Welcome to Once Upon A Time Observations — your weekly observations, easter eggs, parallels, connections and symbolism guide for the ABC‘s fantasy series. This week we analyse the “Fruit Of The Poisonous Tree.”
TITLE CARD CLUE
- The foreshadowing title clue for this episode is the Genie emerging from his lamp.
KING OF THE CASTLE
- In the previous episode, the stranger warned that a storm was coming (also forecasted by Storybrooke ‘weatherman’ and LOST co-creator Damon Lindelof – HT Jim).
- In this episode, we see that the storm has taken its toll on Henry’s castle, ultimately serving as the diversion which would lead to the stranger getting his tippy-tappy fingers on Henry’s book.
- Was the storm a natural consequence of the stranger entering Storybrooke or an intentional summoning on his part? The latter might suggest another tangible sign of ‘magic’ encroaching the ‘real world’.
- It might also imply that the castle had to be damaged/removed before the stranger was able to take the book — explaining why Henry might have thought it safe there in the first place. He should know that nothing stays buried for long.
- Henry confirms that Regina doesn’t know about the castle, “it’s our secret,” he tells Emma, before — *POOF!* — Regina shows up out of thin air.
IN A BOTTLE
- The Genie, weary and reflective of his predicament, foreshadows his eventual transformation into the Mirror.
- What was it Rumples said about love? It’s the “most powerful magic” of all, which seems true in relation to the Genie’s story.
- King Leopold rubs the lamp three times, unintentionally calling the Genie of Agrabah to bestow upon him three wishes. He makes one wish, to free the Genie, and gives him the other two.
- Incidentally, you may remember the Genie’s lamp from Mr. Gold’s pawn shop, seen in less shimmering condition when David Nolan paid a visit.
- The Genie tells Leopold that magic has its limits (something we’ve heard on numerous occasions) — he cannot wish for life, love, death, more wishes, and once spoken a wish cannot be undone.
- Important, that, in explaining why Leopold didn’t wish for his first wife to return to him.
- Leopold frees the Genie and uses his 2nd wish to give his 3rd and final wish to the Genie.
LOVE AT FURS SIGHT
- Regina and the Genie meet at the symbolic tree of temptation. The fruits of Regina’s labor would indirectly and directly poison Leopold and the Genie — further reinforcing the ongoing apple/heart allusions.
- In the sideways land that is, Sidney tells Emma that he used to think Regina was a different person. While we have to reconcile this with the fact that he and Regina were in cahoots all along, it raises the question of whether Sidney remembers his fairytale past?
- I’d guess not, and say he was merely riffing from the subconscious echoes of his past, but it’s open to debate and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was in the loop.
- The distance between Leopold/Snow and the Queen is palpable. Her glass may be full but inside she’s empty.
- We also get some vague dish on Snow’s mother — she’s basically out of the picture at this stage, following her passing, but she still looms large in both Leo and Snow’s hearts.
- Like her synonymous apple tree, the Queen is unable to leave the palace, though we don’t know exactly why that is — a spell of some kind seems likely. Did Leopold place it on her?
- The dichotomy of being trapped and feeling like an outsider informs her eventual entrapment of others in a curse where only she has the notion of freedom.
- The Queen’s attachment to mirrors is born. The Genie’s perception of her beauty reinforces her ego. Is love blind or did he really see something in her that few others could? Perhaps both — after all, they shared a weighty commonality.
G: “So that you can see yourself as I see you”
EQ: “And how do you see me?”
G: “As the fairest in all the land.”
- Interesting that the Queen used to have a penchant for recording her own thoughts, given her anxiety over Henry’s book. Though it must be said, she intentionally allowed Leopold to find her diary.
- The Queen’s ever dutiful father, Henry. It would be interesting to find out why he’s her servant? Even though he was loyal to a fault and she clearly loved him (hence using his heart — the thing she loved most — to power the curse, and naming the Annoying One after him), did a part of her resent him?
- The mysterious stranger is awfully interested in Henry and his book. Actually, Henry, he’s only interested in the book so calm down.
- This scene, and their mutual interest in the book, made me consider the possibility that the stranger is, somehow, an adult version of Henry. I don’t think that’s actually the case, but it would certainly make Annoying Henry a more interesting as a character.
- I liked Henry’s bit about having to copy the stories from his missing book before he forgets — seems very poignant that. As does the stranger’s response:
“Yeah, I hate it when great ideas slip away from me.”
- The Stranger (who, for some reason spoke to Henry before examining the book he had stolen earlier) gets his hands on the mythical One Book.
- My wacky theory is that he’s the original narrator of the book, or someone who wants to rewrite/copy the story, possibly changing events in the land that was? Too far out?
- While that’s all speculation, here some things we we do know:
- He’s one of the few ‘outsiders’ able to enter Storybrooke.
- He (seemingly) knows about the curse.
- He’s a writer.
His typewriter allows him to communicate between the two worlds(oops, wrong show).
- He’s in Storybrooke for “inspiration”.
- He hates it when ideas slip away.
- He looks upon the One Book with awe and trepidation, as though he knows its power all too well.
EVIL SNAKES HANDS & SAYS GOODBYE
- Double reflection. The Queen’s pain is etched in the smaller mirror, but there’s a bigger picture that she has already accepted — one of freedom at all costs. Oh, she’s a viper alright (but we love her so).
- The Genie says the Queen never loved him, but those tears in her eyes would suggest otherwise.
- The contrived Genie tells her that he can’t live without her and uses his final wish to always look upon her face. And so the mythology of the Mirror is born. He really should have been more careful.. being the Genie and all.
- The jewels on the lamp go from green to red.
- Regina (who I’m starting to suspect is actually c-razy — good c-razy) is loving how it’s all worked out.
- Sidney reflects. His SB existence mirroring that of his FTL entrapment.
- Sidney and Regina, forever reflected in each others mirrors. The hint of unease about Sidney parallels his conflict over getting his FTL wish, yet being trapped by that same desire.
- Regina takes an apple, her posture (and her poison) now infamous. Lana Parrilla has it LOCKED DOWN.
- A great profile shot — they might as well be mirrors.
- And they both lived happily ever after..
- ..very happily.
- But does Sidney have payback in mind? Oh eyebrow of Esposito.
MORE UPON AN OBSERVATION
- Regina’s berates Emma for allowing Henry to play at the castle, snarking whether she can fix a cracked cranium. Is Henry Humpty Dumpty? I’m joking. Kinda.
- Regina tells Emma not to let her feelings cloud her judgement, which reflects the Evil Queen not allowing her love for the Genie get in the way of her quest for freedom/power.
- Interesting that the Genie was the first person the EQ trapped (aside from Daddy Henry, I guess). While it was unwitting on her part, she took huge enjoyment from the fact that he could never leave her watch.
- Also interesting is the fact that the Genie/Mirror represents two fairytale characters. He joins Prince Charming (technically) in that small group.
- While the Mirror had empathy for the EQ’s state of entrapment due to his own imprisonment in the lamp, EQ couldn’t pay it forward. What does this say about her — that the rot had already set in? Perhaps if she had found his love earlier she might not have been so vindictive.
- Presumably the lamp stopped functioning once the genie became trapped in the mirror.
- Leopold wanted so badly for everyone in his kingdom to be happy, and yet right under his nose his wife was miserable. Did he not see this?
- The Genie had been genie of the lamp for longer than Leopold had been alive. He’d granted 1001 wishes, each of them ending poorly. Both Leopold’s and his own would be no different. What does that say about wishes? Be careful what you wish for..
- This despite the Genie knowing that making a wish comes with a price and vowing never to use his wish.
- No wonder the EQ was unhappy, her and Snow spent their days randomly picking flowers and fruit like fairytale zombies.
- Regina references the fire that got Emma elected sheriff — nice continuity.
- LOST easter egg alert: the numbers 4 and 23 on the sign that Emma smashes into.
- Gold notes that “emotional entanglements can lead us down very dangerous paths,” seemingly referring to Sidney’s FTL past with Regina. Is there anything Gold doesn’t know? Oh yes, how to stop stealing every scene he’s in.
- It was ‘rude’ of the Genie to wish himself to be with the Queen forever. I guess he was a …desperate soul.
MYSTERIES UPON A TIME
- Who imprisoned the Genie in the lamp?
- How did the lamp end up in Leopold’s kingdom?
- What was Leopold doing when he came across the lamp?
- How did Gold get the lamp?
- What will the stranger do with Henry’s book?
- Just how warm is Emma’s hat?
Previously on Once Observations: 1.10 “7:15 AM”