In ‘Once Upon A Time’s’ eventful episode before the brief break, we learn more about Red’s hairy origins, discover what the Seven Dwarves dig up in the Storybrooke mine, and realize the importance of Henry and Aurora’s fiery dreams.
Fairytale Land: “May you always run free beneath the moon’s pale light.”
This fairytale flashback picks-up shortly after where we left off in last season’s “Red-Handed,” in which Red discovered that she is the big bad wolf who killed her boyfriend and terrorized the town. Nearly a month later, Snow White and Red have been running from the Evil Queen’s men. During another great chase, Red’s magic cloak tears and she fears she will uncontrollably change into a wolf and harm Snow. As the full moon approaches, Red insists on splitting up and meeting Snow later at a nearby stream. Snow assures Red that she will always be there for her, but understands her concerns and agrees to meet up after the change.
While Red looks for safe place in the woods, she encounters a strange man with glowing yellow eyes. He introduces himself as Quinn and recognizes her as a fellow “child of the moon.” He tells Red that he can relate to her troubles, he knows that she blacks-out and loses control when she turns and he claims that there is a way to control it. He leads her to an underground lair, part of the sunken castle, where a pack of shape-shifters like Red have learned to live with their unique gift.
Red meets the leader of the pack, Anita, a self-assured shape-shifter who turns out to be her mother. Red thought she had died, but Anita claims that Granny simply stole baby Red away from her. Anita teaches Red how to accept her inner wolf, so that she can gain control. That night, Red removes her cloak and trusts Anita. She realizes that part of what Anita says is true. When Red embraces the wolf, she becomes more self-aware as the wolf and remembers the time she spends running wild and free through the woods with Anita’s pack.
The next morning, Snow White arrives at their lair. She tracked Red’s wolf-prints through the woods because she was worried about her. Snow understands Red’s desire to be with her mother and admits that she would do anything to be with her mother again. Suddenly, the Evil Queen’s men barge into their safe haven and kill Quinn. Anita blames Snow for his death and wants Red to kill her.
Red refuses to brutally murder her loyal friend, so Anita wolfs-out and charges towards Snow. Red quickly shape-shifts and attacks Anita as the wolf, knocking Anita onto a spike. Anita transforms back into a human and is disappointed that he daughter chose Snow over her own blood. However, Red argues that she chose herself, insisting that she is not a killer, like the rest of the pack. After Anita dies, Snow and Red give her a proper burial in the woods.
Snow apologizes to Red for losing her family, but Red sees things differently. She tells Snow, “I didn’t lose my family today. I protected it.” Red thanks Snow White because she has been the only person in her life who thought it was okay for Red to be both human and wolf.
Storybrooke: “Ruby, I know the real you…I know you can control the wolf.”
Life is pretty hectic in Storybrooke, especially for Prince Charming. Many of our favorite characters are wrapped up in some sort of drama, but everything seems to work out for the best in the end. So let’s start with the good news first, the Seven Dwarves finally found the fairy dust they had been searching for.
Thanks to a happy accident, Grumpy stumbled upon some diamonds embedded in the mines, so they immediately tell David to lock up Jefferson’s hat to keep it safe while they make fairy dust over night and they can try to make the hat work the next day. David begins his day with renewed hope, but that is threatened when King George pays him a visit and puts the town in danger by preying on Ruby’s worst fear.
As the first post-curse full moon approaches, Ruby is worried about what will happen if she turns into the wolf. We gain some pretty deep insight into how severely affected Red has been by the curse. When Billy (a.k.a. Gus, the quirky mouse from Cinderella) asks Ruby out on a date to get to know her better as Red, she panics because she is afraid of dating anyone after what she did to her last boyfriend, Peter. Luckily, Belle comes to her rescue with a good excuse. Over at the next booth, poor young Henry has swapped java for cocoa because he is afraid of falling asleep and having more nightmares. Charming consoles his grandson and assures him that they will find a solution to his problem. He tells the boy to lay off the java and head to school. Moments later, King George swoops in with a menacing threat against Storybrooke’s new sheriff. George promises to expose David’s secret past and turn the townspeople against him, but David doesn’t scare that easily. He warns George to back-off and heads back to his duties as sheriff, which include helping Red with her hairy dilemma.
Red hasn’t been able to find her cloak in Storybrooke, so she and Granny have transformed the diner’s freezer into a cage to lock her up over-night. As Granny locks her in, Charming comforts Red and tells her not to worry because he trusts her. The next morning, David and Granny find Ruby in the woods. She has no memory of last night and starts freaking out, but Charming remains calm and promises her that everything will be okay. He gets a call about a double-parked tow-truck, so they check it out on their way back to town.
Red recognizes Billy’s tow truck and then finds that he has been torn into two pieces in such a savage way that she fears she may have done it when she wolfed-out the night before. Red wants Charming to lock her up in jail to keep the town safe until they figure things out. Meanwhile, Henry receives a little help dealing with his own troubles.
When Henry wakes up from another nightmare, he sees Regina by his side. Charming called her when he had to run out to help Red. Regina reaches out to Mr. Gold and asks if he can do something about Henry’s nightmares. Gold explains that it is a side-effect of the curse. Under the sleeping curse, the soul travels to a world between life and death. When the curse breaks, the victims can still access that world in their sleep. Gold gives Henry a necklace with a potion in it that will help him have control, so he doesn’t fear the fiery dream-world. Regina asks what this favor will cost her. Gold says, “No price. It’s on me.” With one issue somewhat settled, we switch back to a jailed Red and George’s latest antics.
As promised, George starts a mob. He barges into the sheriff’s office and blames “she-wolf” for Billy’s death. He notes David’s failure as a sheriff, saying he let his emotions cloud his judgment. Since he can’t handle Red properly, he should hand her over to George and the mob, so they can exact justice. After they exchange some more intense glares, the war is officially on. George goes to rally his mob and David scrambles to protect Ruby.
Granny, who still has her wolf-hearing, alerts them of the fast-approaching mob, so they rush to hide Red in Belle’s library. Belle doesn’t understand why Red can’t recognize the good within herself. Like Snow, she vows to stay by Red’s side, but it is too dangerous. Red shackles Belle and runs off. She will face the angry mob as the wolf and give them what they want, a monster that deserves to be killed. Meanwhile, Granny and David start investigating George. They find Red’s cloak in his car and realize he set her up for Billy’s murder. They hear Red’s howl and run to save her.
As the mob closes in on Red, Granny barely stops George from shooting Red-Wolf. Charming tells the mob that Red is just scared and doesn’t want to hurt anybody. He approaches her with the cloak and she tries to scare him off, but he doesn’t flinch. He knows Red’s heart and trusts her. Red-wolf heels, letting him cover her with the cloak. When she returns to human form, she thanks him for saving her. David says she saved herself and he just reminded her of what she already knew. Having overcome her fears, Ruby helps David track down George.
When they find George, he is standing over a fire with Jefferson’s hat in his hand. He drops the hat in the fire and Charming pulls his gun on George. The king coldly quips, “You should have killed me when you had the chance.” Being the better man, Charming doesn’t kill George, but this war is far from over.
Charming returns home with Red and they see Henry is sound asleep. As David despairs over the thought of never seeing his family again, Ruby reassures him. The tables have turned and she offers him some hope by telling him to have more faith in himself. He helped her regain control of the wolf and he will find a way to bring his family back. Before Red heads out for a furry run, she tells David to unchain Belle in the library.
As the episode winds down, we enter into Henry’s dream and see how Gold’s potion helps him out. Henry calls out to the young woman cowering under the flames and we see that it is Aurora.
Post-Curse Fairytale Land: “There was a little boy. He said his name was Henry.”
Sleeping Beauty wakes from her slumber and tells Snow White and Emma about the conversation she just had with Henry. In another surprising twist, communication between Storybrooke and Fairytale Land relies on Henry and Aurora’s dreams.
What did you think “Child of the Moon”? Were shocked to learn that Anita was Red’s mother? Do you want to see more of Red’s hairy alter-ego? Were you surprised by the twist? Do like this new mode of communication?
- The Dream World: Arguably, the most interesting part of the episode came at the very end. What should we make of this alternate reality? Will Henry and Aurora meet other cursed people in this world? Could Snow return to that world if she wanted to? It took some time for her to overcome this side effect of the curse, but is it gone for good? Can it serve as a portal to the other side? Or is it just a meeting ground for the cursed? Share any ideas you have below!
- Red’s hairy history: Well now we know why Granny took Red away from her mother. Anita was bad news. It was nice to see the strength of Red’s relationships in this episode. Snow and Charming are like family to her and their loyalty is sweet to see. Belle has also become a good confidant and it will be nice to watch their friendship blossom.
- King George (aka Spencer): Alan Dale did a great job in this episode because he was really easy to hate. George has a nasty sense of revenge. He wants to bring Charming down and he is willing to destroy Storybrooke in the process. Hopefully, he will get his just desserts.
- The Seven Dwarves: The opening scene with Grumpy and the dwarves was hilarious. One of the best lines on ‘Once’ came from Grumpy: “Just ‘cause its called happy hour, doesn’t mean you gotta be there, Happy.” Too cute!
- Granny is still badass: Just saying, you have to love a cross-bow wielding Granny who doesn’t let anybody hurt her precious granddaughter.