Once Upon a Time recap: This Town Ain't Big Enough

Regina tries to trick Emma out of Storybrooke, to the detriment of mother nature
Ep. 02 | Aired Oct 30, 2011

ONE MAD APPLE Regina (Lana Parrilla) has all of Storybrooke under her nasty green thumb. But this time, she messed with the wrong bail bonds collector

Jack Rowand/ABC

Okay, Once Upon A Time -- your move. I had a really hard time with the pacing and a lot of the dialogue in last week's jam-packed, exposition filled pilot, but I found this week's installment to be a definite step in the fun direction. I was impressed by Jennifer Morrison's tough-as-nails-but-with-a-secret-heart-of-gold take on Emma, and enjoyed the Bugs Bunny v. Elmer Fudd-quality of her battle with Regina. I'm still not sure how these episodes are going to play out week by week -- is this going to be the sole long-term story arc, or are we going to spend more time digging into the backstories of some of the smaller characters? Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. Last Monday a friend called me out for basically ignoring Sheriff Graham, and she was completely right. My oversight was inexcusable, and it won't happen again. The sexy British hipster sheriff is one of the the most appealing parts of this show, and he deserves words.

We opened this week with a montage of Storybrooke, back to life. The clock was moving, the people were bustling, and Red Riding Hood wasn't really wearing any clothing. It's funny to me that she basically wears the slutty Leg Avenue Halloween costume version of the traditional Red Riding Hood garb. Granny has lost all control over this one. Do you think this is the part of Granny's happiness that was taken away? In Fairytale she had a sweet, caring granddaughter who only wanted to bring her baked goods, and now she's stuck with a bratty, hormonal teenager. Terrible.

But, anyway, back to the story. Regina, still upset about Emma, noticed that there were pages missing in Henry's book. At this point, she knew that she was in danger of losing control. Henry denied knowing anything about the pages, and even cocked a 'tude. Emma's presence is giving him a bit more confidence, no? Regina confronted Emma while bearing a basket full of crimson apples, and threateningly read off a bunch of random stats on honeycrisp trees. (They can survive temperatures as low as 40-below!) "Since when were apples a threat?" Emma asked, understandably confused. Just you wait, said Regina's eyes. What is Regina doing to the apples in Storybrooke? Could they be part of the spell?

Back in Fairytale, the Queen was fuming after Snow's wedding. She hates Snow. Snow did something terrible to her, but we still don't know what that is. She went to her Magic Mirror for words of wisdom, and fans of Breaking Bad and just really good acting should rejoice that Giancarlo Esposito has officially entered this show. His Gus Fring was one of the most intriguing villains I've ever seen on television, so here's to whatever craziness he will add to Once Upon A Time. I'm already excited, because his Magic Mirror is kind of like a malevolent version of Zordon from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

So the Queen wanted to put 'the dark curse' on Fairytale, and at this point even her Magic Mirror looked freaked out. Whatever this curse is, it's worse than we thought. She needed to go to Maleficent of Sleeping Beauty fame to win back her rights to the curse, but her father warned her against it. Maleficent would not be happy. "Since when do I care about anyone else's happiness but mine?" the Queen cackled. Point taken! Over at Maleficent's magnificent ice palace, we learned that the Queen was once engaged, and that Snow has ruined it. She later gave Maleficent her famous dark curse in exchange for the faulty poison apple one that was undone by Charming's kiss, and now she wanted her money back. This was too much for even Maleficent to handle, but the Queen got the best of her with some dark magic.

NEXT: Shoddy journalism and low-rent curses

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