As the first post-Curse full moon arrives, Ruby (Meghan Ory) fears becoming a ravenous wolf again. Her fears seem founded when an innocent tow-truck driver is found murdered in the morning. David (Josh Dallas) sets out to prove that Ruby didn't kill him, putting him at odds with the mob of frightened citizens.
It turns out, though, that the murder and the subsequent riling-up of the townsfolk is the work of King George/Spencer (Alan Dale). He's out to get his revenge on David, by any means necessary.
David manages to thwart George's plan to get the town to turn on David, but George gets an even better revenge by burning Jefferson's hat. And with it, the only known portal to reach Emma and Mary Margaret.
In the Enchanted Forest's past, Red stumbles upon a pack of people just like her. Among them is her mother (Annabeth Gish). Mom teaches Red how to embrace –- and therefore control -– the wolf inside. Delighted, Red decides to stay with the pack.
But when her mother tries to kill Snow, Red kills her in a struggle. So Red returns to the human world with Snow, who she feels has proven to be her one truly accepting friend.
And, on a final note, Rumplestiltskin helps Henry (Jared Gilmore) reach out to Aurora (Sarah Bolger) in what is clearly a shared dream. Maybe a way to reunite the family?
For a moment, it seemed like ol' King George wasn't very good at executing a plan to ruin David (be sure to hide the evidence in your very own trunk, Your Majesty!). But then he revealed his real goal of destroying the hat. Well played, sir! With Regina turning over a new leaf, the show needs someone who is bad just for bad's sake. Looks like we have our man.
Meghan Ory did a good job with Ruby's internal struggles in both worlds. Her fear, self-loathing and attempts to protect others were both tragic and noble.
Granny (Beverley Elliott) is always a hoot. Who couldn't love her kick-ass ways? You know that King George was a bad guy when he knocked the old lady over.
Billy (Jarod Joseph) was sweet and had the potential to be an interesting story line with Ruby. Do you think he and Dr. Hopper had talked about the potential downside of defeating the Curse with a return to the animal kingdom? Sadly, we won't know because Gus/Billy was a sacrificial lamb to the plot.
The wolves. The CGI animators did their best, and as long as the wolves were in the dark, they worked sufficiently well on a television budget.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK
That mob was a cliché. C'mon ... actual pitchforks and literal torches? Was "Peasants R Us" having a midnight madness sale?
Speaking of mob mentality, the citizens of Storybrooke are turning out to be highly susceptible to a little rhetoric and a lot of group panic. They act like a bunch of children being blown from one over-reaction to the next. And poor David seems to be the one who has to keep talking them off the ledge.
Red's discovery of, attachment to, and leaving the wolf pack was rushed to fit into the episode's timing.
Red has been a pretty smart gal up until now, but the way she handled the reunion with her mother wasn't very smart. A total stranger announces she's Red's long-lost mom and Red just says, "okay" and that's it? No questions, Red? Not wondering if mom has anything to back up her claim to parentage? Not curious how it's really taken this long to find her stolen child? Not at all interested in the other strangers she's shacked up with? Planning to give up your whole life on her word and one night of frolicking? C'mon, girl.
Even considering the emotion of the moment, it was all just a little too easy. Easy enough that I expected it to be some kind of elaborate lie, but, alas, that plot possibility promptly got skewered (literally).
GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
"Child of the Moon" was directed by Anthony Hemingway. It was written by Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss.
"Once Upon a Time" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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