As for the Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin, Emma and Henry subplot? DANG! Gold, can you spell ‘anger management?’ What was with that little fit you had in the airport bathroom? Were you that upset over having to put the shawl in through the x-ray scanner? While I understand you were scared of losing your memories, that obviously didn’t happen. All you gained from that hissy fit were bloody knuckles, which you can’t heal because your magic is null and void outside of Storybrooke. Unless… that’s what happened when you lost the shawl for that brief moment? You lost your magic? I don’t know. It’s not really clear if something happened when he took of the shawl, if anything happened at all. So his meltdown in the bathroom seems like an extreme overreaction. But to be fair, we have seen him violently overreact like this a few times before, so I suppose it’s not that out of character for him.
The best part of this episode, however, was this bit of dialogue, which occurs when David/Charming, Mary Margret/Snow and Leroy/Grumpy are running from the enraged Anton.
Leroy: So let me get this straight – you got a twin brother?
Leroy: His name is James?
Leroy: Well, your name is James.
David: No, actually, it’s not.
Leroy: It’s Charming, then?
Mary Margret: No, that’s the nickname I gave him.
Leroy: Hey, hold on. What the hell is your name?
Leroy: Your curse name?
David: My real name!
Leroy: What, you’re David, James, and Charming? Is David like a middle name?
David: No! It’s my name-name.
Leroy: You know what? I’m going to call you whatever I damn well please! Is that okay?!
David: Sure, Leroy.
Not only is it great to FINALLY get confirmation on what Charming’s birth mother, Ruth, named him, but it’s one of the little moments where the show seems aware of its own ridiculousness. It certainly got a chuckle out of me, especially since they were having this discussion while running from a rampaging giant. It’s like, really? Is this really the appropriate time for this conversation?