'Once Upon A Time' Recap: 'True North'
In this episode, we meet Hansel and Gretel and find out another piece of the Evil Queen's twisted puzzle.
Author’s note: Lines between paragraphs indicate scene changes between Fairy Tale Land and Storybrooke/present day.
Henry browses comics in the Storybrooke drugstore as a blonde, blue-eyed girl chats him up. Her brother appears, telling her it's time to go. The girl introduces herself as Eva (her brother is Nicholas) and asks Henry if he'd like to hang out. As they approach the exit, the druggist stops them, accusing Henry of stealing. He opens Henry's backpack to reveal stolen candy, toothpaste and other items. Henry says Eva distracted him so Nicholas could put the items in his pack.
In the forest, Hansel and Gretel assist their father in gathering wood for their home. As he sends the children to find kindling, their father gives them his compass so they can find their way back to him. When they've finished, their father is nowhere to be found. They run to the road, where they come upon the Evil Queen's (EQ) cortilege.
Regina has joined her son in the drugstore, where she is incredulous that he is the one who is guilty of stealing. As she escorts Henry out, Emma arrives to investigate in her role as sheriff.
The kids tell her that their parents couldn't afford the items and that is why they were stealing. Emma believes them.
EQ orders her guards to seize the children. Just then, Gretel causes a diversion and the two run off into the forest. EQ catches up with them, entrapping them in some tree roots. She tells them that she'll find their father if the children do something for her.
Emma drives to a house Eva and Nicholas have specified, but they don't want her to come to the door with them because their parents would be embarrased. After Emma drives away, the children run off to an abandoned house, where they've been squatting in the basement.
They hear a noise upstairs and find Emma has caught them in their lie. Emma asks again where their parents are and Eva says they don't have any.
Emma takes the children to Mary Margaret's house, where she finds that the children were abandoned by their father; their mother, Dorie Zimmer, died years ago. Emma is reluctant to notify child protective services because of her own bad experiences in the foster system. She promises Eva and Nicholas that they won't be separated.
Emma goes to the Storybrooke records office looking for the Zimmers' birth records. The clerk tells her the records were recently removed--by Mayor Mills.
At Town Hall, Regina explains that she has contacted child protective services and all the group homes in Maine are full; the children will have to be sent to separate group homes in Boston. She orders Emma to drive the children there that afternoon.
EQ leads Hansel and Gretel to a cottage in the forest, the home of the Blind Witch. She instructs them to find a satchel containing something belonging to EQ. She tells them to wait until nightfall to enter the cottage, warning them not to eat anything.
Henry arrives at the police station with his fairy tale book to tell Emma that Nicholas and Eva are actually Hansel and Gretel. He asks Emma to tell him about his father. Emma says she met him while working in a diner; he was training as a firefighter. She tells Henry that she tried to contact his father before her stint in prison and found out that he died fighting a fire. She tells Henry that his father was a real hero. Henry asks if she has anything that belonged to his father, and that gives Emma an idea about how to find Eva and Nicholas's father.
At Mary Margaret's house, Emma asks the kids if she has anything that belonged to their father. Eva says yes, but makes Emma promise that she'll make sure they'll stay together. She hands Emma her father's compass.
Hansel and Gretel enter the Blind Witch's cottage, where the witch is sleeping. As Gretel retrieves the satchel for the Evil Queen, Hansel can't resist and bites a cupcake. The witch awakens, smelling them and trapping them inside the cottage.
Emma goes to Mr. Gold's shop with the compass Eva and Nicholas gave her seeking more information. Gold reveals that the compass was bought from his own shop by a Michael Tillman. As Emma leaves, we see that the card from which Gold "read" the name was actually blank.
Emma catches up with Michael at the mechanic shop where he works, and he is shocked at Emma's news that he is the father of twins. She shows him the compass and tells him that she doesn't have her son because she didn't have a choice; he does. Michael says he knows nothing about being a dad and tells Emma to find the kids a good home elsewhere.
Emma tells Mary-Margaret the news and also confesses that she told Henry a lie: his father was neither a fireman nor a hero.
The Blind Witch traps Hansel and Gretel in a cage and prepares to roast them. The children hatch a plan to escape and trap the witch in her own oven. The Evil Queen, watching through her Magic Mirror, sends a blast of flame through the mirror and into the witch's oven, burning her alive. Hansel and Gretel escape with the witch's satchel.
Hansel and Gretel arrive at the Evil Queen's castle and give her the satchel. Inside is a perfect red delicious apple, which EQ tells them is actually a weapon intended for a very specific enemy. Gretel asks about her father, and EQ says they deserve better than a father who would abandon them. EQ invites Hansel and Gretel to live with her since they've impressed her so much. Gretel says no, that their father would never abandon them, and even if he did, they would never want to live with someone as horrible as EQ. Enraged, EQ casts a spell over Hansel and Gretel, enveloping them in a whirlwind.
Emma reluctantly loads Eva and Nicholas into her police car as Regina and Henry look on. Henry tells Emma that she won't be able to take the kids out of Storybrooke; something bad will happen if she tries. Emma drives off.
On the way out of Storybrooke, Emma's engine stalls. She dials her phone for help.
In the mirror, EQ sees Snow White "cavorting with dwarves." Her soldiers bring in Hansel and Gretel's father, who was in EQ's dungeons. EQ, seemingly pained, asks the man why his children refused her when she offered them everything. He replies that it's because they are family. She releases him, saying that they can be a happy family once they find one another. Hansel and Gretel awake in the middle of the [enchanted forest], miles from any castle.
Emma's "help" arrives, and it's the mechanic, Eva and Nicholas's dad. He agrees to take the kids.
Back at Mary Margaret's house, Emma recounts the events of that night. She reveals that in Henry's book, Snow White has a kid, and it's her. Mary-Margaret muses that Emma does have her chin. As Emma leaves the house to finish her shift, Mary Margaret sees Emma's baby blanket.
Henry finds Emma, and as they stand chatting on the street, a stranger rides up on a motorcycle. He asks Emma where he might find a room to rent, and rides off again in the direction of Granny's Bed & Breakfast without giving his name.
An ongoing list of questions that hopefully will be answered in future episodes.
-More items that have crossed the divide: Emma's baby blanket; Hansel & Gretel's father's compass. How are these items getting through?
-How did the Blind Witch come to have the apple? We learn in episode two that the Evil Queen got the poisoned apple spell from Maleficent. How did it change hands?
-Is the mysterious stranger Henry's real dad?