This episode is pretty standard-issue for this series -- but as it turns out, that means it's still pretty good.
The official website at ABC.com has a "photo-recap" here.
This show really has this thing about keeping bio-parents and their kids together, which is okay -- up to a point. It's certainly fully in character for Emma to be dead-set against putting Ava and Nicholas into "the system" given her troubled background. And Michael definitely appeared to be able-bodied and employed, so there was no reason why he couldn't take responsibility for knocking a girl up twelve years ago. But I think we have to be careful not to make "reunification" a hard and fast rule. As a matter of fact, I think many dysfunctions in "the system" can be directly attributed to a near-fetishization of bio-parenthood. Some parents really can't care for their own kids because they are abusive, neglectful, high on drugs, or some combination of those three -- yet many kids have died because we keep placing them back with those same unfit mothers and fathers.
The above, however, is only one small objection to what is otherwise a solid episode. As far as the fairy-land back-story is concerned, there are no huge revelations to be found here, but the link back to the Snow White story we're familiar with was cute. I also appreciated Gretel's refusal to be taken in by the Queen's offer of endless material comforts. If you have not love or freedom, then living in a castle with all the things you could ever want means nothing. A life of luxury cannot feed the soul.
The script suffers a bit in comparison to last week's, but it is still decent.
The acting was pretty average. No performance really stands out.
As I noted above, we have to be careful not to automatically assume that a bio-parent will always be the best parent for a child. Still, I'm glad that Michael was forced to man up. He really had no valid excuse for being a git.