Fee, fi, fo, fum! After a two-week mini hiatus, Once Upon A Time returns with an episode focusing on a giant named Tiny. Well, to be fair, his given name is Anton (Jorge Garcia), but “Tiny” is his nickname amongst his giant brethren in the past, and it’s the name that pops up on his magical dwarf axe once he decides to stick around Storybrooke for good.
The show has always done well when it comes to fleshing out its characters, and Tiny’s backstory is no exception. David (Josh Dallas) and Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) stumble upon the miniaturized giant when they press Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) for a look around his hidden ship. It seems Cora (Barbara Hershey) shrunk him down to size, then shoved him in a crate in Hook’s hold until she had need of him. However, instead of being thanked for the rescue, Snow and Charming are greeted with Tiny’s powerful rage. And while he may no longer tower over them, he still packs a big punch.
Confusion is abound as to what Tiny’s beef with David could be until the former prince remembers that he wasn’t the only man in the Enchanted Forest with his face. As it turns out, Prince James – King George’s (Alan Dale) first adopted son – was not just a self-centered pig when it came to facing dragons. In general, he’s basically David’s evil twin. And it’s this twin – pictured above with his girl-of-the-week Jack (Cassidy Freeman) – who incurred Tiny’s wrath in the past.
Their tale is not one of happy endings. The only thing the curious – albeit naive – Tiny wishes to do is study the humans his family so utterly fears and abhors. He is fascinated by the human trinkets in the giant’s treasure trove and feels they can’t be as bad as his brothers make them out to be. Estranged by his curiosity and smaller stature, Tiny descends down the beanstalk to the humans and Jack and James are the first ones he meets. It’s sad to watch the pair toy with the big man so easily; even more sad when his kindness ultimately costs him his family and their homeland.
Back in Storybrooke, it’s either Regina – (Lana Parrilla) or Cora posing as Regina – stirring up trouble by offering to make Tiny giant-sized again, if only for a little while. The magic mushroom lasts long enough for a merry little chase scene through the town in yet another spectacular display of horrid special effects. At this point, middle-schoolers with MS-Paint could put something more believable together, which is sad as Once has been very good for the network, though maybe Papa Disney is pinching pennies to have money for all of those new Star Wars movies.
Fortunately, this David VS. Goliath tale is a sold one and ends not with further death and destruction, but with the giant being accepted into the community. Tiny also proves his faith in humanity hasn’t been irreparably shattered by offering the townsfolk his people’s last great treasure: a living stem from a magic bean plant which could one day provide them with a portal back home.
Meanwhile, in a miniaturized plot all their own, Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Rumple (Robert Carlyle), and Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) set off on Rumple’s quest for his lost son. The story doesn’t go much beyond the airport, but two important kernels can be gleaned. First, Rumple’s shawl is what keeps him from forgetting who he is and losing it even for a short time makes him disoriented. Second, he is unable to heal his bleeding hand, suggesting his magic doesn’t work beyond the boundaries of Storybrooke. Next week, the plot shifts fully to the search for Rumple’s son before the show takes yet another break in February for the Oscars.
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays @8pm on ABC.