Episode 9 in Once Upon A Time, “True North”, opens as Henry meets a young girl and her brother, Ava and Nicholas Zimmer, in the local convenience store. But they seem to be nothing but trouble! Mr. Clark quickly accuses Henry of stealing from him, but we discover that Nicholas put the stolen items in Henry’s bag.
In the Enchanted Forest, we meet The Woodcutter and his two children, Hansel and Gretel. Gretel really wants to help her father, so he puts her and Hansel to work gathering wood. Before they leave, he gives them his compass, saying that a family “always needs to find one another.” When they go back to where they had left him, he is nowhere to be found. They frantically search for him, and they run into the Evil Queen.
Back in Storybrooke, Emma, acting as sheriff, walks into the store “take care of those miscreants.” She accuses them of giving Mr. Clark a fake number. Ava claims that her parents couldn’t pay for the bills and their phones were disconnected.
Gretel begs for forgiveness from the Evil Queen, saying they had just lost their father. As the guards are about to take them away, Gretel uses Hansel’s slingshot and hits one of the guards. As they run up the hill, the Evil Queen suddenly appears from a cloud of black smoke and sets roots and vines to entangle them. The Evil Queen admires their bravery, and she decides to let them go on one condition. She says that she will find their father if they will only do something for her in return.
Emma arrives at an abandoned-looking home with Ava and Nicholas. She starts to get out of the car, but Ava begs her to stay. She pulls away, and the children run behind the house and enter a rundown garage. They soon hear noises coming from up the stairs, and they go to investigate. Emma appears behind them, demanding to know where their parents are.
Emma tells Mary Margaret that she is planning to find their father. She goes to retrieve their birth certificates, but they had just recently been removed. Hmm…I wonder who’s behind that one…
The Evil Queen and Hansel and Gretel arrive at the home of the Blind Witch. They must retrieve a black leather satchel for the Queen. She warns them that the Witch’s house is “unique” and they mustn’t eat anything from the house.
Back at the Sheriff’s Office, Henry asks Emma about his father. He was a firefighter that would come into the diner where she worked almost every night. When she found out she was pregnant with Henry, she tried to contact him, but he had died saving a family from a fire. She tries to convince Henry that his father was a real hero, but we find out later that this was a lie. At Mary Margaret’s, Emma shows the children her baby blanket and asks them for anything that belonged to their father.
Hansel and Gretel sneak into the Witch’s house at midnight. As Gretel tries to retrieve the satchel, Hansel gluttonously takes a bite out of an enormous cupcake, which awakens the fantastically creepy Blind Witch. Lying at her feet were hundreds of children’s bones and skulls, greatly adding to the creep factor. They try to run away, but the Witch traps them inside her home.
Emma arrives at Mr. Gold’s shop asking for more information about Ava’s compass. Mr. Gold says he has kept a record of everyone he’s sold to, and he pulls out a note card, but he doesn’t show it to Emma. But we see that the card is blank. She shows up at the garage of Michael Tillman and tries to convince him that the children are his. He adamantly denies the fact. She shows him the compass and tries to take him on a guilt trip, but he refuses to take them.
The Blind Witch locks up Hansel and Gretel, and they try and devise a plan to escape. “Gravy or butter, what shall it be?” Gretel throws Hansel the keys to the lock and he escapes, trying to create a diversion. The Witch somehow ends up in oven, and the Evil Queen is seen throwing fire through the mirror and into the oven.
At the Queen’s palace, Hansel and Gretel give her the satchel, which contains the poisoned apple. She tries to convince them to stay with her and live at the palace. When they decline, she sends her black and purple smoke wrapping around them and traps them. The guards bring in The Woodcutter, and she sends him away. She says they can all be a family as soon as they find each other. The camera zooms out, and we see the extremely vast forest they are trapped in.
Emma and the children are about to leave for Boston, and Henry begs her not to take them away. He says something bad will happen if they leave. On their way to Boston, the car’s engine stalled. Michael Tillman shows up to help, and he sees his children. Emma wanted him to see them once before they left for Boston. He finally decides to take them in.
Emma goes home, and she confesses to Mary Margaret that she wants to give up in the search for her parents. She tells Mary Margaret that Henry thinks she is Emma’s mother. She spots Emma’s blanket on the counter.
Henry brings Emma a piece of pumpkin pie, and as they are standing at her car, a mysterious man on a motorcycle shows up and asks her where to find a room. Henry and Emma exchange confused glances as he rides away.
There are a few revelations that pop up in this episode. First, we get another glimpse into Emma’s past, but that also leads to many questions. Second, we discover that Mr. Gold is somehow wrapped up in all of the stories. This shouldn’t come to us as a huge surprise, though, as he is almost always in cohorts with Regina. Also, who is this suspicious stranger that shows up in Storybrooke? And who is his counterpart in the Enchanted Forest? I personally hope it is Henry’s father. Who do you hope/think he is?
I have another question for you: gravy or butter?