Well, Charming certainly found himself in a hairy situation this week, didn’t he? (Okay, I hate myself a little bit for saying that)
We open with David wandering around the castle, and finding himself in Emma’s old nursery. He is of course confused, but before things can be figured out Emma shows up in a rather fancy dress, apparently hiding from her first ball. They dance, David still very confused, but obviously enjoying spending time with his daughter and teaching her to dance. That is until she starts talking about how he failed her. Things take a turn for the even worse when the magic wardrobe bursts open and begins to pull Emma in. Her parting words are not to fail the next one like he failed her. He awakens in bed, clearly shaken by what happened, to some good news from Snow, she is knocked up!
After some words of advice from Robin about overcoming ones fears, David departs for Sherwood, trying to find a magic root Robin told him about that will drive away his fear. He finds it, and a tower, and a princess inside the tower. That’s right, Rapunzel has finally made an appearance. As it turns out, she used some of the magic root to drive away her fear of being a leader. David tries to rescue her, but the evil witch that imprisoned Rapunzel makes an appearance and after tossing David around like a rag doll, is revealed to be a manifestation of Rapunzel’s fears, spawned when she ate the root. She overcomes her fear, banishes the fear demon, and is reunited with her family. In the process, David puts his own fear behind him as well, ready to be a father.
In Storybrooke, we see a similar plot develop. Emma and gang are working hard to track down the Wicked Witch before she has a chance to enact any evil plots. Regina keeps Henry safe and busy, which gives a short but nice bit between the two, while Emma, Hook, and David try to track down Mean and Green. David splits off, having to meet up with Snow and their new (wicked) midwife, who slips him the fear root in his tea. This leads to a confrontation with fear demon version of himself, who he is able to defeat, in turn empower his broken sword as a totem of his courage, which is then stolen by the Wicked Witch in a puff of green smoke. While David deals with his split personality, Emma and Hook have a moment in the woods and are able to track the Wicked Witch back to a farm house in the woods. Busting open the cellar they find an empty cage with a spinning wheel and straw strewn about the floor. They have discovered that Rumpel is still alive and being held by the witch.
So, I must make a confession, I am actually enjoying the Enchanted Forest flashbacks in this new batch of episodes. Instead of random backstory that didn’t do much for the story, we are seeing what actually happened to the characters in their lost year, and are getting some interesting parallels between the flashback plots and the Storybrooke plots. However, I will say that I think it would be more interesting if they forgo those, left the viewers wondering what happened in that lost year, maybe drop the occasional hint in the form of a random memory or comment from the Wicked Witch. It would serves as a great way to amp up the tension and the mystery of the show. But they there is no way they are going to just ditch the fantasy scenes, after all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I must admit, I really loved the David story we got this week. His fears and bit of self loathing over his perceived failure as a father in regards to Emma is not something that would just go away, but would definitely fester over the years. Now the whole facing a manifestation of his fears to overcome them wasn’t exactly original but it fit in well with show, and even if it is a bit cliched, it is always fun to see someone fight their evil double. Also, we have had a shocking lack of sword fights as of late, and I just won’t stand for that, Goon likes sword fights.
Not much more has been revealed of Zalena’s plot thus far, we learned that she has Rumpel’s dagger which is how she is keeping him locked up, and we were treated to a rather creepy scene of her giving him a shave with said dagger. I am not sure what her plans for Rumpel are, but I am not sure I want to know.
Overall, while not an amazing episode, it was solid one. We got some nice character moments with David as he dealt with his fears and put old demons to rest, and a brief but touching scene with Regina and Henry. I hope we can get more of those, could be a great lead in to Henry getting his memories back. I would say the worst part of the episode would be Rapunzel, while I was happy to see her finally make an appearance on the show, she was not an overly impressive character. Cutting her hair to overcome her fear? It was not impressive. Something better they could have done with her would be through helping her, David was able to overcome his fears, or have her impart some sort of wisdom on him that could help. But no, she showed up, acted scared, and gave herself an impromptu haircut, nothing all that great. Here’s hoping they do something better next week.