It's Tuesday and I've watched this episode twice and I'm all:
Uh, first, as always, this is not a recap. Plenty of those abound, so don't come here looking for play-by-play. Right? This is all discussion ... or as is the case this week, a little discussion with a lot of questions.
Also, I do not watch previews (not as a rule, just mostly because I watch on Hulu and never watch network TV, so I am relatively preview-free), so I had no idea until I asked Twitter yesterday that there was a new episode this week. I also didn't know what it was about, just that it was good. As always, my sources were correct.
Here's what we know after The Return:
We know that Katherine was in a car accident, lost consciousness, woke up in a basement, and was drugged. Next thing she knew, she was in a field and wandered toward town. We know that Katherine is very much not-dead and Regina's plan to frame Mary Margaret was very much a bust.
We know Katherine is the most forgiving, gracious person EVER and the writers have done a good job of turning her and her Enchanted Forest counterpart Abigail into pretty much the biggest darling of the show.
We know that Sidney is taking the fall for Regina's plan gone awry. (Poor Sid.)
We know what life looked like for Rumpel and Bael post-Dark-One-Curse and that the only deal Rumple has ever broken was with his son. (We always hurt the ones we love. Universal truth.)
We know why Mr. Gold hates the nuns (fairies).
Most importantly, from this episode, we know why Rumpel ultimately created the curse: to seek a realm where there is no magic in hopes of finding his son Baelfire, the only person he loves and the one he let go (literally).
(Which explains the real reason he rejected Belle's love for him - he couldn't take the chance of not creating the curse that would allow him to find Bae.)
Who did August call at the beginning of the episode? To whom did he say "We need to accelerate the plan?" At first glance, it seems like maybe he called Henry (previous episodes have shown us August is in on the Operation Cobra plan). But did he call Mother Superior maybe? There's another working theory on whom he might have called, but I'll save that for later.
So, who IS August? I'll be the first to admit that the Show totally reeled me in on believing August was Bae. I sensed it was working out a little too perfectly, but I have wanted to believe he was Bae since he first rolled into town, and so I was going along with it. Boo.
The most popular theory at this point is that August is Pinocchio. Clues that seem to support this include: his weird leg problems (including shaking one leg not unlike the way a marionette puppet's leg would shake when the strings were pulled) at the opening of this episode, his search for his estranged father, the little details like the donkey paperweight (remember how Pinocchio was turning into a donkey on Pleasure Island?), seeking the Mother Superior/Blue Fairy for guidance, his insistence that he never lies ... what else?
How could Pinocchio - who was very clearly seen as a young boy in the pilot, a living boy in the Enchanted Forest before the curse - how could he have escaped the curse? Working theory: Geppetto made Pinocchio from the same enchanted tree which he used to build the wardrobe in which Emma was able to escape. So then, the question is did he, like Emma, escape the curse? Has he been wandering the Storybrooke realm this whole time? Was it Emma's introduction to Storybrooke and the consequent unraveling of the curse what drew him to the town? Is he dying because he is turning back into wood?
If he is Pinocchio, is he a puppet being manipulated by someone/Something else?
OR. Or is he not Pinocchio? Could he possibly be the writer of the book who perhaps has some other kind of disease (a not-slowly-turning-into-lumber kind of disease) and is desperate for a magic trick to be healed?
I keep thinking about his name: August Booth. I know we've touched on this briefly, but let's say his name is inspired by the person an American audience would most closely associate with Booth - John Wilkes Booth, the man who shot President Lincoln. John Wilkes Booth was an actor. August means "great" or "venerated." Is he supposed to be a great actor?
Gold asks August, "Why the theatrics?" Hmmm.
I don't even know what to think about August. Another theory is somewhat tied to the idea of August as the writer of the book and that is that he is somehow working with the real Baelfire who is out there, somewhere. And so one idea is that it was actually Bae whom August called at the opening.
My head hurts.
Is the Blue Fairy ultimate good or ultimate evil? Fairies are, traditionally, not the most trustworthy creatures. She has shown an ability to be manipulative in the Grumpy episode.
Which leads us to ask how much does Mother Superior know? Could it have been her that August called? Was she prompting August with what to say to Gold to make him think that he (August) is Bae? When Mother Superior told Gold why August was in town (to find his father), was there any truth to that?
FINALLY, this question for me - if Storybrooke is supposed to be a realm without magic, how it is that Regina was able to access her chest o' hearts and crush Graham's heart, causing his heart attack? If that's not magic, I don't even know what is.
Other things happened like Mary Margaret resisting David's plea for them to "move forward" (yeah right, buddy!), Gold in Dr. Hopper's office (awesome), and the eye-rolling costume of The Blue Fairy which makes me want to gag every time.
There were some great lines like Emma describing August as a "typewriter wrapped in an enigma wrapped in stubble" and also asserting that Gold is working neither for or against Regina but is probably working diagonally. Yes, that sounds about right.
OH! One last question: WHY would Gold want Emma to believe the story of the curse and magic and her role in all of this? What is in it for him, do you think?
So much. It's all just so, so much. Thoughts?
PS - let's all not tell Kyle that I am falling in love with the idea of naming a little boy "Baelfire" and calling him "Bae." I'm somehow thinking he might not be on board with that and might consider banning the show from our house.