Once Upon A Time 2.13 "Tiny" TV Review
Writers: Christine Boylan, Kalinda Vasquez
Director: Guy Ferland
THE ONE WHERE In the past: We find out the backstory of the giant, whose name is Anton (also known as Tiny). A lover of humans, he once trusted James – Charming's nasty twin brother – and was betrayed, with his family wiped out as a result. Trauma! In Storybrooke: Cora has brought the shrunk-down giant with her to Storybrooke, and when he escapes her clutches and sees Charming, he goes on a stompy rampage through the town...
VERDICT What an absolute delight it is to see Jorge Garcia's giant rampaging through a small Maine fishing town like Godzilla! Sure, some of the FX are ropey as hell and the whole affair is as cheesy as a pair of trainers you've worn for a year without changing your socks, but who cares? Giants lobbing cars around are the stuff that dreams are made of, and Once Upon A Time knows it. Even the cast seem energised by the idea, with Ginnifer Goodwin in particular on fine form, seemingly loving every minute (Mary Margaret admits later that she was enjoying herself, so that makes sense). And Garcia, too, seems to be having a fabulous time, with his put-upon, grumpy giant endearing and vulnerable despite all the car-throwage. It's no shock that by the end he's come around to the humans' side of things, but it's bloody marvellous watching him get there.
The B-plot is also pretty good fun, with Rumplestiltskin, Emma and Henry driving out of Storybrooke on a quest to track down Rumple's long-lost son. As weird as it is seeing our heroes outside the town limits for the first time since the pilot episode (for Henry and Emma – the episode “Tallahassee” aside, in her case) and the first time ever (in Rumple's case), it's clearly even more weird for Rumple, who loses his magic and appears to be on the brink of a full-blown panic attack while going through airport security. The sight of the legendary Rumplestiltskin having to take off his shoes and walk through a metal detector is one to be cherished, and his disdain at having to do so (“How terribly uncivilised”) says a lot for the mundanity of the real world. Additionally, the moment where he loses his cool and punches the wall over and over is shocking, as is the final shot of him silently freaking out in his plane seat... will the outside world be too much for him?
Thus, by episode's end, we've seen Rumplestiltskin on a plane and a giant stamping on things in the middle of Storybrooke's main street: what a glorious collection of contrasts. Brilliant.
IT'S IN THE DETAILS So how did the giant end up shrunk down to the size of a human? By eating some of the mushroom from Alice In Wonderland , of course. And later Hook tries to summon Cora by placing a Queen of Hearts playing card on the ground – she was, of course, the Queen in Wonderland . You have to love it when they overlap fairytales on this show... and it's all good groundwork for the upcoming spin-off series, Wonderland .
WE SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE! Unable to resist putting a spin on a well-worn trope, the writers introduce Jack the giant killer by unexpectedly making her a woman, Jacqueline.
YOU MAY KNOW ME FROM... You may recognise Jack, aka Cassidy Freeman, because she was Tess Mercer from Smallville . Also, the leader of the giants is former ER star Abraham Benrubi, one of the regular voice artists on Robot Chicken and also known as the troll Olaf in Buffy .
OVERACTING MUCH? It was a little quick for me to screengrab an image, but when we first see the giant parading around Storybrooke, one of the extras runs around pointing up at the sky... which is really the stupidest thing they could have done, because if there's a 100ft-high giant in your town, you obviously don't need to point at them . They're kind of hard to miss, aren't they? Then again, this is typical B-movie acting when there's an FX shot to be put on film at a later date, and it rather adds to the overall daftness of the scene.
BEEPING HELL When Greg talks to Belle at the end of the episode, neither of them are attached to any medical devices and yet you can hear a heart monitor beeping all the way through their scene. Was the sound effect added to remind us they were in a hospital? The fact they were in a hospital might have already given that away...
THIS WEEK'S OPENING CREDITS IMAGE Anton tearing up a tree. He's so tall that you only see his feet and torso.
Rumplestiltskin: “My name is Rumplestiltskin... and we're gonna find my son.”
Leroy (about Anton): “So Cora used magic to make him travel-sized!”
New episodes of Once Upon A Time air in the UK on Channel 5, Sundays, 8pm