So, after skipping a week, “Once Upon a Time” returns once again. This week, we learn that Grumpy the dwarf was once a starry-eyed dwarf named Dreamy and that Leroy is a disgruntled janitor with a questionable approach to charity. Also this week, Emma does some real police work and investigates Kathryn’s disappearance.
Spoilers, but who cares anymore?
The episode opens in the Enchanted Forest, where the Blue Fairy is teaching the effervescent pink fairy, named Nova, how to handle being all magical and stuff and discusses her career prospects. In her clumsiness, Nova accidentally drops some fairy dust from the heavens and it lands on a giant egg deep down in a mine. The egg hatches and out comes Dreamy the dwarf.
Cut to Granny’s diner in Storybrooke. Leroy breaks open his hardboiled egg. When asked politely to move from his seat, he refuses and continues to be gruff and creepy. Mary Margaret, seeking to redeem herself among the townsfolk after her affair with David, drops by hoping to find volunteers to sell candles for Miners’ Day. Every year the nuns from the local convent craft candles to be sold at the fair. Everyone is too busy avoiding her gaze to volunteer. Leroy attempts to leave and bristles at her efforts to recruit him, remarking that he’s the town drunk and she’s the harlot. What could they ever accomplish together?
Outside, Mary Margaret laments she is a home wrecker to Emma. Emma takes an important sheriff call and, after offering some trite encouragement to Mary Margaret, leaves.
Meanwhile, Leroy stalks around the fairgrounds as if his boots were filled with cement when a woman accidentally spills some confetti on him. It turns out that she is a foxy, but clumsy, nun and Nova’s Storybrooke equivalent. Leroy instantly develops a crush. He impresses her with his electrical engineering skills and laments that his only a janitor. The nun, whose name is Astrid, tells him he can do anything he dreams. She is easily amazed.
At the crime scene, Emma inspects Kathryn’s abandoned sedan. Sidney arrives. He says he is now a freelancer, writing for the Huffington Post, and promises he will get Kathryn’s phone records for Emma. It’s clear that Sidney is working with Regina, and whatever records he may provide will be tampered. As Emma continues her investigation, David pulls up in his truck. After talking to David, Emma rebuffs Sidney, knowing David is telling the truth. After all, that’s totally consistent with her happenstance ability to tell when someone is lying.
Back in the enchanted diamond mines, the young Dreamy is prepped for his life of living with other dwarves and backbreaking labor. Dreamy asks about the pretty lady he saw in his dreams (Nova, the pink fairy), but Bossy, his boss, laughs. Bossy explains that dwarves are built for one thing and one thing only – working. Dwarves don’t fall in love, and there are no lady dwarves. That’s why they are hatched from dinosaur eggs and emerge at the ripe age of 45.
The other dwarves have also hatched and are ready to start work. Down in the mines, they each receive an axe which reveals their dwarf nicknames. The first dwarf steps up. Does this guy look familiar? He picks up an axe, and the name Stealthy appears. Well, I’ll be damned; Stealthy didn’t disappear into bottomless pit of one-off characters. Each dwarf follows his lead. Dreamy is last.
Back in Storybrooke, Leroy tries to convince Mary Margaret to let him volunteer so he can get closer to Sister Astrid. Though he pulled a Rush Limbaugh by calling her a harlot, Mary Margaret is desperate for volunteers and accepts him. At the same moment, Sister Astrid realizes she has ordered too many tanks of helium. She is forgetful in Storybrooke too! Now she has wasted the nuns’ carefully planned budget! So much for that Excel spreadsheet. Though Astrid says it was a mistake, she really needed the tanks to maintain her high-pitched voice.
Back in the diamond mine, the dwarves are hard at work crushing diamonds into fairy dust. Nova fills her fairy satchel, but can’t turn off the funnel until Dreamy comes and helps her. Dreamy recognizes her from his dreams. Nova ineptly loses the fairy dust on the conveyor belt, and Dreamy once again saves the day by hoisting the sacred bag from a fiery furnace. Nova moans that she is an idiot, but Dreamy protests, telling her she is capable of anything. Impressed by his optimism, Nova invites Dreamy to watch the fireflies with her. Alone. At night. Dreamy doesn’t catch her drift and tells her to have fun.
Back in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret and Leroy have a hard time selling candles at the fairgrounds. Leroy insists they should try to sell door-to-door instead. A hilarious montage ensues, but they are not very successful. At the end of the day, they have not sold any candles.
Meanwhile, Sidney and Emma talk about the missing person’s case as Sidney plays a carnival game. Sidney implicates “pixie cut” Mary Margaret in Kathryn’s disappearance, insisting that she has a motive. Emma tells Sidney to just get those damn phone records.
In the Enchanted Forest, Dreamy and his dwarven brethren eat and drink at the tavern. Dreamy is distracted and more like Mopey. He can’t stop thinking about Nova and he feels all funny. Bossy tells him it’s all in his head, but, low and behold, Belle overhears them and tells Dreamy that he is in love. She tells him that Nova was actually inviting him to see the fireflies. Also, Belle is not dead, like the Evil Queen said.
In Storybrooke, Leroy tries to tell Sister Astrid that he couldn’t sell a single candle. Overwhelmed by his failure, he lies and says that he sold all of them. Mary Margaret stands in the back in shock. She then berates Leroy with an angry whisper, but he claims he has a plan to sell the candles. He just hasn’t figured it out yet. Mary Margaret realizes he likes Sister Astrid, and Leroy throws her own sordid affair with David in her face. He’s a classy guy.
Back in fairytale land, Dreamy meets Nova on the hill. Nova and Dreamy bemoan their life callings. Dreamy suggests that they get a boat and explore the world together. Nova kisses him and agrees to run away.
Speaking of boats, in order to make some cash for the nuns, Leroy tries to negotiate a fair price on his dilapidated boat with Mr. Gold. The two churlish men can’t come to an agreement. Leroy won’t accept less than $5,000 for the rundown vessel, and Mr. Gold hates the nuns and won’t buy the boat to help them. Leroy asks,” Who doesn’t like nuns?” Anyone who went to Catholic school. Mr. Gold departs and Sister Astrid arrives. She finds all the candles on the boat, not sold, and storms off. Leroy feels like crap, and rightly so.
Sidney brings Emma the phone records (given to him by Regina). Emma is shocked to find that David’s story is inconsistent. He said he had not talked to Kathryn since the day before she left, but the phone records indicate otherwise. Sidney supports the veracity of the documents while Emma’s internal lie detector implodes.
Over at the diner, Mary Margaret and Leroy drink. Because what else is there to do when you’ve hit the bottom of the barrel? The town harlot and the town drunk can’t accomplish anything. They were just dreaming.
In the Enchanted Forest, Dreamy attempts to sneak out of the dwarf barracks but is foiled by Stealthy. The rest of the dwarves gather around Dreamy as he describes how anything is possible with love. His dwarven brothers bid him farewell. As Dreamy leaves,but Bossy stops him and reminds Dreamy of his responsibility to the mines as a worker and drills home the point that dwarves are incapable of love. “You’re a dwarf, Dreamy. You’re not capable of love.”
The blue fairy comes to aid Bossy and crush Dreamy’s heart into a pile of dust finer than any fairy dust. If Dreamy and Nova run away together, the consequences are dire. Nova will lose her wings, and with them, any hope of becoming a fairy godmother.
At the diner, Leroy reveals to Mary Margaret why he likes Astrid so much. Sister Astrid was the first person in his life who told him he could do anything, and he didn’t want to disappoint her. Mary Margaret tries to think of any good memories with David but can’t do it. She admits that their love wasn’t worth it in the end.
In a spontaneous drunken moment, Leroy rushes to the fairgrounds and steps out onto the roof of a picnic shelter. Mary Margaret follows, yelling at the crazy, possibly suicidal coot. Leroy glares at her; he wasn’t going to jump. Instead, he hits the power transformer connected to the lights with an axe. Darkness floods the fairgrounds.
In the fairytale realm, Dreamy and Nova meet on the hill, and Dreamy tells her that they cannot be together. Nova is crushed to realize that Dreamy no longer thinks they are special and has become bitter. Their love is dead.
Dreamy returns to the mine, and breaks his axe in a fit. When handed a new one, a new name appears on the handle: “Grumpy.”
In Storybrooke, Mary Margaret and Leroy sell all of the candles thanks to Leroy’s poor judgment. Leroy gives Astrid the proceeds from the candle sale. He and Mary Margaret sold enough to guarantee that the nuns can stay in the convent and not be kicked out by Mr. Gold.
Meanwhile, at the police station, Sheriff Emma continues to hem and haw about the phone records and the investigation. Regina tells her to get her head back in the game or she will fire her. It’s not an episode of “Once Upon a Time” unless Regina threatens Emma with replacement or a restraining order.
Mary Margaret returns to her tramp-stamped car and is saddened, remembering the town’s hatred for her. Granny lights her candle and pats her on the back. Mary Margaret has started to make amends. After this touching moment, Mary Margaret sees David as Emma puts him in the police car. Emma takes David to the station for questioning. The end.
I can’t get over dwarves hatching from eggs and clumsy, giggling fairies. There are some truly bizarre aspects to how biology works in the Enchanted Forest. This could go either way to be delightfully zany or groan worthy. I’ll err on the side of zany for now, and take it easy.
I’m glad to see Mary Margaret is slowly being brought back into the fold of Storybrooke. Perhaps Granny regretted her earlier chastising? Or the writers are making a comment on Rush Limbaugh’s recent outbursts. Either way, Mary Margaret is returning to the good side of Storybrooke’s citizens, while David’s trip to the police station casts him further into the darkness.
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