Finally! Fifteen episodes into the series, we get our first real chance to know Ruby/Red Riding Hood (Meghan Ory). She's been in the background of nearly every episode and there's no mystery to who is her alter ego, but Ruby/Red herself has never had her chance in the spotlight.
In fairytale land, the fugitive Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) stumbles upon Red Riding Hood and her crossbow-totin' Granny (Beverley Elliott). Sadly, Red is finding it hard to have a love life (or any kind of life) when there's a ravenous wolf outside and a super-protective Granny inside.
When the two young ladies go hunting the beast, they discover instead the horrible family curse Red has inherited. And, tragically, Red discovers that it's hard to have a happily-ever-after when you turn into a wolf every full moon and accidentally devour your boyfriend. Good thing she has her magical curse-preventing red cloak to keep everyone safe.
Ruby herself sets out to find some adventure in Storybrooke, too. She leaves Granny's Diner and helps Emma investigate Kathryn's disappearance. She's pretty good at it, but decides to return to home and family once she realizes that she has more inner strength than she thought.
Unfortunately, that investigation leads Emma to discover a (suspiciously familiar) box with what is presumed to be Kathryn's heart inside. And Mary Margaret's fingerprints all over it.
Red and Snow's time in the wintry white woods was particularly beautiful and fairytale-like. As was Meghan Ory in her gorgeous red trappings and toned-down makeup. Red's story had a couple of great twists, plus the added bonus of a character named Peter in a story about a wolf.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK
The episode focused on Red's tale, which gave short shrift to Ruby's concurrent adventure. Her epiphany and return to Granny was not really sufficiently supported by the plot. It's too bad that things for Ruby went back to normal so quickly, as it would have been nice to see her spend some more time 'in the wilds' of police work. What did not deserve any more screen time in this episode, though, was the dodgy-looking CGI wolf.
GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
"Red-Handed" was written by Jane Espenson and directed by Ron Underwood. "Once Upon a Time" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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