‘Once Upon a Time’ season 3, episode 3 review: Who is the man with the lion tattoo?

The latest -No, we are not talking about a mystery novel here. “Quite a Common Fairy” was the best episode of “Once Upon a Time” this season by a mile. Not only was there action and drama around every turn, but there were a pair of major shockers that we didn’t see coming, beginning with the news that Regina’s true love is out there. We even know one distinctive feature of his appearance: A tattoo of a lion. (Warning: Major spoilers ahead!)

Oh, and he also has a name: Robin Hood. The theories were correct! It has been speculated for some time that this was going to be the one true love of Regina that everyone was hoping for, but there are a few unfortunate roadblocks in the way. He’s in another world than her, she doesn’t know who he is, and she already blew the opportunity once after Tinker Bell handed it to her on a silver platter. Not only that, but she ruined the fairy’s life in the process, sentencing her effectively to a life of solitude in Neverland, where she felt almost like crazy Claire from the later seasons of “Lost.”

The Tinker Bell character was set up tonight as someone with the potential of lasting for the rest of the season and longer based on simple thing: If she helps out the crew to find Peter Pan, they will take her back to Storybrooke with them. Is this a spiritual replacement for Meghan Ory’s Red? That is the way that we see it. Speaking of Storybrooke, so much for the claims that we would be seeing the famous town at some point before the end of the season. We like Tink, (as Peter Pan used to call her in the cartoons) her character is clear, and there’s just enough darkness to make her distinctive.

The other shocker we really didn’t see coming was as follows: Remember that little reveal that there was going to be a gay character coming up at some point? Jennifer Morrison even teased it at New York Comic-Con this weekend. Well, as it turns out, it is none other than Jamie Chung’s Mulan! By encouragement of Robin Hood after the two helped Neal return to Neverland (and also how he invited her to join his merry men), she went to tell the person she loved about her feelings and that person was Aurora. Ironically, we thought during last year’s premiere that she was crushing after Phillip, and this was a surprising twist. Unfortunately for her, it’s a pretty tragic story, because not only is Aurora with Phillip, but they’re expecting a child together. She therefore decided to keep her feelings to herself rather than expose the truth.

With Neal back in Neverland and the path to saving Henry (who is “bonding” with the Lost Boys) all the more clear, next week of “Once Upon a Time” yet again has the potential to be the best episode to date and even top this one. After being skeptical and at times even bored with the first two episodes, we are now pleased to say that we are all in for the rest of the season.

Were you surprised to learn that Mulan was gay? Who do you want to see her in a relationship with? If you want to see a preview for next week’s episode all you have to do is follow the link here.

Photo: ABC