Once Upon a Time recap: 'A Taste of the Heights'
The never-tired adage of Once Upon a Time is that “there’s always a price,” but perhaps the rule of thumb should really be “everyone is a two-faced liar deep down.”
Tonight, we are reintroduced to Dr. Facilier a.k.a. Mr. Samdi, and, yes, he’s just as sneaky and loathsome and also weirdly intriguing as he’s ever been. Like Rumple, he’s on a mission to collect owages from those in need, but he’s surprisingly convincing with at least one of our Hyperion Heights natives.
Meanwhile, Sabine/Tiana meets her match, so to speak, in the form of Drew/Prince Naveen. It’s harder to get a read on what he’s after, but with Facilier/Samdi constantly tailing him around town and New Fairy Tale Land, it can’t be good news for our queen-to-be.
Let’s take it from the top.
The episode begins with a sampling of Henry’s newest passion project: a podcast called “H Town” where he prattles off about how he’s still so suspicious about Victoria’s real estate acquisitions, even after her death. Much to Remy’s chagrin, the rest of the podcast seems entirely devoted to Jacinda, whose affection he’s still desperately hoping to earn.
Meanwhile, now that the food truck is fixed (thanks Henry!), Sabine is free to start cooking up some of her legendary beignets for all the world to enjoy. She’s got a lot riding on this adventure. So, it’s precarious timing indeed when her old cooking school pal Drew shows up with his own cajun-themed food truck whose dishes leave a lot to be desired. He’s completely flattering to her about her food, but when an officer shows up to shut Sabine down over a delayed permit, well, she’s got no one else to blame but her new-old rival here.
Drew swears it wasn’t him who turned her in, and, after a healthy tongue lashing about how he’s the spoiled rich kid who never had to work for anything, he nobly gives her the paperwork she’s missing so she can re-open up shop. Success! Trouble is, although he appears to be helping out his old friend with an ear-to-ear smile about him, as soon as he’s out of eye- and ear-shot, he’s approached by Samdi, who informs him he’s doing a mighty fine job of winning Sabine’s trust on his behalf.
See? No one can be trusted.
At least Zelena can see through Samdi when he visits the bar offering to front the cash to make this a franchise. She and Regina put on their “Kelly” and “Roni” pseudonyms and then switch ’em up to see if they can tell whether Samdi is still under the magic curse or if he’s fully awake to his true form as Dr. Facilier.
Samdi gives no indication that he’s aware the women are tricking him, but Regina sees through his act like it’s old hat. Because to her it is; she knows him in the carnal sense, and she can tell that he’s fully awake. Now all she needs to know is what does he want from her. He can’t oblige her that just yet, apparently, but what he can do is invite her into his apartment, which she barely hesitates to accept… (Recap continues on Page 2.)
Back in New Fairy Tale Land, the connection between the Evil Queen and Dr. Facilier is similarly steamy and confusing.
Facilier seems just as sniveling and terrible in that realm as well, as he shows up to Tiana’s coronation and shows off some tarot cards that promise a terrible future for her kingdom if she doesn’t act. Tiana, who’s as vigilant (they call it “controlling,” but let’s not) as she is as Sabine in the Heights, refuses to ignore a threat to her kingdom and decides to pursue whatever Facilier has to show her.
Unfortunately, what she discovers is a pile of wreckage from a giant alligator and an equally eager Prince Naveen, who’s after the same beast. She, Ella, and Henry all allow Naveen to tag along as they chase the animal, but Tiana will have to table her ego a bit to let him lead the way as he hunts the animal’s tracks.
This leads them to a bog in the middle of a lake which is only big enough for Tiana and Naveen to fit and wait until the gator shows his snout. Although Tiana is not quick to trust Naveen, assuming he’s some spoiled brat who’s just here on some glory mission he hopes to bring home a trophy from, she eventually learns that he is on a quest for vengeance against the scaly slaughterer. The cold-blooded creature killed his brother once upon a time (title wink!), and so here he is, wanting to end its life as payback.
But the creature almost makes it two for two as he snatches Naveen from the boat in yet another moment of distrust — Tiana has spotted something belonging to Facilier in the Prince’s pack, so she confronts him with a spear. Once the gator gets a hold of him and thrashes him around the water for a bit, though, Tiana takes it all back, ends the animal’s life, and brings her newfound friend ashore.
He’s bleeding badly, and the only thing that can save him is magic. Conveniently, that’s when Facilier shows up and says he can fix the fella … for a price. Turns out, he was waiting for them to slay the monster so that he could retrieve a necklace, which Tiana points out is a favor earned, so he should save Naveen at no cost to her. Fair enough, but after he’s brought Naveen back to life, Facilier doesn’t owe her Naveen’s presence, so he sends the Prince to parts unknown until he’s able to pay his debt to Facilier for his own life.
Yeesh, this guy makes Rumple look like a discount dealer of the dark arts, no?
Tiana’s still got some leading to do, so she suits up in her gold gown for the coronation, asks her faithful friends to help her command the realm, and heads out to greet her people as queen. Regina hangs back, though, because she suspects Facilier’s presence in the castle.
As it turns out, the necklace was hers, and he wanted to return it to her — seemingly in the hopes of striking something up between them again? She might act unimpressed, but it works because, before we know it, the two are exchanging some smooches in secret! Where this is going, nobody knows. But if anyone actually trusts Samdi/Facilier, especially Regina, it’s probably not going to end well.
Speaking of swapping spit, though … (Recap continues on Page 3.)
Poor Henry and Jacinda. They can’t catch a break.
Lucy is convinced that tonight will be the night that they finally share true love’s kiss, based on what she’s read, so she wastes zero subtlety in arranging for the two to get together. What kid voluntarily goes to bed at 6:30 but one who wants to see her parents (yes, we know Henry’s her dad now, thanks to the dead doc’s paternity results, but more on her later) get back together?
It almost works. Thanks to Henry’s gushy podcast and Jacinda’s mixed tape, they have a lot to talk about, and they’re about to finally seal their chemistry with a kiss when Lucy jarringly interrupts. Turns out, she’s found an addendum to their storybook romance that tells her if they share true love’s kiss, Henry will surely die. And we can’t have that now?
They’re passing ships, still. This is almost worse than when Snow and Charming couldn’t be awake at the same time.
And there’s more bad news in the Heights tonight as well. Rogers and Weaver have been doing some digging on the doctor’s death and ran into a blind baker with a tattoo that looks an awful lot like the coven symbol.
At first, they understandably suspect that this woman has had something to do with the good doctor’s demise — after all, who trusts witches? But when they throw the Fourth Amendment to the wind and break into the bakery to check it out, they find our new friend knocked out on the ground, cuffed to a cookie shelf and breathing in the wide open gas line that’s filling the whole place up. She’s still alive, but now they’ve got to re-think their case here.
Upon re-examination of the doctor’s autopsy, they discover that she, too, had a coven tattoo on her wrist (only, it was partially removed). And since both of these women had locks of their hair removed during the attacks, they now have to entertain the possibility that the coven isn’t responsible for what’s happening, but rather that they’re the targets of these assassination attempts. Now, the question is, who wants all these witches dead?
Everything you’ve ever read about fairy tales is true—the residents of Storybrooke are living proof.