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“Welcome to Storybrooke”: Once Upon A Time Review

By on March 18, 2013
Lana Parrilla as Regina Mills in Once Upon A Time. Image © ABC

Lana Parrilla as Regina Mills in Once Upon A Time. Image © ABC

After last week’s strong Once Upon A Time episode, “Welcome to Storybrooke” is a bit dull in comparison. The flashbacks are unique as they reveal what Storybrooke was like in the beginning, when Regina first “created” it. In the present day, everyone deals with the fallout after Cora’s death, and Henry expresses his frustration with nearly every character.

Back in the beginning of Storybrooke time, Regina is initially quite pleased. Since she succeeded in cursing everyone, she can sit back and enjoy the results. As she quickly discovers, though, there is not much to enjoy, particularly when you are all alone. Okay, Sheriff Graham is sharing her bed at night, but they don’t seem to be too close.

So when a charming little boy and his father accidentally wander into town, Regina essentially tries to make them her own family. It is rather disturbing and bizarre, especially she suggests the strangers move into town. Unsurprisingly, the father of the boy is a unnerved by Regina and tries to escape, but she has him arrested for “drunk driving.”

It is heartbreaking to watch the father tell his son to run for his life. He vows that he will find his father again, and this is where the most interesting twist of the episode comes in. Greg, Storybrooke’s present day newcomer with a secret agenda, is actually that little boy all grown up. He’s looking for his father, and he’s looking for revenge. After witnessing what Regina put the poor guy through, we can’t say we blame him. At all.

Meanwhile, Snow spends nearly the entire episode in bed, miserable and feeling guilty about her hand in Cora’s death. Regina makes one attempt at attacking her, but Rumple stands guard (which was nice). Snow makes it easier by going to Regina’s house and nearly begging the woman to kill her. Ginnifer Goodwin delivers a beautiful and heart-wrenching performance as Snow in this scene. She looks completely defeated, crying while Regina sheds her own tears of joy at Snow’s suffering.

The show introduces a new idea to the story when Regina reveals that Snow’s heart has a little black spot in it. According to Regina, once a heart has been blackened, it will only get darker and darker. This is a little difficult to understand considering the various evil – and very bright red – hearts we’ve seen in this show, but perhaps they are just trying to vividly illustrate Snow’s moral decline.

Henry playing with dynamite. Image © ABC

Henry playing with dynamite. Image © ABC

Upset with his various guardians, Henry took matters into his own hands by devising a plan to get rid of magic. It is unclear as to why he thought that throwing some dynamite into the Wishing Well would accomplish this, but desperate times right?

Unfortunately for Henry, Regina and the rest of the gang arrive before he can follow through with the idea. He didn’t get rid of magic, but he did convince Regina not to cast an empty-heart spell on him. At one point Regina says that she doesn’t learn from her mistakes, but in this case it appears she did.

What did you think of the episode? It will be fascinating to see how Greg plans to seek revenge for what Regina did to him and his father. The show could be setting us up for an exciting finish to the season. Catch Once Upon A Time Sundays on ABC.