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Once Upon a Time: Selfless, Brave and True

“Some things you just don’t come back from.”

One of the greatest things about season two is how ambitious it’s been in pulling us out of the confines of Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest. Sometimes these ventures turn out really well (Henry and Emma take New York) and sometimes they’re a stinking pile of fairy poop (Frankenstein). This one lands somewhere in the middle.

You’ve got to hand it up to the show, this was one of the first episodes in a while that actually had more than a couple of surprising twists, however contrived they were. Learning about Tamara as Neil’s fiancĂ©e was weird enough, but learning that she’s part of Owen’s mission to tear Storybrooke apart is even weirder. But if we’re gonna hate her for standing between Emma and Henry’s father, then why not take it all the way, right?

It’s a fun shake-up, and I love that these two different plots are tying together, but it all seems very circumstantial. And then there’s the odd Crouching Tiger direction that this episode took with Dragon. How is he a part of fairytale world? Is he one of them, or just some vague all knowing omniscient? Tamara killed him easily enough though, so he can’t be a major part of the puzzle. She went out of her way to stop poor August from getting in her way, too. Is all of this to help Owen, or does she have her own agenda?

She’ll be sticking around a while longer now that August has returned to his childhood self, which was an incredibly strange turn of events. This episode did a fun job of playing around with August and Snow’s struggles with their past failure and guilt. August fell for Tamara’s money trick (I’m guessing) and let Emma down, and Snow has been falling deeper into the darkness that’s held her since the part she played in Cora’s death. Though August made up for his past and warned Emma about another enemy in their midst, Snow still has some work to do. And is this guilt and despair really all her? Is there more to her “blackened” heart than just pain weakness?

‘Selfless, Brave and True’ was an odd change of pace. It really moved things forward, but some of it felt oddly disconcerting, more like a strange way to bridge a gap between episodes than an episode in and of itself. Hopefully things will smooth out again, because I’m really enjoying this season in general.

3 out of 5 wooden legs


Is Snow’s blackened heart down to something more than natural guilt? I’m not sure what the slap meant, other than Snow maybe needing a shrink.

What did Tamara use to kill Dragon and August? It looked like a taser, but would a taser do that much damage? Help me out here!

I guess that's if for August and his tiny leather jacket. Too bad, he was nice to look at!

He Said, She Said

August: "That’s my problem; hoping, hoping that things can still work out, hoping that I can find redemption for the mistakes that I’ve made. But maybe some things you just don’t come back from..."

Regina: "If I were you I’d try the fish special, it's right up your alley: 'Blackened Sole'."
LOL at this line. So over the top, and so very Regina.

Previously posted at PandaTV.


  1. I never expected to see August again, so that was a great surprise, but now he's gone forever I guess...Sigh

    Well, at least in this epi Snow was out of bed and not constantly complaining about what she'd done. That's good! I thought for a while we were into a looong irritating wait for Snow to come around.

    Still wondering about Neil and the Neverland connections and how Tamara fits into that. Could it be that she's Tiger Lily or some other character from that story??

    And I don't really see where the season finale is going. Is Tamara it?? Or Hook?? Hmmm...I guess we'll see.

  2. I was still hoping Pinocchio and Emma would be a pair (and he had hope in this too), so I'm quite pissed he became a real boy, lol. I was watching and then I said - "oh no, Blue Fairy you did it wrong - I want August, not Pinocchio", lol.
    About Tamara... We knew she would be something more. It's just not clear if Owen/Greg it's her only motive, as we've seen.
    About Snow, I'm glad she started doing something. Let's see how it all goes.

  3. Soo..are we supposed to completely ignore the simple fact that wood does not conduct electricity??

  4. According to TVLine, the nature of the taser will be explained in a way that makes fairy-tale sense.

  5. I was bothered by the taser/electricity thing as well. Glad that it will all be cleared up.

    I liked where the story went in this episode, but it all felt a bit too preachy and morally to me. It is as though we were being hit over the head with the "be good, truthful, whatever" bit.

    I hope Snow's darkness becomes more interesting than the whiny stuff we are seeing now. An imperfect Snow and a Regina looking to get her son back should make for some great watching.

  6. You're right, Panda, that this ep had a weird vibe. I thought it was OK, although I'm disappointed at the death of the Emma-versus-civilian storyline now that Tamara has been unmasked. That could have been interesting. I could also have done without the horrible Mystical Oriental stereotyping.


  7. I agree with Anonymous above about the use of the "mysterious oriental wise man" trope. So offensive and so tired. What's next? A wisecracking black sidekick who gets killed off in a single episode?

    That said, I'm happy to see some complicating factors coming in to the story. I would love to see some more exploration of the meaning of Snow's supposedly "bad" act. I see it as part of a maturing process for the character. After all, part of being an adult is having to come to grips with moral ambiguity. The black & white world belongs to childhood: witness Henry's unwillingness to believe that Snow killed Cora. For most adults, reality is much more complicated.

  8. Pretty good episode. I'm very pleased with myself that I worked out the Tamara-Owen connection early on! When Neil and Emma kept talking about Tamara and saying "Her" all the time, it just seemed to fit really well!- Tim I


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