Emotional entanglements cloud our vision and lead us down dangerous paths. This message emerges three times in episode 11 of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree.” If there’s an overriding theme in Once Upon a Time it is that everything comes at a price: magic, love, freedom—even the granting of a wish by a centuries-old genie.
That price is magnified when emotions are involved, and it appears that each of the characters in Storybrooke and their counterparts in the Enchanted Forest are often driven by emotions—with one exception, the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) and her alter ego Mayor Regina Mills, who seems to be the only one (yes, that includes Mr. Gold) with no emotional underpinnings, no sense of right or wrong—only what suits her.
In turn, Sidney (Giancarlo Esposito), his genie alter ego, and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) are driven by emotional entanglement, and ruled by the god of “be careful what you wish for.” Even Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) should be wary of her current entanglement with married friend David. If the mayor finds out what’s goin’ on, Mary Margaret will undoubtably have a high price to pay. Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle—can anyone do quiet menace any better?) too “wishes” for an alliance with Emma, as he tells her near the episode’s end. And I do think they’re headed for an uneasy alliance, these two. But will Mr. Gold, too have a price to pay if he gets hsi wish?
“Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” is Sidney’s story. In Storybrooke Sidney is a discredited newspaper reporter and failed sheriff candidate, but we soon discover that back in the land of fairy tales, he was once a genie trapped in a lamp, free only to grant the wishes of others. Found by a kindly king (Snow’s father and the Evil Queen’s husband) who lacks for nothing, and has no wishes that the genie can grant him, the genie is at last given a wish of his own—his freedom. But how has he come to reside in the Evil Queen’s mirror—forever in Regina’s pocket?