"How are we gonna find a compass in this place?" Emma asks Hook, staring at the giant's enormous, treasure-filled Cave of Wonders. "By looking," he answers cheekily, pointing out a skeleton that once was Jack the Giant Killer. It looks like his mom etched Jack's name on his sword before sending him off to Monster Slaying Camp.
Teenage Emma has no trouble nabbing Neal's stolen watches and delivering the goods to him. He promises her that he'll trade them for $20,000 cash, then meet her at the
outskirts of town parking structure by the train tracks. But Neal's plans are foiled when he separates from Emma only to discover that he's being followed... by none other than August W. Booth, the real boy formerly known as Pinocchio. Well done, Once -- who could have seen that one coming?
August, or Pinoch, or whatever you want to call him assures Neal that he's not a cop -- "Think of me as Emma's guardian angel." He explains that the two of them were in the same home as kids, and that he promised once to take care of Swan; unfortunately, the real world's myriad temptations proved too, well, tempting for Pinaug to perform his duty. Now, though, the ex-puppet is getting back on track; he's spent the past two years looking for Emma, only to find her engaging in a life of crime with "some deadbeat." If Neal really wants to take care of Emma, says August, he'll have to leave her; only then can Emma perform her destiny.
At this point, Neal shakes his head and quickly walks away from August, muttering vaguely about "some psycho." Just kidding! He goes with August to a second location, where the Fairy Land exile shows Neal something that makes the thief believe August's crazy story. What's in the booooox?! Henry's storybook? Emma's baby blanket? Marsellus Wallace's soul? A plaque reading "EVERYTHING THIS PUPPET MAN HAS SAID IS TRUE"? Whatever it is, it's enough to get Neal to listen to August. I don't understand why at this point, the two of them didn't go to meet Emma and just tell her the truth about her past -- but hey, I guess Pinocchio knows he's got 11 more years before he really needs to worry about the savior becoming a savior.
Two months later, Neal and August meet once more -- this time in Vancouver, the city where Once is actually filmed. August tells Neal that Emma is serving an 11-month prison sentence; while waiting to meet Neal, she was arrested by a cop who claimed her boyfriend had set her up. Why, again, did Neal agree to this particular plan? In any case, the thief asks the guardian angel to do him a favor -- give Emma that ultra-symbolic yellow Bug, as well as the money he earned by finally selling those watches. August agrees, then assures Neal that he'll contact him should Emma ever fulfill her destiny: "I'll send you a postcard." Hooray, that's one mystery solved!
NEXT: Giant Hurley has a Lennie Small moment