As with last week, the flashback story this week stays in our world. It follows August, who has been MIA since the Curse was broken.
As Emma arrives in Storybrooke in 2011, August (Eion Bailey) -– who is most definitely not selfless, brave or true — begins to turn to wood. He seeks help from a mysterious figure called “The Dragon” (Tzi Ma), who offers a magical cure for a large sum of money.
To get the money, August steals it from another sick client. The other person is Tamara, Neal’s (Michael Raymond-James) girlfriend. Tamara (Sonequa Martin-Green) gets her money back. But August is devastated about his life choices and his fate. Finally, he decides to go to Storybrooke to try to break the Curse and save himself.
Tamara arrives in modern-day Storybrooke and turns out to be working her own agenda. She knows about magic and has been seeking it out. She also was never sick.
She recognizes the completely wooden August and offers him the cure if he leaves town. At first, August does so, but he soon discovers that Tamara is up to no good.
To protect the town, August tries to warn them about her. She kills him. But with his dying breath, he still tries to warn the townspeople. Because he was finally “selfless, brave and true,” the Blue Fairy (Keegan Connor Tracy) is able to turn him back into a real boy. And changed back into the little boy he once was, he and his father (Tony Amendola) have the chance to start over with a clean slate.
After ensuring that August didn’t rat her out, Tamara meets up with Greg Mendell (Ethan Embry) in his hotel room. They passionately kiss.
The effects for Wooden August worked surprisingly well. This show has a hit-and-miss track record with effects, but they really needed to get this one right. Happily, they did.
We will surely miss Eion Bailey, but him literally getting a second chance to live over again was a very sweet resolution to his tale of redemption (and his father’s).
Oooh, Bad Snow White. That should be fun!
On the subject of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) … It should be noted that even though Snow apologized for it, her response to Geppetto’s confession was not entirely inappropriate. After all, the guy forced her to send her helpless baby alone to another world. She had a right to be momentarily angry. Geppetto understood that, parent to parent. It was a very touching moment between them.
Tamara was fabulously evil. Cora’s absence left a void of scheming and fakery on the show. But Tamara picked up the torch nicely, easily plotting and using people’s weaknesses against them. She’s a good addition to the villain pool. Whether Mr. Mendell is also in that category remains to be seen.
Who is “the Dragon”?
And next week we meet Robin Hood! Of course, considering that the much-anticipated Lancelot didn’t even stick around for one full episode, we may not want to get too attached to Robin Hood yet.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Granted, there is no tried-and-tested method for telling your girlfriend that you’re actually a fairytale character, but did Neal really think this was the best way? Hey, here’s a book of fairytales. I’m in it. Thanks for listening.
Seriously, does no one in this town bother to pay attention to keeping their secret when “There. Are. Outsiders. In. Town?! Don’t mind that woman a few feet away, guys, just talk freely. I’m sure she didn’t hear anything about fairies and wooden men …”
It was very uninteresting that Regina easily recognized Owen as an adult. His adult presence in town and his dynamic with her had the potential to be much more than it turned out to be. Too bad the writers didn’t hold back that revelation from Regina and use it at a more opportune moment.
Whoever creates the previews at the end of each episode really need to learn how to not give away plot points. Although Tamara was presented in Manhattan as being oblivious to all the fairytale goings-on, last week’s preview immediately gave away the fact that there is much more to her than meets the eye. It would have been nice to be surprised by that revelation this week.
The taser was an odd choice of weapon in both instances.
GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
“Selfless, Brave and True” was written by Robert Hull and Kalinda Vazquez. It was directed by Ralph Hemecker.
“Once Upon a Time” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.