Mr. Gold and August spent the entirety of the The Stranger episode fighting over me. Or it was another allegory about how adoption is wrong, wrong, wrong. I like my explanation better.

Here’s the summary in quick-form:

Spoiler Alert: August is Pinocchio. This actually ended up being more interesting than it sounds. The episode starts out by making us watch the most traumatic scene from our childhood reimagined, and killing Pinocchio. Then the Blue Fairy shows up and turns him into a real boy. Presumably, she didn’t show up sooner because she was busy doing fairy stuff.

Gepetto gets dirty in his dealings with the Blue Fairy when he threatens to let everyone in Fairy Tale die if his magically enhanced son can’t make it to the new world post-curse. There’s a magical tree that only the charmed woodcarver can make into a transportation device. It will protect the identity and memories of 2 people sent to the next realm (our world). The original plan was to send Snow White and baby Emma.

“She can live without her mother!”

Gepetto yells, putting an end to that convenient set up. The Blue Fairy then makes it look way too easy to lie to everyone and say there is only room for 1 person in the chest. Pinocchio is secreted inside, and attempts to help raise Emma in a foster home. However, after a lot of yelling from foster dad, and some really bad acting on every one-scene character’s part, August runs off with the other bipedal kids and a wad of cash they “found in the sock drawer.” Poor baby Emma.

Despite knowing creepy details of Emma’s childhood, she refuses to believe his story of tree transportation. She’s so in denial, that when August shows her his wooden leg and explains he’s reverting back to wood because he’s been a ‘bad boy,’ the episode doesn’t even turn into a porno. I stopped watching at that point, but from other recaps I put together that Emma announces that it’s not fair everyone’s suddenly relying on her, so she’s leaving. And kidnapping her son.

Okay, she didn’t announce that part, but it happened. As if August’s Daddy issues weren’t enough, Emma declares that she’s going to make Henry her son… legally. She does this by kidnapping him at the end of the episode. While the first part is entirely understandable, Emma straight up sucks as an arm of the law. So far, we’ve seen her break into a suspect’s property, aid a criminal, and now she’s finally “cracked,” and attempted to take a child she has no right to.

While it was nice to see more of the war planning round table in Fairy Tale, there wasn’t nearly enough Rumpelstiltski in The Stranger.

I’d like to take this moment to point out that things still sucked in Fairy Tale before the curse. While the show implies that even before the displacement, the Evil Queen had something to do with everyone’s unhappiness, many of the characters’ stories are running independently sad. Rumpelstiltskin turned to evil after an already corrupt kingdom tried to conscript his child. Ruby’s Red Riding hood counterpart tore apart her boyfriend as the result of a generations old werewolf bloodline (in by far the most interesting story line this season). David/Charming was forced into adoption-slavery by a local king, who only teams up with our Queen later. Charming’s betrothed, Princess Abigail, had her lover turned to gold by not-the-Queen. Grumpy can’t be with his fairy love because of fairy rules/racism, whatever, castles can be successfully sieged with a torch and a bale of hay…. I could go on. My point is that “Fairy Tale” was hardly a fairy tale, and seems more like living in exaggerated medieval squalor.

Moving right along to last week’s episode… Everybody’s pissed at Emma for trying to ditch with her son. Mary Margaret, Archie, and other townsfolk tell her the bold truth: she has no claim to him, and that was a batshit crayzor move. In Storybrooke, August ditches Henry (too soon to make adoption jokes?) on Operation Cobra because of the “unvarnished truth” that he is turning to wood. If there’s one thing this show has been missing, it’s been awesome puns. That, and good dialogue.

Emma keeps threatening to take Henry away from Regina, while having no way to do that in actuality, and Regina plots to poison Emma. Not kill her, just put her to sleep with some old fashioned cooking and magic that she conscripted from the last remnant of her memories with Stableboy-Bowie-Look-Alike. And Jefferson’s help. Who is back in Storybrooke, despite warping out last time we saw him to some hat-factory realm. But you know, it’s the end of the season! Leave the plot holes alone!

The high point of this episode was Snow White’s assault on Regina’s castle to save Charming. But that was only because you get to see the blue fairy unenthusiastically say loudly, “Fairies attack!” Thus immortalizing Once Upon A Time as the holder of the worst dialogue this primetime season.

Snow sieges the castle with Red Riding Hood, the 7 dwarfs, and some fairy air support. Charming’s not there, and she is instead instructed to return to the stable where their feud started to Parlay with Regina. She shows up, bites the apple to save Charming, and BAM!, we’re in the lead up to the first scene of Once Upon a Time.

Jefferson uses the last of Regina’s magic to snatch up the apple, which she bakes into a single turnover. This she gives to Emma as a travel snack. The Sheriff decides to pick up and leave town to figure out how to live in Henry’s life side by side with the woman that adopted him. For some reason, a single turnover on a baking sheet when Regina wasn’t supposed to know Emma was coming to see her doesn’t set off Em’s spidey sense, but whatever. The conclusion is what we’re supposed to care about. Naturally, Henry bites into the turnover (to prove to Emma the curse is real!). He falls over, Emma yells in surprise, cue Mother’s Day Finale!

Hopefully, we will get the ultimate in mommy fights for Mother’s Day.

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