Family, freedom and … trolls? Welcome to another installment of Once Upon a Time, everyone!
The episode begins with Alice, going full-on Mad Hatter as the mania of her life-long loneliness is starting to take over and she celebrates her birthday by serving tea to stuffed animals (white rabbit wink!) and wishing for her long-overdue freedom on her candle. At first, it looks like her wish might not come true, but then the roof of her tower gets ripped off by a troll, who offers her a hand that she’s all too eager to take.
And in full mirror-mirror effect, Tilly is sprung from her own certain incarceration by Rogers, who still believes she’s innocent and rescues her from the first place his fellow officers would come looking for her.
Alice observes her father through a scope — she still hasn’t figured out how to have a true reunion with him just yet — but Robin thinks she’s a spy. It doesn’t take her long to figure out that she’s the daughter of “Nook” (that is, “New Hook”), and Robin herself knows a thing or two about daddy issues, considering she’s spent her whole life trying to live up to the legacy of her late namesake. Then their differences become clear; Robin’s out to kill the troll who’s making all this ruckus, but Alice has the creature to thank for her cage-free existence. They’re at an impasse in the woods, friends.
Meanwhile, Lucy and Roni/Regina are plotting how to spy on Samdi/Facilier. On the one hand, Facilier might be just the guy to help them break the curse that’s keeping Jacinda and Henry apart, but on the other, Regina needs some details on what he’s really here for before she can carry on their, um, extracurricular activities together. She doesn’t want Zelena to know about that part just yet.
There’s a throwaway moment with Ivy to set up next week’s plot: Henry suggests she apologize to Anna, and Ivy decides that she’s ready to make amends for all the terrible things she’s done to people, especially Henry. From the look ahead to next week, this will not go to plan. Ivy is her very own sort of gentle giant, but it looks like Anna’s going to be a handful and a half. Stay tuned. .)
For now, though, there’s also a parallel between Alice’s belief that the troll isn’t dangerous and Rogers’ inexplicable belief that Tilly couldn’t have killed the Blind Baker. Rogers sets out on a mission to unearth Tilly’s alibi, and Tilly, cosmically unwilling to be locked in Henry’s apartment in waiting (no more tower girl!!!) decides to do some backtracking herself.
Unfortunately, Tilly discovers that, as far as her hometown is concerned, she doesn’t exist. The grocer who sells her daily marmalade sandwiches doesn’t remember her, no matter how peculiar an order she makes, and the lady who sells her apples has no idea who she is. She might as well be locked up in some tower for all people seem to recognize her. Bummer.
At the same time, Alice compares notes with Robin over who’s been the loneliest of all. Alice “talked to a hat” (true story), but Robin had to grow up without a dad and all those dadly anecdotes that make growing up so special. The one thing they do agree on is that being weird is A-okay by both of them. Robin steals yellow VW Bugs, and Alice dresses her toys up for tea time. It is what it is. Despite that camaraderie, though, Robin’s still on a mission to kill the troll, and after the two are captured by an angry mob on the same exact mission, Robin springs herself from the cell but leaves Alice behind to wallow in her weirdness as her only “friend” in the world is murdered by the townies. Savage.
Regina coaxes Facilier out of his apartment by scooping him up for a lunch date so that Lucy can run recon on his place, but Zelena tails them and figures out that “Mr. Samdi” is indeed awake and fully aware that Regina is not “Roni.” She’s perturbed by the lies and causes a scene, not knowing that she’s putting her grandniece in danger in the process. She must be the cool aunt, huh?
Things finally come to a head with the troll when he’s surrounded by the mob and Robin steps in front of the line to take him. Introducing herself as Robin Hood, the daughter of the fabled one of the same name, she claims the honor of shooting the troll for herself. And it might have happened if not for Alice storming in to save the beast. At that, the villagers lose it, and Robin Hood rushes to the lady’s defense. Their connection is obviously building to something ~more~ than just friendship, so Robin gladly turns her back on the crowd in order to rescue Alice, despite her decided indifference for the life of this troll.
They’re about to be swarmed themselves when some of that Storybrooke magic comes out to play in the form of Robin’s old stolen vehicle, which springs them from their peril and brings them face to face with Alice’s old stomping grounds. She’s upset to see the place, but admits that ever since she escaped, she’s wanted nothing but to go back. At least there, she had a reason to hope; on the outside, she now knows there’s nothing for her in this life… but isn’t there?
Robin is certainly someone, and she challenges her to confront the troll, which is probably of her own wish-making. Indeed, by showing the troll that she is alive and well and “free” (big word, that), the troll disappears into the wind, and Alice is left to wander this big beautiful world with her new friend and anyone else she likes. Tower Girl is no more. .)
Similarly, Tilly starts finding some strange things in her recovered backpack, up to and including the locks of hair that were trimmed from the witchy victims. Rogers still doesn’t believe she’s the killer, but Tilly’s not so convinced herself. She wants to take off before she can hurt anyone else, but she pays a visit to her troll spot first. She runs into “Margot,” who once again agrees that strange people are awesome, and she realizes that the troll has a security camera buried inside which can probably identify her whereabouts at the time of the murder.
A little too convenient? Sure. You might almost guess it’s magic! And while Alice still hasn’t figured out how to reunite with her dear old dad, Tilly at least has a new place to call home, thanks to the ever-generous Rogers.
Speaking of superstitions, Samdi figures out that Lucy has been rifling around his apartment after she has to make a hasty escape — after snapping a photo of his tarot card layout that includes the death card — and decides to confront Regina with her own options. She can have a great love in her future if she chooses it (presumably, he’s pegging himself as the gentleman in question for that arrangement), but she’ll have to step aside and let him complete his true business in town, which is to recover Rumple’s dagger. She does not like that one bit.
She confesses the situation to Zelena, who is a lot less hurt upon hearing it (especially once Robin makes her long-awaited return from Tibet), and the two have to figure out how to navigate the tricky waters of Regina’s budding affection for Facilier and his unbridled desire to kill her best friend.
If only she had a fairy godmother to give her some advice …
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