Season 1, Episode XV – “Red Handed”:
Kathryn Nolan has gone missing and David is the prime suspect. We indeed open with him in the police station. Although Emma is questioning him, she’s convinced he didn’t do anything. But she advises him to get a lawyer anyway. Jumping over to Granny’s now, we’re shown Ruby in her usual position of leaning against a table. She’s listening to August talk about his various travels. The girl appears to be turned on by the stories about lemurs. When we flash back to the Enchanted Forest, it appears that her past self was turned on by men threatening to huff and puff and blow the house down.
To elaborate, Red Riding Hood has a love interest called Peter. The writers clearly took note of the failed romance in the previous episode – and it’s implied that Peter and Red already know each other very well. They even talk about running away together – so they’re bound to have known each other for at least a day. But Red is under the watchful eye of Granny, so Peter can only escape with a little kiss. Granny has good reason to be fearful, as it is still ‘Wolfs Time’. A group of hunters are going out to find this beast after it slaughtered several sheep. Granny warns them to stay indoors and protect themselves but the fools don’t listen. She also says that red repels wolves – which explains why her granddaughter is wearing the iconic cloak. After the hunting party leaves, Granny and Red take precautions to protect the house from the wolf. This culminates in Granny apparently staying up all night with a crossbow.
But in Storybrooke, Granny instead wants to stay up all night with the books for the diner. Or rather, she wants Ruby to do it. She also says that Ruby dresses like a hooker during fleet week – which is a tad hypocritical of her since she’s the one who seems to have picked that uniform. Ruby fires back that Granny dresses like Norman Bates while he’s dressed as his own mother. They cut to a shot of August snickering at the next table. That’s Eion Bailey’s genuine reaction and they decided to leave it in.
|Shaken and stirred this time, Mr Bailey.|
But speaking of leaving, Ruby has had enough of Granny’s controlling ways. They have a blazing row and Ruby walks out of the diner. Back in the Enchanted Forest, Red checks on the chickens to make sure the wolf didn’t get them. In there she finds none other than Princess Snow White huddled up in the corner. Snow was out in the woods last night and heard the wolf howling so she tried to find shelter. Red kindly agrees to give her some. Snow doesn’t give her true name, since Regina has guards out looking for her – so she tells Red to call her Mary. I didn’t do much to describe the events in this scene but mark my words – it’s very cute and very sweet. The friendship between Snow and Red is one of my favourite little bits in this show. Anyway they go to fetch some water from the well. But curiously enough the water in the bucket is red. And the remains of the hunting party are found three feet away, thus allowing Snow and Red to share identical Oh Crap faces.
Emma and Mary Margaret are out walking. According to Emma, things don’t look good for David – and she’d better start getting ready for people suspecting her. They find Dr Whale hitting on Ruby who is now leaning on a bus stop instead of a table. Panicking at the sight of the sheriff and his previous conquest, the good doctor flits off. Ruby announces that she’s leaving town after her fight with Granny but doesn’t know where to go. Of course the solution is to take her back to Mary Margaret’s home for waifs and strays. The villagers in the Enchanted Forest are now meeting to discuss what to do about the wolf. Granny advises them to stay inside and relates her experiences with a wolf: when she was a child she saw a wolf easily dispatch her father and six brothers. She even received a bite from the beast itself, which she shows the scar of.
|"You should see the other guy"|
Red and Snow are left reeling from her speech, but Red confesses that she feels a bit like a rat and a trap. Peter had been at the tavern for the meeting, and Snow picked up on the aside glances. Red lets us know that she and Peter were childhood friends and have started to fall for each other. They’re even planning to run away together. But really I’m more hoping that Red and Snow will run away together. The chemistry between the two actresses in this episode is pretty steamy. Although they point out that Snow and Red are just good friends, if they went down the romance route it wouldn’t be unbelievable. Red meanwhile thinks sometimes that Granny is using the wolf to keep her and Peter apart. So she comes up with a solution: they’ll kill the wolf. I’ll let Jim Carrey echo my thoughts on that idea.
Her plan isn’t as ill-thought out as you’d assume. Although she wants to get rid of it just so she can have more smooch time with her boyfriend, she has an idea; if they can find the wolf’s lair during the day, they might have an advantage. It kind of makes you wonder why none of the hunting parties thought to try that too. Presumably because Snow is afraid of being turned out and left to the mercy of the creature, she goes along with Red. Back in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret has gone walking in the woods and she runs into David. He looks oddly vacant-eyed and isn’t receptive to Mary Margaret’s reassurances. Back in the Enchanted Forest, Red and Snow are trying to track the wolf. They find prints that are enormous.
Henry is trying to help Ruby find a new career. Well his idea of helping is listing a bunch of jobs that require delivering things in a basket – y’know since she’s Red Riding Hood. But Ruby quickly realises that her talents lie in answering Emma’s phone and taking messages for her. Ms Swan walks in at the end of this and offers her a position as the station secretary. Her first task is getting lunch. But Mary Margaret arrives to disrupt this moment of triumph, with news of David’s wanderings in the woods. Things take a dark turn as we flash back to Snow and Red. They find a foot print that looks like it’s half a man’s and half a wolf’s. What’s more is that the prints lead right up to the house! Which means that not only is the wolf really a transformed human – but that it’s someone who has recently been in their house!
Now I’ve actually seen this story somewhere before.
A forgettable Red Riding Hood adaptation starring Amanda Seyfried as Red. In that film, the wolf in question is also a werewolf terrorising a village at the full moon. In both stories, the love interest is a suspect. And both times he’s called Peter. I assume this is a reference to Peter and the Wolf. Red Riding Hood has often been associated with werewolf myths; the Neil Jordan film The Company of Wolves explores similar ideas. But back on topic, Snow theorises that maybe Peter doesn’t know he’s the wolf. She suggests that Red could save everyone if she told him and prevented him from attacking them. Red decides that she’ll try to stop Peter. But Snow will go back to the house and pretend to be Red, to stop Granny from getting worried and going out. She’ll wear the red cloak. Remember that. Ruby meanwhile walks into Granny’s to try and brag about her new job helping Emma. Granny points out that she seems to be doing the same things she did working at the diner. Ruby insists that she’s happier but her face says otherwise.
Red is now telling Peter her theory. He wonders why he hasn’t woken up in the woods or have any kind of memories of the wolf’s time. Red thinks maybe the transformation makes you forget. But she’s already come up with a plan; they can be together now that they know. And they’ll just need to chain him up every month at the full moon. And possibly some other nights too, just for fun. But Red swears that she’ll stick by him. Okay, this couple has only had three scenes together and they actually manage to be more appealing than Dreamy and Nova. While Meghan Ory does have phenomenal chemistry with Ginnifer Goodwin, she and Jesse Hutch (Peter) have some nice chemistry in their short scenes together. Back in Storybrooke, Henry advises Emma to give Ruby more to do. Since she needs to search for David in the woods, Emma takes Ruby along with her. She proves quite useful – claiming she can hear David. She must be using her before-shown tracking skills from the Enchanted Forest. For the second time this season, David gets found passed out in the woods.
David has no memories of walking in the woods. He can’t remember anything after leaving Emma’s office last night. Dr Whale gives him a quick once-over and concludes that he’s pretty healthy. Emma wonders if David could have done anything while sleepwalking – such as making a phone call to Kathryn and possibly kidnapping her? Regina now barges into the room and orders everyone to stop talking. David should have a lawyer present. Regina gives us another token ‘be nasty to Emma’ scene and we segue back to Ruby. Emma calls her and suggests she take the car and examine the Toll Bridge (where David last went in his sleep). With her tracking abilities, she might be able to find something. Sure enough, she actually does. She sees that the shore has been disturbed and uncovers a box buried there. She opens the box and screams.
Granny goes into Red’s room, where Snow is pretending to be her. Needless to say Granny is not pleased when she sees the truth. Snow tries to explain that Peter is the wolf and that Red has chained him up. Granny screams “that poor boy!” and we get our big twist:
That’s right. Red *herself* is the wolf. And her mother was one until a hunting party killed her too. The red cloak was bought from a wizard and prevents her from transforming. Granny also reveals that the wolf from her own story was Red’s grandfather. The scar on her arm was how he marked her and turned her into a wolf too. She kept the secret from Red to protect her – but she’s now realised how foolish she’s been. Granny approaches the area where Red is, producing a silver-tipped arrow. Snow unfortunately alerts her by stepping on a twig – but Granny shoots and then throws the cloak over her. Red turns back into herself but is none too pleased when she discovers the remains of her boyfriend. Snow’s delivery of “he wasn’t the wolf” and Red’s reaction makes this a huge tear jerker. Red and Snow leave, while Granny fends off the hunting party.
Ruby strolls into Granny’s, now with less make-up and more modest clothing. She asks to come back to the diner. She confesses that she wasn’t mad; she was scared. She was really scared that she wouldn’t be able to fill Granny’s shoes. Granny then assures Ruby that she actually intends for her to one day take over the place. Grandmother and granddaughter then embrace in a very sweet moment. The mood turns less sweet as we switch to Emma approaching Mary Margaret and David. She reveals that what Ruby found in the box was…a human heart! There were also fingerprints on the box. And they weren’t David’s. They were Mary Margaret’s.
Well after the mess that was “Dreamy”, anything would be preferable. But this was a great episode. I even remember really getting pleased on my first watch – when I realised it would be a Red episode. The story of Red Riding Hood is one that always lends itself well to adaptation – especially with the darker and edgier retellings of fairy tales getting popular. Disney have never really done an adaptation of the tale before, aside from a Silly Symphonies short. But since it’s one of the forerunners for werewolf mythologies, it has endless amounts of potential. I loved the twist of Red turning out to be the wolf. It also ties into the theories that the original story was a metaphor for a girl’s sexual maturation. It’s implied that the wolf condition develops in puberty and Granny can no longer transform, presumably due to going through the menopause. The Storybrooke portions were nice too – providing a good take on the ‘home is where the heart is’ moral. The chemistry between Meghan Ory and Ginnifer Goodwin was fantastic – and it’s one of the reasons I adore the Snow/Red friendship. Beverly Elliot as Granny was also great with her extra screen time here. Josh Dallas was a wee bit better than he was in “What Happened To Frederick” too. So this one hits all the right points for a stellar episode.
Episode Rating: 8/10