Once Upon A Time 2.18 "Selfless, Brave And True" TV Review
Writers: Robert Hull, Kalinda Vasquez
Director: Ralph Hemecker
THE ONE WHERE In the past: August wakes up in Thailand in 2011 with a wooden leg, and embarks on a quest to cure himself. Unfortunately this involves him stealing money so that he can visit a magical dragon who can cure him, but things don't go to plan. Oh, and the woman he steals money from is Neal's future girlfriend, Tamara... who then kills the dragon! In Storybrooke: Snow stumbles across August, now entirely made of wood, and tries to find help for him. Tamara arrives and threatens him, while also pretending to know nothing of magic, faking disbelief when Neal tells her Storybrooke's secret. August is torn between leaving town or staying to warn his friends about Tamara, choosing the latter. She kills him... but because his final act was selfless, brave and true, the Blue Fairy revives him as little boy Pinocchio. Sadly he's lost his memory, so he doesn't mention Tamara. In the episode's final scene we discover that she's working with Greg...
VERDICT Those wondering where on Earth August ran off to a while back will be thrilled to see Eion Bailey back for this episode, although it's very disconcerting that he spends most of it wearing a CGI wood-mask and creaking with each movement (effects, incidentally, that are very good, particularly when you consider that Once hasn't got the biggest FX budget out there). His adventures in Thailand and Hong Kong are also fascinating, with the Dragon being a memorable character from Once 's pantheon of magical myths (even if he is rubbish enough to die after being mildly Tasered by Tamara – what a wimp!).
With August so unwilling to do anything after making a mistake, it's up to Snow to convince him to forgive himself; a clever way of getting her to forgive herself too, of course, because she's been sulking about what she did to Cora for long enough. There does seem to be a new side to Snow coming out, however, as evidenced when she slaps Marco after he tells her he snuck Pinocchio into the wardrobe to send him to our world. Sure, it was a cheeky thing for him to do, but it didn't deserve a slap. Luckily Snow instantly apologises, but what else will she find herself doing from now onwards? A blackened heart clearly has consequences...
And what's the deal with Tamara, then? She appears to be working with Greg to eradicate magic from our world, and that's why she's in Storybrooke. Did they plan this whole thing from the start? Greg's accident was clearly just that – an accident – so was this simply a coincidence that they're now milking for all it's worth? We're almost impressed at their epic sneakiness.
ACCIDENTAL DOUBLE-ENTENDRE OF THE WEEK August wakes up in bed next to a Thai lady after a night of passion. “What the hell is wrong with you?” she asks sleepily. He replies, “I'm turning into wood.” Fnar!
GIVE THE KID A BREAK! Last week Henry had a right old moan because Emma keeps lying to him. She begrudgingly admitted that this was the case. This week, he comes downstairs as Emma and David are discussing Snow's condition and asks if everything is okay. “Everything's fine, kid,” Emma replies, dismissively. “Get your coat, we're going to be late.” Er... actually, everything isn't fine, and you just lied to him again. What's more, you only waited one minute and 14 seconds into the episode to do it. Jeez, it sucks to be Henry. Thankfully she seems to realise what she's doing and takes him aside later to apologise and promise to tell the truth. Hmm. We'll see...
WHAT DO YOUR ELF-EYES SEE? Snow turns into Legolas for a sequence that sees her firing off arrows in a frenzy – impressive! What isn't impressive, though, is that she hits August with an arrow. Which is daft, because how the hell didn't she see him moving? Especially if he was wearing clothes (the idea of him skulking around the forest naked is a bit disturbing). As far as plot devices go, this one's stretched to the limits.
WOODY MULDER August looks uncannily like David Duchovny, doesn't he? This is not a comment on Duchovny's acting, by the way.
SERVES HER RIGHT Tamara meets August in a bar. After they've been talking for mere seconds, she shows him that she has $10,000 in her handbag. Then, minutes later, she wanders off to take a phone call out of his sight. With that kind of stupidity, we'd have bloody stolen the money too. (Sorry, Blue Fairy.)
HE KNOWS KUNG FU When August is tackled at the hospital, he lifts his hands up to defend himself in a hilarious kung fu pose. The more you rewatch this bit, the funnier it gets...
INSULT OF THE WEEK Regina to Snow, who's just walked into Granny's cafe: “If I were you I'd try the fish special. It's right up your alley. Blackened sole.” We bet she worked on that one for ages and hung around the cafe waiting for Snow to show up.
THIS WEEK'S OPENING CREDITS IMAGE The caravan sitting in the forest. These really are starting to get quite dull. Did they spend all their money on opening sequences early on?
Pinocchio: “I'm a real boy! I'm a real boy!”
• New episodes of Once Upon A Time air in the UK on Channel 5, Sundays, 8pm
• Read our other Once Upon A Time reviews