Look at our Once
Isn't it neat?
Wouldn't you think that its cast is complete?
Wouldn't you think it's the show
The show that has -- everyone?
Look at this list
How many players can one show's cast hold?
As much as it warms the cockles of my heart to see Jorge Garcia in something better than Alcatraz, I'd love if Once could cool it with the new characters for a few weeks. Sure, it's cool to see the show's universe grow richer -- but increased breadth can easily hamper increased depth, and at this point, I'd rather learn more about folks who have already been introduced (Cora, especially) than see even more fairy tales/nineteenth century novels/ancient Chinese legends/whatever get thrown into the mix. Well, unless the subjects of those additions are played by more Lost alumni. What will it take to get Josh Holloway on as Peter Pumpkineater, or something?
Tonight, our story begins at the foot of an enormous beanstalk. Hook explains its provenance to the Femme Four, a.k.a. Snow, Emma, Aurora, and Mulan: Back in the before-time, giants grew magic portal beans and traveled through the gateways in order to plunder other lands. An army lead by Jack the Giant Killer defeated all but one giant in combat -- and that survivor, "the strongest and most terrible of them all," is who's waiting for our hero[in]es at the top. They'll have to get past him in order to snag that all-important Magic MacGuffin Compass. Oh, and there's one more wrinkle -- the beanstalk is enchanted to repel intruders. Hook has a couple of enchantment-repelling wrist cuffs, courtesy of Cora, which means that only one other person can accompany him to the top of the beanstalk. Um, can I volunteer myself?
Guess not; though each lady has her reasons for wanting to scale the stalk, Emma is the one who wins a one-on-one date with Fairy Land's most eligible bachelor. Before she starts climbing, Emma takes Mulan aside and says that if she hasn't returned in 10 hours, she wants Mulan to hack the stalk down and get Snow safely home to Storybrooke. Why? Because... well, because the drama of a ticking clock, that's why.
Speaking of time: Rather than a fairyback, "Tallahassee" features a good, old-fashioned, Lost-style flashback to Emma's impetuous youth. When she was a 17-year-old refugee of the foster care system, our Ms. Swan acted out by wearing Hipster Ariel glasses and stealing cars. No wonder she wanted to go with Hook up the beanstalk; Emma knows robbery like Aurora knows pouting. As fate would have it, one of the vehicles she poached in Portland -- a familiar yellow Bug -- was already occupied by another thief: the mysterious man we first met in this season's premiere, whose name is apparently Neal Cassady. (No wonder this Neal likes to be on the road; he's named after a certain Beat Generation icon.)
NEXT: The only people for Emma are the mad ones