After a seemingly interminable three-week wait, our grown-up Faerie Tale Theatre came back with a vengeance tonight. And honestly, if long stretches of Once-lessness always lead to Rumpelstiltskin-centric, Jane Espenson-penned episodes, I think I might be on board with the show taking more breaks. (Just kidding, Oncegods -- don't push back the finale! Do we have a deal?)
There's a motorcycle in tonight's opening title card, which can mean only one thing: "The Return" will get us up close and personal with August W. Booth, the guy who's lying when he tells you he never lies. (Lemurs in Nepal my foot.) After staggering out of bed with legs stiff as tree trunks, the writer calls Henry and lets him know that it's time to "accelerate the plan." Regina won't let the kid hang out with his biological mom, but she apparently has no trouble leaving him alone with a 30-something dude. In no time flat, Henry has come to meet August outside of Gold's pawn shop.
The kid strolls in and lets the shopkeeper know that he's looking for a gift for Mary Margaret; she deserves a present, he explains, "since she didn't kill that woman." Hey, there's tons of people I haven't killed! Where's my trinket? As the wily elementary schooler distracts the store's owner, August sneaks into Gold's office and starts poking around. But all the writer finds is a suspicious pair of eyes -- once Gold appears and realizes what August is doing.
Kathryn, meanwhile, is recuperating in the hospital under the not-at-all creepy care of Dr. Whale. She tells Emma that she can remember being held captive in a basement, then getting drugged and left at a field near the edge of town. Unfortunately, Kathryn can't remember anything about her captor. The woman has been through a lot -- which is why it feels sort of wrong to criticize her for what happens when David shows up at her hospital bed. But even so -- really, Kathryn? You're seriously going to just exonerate the man who cheated on you, and lied to you, and was indirectly responsible for you getting kidnapped and chained to a basement wall? No wonder Prince Not-So-Charming thinks she's "kind of amazing."
Regina, however, isn't amused. Alone with Gold, she hisses that he broke their deal. Gold replies that he's only ever broken one deal; technically, since Regina never asked him to kill Kathryn, he still fulfilled the terms they established. As he calmly talks, he rests his hand on a ball that looks like a brown quaffle. Regina gradually realizes that now, all the evidence for Kathryn's disappearance and MM's framing will point to her. She can't understand why Gold has screwed her over: "We've been in this together from the start," she tells him. Of course, as tonight's Fairyback will prove, that isn't strictly true.
Speaking of: In Fairy Land, Rumpelstiltskin's son Baelfire plays a grounded game of Quidditch with some young pals. But the fun is cut short when Bae accidentally runs into a townsperson's donkey cart and scrapes his knee. The Dark One doesn't take kindly to anyone hurting his boy, even by accident. So he swoops in, transforms the poor guy into a snail, and -- despite Bae's loud, urgent protesting -- squashes him flat. Great, now Bae's never going to be invited to join the team.