I know I said that I was going to hold off on my thoughts on Neal until a later episode analysis, and I’m still going to. But he really was a moron this episode. Yeah, I’m just gonna up and invite my fiancée to a town populated with fairy tale characters. No, I don’t have to check to see if it’s cool with everyone before making my decision. I’ll just let them know when she’s already on her way. Nothing remotely bad could possibly happen. Neal, where’s your brain? Even if Tamara wasn’t revealed to be a complete nutjob, that just screams HORRIBLE PLAN! ‘Maybe I didn’t think it all the way through.’ Oh, really! Ya think?
So, this episode was apparently all about redemption. Mary Margret/Snow is still beating herself up over the part she played in Cora’s death. At the start of this episode, I agreed with Emma. While David/Charming’s heart was certainly in the right place, he wouldn’t be doing her any favors in the long run if he continued to coddle her and try to sweep the issue under the rug. Doing so could risk keeping her in the first stage of grief. If anyone is to get over something bad, they have to be allowed to progress into the final stage of acceptance. It’s just healthy.
When Mary Margret/Snow goes off to blow off some steam with a bit of archery practice, she comes across August, who is still stuck in puppet form and has been living in an old run-down trailer in the middle of the woods. It’s by talking to him that Snow starts to understand that, even if she did something wrong, it’s not the end of the world. Although, what August did and what Snow did really wasn’t the same thing. August’s transgression was fueled by him just doing whatever he wanted. His abandonment of Baby Emma years ago was understandable, seeing as he was just a seven-year-old boy at the time and it was unrealistic to expect him to protect and look after a baby on his own. (Props to Marco/Geppetto for acknowledging that in this episode. Despite what Emma and Mary Margret/Snow said, he kinda did deserve that slap.) But once he became an adult, he made the choice to continue on doing whatever he wanted. I don’t think there was anything preventing him from getting in touch with Emma later on, was there? After all, he was clearly keeping tabs on her, which was proven when he stepped in to convince Neal to leave her. Why couldn’t he simply just stage a meeting with her? Like the way Psycho Tamara fake-met Neal? The only answer I can come up with was because he was too focused on himself at the time. In that case, there was a legitimate reason for him to need redemption. Particularly since, even when his actions caught up to him and he started to turn back into wood, he still refused to accept responsibility by seeking a quick fix. First by going to a hospital in Hong Kong and then going off to some witch doctor person. And I really have to question August’s thought process on going to a medical hospital in the first place. Even if they could see his leg turning to wood, what in the Land Without Magic are they gonna do about it? I’m fairly certain no medical school in the world has treating ailments connected with magic on the syllabus, buddy. What really makes this even more painful to watch was to see he COULD have cured himself back then, by not trying to steal the money-filled envelope. Being willing to sacrifice your own chance of being cured so someone else can get cured instead? I’d certainly call an act like that brave, truthful, and unselfish. Granted Tamara was lying about having cancer and didn’t need the cure from The Dragon, but August didn’t know that at the time. If he had just left the money alone, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he would have stopped turning back into wood right then. But then, he does learn his lesson in the end and chose to risk his life by trying to warn everyone about what kind of person Tamara really is. Too bad it proved to be in vain, as he was killed/reverted back to his boyhood state before he could properly warn anyone.
Snow’s actions, on the other hand, I think were at least partially fueled by her desire to protect her loved ones. Let’s not forget how dangerous Cora was. I don’t think killing someone who is actually threating the lives of the people you love could be called selfish. So, was it just Snow’s guilt over deceiving Regina? Granted, that was indeed messed up, but at that point, I’m pretty sure Regina was too absorbed in her mommy-issues to listen to reason anyway. Besides, Snow had already tried to get through to her earlier, but Regina essentially stuck her fingers in her ears and refused to even consider what Snow was telling her. Unless I’m mistaken, there weren’t a lot of alternative options open to Snow at that moment. It wasn’t as if they could just lock her up, like they did with Albert Spencer/King George. (A deleted scene in 'Tiny' showed they're keeping him locked up down in the dwarf mines.) Unlike that guy, Cora had magic, so simply locking her up would have been completely pointless, as she could have just I Dream of Jeannie-d herself out of the jail cell the instant she was left alone. I suppose they could have figured out a way to nullify her magic like they did with Rumpelstiltskin back in Pre-Curse Enchanted Forest, but we’ve already seen in ‘The Queen of Hearts’ that he could have escaped from his cage at any time, had he wanted to. Seeing how Cora was Rumple’s star pupil at one point, it’s a safe bet that she’d figure out a way to escape as well. In short, I don’t think there was any non-violent way to stop Cora for good. At least not one that would make sence.
The big plot point this episode revealed is that Tamara is completely bonkers and is up to something sinister. AND she is in cahoots with Greg Mendel/Owen. My main question is what exactly are Tamara’s motives? I understand with Greg, what with his missing father, whose fate Regina claims to know nothing about. But what exactly is Tamara’s grievance? Is she just a magic-bigot or something?
The ending did raise a few questions for me. First, how exactly did a Taser work on August? He was made of wood. I’m apparently not alone in wondering about this, as there was a discussion about it on the OUAT wiki page, which is located at the following link:
Second, where did Blue come from? The instant Henry mentioned her when everyone is gathered around August’s body, BAM! She’s right there! I was under the impression only the Dark Once could be summoned just by calling their name. (Then again, Blue is a shady character, particularly for someone who is supposed to be one of the good guys. I wouldn’t put anything past her.)