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Previewing Once Upon a Time‘s “Manhattan”

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Once Upon a Time‘s highly anticipated episode “Manhattan” airs Sunday night on ABC. The Internet has been lighting up for week with speculation and much buzz about the episode. It’s an excellent hour of TV with lots of reveals (some highly expected and some very much not!) and several long-standing questions answered. 

It’s always a judgment call to decide how much to reveal (or not) when viewing an advance screener, and I do not want to give away major plot points. I don’t want to ruin the surprise of discovery, and even if you insist you want to be spoiled, too much spoilage can lead to disappointment when expectations exceed even the best reality. So this review paints with broad strokes in an effort not to spoil too much, but I will follow up Sunday night with a much deeper look at the episode, the implications of its events (and there will be big implications, undoubtedly!).


 

Last week’s episode “Tiny” ended with Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle), and Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) aboard a plane to New York City, where Gold hopes to reconnect with his son Baelfire. Honing in on a Manhattan apartment building, Gold presses the buzzer of a likely candidate, only to hear the occupant run, clearly not interested in meeting up with visitors. Emma does finally catch up with the elusive Baelfire, only to get the shock of her life (in a year replete with them). 

Rumple’s centuries-old wait is finally over and he and Baelfire meet. It is an interesting encounter that occurs with a bit of inopportune timing, especially since Mr. Gold desires more than anything to show his son that he has changed. Let’s just say things do not go smoothly.

One of the best things about the episode is the developing relationship between Henry and Gold. It is the very lovely nature of their relationship, however, that haunts the end of the episode, however, and I anticipate that it will lead to much speculation on the Internet come Sunday night.

Back in Storybrooke, Cora (Barbara Hershey), Hook (Colin O’Donghue), and Regina (Lana Parrilla) continue to plot the demise of their enemies, and Cora reveals her grand plan to Regina.

I have to say, that the plan is diabolically evil and gives a whole new layers of meaning to the word manipulative. It involves treachery and betrayal, and many lives are at stake. I can already see the battle lines drawn going forward for the balance of the season! And Regina’s encounter with Belle may wind up being very costly to all the residents of Storybrooke.

The Fairytale Land story enlightens us as well to Rumple’s life before the Ogre Wars. We learn that Rumple went to fight almost happily, trying to escape the taint of his own father’s reputation. But when waiting on the front to go into battle, Rumple learns something of his future, but not the entire truth — just enough to cause him a lifetime of trouble and torment. We learn how Rumple got his gift of prophecy, and that although often well-intentioned, Rumple often makes ill-advised choices. No wonder time and experience has rendered him wary. We also learn how Rumple’s leg got so badly injured.

There are several developments in “Manhattan” that have me speculating about the show’s direction for the remainder of the season. There will certainly be battle lines drawn, and I have some ideas about who will be on which side, but there are several wild cards in the mix as well, and the reveal in the episode’s final scene could affect several of the series main characters for better or worse. But more on that Sunday night in print, and then again Monday evening on Let’s Talk TV for another all-Once Upon a Time hour. Blogcritics writers JeromeWetzelTV and RHeart Chissy will join me to talk “Manhattan.” So stay tuned!

Once Upon a Time airs 8:00 p.m. ET Sunday nights on ABC.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.
  • Kelli

    I wonder what haunts Henry and Gold’s relationship.

  • Kelly

    I most interested in seeing Neal and Henry’s develop a relationship. It sounds like a bad prophecy Rumple will misinterpret is going to be about Henry.

  • Betsy

    Barbara, I hope we’re not supposed to believe that Belle is to blame for things even though she has no idea about anything?

  • Kelly

    yeah i don’t like them blaming belle either.

  • Patti

    since we know he appears in the episode, i really hope neal cassidy does not have a girlfriend. does he?

  • http://joannaceleste.com Joanna

    Brilliant preview, Barbara, thank you so much! Wow, very exciting…

  • Kay

    Quite the episode. Rumple seems to have gotten a bad lot in life. And Regina… Her character growth seems to be reverting.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/barbara-barnett barbara barnett

    Indeed Kay! New article will go live in a few minutes!