“Once Upon A Time” begins with a bang. According to TV by the Numbers, nearly 12.8 million viewers tuned in last night to watch the fairytale unfold.
This drama’s ambitious undertaking of updating classic fairytales with a modern twist truly paid off in the pilot episode. The story opens with Prince Charming riding to Snow White’s rescue. As the tale goes, true love’s kiss brings the fair princess back to life and the enamored couple is ready for their “Happily Ever After.” Unfortunately, the Evil Queen crashes their wedding, casting a curse that will ensure “No happy endings” for anyone, except herself.
Cut to a freeze-frame portrait of the distressed newlyweds in Henry’s storybook during the present day, where he is riding a bus to Boston to find his birth mother, Emma Swan. Meanwhile, what appears to be a first date is really just another day on the job for this determined bail bondswoman. After work, she returns home to celebrate her 28th birthday alone with a cupcake and a wish. Until Henry appears at her door; he blackmails her into taking him home to Storybrooke and begs her to stay for at least a week.
Seamless transitions between the land of Fairytales and Storybrooke provide one of the show’s greatest strengths. The episode effortlessly weaves back and forth between the past and present, as the storybook pages turn and little truths are gradually revealed.
To make a long story short, here is the breakdown:
Months after the curse, pregnant Snow White and her hubby visit imprisoned Rumpelstiltskin. He promises to disclose their fate, if she reveals her daughter’s name. He explains how the curse will stop time in a horrible place where they will have no happy endings and no memory of their former lives. Their only hope is their unborn daughter, Emma, who on her 28th birthday will break the Evil Queen’s curse when she enters their town, setting into motion the epic battle between good and evil.
Mr. & Mrs. Charming gather the War Council, including Geppetto, Pinocchio, Blue Fairy, Red Riding Hood, Granny, Jiminy Cricket, and the Seven Dwarfs. Together they decide to fashion a wardrobe out of a magical tree that will protect one person from the curse. The curse strikes the night Emma is born, so Prince valiantly rushes his baby to the wardrobe. As we leave the Enchanted Forest, Snow White weeps over her severely wounded husband, while the wicked Queen scowls over Emma’s escape.
As they drive into the quaint cagey town, Henry points out the clock which never moves because of the curse, but insists his mother will change everything. Emma laughs it off and takes him home to Regina, his “evil” adoptive mother and the mayor. Furious over Emma’s arrival and contact with Henry, she warns Emma to keep out of town and far away from her son.
Henry runs away, so both moms check his school and discover his teacher, Mary Margaret Blanchard (Snow White), gave him the storybook thinking it would give the lonely boy hope. Regina leaves outraged, while Emma goes after Henry. Mother and son have a heart-to-heart, causing Emma to change her mind. She checks into Granny’s Bed & Breakfast for a week. There she meets Mr. Gold (Rumpelstiltskin), he owns the town and clearly recognizes Emma’s name when introduced. The town clock finally strikes as the episode ends and as the battle begins.
In case you missed it, watch the pilot here.
Do you long to hear the truth? Ask the Magic Mirror on the Wall your questions and he shall answer.
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What did you think of the pilot? Are you hooked enough to tune in next week? Leave your comments and questions below and check back for more scoop throughout the week.