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Recap / Once Upon A Time S 7 E 16 Breadcrumbs

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Season 7, Episode 16:

Breadcrumbs

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Henry grapples with an important decision when a job prospect in New York threatens to take him away from Jacinda and Lucy, but a revelation in the case of the Candy Killer could make it even harder to leave Hyperion Heights. Meanwhile, Margot confides in Tilly, and in a flashback, Hook helps Henry find a way to prove himself to Ella.

Tropes

  • Alone with the Psycho: A rather upsetting example where from the moment Henry chooses to get in Nick's car to go to Jacinda's place, the audience (who knows he's the killer) is just waiting to see when The Reveal will be made in-story and what happens when it is. Additionally, after Henry discovers the truth, we're treated to a harsher example where Nick has him held captive back at his apartment, in rather unhinged fashion deciding what to do with him even as he plans to continue his killing spree. It's almost (but not quite) the episode's Cliffhanger.
  • Bait-and-Switch
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    • The episode opener involves Hook, Henry, and Jacinda going to brave the Golden Dragon in his den. They hear what sounds like the growling and snoring of the beast coming from around the corner, draw their weapons and creep around the bend...only to discover the dragon fled some time ago, leaving his hoard behind, with only a drunken villager who'd gotten into his wine stash there, making the sounds.
    • After sneaking on board the Jolly Roger to commandeer it from Blackbeard, getting captured and threatened with being thrown overboard, and a raucous swordfight with the pirate and his crew, Hook and Henry seem to have gotten the upper hand, gotten the captain's surrender, and even obtained both Davy Jones's Locker and the legendary ring with the treasure inside it. But then it comes out that the whole thing was a set-up, the defeat was so easy because it was scripted as part of a deal between Hook and Blackbeard, and the point was to give Henry an adventure and a magical item so he could woo Ella and feel like a true hero. But then, thanks to the ring's enchantment and Davy Jones wanting it back, it turns into a real adventure after all where only Henry's quick thinking, a big risk, and a sacrifice can save the day.
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  • Because Destiny Says So: When Henry is planning to leave Hyperion Heights to take a podcast production job in New York, he ends up getting a flat tire right at the edge of town to keep him from leaving. The cause? Another piece of Cinderella's glass slipper. Henry definitely takes it as a sign. Unfortunately destiny has something else in mind for him first...
  • Be Yourself: This is the Aesop for both the Enchanted Forest segment of the episode and one part of the events in Hyperion Heights. After trying too hard to be a great and glorious hero who can offer epic adventure, a powerful lineage, and magical items to his true love, Henry realizes and accepts that he doesn't need any of these things to earn Ella's love, just himself and the happiness and love he can bring to her life. Meanwhile Tilly discovers that her willingness to engage others and her sunny, chatty nature are far better suited to sales than actually making beignets, while at the same time her unusual shape for the pastries and her outlook on the world continue to draw in Margot's interest.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Nick is in one with Gothel and Dr. Facilier.
  • Bound and Gagged: By episode's end, Henry is suffering this fate in the home of a crazed fairytale psycho, just like his mother...except unlike her, this fellow doesn't want any sort of belief or curse-breaking and is on the verge of killing him like his other victims.
  • The Bus Came Back: Smee is back, as is Blackbeard (though it's his Wish!version this time).
  • Call-Back
    • The non-magical hero needed to break a curse intends to leave the enchanted area, but is stopped by having his car break down right at the edge of town—instead of by a wolf on the road, by a shard of glass slipper in his tire.
    • Once again, Henry gets to take out Blackbeard with extreme ease (aided this time by the fact the pirate was throwing the fight). He even gets knocked out again too, though this happens a bit later, and thanks to Hook.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Hansel, mentioned so prominently in the previous episode when Gretel explained to Drizella just why she had become a witch and wanted to join the Coven. Now it turns out he's Nick/Jack, and also the Candy Killer. Which considering his tale's connection to candy and sweets makes a lot of sense in retrospect.
  • Composite Character: Not only is Nick the title character from Jack and the Beanstalk, he's the New Enchanted Forest's Hansel.
  • Continuity Nod: Now that the New Enchanted Forest's Hansel has been revealed, he and Gretel are shown to have something in common with Ava and Nicholas Zimmer, the Gretel and Hansel from True North: the girl is blond, the boy is a brunette.
  • Distinguishing Mark: The burn scars on Nick's arm, revealing his identity as Hansel.
  • Double-Meaning Title: It's literally referring to the breadcrumbs Hansel and Gretel used to find their way out of the forest in the original Grimm fairy tale, as well as a line Nick says to Henry (thereby giving away that Hansel would have something to do with the episode's story), but it's also reflected symbolically in other ways: Margot, feeling frustrated and angry by the vague and inexplicable statements Zelena makes to explain what's going on; Henry in the Enchanted Forest, feeling he's fighting for scraps of other people's heroic adventures to earn a name for himself; and even the "trail" Henry follows in the copy of his book to try and identify the Candy Killer.
  • Double Speak: Nick indulges in a fair amount of this, from telling Henry that a "client" got away from him (Ivy) but that he was sure he'd find another client (victim), to later saying he'd make sure he "got what he deserved."
  • Evil All Along: Despite being established as Henry's friend and a member of the Resistance, Nick's really a villain.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Hook means well, but by setting up the deal with Blackbeard to make Henry feel heroic and worthwhile, he's essentially making Henry into this. At the same time, he feels like this in comparison to the original Hook (whose grand exploits he's heard all about from Henry), and thinks if he helps Henry achieve his quest, he'll finally be a real hero too.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In hindsight, Nick being a villain is somewhat obvious. Not only has Jack already appeared as a villain once before on this show, but the cute Shout-Out to The Empire Strikes Back back in episode 8 could be considered this, since Lando also ended up betraying Han.
    • Additionally, the fact Gretel had said Hansel was traveling under an assumed name would have clued the astute viewer in to the fact he was likely to appear as an already-established character. And the fact the original OUAT Hansel's Storybrooke identity was named Nicholas Zimmer is quite the stealth clue that this Nick would also turn out to be Hansel.
    • Also in hindsight, Nick telling Rogers last episode (when he told him what the killer's M.O. was) that he "doesn't care much for candy."
  • Freudian Excuse: Though he's a psychopathic Serial-Killer Killer and has kidnapped Henry, Nick can be sympathized with due to him and his sister Gretel having been mentally scarred by their encounter with the Blind Witch, along with Gretel's death at Drizella's hands.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Henry believes he needs to do this in order to be worthy of Ella and her love. Turns out in the end all he has to do is be comfortable in who he is, and offer her himself.
  • His Story Repeats Itself: The magical item Hook and Henry are seeking in Davy Jones's Locker? A star sapphire ring which turns out to have the power to summon up incredible storms, and they have to face down Blackbeard (or so it seems) to obtain it. What does this sound like? Hook and his brother Liam, desperate to join the King's Navy, working with and then against Captain Long John Silver to obtain the Eye of the Storm, a sapphire with the same powers. The difference here seems to be that no one (or at least not Henry and Hook) knew Davy Jones's ring had this power, and thus they were seeking it simply to be Ella's wedding ring. Otherwise the similarity is uncanny, to the point it's odd Hook doesn't even remark on it.note 
  • I Choose to Stay: After initially intending to go to New York for his new job, a doubting Henry has his car break down at the edge of Hyperion Heights...and when Nick shows up to offer him a ride to the airport, he instead changes his mind and intends to go tell Jacinda how he feels about her. Unfortunately his discovery of Nick's...side hobby keeps him from doing so.
  • Idiot Ball: All right, he's the father (at least in our world) of the child of the woman he's falling for, and he helped Jacinda get custody of Lucy back from Victoria, but otherwise (and unlike in the Enchanted Forest), Henry doesn't know Nick from Adam, only really having spent one fun night with him at the arcade. Yet when the fellow asks him for details about the Candy Killer case, he spills everything he figured out with Weaver and Rogers, something highly confidential and dangerous? Rogers might have talked about the case too, but he gave far less details. And Henry might not be a cop, but surely he knows a lawyer idly asking questions about a case he's not involved in is both unethical and illegal? That right there should have been a big red flag for him, but...
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Henry's desire in the Enchanted Forest, although it's motivated more now by him wanting to provide Ella with something worthy of her than his previous yearnings. Still, he does say quite bitterly that he's "tired of just being a character in other people's stories", which is in keeping with his character arc from Seasons Three through Five (particularly the latter).
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Zelena and Lucy have a heart-to-heart like this over having to lie to Margot and Jacinda, respectively. Zelena's perspective is also shrewdly deduced by Tilly, which helps Margot see her mother in a different light.
  • One Degree of Separation: Who does Rogers get Tilly a job with? Sabine—because she's the only person he knows who has an opening, who likes him, and who happens to work in a place Tilly could enjoy.
  • Race for Your Love: Inverted—after his car breaks down and he decides he wants to tell Jacinda how he feels rather than go to New York, Henry asks Nick to drive him back from the airport to her place. But thanks to him finding out Nick is the killer and getting taken prisoner, he isn't able to reach her, and she's too late when she tries to call him.
  • The Reveal: Jack/Nick is Hansel, is evil, and vows revenge against the Coven of the Eight.
  • Saying Too Much
    • In the Enchanted Forest, Blackbeard accidentally gives away his deal with Hook by telling Henry he can give the star sapphire ring to his bride, something he should have no way of knowing about.
    • In Hyperion Heights, Henry spills the beans about everything he, Weaver, and Rogers figured out about the Candy Killer...unknowingly to the killer himself.
  • Snipe Hunt: Although the quest itself has an actual thing at the end of it (a chest of treasure, plus a magic ring), the deal Hook makes with Blackbeard is still essentially this from Henry's perspective, since there was never any real danger, the whole thing was faked, and so the ring is useless to him and he still has nothing to show for himself or give to Ella.
  • So Proud of You: It's very indirect and subtle, since while he has all his memories the cursed Henry still doesn't, but everything Weaver says to him regarding the Henry Mills in the storybook (particularly how he admired him not just for believing in love, heroism, and happy endings, but fighting for them) is a clear message to the viewer just how proud Rumple is of his grandson. The smile after he sends Henry out of the room with the admonition to "choose the right path" really says it all.
  • That Man Is Dead: Averted; contrary to what might have been supposed considering his experiences with the witch and the death of his sister, Nick is actually pleased to be called Hansel again, saying it's a long time since he's been called by that name. Not that it does Henry any good.
  • They Do: In the flashbacks, after attempting to win some great magical prize and experience a true heroic adventure to make himself worthy of her, Henry finally realizes he doesn't need any of this, just to offer Ella himself and his love...and so he takes her to a place where nothing special has ever happened, gives her an ordinary ring, and she accepts.
  • To Know Him, I Must Become Him: After Weaver finds a copy of Henry's book at the scene of one of the Candy Killer's crimes, he insists Henry can use it to help him figure out who the killer is. After a discussion of how he wrote the book and put himself into the "fictional" Henry Mills, he realizes that the killer had done the same thing, putting himself into one of the fairy tales...and so he looks through the book, trying to think like him, until he finds the one story which stands out thanks to the comments written in the margins.
  • Wham Shot: The final shot of the episode, per usual—after talking about her fiance Chad, Zelena is given a candy box by Margot that was delivered to Roni's bar...and when the camera pans down, she (and the viewer) realizes it's what we just saw Nick preparing, meaning she's the killer's next target.
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