“Cleaner & Hatters” sign in the Mysterious Man’s room

The Mysterious Man’s room, with the “Cleaner and Hatters” sign visible on the back wall, in Episode 2×01 “Broken”

Close-up of the “Cleaner & Hatters” sign

I originally thought that the Mysterious Man was Baelfire, Rumpelstiltskin’s son, because Bae is one of the major characters we are still waiting for, who we know will have to show up at some point.

But then I started thinking more about the odd objects in the Mysterious Man’s room, especially the “Cleaner & Hatters” sign. That certainly seems to suggest the MM has some connection with Jefferson (the Mad Hatter) and/or with Wonderland, and is therefore unlikely to be Bae — unless Bae, for some reason, likes to collect things that could refer to other worlds — or unless Bae does have a connection with Jefferson/Wonderland — or unless the clue itself is a red herring, meant to take us down the wrong path.

What do you think?

32 responses to ““Cleaner & Hatters” sign in the Mysterious Man’s room

  1. If this mysterious man was from Wonderland, where are the rest of them- the catepillar, queen, etc. How come he didn’t end up like Jefferson-stuck in Storybrook- and why would he care if the curse was broken?

    I’m guessing the mysterious man is Bae. There’s a hole bunch of old stuff in the apt that could be connected to a fairy tale. The most familiar one to me is that old school phone- the same as Pinocchio’s. Maybe this mysterious man and Pinocchio know each other somehow.. or worked together to get Emma and Henry to end up in SB in order to break the curse.

    I’m guessing the Blue Fairy sent the pigeon note. Bae and her started this curse with the magic beans in an attempt to send Rumple to our land -with no magic power. The beans made Bae go to our world, which led to Rumple manipulating Regina to start the curse in order to bring everyone to this world so he could get to Bae. I’m also liking the idea that this man is Henry’s dad…

    • Yes, I’m circling back to my original idea that the Mystery Man is Bae and Henry’s father. I’m also warming up to the possibility that the Blue Fairy sent the note, which makes a lot of sense if the Mystery Man is Bae — except that birds are associated so strongly with Snow.

  2. What if he is Bae and want/needs to collect things like his old man?

    • Ooh, interesting idea! The clutter of old and odd things in the Mystery Man’s apartment is quite like the clutter of old and odd things in Gold’s shop …

  3. I re-watched the episode a few times and noticed this sign too – and had been wondering if it had any meaning. But it just could be something to try and throw us off too.

    I’m with Ms. Terri, and think this MM is Bae (and possibly Henry’s father too).

    What about the song they were playing at the beginning (I’m guessing MM was listening to it on his ipod). I don’t know that song, so can’t look it up or the words. Does that song maybe hold any significance or clues?

    And off the subject of MM: Have you seen the promo picture of Captain Hook in Entertainment Weekly? Wow! That pirate can pillage and plunder me anytime! (OKay, sorry, couldn’t resist saying that. Hope I didn’t offend anyone.) LOL!

  4. The closed-captioning says the song is “Charley’s Girl” by Lou Reed. I’m going to try to embed the YouTube in the comment … let me see if this works …

    Yes! It worked.

    I’m sure it means something. But what? The song keeps on repeating “Watch out for Charley’s girl.” Maybe Charley’s girl is Regina? Whoever the Mysterious Man is, he probably does need to watch out for Regina … since everybody does.

  5. Maybe MM is Jeffersons brother or at least the guy that made him the hat. Why he ended up in New York, and it is New York cause I saw a New York banner on a power pole, I haven’t a clue. He has some weird stuff in that room. To the left of the door is a picture of a hand. He has a bookcase full of 45’s, shelf full of vintage microphones, LP’s and a player. Strange looking wooden shoe stretchers hanging on the wall. Weird.

  6. It’s definitely New York. I live here, and I recognized some of the locations. They either shot on the streets and in the subway, or they did an amazing job of recreating them elsewhere. I think it’s the former — that they shot on location — except for the very last street scene (right before he goes into his building), which could have been shot anywhere.

    I think it’s hilarious that they used a pigeon as a messenger, since pigeons (along with squirrels and, ick, rats) are the major forms of “wildlife” in NY.

    I’m really liking the idea (proposed by George, above) that the reason he has all that weird stuff is because he’s a collector, like good old Dad. That would explain a lot of things, including why so much of the stuff is from before he was born.

    I have a question — does anyone know what fell out of the window when Mystery Man leaned out? I couldn’t quite see what it was.

  7. His ipod. It seemed a lot of the stuff he collected was music related. Also the hand picture was red as in red handed.

  8. Have we met a Charles in Season 1?

  9. I looked up the lyrics to Charlie’s Girl. They don’t sound like a clue to me. Just says, basically, watch out for Charlie’s girl. He mentions the name Sharon and how he wants to punch her in the face (ouch!). Mentions New Year’s Eve and how they had a warrant out for the band – wanted to bust the band. That’s about it.

    So maybe the song means nothing as far as a clue.

    I do like the idea that he is a collector of odd things – like Rumple. So maybe it is his son.

    I’m thinking, yes, it is Bae.

    • I think that the song is talking about Emma. He wants to punch theblue fairy in the face since she sent him there.red handed I think has to do with him being a thief since(Tallahassee) episode. And they are looking for him because he is a thief. What I don’t understand is if rumple is 300 years old and he became the dark one when bar was younger how is or possible that bae has lived this long. He was sent to another world when he was just about 10 years old.

  10. Oh, the iPod! Thanks. And “red-handed” — very cool.

    I’m thinking the lyrics aren’t a literal clue — that is, they’re probably not pointing to someone who is actually named Charlie — but that their repeated warnings of a “girl” to watch out for could be relevant to something going on in MM’s life.

    Maybe it’s not the lyrics, but the singer (Lou Reed) or the date that are clues. It was recorded in 1976 — 36 years ago. Could that have been the year that Bae went through the portal? (He went through 28 years ago plus however many years elapsed between his going through and the start of the curse, which I don’t think we know yet.)

    Or it could be the producer’s homage to something — the way they put in LOST references just for the fun of it.

    It’s *such* an unusual song choice that I think they must have had some specific reason to pick it.

  11. The lyrics may not be a clue but what about the picture of the heart by the window? That may or may not have some significance.

  12. As I said earlier I think he made the hat and originally gave it to Jefferson. I think he is a looper, and likes to collect junk from different times and realities. Thats why some of the stuff in his room is familiar but from a different era and some stuff is completely weird and not familiar at all to our reality. He’s a reality/time jumper. Maybe Bae, could be one of those paradox things where he learned to jump realities after jumping the first time with the magic bean. I think jefferson knows him and Pinocchio knows him. He the one that rescued Jefferson from wonderland.

  13. MM is a looper he was there to have a chance meeting with Pinocchio. Maybe its one of those Lost philosophies where the universe is making a course correction trying to fix the fact that there are a whole bunch of people living in Storybrooke that don’t belong there. May not be Bae, it might be MM’s job to fix what Regina did. Broken on the post card he got might really mean realities and the universe in general are still broken cause the curse wasn’t totally broken. Did Jefferson write it? Pinocchio is a stiff piece of wood. How could he have written the note.

  14. I just read an article that gave an episide 6 synopsis:

    “”Tallahassee” – With the hopes of finding a magical compass that could help her and Mary Margaret get back to Storybrooke, Emma takes a journey with a not-too-trustworthy Captain Hook up a treacherous beanstalk in an attempt to steal the item from a murderous giant (Jorge Garcia, “Lost”). Meanwhile, Emma’s past is revealed to be anything but magical when she meets up with a fellow thief who wants to make an honest woman out of her.”

    Here’s the interesting part, the speculations the author of the article made:

    Another interesting tidbit found in the credits is that both August/Pinocchio and Neal Cassady, who was the mysterious man in the first few minutes of the first episode who received the postcard which simply said “Broken.” Will one of these guys be the “fellow thief” from her past?

    Here is the link to the article in case you want to check it out:
    http://www.examiner.com/article/once-upon-a-time-season-2-spoilers-plot-synopses-for-episodes-5-6-and-7

  15. Everyone is getting real smart. “Tallahassee” think LOST” that’s where these writers came from. Good thought to google names. We need a LOST” check list for processing clues. ))

  16. Nothing in his apartment would suggest that he is a thief which is what is throwing me off. I want to think he is Bae like I stated in my earlier post but he doesn’t look like what an older Bae would look like (if that makes sense, lol). If he was the thief the synopsis is referencing then I think the writers would have put something of that effect in his apartment. One thing for sure is he loves music and the radio. I like Ms. Terri’s idea of the song just being a reference to 1976 and MM’s age which would make coincide with our idea of him being Bae.

  17. The name “Neal Cassady” has to be significant. It’s interesting we didn’t know the mystery man by that name in the first episode, where his name was never revealed on-screen, and in the credits he was listed only as “Mysterious Man.”

    The first appearance of “Neal Cassady” as the character’s name is in ABC’s press release for episode 6.

    The real Neal Cassady was more than just a thief. I had remembered him as being a beat (beatnik) poet, but when I looked him up to check my memory, I found that wasn’t exactly right. He was a good friend (and sometimes lover) of some of the well-known beat writers (Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg), but he wasn’t a poet himself.

    He was also the driver of Ken Kesey’s magic bus in the 1960s.

    Hmmm … magic … maybe that’s the tie-in between the Cassady name and OUAT. (The bus really was called “the magic bus.”)

    Somewhere in there, there might also be a tie-in with Lou Reed, who was singing the song on Mysterious Man’s iPod — although the real Neal Cassady died in 1968, and that particular Lou Reed song was recorded in 1976.

    One other thing that may be significant: Neal Cassady traveled. A lot.

    I’m not an expert, but I know some things about the beats. I went to Alan Ginsberg’s public memorial service in San Francisco and to poetry readings by some of the still-surviving beat poets. Maybe somehow that will come in handy in deciphering some clues in OUAT. 😉

  18. More possible clues: The Man from Tallahassee episode in LOST was about a son’s reunion with his biological father — a theme that fits VERY well with OUAT (though I don’t think OUAT would ever go as dark with it as they did on LOST).

    The episode was also about a “magic box.” Hmmm …

  19. Neal Cassady lived for a while with the Grateful Dead and since the writers are deadheads maybe this character’s name is just a shout out to deadheads everywhere. He was also one of the Ken Kesey’s “Merry Pranksters” — and since now there is a Robin Hood possibility — I’m thinking merry pranksters = merry men (?) Joanie

  20. I just thought of something else, there was a Dead song “Cassidy” (I know it is spelled differently — but people have always debated whether it was about Neal) and the first line of the song is “I have seen where the wolf has slept by the silver stream.” We do have a wolf in our story — something more to think about.

  21. I think that the reference to the thief could lead us to think that the MM could be robin hood. He was a well known thief and in the episode description there was a reference to a thief who was wanting to make a honest woman out of Emma.

  22. I think MM or Neal Cassady is in fact Bae/Henry’s father… Writers love to mix things and this would be the perfect mix of everything…so 1)I think is Bae just for the simple fact that is the only character that hasn’t make an appereance and is about time….everybody knew this season was about revealing some mysteries from season 1 and the biggest mystery is to know what happened with Bae… he was send back to a place without magic hence our world… 2) it’s henry’s dad cause there has to be a way to involved Emma with FTL and what better way than Bae being in our world, besides Emma said that Henry’s dad was a bad person and the next episode is about a theif which I’m pretty sure is MM :)

  23. oh and i forgot to mention maybe the song is a clue relative to Lost…in Lost Charlie’s character had a relasionship with Claire/Emile de Ravin which is Belle is OUAT so maybe by saying watchout for Charlie’s girl is like watch out for Belle cuz she is involved with your freaky daddy who still doesnt want to give up the power of magic

What do you think?