Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 1, Episode 14 of ABC's "Once Upon a Time," entitled "Dreamy."
For any parents dreading the day when they might have to have "the talk" with their kids about where dwarves come from, "Once Upon a Time" has saved you from a potentially awkward conversation: They hatch from eggs! It's clearly one of Fairytale Land's most closely guarded secrets, since I can't recall a single Disney movie that mentioned such peculiar genealogy.
All joking aside, this episode had a lot of enchanting ideas with which to fill in the backstory for Snow White's seven iconic sidekicks. Though it was pretty much pure filler -- with some of the most heavy-handed dialogue on the series to date -- there were still some magical moments to appreciate.
This week, we were introduced to the Blue Fairy's clumsy apprentice, Nova (Amy Acker), also known as Sister Astrid in Storybrooke. That celestial theme didn't stop with the fairy's two names -- there were plenty of visual references to stars, constellations and light throughout the episode, from the decorations at the school to Nova's fascination with fireflies. The episode also seemed to imply that all of Storybrooke's nuns were fairies back in their world, since the Blue Fairy's alter ego is still Astrid's supervisor at the convent.
This episode, "Destiny," was ostensibly about letting us get to know Grumpy before he met Snow White (and to give us a fluffy distraction from most of the main storylines, which hardly progressed at all). But it also told a larger story about destiny and a person's ability to choose their own fate -- a theme that has been running through the show from the start. Throughout the episode, Grumpy was told what dwarves and fairies should and shouldn't do, how their lives were preordained and that they had no business questioning their place in the world, just as the people of Storybrooke are not supposed to question the natural order of the town and risk chipping away at Regina's spell.
But as Leroy discovered in this episode -- and as Emma and Henry will likely discover as the series progresses -- sometimes we have to take fate into our own hands. Sometimes, we have to make things happen for ourselves, instead of waiting for someone else to put us on the right path -- whether that means cutting the lights in the town square to sell 1,000 candles or simply choosing to take a risk and sneak out to meet your true love. Mary Margaret and David already tried to follow their hearts in a similar way, but obviously, the curse is too strong to allow Snow and Charming to be together that easily ... at least for now.
Still, every independent thought and unpredictable action helps lessen Regina's curse in Storybrooke, and we saw that play out on a smaller scale in Astrid and Leroy's relationship. In Fairytale Land, Leroy let Bossy and the Blue Fairy tell him that he wasn't supposed to love, and that Nova had to become a fairy godmother. So both of them ended up miserable (and changing Dreamy's optimistic name into the much more cynical Grumpy in the process). But in Storybrooke, the couple got a second chance at happiness, even though the curse is determined to keep them apart by making Astrid a nun and thus, supposedly, unattainable. This further emphasizes the mirroring images of Storybrooke and Fairytale Land -- a couple can find happiness together in one, but misery in the other.
One person who seemed to be miserable in both universes was poor Belle. She turned up at the dwarves' local pub to offer "Dreamy" wisdom about the importance of love and she got stuck with some of the most leaden dialogue as a result. But it's always nice to see the charming Emilie de Ravin, and obviously, the writers are already very fond of including her. I wouldn't be surprised if she got bumped up to season regular status next year (if she doesn't head elsewhere).
It also emerged that Mr. Gold has a fairly vehement dislike of nuns, which really means he actually has a vehement dislike for fairies. I can see why there would be a mutual loathing there, since Rumplestiltskin did kill Cinderella's fairy godmother to steal her wand earlier in the season.
Aside from selling candles -- fascinating as that was -- the only other real storyline in Storybrooke related to Emma's investigation into Kathryn's disappearance. Sidney and Regina were clearly eager to paint David as the culprit, producing Kathryn's phone records to reveal that David was the last person she spoke to before the accident (although how they established the time of the accident is never explained). Naturally, Emma was reluctant to suspect her once and future father as a suspect, still falling back on her so-called "superpower" that can always tell her when someone's lying to her (apart from Sidney, whom she now trusts, despite the fact he's still playing sidekick to Regina). So, given Emma's track record, David could totally be guilty!
Mary Margaret once again spent the episode being vilified and ostracized for wrecking David and Kathryn's marriage -- even though David was the one who had the affair. What's wrong with these townsfolk and their misogynistic double-standards? I'm hoping it's going to be explained away as a biproduct of Regina's curse and her ultimate hatred for Snow White, but it's still troubling. At least there was a little light at the end of the tunnel (pardon the pun) by the episode's end, as Granny lit her candle in a symbolic moment of acceptance. Then, David got himself taken away in the backseat of Emma's car -- and not for daddy-daughter bonding time -- in front of the whole town. So hopefully, they'll all start being mean to him next week.
What did you think of this week's episode? Did you enjoy the pure Disney magic of the opening scene, as Nova dropped her fairy dust on Dreamy's egg? What about all the references to the dwarves' original costumes from the movie? Where do you think Kathryn is? Weigh in with your thoughts and predictions below.
'Once Upon a Time' airs Sundays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.