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Once Upon a Time: True North

I have to be honest: this is the first episode I didn’t like. I could see the big twists from miles away, but, most importantly, I didn’t care about them. Seeing the glass half full, it’s good that the 9th episode of the show was the first bad one; and it had its good moments, too.

One of the aspects that I liked is that, unlike the original tale, Gretel is the one who leads and has the good ideas here. She was also very handy with that weapon. Hansel does little more than follow his sister and look dumb. Fairy tales are usually very sexist stories, so it’s good to see a more modern take on that.

Another thing I liked was how Emma handled the situation. She was deeply involved in the case due to her personal history, but kept her cool and was very smart, figuring out they had a memento of their father and how to make him meet them. It just makes me like Emma even more. And she was right to lie to Henry about his father. The story she made up was cute, heartbreaking, and believable. I wish it were true.

There was also Emma Caulfield, whom I’ll always love for being Anya. Her appearance was brief but creepy. Too bad she died, I was hoping we’d see more of her. Though, given this show’s nature, we might.

Now for the bad part. They could have made a filler episode about characters we care about, or one we already met (like Red Riding Hood or Grumpy); they could also have introduced new characters with an important episode. However, they chose to make a one-off episode with one-off characters, which made me not care the least about them. Other than how the Queen got her poisonous apple, what have we learned? Nothing. Of course I may be proved wrong in time, but I don’t think so. I believe it’s the kind of episode you could easily miss, or skip when the Season DVDs come around.

I’d forgive all that if the dialogue had the same quality the show presented before. You can see by the brevity of my quote section that the episode was slim on that, too.

Bits and pieces

- We meet again, Apollo bar.

- Oh, look, Emma’s BS detector has conveniently showed up again, after she was deceived so many times. Must be an intermittent thing.

- The girl who played Gretel/Ava looks like Jamie Anne Allman as a child.

- According to IMDb, the kids who play Hansel and Gretel have played young Peter and Olivia on Fringe. Coincidence? I prefer to think it’s alternate universe stuff.

- Did the Evil Queen plan to have everyone miserable in this existence? In every detail? Does she micromanage or does she think in the big picture? Because the kids’ story seemed small potato to me.

- The Evil Queen looked specially beautiful in the fairy tale world. See, children, crime *does* pay.

- Have I mentioned the SFX on this show are really bad, but I don’t really think it’s a fault?

- Storybrooke has a new visitor. He’s so obviously a new love interest for Emma that I bet they’ll kiss by season’s end. Was Graham created only so that Emma would end up being the Sheriff? That’s sad.


Regina: “Ms. Swan, must I remind you that genetics mean nothing?”
I’m not going to delve into deeply personal stuff, but she’s right. Family are those who stick with you through both good and hard times.
- Emma: “I'm here because I'm the sheriff.”
Though that was a better point. Burn!

Hansel: “We did all that...for an apple?”
Mac fans have gone to greater lengths, boy. (Can I hear a rim shot?)

One out of four old compasses.


  1. I actually didn't mind this episode, but that's because I expected it to be WAY worse.

    A commenter on another site I read suggested that the importance of the Storybrooke events was that Emma got a win. And right after she did, a stranger was able to come to town. As though Emma's victory is weakening the curse. Interesting.

    I have a kooky theory about the stranger, which is way different from what you suggest here Gus, but it is based on things that happen in subsequent episodes, so I'll save it for later.

    I agree that the dialogue is getting much worse. Either that, or the shine has started to wear off this show, and I'm just noticing it more. I think the storytelling has started to get more soapy, less inventive, and very repetitive, and it is making all the other flaws much more apparent to me. I'm sticking with it, but it feels like it has been on a steady decline since the winter break.

  2. I didn't hate it, but you're right that it was sort of pointless, Gus. And why did they give Emma Caulfield such a super creepy character and terrific costume, and then kill her off? Rats!

  3. I agree, this was not as good as the others because it appeared pointless.

    Also, and this may be a spoiler, I wish they hadn't ripped off Pan's Labyrinth...

  4. Agreed not a great episode.

    Btw, Emma Caulfield played a witch where the Queen was wondering why the Big Spell didn't work. So the Hansel/Gretel queen didn't die. She seemed burnt a bit in that episode that happened just before the curse went into effect.

    Call me turnipseed.

  5. Agree that it was weaker than most and the issue too easily resolved. But then, it was hard to get too emotionally invested in two kids we knew were only going to be one-off characters.

    Emma Caulfield is always a joy.


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