Over 10 million viewers tuned in to this week’s episode, “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree,” to discover the Magic Mirror’s origins and see where Sydney Glass’ true allegiance lies.
Fairytale Land: “I should never have made that wish.”
King Leopold stumbles upon a magic lamp and unleashes a downtrodden Genie (aka the Man in the Magic Mirror). The genie grants him three wishes, but the kind-hearted king has everything he wants so he uses his first wish to the give the Genie what he deeply desires – his freedom. The King then generously uses his second wish to transfer his third wish over to Genie. He is grateful for his freedom, but explains that he will not use his wish because in all of the 1001 wishes he has granted, all of them have ended poorly and all of them come with price (sound familiar?). Besides, what Genie wants most is to find true love and as we learned from Aladdin, you can’t wish for true love because it has to happen organically. Cut to Genie’s introduction to Queen Regina and it is love at first sight.
Later that night in the King’s court, King Leopold gushes over his beloved Snow White, saying how she is the fairest of them all, just like her mother was. Crushed Queen Regina leaves the room to seek comfort by the apple tree that was brought over from her mother’s garden and Genie is quick to console her. The two are kindred spirits, for both know how it feels to live a cruelly confined existence. Genie gives her a mirror, so that she can see herself through his loving eyes. Unfortunately, that ends up being a huge mistake.
King Leopold finds the mirror and an entry in the Queen’s diary alluding to their blossoming love affair and he asks Genie to seek out the man behind the mirror. While Genie waits for the Queen, her father approaches him with a box to take to her room, in it is the only thing that can set her free. Genie rushes to Queen Regina’s side and she opens the box to reveal a double-headed poisonous viper from his homeland. She reaches inside to commit suicide, but he stops her and declares that he shall kill the King instead so that they may be together.
Genie creeps into King Leopold’s room while he is sleeping, thanks him for his kindness, then unleashes the vipers. With his dying breathe the king confesses his regret for that wish. Genie then returns to his beloved Queen only to be disappointed because she set him up. She says he should be thankful that she is even giving him a chance to escape before the guards capture him, but he refuses to leave. Instead, he uses his one wish to be with the Queen forever and thus he becomes trapped in her mirror.
Storybrooke: “Sometimes doing a bad thing for a good reason is okay.”
As Henry digs up his book from its hiding place under the crumbling castle where Henry and Emma have their secret pow-wows, Regina appears and sneers at Emma for allowing her son to play in such a hazardous environment. She tells Henry to get in the car and he doesn’t have a chance to move his book to a safer spot. The next day, Regina tears down Henry’s fortress and he discovers that the book is missing. This pushes Emma over the edge and she agrees to work with Sydney on knocking Regina off of her mayoral pedestal.
Sydney discovered that Regina has stolen $50,000 from the city and Emma, being a bounty-hunter and all, can use her cunning means to unfold Regina’s endgame. Emma hesitates to play dirty, but Sydney justifies it by saying that sometimes it is okay to do a bad thing if it is for a good reason. This is where we get a snippet of how Mary Margaret feels about her affair; she has just come from a romantic picnic with David at “their” spot by the toll bridge. Although she feels guilty for having an affair with a married man, she uses Sydney’s logic to justify their actions because their love for each other feels right. Nonetheless, Emma insists on giving Regina one fair chance to come clean before sinking to her level.
Regina lies to Emma and Sydney, so she plants a bug in the mayor’s office. They overhear a conversation about a money hand-off and drive off to catch her secret rendezvous. Unfortunately, Emma’s car breaks have been cut and they crash into the woods to find Mr. Gold. Turns out Regina bought his land, so Emma and Sydney break into Regina’s office to steal the blueprints and related files. While going over the evidence, Emma feels guilty for breaking her promise to Henry and stooping to Regina’s level, but Sydney reassures her that what she is doing is necessary because Regina always destroys what people loves most and she must be stopped.
While Emma and Sydney head off to expose Regina at the City Council meeting, we get to check back in on Henry’s quest. He hasn’t found his book, so he is in the diner frantically sketching every story he can remember when the Stranger pokes his nose into Henry’s business. When he asks what the book is about, Henry cryptically replies “stuff,” so Mr. Stranger coyly smiles, wishes the kid luck on his “stuff” and leaves. Back at City Hall, Emma calls Regina a selfish thug and reveals her plans to build a lavish palace for herself in the woods. Regina displays the plans on a projector and says she is building a playhouse for the kids, leaving Emma speechless. After the meeting, Regina threatens to issue Emma a restraining order if she doesn’t stay away from Henry.
Emma explains to Henry via their walkie-talkies that they must be apart for a while, but she promises to find his storybook. Cue the big reveal we’ve been waiting for – Mr. Writer Stranger has Henry’s book! But, that is not the only twist this week. The episode concludes with Regina thanking Sydney for his excellent work on gaining Emma’s trust because now they will know everything she will be up to.
- Emma comes across a ring of suspicious skeleton keys like the one that opened the viper box, so it makes you think just how many tricks does Regina have up her sleeve.
- Awesome transitions from Storybrook to Fairytale, especially with the mirrors.
- Mr. Gold continues to offer to be Emma’s ally, but she refuses and plays right into Regina’s hands. Mr. Gold is a bad guy too, but it makes you wonder if Emma would be better off accepting his help sometimes.
- Richard Schiff’s King Leopold is so sweet; you can see where Snow gets her kindness from. Hopefully we will see more of him this season because there was not enough father-daughter time in this episode.
- Giancarlo Esposito gave a superb performance this week as the Genie and Sydney.
The twists were predictable this week. For those of you who have been putting the pieces of the puzzle together as ABC has dropped hints throughout the season, it may not have come as such a huge surprise to learn that the Magic Mirror was once a Genie and that Sydney is always loyal to Regina. Not to mention, that the mysterious writer is there for the storybook. To be honest, it was a little disappointing, given how awesome the show is every week.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Were you surprised? Did you like ‘Once Upon A Time’s’ spin on the Genie’s story? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
‘Once Upon A Time’ is taking Super Bowl Sunday off next week, so tune in on February 12th to see how beautiful Belle gets entangled with the beastly Rumple.