Image credit: Jack Rowand/ABC
ONE STRING ATTACHED At least, until The Dragon gets through with Il Burattino.
Pinocchio swiftly heads to Storybrooke's sheriff's station, where he calls Emma and tries to warn her that Bae's fiancee isn't what she appears. Before he can convey the message, the line goes dead -- Tamara's work. She confirms it was she who slew The Dragon, then takes August down with the same weapon she used to murder the healer: a taser, of all things. (Did you, like me, mistakenly think that tasers weren't deadly? Looks like Once taught us one more thing tonight!)
A woozy August stumbles outside, where Emma, Charming, Henry, and Gepetto are waiting for him. With his dying breath, he makes one last attempt to warn the gang about Tamara... but alas, Pinocchio's efforts are futile. (He couldn't have just said the word "Tamara" before croaking?) He's not breathing! Wait, he's a puppet -- he doesn't breathe. More importantly, he's not moving, which means Emma may be down one more love interest. Better watch out, Bae -- you're next.
Snow is shattered; she's been thinking of August's redemption as proof that her own eventual redemption is possible. If he can't get a second chance, that may mean she's doomed to become Snow Dark. But wait -- the last time Pinocchio got a chance at being human, it was after he sacrificed his life for Gepetto. If this death, too, came in the name of all that's selfless, brave, and true, the Blue Fairy may be able to revive Pinocchio once more.
And revive the guy she does... though instead of morphing back into Eion Bailey, the man-sized hunk of wood transforms into 7-year-old Real Boy Pinocchio, goofy elf hat and all. The good news: Gepetto gets to trade an oversexed puppet man for his innocent young son. The bad news: Young-Again Pinoch can't remember what he was trying to tell Emma before he "died." Aw, club crackers!
Tamara, who casually joins the celebratory group, smiles outwardly and inwardly. She's still the only person in Storybrooke who knows what really happened to one of Earth's only other magic-doers... as well as the only one who knows that her relationship with Bae was no accident. (Okay, she's one of two people who know these things -- but we'll get to that in a sec.) See, before August finally went to Storybrooke to convince Emma to break the curse, he stopped off to see Bae in New York City. While they chatted, Tamara was watching -- and as soon as August left town, she purposefully ran into Bae, launching a love affair with the most ulterior of motives.
What those motives actually are remain a secret for now. Before the episode ends, though, we do learn one more thing about our new Big Bad: She's also the "her" that Stranger Greg/Owen called when he careened into Storybrooke. And, oh yeah, the two of them are totally getting it on in one of Granny's spare rooms. Nothing like tasing a puppet to get you in the mood, am I right?
NEXT: The Grey's Anatomy crossover we should have seen tonight, and more breadcrumbs