A Fan Theory by Anthony Catalanotti
Just when we think we have figured out every Storybrooke character’s enchanted identity, we are – quite literally – swept away by a tornado of verdigris and land right back into the shoes (dare I say, Ruby Slippers?) that we have worn throughout the entire series. Which of our beloved heroes has been given a third, handcrafted, and temporary identity by Her Wickedness in green? Our Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow are quite blatantly revealed, while their Tin Man counterpart remains in question. Additional characters may even be suggested by our ever-growing plot that lends elements to support the existence of lesser known L. Frank Baum Ozians not necessarily made famous by Hollywood.
We find David/Charming in an episode-long battle against his fears, with promise of a continued storyline. He, the most king-like character with a fur-lined cape, transforms into our Storybrooke Cowardly Lion by a sip of Nightroot-spiked tea – out of a mug with décor oddly reminiscent of a roaring lion. As Zelena mentions, “I hope chamomile is okay – I hear it’s good for the nerves.” This transformative medium is undoubtedly a parallel to Baum’s wizardly cure of drinking a mysterious liquid for the Cowardly Lion to temporarily regain courage. Backwards, but similar. The addition of Charming’s symbolic hilt to Zelena’s pocket-book-inventory (how big is that bag?) seals the deal on our mane man.
We then meet Gold/Rumplestiltskin feeding “madness” and straw into a spinning wheel. This lovable villain has clearly lost his mind amid his pre-spun-gold raw materials. Brainless and covered in straw, our Scarecrow might be the most obvious parallel in the episode. While we do not yet know how this transformation occurred, it is sure to have been orchestrated by Zelena as he is currently in her control.
But where is the Tin Man to make this trio whole? Three characters present with impressive resumes when it comes to being this heartless literary archetype. First, Neal/Baelfire is missing and “stuck” somewhere – however, the mystery might be the only thing fueling this suspicion. Hook is a good contender with a hand made out of metal and a lot of unanswered questions about how he obtained this memory potion. Did he give up his heart willingly for Emma? (Lest we forget that Zelena is Cora’s daughter.) Or is Emma our Tin (Wo)Man? While it would certainly debunk all of the cute suspicions that she is “Auntie Em,” she has the strongest rationale behind her. Both David and Gold were transformed into their Wicked-identities by Zelena. Emma’s heart was broken by Walsh, one of the Lady Z’s pawns. Further, the writers draw attention to her heart with Hook’s romantic, “If it can be broken, it means it still works.” (They need to just get together already.)
A final Wicked-identity that may be surfacing is the Hungry Tiger – a character not present in the “Wizard of Oz” that everyone knows and loves. The Hungry Tiger was a character introduced in Baum’s stories after Dorothy made her way back to Kansas. He served as the protector of Ozra, one of Oz’s royals, alongside the newly courageous Cowardly Lion. In their story, the two beasts leave Ozra’s side and make a failed attempt to give into their human-eating desires. Along their journey, they come across a boy who has lost his mother, two prime meals. Instead of eating them, the Cowardly Lion and Hungry Tiger help to reunite the mother-son duo. Anything about Regina and Henry’s current fractured relationship ring a bell? But who is the Hungry Tiger? Hook? Hood? Another character who has a name beginning with three different letters?
So many questions. But wicked is growing. Time will tell.