‘Once Upon A Time’ returned on Sunday with the highly anticipated “Tiny,” which introduced a possible game-changer to the town of Storybrooke. The Fairytale past sheds light on Anton’s struggles by revealing how he became the last giant standing and it turns out that Jack did not cause the giants’ downfall all by herself. Flash-forward to present day Storybrooke and we see Charming paying for the sins of his evil twin brother. Meanwhile, Rumple enlists Emma’s help and allows Henry to join the search party for Baelfire.
Fairytale Land: “We may live in peace, but we fight to protect what’s ours.”
This week’s fairytale flashback takes us back up the beanstalk to Anton and his giant brothers. We quickly find out that young Anton is the runt of the bunch, endearingly called “Tiny” by his much larger brothers. Over the years, they have learned that humans cannot be trusted. According to his older brother, Arlo, the humans only know how to conquer and destroy, but Anton still has faith in the little people and believes that not all humans are bad. When the giants endlessly taunt Anton’s naivety, he decides to discover the truth for himself and climbs down the beanstalk to meet some humans.
While Anton inadvertently terrorizes the humans, we get a chance to meet Prince James and a promiscuous Jack. King George bursts into James’ room, interrupting their tryst and informing them of the Giant’s imminent threat. Next thing you know James and Jack kindly approach Anton and offer to show him around town.
Jack offers Anton a bite of a magical mushroom that should shrink him down to human size, she claims a “wise woman” gave it to her as payment for her swashbuckling services (The mushroom is an obvious nod to ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ but who is the wise woman? Is it Cora the Queen of Hearts, Alice or someone else entirely? Share your theories below). Anton eats the mushroom and shrinks immediately, so they take him to the tavern and start befriending the gentle giant.
Jack doesn’t hold back on the flirtatious flattery. She feels sorry for the way his brothers treated him and tells Anton that he is meant to be with them. Now that they are buddies, she tells Anton that James’ kingdom is in severe debt. She hints at paying the debt off with beans, but Anton says he can offer her treasure instead. Anton travels back up the beanstalk to get the treasure and finds a dire surprise.
Arlo is relieved to have his baby brother back home. He tells Anton that they may tease him, but they all love him and were worried when he left. Suddenly, the sound of birds signals that trespassers have arrived in their kingdom. James and Jack confront the giants and want all of their magic beans. Arlo tells Anton that humans are all the same and although the giants live in peace, they must fight to protect what is theirs, especially when they are threatened by a human army armed with poisoned swords. Arlo instructs Anton to destroy all of their magic beans and burn the fields so that they can protect all realms from these destructive humans.
When Anton returns to the castle, Arlo has attacked Jack and she has struck him with her poisoned sword. With his last breathe, Arlo gives Anton a preserved stem of the beanstalk and tells him to grow beans in a new, safe land. Meanwhile, a dying Jack reaches out to James for help, but he just takes his bag of treasure and leaves her behind.
Storybrooke: “I promise no harm will come to your family. It’s a deal.”
Picking up from where we left off three weeks ago, Mr. Gold arrives at Emma’s door ready to hit the road. Much to his surprise, Emma is taking Henry with them. With Cora lurking around town, she cannot risk leaving him behind. Although Gold isn’t thrilled with the idea, he allows the by to tag along because Emma doesn’t give him any other choice. Before they leave, David looks Gold in the eyes and wants his word that he will not put his family in danger. Charming says, “It isn’t a threat…it’s a request.” Rumple earnestly vows that no harm will come to Emma and Henry, calling it a “deal.”
The best part of the episode is actually the time we spend with Mr. Gold feeling extremely strange outside of his comfort zone out in the real world. The preview clip of Rumple scoffing at the uncivil airport security precautions is definitely a highlight. As always, Mr. Gold does not play well with others and grows impatient with a man mocking him in the security line. When the guy insultingly asks if Rumple has ever been on a plane before, Rumpy quips: “Have you ever been impaled upon a cane before?” Classic Rumple! Emma quickly defuses the situation by apologizing for her “father’s” behavior and when the time comes for him to remove his magic shawl, Emma promises to help him. This bit is very interesting because it is hard to tell exactly why Rumple doesn’t lose his memory without the shawl. Did Emma magically will it? Do the rules change the farther away he gets from Storybrooke? One thing is for sure, Rumple is freaking out.
Henry is adorable asking Mr. Gold a bunch of questions about being nervous or worried about their quest for Baelfire and Rumple tries to maintain a stoic composure, but it isn’t really holding up. When he takes a bathroom break before boarding the plane, Rumple furiously punches the toilet seat cover dispenser until is hand starts bleeding. When he tries to magically heal the injuries his magic mojo doesn’t work. Does this mean the shawl’s magic won’t work either? Is Emma the one keeping him from forgetting the truth? Can Emma’s magical abilities work in the outside world? There are so many questions! The next few episodes are going to be very fascinating and we can’t wait to see what happens when they reach “Manhattan.” While Henry, Emma and Mr. Gold begin their adventure abroad, the people of Storybrooke find a new source of excitement at home.
David, Mary Margaret and Grumpy force Hook to lead them to his ship. He admits that the ship must go through a portal in order to travel between lands, but that is more-so Cora’s territory. Charming wants to see what Cora brought with them on the ship, so Hook reveals the caged Anton and says that he may know Cora’s plans. However, when Charming releases Anton from the cage, he receives more than he bargained for. Anton recognizes Charming as his royal jerk of a brother, so he beats him up a bit, says “You’ll pay for your evil” and runs off.
With the giant out of his cage, Hook calls upon Cora, but gets Regina instead. Cora is hiding out and Regina will do her biding now that they have made amends. Regina sees Anton as a much needed distraction and adds fuel to the fire. Regina approaches Anton and gives him a bite of magic mushroom to restore him to his natural size, so he can wreak havoc on the town.
David and M.M. approach Anton after he has caused a considerable amount of damage and they try to reason with him. Anton tells David that he destroyed everything in his life and he must now pay. David quickly clarifies that his evil twin brother already paid the price with his death years go. The Charmings tells Anton about Emma and try to prove that they are different from the other humans he has encountered. When that doesn’t work, they run.
While fleeing from Anton (who gets tangled in electrical lines,) Grumpy laughs at the evil twin brother story and wants some details, which leads to us learning Charming’s real name. No twist here: his name is David. Charming decides the best way to gain Anton’s trust is to simply surrender. As he is about to wave the white flag, Anton charges towards them and breaks a huge hole in the concrete. Suddenly, the mushroom’s magic wares off and average-sized Anton is holding on for dear life on a pipe in the crater he created.
With the help of some friends, David lowers himself down and offers his hand to Anton. The giant takes an existential turn, thinking that death would hurt less than life, but Charming points out, if that was the case, he would’ve let go already. Anton takes David’s hand, thanks him for saving his life and the whole gang goes to Granny’s. They all tell Anton about the perks of living in Storybrooke with a variety of people from all sorts of different realms, which means that even a giant could feel at home there. Anton realizes that Charming & Co. can be trusted, so he offers them a way back home.
Anton has kept the stem from the beanstalk and says they can plant it in Storybrooke, giving everyone a chance to go home to their own realms. The catch is that Cora brought Anton to Storybrooke because she wanted him to grow the magic beans. Charming and the dwarves tell Anton not to worry because they will protect the beanstalk from Cora. Since the dwarves are good workers, they offer to help harvest magic beans and hand Anton one of their axes. As Anton takes it in his hand, the name “Tiny” appears (cue the collective “awww”). David is disappointed that his axe never gave him a name, but Grumpy says that was because he isn’t a dwarf. Does that mean dwarves and giants are related in some way? Or are humans just exempt from the rules of the magic axe? As Anton and the dwarves start breaking ground while singing “Hi-Ho,” we realize that there is still more trouble in Storybrooke.
Earlier in the day Ruby paid Belle a visit at the hospital, during their conversation we discovered that Belle remembers what happened at the borderline. She saw Rumple heal her gunshot wound and was freaked out by the ball of fire he conjured in his hands. Ruby plays it off as some sort of post-traumatic delusion, but Belle soon receives confirmation that she is not crazy. Greg (the stranger) comforts Belle, saying that he saw the same thing. Now that they both know what they saw was real, what are they going to do about it?
Meanwhile, David opens up to Mary Margaret about his brother. He fears that the same blood runs through his veins and he might have been like James if King George had raised him. Snow assures him that his heart is different: “I know you Charming, you wouldn’t have been like him.” David then admits he would like to go back home to Fairytale Land, but Snow disagrees. Family is home and she wants to stay with Emma and Henry. It will be interesting to see if that sentiment changes once the magic beans are harvested.
What did you think of “Tiny”? Did it live up to your expectations? Did you expect to see more of Jack? Were you surprised or disappoint by anything? What were your favorite moments from the episode? Are you happy to see Anton stick around Storybrooke?
- Will Jack be back?: Cassidy Freeman was underused in this episode. Considering this was Jack’s grand reveal, it was disappointing. For a strong and fearless woman, it was kind of lame to see her first moments on ‘Once Upon A Time’ as Prince James’ latest fling. Hopefully, she will return so that Jack can become a more well-rounded character. ‘Once’ is great at creating strong women, so it would be sad to think of Jack as the helpless wounded girl that was left behind on James’ cruel quest. It sounds like she’s had many pf her own successful adventures, so perhaps we’ll get more flashbacks in the future. It would be wonderful to see her try to redeem herself in Anton’s eyes as well. What did you think, Oncers? Was Jack’s appearance a let-down?
- Regina and Cora’s alliance: The evil queens are back in town, which means there is nothing but trouble up ahead. It will be interesting to see how Hook will fit into this new mother-daughter dynamic. He isn’t so easily manipulated, so there will probably be conflict among the villains. Do you think there is still a chance for Hook to cross over to the good side? Do you think Regina honestly trusts Cora? Is there any real love between Regina and Cora or are they just using each other as a means to a very selfish end?
- The quest for Bae: The best part of this episode was Rumple’ storyline. Once again Robert Carlyle stands out as a tremendously gifted actor. The defensive retorts, the poorly concealed dread of the unknown, the fear of never finding his son, or even worse, finding Bae only to be rejected by him…Carlyle conveys all of these emotions with such grace and nuance. Can’t wait to see what happens to this captivating trio in next week’s “Manhattan.”
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‘Once Upon A Time’ airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.