If there’s an award for most disappointing episode, this one wins. It was boring, sort of depressing, and did little to advance the storylines most of us care about the most.
We open in FairyTale, and learn how the dwarves are hatched. Literally hatched from eggs, and born as middle-aged men. If that sounds a bit creepy, it’s because it is. It turns out the dwarf we already know as Grumpy was originally named Dreamy. (And the Dwarves learn their names when they are handed axes with their names pre-engraved on them.) But here’s the depressing part I mentioned: Dwarves are hatched for one purpose only and that’s to mine diamonds that are turned into fairy dust. There is no room for love, or fun, or joy. It’s apparently all about slave labor for the little men.
Dreamy is even told by his boss (appropriately named Bossy) that Dwarves don’t fall in love. That is until Dreamy meets apprentice fairy Nova (guest star Amy Acker) and falls head over heels. Nova and Dreamy agree to meet and watch the fireflies together. As dusk approaches, and the fireflies appear, Nova and Dreamy kiss and agree to run away together and sail the world.
But before Dreamy can leave the mines forever, Nova’s mentor The Blue Fairy appears to him and tells him unless he gives up this foolish dream, Nova will lose her wings. Unprepared to cause that, Dreamy meets once more with Nova, but instead of running away to begin their grand adventure, he tells her he is a dwarf and “can’t love”, thereby breaking Nova’s heart and condemning himself to a life of drudgery.
As if to prove that fact, when Dreamy returns to the mines and picks up his axe, it promptly breaks. When a new axe appears for him, the engraved name has been changed to Grumpy.
If the point of this episode was to prove that dreams are futile, then I suppose it was a success. The only bright spot to the FairyTale half of the show was learning that Belle is alive! So it seems the Evil Queen lied (no big surprise) when she told Rumple that Belle was dead.
Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Dreamy/Grumpy’s alter ego, Leroy is the town’s drunk (in keeping with this week’s theme of gloom and despair ). He and Mary Margaret, now the town harlot, are hoping to redeem themselves by selling all of the candles in the town’s annual Miner’s Day Fundraiser. Leroy has also become smitten with Sister Astrid, a hapless nun who has inadvertently used up the convent’s entire rent money. So unless Leroy can sell all the candles, the nuns will be evicted by their landlord, Mr. Gold. No pressure there for Leroy.
Unfortunately, nobody wants to buy anything from the two outcasts, so in desperation Leroy blows out the town’s transformer, plunging Storybrooke Town Square into darkness just at the peak of Miner’s Day celebrations. Of course, this makes everyone more than happy to buy the candles, which means the nuns still have a home and Leroy and Mary Margaret are somehow looked upon more favorably by the townsfolk. Which makes little sense, but as I said, this was not Once Upon a Time’s finest episode.
In fact, this episode felt very much like a throw-away installment, and not a very well-written or interesting one, at that. We did learn that while David claims to have not spoken with Kathryn before her disappearance, phone records obtained by Mayor Regina indicate otherwise. Either David’s lying, or the Mayor is up to her usual no good.
But the most interesting thing I learned from this mostly forgettable episode is this : If Rumple/Gold, The Evil Queen/Regina or Snow/Prince Charming aren’t prominently featured, Once Upon a Time suffers.