Tuesday , February 20 2024
Once Upon a Time fans finally get to see the highly-anticipated "Manhattan": big reveals, lots of back story and a slightly unnerving ending!

Previewing Once Upon a Time‘s “Manhattan”

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.

About Barbara Barnett

A Jewish mother and (young 🙃) grandmother, Barbara Barnett is an author and professional Hazzan (Cantor). A member of the Conservative Movement's Cantors Assembly and the Jewish Renewal movement's clergy association OHALAH, the clergy association of the Jewish Renewal movement. In her other life, she is a critically acclaimed fantasy/science fiction author as well as the author of a non-fiction exploration of the TV series House, M.D. and contributor to the book Spiritual Pregnancy. She Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org).

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