Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

Do not be fooled by its commonplace appearance. Like so many things, it is not what is outside, but what is inside that counts.” -Aladdin

** All photos posted here are chosen for a reason **

The Mirror Strikes Again!
Indeed it does! So, let me start off by saying that this episode connects wonderfully with the episode The Thing You Love Most and a few LOST episodes. 

The Evil Queen/Regina and Genie/Sidney's mirror only reveals the shallow and intangible aspect of their lives. They need a mirror that reveals the truth and depth of their life so they can grow and lead a happier and more beautiful existence.

Genie, who is referred to as a man, didn't hide his attitude about his unhappy and redundant life when freed from the lamp.  He is unimpressed with his gift of granting wishes because he knows they all turn out badly. He gets no happiness from it.

We've yet to see a glimmer of goodness in Regina's heart- she's a snake.  Regina needs her mirror but not for vanity. Clouded Regina doesn't recognize her own selfishness, jealousy, anger and belligerence.  And until she can have clarity and see the truth of who she truly is, she won't be able to guide others along the path.

We understand that the residents of Storybrooke are trapped by "the curse", but their sense of imprisonment really stems from deep emotional issues, pain and feeling lost.  The true essence of who each person is dwells locked away- somewhere deep down inside.  We were under the impression that each resident of Storybrooke has a picture perfect existence in the Enchanted Forest, yet we've witnessed that their life there is anything but.  In addition to experiencing many challenges there they also deal with hurt, abandonment, loneliness, identity insecurities, poor upbringing and good old fashioned back stabbing in that magical land.  They're looking for a way out- to be free of their suffering; on some level in both realms.  In this episode a red locked toolbox contains the fairy tale book and a box contains the deadly gold snake; each box representing "a way out" for someone.

Let's touch on little Henry for a moment as he is the one who "brought" Emma to Storybrooke.  Is Henry a healthy normal boy daydreaming in and out of his own world, fantasizing and imagining he has another mother who can come and save him from his wretched life?  We did hear Archie say in a previous episode -"The word crazy is quite damaging. These stories are his language.  He has no idea how to express complex emotions so he's translating as best he can, this is how he communicates.  He's using this book to help deal with his problems."  Is that statement about Henry or someone else or all of them?
Henry has claimed a few times that "Operation Cobra" isn't about "him and Emma", rather it's about "the curse".  Is this a fantasy that lives exclusively in a child's mind or does Henry represent something in Emma or even all of the residents? 

Have you noticed that the symbol of Storybrooke is a tree?  The Queen's tree grows in the palace garden.  This tree goes everywhere with her, indicating she does continue to nurture it.  A tree represents life, with its branches representing that all life is connected.  Is the Queen/Regina's apple tree representing only poison?  Does it represent the connecting of two realms? Or could it be the tree of knowledge; possibly connecting good and the underworld?  Does the possibility exist that the tree will be the symbol of enlightenment?
The Book of One Thousand and One Nights has a story, 'The Tale of Buluqiya', in which the hero searches for immortality and finds a paradise with jewel-encrusted trees.
The Long Con
Are you going to get fooled again?  We all may be victims of a long con here.  Again I am brought back to the adventures of the "Island".
We went into this new adventurous journey with the premise of fairy tale characters that had been cursed and banished into "our world", yet they aren't really in "our world".  So, that would mean things and people are not what you think they are.  Just as on the "Island" will we find that perception plays a role with this story as well?

A Long Con works by getting someone to ask you to do something 'like it's their idea', but it's not their idea, it's your idea.  The Evil Queen played a long con on the lonely and needing true love, Genie.  She played him like a fiddle and foolish Genie never saw it coming.  Was Regina's father, Henry, in on the con with her or was he just being a protective father trying to help his daughter?  Was there a loophole? The Evil Queen played the con and got someone else, in this case the lovesick Genie, to murder her husband.  I saw that on the "Island" with John Locke using a loophole getting Sawyer to kill his father, Anthony Cooper in The Brig.  In the episode Outlaws Hibbs cons Sawyer into killing Frank Duckett. Also on LOST, Jacob and Man in Black talked about a loophole being a game changer. Other episode mentioning loopholes is Confidence Man.

Regina and Sidney worked together to "sell something" to Emma. I wonder if there's a con within that con too.  Are they doing any of this for the greater good or is it all still self serving? What will it take for them to learn and grow to become better loving and compassionate people, people who can feel and give love.

Mr. Gold keeps reaching out to Emma but she shuns his help. He seems to have knowledge and understanding about things and goings on. We've seen him lead people in the right direction, so, is he trying to guide and help Emma through this journey or is his motivation completely for self serving purposes?

Where does the stranger come in to all of this and where is this elaborate setup going to lead us? I can't wait to find out! It's all so exciting!

Guys... where are we? - Really
Can Henry, the child, or any of the residents of Storybrooke answer that question?  Is it really just the poor kid that can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality or is it everyone?  Is it a metaphoric statement or is there some logical but unique explanation to things?  The realms obviously overlap and blur together. 

How is this fantastical and magical adventure happening?  Did The DHARMA Initiative recruit more people for their anthropology experiments?  Did Octagon Global Recruiters get back in business?!  Just as with LOST I feel a sense of things and people not being what you think they are.  I don't want to sound like a broken record but every time I watch ONCE I feel like I'm watching our very important "Island" journey, except instead of the adventure being lived and worked out on the "Island" it is being experienced in a fairy tale environment.  Maybe you can get away to find yourself!
Fans may find another familiar layer of the LOST story in ONCE, especially with a few similar season 6-like happenings going on in ONCE.  But just as on the "Island" the residents of Storybrooke/Enchanted Forest are not/were not literally dead.  I have a different perception about the experiences I observed throughout the six seasons on LOST.  That doesn't mean my perception is correct.
But if this is a case of ONCE being related to LOST then maybe we should read some of my LOST notes and see what similarities bridge the two stories together and if there is a mutual party involved:
...And Yet We Keep Playing It 
Data and Evidence
Instructing Further

Before you read on let me ask you this...Is it ever OK to do a bad thing even if it's for good?

Things to Note...Questions to Ask...
๑ "We won't get fooled again"- A song by The Who; final track from the album Who's Next? And the single B side of it is "I Don't Even Know Myself"
๑ In Storybrooke we have "the curse" and on the "Island" we have "the sickness/infection"
๑ Writers in this episode: The scruffy stranger, The Evil Queen and little boy Henry
๑ The castle playhouse is moved from the beach to the woods
๑ See you in another life
๑ Henry, the father and Henry, the adopted son- what is the connection?
๑ Did Regina do something else to her son?
๑ How does the Queen/Regina end up married to King Leopold? A man knowing he could 'never love her', yet is a man who knows the preciousness of love and family
๑ Did the book end up in the hands of its rightful owner or a thief?
๑ Henry thinks the book is gone and never coming back.
๑ What do the skull keys in Regina's office open?
๑ Things noted as dangerous: The last pages of the book, Regina, Mr. Gold. Viper, The playhouse castle
๑ There is a Genie Lamp and Gold Chess set at Mr. Gold's Pawn Shop
๑ Regina's father, Henry, wears a wedding ring
๑ Emma and Henry have a special place- Mary Margaret and David have a special spot
๑ The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen: 'hiding things under many mattresses'
๑ Snow White loves birds and feathers; they seem to end up in her attire
๑ Henry wears a Pea Coat- (or pilot jacket) usually it's heavy wool, originally worn by sailors of European and later American navies. The U.S. Military Navy issue pea coat is dark blue. A bridge coat is a pea coat that extends to the thighs and is a uniform exclusively for officers and Chief Petty Officers.

Vocabulary and Research...
Fruit of the poisonous tree is a legal metaphor in the U.S. used to describe evidence that is obtained illegally; meaning that if the source of the evidence (the "tree") is tainted, then anything gained from it (the "fruit") is as well. The phrase is attributed to Justice Felix Frankfurter
King Leopold- Belgium's King Leopold II is mentioned in the novella The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. This symbolic story is a story within a story or frame narrative. Mr. Kurtz is a central fictional character. He was the direct inspiration for the Kurtz character in the 1979 film Apocalypse Now.
The Genie of the Lamp- Jinn or Genies are supernatural creatures in Arab folklore and Islamic teachings that occupy a parallel world to that of mankind.  The Arabic root ǧ-n-n means 'to hide, conceal'.
The Qur'an mentions that Jinn are made of smokeless flame or "scorching fire". In many modern cultures, a Genie is portrayed as a magical being that grants wishes. The earliest of such Jinn stories in folklore originate in the book of the One Thousand and One Nights. A common theme in many Arabian Nights tales is fate and destiny.
- The word genie in English is derived from Latin genius, which meant a sort of tutelary or guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at their birth.

Magister: Master, sir;  a title of the Middle Ages given to a person in authority, or to one having a license from a university to teach philosophy and the liberal arts. In Sweden, Magister historically was the highest degree at the faculties of philosophy and was equivalent to the doctorate used in theology, law and medicine. The degree was abolished in 1863, and replaced with the Doctor of Philosophy. The Magister degrees used in Denmark and Norway most closely resemble this degree.
Golden LOST Thread Woven into the Tapestry of this Tale
★ A few {as there are many} episodes connections to this ONCE episode: Expose, The Long Con, Confidence Man, Outlaws and Catch 22
★ 4, 8, 23 and 50: Yes, I noted 50 for a reason. Jack meet Mr. Friendly on day 50 and Christian/Jack is sober 50 days in A Tale of Two Cities.  Plus there's the book club, Jack gets "bailed out" and so much more.
★ Swan- Swan Station/Hatch.  Sidney/Sydney Glass.
★ Identity. No Identity
★ Cranium/Head: Mental health. Psychology/Psychiatry. Sessions
★ Hear-listen.  Look-see
★ Being watched/observe. Communication
★ Bug. Monitor. Record/tape. Walkie-Talkie. Tracking. Flash/thumb drive. Computers
★ Code. Execute. Escape
★ Security system and alarm
★ 1st Place- 2nd Place- Win {A Race or contest- Game} Rules
★ Chess
★ Direction and choices: Start. Stop. Right. Wrong.  
★ Life: Birthday/birth. Departed/death {gone}
★ Mirrors
★ Sleep. Awake
★ Grow. Nurture. Teach. Learn
★ Things written out: Blueprints. Text. Records. Documents. Files.
★ Diary/journal: Claire, Daniel Faraday, Ben Linus and The Black Rock kept journals. Note- Although The Black Rock's journal was up for auction in The Constant, it has LEDGER is written on book spine
★ Burying things- not staying buried for very long
★ Drinking alcohol. Drunk. Bar
★ Bacon is mentioned by Hurley, Charlie, Ana Lucia and Miles
★ Picnics- Charlie/Claire, Hurley/Libby, Sayid/Shannon
★ Queen of the castle- We had King of the castle Mobisode Number 3
★ See you in another life, Brotha- Desmond.  Nadia wrote to Sayid “You’ll find me in the next life, if not in this one” in Solitary
★ Jack says "Forgive me" as he prepares to jump off the bridge in Through the Looking Glass
★ When Genie inquires "And what will you do to him once I have found him?" Brings me back to the question Jack asks Locke "What happens when I catch him?" in White Rabbit
★ In the episodes The Lie and The Little Prince we get specific shots of the silver cell phone just as we do in this ONCE episode
★ In the episode What Kate Did Locke frees Jin of his handcuff, and Mr. Eko spoke to John Locke about the Book of Law and temple in ruins
★ In the episode Dave we learn that Hurley feels responsible for the death of a few people; because the deck that was built to hold 8 was holding 23 and it collapsed, leaving him to feel it was due to his weight.   And Henry Gale's balloon story is confronted and found to be a made up story. {The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad}
★ I gotta say that when we are introduced to The Viper I had thoughts about the spiders in Expose for a moment
Expose also shows up in Ji Yeon {On the TV in Sun's room}, The Man From Tallahassee {Locke's mental health/depression and he watches Expose}, The Lie {David Reyes watches Expose}

Enough of my rambling...Here is your episode recap! Enjoy!
Focused  Henry {wearing a helmet} rides his bike right past Emma sitting in her sheriff car. {We get a great shot of both individually in the rear view mirror} He peddles right past Emma.
Henry- "The storm!"  The playhouse castle is in ruins.
Emma assures him they can fix it; she'll call Marco to do it.  But Henry seems more concerned with finding his buried book that he's hid so his mom doesn't find it.  He also ruled out hiding it under his mattress because that would be the first place the Evil Queen would look; the second place she'd look is to Emma. The book is buried in a key locked red toolbox.  Henry shares that his mom doesn't know about the castle because it's his and Emma's secret.
He buries the box again, just as Regina calls out his name; she's been looking everywhere for him.
Henry has a session with Archie this morning.  Regina should have known he was with Emma. She commands him to the car.
Regina looks at the ruined playhouse castle and asks Emma "You let him play here?"
Emma- "The storm hit it hard but we can fix it."
Regina- "Well, can you fix a cracked cranium? 'Cause that's what you'll have on your hands if one of these boards collapses under his weight. You're not thinking about Henry or his safety, just ways around me.  Miss Swan, don't let your feelings cloud your judgment. People can get hurt."   That statement means Emma's the sheriff now and it's time to be responsible.  Regina walks away.

At Granny's Diner annoyed Emma is re-telling the conversation she had with Regina, to Mary Margaret. "Don't let my feelings cloud my judgment? That's all Regina ever does."   Mary Margaret feels Regina's just upset because Emma and Henry have a special place- and she doesn't.  Emma wonders how Regina found out about the castle in the first place.  Mary Margaret informs her Regina, the Mayor, knows everything about this town.  She checks her cell phone and sees there's a message from David Nolan, and hurries out.  But she also lets Emma know she thinks Emma's right because she sees the affect Regina has on Henry.
As soon as Mary Margaret is away from the table Sidney doesn't miss a beat and sits right in the chair across from Emma.  He has been drinking and claims to be able to grant Emma's wish.
Emma backs away from his liquored breath and asks if he wants a side of bacon with that whiskey.  Sidney can help her show the town who the Mayor really is. Emma feels that would be hard to do since Sidney is inside the Mayor's pocket.  Sidney claims he and the Mayor are done. "She got me fired from the paper! She made a fool of me in the election. So, I started working on an Expose on the Mayor's office and I found something she didn't want found."
Emma- "Sidney, you're drunk. Go home, sleep it off. {she takes her keys} Be grateful you don't have to answer to her anymore."
Sidney gives her his business card. "Call me. Storybrooke deserves to know the truth about her." Emma reluctantly takes his card. {Note- the whole scene at Granny's the time on the clock is on 9:00}
Genie is sitting inside his lamp looking at himself in his hand held mirror. He is bored and lonely.  Above/outside the Genie notes a new master. "Here we go." 
At the shore/beach King Leopold rubs the found gold lamp. {With three green gems. Note the sound as he the king touches the lamp} Dark smoke escapes from the lamp and manifests into a Genie. {The Genie wears an earring that looks like a leaf.}
The obviously sick and tired Genie runs down the "three wishes" rules in a redundant fashion to his new master.  "You awakened the Genie of Agrabah!  You are entitled to three wishes, no more, no less. But you must know that magic has its limits.  You cannot wish for life- nor death. You cannot wish for love. You cannot wish for more wishes. And once spoken a wish cannot be undone no matter what the consequences. So...tell me your first wish."
The happy go lucky King is giddy trying to think of a wish, but ultimately can't think of a single thing he desires because he has everything he needs. "I seek nothing more than the happiness of all who set foot in my Kingdom."
The Genie- "Ugh!"  Again Genie is obviously spiritless.  He sits down on some old tree limbs/driftwood. King Leopold notices that although Genie is in his Kingdom he seems unhappy.
Genie- "I have served as Genie of the Lamp for longer than you've been aliveLife as a Genie is not as magical as it may appear.
King Leopold- "So, you wish to be free?"
Genie- "More than anything."
The generous hearted King knows his first wish. "I wish you to be free".  And with a magical Whoosh the gold cuffs that bind the Genie are released.  The excited Genie wonders "Can it be? Am I truly free?"
King Leopold- "You're the Genie, you tell me."
The Genie asks the King what he will do with the remaining two wishes.  For the King's second wish he wishes to give his third and final wish to the Genie and he hands the Genie the lamp.
Genie- "In my time I have granted 1001 wishes...and I've seen them end poorly 1001 timesMaking a wish comes with a price.  And that is why I will never use this wish."   He puts the lamp in his pocket.
The King commends him for being a man of wisdom and asks what he will do with his freedom.  Genie will find the one thing he's always desired, the thing that his prison has kept from him; "True love."  In that case the King invites him to his palace as he is certain he will find it there.  The King wants him to meet his family.

As Genie and the King walk through the garden {with its 8 sided structures} of the Steel/Iron/Glass Palace, Genie compliments him. "Your palace is as lovely as you are kind."  But the King feels it's more than kindness, and introduces his beautiful daughter, Snow {with flowers/Gerber daisies}, and then to his wife, Regina. {Note 1 of the 8 sided structures is not complete and it houses the tree which is surrounded by a fence.} Regina picks an apple off the tree and says hello to Genie. {Genie carries a dagger as part of his attire} The Queen appears lovely and beautiful.

The playground castle is being torn down while Regina stands by overseeing the destruction.  Emma hurries to Henry's side.  His book is no longer on the site where he buried it.  Emma sarcastically congratulates Regina on destroying thing Henry loves.  Concerned mother Regina feels it was a dangerous thing that can only hurt him and others. "You see me as a villain, Miss Swan, but that's just your perception and you're wrongLearn your place in this town or soon enough you won't be in it."  Regina walks away and Emma wastes no time calling Sidney. "Hi. I'm in. I want everyone to know who she really is."

Mary Margaret hurries to the TrOLL Bridge to meet John Doe/David.  She got his text and wonders what is going on.   {David wears his wedding ring}
John Doe/David- "Follow me."
He pulls her and leads covertly.  This makes Mary Margaret scared.  He tells her what's wrong  "You're late".   He presents her with a picnic. "Now the wine's getting warm." {White wine. Gerber daisies}  She kisses him but feels they have to stop doing this.
John Doe/David- "We just started doing this."  They will figure out what they are doing- tomorrow.

Literally right under them- under the TrOLL Bridge {Trolls live under bridges} Emma drives through the tunnel to (covertly) meet Sidney.  Emma is listening and wants to know what he knows about her.  Sidney reveals that $50,000 {grand} out of the budget is missing and Regina's responsible... The money is just the tip of the iceberg. "We figure out what she's doing and it all falls apart. It all crumbles. And we'll finally learn her secretsYou see what she is. I see it.  All we need is a crack in the mirror to show everyone! I'm telling you this is it!"
He feels the plan is to "Tap her phone. G.P.S. her car. Hack into her E-Mail. Dip into your bail bonds person bag of tricks!"
Emma says no, as she's sheriff now and has to be responsible. "I want to do this by the book."
Sidney- "She's gonna know that you're on to her, sooner than later.  Are you prepared for her wrath?" Emma is prepared, while Sidney says he wasn't.   They walk in opposite directions.  Emma stops to ask, "If you thought she was so terrifying... how did you allow yourself to end up in her pocket?"
Sidney seems sincere when replying, "I used to think she was a different person."

King Leopold is celebrating his birthday with friends and family with a feast. The Queen sits alone at the table looking very sad. {Wearing gray-ish color}
The King lovingly makes a speech as he tenderly holds Snow's hand. "No gifts are required to mark this special day.  For they all pale in comparison to the greatest gift of all- My daughter, Snow.  Every day I look upon your face... and I am reminded of your dearly departed mother, who like you truly was the fairest in all the land."
Genie watches the sad and jealous Queen walk out of the room.
The Sad Queen looks up at the moon and Genie joins her.  She is started by his voice behind her. Apparently she's not in a festive mood and no one seems to notice her absence.  But Genie noticed.  He compliments her lovely tree.  {He touches a leaf} The tree is from her childhood garden. The Queen feels she and the tree share something in common; neither of them can leave the palace and neither truly belongs.  She shares her sadness with Genie.  "No matter how hard I try to please the King he will never love me the way he loved his first wife. I'm trapped by the memory of a life they used to share."
Genie knows more than anyone about being trapped.  He gives her his large hand held mirror from his pocket in an effort to lift her spirits. "So you can see yourself the way I see you."  She tearfully asks how he sees her.
Genie-"As the fairest in all the land." They look into each other's eyes.
At Mary Margaret's apartment Emma and Sidney look through files and file boxes for Intel.  She asks if it sounds right that the transfer went through about three weeks ago. Sidney says "Yeah. Why?"  Emma reveals those records are missing.
Mary Margaret barges in to talk to Emma and realizes Sidney is there.  Emma informs Mary Margaret that she and Sidney are doing some work and may have found something on Regina.  Mary Margaret feels that's "Interesting work. Oh, I approve".  Sidney suggests if Emma wants to do this by the book they should get a warrant.  But Emma's concerned that they wouldn't be able to find a judge that Regina doesn't own. "We're screwed."  Or there's Sidney's way; to which Emma reiterates she wants to do this right.
Sidney- "What's right is exposing her.  Sometimes doing a bad thing for a good reason is OK, right?"
Wound up Mary Margaret chimes in. "Yeah. I mean maybe you're doing something wrong but if what's meant to be if its what's right does that really make you a bad person?!"
Sidney laughs "Exactly."
Emma thinks the two are doing a whole lot of rationalizing.
Sidney- "But look what she's done to you. To me. To your son. I mean she's not gonna stop, so whatever you do you gotta do something."
Emma wants to start by talking to Regina.

In the Mayor's black, white and touch of red office Regina asks knit cap wearing Emma and the disgraced {X} ex-reporter what they're accusing her of.  Sidney just stands stoic as Emma does all the talking.  Emma tells her $50,000 was transferred out of the city account by her and public records show they are missing.  As Mayor, Regina's involved in many transactions and she probably checked them out; as her job often requires her to do.  And if the records were checked out three weeks ago "That means they burned- in a fire".  In a fire she recalls got Emma elected sheriffConfident Regina has nothing to hide.  {Well, were they checked out or did they burn in the fire?!}
Emma leans on Regina's desk and looks into Regina's eyes and tells Sidney there's nothing for them to do, so they leave. {Where is that super power Emma has- the one  where she claims she can tell when people are lying?}

Outside, troubled Sidney questions Emma's plan "I thought you were gonna do something?"  Emma did. "I planted a bug. You win, Sidney. Let's do whatever it takes"
We get a shot of the planted bug under the desk, while Regina types away at her laptop.
Genie enters through giant double doors into the King's bedchamber as  the King had called for Genie. {The King looks disappointed} He has reason to believe his wife's heart belongs to another man.  Genie has no reaction and feels the Queen would never stray.  The doubting King shows Genie her diary suggesting otherwise. 
"Last night a man gave me a gift. And though it was but a simple mirror, it awakened feelings in me that I abandoned long agoHope for love and companionship...even though I am trapped in my husband's court."  
Genie silently realizes he is the man she's referencing.  The King notes that sadly the diary doesn't name the man who gave her this mirror. "I am not a fool!  I realize that the Queen is unhappy...and yearns for someone... to love her in a way that I never can.  And yet I never imagined that she would betray me like this."  Genie knows that the Queen will never act on these feelings, but the King feels love makes people do foolish things.  Genie asks why the King called upon him.  The King admits he needs a man with Genie's wits; to learn the identity of the man who has stolen his wife's heart.  Genie inquires "And what will you do to him once I have found him?"   King Leopold feels that is only his concern.  The King presents the mirror to Genie and asks "Now, tell me, Genie... Can you find the man who gave the Queen this mirror- or not?"  Genie looks into the mirror.
Sidney is listening to Regina's scintillating one sided phone conversation via the planted bug under her desk.  Regina's chat- "Miss Ginger, I really don't have time for more complaints about working conditions, the air temperature is not one of my areas."  Sidney tells Emma he found "something better than good" with a call Regina made little over an hour ago. He pushes play on the recorder to playback her dialogue.
Regina- "I'll meet you tonight at access road 23 with the rest of your payment. Yes, it will all be in cash. And I don't need to remind you that no one can know about this. Yes, I know it has to be tonight."
Curious Emma wonders who is on the other end, but there's no way to know that because only the office is bugged and not the phone.  They are excited with the Intel of the impending payoff in the woods with the stolen city funds.  The duo head out to see who Regina's meeting.

In the dark rainy night Emma and Sidney in the sheriff car, follow Regina in her Mercedes to her rendezvous.  Emma hits the breaks and panics because they don't work. "It won't stop!"  They crash right into the sign and get stuck on some rocks!
Emma thinks they're going to miss the hand-off.  Sidney feels Regina is on to them. She must have found the bug Emma planted as someone's been tampering with the breaks.  Emma is pissed off that she was almost killed!  Emma and her flashlight lead Sidney into woods to find out what Regina is doing.  Mr. Gold appears in the woods with a briefcase. {Walking stick}  Apparently Regina met him for a business transaction. Land comes with a price too.  Regina bought Mr. Gold's land; the very land Emma is standing on.  Emma asks what Regina bought it for.  Mr. Gold feels that in business it's best not to ask too  many questions. "Hurts the bottom line. Question is, Emma, why are you standing out here in the middle of the night with Mr. Glass? "
Stoic Sidney states- "You don't know what Regina did to me. You don't know what she did to her son. We can't just sit idly by."   
Mr. Gold {whispers} "Of course you can. Be careful. Emotional entanglements can lead us down very dangerous paths."

In the palace garden Genie cuts an apple off of The Queen's tree, and without turning around says "I was beginning to worry you wouldn't come."  Entering cautiously and suspiciously is Henry, the Queen's father. Henry asks "You were expecting the Queen?"
Concerned Genie asks "Who are you? What have you done with her?"
Upset Henry- "The King's locked her away in her chambers.  My daughter is a prisoner in her own Kingdom!"  He asks Genie to take the box to his daughter. "The palace guards won't allow me into her chambers. They know I'd die for her. But you- the King trusts you.  He doesn't know that you have my daughter's heart. The guards will allow you in. Give her this box."
Genie doesn't understand and wonders about the box.  Henry explains it's the only thing that can free her from this wretched life. "If you truly care for my daughter, I know you'll do whatever it takes to set her free."
Genie checks out the skull key.
Emma and Sidney arrive at City Hall in her VW Beetle.  Emma needs to find out why Regina bought land from Mr. Gold; she bets Regina bought it for personal reasons.  The duo will break into Regina's office and find proof; documents that officially link her to that land.  Sidney's concerned about Regina's locked office with its state of the art security system and alarm.  Emma feels if they don't show this town who Regina really is then who will.
Confident Emma thinks she can crack Regina's code.
Emma breaks the glass setting off the alarm. Since Emma is the "police", the person called when an alarm is tripped, she rationalizes "2 Minutes to get her call from the alarm company, 1 minute for her to get her coat and keys, 3 minutes to drive here- we got maybe 6 minutes!"

In Regina's dark office Emma uses her Flash/thumb drive to retrieve documents from Regina's laptop; overriding the security
Emma's uncovered every file that references the tract of land she bought from Gold.
Emma also uncovers from a drawer in the printer copier stand, a ring of skull keys and wonders what the hell they open.  Sidney doesn't know.
Emma continues searching the office for Henry's book.
Sidney- "We didn't come here for Henry we came here for files..."
Emma- "No, you didn't come here for Henry. Me, that's the only reason I'm here."
Regina runs into her dark office and shields her eyes from Emma's flashlight and disables the alarm.  Emma makes up a story telling the Mayor that some kids broke in; she heard the alarm and she's checking it out because she's the sheriff.  She also adds that she brought Sidney because he saw it on his walk; he's a witness.
Regina- "And what did you see, Sidney?"
Nervous Sidney replies "Some kids...with a ..."   Emma interjects "Rock" and Sidney concurs.
The sheriff doesn't know if the kids took anything; she'd have to do a thorough sweep to find out.  It appears to Regina that it was just a prank.  Regina doesn't want Emma to take the place apart to find out differently.  Regina informs the sheriff that her services are no longer wanted nor needed. Emma's fine with that "Well, you know where to find me" and walks out.  Sidney looks a bit uncomfortable for a moment before he exits.
The sad Queen sits at her vanity table when in walks Genie to deliver the box.
The Queen- "It's you!"  She throws her happy arms around him and the hug tightly.  The Queen's love for Genie grows stronger with every beat of her heart.  She tells him the King has read her diary and found her mirror and soon will discover the truth about the two of them- there's no escape.
Genie assures her there's always an escape. "Your father said what's in this box will would give you your freedom.  The Queen believes it will as well.  Genie hands her the skull key and she opens the box.
The Queen- "The Agrabahn Viper."  {Two}
A snake so deadly it can kill anything with a single bite.  Genie knows all too well of this serpent's poison; it's from his homeland.   The Queen had it brought there because there is no happiness left for her in this life; feeling the one small bite will free her from her prison forever.
The Queen cries- "I'm sorry we couldn't be together, my love. Perhaps in another life we will find each other again."  She slowly and dramatically reaches her hand down toward the snake box and is stopped by Genie because he's thought of another way. "What if the King...didn't live?"   Genie would do anything for her and he'll take care of it.  The grateful Queen hugs him as she doesn't know what she would do without him.
Genie- "You will never have to find out."   He closes the lid on the snake.
At Granny's Diner the scruffy stranger asks Henry what he's working on.  With no time to waste Henry is focused on writing everything down before he forgets. {Blue marker. He includes drawings}
The Stranger- "Yeah I hate it when great ideas slip away from me."
Henry- "But they're not my ideas. They're stories from a book that I lost."
The stranger thinks it must be a hell of a book and asks what it's about.  Henry never lifting his cautious head up replies "Stuff".   The stranger obviously wants to converse.
Henry- "You seem awfully interested in me and my book!"  The stranger is just being neighborly.
Henry- "What are you doing in Storybrooke?"
The Stranger- "I'm a writer."
Henry- "You can write anywhere. What are you really doing here?"
The Stranger whispers in Henry's ear "Stuff".  He wishes Henry good luck with the stories and leaves.

Sidney and Emma are going through Blueprints, bank statements and other documents, wondering what Regina is building out there.  Emma asks "A mansion?"  {A Swan Hatch, a church?}
Sidney feels whatever it is it doesn't matter because the escrow statements have her name all over it.  He tells Emma she was right "Personal use. She's done. We got her."
Emma looks troubled.  Sidney asks "What's wrong? Didn't you hear me?"  Emma feels bad because they stooped to Regina's level; she promised Henry she wouldn't do that.  Sidney's excited that they "got her!"
Emma- "It's the fruit of the poisonous tree. Illegally obtained evidence. It'll get thrown out in court in a heartbeat."
Sidney- "We don't need her to go to jail."
Emma- "Then what are we doing here?"
Sidney- "What you wished for...Get everyone to see who she isWhat she did to Henry she does to everyone. She destroys what people love."  He reluctantly shows Emma a box of photographs of her and Henry.  Regina made Sidney follow Emma and Henry and tell her everything about their secret place weeks ago. "She just waited to destroy it 'til it would hurt you and Henry the most. And it's all my fault. If you don't do this...I have to."
Angry Emma agrees.

Madam Mayor is leading a session of the City Council.  They'll begin by reading the minutes of the last meeting.  Sidney stands up indicating he has something he wants to bring to the council's attention. Regina informs him that this isn't an open forum and no one on the council is interested in hearing the boozy complaints of a disgraced reporter. She demands he sit down. Emma jumps up with something to say.
Regina- "Miss Swan. This meeting is to discuss issues facing Storybrooke."
Emma blurts out that the Mayor is stealing thousands of dollars from the city to build herself a second home.  The attendees are shocked. Mr. Gold watches and listens to the interactions between the two women.
The Mayor demands Emma sit down "Or so help me..."   Emma wonders, or what- Regina will punish or bully her, like everyone else in the town. "No. Not today." 
Emma claims to hold in her hand proof the Mayor stole funds from the city to build herself a lavish home in the woods.  And the reason disgraced reporter Sidney was fired was because he stood up to her; he questioned her.  "We all know what happens to people who question the Mayor. You claim that you act in the best interest of all of us, but that isn't the truth, is it? The truth is that you are a thug that doesn't care about anyone or anything but yourself.  That is who you really are.  And it is time for the people of Storybrooke to know that."
Regina- "You are right, Miss Swan. I am building a house. A Playhouse."  She presents a power point on the new playground she's having built with city funds for Henry and all of the children; so they can have a special place to play...safely.  The sketch was inspired from a drawing from one of Henry's books. "So there you have it Miss Swan. You've exposed me for who I really am. I hope you're satisfied."  {Check out Mr. Gold's reaction}

King Leopold sleeps in alone in his bed. Genie holds the box with the snakes and whispers "Forgive me".   He opens the box with the skull key and commands the gold snake to the sleeping King.  As the snakes slither their way under the blankets the King wakes up to find Genie standing over him.  The King is bit in the neck by the duo snake!  Seeming compassionate Genie holds the King's hand encouraging him that the pain will so pass.  As the King is gasping Genie also confesses he's the man who gave the mirror to the Queen. "I am that man. You gave me my that freedom. You gave me a chance... to find love and for that I am forever in your debt.  But just as you freed me, so must I now free your Queen. Forgive me."
The King grabs Genies hand to tell him he was right. "I never... should have made the wish." The King stops struggling; his eyes open and lifeless.

Outside City Hall Mr. Gold tells Emma and Sidney to look at her "Queen of the Castle"  He commends Emma on trying to bring Regina down but suggests a stronger ally if she really wants to accomplish this.  Emma's still not interested in Mr. Gold's partnership.
Mr. Gold- "Oh, one can wish."
Regina speaks to Emma alone.  Regina doesn't know what Emma was hoping to accomplish in there but she hopes Emma will just go back to her job "Which is upholding the law. Not breaking it."  She knows Emma broke into her office.  Emma doesn't want Regina to pretend she's so innocent; accusing her of messing with the brakes on her car.
Regina- "Your brakes? Are you delusional? Why would I kill you when you just saw I have nothing to hide?"
Until Emma has something more substantial than sustain to throw Regina's way, Emma is to stay away from her and her son; and that's not open for discussion. "You've lost the high ground, sheriff.  If I wanted to there's not a judge in the world that would deny me a restraining order after what you've done. You don't get to see my son...unless I say so. And right now...I don't say so."
Henry {wearing a pea coat} plays at the new playhouse in the woodsEmma watches from her Beetle. They wave to each other.  Henry radios her asking why she's so far away "Come out here".  Emma tells the kid she can't todayImaginative Henry thinks she's undercover for Operation Cobra.  Emma tells him she's not undercover and that his mother doesn't want them seeing each other for a while.  Emma screwed up and does have to listen to Regina right now. "I got mad at your mom about you and the book and everything. We're just going to have to be apart for a while."
Henry doesn't want to be apart and Emma assures him she will find a way back in.  "And hey, if it's out there, Henry...I will find your book."
Henry- "Good luck. It's probably gone and it's probably never coming back."  He watches Emma drive away.
The scruffy stranger breaks into Henry's old red toolbox and retrieves the book. {He has a lot of tools with him!}

Sidney sits at the bar, uh I mean Granny's diner counter drinking a beer. Emma joins him. "Looks like we had the same idea."   Sidney feels if you can't beat her- drink.  Emma is served her beer.
Sidney ponders "How did we not see this?"
Emma- "We did. We saw it all right from the start. Just didn't wanna look. Blinded by our anger.  By everything."
That may be true this time, but since there's a lot of skeletons in Regina's closet Emma's got herself an ally. The two raise their glasses as Emma toasts "We won't get fooled again".

Excited Genie enters The Queen's chambers announcing that it's done. "You are free, my love. We are free to be together at last. Did you not hear me? Our days of imprisonment are over."
The Queen- "You haven't heard the news. The palace guards found the snake. They know it's from your country. They know it was you who killed the King.  It's only a matter of time before they catch you. You will be executed. I'm sorry...but we will never be together.  Come. I've arranged for a boat to provide you safe passage out of the Kingdom. You must leave at once."
Genie is stunned realizing the she chose that particular snake so the murder could be traced back to him. "You fooled me. You never loved me."
The vicious Queen wanted the King killed and Genie killed him and now Genie is no use to her any longer. "Be grateful I'm offering you an escape. Now flee the Kingdom and never turn back!"
The disgraced Genie still can't and won't live without her.  The queen raises her voice so he hears her. "I don't love you! There is no way we will ever be together."
Genie- "There is one way."   He uses the one remaining wish from the gold lamp. "I wish to be with you forever. To look upon your face always to- never leave your side."   And in a Whoosh the Genie trapped himself inside her mirror.  Genie pounds to get out of his new prison. The amused Queen sees he got his wish and he will be with her forever.

Sidney is looking at himself in the mirror in Regina's office.  Regina takes an apple from the bowl and asks him "Well?"  Pleased Sidney plays the tape of his meeting with Emma.
Regina is happy, "She bought it."
Proud Sidney- "All of it."
Regina feels it was a masterful job top to bottom "And cutting the brakes on her car, ha- Inspired."  Now Emma trusts Sidney and now they can have some fun.  She gives him the apple.
Sidney- "Everything she does, everywhere she'll know about it."
Regina touches his thigh and they look into each other's eyes as she tells him she doesn't know what she'd do without him.


  1. I believe the skull keys were what Regina used to unlock the boxes in the tomb that held the Sheriff and others souls/hearts.

    As for the tree idea the cabinet that saved baby Emma from the curse was also made out of a tree.

  2. We have not seen her use a key to get into the vault- only her "power" and/or the power of a heart. But maybe that is what the keys are for.


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