Once Upon a Time 2×16 “The Miller’s Daughter”

Now, this-THIS is the kind of episode I’m talking about!  *applauds*  SPOILERS AHEAD:

 

1. Rose McGowan was absolute perfection as young Cora.  She had a matter of minutes to take everyone on a journey, make Cora’s life understandable, make her death meaningful, and add more layers to Rumplestiltskin and Regina.  She hit a home run.

2. Granted, her story was not as perfect as the acting.  It’s hard to think there wouldn’t be a separate entrance for deliveries, particularly ones like flour that generally go to the pantry/kitchen area.  The straw into gold claim was…not great.  But she sold it so well I don’t even care.

3.  Rumplestiltskin sure does know how to make a girl feel powerful.  Mixing this gift of power with his attraction and affection would definitely make it harder for someone like Cora to understand the benefits of love on its own, without being intertwined with power.

4. It is very clear to me why Cora’s loving embrace did not affect the Dark One’s powers the way Belle’s kiss did in Fairy Tale Land: Cora loved him as the Dark One.  If anything, her kisses would keep him the Dark One, not efface it.  Belle loved him in spite of being the Dark One.  Hence, her true love’s kiss could turn him into the man she saw him as.

5.   Snow became real again this episode.  It was highly abrupt-if only she could have used that gift for persuasion on Regina at their meeting in the diner before the dagger was found, this could have all been different.  It was highly poetic justice for Cora-her first offer to corrupt Snow and achieve one of her vengeful goals comes true so as to kill her and parallel Snow’s pain in Regina.  Cora needed to die for many reasons, including the show’s pacing.  With Cora in the works there are just too many villains running about throwing off any sort of balance of power and absolutely wrecking Regina’s role.  Snow could never really have controlled Cora through her heart-she has enough sense to know that Cora would get it back somehow and it would all just start again.  Additionally, she probably knows that if she touched Cora’s heart she wouldn’t be able to keep from smothering it.  Most of all, Snow felt how ultimately unsatisfying it would be to kill a woman without a heart.  Cora was already bereft of everything Snow cares about-in order to really exact revenge Cora needed to die with her heart intact.  Rumplestiltskin did not really play a part in Snow’s calculations when she was acting.  He had shown her a path that gave her everything she ultimately wished about Cora-Snow had to carry it out that way because it was the perfect death for Cora, saving Rumplestiltskin’s life had no part in the thought process once she began.  I doubt Regina had much to do with it either-Regina could reach Cora and replace the heart.  Snow would never be able to get that close.  It was as simple as that.

6. Gold’s deathbed call to Belle was perfect, as was his simple follow-up with Bae.  It was the best way for Bae to start mending his relationship with his father.

7. Cora died wonderfully.   I’ve been thinking a more accurate name for this show might be: “All Mothers Die.”  Eva, Cora, Ruby’s mom, Mila, Gepetto’s mom, Jefferson’s wife, Hansel and Gretal’s mom, Cora’s mom is presumably dead, Snow’s chance to really be a mother to a child was killed so symbolically Snow-as-mother died, between giving up Henry originally and the current split from her lie, Emma’s motherhood is still at least not well, Regina’s ability to be a mother is questioned and denied constantly, even mother figures like Johanna get flung out of buildings…   The only mother who I think has escaped the curse is Cinderella and she’s not really in the show.  Plus, pretty much all the main storylines are running on mother deaths-Snow’s motivation, Regina’s motivation, Rumple’s arching misery, etc.  Ergo, “Once Upon a Time….All Mothers Die.”

8. I just adore it when Gold wins everything in the end.  I am Just Fine with that.  Bring it on, Gold.  It’s gonna be good.

Once Upon a Time 2×15 “The Queen is Dead”

SPOILERS AHEAD

1. As “Bae was a Lost Boy” was always my go-to acceptable reason for his age, I suppose it can be permissible, although really-they cannot take much longer before giving us details.

2. I really love the fact that good queen Eva got the sparkly red gown while Regina appears in the white dress (in the genie episode).

3. Little Snow’s sparkly pink party dress is the ultimate Disney marketing ploy.

4. Mrs. Patmore/Johanna is ALWAYS appreciated by her beneficent masters!

5. How could Snow not know people made it to Storybrooke?  There is seriously not enough reunions and searchings going on since the curse broke.  This is Gus being murdered and no one else from Cinderella showing up all over again!  Shame on everyone.

6. FINALLY, finally Gold has placed magical protection on his shop.  I am SO relieved.

7. When Snow said she had a plan to make Cora distrust her mother I thought she was going to, you know, start talking to her about her mother.  No one likes being told you’re wrong-and-I’m-right OR do-what-I-say-or-else and Snow did BOTH before even introducing anything about Cora to the conversation.  She could have used Henry, she could have used facts she remembered about Cora, she could have done So. Much. Better. in her mission.  But no, she got preachy and I wouldn’t blame Regina if for that reason alone she stopped considering crossing Cora.  The real issue here isn’t weather good wins, it’s weather you can figure out how to be good while still being considerate enough to get over yourself and talk to people, rather than preaching at them or beating them over the head with platitudes.

8. I love the dagger’s hiding place.

9. Seriously, Cora made Regina do the digging when they were searching for the buried dagger, rather than magicing it up?

10. The Blue Fairy continues to be utterly useless at anything other than saying “this is the last of its kind” and often being wrong.

11. So…how exactly did Hook find Gold?  Is he also an excellent tracker now?

12. Seriously, no one thinks to text Gold or Emma again about this your dagger’s been taken issue?

13. Is anyone seriously surprised about Cora’s engineering of queen Eva’s death?  Or anything else?  I could have done with other flashbacks this episode, although I did love the costuming.

14. On Cora-honestly, her death is the best possible shot at happiness for….everyone, up to and including her.  Killing her should be everyone’s logical priority for the side of good winning, not Snow’s crisis of faith about good being workable.

15. I am very much looking forward to the tale of the Miller’s Daughter, though.

 

 

Once Upon a Time 2×14 “Manhattan”

I may be the only one, but…I am disappoint.  SPOILERS:

 

1. As soon as you reveal Neil as Baelfire, than all the other relationships and interactions become Extremely Predictable.  I am not in this for extremely predictable things.

2. They have yet to even TRY to explain how the hell he’s still just that age.  No one is allowed to talk about time differences at this point: time froze for 28 years in Storybrooke and FairyTale Land, when Emma and Snow went through the portal time was parallel, there were even exact hour arrangements for people meeting in dreamland proving that time moves the same in both worlds.  Aside from all that, Baelfire would have been out growing older with Emma for those 28 years everyone else was froze, so by now he should technically be almost as old as Rumpelstiltskin at the very least.  They’re not even trying.  This bothers me enormously.

3. I honestly thought that after all those years Rumpelstiltskin would have had a better pitch.  I find it rather ridiculous and out of character that he did not.

4. Hook is now officially reduced the the 10-year-old brat living inside him.  He sounds exactly like a kid in a long car trip about finding Rumpel to “get his revenge”.  Besides, he already DID get the ultimate revenge with Belle already, so just *sigh*.  I kindof hope he’s dead, just because he got that level of irritating and I don’t care to see him trying to redeem himself in any way.  Or find out what other bad lines the writers have in store for him.

5. The Seer said Rumpelstiltskin’s actions “on the battlefield” would leave his son fatherless.  From what I saw, Rumplestiltskin never made it to the battlefield.  I suppose you could generally call “the front” where they’re camping a field, but…unless there’s actually been a battle there sometime that’s not the battlefield.  The Seer lied.

6. If the Seer had just given Rumple all her foresight than how could she give him that one last insight out of gratitude?  Perhaps she remembered…but then why the drama with the hand still?  Just habit or what?  Didn’t quite add up.

7. Saying that the young boy will be Rumplestiltskin’s “undoing” just tells me that Henry will be the instrument of making him not the Dark One.  Furthermore, Cora’s storyline is bringing Henry fully into Gold’s fate, no matter what he does.  So…really there’s two ways to look at that-either it’s not new information because we already know how Cora’s using him, or it’s too much information that will make other things as Extremely Predictable as this episode.  Neither is something I’m happy with.

8. Yes, the acting was good.  I am criticizing the storyline and the plot, not the actors.

Once Upon a Time 2×6 “Tallahasee”

Otherwise known as “We’re Bringing Flashbacks Back!”

Spoilers:

To Whom It May Concern,

I have some notes.

First, if Neal turns out to be Baelfire I will have to stop watching.  Granted, if Baelfire turns out to be anyone without a decent reason for staying young for hundreds of years, I will have to stop watching.  I do not understand all these people claiming time can move differently-the curse happened, time froze for 28 years in both Fairy Tale Land and Storybrooke.  Ergo, time moves the same.  Also, magic beans claim to be world jumping, not time jumping.  Otherwise we’d have to worry about syncing up with Hook’s Neverland time, etc., and that’s just not going to fly.  Also, the world jumping power of wood, said to work like the beans, spat Emma and Pinocchio out at the same time, Emma came out after the same number of minutes that had passed since Pinocchio went through the wardrobe, etc.  As far as I can tell, there’s lots of evidence to say that time moves the same in Fairy Tale Land-which is also physically UNDER Storybrooke, making it harder to defy laws of space and time, and absolutely no evidence that time might move differently between them.  Acceptable solutions from Baelfire still being alive are: Rumple, with the Dark One’s power over time, charmed his son to stay forever young, Baelfire became a Lost Boy and therefore did not grow up (most advisable, seeing as it will give Hook interesting leverage with Rumple and make that plotline thicker), or Baelfire came across another world-traveler like the Wizard of Oz and got something to keep him going.

Second, I’m impressed August actually did manage to track her down in those circumstances.  I’m sticking with my idea that there’s a connection between August, Neal, and Pleasure Island, and that the box held some magical proof August had been there.  If Neal had been there too he would recognize it and be forced to admit that yes, he had experienced magic.  Alternatively, the White Rabbit possibility has gained watches.  Perhaps August came across something Wonderlandish somehow.  About how he sent Neal the postcard-I feel the show covered this.  August explained he needed magic because he was turning into wood.  Ergo, when magic returned, it made Pinocchio’s woodiness no longer a problem and he could therefore send postcards.  On the issue of August’s high-handedness, well-Pinocchio was never very smart, was he?  It’s true that if Emma was happy in the real world she probably wouldn’t want or need to go looking for another, more magical one.  The end.

 

Third, the writers put no thought whatsoever into that giant story.

1.Turning Jack and the Beanstalk  into Jack the Giant Killer is simply switching tales.

2. Indicating that wars happen with one totally good side and one totally bad one is always overly simplistic, and the details of this one make it absurd.  The giants did have the magic beans, and they do have a lot of treasure.  Are we to not believe they were plundering the worlds?  Perhaps they did it peacefully, perhaps they considered it their right, perhaps they had legal trading rights, but surely they were gathering wealth from the worlds.  Sure, this means FTL probably fought them in order to get the treasure more than anything else, but then-that’s the giants’ motivation too, right?

3. Also, why would the humans want the beans destroyed?  Any way you look at it, that makes no sense.  All around more likely that the giants did destroy them themselves when they were losing-in a just war or not.  Also, they’d be the ones who’d know how to make the beans non-functional but still present.

4. Speaking of which, there’s a way to make the beans non-functional even though they’re physically present?  Those things make less sense all the time.

5.How does giant Hurley eat?  There didn’t seem to be any livestock or agriculture up there, he doesn’t seem like a cooking type, and he doesn’t even have beans anymore.  Does he just spout the magic number and it sustains his life?

6.The cage with the trip wire was giant-sized.  Were there other giants who tried to get Hurley’s treasure back in the day?

7. In what world is it believable that the cage could hold down giant Hurley?  That whole section was ridiculous-the giant had no reason to be afraid or or talk to Emma other than to move the story along.

8. Emma couldn’t ask Mulan how long the poppy powder would keep the giant out?

9. Hurley just left the body of Jack the Giant Killer in the middle of his house until it turned into a skeleton?  If Hurley’d even eaten Jack he wouldn’t still have held his sword like that.  Is that a reminder that humans are killers?  If so, why do you also need to wear a bean-that’s the best reminder right there.  Also, why in the middle of the floor?  Do you never actually look through your treasure?

10. Engraving sword blades is reserved for the name of the SWORD, notes about what the sword entitles its owner to do, and possibly a riddle or instruction.  That is it.  It is NOT for engraving the name of the sword’s wielder.  That’s just ridiculous.  Granted, Jack could’ve  named his blade Jack, but that indicates that he’s vain, unimaginative, and/or extremely fond of bad wordplay jokes.  None of those options make me like this guy no matter what the real story of the Giant wars was.  Am glad he’s dead.

11. Not to mention, leaving sharp, bloodless blades (in spite of the fact it was still held by the skeleton of a long dead man and apparently not moved-perhaps Hurley got Jack cause the vain idiot just had to clean his sword?  Fits the character of someone who’d engrave their own name like that.) lying around in the middle of your room, does leave you somewhat open to attacks by said blades.  Giant Hurley should probably just wake up.  Or maybe get that kraken pet to keep him on his toes.

12. How do people know what these giants have in their collection if everybody’s dead or a ridiculous giant living alone and barely speaking, therefore not spreading rumors about their stash?

I can’t talk about that anymore.  Let’s move on to Hook.

1. You can’t simultaneously sell a character on being a charming rake AND an anguished bereft lover at the same time.  You can arc from one to the other in an actual story, but you can’t just take the same guy and switch him back and forth.  No.

2. He is the most inefficient person yet.  We want the giant out-hey, I’ll yell at him and hope you have decent aim, assuming he bends over enough for you to conceivably hit him in the face with that magic!  We need to find the compass before the giant wakes up-perfect time to meander about, daydream over random gold, and hit on the girl!  THAT’S the guy you want on your team.  Yep.

3. Guy does not have a decent pickup line in him.

4. I really believe he’s just there so the writers can force him to say more painfully shoehorned references like “Tick-tock.”

5. If he heard Emma’s negotiating with the giant, which he seems to seeing as he’s complimenting her on it as she pulls him from the rocks, then how did he miss her arrangements with Hurley over him?  It’s not like they were whispering.

6. Also, Emma?  Ever heard of keeping your enemies closer?  I’m pretty sure that’d be a good idea here.  Also, he’s the one who knows where Cora is and all-that could be pertinent information that I didn’t see anyone prise out of him.  Plus, what’s your obsession with 10 hours?  Couldn’t make it 12 or like, a day?

Oh, and about this compass:

1. Since when do you need that to find worlds?  Bae didn’t need it, Hook didn’t need it before….this is very confusing and inconsistent.

2. I am disappointed by the lack of Pirates of the Caribbean.  Perhaps Hook will fall down the beanstalk and start moving like Captain Jack Sparrow.  Best possible thing that could happen to the character all around, really.

On Aurora and Henry’s nightmare: well done, the best thing this episode.  There are too many wonderful possibilities to expound on here.  Just don’t let me down.

That is all.

Signed,

wheresmytower

Once Upon a Time “The Crocodile”

Otherwise known as “Women Will Leave You.”

 

SPOILERS:

 

1.What on earth are the information channels around here?  How the hell does Hook know about Neverland? Did he hang out with Jefferson a lot?  Are there like owls that go between the worlds as well as around Hogwarts?  Did Hook come from there and is an ex-Peter Pan type and that’ll be the crux of the war between him and whoever Peter Pan is?  How does he contact Cora in probable-Wonderland or FTL?  How is this working?

 

2. Also, how do these magic beans work, exactly?  There’s no incantation or anything-are they psychic?  Hook thought ‘Neverland’ whereas Bae thought ‘land without magic’, so that’s where they wound up?  Cause in that case it’s no wonder they’re so rare, they have to be bred for telepathy AND world-traveling.  There must be a better system.

 

3. Smee looks exactly like himself.  Kudos for that.

 

4. So, Belle apparently knows Grumpy, who worked in mines or hid in cabins in the woods all his life, but she doesn’t appear to know anyone else from FTL who’s not Rumple or her dad?  How the hell would she know any dwarves????  *logic fail*

 

5. We have yet more evidence that the leader really worth the salt is Ruby.  Always listen to Ruby!

 

6. If your find spell only works on things that belonged to other people, then you probably should’ve given Belle a present, dude.  I would expect you to have covered your bases in this matter.

 

7. Surely with all the panic someone should’ve thought of guarding the mine shafts that go out of town, too?  That sounds right up Grumpy’s street, and he is after all the guy who began working on this problem.  It’s unbelievable he of all people wouldn’t have caught the passages in the MINE.  If Ruby was in charge I bet she would’ve thought of that.  Speaking of which, I didn’t notice anyone setting up any guards about that STILL after what happened in this episode.  Charming, you’re still failing.

 

8. This episode is the epitome of what I’ve long thought is this show’s main problem: they’re trying to write a lot of strong female characters without being sure about what that actually means.  Take Belle-she’s supposed to be strong in her emotional capabilities and her courage for loving a monster.  This started well last season, but this episode it fell apart.  Why?  Because they thought her just walking out on him would be the stronger move, even though the speech they had her deliver was more of a warning and should’ve just been the precursor for her venturing forth to think and give him space to reflect on her ultimatum.  From that point the episode could’ve gone the same, but no-her just leaving seemed like the ‘strong female’ thing to the writers, so they made that illogical decision.  Then every word she spoke to her dad made her sound like a teenager because they thought her insisting on her rights and independence without explaining anything would make a stronger statement than just telling him things.  Then after the mine ride, she had the weakest lines ever.  Now, it does totally make sense to me that at this point Belle is just done and needs everyone to back off.  After all, she didn’t sleep well, she faced the fact she might have to leave her love for the second time, she began to realize how much she’d missed out on by being shut out of the real world, she got kidnapped, she reunited with a dad who TRIED TO DESTROY HER MIND.  Being saved by the guy she’s thinkign of leaving would only be more confusing, and in any case half of that would be enough to say Just Get Away Everyone.  That lesser statement giving her time to think would have been totally logical and made her new dating thing with Rumple less wishy-washy.  But the writers thought that for Belle to be strong she had to make a “never see again” statement instead, because their ‘strong’=’shows total conviction in what she’s doing even if it’s wrong’, so they made her make less sense and ultimately seem weaker.  I could go on about how similar misunderstandings of  how to write strong female characters have plagued the other women in this show, but let’s just leave it at this most enormous mess, shall we?

 

9. I’m pretty sure Hook’s name is James.

 

10. I’m pretty sure Belle should’ve showed some kind of horror/shock/SOMETHING in response to Rumple admitting he was behind the fucking curse, not really Regina.  Is the show just assuming this is common knowledge to characters just cause we know it?  Cause it’s not.  And I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t react like that, even Belle.  Man, does that girl have a rotten life.  With that dad at home, betrothed to guy she didn’t like, prisoner of Rumple’s is still a prisoner and slave even if she did fall for him, in a mental institution, let out with no knowledge of the world or the food that is here…..where the hell is Archie Jiminy Cricket???  If anyone needs him, it’s her.

“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.