Once Upon a Time - Pilot
This show takes place in both our world and the fairy tale world. Two worlds is something these writers have juggled well before, so this excites us. In our world, Emma Swan is a Bail Bondsperson living in Boston. (Side note: does anyone know if this was actually filmed in Boston? One of the bloggers lived there for a few months, and that didn't look like any part of South Station she saw). On her 28th birthday, her ten-year-old son whom she gave up for adoption tracked her down. The son (named Henry Mills) insisted that she accompany him back to Storybrooke, Maine, because she is in the fairytale book he carries around and is the town’s only hope.
Emma seems concerned that her child seems to have developed some weird beliefs and problems, but she drives him back to his adoptive mother, Regina, Regina is the mayor of Storybrooke. Henry is upset to be home and insists that Regina doesn’t really love him. Emma discusses the fairytale book and Henry’s strange ideas, and Regina seems to have no idea what Emma is talking about.
The fairytale book was given to Henry by his schoolteacher, Mary Margaret Blanchard. Henry believes that everyone in his town is actually fairy tale characters sent by an evil queen to live in our world, and Emma is the only hope to save them and awaken them to who they really are. Regina is the evil queen and Mary Margaret is Snow White. It’s really cute how Mary Margaret eats pears rather than apples and has an affinity for interacting with birds. Emma is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Yes, that seems to be his actual name back in the fairy world.
Henry runs away and Emma finds him. He asks Emma to stay in town for one week to see if she can help him. He knows that what he says is unbelievable, but he asks for one weeks of trust. Probably filled with guilt over giving him away, as well as empathy (Emma herself was found on the side of the road as a baby), Emma promises and checks into a B&B owned by real-world Rumpelstiltskin, who we like already. There was also a sweet moment when Emma confirms Henry’s theory that Emma gave him away “to give him his best chance.”
In the other world, we see the things that happened 28 years ago and brought the characters to our world. Prince Charming wakes Snow White with a kiss after the Evil Queen (Snow's stepmother) gave her a poisoned apple that nearly killed her. You know the story. Snow White is married in a large, pretty castle, but the Evil Queen shows up and threatens them. She curses the entire kingdom. Snow and Charming visit Rumpelstiltskin to get information on what the curse will entail and how to stop it.
Using this information, the couple has Gepetto make a wardrobe out of a magic tree that could transfer a person going into it to another world (our world). If a person goes through that, they could end up in Boston, China, or anywhere. Anyone who didn’t go through that wardrobe had to stay in Storybrooke when the Evil Queen transferred them to the real world. There, they would be safely under her thumb, unable to come and go, and unaware of who they are.
Charming and Snow had a baby, Emma. Since she is the only hope, the couple shoves her into the wardrobe shortly after she is born. Emma is born early, so her mother cannot go with her, because the wardrobe will only transport one person. There must not have been enough wood or enough magic to build two cabinets. One of the Evil Queen’s men crashes the castle just before the curse comes into effect, stabs Prince Charming, and opens the wardrobe to find baby Emma gone.
Back in the real world, we see Mary Margaret volunteering at a hospital. A comatose man in the hospital looks a lot like Prince Charming, so it looks like he survived the stabbing. May he rise again and get better at sword fighting. Like we said on Sunday night, we liked this show. For a pilot, this was pretty tolerable and we’re willing to suspend our more serious sides to give this show a chance to tell a fairy story. After all, we get to see Ginnifer Goodwin with both long and short hair in the same show. What more can we ask for?
Episode grade: B+
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