Once Upon a Time recap: Who Needs Sleep?

Henry, Aurora, Snow, and Charming, that's who -- since slumber holds the key to defeating Cora
Ep. 08 | Aired Nov 25, 2012

MOMMIE DEAREST But how does Cora feel about wire hangers?

Jack Rowand/ABC


- "Into the Deep" was sort of a throwaway episode, important only insofar as it sets up the events for next week's explosive-looking winter finale. I might have a different opinion if the hour hadn't included so many filler-y heart-to-hearts (Mulan and Aurora; Regina and Henry; Emma and Snow), or had toned down some of its most unintentionally funny lines. The worst offenders, in this Special Bonus Breadcrumbs-Within-Breadcrumbs List:

-- "Oh yeah, princess. You're going back to sleep."

-- "Harvested from the rarest species of squid, from the bottom of a bottomless ocean -- impossible to find, unless you're a mermaid. Or me." (Though this does remind me to get excited for Ariel's imminent arrival.)

-- "Hey, I climbed a beanstalk for this! You go get your own!"

- I will say, though, that I appreciated a break from the fairyback format; it's rare that an episode of Once is this cohesive, with each storyline directly affecting every other storyline. I also like the focus on the here and now -- we don't always need more backstory. Unless it involves mermaids.

- Rumpelstiltskin tells a besotted Belle that condiments "are this world's most powerful magic." Off the top of my  head, here is a list of magics more powerful than even Heinz's flagship product: penicillin, the Mars Rover, contact lenses, the DVR, magnets, gel manicures.... Also, Rump has clearly never tried sriracha, which is about nine gabillion times more magical than plain old ketchup.

- So wait, did we ever learn how one kills a Fairy Land zombie?

- Cora tries to ply Aurora by telling her that souls stolen by wraiths aren't destroyed -- they're merely transported to another realm. Anyone itching to see Prince Phillip again?

- Emma and Snow's conversation about blame and guilt is very "Your Fault/Last Midnight." All I want for Hanukkah is a straight-up Once/Into the Woods crossover.

Next week, Once will air "Queen of Hearts," its winter finale -- an episode that apparently features Cora and Hook joining forces, Storybrooke's wishing well getting a moment in the spotlight, and Emma punching Hook in the face. Even if I wasn't very impressed by tonight's penultimate hour, that last one alone is enough to make me excited for Sunday. How did you feel about "Into the Deep -- was it engrossing, or a little too shallow for your tastes?

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