‘Once Upon a Time’ Finale A Land without Magic (Spoilers)

The finale, A Land Without Magic, far exceeded my expectations!  That could be because the characters I like were more central and those I dislike were abed.

I am fondest of this show when they reference what Disney does best-the classics.  They did that tonight with Maleficent’s dragon.  The same postures, the same cliff, the same method of defeat…aaah.  That was lovely.  However, the rule is that Maleficent is not allowed to die.  I feel much more strongly about this than I do about Henry or August.  Also, the hiding from the beast behind pillars like that reminded me of Frodo and the Cave Troll.  Emma should really look into mithrill.

Who’d have thought?  Emma finally believes and to achieve her ends she’s working with…Regina.  Not her parents.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not surprised the writers want the summer to figure out how to write a reunion between a child and parents who are all the same age.  After all, this is Disney here.  But no, she goes STRAIGHT into deals and trust with the Evil Queen who she finally believes cursed everyone and tried to put her to sleep with the famous enchanted apple.  More surprising, I think this episode went fast enough that it actually WORKED.  It conveyed desperation and that Emma was so focused on this one thing that she just couldn’t deal with anything else.  However, for those who have commented the episode went too fast, just think: how would Emma’s behaviour have gone if it had been slower?  I know I’d have been sitting there calling her a damned fool and wondering why she wasn’t seeking advice from Snow instead of August.  In this case I can say it’s because of the focus and that she can only deal with the characters who already know because she feels crazy enough already, and also she can’t emotionally deal with another big incident while her son’s like this.  But, still…if they’d given us time we would’ve been demanding to see more of those reasons and feelings and frankly, they’re not that interesting compared to what had to happen in this episode.

Hurrah for Jefferson, standing up to the Evil Queen!  I wish we’d seen at least a shot of his daughter’s face, perhaps just as he ran up behind her.

To be honest, I mainly spent that whole end montage going: show me Belle and Rumplestiltskin!  Show me BELLE!  We just saw her being told she’d remember!  SHOW IT!!!  And that…did not go as well as I wanted it to.  I’d like to sit down Rumplestiltskin and have a bit of a chat.  First of all, how will there be time for loving times with Belle AFTER the cloud of doom if that means going back to being unable to kiss without losing your magic powers?  Second of all, you do realize you’re killing the dream Bae bought for you even more disastrously than you did the first time, right?  Third of all, how is the thing you need to do not related to the dagger now that everyone will remember about it and presumably want things even more here than they did in FTL?  Fourth of all, what security have you got on that shop of yours, cause I didn’t notice you smuggling out the things you’ll want people to bargain back from you.  Surely this is something you should’ve thought of?  I’d expect that much of you.  Fifth of all, you seem to have a great idea about fashion, so how long  is it going to take you to do something about Belle’s asylum attire?  Sixth of all, did you notice how Belle just forgave you?  I wouldn’t trust it, or at least I want you to go about making gestures FOR her, not just in front of her.  Get on it!  Seventh of all, your motivations are now the exact opposite of what I predicted and wanted from this show.  Make it up to me.

Speaking of memories, Henry will no longer be the authority on what’s happening.  He will, in fact, be the least in the know after this point.  How will he handle that, do we think?  This show wants him to be the cute kid, but if it’s realistic at all, I’d say not well.  Of course, then he and Emma will have an even greater bond over being outsiders than they had over Operation Cobra, so.  Also, as Henry was born outside of FTL and does not seem to have any magic, will he be able to return to FTL ever?  Or will it need a special little extra jot of magic, a deal with Rumple or Regina?  I feel like that will be the main conflict of Season three if they get that far.  Season two to work out Rumple’s plan here and find Bae for him and the way back to FTL for everyone else.  Then Season Three will have this Henry thing and the how people will reconstruct their lives in that world.  Also, will the writers be able to continue their flashback format in season two?  It’d have to be more individuals remembering their own lives than overall context, I suppose.

Regina’s problem seems to be that she takes out her life’s issues on all men, as well as Snow.  The Huntsman, the genie, Jefferson, she tried to use Charming…I feel like she blames them for not being Daniel.  If only she’d play nice with them once in awhile and follow through, she wouldn’t have all these problems.  Charming escaped-because the Huntsman wanted to strike back.  I am so glad he got the opportunity for that!  Now she’s lost Belle as a bargaining chip because Jefferson is getting back at her.  Geesh.  I really hope her stance in Season Two goes into things other than a simple: you need therapy for issues with men territory.  By the way, I am also extremely happy that the episode ended with her smiling.  I didn’t want her to descend back into Caricature Catfighter.  She’s lost so much this episode, she needed to get something back in order to be viable.  And I like her to be viable-I like the actress.  Next season I want her to go to Oz to try and make alliances against Rumplestiltskin, and also so she’ll have another land to go to instead of back to the FTL she wanted out of so badly she killed her father.

Both Henry and August technically died, but that was the lamest outcome to give us after reporting there’d be a shocking death.  Nothing is shocking about either of those.  Also, Henry woke up and since August technically now fulfilled his promise to mentor Emma into performing heroic deeds, I expect he’ll come back to life.  Possibly still as wooden, but you know.  That’ll only last til they get tired of paying for the special effects.

So, in short: that was awesome!  I have many thoughts, and I was shocked that they were even able to make David more of a wussass than ever in his conversation with Snow before the curse broke, but they did.  HOWEVER.  All of that pales in front of MALEFICENT THE DRAGON.  She must come back.  *nods*  So long as that happens, it’ll all be okay.  Right.  Carry on, show.  Go figure out how to bring me my witch, and my Jefferson moments, and my desire for Oz next season.  (You figure out that whole parent/child/age conundrum on your own time.)

“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.