This episode of Once Upon a Time once again managed to engage viewers in a story that had interwoven two familiar fairytale archetypes into one character. This is perhaps one of the most clever things this show does, and by far one of the most rewarding for adult viewers that want layers of myth to dissect. (The TLDR version of that: GUYS, THE MAGIC MIRROR IS ALSO THE GENIE, ISN’T THAT CRAZY AND WEIRD AND COOL?) Ahem.

Once Upon a Time Review “Fruits of the Poisonous Tree”

The character we focused on in “Fruits of the Poisonous Tree” was Sidney Glass who wrote for The Daily Mirror. In the fairytale world, we knew him as the magic mirror who was unfriendly, but oddly loyal, to the evil queen. What we never knew was that before he was imprisoned in the mirror, he was not just the wish-granting Genie from Aladdin’s lamp, but in love with (and duped by) the Queen. By pulling both stories together and presenting them in one character, we get the benefit of exploring more fairytales.

There were some moments in this episode where it appeared maybe the Queen really was in love with the Genie, but had an odd, unfeeling way of expressing it. We already knew that she’d loved someone and lost them. And we knew she blamed Snow White for it. But, as was revealed (and here’s where you REALLY want to stop reading if you haven’t seen the episode yet – spoiler alert!): she was playing him like a fiddle! Or a harp. Or whatever regal instrument you can imagine the Queen playing. (Ha, more like she plays chess with real people as her pawns.)

Even the King believed his wife was having an emotional affair, and he locked her up for it. He only knew this because he read her diary. Both of these things make this King rather unlikeable and controlling. Hi, he locks up people if they don’t love him and he invades their privacy? Try marriage counseling, dude. It wouldn’t have been totally surprising if Regina had turned out to be Rapunzel, letting her hair down to try and escape the tower. (Speaking of, I am absolutely convinced that the Evil Queen will be revealed to have another fairytale character component, one that’s far more likeable and that explains her early life. But what will it be?! Obviously someone who is close with her father, and a princess most likely… )

A big part of the episode involved the alliance of Emma Swan and Sidney Glass. Despite how hard he sold Emma, it was difficult to believe that Sidney had switched allegiances. And Emma, so reckless, needed little convincing to break laws. She’s a rebellious type, you know. Sadly for Emma, though she’s confident she can trust Glass, he’s fooling her and in league with Regina. Ouch. No wonder Emma has trust issues! And you know who viewers don’t trust, but maybe SHOULD? The Stranger. Aka The Wolf. Aka Eion Bailey, who is so dastardly and charming.

The Stranger has shown a lot of interest in Henry, and either he’s a pedophile (gross, too dark – even for a show where people rip out hearts) or he knew that Henry had this book. Which begs the question, how did he know about the book? What memories, if any, do you think he has? It’s already been proved that the Storybrooke characters are familiar with fairytales, but the ones in the book are different. So the stranger didn’t want just any fairytale book, he wanted this one. What’s he going to do with it? And is he going to stalk Ruby or what? It appears that she doesn’t know him yet…

Also noteworthy is that Henry’s castle has been destroyed, and a new one built. I’m very upset that this set piece has been taken away! The new one lacks charm. It’s new, and modern, and soulless! (Yes, I like antiques and mostly dislike IKEA before it’s been “hacked.“)

On the romance front, David and Mary Margaret are continuing their thang. And that means having an affair. Which… isn’t fun to joke about. Even though we know the Prince and Snow White are married in the fairytale world, it doesn’t take away the ‘ick’ factor in the real world.  (IckIckIckICK.) They think they’re cheating, and that’s the problem. Because they’re still doing it. And the town is way too small to hold this secret for very long. Meaning a scarlett letter is coming Blanchard’s way! Which is almost able to be a pun, since she’s Snow WHITE. (She of the virtuous and true!)

While the Genie didn’t have all of the pizazz that the one in Disney’s Aladdin had, the highlight of this episode was seeing the Genie characterized as sarcastic and almost apathetic. Giving these characters real personalities is a great way to breathe all of this new life into such established ideas. Of course, making Prince Charming a cheating dirtbag isn’t exactly an improvement…

But it’s hard to hate a show that gives us castles and princesses and two-headed viper snakes!

What did you guys think of this episode in general, if you had to give it a grade? Share your thoughts with other Small Screen Scoop readers!

P.S. Couldn’t you totally see Mary Margaret Blanchard having this “hacked”, romantic version of the Zorb Light in her shabby chic apartment?