Season Four Episode Four

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Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

“Woke up this morning my house was cold
Checked out the furnace she wasn’t burnin’
Went out and hoped in my old Ford
Hit the engine but she ain’t turnin’
We’ve given each other some hard lessons lately
But we ain’t learnin’
We’re the same sad story that’s a fact
One step up and two steps back.”

Bruce Springsteen One Step Up

Tempers flaring, patience running thin and we’re witnessing long-term relationships hitting the danger zone. That could be an accurate summary, for Season Four of the NBC hit-drama “The Blacklist,” but that level spiked in Episode Four, entitled “Gaia.” When Aram Mojtabai let’s the fur fly, we know we’re traveling in unchartered waters.

Our episode begins out in the woods as we see the speaker horn of an old Victrola and sound of Classical Music fills the great outdoors. We then see a man who appears to be in his mid-thirties and as the camera pans to a long shot we see that he lives in an old school bus and he’s raising his own potted crops. He starts looking at his tomatoes, when blood starts dripping from his nose and he goes inside the bus. He grabs a pair of surgical scissors and extracts a large wad of blood-soaked cotton gauze out of his nostril.

He then picks up a radio phone and we hear him talking to a woman named Maya, he tells her he’s got two new targets and that she has to get her and someone else out of the state. The call doesn’t last long, as she either hung up on him or he reached her voice mail.

We follow the man to a retirement party, for a man who owns a helicopter charter service. The man retiring pokes fun at his head mechanic for being a Cubs’ fan and the man from the woods, puts a beer down in front of the mechanic and says he’s from Wrigley Ville. The mechanic nods in appreciation for the free beer.

The next scene, the mechanic and the guy from the woods run into each other again and start making small-talk, but the mechanic’s unaware that the guy from the woods laced his beer with poison and he dies of what the coroner believes was a heart-attack.

Liz Keen’s sitting on the floor, scouring through documents that she hopes will lead her to the location of her infant daughter Agnes, when her laptop emits a tone informing her somebody’s attempting to contact her. She opens her computer and she’s getting a video-feed from Constantin Rostov, he says he wanted to speak to her when she was alone and Lizzie only wants to know how Agnes’ doing. Rostov adjusts the camera to show Keen her cooing daughter and though she’s relieved her child’s safe, she tells Rostov she’s on to him and his plans.

The former FBI Agent tells Rostov that she’s aware of the blood disease he suffers from and that’s the real reason he’s been searching for her and Agnes. Rostov admits that his health’s at stake, but tells Lizzie that he just wants his family reunited and he says the only way that can happen is for her to cut ties with Reddington. He then tells Masha that the link will remain open, so she can check in with Agnes at any time. There’s an unspoken agreement that she won’t try to trace the link, or he’ll cut off contact.

Rostov’s getting another transfusion and Constantin asks if he has six-months, the doctor replies possibly less. He says Rostov always realized that the transfusions were only a temporary fix and a young dark-haired woman says that Rostov’s got to use the child. The doctor vehemently disagrees, saying even if Agnes’ and Rostov are a genetic match, the procedure would put the infant in mortal danger. The young woman scoffs at the doctor’s words and says that he’s not the one who’s dying.

Tom heads back to where he’s staying with Liz and she tells him about her conversation with Kirk and the link he’s set-up so she can see Agnes. Keen immediately wants to trace the link, but Lizzie begs him not to. She says that she can play on Rostov’s ego and gain his trust and then they can rescue Agnes and ensure her safety. Tom remains silent on the issue, so naturally Liz assumed he’d follow her wishes, you’d think that after all this time she’d realize that Keen always believes he knows best.

Raymond and Liz meet and he says he’s got a kind of, sort of clue that could lead them to Agnes. Reddington says that he’s searching for an eco-terrorist known only as Gaia, which is Mother Earth in Greek. Raymond explains that the eco-terrorist disguises his attacks as accidents, so that the people force Government Agencies to fix the problem.

When Keen informs the rest of the task force, they review some of the accidents that Gaia engineered in the past and that some of the incidents took innocent lives in order to save other innocent lives. Harold sends Navabi and Ressler into the field to see what they can find on Gaia, however Aram stops Samar and apologizes that he basically blew her off the previous evening on the phone.

Mojtabai, asks Samar if she’d like for them to talk about her possible transfer later, but she informs him that she already decided to request a transfer and that its being processed. Although shaken, Aram congratulates her on her upcoming move and she says she’d better not keep Donald waiting.

As Donald and Navabi search through records trying to find some info on Gaia, Ressler tells Samar that he Googled Aram’s new girl-friend. She asks why he did that and he responds that he wanted to see if Elise was hot and Donald says she’s quite hot indeed.

The Gaia poisons a second victim an inspector for Borron Energy Service. He lambasted the inspector for allowing environmental dangers to exist, the guy replied that just about everything in this world can kill you. He takes his laced coffee back to his vehicle and shortly thereafter as the inspectors taking his last breaths, the eco-terrorist goes out to the guy’s vehicle and says that he was right about so many dangers out in the world. He then grabs the guy’s clipboard and hard hat.

We find ourselves in a shack and see Mr. Kaplan lying on a cot with a piece of cloth covering the wound on her cheek. Suddenly the door opens and we see the dog and it’s owner enter the cabin, however without Kate having her glasses the shapes are too blurry for her to identify and she falls back to sleep.

Aram tells the rest of the Task Force that he might have identified their suspect, as he’s been pretending to be an inspector doing spot inspections in energy plants. Aram’s tracked him to an energy facility he’s doing a spot inspection on at that moment and Navabi and Ressler head to the plant to apprehend the suspect. Security informs them where the suspect’s at, but he eludes them and steals a security vehicle with Donald and Samar in pursuit.

The Gaia thinks he’s made his escape but then he’s cut off by police vehicles in front of him and when he attempts to back up, he realizes he’s boxed in by law enforcement. The Gaia then goes forward and slams against the two police vehicles and escapes.

They recover his forged ID card and Keen tells Harold that Raymond’s in contact with one of his guys to track down the Gaia. Dembe and Raymond arrive at a bowling alley and Red shouts to our old friend Glen Carter, finder of lost people, that he needs his services immediately. Jelly Bean says he’s off the clock now and Dembe starts giving Glen pointers on how to improve his game. Raymond shows Glen the badge and he immediately recognizes it as the work of Ji Ming a Chinese associate of his.

Dembe, Raymond, Glen and the Asian fellow meet in the next scene and apparently the Chinese man only speaks Mandarin, which Jelly Bean happens to speak. Reddington tries to hurry the conversation along and tells Glen he just needs an address. The Asian gentleman looks at Red and then speaks in Mandarin and walks away. Glen says the guy doesn’t like Raymond, as Reddington looks like his third wife. At this point Raymond realizes that Glen’s just yanking his chain and he already acquired the address.

Liz, Raymond and Dembe head to where Gaia’s made his base of operations. They find a picture of Maya who’s pregnant in the photo and Keen starts talking about missing babies and now she’s consumed with Agnes. Raymond realizes what’s going on and tells Lizzie that they’ll soon have Agnes back safe and sound.

Tom gets in contact with a former associate named Krantz and the mercenary agrees to gather his crew and to locate Rostov’s link and help Keen recover Agnes.

They’ve identified the eco-terrorist as Owen Ayers, a highly decorated military veteran who retired for medical reasons a few years before. Ayers final mission was Fukushima, Japan, which suffered a catastrophic accident inside a nuclear plant. Ayers inhaled toxic-gas while on the mission, making him a dead man walking and he and his toddler son Skyler share a blood disease, that caused the child to be born with a disfigured face.

We’re back at the shack with Mr. Kaplan, when we finally see who carried Kate away on a make-shift stretcher. So far he’s only been identified as The Hunter, but he’s portrayed by veteran actor Leon Rippy,  who played the school janitor in 11/22/63. The Hunter resembles a retired roadie from the Allman Bros. Band, circa early Seventies, with silver hair hanging down to his shoulders.

He tells Kate that she’s been on her back for too long and he’s going to put her into a sitting position. He then puts his arm behind her neck and although she screams in pain, she’s able to sit. He asks her if she can understand him and then asks if she can nod, which Mr. Kaplan does. He then asks if the men who did this to her will be coming back and she shakes her head no. He starts feeding her some soup, but he realizes she wants to say something to him, she croaks out thank you and The Hunter smiles.

Aram and Liz realize that Ayers is planning a gas explosion in the Hudson River, dangerously close to the biggest nuclear facility on the Eastern Seaboard. Ayers intends to create a Fukushima on the Hudson and when contacted by Ressler on the radio he says there’s no way they’ll be able to stop him as he’s piloting a chopper over the Hudson.

Mojtabai attempts to hack into the helicopter’s controls but he’s unable to do anything. Cooper then asks if Aram can shut off the rotor and the Tech Guru realizes he can, but he says he’s already taken one life and couldn’t take another. Cooper then pushes the button that stops the rotor and Ayers crashes and dies in a field not far from where some kids are playing football.

Keen’s back at her home and she’s singing Rock-A-Bye-Baby to Agnes, just as Krantz, Tom and the other mercenaries are about to break into Kirk’s hideout. Unfortunately Rostov sees them before they can rescue Agnes and Constantin tells Masha that he’s disappointed in her for tracking the signal. She breaks down crying and says she doesn’t know what he’s talking about, then Rostov shows Tom on one of the camera feeds. Constantin says that he’s cutting off contact and cuts off the feed.

Maya and Skyler are sitting in an ice-cream shop when Raymond and Dembe join them in their booth. Red tells Skyler that he’s been looking forward to meeting him and right then the waitress puts down three ice-cream sundaes on the table, chocolate, strawberry and caramel.  Reddington says that he’s always found caramel’s a great lubricant in awkward introductions. Turns out that Raymond just wants the name of Tyler’s hematologist, which Maya gives up willingly. She asks if Raymond also has a special-needs child and Reddington says that an infant’s life’s in danger.

When Tom returns to the place he and Liz are staying at, Lizzie gets in his face about not respecting her wishes and she says she knows Reddington’s involved. Tom says that Raymond had no knowledge of what Keen did, that he got in touch with a former associate. Liz asks him if the associate’s from his skinhead days or when he was Berlin’s goon. Tom responds that nobody’s sorrier than he is that he failed, but Liz replies their daughter feels worst of all where ever she is.

Raymond and Lizzie meet again and Reddington explains that the reason he went after Owen Ayers, was that he Skyler and Rostov have the same doctor. That they’re very close to finding him and then they’ll be able to get Rostov and rescue Agnes. Lizzie tells Raymond she lied to him earlier and that Kirk did reach out to her with the link, but in Tom’s effort to rescue their daughter, Rostov escaped with their child.

We end this episode with two quick scenes. Raymond visits Dr. Sebastian Reifler and he recognizes Reddington. He informs Red that Skyler Ayers, has done well and Red says he’s aware of that. However he needs to accompany the doctor the next time he has a house call for Kirk.

Kate wakes up in the cabin and after calling out hello, she realizes she’s alone. She gets up from the bed and realizes that one of her ankles has a shackle around it. Apparently The Hunter is not just a nice guy.

Photo:  David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Photo: David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Warning Spoiler Alert

As Alice said after a while in Wonderland, “Things Keep Getting Curiouser and Curiouser.” CIA Agent Carrie Mathison’s Wonderland in the Middle East, also known as Islamabad, followed that path in the fourth episode of this season’s story line in the Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” with an hour chockfull of revelations, as well as the realization that many characters have hidden agendas. That included what Carrie referred to as a game changer, a person close to power, stealing information and getting caught by a merciless foe and the return to Islamabad for Agent Peter Quinn.

Quinn, who tried leaving the Agency hours before, got back into the mission, when he discovered that the riot that killed former CIA Chief Of Station Sandy Bachman, wasn’t a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Methodically searching each frame of YouTube videos of the incident, Quinn realizes an intelligence operative coordinated the riot and subsequent pummeling of Bachman, until he died.

The episode opens with Mathison arriving at the hotel of her former boss and former Director of the CIA, Saul Berenson. She tells the now private citizen what Quinn discovered and asks if he can reach out to old contacts to inquire about the new information. Berenson talks about missing his flight, but tells Carrie he’ll go as far as he can with his old contacts.

She heads back to the Embassy and complains to her assistant John Redmond, that she’s going through an arduous process daily to get in and out of the building. She says he doesn’t seem to have that problem and he brings her into his office and informs her that there’s a tunnel he uses and tells her where it’s located. When she asks why he held back from telling her, he replied she didn’t ask.

Carrie’s back in her office, trying to come up with a match in her data-base for the man in the video, when Redmond enters and asks what she’s doing and she explains she’s trying to track down a suspect. Redmond sees the picture that Carrie got from freeze-framing the tape, takes over her computer and shows her who her suspect is, a local mercenary named Farad Ghazi. Redmond says the ISI probably hired him for the mission.

The American Ambassador in Islamabad, Martha Boyd’s husband’s a professor and teaches at a university in the city. As he finishes his lecture, a very attractive Pakistani young women, approaches him and compliments his lecture. However she quickly drops the façade and gets to the reason she’s in his classroom, she’s aware that he supplied Bachman with the information that he traded to the Pakistanis, in return for giving up high-profile targets. Boyd denies knowing what she’s talking about, but his face twitches when she mentions that he accessed his wife’s computer and stole information. Boyd gets hinky and leaves.

He calls a friend at the university he worked at in the States and gets a minor position, enough reason to tell Martha he needs to move back home. The Ambassador’s upset with her husband, running out on his classes and her, but Boyd tells her this is his chance to get his career back on track and he already accepted the offer. He tells her he’ll leave the following week.

Saul meets with an old friend, whose now a Pakistani General, but insists Saul call him by his old nickname Bunny. Berenson asks to speak with someone high up in ISI about Bachman’s death. The General then goes into a tirade that 9/11 occurred because the Israeli and US governments did it to give them an excuse for the USA to invade the Middle East, and Saul tells him he’s crazy. Bunny, then brings up invading Iraq and Berenson admits that operation got underway by deception, but that 9/11 was the real deal. Saul then tells the General, he recalls that Bunny owes him a favor and the General responds it’s a bit late to call in favors. When Berenson asks why, Bunny tells him that the United States have lost and they’ll be driven from Afghanistan, as the Soviet Union got expelled in the eighties. He does agree to set up a meeting, however.

Aayan Ibrahim arrives at his girlfriend’s Kiran’s home to pick up the drugs he took from the university he studied at, but she starts crying and tells him the bag’s gone. Her father discovered the bag and destroyed the contents, despite her pleas, just then the father come’s home , calls Aayan a drug-dealer and demands he leave his home. Ibrahim tells him he’s not a drug dealer, but the father tells him he called his school and reported he stole drugs from the University and Aayan will soon be expelled. Ibrahim’s beside himself and quickly leaves the home.

Saul meets with ISI representative Aasar Khan, trying to determine who ordered that Bachman be killed and Khan says that it was a spontaneous reaction when Sandy drove by the crowd in the square. Berenson, tells him that’s not true, he knows there was an operative calling the shots from the crowd. Khan asks if he has a witness or a photograph and Saul responds a witness can be bought, a picture manipulated, but the evidence he’s seen, was quite  compelling. He then asked Aasar if he issued the order and the meeting quickly ends.

Peter arrives at the building, where Carrie’s hiding her personal team and Fara welcomes him, then tells him Carrie’s not back yet, but should arrive in about ten minutes. Right then Max enters the office, with his face white as a sheet, Ibrahim’s back and Max got flustered. Fara goes out to welcome Aayan, but he says he’ll only speak with Carrie and Fara tells him to sit in Carrie’s office and she’d arrive in minutes. Mathison walks in shortly after, already informed that the young man’s arrived. She quickly waves hello to Peter, then closes the door to her office and listens to Ibrahim.

Aayan, realizes that with his impending expulsion from the university, he’s got no future in Islamabad and asks Carrie if she really can get him to England as a medical student. Carrie tells him that her newspaper’s done it for others and he smiles. He tells her that before he cooperates he needs 80,000 rupees and can’t reveal what it’s for. She tells him unless he reveals the purpose for the money she can’t authorize it. She then asks him if he’s gotten threatened and can see that he has by looking in his eyes, she then shows him the picture of Farad Ghazi and asks if he’s the man that threatened him and once again she gets her answer from Ibrahim’s expression. She tells him that Ghazi’s incredibly dangerous and Aayan’s in deep trouble if he contacted him. She then tells Fara to give him the money out of petty cash. As he leaves, Fara and Max follow him in their vehicle.

Ibrahim takes a cab to a teaching hospital and talks with a nurse, after a while he gives her the money and she tells him she’ll return. A while later, she returns with an orange plastic bag stuffed with the drugs he requires. He then jumps back in the cab and Max and Fara give chase again.

Professor Boyd, carrying an armload of empty boxes heads to his office to pack his belongings, when to his surprise he sees the woman from his lecture again, this time accompanied by two thugs who get Boyd to sit down and listen. She then tells him if he leaves now for the States, a package will arrive at FBI Headquarters in Washington, filled with the info he purloined from Martha’s computer. He’ll be convicted of treason and his wife’s career will get destroyed, but if he stays and cooperates, he can leave a free man with his troubles and secrets buried forever.

Max and Fara, stuck in a traffic jam with Aayan a few cars ahead of them, his patience runs out and he leaves the taxi and starts walking to his destination. Fara also gets out and follows him at a safe distance. She sees the former medical student embrace another man and her face registers her shock.

Back at the building with her secret team, they monitor a cell phone call that Ghazi receives. It’s code for him to pack up and leave and Carrie wants her, Quinn and another man to arrest Ghazi and take him into custody. Peter tells her the idea’s insane and she responds she’ll go herself, but Quinn tries to restrain her. Just then Fara calls and tells the man who answers that it’s critical she speak with Carrie immediately. Carrie tells the man she can’t talk but he stresses how distressed Fara sounds.

Carrie picks up the phone and says she can’t talk, but Fara soon catches her attention. The man that Ibrahim met with, was his uncle Haissam Haqqani, the ISI leader allegedly killed in the strike on the farmhouse that killed all guests at a wedding except for Aayan, who somehow escaped death. Mathison realizes that the reason Haqqani faked his death, was that Intelligence Operatives stopped looking for him, the search ends when the suspect dies. They stop thinking about arresting Ghazi and now are intent on catching Haqqani through his nephew.

When Aayan returns Carrie tells him that he’ll stay at a safe house for the next couple of days until they can send him to England, but she sees the news doesn’t sit well with Ibrahim. She then tells him she’s sleeping in the bed for the night but she’ll vacate tomorrow and he’ll have the place to himself, however he’s relegated to the couch for the night and says she’ll get him sheets and a blanket.

Mathison then decides the way to win Ibrahim’s trust is seducing him, so even though she’s not attracted to the young man, she puts the moves on him as the episode concludes.

The Story Continues Next Sunday at 9:00 pm on Showtime.

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

And, again, we’re off to a mile-a-minute opening of Once Upon A Time. Emma and Henry are outside Granny’s. Both look grim. Emma asks Henry if he’s sure he’s ready to go ahead with what they’re about to do. Henry admits that he isn’t, but he’s willing to proceed with their plans.

So, Emma marches into Granny’s and asks Hook out to dinner that evening. Hook’s flattered, and demands that Emma let him plan the evening. Emma is predictably indignant, and Hook is predictably cavalier and charming, teasing that Emma knows how to chase a monster but not how to plan an evening out. Emma relents, but warns Hook that she doesn’t “pillage and plunder” on the first date. Hook warns her that she’s never been out with him yet. (TWO BADASSES FLIRTING LIKE NERVOUS TEENAGERS. I AM TRYING VERY HARD NOT TO DIE BEFORE THE FIRST COMMERCIAL BREAK.)

Emma turns and practically sprints out of the restaurant, only to discover that the bug is in a mysterious puddle of water. Hmm. Emma hasn’t been able to find any sign of the Snow Queen as of yet, but melted ice turns into water… foreshadowing!

Emma’s distracted enough that she doesn’t notice Hook leaving Granny’s and high-tailing it to Gold’s Pawnshop, so that he can greet the owner when he shows up for the day. Gold isn’t happy to see Hook, but because he’s going to be in SO MUCH TROUBLE if Belle finds out about The Dagger Situation, and because of course Hook immediately threatens to tell her the truth, Gold grants Hook an audience. Now that Hook has landed a date with Emma, he needs Gold to give him a hand—literally (I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself). It seems that our Captain would like two hands with which to hold his maiden fair, and he has an inkling that the sorcerer who took his hand will be able to restore him. Because Rumpelstiltskin is a wicked, strange creature, he happens to have Hook’s hand in the back of the shop.

But, if there’s one thing we know, it’s that all magic comes with a price. Gold cautions that Hook’s hand belongs to the man Hook once was—the pillaging, marauding pirate. He cautions that Hook may find his true nature in the hand, and that its desires and instincts might overtake him. Hook dismisses Gold’s warning, saying he’d never be foolish enough to trust The Dark One, and demands that Gold restore his hand. With a wave of magic, Gold complies. Hook’s pleased with his new extremity. Gold, seething with displeasure at Hook’s happiness, taunts, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Emma is also getting ready for her date. Although she doesn’t need any body parts magically restored, she does have to figure out what to wear. It might be a bit less complicated, if she weren’t under the examining eyes of Mary Margaret, David, and Elsa. They’re also at Apartment Charming, sorting through Storybrooke’s census records, looking for evidence of the Snow Queen’s presence in the town prior to Emma breaking the curse. Emma emerges in a fluffy pink dress and a ponytail that would make anyone in the cast of Grease jealous. The Internet squee-ed pretty hard over this, but not as hard as David and Mary Margaret. The Charmings very obviously regret not spending the last 28 years fussing over their daughter, and they are clearly trying to make up for lost time.

Hook arrives to collect Emma for their evening, sporting not only a new hand, but a new, updated wardrobe (which leaves Elsa the only one wandering around Storybrooke in something ridiculous—please get the girl a pair of jeans and a sweater!). Maybe I am simply so in love with this show that I will overlook any and all flaws, but I am seriously so in love with the wardrobe of every single character. Playing perfectly off of Emma’s poufy-skirt, high-ponytail look, Hook’s new wardrobe invokes a mix of Danny Zuko from Grease and Uncle Jesse from Full House. Fairytales and cult classics. This show. I swear.

Anyway, the two head to a very swanky restaurant for some very fluffy flirting, but the evening is soon spoiled when Will Scarlett (the young rapscallion who lead Emma and David to the ice cream parlor, before ripping the place off and beating the scene), who is knocking back whiskeys at the bar, spies the two and tries to sneak out. And, by sneak out, I mean he puts his coat over his head, charges into the crowded dining room, and knocks a waiter carrying a wine glass directly into Emma’s lap. Subtle, eh?

Emma’s stunned, but Hook is furious. Or at least, his hand is. He manhandles Will, demanding he apologize to Emma. At this point, Emma realizes who Hook is shaking into pieces, and Will recognizes that he’s caught. Emma’s surprised yelp is enough to distract Hook from tearing off Will’s arm, and Will uses the continued confusion to escape. Emma leaps up to chase after him, but then gets another look at Hook (now Killian, since he can’t really be Captain Hand. Well, not in public, anyway), who is giving her what can only be described as a feral glare. She takes her seat, because, well, there’s an ice wall around the town anyway—where’s he gonna go?

The two return to Apartment Charming after dinner, and the internet and everyone else held their breath for the fairytale perfect kiss goodnight. Once Upon A Time, you do not disappoint. It’s all gentle pecking until Killian’s latest appendage gets some ideas of its own, headed for second base of its own accord. Killian’s horrified. Emma slips away from him, not like a blushing maiden, but like a woman who has fooled around with cheeky dudes before and who is very good at not being impressed by their bravery. Maybe Captain Hand isn’t a bad name, after all.

She slams the door behind her, attempting to catch her breath, but instead she’s ambushed by questions from Mary Margaret and David, who (of course) waited up for her.

She’s gotta get her own place.

Meanwhile…

Will Scarlett, apparently not getting his fill at the bar earlier, has a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a lock pick in the other. He’s trying to break into Storybrooke’s Library. Even drunk as a skunk, he might have been successful, except he’s happened upon by one Killian Jones (presumably sprinting across town to take a cold shower). Killian’s incensed at Will’s attempt at burglary, and Captain Hand is still seething over the earlier incident with Emma. Will’s punched out and bleeding from the face before many words can be exchanged. The bloody crocodile was right.

He rushes to Gold’s Pawnshop, demanding his hook back. The two have a tense conversation in Gold’s Cadillac. Gold isn’t sympathetic to Killian’s plight, but Killian is frantic to have his hand removed from him. Again, he threatens to reveal The Dagger Situation to Belle, but Gold reveals that he switched the daggers after he and Killian made their earlier deal. Furious, Killian grabs his hook and plunges it into Gold’s chest. Fortunately, it’s as effective at killing The Dark One as it was the last time he tried it. And, like the last time, Gold has a few more unpleasant surprises for Killian. Since it was Rumpelstiltskin’s magic that restored the hand, and it is only his magic that can remove it. Killian desperately wants the hand gone before he can do something to tarnish his chances with Emma, so he enters into another deal with Gold. They agree to meet at the docks at dawn. Gold wants to pay a visit to another old friend.

A long time ago, in the Enchanted Forest, The Dark One approached a secret altar being guarded by an old, wizardly looking man. The Dark One overtook the guardian, but was unable to penetrate the enchantment surrounding the altar. An enchantment, the gasping guardian (who reveals himself to be the apprentice of the sorcerer who set the enchantment) explained, that could only be broken by one who had faced darkness in their hearts and resisted it. So, not The Dark One. But *that* Dark One was Zoso. Rumpelstiltskin is not Zoso—when a breathless, earnest young girl calling herself Joan arrives at the Dark Castle to beg knowledge of her parents, *this* dark one knows what he has on his hands.

He gives Anna a small vial of liquid and instructs her to go to a hut at the foot of the mountains. She’ll find a man there; she’s to put the liquid into his tea. Upon completing this task, Rumpelstiltskin will tell “Joan” of her parents’ journey to The Enchanted Forest. Anna sets out to complete her task, but the man she finds at the hovel (the apprentice who fought with Zoso), is charming and delightful. He immediately welcomes her in and offers her tea. When the kettle begins to sing, Anna reaches to pour the liquid in while her host prattles on with some charming, doddering old man story. Of course, Anna can’t poison this man! She pours the vial into the fire and has afternoon tea instead.

Anna’s naïve, but The Dark One isn’t. When Anna (her true identity revealed) insists that she fulfilled their deal, he gleefully informs her that, since the apprentice drank the contents of the vial, he will live. Anna’s vial was an antidote for a potion that Rumpelstiltskin had given him the day before. When Anna learns the cost of their unfulfilled deal, she confesses and insists that they attempt to save the apprentice. Rumpelstiltskin directs her gaze to his crystal ball, which shows the man being cursed and turned into a mouse.

They arrive at the hut, finding it empty. Rumpelstiltskin (who is just dropping bombs throughout the episode) is unable to resist the villain-instinct to reveal his plans and confesses another motive he has for making a deal with Anna. Her true-hearted nature is as obvious as her nervous chatter. She thought she would accomplish her mission by dealing with Rumpelstiltskin and dosing the sorcerer’s apprentice, but she couldn’t bear the risk of harming such a seemingly docile man. Sounds like she has passed the faced-darkness-and-let-good-prevail challenge of that enchantment, eh? Anna tries to bluff her way out of helping Rumpelstiltskin. But, again, girl just has no guile. He pushes her back, taunting her until she finally breaks and draws a sword on him. The Dark One continues to push her, urging her to kill him so that their deal can remain unfulfilled and she can return home. Anna’s no murderer, though. She collapses in tears. The tears of a desperate, true-hearted princess are worth something in The

Enchanted Forest. Rumpel reaches down and collects one with his dagger. The dagger is now impregnated with “faced-and-denied-darkness” magic, which will break the enchantment on that altar. And, as luck would have it, the altar is in  the hut they’re occupying’s basement.

So. What’s on that altar? Oh, you know. That weird stack-of-coasters thing from the Rumbelle Honeymoon House in Storybrooke, that’s all. And what’s so special about the hat that the dagger conjures from it? Well, Rumpel explains, once he has ascended back into the hut to find her still sobbing in frustration, the sorcerer made the hat to capture all sorts of magic power. It’s a possible doomsday device, so he left his apprentice to guard it. Anna’s tears gave The Dark One the means to retrieve the hat for himself. In the interest of fulfilling their deal, he reveals to Anna that her parents indeed sought him out, looking for a way to control or disable Elsa’s terrifying powers. They left empty-handed, though—the only thing that could do that is the hat that Rumpelstiltskin happens to be holding.

The villain has revealed his plan, and he has gloated over the hero, and now it’s time for the unexpected turn of events that favors good-over-evil. The apprentice-turned-mouse hasn’t abandoned the house, he’s been waiting in the rafters, waiting for a convenient time to drop down and ruin that villain’s day. A well-placed bite, an enraged yelp, and a scuffle later, Anna is holding The Dark One’s dagger. She realizes that Rumpelstiltskin’s compelled to obey her, and so she bids him to give her the hat that might save her sister and send her back home (and, because she is Anna, she also orders him to turn the mouse back into the apprentice). With a wave of his hand, her demands come true (and the dagger barely hits the floor before Rumpelstiltskin has it in his claws again.)

So Anna is back in Arendelle, fretting with Kristoff over what she’ll tell Elsa about their parents’ fear of their own child, The Dark One is in his castle, fuming over his foiled plot, and Hook and Gold are on the docks, following a broomstick to find out where The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is hiding in Storybrooke.

Gold is enjoying Killian being in his debt. Not only because it’s making Killian squirm, but Killian himself has plenty of bad-guy experience. It’s easier to bum-rush an old man with an able-bodied, dastardly intentioned sidekick. Gold wastes no time in using the hat to capture the apprentice. Once Gold has the hat safely stored in the pawn shop, he completes his deal and restores Captain Hook’s more familiar, if more menacing, appendage.

The vitriol between the two men rises. Hook witnessed Gold using the dagger to conjure the hat to capture the apprentice, and he’s going to waste no time in telling Belle. Gold isn’t as worried as he might be, though. Gold’s vulnerability is also Hook’s—if Hook destroys Gold’s marriage with Belle, Gold will go after Emma, and we all know he’s got no problem taking out anyone who might be in love with that pirate. And, as long as Hook as in love with Emma, Gold holds that power over him. Looks like the beginning of a manipulative, mistrustful, pissing-contest-heavy partnership.

And Hook isn’t Gold’s only new apprentice. Regina and Henry have searched Regina’s vault, looking (futilely) for something that might help with Frozen Marian. While their spell-breaking objectives out of reach, Henry reminds Regina that Operation Mongoose is still in play. Henry figures that there’s one person in town who seems to have a knack for knowing about objects, and that person happens to be Henry’s grandfather. No, not David. The other grandfather. If Henry can get close to Gold, he might be learn if Gold knows anything about the book or its author.

So, Henry goes to Gold, asking for a job around the pawn shop. He wants a chance at a better relationship with him, since Gold is the closest connection Henry has to his father, the dearly departed Neal Cassidy. If there’s anything that will bring out Rumpelstiltskin’s softer side, it’s conversations about his beloved Baelfire.

Rumpel beams as he watches his grandson sweep the floor of his shop; his wife is having a less-good morning at work. She arrives to find a broken window, an empty bottle of whiskey, and a passed-out Will Scarlett clutching a copy of Alice in Wonderland. She summons Emma, who was spending the morning chasing a Snow-Queen-slug-trail of frost around Storybrooke. Emma abandons her search to retrieve Scarlett and throw him in Storybrooke’s drunk tank. Once he comes to, Emma begins grilling him about why he broke into the library and the origin of the shiner that’s blooming on his face. He claims to have been blackout-drunk, but his hazy memory may have had more to do with Hook’s entrance and menacing glare than the whiskey. Maybe.

Scarlett may not provide many answers, but the Charmings’ search through the census records has yielded results. There’s no trace of the Snow Queen’s alias, Sarah Fischer, in Storybrooke up until now. She wasn’t a part of the original curse—something else has brought her to their town. According to the teaser for next week, we may (finalllllly) find out a little more about it.

And so, Once Upon A Time has given us another character-satisfying, plot-thickening chapter, complete with answers to questions that only bring about more questions. What, exactly, is Rumpelstiltskin playing at with the dagger and the hat? Does he know anything about Henry’s book? How do Elsa and The Snow Queen’s presence in Storybrooke fit in? Where is Anna?

Ugh. Next week. Maybe next week we’ll find out.

The Story Continues Next Sunday at 8:00 pm on ABC.

Photo: John Paul Filo/CBS

Photo: John Paul Filo/CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

After stumbling out of the gate in the first two episodes of the fourth season of the CBS series “Person Of Interest,” the show returned to prime form in episode four, as the episode zigged when it looked like it would zag, leaving the viewer surprised and on the edge of their seats for the entire episode. We welcomed back an old familiar face and the team encountered a new and very worthy adversary known as the “Brotherhood.” We also discover a couple of characters are not who they originally present themselves as and some sullying of the water to throw the team off he track. Throw in an adorable little girl and her older teenage brother whose trying to protect her and you end up with an entertaining hour.

The “Brotherhood’s,” a newly formed African-American street gang, that play by a new set of rules. Their members don’t sport colors, or respect territorial borders, they’ve got huge ambitions and little patience, as they’re looking to become the dominant force in the criminal underworld of New York City. The episode opens with four members of the new gang meeting with four Armenian mobsters to consummate a drug deal, but someone ticked somebody off and it resulted in bloodshed. When Reese in his guise of Homicide Detective John Reilly arrives at the crime scene, three Armenians and three members of the “Brotherhood,” died, with the last Armenian in critical condition. The last member of the rival gang’s shot up but he’ll live and gets put into an ambulance.

As Reilly starts looking at the bodies, a woman says he’s interrupting their investigation, until he flashes his badge. The woman’s DEA Agent Erica Lennox and she tells the detective the DEA have tried to put away the “Brotherhood,” for months without success and both she and John commiserate on not being able to get any info on the gang’s leader Dominic. He’s described as incredibly smart and ruthless, but nobody can identify him. Although the heroin’s at the scene the money to pay for its vanished and the pair realize that someone stole the money and now’s living on borrowed time.

Who stole the money from the drug deal gone bad? None other than “The Machine’s” newest number, an eight-year-old little girl named Tracy Booker and her teenage brother Malcolm. The kids live in separate foster homes, since their mother started serving time at Rikers Island, when her fool of a boyfriend caused enough of a scene to attract the police and when they searched the apartment they found an unregistered weapon. The only contact they now have’s when Malcolm walks to Tracy’s house to walk her to her school then heads crosstown to his school. Harold tracks them buying a suit and tie for Malcolm and a fancy dress and shoes for Tracy, but he can’t figure out why that’s their first purchase. Finch attempts following them, but Malcolm sees him and throws a stack of money into the air and lose Finch in the ensuing crowd.

The ambulance carrying the shot-up member of the “Brotherhood,” stops and the driver gets out and we can tell by the shoes it’s our old friend Sameen Shaw. She opens the back and the gang member asks if they’re at the hospital, but Shaw’s got no intention of getting him medical assistance, she wants info on his gang. She puts handcuffs on the guy and puts her pistol against his back, telling him they’re leaving the ambulance. The gang member tells Shaw he’s called Mini, because he’s so big, she hands him her cell phone and tells him to call his fellow gang member Link and find out where the kids are. Link gives the address of a parking lot the kids hid in and they’re on their way to take them out.

Harold’s arranged a meeting on a subway car with an old friend Crime Boss Carl Elias, to get him to intervene to help save Tracy and Malcolm. Elias says he can stall the Armenians but he’s got no control over the “Brotherhood.” Harold thanks him, but then Elias asks what’s going on with Finch’s organization, he knows something’s up with Reese posing as Detective John Reilly. Harold basically brushes off the question.

Reese and DEA Agent Lennox arrive at the garage just as the pair of “Brotherhood,” hit-men arrive, they shoot at the car and then spirit the kids away. Reilly and Lennox finally get told what motivated the kids to steal the money, to hire a dream-team of lawyers to get their mom out of jail. But John tells them they’ll get killed before the day’s out if they keep the money, so Malcolm hands over the knapsack, but the money’s replaced with newspaper. The teen tells the pair he’s not giving up the money, then says if you want to be the man, you’ve got to have a plan. However moments later after getting assured by John that he’ll look out for Tracy if he gets hurt, he writes down where the money’s located and gives it to the DEA Agent.

Lennox tells Reilly there’s a mole in the DEA informing the “Brotherhood,” of every move they make. She then tells him she’s calling for backup, but when John asks if it’s safe with the mole involved, she replies she’s calling her partner and he’s the only person she totally trusts. A few minutes later she tells the three others she’s going downstairs to meet the backup agents, but she never returns.

Lionel calls Reese and tells him he recovered a gang members cell phone and this might lead to Dominic. Fusco dials the number, but the phone Tracy got from Lennox rings. They realize she’s the mole and left the phone with Tracy so she couldn’t be traced. Members of the “Brotherhood,” start storming the building and Fusco says he’s on his way.

Although far from squeamish, I’m not a big fan of violence just for the sake of fighting or shooting. However stylized violence as in the great Japanese films or in the first Matrix movie, intrigue me and the violence in Person Of Interest’s so over the top it’s truly entertaining. Reese magically gets out of impossible situations even with the odds stacked against him and it’s no different in this episode. Wave after wave of gunmen enter the building and John takes them all out, until the last two guys grab Tracy and Malcolm from behind, holding pistols to their heads. They tell Reilly he’s finally done for and John asks if they’ve met his partner, at which point Lionel puts a bullet into both guys backs.

Shaw takes Mini to another location and has himself lock the handcuffs to a steam pipe, then tries to get info on Dominic but the soldier remains silent. She finally lets him go, but attached a tracking device on him so she can follow him. He heads to the Laundromat the gang hide their stash of heroin at and finds the stash in the bottom of a laundry basket.

Link and another gang member arrive at the building and John tells the kids to hide, but Tracy appears a minute later and Fusco sees she’s crying and not to be scared. She tells Lionel the reason she’s crying’s because her brother and her made a pact to never separate. Malcolm approaches Link’s car and tells him he’ll give himself up to the “Brotherhood,” in exchange for assuring Tracy’s safety. Link asks him about the money but the kid says he doesn’t have it, but he’ll work for Link in any capacity, even take a fall for the gang.

The gang member tells him to get in the car and they’re about to take off when Reilly stands in front of the car saying the only way they get their money’s by releasing Malcolm, John’s holding the knapsack and pulls out a wad of cash from the bag. Link lets Malcolm go and takes John prisoner, saying this is his lucky day, he’s got Reilly and his money, but John responds one for two’s not bad. Link looks in the bag and there’s just the one bundle along with the newspapers. Link’s still pleased that he gets to shoot the detective, but then Shaw calls and tells Link if he doesn’t release Reilly, she’ll set fire to their stash and the Laundromat. John gets released, Shaw takes the heroin and lets Mini go.

However, what we find out is Mini’s not called that because he’s big, it’s short for Dominic. Shaw had the General in her hands the entire time, then just set him free.

The Story Continues Next Tuesday Night at 10:00 pm on CBS.