OpinionReviewsTelevision & Film

ONCE UPON A TIME There Was A Light Dusting of Dishonesty

Episode 303 “Quite a Common Fairy”

Who knew Tinkerbell had a dark side?

OK. Forgive the tardiness of this recap. Your humble author is doped up on cold medicine, so hopefully this will at least be coherent. Onward!

This episode deals with the relationship between Tink and Regina, and while it may have started out as a friendly meeting of the minds, it quickly devolved into something terrible, typical of Regina’s many failed relationships. And it quickly becomes very much a back-story/setup show, putting in place a lot of background as a setup to the next episode. Because nothing much happens in this hour.


Basic premise: Regina wants to be happy. Only she can’t find happiness in her current circumstances — married to a King still mourning for his dead wife — and Rumpelstiltskin telling her that the Darkness has tasted her heart and liked it… well, that doesn’t help her mood any. So when Tinkerbell offers her a way out — an illegal sprinkling of pixie dust to find Regina’s “true love” so that she can be happy — Regina snatches at the chance, only to run away at the last minute. Because the anger that she feels is really all she has left, and finding her true love, while it might be… well, awesome … it just scares the ever-lovin’ fire out of her.

The consequences of this, of course, is a terribly unhappy Regina with a heart ripe for feasting by the Darkness. Along with Tinkerbell getting her wings clipped by Blue Fairy.


So in the Now, when Team Rescue comes across Tinkerbell, it’s a very Dark Tinkerbell. The confrontation she has with Regina is tense, and it’s quite unexpected when Regina pulls out her own heart and hands it to the fairy. Selfless? Maybe. I think it’s more calculated than anything else. Because despite her words about “hope” and finding Henry being so important, I think this season we’re going to see a lot of the original characteristics in some of these characters —  especially Regina and Rumpelstiltskin. So, yes, Regina may be offering herself as a sacrifice, but I think she’s pretty sure Tink won’t crush the heart.

The one niggling issue I have with this episode is that Tinkerbell’s agreement to help Team Rescue feels a little forced and abrupt, as if the writers realized they were at the end of the hour and “Oh, Tink needs to agree so we can get to the next episode.” Either that, or Tinkerbell is more conniving. Because consider: she’s just come across a group of strangers that includes two enemies — Regina and Hook — and how does Tinkerbell know anything about anyone? All she’s got is Regina’s word.

And how does Tink even know Henry’s on the island? Hm?? There may be more to this story than meets the eye.


Henry, meantime, is learning to be a Lost Boy, even though he doesn’t realize it. Pan believes that Henry is the savior of magic, not Emma, and he has a scroll as proof. The scroll is a picture of Henry, drawn well before Henry was born. But that’s all it is. There’s no prophecy on the scroll, just Henry’s picture. But Pan feels Henry is the “Truest Believer” who will restore magic to every land, not just Neverland or the Enchanted Forest. That may yet be true, but it’s also laying the groundwork for some kind of relationship — friendship, grudging respect, frienemies — between Pan and Henry.

B-Story: Neal finding a way to get to Neverland, using Robin Hood’s son as bait. It’s an interesting side to Neal, as it shows he’s still an opportunist in a way. Yes, Robin Hood and Mulan are there to protect the boy, but if anything goes wrong…  But of course, it doesn’t, and Neal grabs the Pan’s shadow for a trip to Neverland, where he’s captured by the Lost Boys.

C-Story: for all the Mulan/Aurora shippers out there, you finally got your moment. It seems Mulan might have feelings for Sleeping Beauty, although she doesn’t confess anything when she finds out Aurora’s pregnant. Did she and Phillip get married? Or is this a child out of wedlock? Are there Enchanted Forest Rules of Etiquette on that? So Mulan tells Aurora she’s joining Robin Hood’s Merry Men instead. So on the one hand, it looks like Mulan is playing on that side of the fence, but those of you screaming for a Mulan/Aurora romance aren’t getting it anytime soon. Which is fine by me. This is a lower-tier story with minor supporting characters, in the grand scheme of things.

But it does allow for the reveal that Robin Hood is the man Regina was supposed to meet oh, those many moons ago.

Best line goes to Rumpelstiltskin, to Regina at the dining table: “Roast swan. That’s amusing… You’ll get that later.”

[Official Show Site at ABC]     [Previous recap: “Lost Girl”]

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
20 × 4 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: