‘Once Upon A Time’ Recap: Grumpy’s Origins Revealed

once upon a timeS1E14: The fairytale realm of Once Upon A Time always serves to be a particular draw among fans for several reasons The whimsical plots are highly entertaining and the setting provides viewers with insight into each character’s background. While Storybrooke shows where our beloved characters are now, the fantasy world shows where they’ve been. And as this series has continually taught us, there’s always two sides to every story. While normally we would lump the Queen and Rumpelstiltskin into the “Evil” category, we’re forced to abandon such pre-conceived notions and see what led them down their vindictive paths, thus turning potentially one-dimensional characters into complex ones. It’s a classic example of why we should never judge a fairytale by its cover.

This episode was no different and taught us the back story of yet another misunderstood fairytale figure: the dwarf known as Grumpy. Though we recognize him from the famous story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, we’ve never questioned how he came to be named with an unflattering description. What’s in a name? Apparently a whole lot for this guy.

“I believe you can do anything you want, as long as you can dream it.” Dreamy (Grumpy)

The story opens with the origin of dwarfs. They are hatched (not born) as fully-formed grown men, who immediately go to work in the diamond mines. Their job is very important since the diamonds they gather are crushed into dust to bring light to the world. And while the dwarfs normally accept this to be the main purpose of their existence, Grumpy — then known as Dreamy — begins to dream of bigger and better things.

While working in the mines, Dreamy comes to the rescue of a beautiful, yet clumsy fairy, Nova, who almost accidentally destroys an entire year’s worth of diamond dust. Calling him her hero, Nova hints that she’ll be watching the fireflies later that night, implying that she would like for him to join her. But Dreamy, oblivious to her invitation simply bids her good night. However, while dining with his fellow dwarfs, Dreamy begins to feel sad, though he’s unsure why. Belle, who is sitting at a nearby table, informs him that he must be feeling the pains of love. She claims to recognize the signs because she too has once been in love – she could be talking about Rumpelstiltskin. Either way, Belle advises him to enjoy it while he can and convinces him to see Nova.

“The only person in town people like less than me, is you.” – Leroy

In Storybrooke, we’re introduced to the mean town drunk, Leroy (the real-life counterpart to Dreamy/Grumpy). Clearly unfriendly and disliked by much of the town, he keeps to himself. When Mary Margaret asks him to help her and the nuns sell candles for Miners Day, he initially declines. However, upon meeting Sister Astrid (aka Nova, the fairy), he’s immediately taken with her kind-hearted nature and signs up. But much like her fairytale counterpart, Astrid needs saving. She accidentally overextends the nun’s budget for the event, which means they won’t be able to afford their month’s rent – due to Mr. Gold by the following week. And if they’re evicted, they have to leave Storybrooke. To prevent the eviction, Leroy promises Astrid that he and Mary Margaret will sell all of the candles by the end of the day so she can make the payment deadline.

Of course, Astrid is absolutely thrilled by this news, however, Mary Margaret fears it’s a promise Leroy won’t be able to keep. Neither of them have a great deal of pull with the townspeople these days, given her recent scandal with a married man and Leroy’s reputation as a mean drunk. The odds of getting monumental sales aren’t exactly in their favor. And she’s right. Even after going door to door, no one seems to want to help them out. But since Leroy can’t bear to see Astrid unhappy, he lies to her and says they sold all the candles even though they didn’t. Yeah, that’s not going to backfire.


“She’s not even technically missing, but if she is I will find her.” – Emma

Meanwhile, Emma is heading up the investigation into Kathryn’s disappearance after her car was mysteriously abandoned just near the outskirts of Storybrooke. Sidney Glass shows up at the scene, claiming to be freelancing now that he’s no longer a full-time reporter, but we all know he’s secretly still working for Regina. He immediately points the finger at David since the victim’s husband would be the most obvious suspect, however, Emma is hesitant to believe him thanks to her superpower of knowing when someone is lying — but why doesn’t she pick up that Sidney is lying? Sidney suggests that they look at Kathryn’s phone records to find the last person she talked to. Conveniently, the records show Kathryn spoke to David an hour before the crash occurred, even though David denied speaking with her at all during that time frame. This results in Emma bringing David in for further questioning, but since we all saw Regina in possession of the phone records beforehand, there’s a good chance they were tampered with.

“Dwarfs don’t fall in love.” – Dreamy’s friend

Back in the fairytale world, Dreamy meets up with Nova and the two of them make plans to go sailing around the world together, promising to embark on their travels the following night. However, one of the higher-up dwarfs hears of Dreamy’s plan and convinces him that what he feels is just a dream. Dwarfs by their very nature do not fall in love, so what Dreamy is feeling isn’t real. Nova’s teacher also appears and warns Dreamy that Nova will lose her wings if she goes with him. Nova has an opportunity to be a great fairy if he lets her, but the choice is ultimately up to him. These words resonate the most with him since he cares first and foremost about what’s best for Nova, and meets up with her to reject her invitation. Naturally, it breaks her heart and his as well, so much so that when he returns to work, he breaks his axe out of anger and he has to get a new one. Normally this wouldn’t seem like a big deal, however, the new axe gives him an entirely new name: Grumpy. Apparently the axes can sense the very nature of their possessor and since his heart and dreams were completely broken, his old name was no longer relevant.


“I was going to tell the truth but I was afraid of letting you down.” – Leroy

In Storybrooke, Leroy tries to make a deal with Mr. Gold: he’s willing to give up his beloved sail boat in exchange for Mr. Gold’ leniency with the nun’s rent. And though Gold usually takes much joy in making deals, he declines the offer since apparently he has a real problem with nuns (though the reasoning is never explained). Either way, since Plan B fails; Astrid eventually finds out Leroy lied to her, which severely ends their friendship. Of course, Leroy begins to drown his sorrows with booze, but he suddenly gets a second wind and decides to cut off the electricity supply in town, significantly increasing the demand for candles. It’s a genius plan and it actually works. They manage to sell all the candles and get the nuns the money they need. Even Leroy’s potential friendship with Astrid is restored and he invites her to come out with him on his boat someday.

As for Mary Margaret, she’s still suffering from the immature antics of town hooligans (they supposedly spray-painted “Tramp” on her car, though the paint can was in Regina’s office drawer), however, there are some willing to forgive her. One woman relights her candle that goes out, symbolizing that she’s not hated by everyone anymore. But that will be the least of her worries once she sees David getting hauled in for questioning. Must the writers keep torturing us by keeping these star-crossed lovers apart?

So what did you think of tonight’s episode? Did you find Grumpy’s story interesting or would you have preferred to focus more on the more central characters? Will Mary Margaret find a way to help prove David’s innocence? Sound off in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KellyBean0415.