On Once Upon a Time Season 2, Episode 6: “Tallahassee,” we learn the shocking history of Emma, the Mystery Man, and August Booth/Pinocchio (Eion Bailey), all of whom found themselves in a very strange situation 11 years ago in Portland, Oregon.
Warning: This post contains spoilers from OUAT Season 2, Episode 6: “Tallahassee.” For more on Wetpaint Entertainment's philosophy on spoilers, click here.
After she and new love, fellow car thief Neal Cassady, aka the Mystery Man from the Season 2 premiere (Season 2, Episode 1: “Broken”) decide to move to wherever her finger lands on a map, they plan on Tallahassee. Emma sweetly asks if it’s near a beach, which Neal confirms. But there’s a glitch in their plan.
Before they leave, Neal finds out that his face is on a Wanted poster. Emma tells him that she’ll perform the next theft on her own. Otherwise, he says that he’d have to move to Canada. Alone. She tells him, “I love you,” and he seems genuinely endeared by her and her devotion.
She pulls off one last major theft, and she and Neal plan on meeting up the next day after he sells the watches she stole for a lot of money. But that night, Neal is chased down and accosted by... August!
“Think of me as Emma’s guardian angel,” he explains. He’s been looking for her for two years, and they first knew each other as orphans in a group home when they were kids. August tells Neal that he needs to leave her alone, because she “has a destiny.” He asks Neal, “Do you believe in magic?” and shows him what’s inside of a wooden box. Whatever is in there convinces Neal that August is telling the truth.
“There’s a curse, and it needs to be broken. Emma is the key. I was charged with keeping her on track, and you, my friend, just got caught in the crossfire,” August tells Neal. Cut to Emma, being arrested for stolen property. A cop tells Emma that her boyfriend probably split to Canada, after ratting her out. We see her visibly harden into the tough girl we’ve come to love on the show. And we realize that she has no idea that Neal left with a broken heart, and for her own sake.
Catch the next new episode of Once Upon a Time on Sunday, November 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Molly Friedman is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @MollyFriedman.