Okay, I'll admit right off that I've never liked the story Hansel and Gretel. Abandoned children? Gingerbread house? Cannibalism? Ugh, color me freaked out. In fact, you could say that Hansel and Gretel is one of the popular fairy tales that retains the most of it's gruesome and grim beginnings. You can't really take out a lot of the dark elements without erasing vital parts of the story. Probably a significant factor in why Disney never tried doing a take on it.
Anyhow, I went into last night's episode expecting not to be too excited about it.
Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. They did an excellent job of translating the fairy tale parallel to modern day and wove in a beautiful theme of family. In addition to a great introduction to our new characters, we also got some good moments and characterization for many of our existing favorites: Emma, Henry, Regina, and Mary Margaret. Even Mr. Gold got a nice little scene.
It was really lovely to see some more children joining the cast, and Hansel and Gretel are written very realistically. I look forwards to meeting them again in future episodes. And I hope their Dad gets some more characterization as well. There is a ton of room for development.
For an episode featuring children, it did sport a very creepy badie. The Gingerbread Witch was pretty terrifying and if I'd seen this as a child I'm sure I would have been freaked out by her. However the show does a good job of not overdwelling on her, allowing her to be an element but not a dark focus.
A lovely Easter egg in this episode was the mirror glimpse of Snow with the Seven Dwarves. Looking forwards to seeing more of them soon -- maybe even in next week's episode!
But the most pressing question right now is... Who is the Motorcycle Dude? Last week I theorized on the FTN Forum that Bae (Rumple's son) was Henry's father. I still hold to that hypothesis, and I'll admit I wondered immediately if that's who the stranger was. However, you'd think Emma would recognize him if that were the case, so this Stranger seems unlikely.
For more pictures and theories on this episode, check out my tumblr at elenatintil.tumblr.com where I have reblogged some cool bits for your enjoyment!