After a 3 week hiatus “Once Upon a Time” returned with what can somewhat be called a filler episode, centered on the Jack and the Beanstalk-twist with Jorge Garcia as Anton the giant. Of course the twist is that “Jack” is short for Jacqueline, played by Cassidy Freeman. In a way the concept of a name is important to the whole episode, between Jack/Jacqueline, the revelation that David is David's real name, Anton's nickname by his family (and the name of the episode) being "Tiny" and Belle freaking out because of people calling her that.
My only problem with this episode is the plotlines in Storybrooke and Fairy-Tale Land were somewhat generic. Anton getting turned on by Jacqueline and Prince James was foreseeable based on the previous episode Garcia’s character had appeared in, while the Storybrooke plotline of Anton chasing and then having to get rescued, is nothing new for "Once" or TV standards. There have been more memorable character introductions and centric episodes. The lack of scenes with Anton and his family members/father, lessened the emotional impact of him losing them. It’s also going to take me a few episodes for me to consider Garcia as Anton instead of Hurley (though on the topic of Lost, Belle watching “Expose” is probably my favorite easter egg reference to the show yet). The most important development of the episode is Anton planting a beanstalk in Storybrooke, which will surely play a huge role towards the end of Season 2 and help set up plot possibilities in Season 3.
With that said the episode has its moments. Josh Dallas gets a fun moment by playing David’s selfish, womanizing twin brother James, reminding me of David Boreanaz eating up scenery by tapping into his “Angelus” side on Angel. David and Snow have a few great moments together, I especially liked Snow revealing that she got a rush from the action of the day - while it's clear they're setting up a future conflict in regards to returning home or staying in Storybrooke. Jacqueline, however few scenes she ends up having in the series, is another strong willed female character. Lee Arenberg as Grumpy continues to be a scene stealer as comic relief (he and Anton seem like they’d make good friends). Hook also gets a few money lines in despite his small role in this episode. Anton getting caught in the telephone lines is funny physical comedy. I suspect on rewatch the episode would come off as even funnier than at the time. As for Emma and Rumplestiltskin while this is a bridge episode to the big events to come in next week’s, watching Rumple react to losing his magic outside of Storybrooke, added another layer to his character. Regina takes a backseat overall in the episode, but proves she's "turned heel" which always leads to delicious developments.
This season of "Once" is clearly biding its time, setting up its chess pieces back up again after the show's mini-climax in its pre Christmas section of the season. The most exciting part of the episode was probably the scenes from next week’s episode “Manhattan” where the next step in the Neal or Bae plots, if not both, will be brought out - surely added to either a Emma or Rumplestiltskin flashback.