Until now, we've known very few details of Emma Swan's (Jennifer Morrison) past. In this week's new Once Upon a Time episode "Tallahassee" we learn how she ended up pregnant and in jail, but perhaps just as importantly, we discover why she has such profound trust issues and has learned to read people incredibly well.
Still in the Fairytale Land wastelands and accompanied by Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), Mulan, Sleeping Beauty (Sarah Bolger), and now Hook (Colin O'Donoghue), Emma seeks a compass that will be key to getting them back home. The compass, however, is in the possession of a certain giant (Lost's Jorge Garcia) that lives atop a beanstalk.
Although she's wary of Hook (and with good reason — the pirate is an, albeit charming, creep) Emma has no choice but to trust him, at least as far as she must. Her only apparent sympathy for him comes from her belief that he had not only lost his hand, but his true love, to Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle). Of course, as we know, that's not exactly the truth.
We learn that Emma had been a thief 11 years before she arrives in Storybrooke, and involved with another thief who abandons her, leaving her literally holding the bag when the cops arrive. She had after many years learned to trust and in the end is betrayed by one of the few people she's ever loved.
We learn, however, that August (Eion Bailey) is manipulating events, and to "protect" Emma and preserve her for fulfilling her destiny in breaking the curse, August convinces Neal Cassady (Michael Raymond James) that the right thing to do is to leave Emma and let her go to prison. Promising to let Cassady know when he can again contact Emma, August says he'll send a postcard. And, indeed, in the opening episode of season two, we see Cassady in New York with the promised post card — now that Emma has broken the curse.
The retelling of "Jack and the Beanstalk" is clever, suggesting that the giant is the last of his kind, the remainder murdered by humans. Explaining that the "victors get to tell the story," he holds human is little regard, assuming that they are only out to harm him. When Emma doesn't, the giant is surprised and grants Emma not only the prize she seeks (the needed compass), but also Hook's life.