Once Upon a Time 2×9 “Queen of Hearts”

Well, that was a veritable cheesecake of cheesiness, family-home toppings, and crumbling plot points.  I’ll allow it because the holidays are almost here.

 

Spoilers and Thoughts:

1. For an episode called “Queen of Hearts” there was disappointingly little Wonderland.

2. They are doing it again, with trying to make Hook everything all at once: he’s the anguished, heartbroken lover who can’t rest without revenge.  He’s the callous pirate about to murder Belle for no reason other than frustration.  He’s the chivalrous pirate who freely returns Aurora’s heart.  He’s the badboy player who makes lots of references to sex and women losing their hearts to him.  He’s trying to have chemistry with Emma.  Just STOP IT.  Also, saying right out you would’ve betrayed Cora if Emma hadn’t tied you up right in front of the witch-mother herself was an absurdly stupid thing to do.  Why she just smiled I can’t say.  Perhaps she assumed it was a lie.  Simply couldn’t waste time on the fool when she’s close to reaching Regina.  Whatever-it was idiotic.

3. I am Extremely Gratified to see that with David out of the picture people did indeed begin to call in Ruby when there was an emergency.  Very good.  Perhaps we can keep that up as he will be busy with his family.

4. I am unclear on why no one but Ruby and Henry ran after Rumplestiltskin and Regina.  If no one steals from a dwarf, shouldn’t the dwarves have gone?  The only reason is that the show needed it to be only Henry who convinced Regina to switch sides in order to bake in more cheesy goodness.  I’m not adverse to that result, but there should be a reason why others couldn’t come.  Perhaps holding vigil over sleeping cursed people is addictive and they just couldn’t look away?  Could be the start of the fascination with zombies in Storybrooke.

5.  So, did Hook kill the giant in order to get the dead bean and we just totally glossed over that bit?

6. If they try to make the whole convoluted ‘we all get back because there’s really two ways that Hook knew all the time’ thing something he kindof did on purpose because he likes Emma and just wanted her to be in the new land with him, I will cut things.

7. Goddamn, Belle’s history gets more glum every time we see it.  Someone get the girl a tasting position on Iron Chef for the foreseeable future.

8. I dearly hope Cora’s keeping her heart the same way the villains do in Russian tales-in an egg, in a duck, in a fox, in a chest, at the top of the tallest tree (or similar things), and guarded by a fierce beast-in Cora’s case, the Jabberwocky.  I need this to happen.

9. I think everyone’s forgotten that Rumplestiltskin would also have ruptured feelings upon seeing a son abandon the parent who just magically tried to do everything they could to protect them.  After all, that’s EXACTLY what happened to Rumplestiltskin.  Granted, the details would give Rumplestiltskin a lot more guilt than Regina’s, but that will only make his emotional trauma worse.  His taunts to Regina could well be the automatic mechanism he’s built up in order to deflect his own tumultuous feelings.  Not that I promote taunting, but if we’re going to feel sympathy for Regina in this situation, Rumplestiltskin deserves a little, too.

10. Do we think the show will remember that magic is supposed to be different in Storybrooke and make her have trouble, or will they conveniently bypass that aspect on the argument that she came from a magical world to one which currently also had magic?

The Borgia Bulletin (World of spoilers)

I have conflicting feelings about this episode.  On the one hand, it’s an excellent penultimate episode content-wise and there were several excellent scenes.  On the other hand, it fell a tad flat for me.  The pacing felt odd, I was too aware of where in the series I was while still watching it, and I felt like the direction, particularly in its overlapping scenes, lacked the energy and spark that it usually has going for it.  In any event, next week looks properly stepped up and the world of this week’s episode was full, if not of wonders.

On excommunication: Adding the trappings of a curse to the excommunication of Savonarola did not cut it for me this week.  While the clear connection between the Pope damning him to hell’s fire and Savonarola literally walking through fire makes me understand why the show wanted this there, it held no real punch for me.  Mainly, my disappointment stems from the fact that every word Machiavelli said only showed the  astuteness of my original suggestion a few weeks ago of threatening the entire city to be excommunicated if they didn’t disown the heretic.  Watching this “disgrace” could not be pleasing while thinking of other ways it could be done.

On Antonello: This plotline continues to coast along, not doing much.  We don’t see the original interview for him, by the time he’s put up for the job at all it’s made clear he will get it.  Events clearly indicated that the poisoned jug wouldn’t reach its mark.  Whatever.

On Lucrezia: There is a return of PANTHER.  Who shall he be gifted to next???  I’ll never grow tired of PANTHER.  Also, her acting for me shone this week.  From the brush-off of her ruined betrothal and managing to use it to remind her father of what she’s owed to the demand for poison, Holliday Grainger kept me enthralled.  By far my favorite moment this week was when she brought Paolo’s murder out for an open confrontation with Juan after keeping it unspoken for so long.  That moment, with Lucrezia’s single tear and Juan’s immediate escalation, is the leaven that made this episode rise.  It made the incident with baby Giovanni-a foolish thing in itself-extremely poignant.  I really wish we’d seen what happened before Giulia Farnese went to ask for his baptism.  Scheming with Lucrezia?  A gesture of goodwill with Vanozza?  Her own plan to bring Alexander out of his “wilderness” and fasting, by using his beloved family member as leverage?  Any way you look at it, it’s an excellent thing.  And the baptism itself brought back to glory and costumes that I expect of the Borgias!

On Cesare: Finally, you get to have more drama!  I loved that bitchy little moment with Juan, the juvenile appetizer to warm-up to that delicious dinner of explaining to Juan just how little gets by you.  Eeeverything just came out with Juan this episode.  No wonder he had to die-his fights were over and he’s hardly up to new shenanigans.  Excellent sense of timing, my Cesare.  On the other hand, it’s so echoey of your stabbing of Lucrezia’s ex that it is likely to slide over into protection of your sister’s interests, doing the damning act yourself to save her, instead of being a whole new deed that you did for your own reasons.  After all that flack Juan gave you, you deserved to kill him for yourself alone.  I sympathize that you got to do it so simply.  Thank god for quips with Michiletto!

On Juan: How wonderful an effect opium can have on a person!  Just look at the difference between party!Juan and opium!Juan.  You played it off wonderfully, David Oakes.  Add to that how I wanted to laugh during your speech with your own cock, but couldn’t because you had too much feeling and it is a performance mightily ended.  I salute you, David Oakes.  Juan-this is the night that the wine came back, for goodness sake.  It is not the time to mess up.  You did have an endearingly blind faith in your father’s love as a shield though, didn’t you?  When you use it as a weapon against both siblings, it becomes a weapon that will bring you down.  It all fits in.  Unfortunately, I expected you to put up more of a fight during your death-at least say something more.  I sympathize that the writers gave you nothing for that.

On Pope Alexander VI: I believe my favorite line this week was your commending your ex-taster’s soul to Heaven and “damn yours!” *step* “and yours!”  to Lucrezia’s brotherly suitors.

On Vanozza: Writers, please to be giving her more time next week!  She rocked it!  Pointing out that Borgias love who they choose, defying double standards for the genders, and turning Juan’s best gibes into mere trifles to scorn…the Pope may have had my favorite line, Lucrezia my favorite scenes, but you and your gumption provided the gel that kept this episode together.  I hope to hear more from you next week-nay, I depend on it.

The finale should prove far better-once more, the Borgias shall be flung at each other, instead of each one drawing off to confront their own demons and put off the world.  It’s when they’re constantly working against, and for, other Borgias that this family really thrives.