Emma Swan will help two orphans find their birth father in tonight’s Once Upon a Time episode. This can only mean one thing, kids. Hansel and Gretel have arrived! The Evil Queen sends the troubled duo into the forest to retrieve something for her from The Blind Witch in a house filled with sweets. Emma Caulfield of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame guest stars.

Ava and her twin brother, Nicholas, introduce themselves to little Henry in a convenience store before the three are stopped by Mr. Clark, the pharmacy attendant, at the door. He finds goods in Henry’s bag, apparently planted by the duo. As Madame Mayor and Sheriff Swan arrive on the scene, the true identities of the kids are revealed. Hansel and Gretel were only looking for their father in the woods when The Evil Queen captured and made a deal with them. She’ll help them, if they agree to help her.

Emma takes the kids home, assuming that they’ll be fine. When the coast is clear, they run into a rundown basement setup and creep upstairs at the sound of footsteps. Thankfully, Emma picked up on their scheme. She takes them home with her and they overhear a conversation with Mary Margaret. Their father may not even know they’re alive, but she has to do something before the two are separated.

What would any task be in Storybrooke without Regina to make it difficult, though? Existing records of the children’s father have been ripped from the files. Emma has a real investigation at hand.

So The Evil Queen is all like, fetch me this thing that the Blind Witch keeps in a bag. And Gretel is like, if we do this, then you’ll help us find our father? Of course the Queen agrees, but she also adds important advice. “Whatever you do, don’t eat anything.” As she pulls back a wall of shrubbery, a grandiose home made of gingerbread and all things that create cavities is revealed and little Hansel’s smile grows with anticipation.

Emma Swan is already not the best parent in the world, although she can outdo Regina any day, yet Henry asks her to describe his father. The story sounds like two young kids in love. Unfortunately, in an extreme face-slapping ironic end, Henry’s father was the true hero. He died while saving someone from a burning building. Somehow, this spawns Emma to run home and ask Ava and Nicholas if they’ve held on to anything from their past. Ava hands over the compass her father gave her.

Hansel and Gretel enter the Dr. Seuss-like edible world of The Blind Witch. Gretel is quite determined to stick to the task of retrieving that bag. Hansel, on the other hand, takes a huge greedy bite out of a cupcake. The Blind Witch awakens at the smell of “dinner” and the candy locks are not bolted shut. There’s no way out and the pile of adolescent bones in front of the fireplace might just get bigger.

For the price of forgiveness, Mr. Gold agrees to hand over the identity of Ava and Nicholas’ father. He settles for tolerance and recites where Emma can find him. Michael works as a mechanic and doesn’t believe he has twins. It was just one time after taking their mother camping. That sounds romantic. He returns the compass to Emma’s grasp, saying, “I don’t know anything about being a dad.” I may need to take back my statement about Emma’s parenting skills, too. She lied to Henry about his father.

Back at the Gingerbread House, Gretel pretends to be fattened up just right. The Blind Witch takes her from the cage as Gretel sneaks the key over to Hansel. He frees himself, but totally botches the plan. Things get a little shaky, but the twins are able to push her into the oven and run off with the bag. Looking on from the magic mirror, The Evil Queen sends a fireball to cook the poor hungry woman. She is pure evil.

What could possibly be in this bag anyways? I know you’re all wondering because I sure was. It’s an apple. No, not just any apple, THE apple. Now, as a reward, The Queen invites Hansel and Gretel to live with her because they don’t deserve a parent who will disappear on them. Gretel refuses for the both of them. And in a purple-ish black swirly poof of smoke, she sends them on their way.

Henry tries to warn Emma not to take Ava and Nicholas out of Storybrooke as Regina has basically instructed, but what more could happen now?

Well, the car breaks down in the middle of the road. Emma calls for help. Does anyone see where this is going? The Evil Queen, of course, knew what she was doing all along. The twins’ father was her prisoner all this time. She says that they can be together as a family, if they can find one another. With that, she sets him free. Michael arrives on the scene with his tow truck.

Happy ending, right? Wait, we still have five minutes left for Regina to stir up some trouble.

I stand corrected! Emma and Mary Margaret have a cute little conversation as mothers and daughters usually do when they don’t know they’re actually related. I had to hold my breath a moment as Mary Margaret stumbled across a blanket left out by Emma that she found in a box of things from her past. She breathes it in as if she’s bringing memories back to the surface, but alas. She shakes it off and puts it back where she found it.

Emma now sits in her cop car looking at Henry’s file that describes the manner in which he was found as a younger boy when Henry pops up with pumpkin cake. They stand next to the car talking about things when a dark rider parks his motorcycle and strolls up to the two. Emma points him in the direction of Granny’s Bed and Breakfast without a chance to get the mysterious rider’s name. Storybrooke doesn’t normally see strangers, but I suppose we’ll play the guessing game with this handsome fellow.

Next week on Once Upon a Time, the Storybrooke stranger is really causing a stir. Meanwhile, Mary Margaret and James pick up where they left off, continuing a forbidden romance.

Jilliane Johnson
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Jilliane Johnson

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV