This episode really brought a bunch of plot and character threads together, didn't it?
Oh, one thing before serious analysis: Emma's hair has bugged me for forever: gorgeous, perfect, long, loose blonde curls on a cop? Really? But then I heard someone (on TWOP, I believe) point out: she's the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. She essentially is a fairy-tale princess. So she has fairy-tale-princess hair. So now I love it.
Right, "The Return". (SPOILERS from here on out.)
I love the confrontation in the beginning between Regina and Mr. Gold. Along with Emma, I think these two characters form the heart of the show. I'm not a gamer, but watching them still makes me want to assign them alignments, role-playing style. Mr. Gold would be either a true neutral, or a neutral evil - he's bound by his own code of "deals", but while he doesn't go out of his way to cause trouble, he has no compunction harming anyone who is in his way. And part of what makes Regina such a fantastic character is that she's the true lawful evil: she is the law: she's the queen. It's her country, her town. But there isn't a spark of beneficence in her.
And I think this is what leads her to underestimate Mr. Gold, again and again, because the most natural way to misunderstand someone else is to assume that he's like you, and then to be surprised when he acts like himself.
The Baelfire storyline in the fairy tale world was fun mostly in how it set us, the audience, up for a fall. It was easy for us to figure out that Booth was Bael before Mr. Gold realized it, which made us feel very clever. Which made the twist at the end so much more effective, because we were set up for it right along with Gold, and got all the fun of the reveal surprising us precisely because we thought the reveal had already happened. Way to go, show!
And Emma's vow at the end to reclaim her son was great. Emma's disbelief in the curse has been growing wearisome over the past few episodes, and I've been longing for her to start pro-actively trying to break it. But I'll take her pro-actively fighting Regina; it's a good enough substitute for now.
And the fact that we found out more about the nature of the curse (i.e., why Rumplestiltskin was willing to create it in the first place) means there might be more action on the curse-breaking front soon.
Now for Some Wild Speculation
Since Booth isn't Baelfire (right? I'm not the only one thinking he might still turn out to be Bael, am I? why wouldn't Bael lie to his father about who he was?), we're left with the question: where is Bael? And here's my wild speculation: I think Bael might turn out to be Henry's father. Because Mr. Gold being Henry's grandfather would just be too, too awesome for words. (Can you imagine Regina's rage if that turned out to be true? It could mean an end game that put Gold and Emma on the same side.)
Okay, that's my geeking out for the week. Fairy tales are so much fun. Let me know what you thought of this week's episode!
Peace of Christ to you,
p.s. And Sidney in this episode? Wow. Pretty sad. I have a feeling he's going to end up locked in the basement of the mental asylum along with Belle.