After last week’s episode, secrets in Storybrooke are starting to multiple as the outside world has begun to infiltrate the small Maine town. Everyone is after magic, so there’s no better time to reintroduce an old favourite into the mix.
Let’s bitch it out…
‘Selfless, Brave And True’ brings about the return of August (Eion Bailey), who has been MIA since we saw him mingling with Neal (Michael August Booth). The biggest difference is obviously his change in appearance as he is now completely made of wood (insert your own dirty adult joke here). While the episode is primarily concerned with how this change came about, there’s a far more interesting storyline at play – that of Neal’s (Michael Raymond-Jones) fiancée, Tamara (Sonequa Martin-Green).
I’ve had a feeling that there was something off about Tamara since we were first introduced to her in 2×15) ‘The Queen Is Dead’. It felt like a very random, hasty intro, but it was clearly meant to suggest big things. At the time it simply seemed to suggest that any kind of romantic engagement Emma (Jennifer Morrison) might have with Neal would be challenging because he’s with the “wrong partner” (Side Note: not that Emma needs any other boys vying for her attention, what with Hook and August in the mix).
As 2×18 makes it clear, however, Tamara will have a much more significant role than simply foiling a potential romance. She’s up to no good and now we have not one, but two strangers hanging out in Storybrooke.
Last week we discovered that Greg (Ethan Embry) has a secret history with the town when his father was more-or-less kidnapped by Regina (Lana Parrilla). This week, we learn that Tamara has a similar history – only hers takes place outside of Storybrooke. Her connection is with August and a medicine man called The Dragon in Hong Kong. Their adventure once again draws on Once’s connection to Lost as Tamara’s backstory with August has all the bearings of a Jack & Sawyer tale. Mystical object? Check. Foreign location? Check. Conning each other? Check. Not exactly a new story, even if it interesting to spend the majority of the hour outside of Storybrooke and apart from our traditional cast of characters.
Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke, things are as dull as ever. Emma, Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), Charming (Josh Dallas) and Henry (Jared Gilmore) are looking for August, but in truth the majority of their screentime is dedicated to minor points on their own larger character arc. Along the way we get hints that Snow’s heart is blackening (blah) and Emma is desperate to recover Henry’s trust after she lied about Neal.
It all ends in a non-climax as Tamara tasers August, somehow killing him even though he’s made entirely of wood (Side Note: Seriously, Tamara uses a Taser to kill two people?! Is the taser meant to be a representative weapon for a New Yorker? Because it is a really weird murder weapon). Since this is Once Upon A Time, August isn’t actually dead (did anyone actually fall for that?). Thankfully he’s demonstrated fairy tale properties, so he gets revived and rejuvenated as a creepy little leiderhosen boy who has no memory of who killed him. Because…of course. It’s strange to me that Once would remove the drama of killing off a character and making Tamara a truly despicable character. It’s as though the ending scene when she shows up at Tamara’s place looking for nooky is meant to be enough for us to dislike her – killing August would have been overkill.
- This new development kinda sucks for Eion Bailey – guess he’s done with the show?
- It seems obvious to me that The Dragon isn’t dead since he indicates to X that she has yet to see his true form. Soo…who is he? I’m wracking my fairytale directory and coming up empty (are we back in Mulan territory?)
- I harp on the CGI effects on this show pretty regularly, but holy mother of gawd is August’s wooden face awful. Like laugh out loud, hilariously terrible bad. Like poorly made video game character bad. Like “did ABC slash the FX budget for the show?” bad. BAD BAD BAD
- Is it just me or is the chemistry off between Snow and Charming? When she confesses to him about her blackened heart, both of their reactions seem strangely muted and disaffected. Considering these two are a real life couple, there’s a serious lack of connection. Where is the heat? Back in S1 these two were the best part of the show and now they seem to be phoning it in
- Finally, just in case you’re wondering what the first sign of a blackened heart is, it’s when you slap an old man. Consider yourself warned
What did you think of the episode – are you excited that there’s another villain in Storybrooke? Which of Emma’s many manly suitors do you want her to hook up with? Do you still feel the chemistry between Snow and Charming? And are you sad that Eion Bailey has been more or less written off of the show? Comment away below
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8pm EST on ABC