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Once Upon a Time “A Curious Thing” 

Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand
Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand

With only three episodes left in the season it’s no surprise that questions are being answered wholesale, and several mysteries are finally explained.

This week we learn that it’s actually Snow White who cursed them back to Storybrooke, choosing to sacrifice Charming to do it. On Rumple’s tip they travel to see Glinda the good witch and learn that Zelena’s power is stored in her crystal pendant, and that only Emma has the power to take it from her. Since Emma is the product of True Love her magic is pure and stronger than Zelena’s. Of course Emma is back in real world New York and the only way to get to her is by returning to Storybrooke. While I appreciate the clever nature of the dilemma and how it forces Snow to cast the curse to send them back, I can’t help but feel cheated that her sacrifice wasn’t real. The idea that magic comes at a price, and sacrificing the thing you love most is an expensive bill come due is a good reason to keep every disgruntled person from cursing the land whenever they feel frustrated. That Snow can cast the curse then turn around and revive Charming feels too much like playing a shell game with the forces of the magical universe. Then again, without Charming there would be no courage for Zelena to steal so I guess it’s a necessary evil.

We also learn who is responsible for sending the memory potion to Emma. I’m surprised to see Zelena make two doses, I can’t imagine it’s that important for Rumple to remember anything when he’s at her beck and call anyway. Perhaps she wants someone around who knows and can appreciate her plan, but it’s not meant to be. Neal is passionate enough to break out and see to it that Emma receives the second dose of memory potion, and he sends it off to Hook to deliver. Sadly, what they don’t show is how Hook is still able to travel between realms. Regina was clear about how their world is now cut off from the other realms, and that no portal will connect them. Hook used his only magic bean to travel through the first time, so what method did he use this trip? And how did he do it without his ship? Perhaps next week we’ll find out, as I’m sure he’s still hiding something.

Hook tries to do the right thing by doing the wrong thing, and gets himself and Henry into trouble. Frustrated by his mother’s refusal to fill him in on the details, Henry decides to run away back to New York. Hook catches him and offers to help him get there faster and safer. I suppose the intention to keep him away from Zelena is a good one, but I don’t think he fully thought through his plan to leave Henry to fend for himself all alone on the streets of New York City. The plan is thwarted when several flying monkeys show up to stop the big getaway, and everyone circles up to protect Henry from them. I wonder if they realize they are shooting friends out of the sky? After all, we’ve seen Zelena turn Aurora and Phillip into flying monkeys, not to mention all the missing Storybrooke residents who disappeared in the forest. But Henry is safe for a moment longer, and it’s time to tell him the truth.

In a loose parallel to the original curse, the secret to breaking the memory spell is belief in magic and a kiss of love. Since Emma already believes, it’s up to Henry to take the step and regain the faith he lost in the reset. The fairytale book was a catalyst the first time around, so they search Mary Margaret’s closet to find it again. As with all belief, it can’t be given or forced, it has to be a choice. Emma shows Henry the way by holding out the book, but he has to choose to take it. It’s an emotional moment when he regains his memories and recognizes Regina for who she really is. Once again we’re shown that this woman has found an undeserved joy, a nice lesson in redemption.

Although there are a number of great moments in this episode, I think my favorite has to be Mary Margaret’s comment about keeping her shoe boxes. “After True Love, there is no more powerful magic than footwear. It has to be protected.” The value of fine shoes is a basic tenet of the Disney princess lifestyle, and I always enjoy when they poke a little fun at themselves this way.

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.

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