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Once Upon a Time Recap: "What Happened to Frederick"

Just when we’ve learned to despise Kathryn for keeping Snow White and Prince Charming apart, she goes and proves herself admirable.

In “What Happened to Frederick”, Prince James pulls a Runaway Bride and is fleeing his impending nuptials to Kathryn.  Kathryn finds him, but instead of hauling him back to wed her, she tells him not only does she not want to marry him either, but she too loves another. In fact, she was once engaged to Frederick, a brave knight who had no choice but to touch her father King Midas, in order to save his life during an ambush. Remember your fairytales: everything Midas touched turned to gold; so it should come as no shock to learn Kathryn’s Frederick is now nothing but a solid gold statue.  

James, after hearing Kathryn’s story, tells her of a magical lake’s special properties, ones that can return what’s lost. True, Kathryn replies, but that same lake also holds a “ghastly creature that drowns its victims.”  Undeterred, James believes his “fearless bravery” will allow him to successfully bring back the magical water to Kathryn and her gold man. 

As he arrives at the lake, James demands the beast show itself. What appears next is no beast, but a sailor’s siren–a gorgeous blonde in a beaded evening gown. Granted, the gown is a bit wet from her living underwater, but still, it’s a gown worthy of Miss America.  The siren does her best to thwart the prince from capturing the magical water by turning herself into a vision of Snow White. And this is a pretty seductive version of the usually pure Snow. She passionately kisses James, and while sorely tempted, James bravely resists the siren’s charms. Bested by his valor, the siren throws him into the lake and tries to drown him.  Luckily (and also ridiculously), James finds a knife at the lake’s bottom and stabs the faux Snow White.  In a pool of blood, the siren turns back into herself, and presumably dies.

James returns to Abigail with a flask of the magic water and she pours it over Frederick’s gold head. Poof! He turns back into a flesh and blood man! Frederick and Abigail kiss and embrace and Fred bonds with James in a manly fashion. Inspired by what he’s just witnessed, James vows to fight for Snow’s love, too.  Abigail wishes him well, but warns him that King George will stop at nothing to destroy his happiness.

James, in a horse given to him by Frederick, arrives at the cottage. He finds Red Riding Hood, but Snow White has disappeared. Red assures James that Snow does indeed love him, but hasn’t been seen since she left to break up his wedding. James vows to find her. Guess nobody yet knows she’s shacked up with seven short men and has lost her memory. 

Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke, James’s alter ego David is proving to be a big, fat wuss.  His wife Kathryn surprises him with the news she’s been accepted into law school in Boston.  The next day, he tells Mary Margaret and she insists he come clean with his wife.  She tells him he must be honest and tell her the truth about – they love each other and wish to be together.

Instead, David simply tells Kathryn he can’t go to Boston with her because their connection just isn’t there.  Their connection? Really? Instead of telling Kathryn he’s in love with someone else, and has chosen to be with someone else, he tells her they lack a connection? What IS it with this guy?

But never fear, because Mayor Regina has photographs proving David and Mary Margaret have been illicitly carrying on. And she’s more than happy to show them to Catherine. 

Furious, Catherine confronts Mary Margaret at the school, slaps her and calls her out for being with her husband.  Of course, there are a lot of witnesses to this conversation and the news spreads through the town like wildfire. Soon everyone is whispering about poor Mary Margaret and even spray painting her car.

It’s the last straw for Mary Margaret and she tells David what they have isn’t love.  It’s something destructive and since he can’t even be honest with his wife, she’s done with him.  

Unbeknownst to them, Kathryn has had an abrupt change of heart and now realizes what she and David had was never true love, not even before his accident. So she writes David a letter, telling him to choose Mary Margaret, and proceeds with her plans to leave town. 

But I thought nobody gets to leave Storybrooke? Apparently that is indeed still the case, as the next scene finds Kathryn’s car, with nothing in it but a deployed air bag.  And right behind it is a man who looks suspiciously like Frederick, the former gold man. But Kathryn herself has vanished.  Has Regina practised some of her evil magic and ensured Kathryn didn’t leave Storybrooke?

A bonus plot point this week: we learned that the mystery motorcycle-riding writer’s name is August W. Booth; and as Emma said, “really with the middle initial?” More importantly, it appears that August made a duplicate copy of Henry’s lost fairytale book and left that copy for Emma to find. So what is August really doing in town?  Is he a good guy or is he a bad guy? 

With the way things are shaping up in this town, he’s bound to be more exciting than the gutless David. And just why is Fairytale’s James so much better/braver/stronger than the watered-down wuss we’re getting in Storybrooke?

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