Once Upon A Time: The Stranger Review (Mania.com)
By:Kurt Anthony Krug
Review Date: Sunday, April 29, 2012
With Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) exonerated after being framed for murder by Regina (Lana Parilla), Emma (Jennifer Morrison) wants to get her biological son Henry (Jared Gilmore) back from Regina. She enlists Mr. Gold’s (Robert Carlyle) help in doing so.
However, Mr. Gold makes it so she has no chance but to turn to August (Eion Bailey), the mysterious stranger who has been making the rounds in Storybrooke for a half-a-season, for help. In a cool twist, it turns out that August is really Pinocchio as a 35-year-old adult. From there, it flashes back to the fairy tale realm prior to the curse that the Evil Queen (also Parilla) cast that brought them into Storybrooke, unaware of their previous lives.
Pinocchio becomes a human boy and most remain honest and unselfish if he is to remain so. More is revealed from the first episode: Geppetto (Tony Amendola) agrees to make the wardrobe out of the enchanted tree to protect baby Emma from the Evil Queen’s curse and send her to modern-day America, a land without magic, with the caveat that Pinocchio goes with her and not her mother Snow White (also Goodwin).
Pinocchio is the 7-year-old who looks after the infant Emma upon arrival in America. Several months pass and he has the chance to abandon the orphanage, which he does, but leaves Emma in the process. When Emma, now 28, first arrived in Storybrooke, the clock changed and moved again to 8:15, signifying that time is moving forward.
August explains all this to her and that was when he first felt the shooting pain in his leg. His leg is becoming wood again because he has not been unselfish with regard to his abandonment of Emma. However, he cannot get Emma to believe that she is the one who will save them all from the curse. At the end of the episode, she pretty much kidnaps Henry and leaves Storybrooke, leading into the final two episodes of the season.
Excellent performances all around from Bailey, Morrison, and Parilla. In this episode, she made Regina sympathetic – someone who is very alone and you feel for her. The only way she can make herself happy is by making other people unhappy, but it cannot fill the void in her soul. This show has been named TV’s No. 1 new drama – it certainly lives up to its hype.
Mania Grade: A-
TV Series: Once Upon A Time
Episode: The Stranger
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parilla, Jared Gilmore, Joshua Dallas, Eion Bailey, Robert Carlyle
Written By: Ian B. Golding, Andrew Chambliss
Directed By: Gwyneth Horder-Payton