“Once Upon a Time” musings

So, I am now officially caught up on the TV show “Once Upon a Time” after a long absence following Rumplestiltskin’s transformation to the Dark One.  I have several (spoilery and speculatory) thoughts:

On Rumplestiltskin:-I know it’s sweet that Rumpletstiltskin created the Dark Curse to find his son, but….goddammit, anyway, I prefer my version!  From the instant I saw his backstory, I assumed Rumplestiltskin had spent years learning about magic’s price, deciding that all magic was evil.  After all, at that point the people we’d seen him destroy were who?  A fairy with a very powerful wand, Archie’s maliciously “magical” sleight-of-hand parents…I was sure he had created the curse as a way of eliminating all magic-which he considered the greatest curse of all.  This would explain why he needed the curse in place, but still wanted to break it.  He’d want it broken so everyone could go home and be happy, just without the dangers and evils of all that magic lying around.  Clearly, this theory is now gone, but I mourn it.  It’d would’ve been so interesting.

On The Stableboy:-This story was well done and incredibly acted by Lana, but…wow, is it a cliche.  This is precisely the stereotypical backstory I was expecting the writers to avoid.  It certainly works, but after all that buildup and suspense, I was expecting something we couldn’t have seen coming a million miles away.

On August:-I really wish that paperweight donkey hadn’t been pointed out as a clue.  That donkey does point pretty clearly to the Pinocchio story.  I hate the idea of him as Pinocchio, especially since a lot of the stated reasons for believing this are that he is somehow turning back into wood.  If Graham can walk around with no heart inside his chest for years, I fail to see why a wooden history should cause problems.  Besides which, we saw Gepetto’s parents sitting around still being puppets, so I expect that Pinocchio would be either fully human or fully wood in this world-not dying from limbo.

-On the other hand, the Pinocchio story has other characters directly connected to Pleasure Island-I wonder why no one is discussing them?  Honest John comes to mind, the character who lures Pinocchio down his dark paths in the first place, and the second one to donkeyhood.  Significantly, he calls himself “Honest John”, while still twisting the truth all the time…just like “August W. Booth.”  Also, his sidekick was mute in the Disney movie-and I cannot think the line “Well, even a mute can draw a picture!” is not a clue.

-Also, so long as I’m talking here, my original theory was that August was a version of the Fisher King/Grail hunger legends.  If FairyTaleLand has King Midas, why not Arthurian characters?  August’s profound veneration for water plays into this, as well as the fact that til this week the time when his legs acted up was when he got close to the water.  He needs it, but he needs it to be magical.  The scene where they cause him pain elsewhere scuttles part of that, but he still clearly pays attention to water and it’s properties.  Again, I don’t know why no one else is focusing on this.  Not to mention that the Fisher King is traditionally dying and in great need of magical intervention.

-My non-Pinocchio theory still in play has to do with the Wizard of Oz.  It’s been noted that his motorcycle has Kansas plates.  I submit that the white scar around his neck mirrors the drawstring holding the Scarecrow’s head on.  Given that the Mad Hatter’s neck-line was still red, in spite of spending a long time in Wonderland, leads me to believe that August’s neck marking has to do with something other than the Red Queen-like being the scarecrow.  Clearly, he prides himself on his brains-going into detail about how Emma’s mind will be tortured by not knowing what’s in his box, fooling Mr. Gold, etc.  This theory also uses his focus on water-he’s seen water melt down the Wicked Witch of the West.  Also, if he regained(?) human form after being stuffed, particularly since the flying monkeys “rearranged” that stuffing rather roughly, it makes sense that his legs might not have enough mass/muscle/form to work without being painful.  The Scarecrow also has the best shot of being someone out of Storybrooke, because he could have traveled with Dorothy via her red slippers.  The fairy who told him of the dagger could’ve been Glinda-I’m betting that when the Blue Fairy said she knew no other way to travel, she spoke the truth.  Also, this means the person on the phone could’ve been the wizard or, my favorite idea, Dorothy.  If only that donkey weren’t there….oh well, I still want him to turn out to be the Scarecrow.  After all, he never did actually answer Gold’s question about coming from the same land as him-he just pointed out Gold already thought he had the answer.  He could still totally be from elsewhere to begin with.

On themes: I find it really interesting how we’re beginning to branch out into the men now.  Originally, the tales focused on women’s evil, how various women become villains or nearly follow other women down the wrong path-which it still does.  But it’s only in these last few episodes that we’re getting to see what the same forces of love, loss, and self-recrimination can do to the men.  In this light, Archie and Gold become doppelgangers.  After Jiminy’s impulsive deed creating a gulf of guilt and loss, he had the boy Gepetto to focus on and make amends to.  After Rumplestiltskin loses Bae, he has no one to make amends to-only characters who scold him in his time of despair (right or not, that was not well played or kind) and who he can only see focusing on to vent his anger and power.  It could have gone the other way for them as easily as things could have been for Regina and Snow.  I like that.  The genie also shows how a twisted love can change the life of men as easily as women.  I can’t wait to see more of this-I hope Jafar still gets a spot sometime.

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