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ONCE UPON A TIME Things Changed in a New York Minute

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Episode 214 “Manhattan”

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[photos: Jack Rowand/ABC.com]

“OMG! I totally did not see that coming!” — said no one.

Once_Manhattan_Mila

I mean, it’s got to have been one of the worst kept secrets of the show. Even though no one officially confirmed it, fans have been speculating for months. And really, there’s not going to be much point to this recap without the one MAJOR SPOILER that will blow the whole thing. So if you haven’t seen the episode —

[SWERVE HERE TO AVOID SPOILERS]

Let’s talk for a bit about the back-story, Rumpelstiltskin’s origin. It seems we’ve seen this story in bits and pieces over a season, but never at the beginning. He’s been called up to fight in the Ogre War, and Mila is pregnant. Rumple sees this as his big break, his one chance to get out from under the shadow of failure left by his father. It’s his opportunity for redemption in the eyes of the town.

Once_Manhattan_cowardNaturally, it doesn’t go his way. A Seer predicts his future — his son will grow up fatherless. Rumple thinks it’s great and amazing that he’s going to have a son, but he can abide the idea that he’s going to die in battle, so he injures himself so he can return home. He does not get the homecoming party he anticipated. Mila is full of contempt for him, and it’s hard to see what Rumple sees in this woman, really. I’ve met women like that. I don’t want to be around them, much less marry them…

In any case, the Seer plays a big role in the whole plan involving the curse and the path to find Bae in the other realm.

And yes, it’s [spoiler that really isn’t a spoiler] Neal.

In New York (still a 4-hour drive from Logan Airport…), they manage to track down the apartment with all the cool chatskis. Neal bolts, of course, giving Emma a good run for her money before she gets clever and takes a short cut to stop him with a body-slam.

I’d take a body-slam from Emma. Just sayin’… and from Pixie-cut Snow, too.

So, this is the big reveal episode wherein we learn that Neal is Baelfire, giving us a really twisted family tree — and it’s a nice scene as the Charmings sit to figure out the Thanksgiving seating chart. Let’s review:

ONCE_familytree

So, this also raises the point that Regina, Henry’s adopted mother, is actually his step-grandmother, and has no need to go through all this evil machinations to get Henry into her clutches. They’re family. Which effectively negates everything she’s doing with Cora and Hook. (And Hook’s getting the short end of the stick on that one, let me tell you…)

Once_Manhattan_evilgang

The plan to obtain Rumplestiltskin’s dagger and gain control of the Dark One now seems like it’s going to end up as a knock-down, drag-out between Cora and Rumplestiltskin, with everyone else caught in the middle choosing a side. One has to wonder, though, how many sides there are to this thing. We still haven’t seen the depth of Emma’s power. And now that we know Henry is the progeny of two Fairy Tale Land characters, what kind of abilities will he manifest?

Remember, too, that Rumplestiltskin is also responsible for the placement of David and James in the castle of King George, and that he’s the one that taught both Cora and Regina the dark arts. And we’ve seen that Rumple and Cora have a much more involved past than we’ve seen so far… so it’s already a bit of a twisted mess without the added bonus that Rumplestiltskin is Henry’s grandfather.

Although that may explain the “coincidence” of Mr. Gold arranging for the adoption…

Some have speculated that Rumplestiltskin could be Regina’s father, but that would be just a little too convenient. It’s enough that he’s Regina’s mentor. And the Seer’s prediction that a young boy will be his undoing adds a new layer/wrinkle to the fabric: Rumplestiltskin had decided the boy has to die, long before learning that it’s his grandson. What will this do to his plan to retain his power?

Once_Manhattan_Neal-Henry

After a couple of “meh” episodes, this one didn’t quite knock it out of the park, but it’s a solid home run.

>>>>>

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

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.

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