In “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”, viewers are served a delicious and deadly bite of Once Upon A Time. King Leopold is granted three wishes by a Genie, and in Storybrooke, Sidney involves Emma in his search for evidence to expose the extent of the Mayor’s corruption.
The Castle is heavily damaged by a storm. Emma assures Henry it can be fixed, but his real concern is whether or not his fairy tale book is okay. He buried it underneath The Castle. Regina shows up, not happy to find him either with Emma or at The Castle. She deems its condition dangerous and chides Emma for not showing responsibility with Henry.
Emma pours out her troubles to Mary Margaret when the latter receives a text and rushes off in the middle of the conversation. Mary Margaret is on her way to meet David in secret. Sidney Glass joins Emma and promises he has the power to grant her wish to bring down Regina. He’s writing an exposé on Regina, and he’s found evidence of corruption. Emma’s not interested in teaming up, but he gives her his card before she leaves.
On a walk beside the shore, King Leopold finds an old lamp. When he rubs it, a genie appears with the offer of granting three wishes. The king cannot think of anything to wish for — he has everything he wants. He wishes the genie free of the lamp, and his second wish is to give the third wish to the genie. The Genie vows never to use the last wish. His only desire is to find the one thing that’s been denied him, true love. King Leopold grants the Genie a position at his palace. He introduces the Genie to his daughter, Snow White, and his wife, Regina. The Genie is taken with the Queen’s beauty and falls in love with her.
Regina orders the damaged Castle torn down, to Henry’s dismay. His book of fairy tales is missing. Emma and Regina clash over what’s best for Henry. Emma calls Sidney and agrees to help him expose Regina.
Mary Margaret meets David at the Toll Bridge. He leads her to a secluded picnic by the river. This isn’t their first secret, romantic rendezvous.
$50,000 is missing from the town budget. The only one who could have taken it is Regina. Sidney wants to tap Regina’s phone and put surveillance on her, but Emma wants to investigate legally and by the book. Now she’s Sheriff, she has to act responsibly. Sidney warns Emma to be prepared for Regina’s wrath.
At King Leopold’s birthday celebration, he praises Snow White as his greatest gift. He admits he will always love her mother, as the Queen sits alone and forgotten. She leaves and the Genie follows her to the courtyard. To lift her spirits, the Genie gives the Queen a mirror that will let her see herself as he sees her — the fairest in all the land.
Emma and Sidney discover the records of how the $50,000 was spent are missing. They can’t get a warrant; Regina controls all the town judges. Sidney and Mary Margaret are in agreement that sometimes doing the wrong thing for the right reasons can be justified. Emma thinks they’re both doing a lot of rationalizing. Emma wants to start by talking to Regina.
They confront Regina about the missing records. If the records went missing three weeks ago, it means they were destroyed in the fire that got Emma elected Sheriff. According to Regina, she has nothing to hide. When they leave, Sidney complains they made no headway, but Emma managed to plant a bug in Regina’s office. She’s willing to try Sidney’s method — do whatever it takes to show the people who Regina really is.
King Leopold read the Queen’s diary and believes she’s fallen in love with another man. He requests the Genie discover the identity of the man who has stolen the Queen’s heart and gifted her with a special mirror.
Emma and Sidney learn Regina has set up a secret meeting in the woods to give a payoff to an unknown person. As they follow along the twisting road, the brakes on Emma’s car fail. The brakes have been tampered with. Regina must be on to them. As they argue about how to proceed, they discover who Regina was meeting — Mr. Gold. Regina bought the land they’re all standing on from Mr. Gold. The payment was just a business transaction. He ponders why Emma would be in league with Sidney. He leaves them with words of caution that they are headed down a dangerous path.
The king has locked the Queen in her chambers. Her father pleads with the Genie to deliver a special box to the Queen. He knows the Genie loves her.
Sidney and Emma break into Regina’s office. They unlock and download files of blueprints of whatever it is Regina plans to build on Mr. Gold’s land. Sidney is ready to leave, but Emma insists on spending a few minutes looking for Henry’s book. It’s the real reason she was willing to break in. Regina catches them in her office. Emma claims she heard the alarm and is investigating and that Sidney is an eyewitness to the crime. She offers to “take the place apart” but Regina declines.
The Genie delivers the box to the Queen. She declares her love for him. Inside the box is a deadly serpent — an Agrobah viper, native to the Genie’s homeland. He believes the Queen intends to end her life, a notion she plays upon.
The Stranger discovers Henry trying to write down all the fairy stories from memory. Henry thinks the Stranger is “awfully interested” in him and his book. The Stranger claims he’s just being neighborly, but when Henry asks him what he’s really doing in Storybrooke, he only answers, “Stuff.”
Regina is building something large and costly in the woods using city money. Emma and Sidney believes it’s for personal use, but they can’t take legal action because of how they obtained the evidence. Sidney reveals Regina had him following Emma and Henry and reporting everything they did together or where they went.
At a council meeting, Sidney, backed by Emma, accuses Regina of stealing money from the town for her personal use. Emma refuses to kowtow to Regina, and shows the documents to the people. Regina says the accusations are true, but she wasn’t building a house for herself. She had designed and built a playground for the children of Storybrooke including a playhouse based on drawings in Henry’s book.
The Genie releases the viper into the king’s bed. The king awakens and the Genie confesses that he’s the man who loves the Queen. The king regrets using the wishes for the Genie.
After the meeting, Mr. Gold commends Emma for her effort to bring down Regina, but she needs a stronger ally than Sidney. Emma certainly isn’t ready to ally with Mr. Gold. Regina asks for a word with Emma. She threatens to get a restraining order against Emma unless she stays away from Henry.
At the new playground, Emma contacts Henry through the radio. She screwed up and won’t be able to spend time with him for a while. She promises she will find his book. Cut to someone opening the box containing Henry’s fairy tale book. It’s the Mysterious Stranger. (Cue suspenseful music.) Why is he so interested in the book?
The Genie realizes the Queen doesn’t love him and used his love so he would be blamed for the king’s death. He uses the final wish and wishes to be with the Queen forever, to always look upon her face. He becomes trapped inside the mirror.
Finally, we come to this episode’s big reveal. Sidney is playing Emma. He’s been acting on Regina’s orders the entire time. The whole situation is a set-up, and Sidney is still under Regina’s control.
“Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” was an enjoyable, well-done episode. But what really got my attention was the preview for the next episode, a Beauty and the Beast retelling that features Rumplestiltskin. Which one do you think he represents?