|Charming gives a rousing speech to the citizens of Storybrooke|
The second episode of Once Upon a Time's second season didn't shy away from jumbling the timeline and continuing its tradition of pulling out a huge shocker in the end. If you haven't seen it, stop reading now. If you have, is your mind beginning to implode as you deal with multiple worlds, storylines, timelines, and characters? To quote one of my other favorite shows, Doctor Who "people assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big bowl of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey ...stuff." OUAT has always made me question its timeline, and the way that time moves in multiple worlds. Some characters age, some don't. Storylines are told out of order, backwards, and sideways. Like Lost before it, OUAT forces me to give up on understanding everything to save my brain from a headache. It's worth it when a show is brilliant, which OUAT is.
This timey wimey episode, Storybrooke recovers from the return of their memories, the reappearance of magic and the attack of the wraiths. Everyone is desperately displaced, searching for answers and lost loved ones while clamoring for the leadership of Prince Charming. Charming is too occupied with trying to track down information to help him get to Emma and Snow, who in the last episode were sucked into Fairy World (or the forbidden forest? I'm not 100 percent sure). David/Prince Charming tracks down Hatter, who tells him how very stuck everyone is. Rumpelstiltskin, who brought magic back in the last episode, is for some reason trying to leave, only to discover that no one can leave Storybrooke's borders without losing their memories. (Theories of why Rumplestiltskin wanted to leave-To find his son? To hide Belle? Perhaps for ultimate world domination as the Dark One? I really want to know. Everything he does is calculated.)
The backstory between Regina and Rumpel is not particularly interesting We learn that Rumpel taught Regina's evil mother how to use magic. Regina, who is still wounded over the loss of her actual love, is tempted into pushing her mother through a looking glass into another world. She becomes seduced by the power of magic, all the while fearing how much she is becoming like her mother. Back in Storybrooke, Regina gains her powers back and steals Henry away. Initially she tries to keep him with her, but gives him up to Prince Charming, telling him she will not force him stay with her. Regina is another one of those fascinating characters, made more interesting by her seemingly genuine love for Henry. She is evil evil evil, but there is some shard of good deep in her. She seems to almost be weak....which cues in....Regina's mother, who turns up in a prison with Snow and Emma in broken Fairy World. New Villain indeed.
Not a lot of time was spent on Snow and Emma's story, though that is bound to change in the coming episodes. I did appreciate the speech Prince Charming/David gave about recognizing his strengths and weaknesses in both his new world character and his story world Prince. Speaking of Fairy World, it looks as though Lancelot is set to feature in the next story. Be ready for more twists, turns, and wibbly wobbly time.