Last week Mary Margaret found out the consequences of her manipulative actions in her part in Cora’s death. No longer having a heart that is pure, what will become of the good prince’s wife? Can redemption really be possible after allowing darkness to enter your soul?

Mary Margaret can’t get over the fact that she used Regina to kill Cora and while wallowing in her guilt, David continues to support her while Emma has had enough and issues some tough love advice. Hearing her husband and daughter fight, Mary Margret decides she needs to get away and spend some time in the woods to sort out her conscious.

Emma drops off Henry with Neal who tells her that Hook has escaped from the storage unit and that his fiancée Tamara is heading to Storybrooke. Emma is astonished! Another outsider coming to the fairy tale town? Emma asks if Tamara knows who Neal really is and advises that he needs to tell her himself before she finds out on her own.

In the woods, Mary Margaret comes across a very beaten looking trailer and inside finds August (aka Pinocchio). You see, before Emma even got to Storybrooke, August was living the life of a real man. The day after Emma entered town (coincidentally the day after the series premiere), August’s leg began to turn into wood. Unfortunately, only he could see it that way. Everyone else sees his leg as a leg. August even went to the ER to get it checked and to prove his leg was wooden, stabbed himself with a scalpel. While no blood squirted out (which you would think the ER doc would find weird), it only got August a call for security to get him to the psych ward. As he was getting away, a young Asian man offered to take him to a man who can cure “problems” like the one he has.

Breakfast with your man’s baby mama and child – just before he tells you he’s Rumplestiltskin’s son.

Mary Margaret listens to August’s story but doesn’t understand as the curse broke and he should have stayed human. August, however, turned all wooded and decided to exile himself to the woods. Mary Margaret tries to convince him to return to Storybrooke but he considers himself a failure and one that doesn’t deserve redemption. Unfortunately, August doesn’t realize that he’s speaking to the choir on that topic.

Awkward! That’s the only word to describe the meeting between Emma and Tamara.  After Emma and Henry leave, Neal decides to tell his fiancée the truth about his pedigree. He starts off with, “I’m from the Enchanted Forest,” and gives her Henry’s book of fairy tales to look though as he explains that the book is his history. If that isn’t marriage material, I don’t know what is! <snark>  Tamara thinks she’s being played and leaves.

But does she truly not believe in his explanation?

See, back when August was going to see this “doctor” that could cure his “condition,” a lady in the waiting room was about to go in when she dropped her phone. August retrieves it for her and as she turns, we see it’s Tamara!

Remember Owen and who he really is? Regina doesn’t but when she sees him she thanks him for the call about Henry. As she leaves the diner, she bumps into Mary Margaret and delivers the best zinger of the night:

“If I were you, I’d try the fish special. It’s right up your alley…Blackened Sole.”

Anyway, Mary Margaret tells Marco/Geppetto and Emma that she’s found August and they head to go find Mother Superior/the Blue Fairy. For some reason, Tamara (who also happens to be at the diner), finds this news very interesting.

Mother Superior explains that she knew about August’s condition and reminds Marco that she told him that as long as he remained true, brave and unselfish, he would stay a real boy. Unfortunately, he didn’t lead his life that way and that’s why he’s all wooden now. She did say, however, that if there is path of redemption, he would need to travel that path on his own and he may become real again.

August is shocked to know the Dragon knows his real name.

So who is the Dragon (“doctor”) that both Tamara and August went to? He apparently knows a lot as he called August by his fairy tale name and tells him he can help the once wooden boy. In exchange, he needs something close to him and asks for the string Giuseppe use to animate Pinocchio and $10,000. Once the payment is made, the ancient Asian man will make sure he never turns into wood again. (And if you believe that, I have some swamp land in Nevada to sell you).

The mystery of Tamara continues as we see that she really does have a connection to August as, after his visit with the Dragon, he bumps into her in a bar. She tells him that she went to the medicine man to help cure her cancer but not before taking out an envelope filled with a stash of money that, coincidently, August needs to pay the Dragon. He steals the envelope and runs out of the bar before Tamara notices.

He gives the money to the Dragon who gives him a potion, but before August can drink it, Tamara finds him and chases him through town. Having wooden legs does have some drawbacks as August falls to the ground and lets go of the bag with the potion in it. Tamara grabs it and as she walks away, she tellshim whatever condition he has, he deserves.

And now, 2 years later, the two come face to face once again and Tamara can see that he is fully wooden. She tells him that she’s not magical but fully human and offers the bottle of potion in exchange for leaving Storybrooke and never returning. August realizes that she’s Neal’s fiancée and accuses her of wanting to steal the magic out of Storybrooke. While she doesn’t give a straight answer, she does temp August to save himself from being wooden.

Owen returns to his hotel room and finds Regina inside. The jig is up and Owen tells her that he’s looking for his father but she tells him that he’s not in Storybrooke. (I still have that patch of swamp land to sell!) She tells him that his time here has ended and he needs to leave.

Mary Margaret shows Marco where August’s trailer is located. Before they go in, he tells her he’s sorry that he lied about the dresser that brought Emma to this world. There was enough magic to send 2 people and he used it to send Pinocchio to safety. That got Mary Margaret’s blood to boil and she slapped him. At least her hand that she seemed to have no control over slapped him. Shocked, Mary Margaret apologizes and tells him that she understands what he did. Emma is shocked her mama struck an old man. When they get to the trailer, August is gone.

The puppet who would soon be a boy uses his last breath to do something selfless, brave and true.

Actually, he’s at the sheriff’s office and calls Emma to warn her about Tamara, but somehow, she found him. He tells her he knows she killed the Dragon. In his moment of redemption, August takes a stand to protect the town, the people and the magic but Tamara tasers him to keep quiet (seriously, there must be some radical juice in that thing!).

As everyone heads to the station, August limps out and collapses. Marco rushes to his side and tells him that everything is going to be okay but August knows the truth. With his last breath he tells something to Emma and dies. Henry thinks his action was brave, truthful and unselfish and states the Blue Fairy can still turn him back into a real boy.

Which she does….

In front of Tamara…

Emma asks if he remembers what he was going to say before he changed back but he tells her he doesn’t and that’s the truth.

Neal tells Tamara that he would understand if she wanted to go back to New York but after witnessing real magic, she tells him she loves him and will stay with him.

So who is Tamara really and what does she want with magic?

In a flashback, we see that the meeting of Tamara and Neal that lead to their relationship was really all staged by Tamara after seeing August talk to him about heading back to Storybrooke.

August’s sacrifice seems to have an impact on the Charming family and Emma apologizes to Henry for not being truthful about his father and Mary Margaret comes clean about her blackened heart. With loving words, David assures Mary Margaret that she won’t turn evil and they will find a way to make her heart pure again.

What won’t be pure are my eyes as in the last scene we see that the person Owen has been talking to about the town is Tamara. She shows up at his hotel room where they kiss passionately as the door closes.

Redemption was the theme of last night’s episode. Is it possible and at what cost? Would you make the ultimate sacrifice for another chance? Sometimes the road to salvation is not that easy and it’s not until a person is pushed that they really find out what that cost entails… and it usually means giving something difficult up.

This was the last new episode of ‘Once Upon a Time’ until April 21st and then the push to the season finale begins. Will we find out what really happened to Owen’s dad? What do Owen and Tamara want with magic? What will Snow/Mary Margaret have to give up for her redemption?

While this episode was Rumple-light, it was still very enjoyable with a lot of “no she didn’t” moments. What about you? What did you think of the episode, ‘Selfless, Brave and True?’