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.

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“Witch Eyes”

A poem based on Hansel and Gretel:

 

“Witch Eyes”

 

Limbs lock round, tangling tight,

to choke sky’s rays and coerce fright.

The ground scuffs feet, its roots rise,

but most dangerous here is those watching eyes.

 

They measure you, weigh you, imagine you, own you-

And all I can do is look back or away.

See you, scorn you, devour you, stone you,

I’m still turning, trying steps to find my way.

 

But the woods are knit tight and the witch is stronger, still.

The only steps that hold me are those that match her will.

Her world is mixed and heated like a cake-

I’m just an ingredient to melt down as I bake.

 

Her eyes add you, beat you, stir you, bend you,

But my head is ringing with dreams, Pandora’s box.

Her eyes strain you, boil you, drain you, end you,

But my heart is pulsing; My will unlocks.

 

Blood burns hot, but now the woods part.

Eyes can’t watch from a baked and burnt heart.

Fears and captured nightmares lie dead.

It’s life that is sweet-she made just a crust of bread.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

To be honest, I went into this film with very low expectations.  I came out wonderfully surprised and pleased.  Spoiler-free reasons below:

First and foremost, I expected: the Grimm fairytale to just be a background point to thrust Hansel and Gretel into crazy situations and violence.  I didn’t even entirely expect to see a representation of the Grimm tale.

What happened: This portrayal of the fairytale  attained the feeling of true nightmare in a few simple, brutal strokes.  It truly lives up to the Grimm brothers.  Additionally, the candy house is beautifully designed and more interesting than the more fluffy, familiar versions I’ve seen.  Moreover, the backstory to their version of the fairytale is the keystone of the plot, keeping center stage.  No matter what else it is, it is a real fairytale film.

Secondly, I expected: that this film would attempt to follow up its violence and gore with drama.

The truth: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is FAR from taking itself too seriously.  It unabashedly includes modern swearing, anachronistic inventions, and comedy.  It’s like “Wanted” if the film itself had admitted how ridiculous its premises were, instead of just accepting that the viewers would do that for them.  The violence and gore is like the fantasy version of “Wanted”-lots of action, booyah moments are paramount, and any real injuries are quickly overcome (by washing instead of wax, this time).  It’s a grand, old time.

Thirdly, I expected: to have a lot of thoughts about how they treat gender in this movie where the two protagonists are of different genders.

What I’ve Got: They did a good job.  Are there a couple of nits that could be picked?  Of course there are.  (Such as  including the butt and breasts of a girl, but only the naked torso of a guy, in accordance with current Hollywood rules.)   But by and large, I found their portrayals of Hansel and Gretal and their abilities fairly equal.

What I did not expect: Goofy references to other fairy tales.

What happened: a “Goldilocks” reference, of all things.  They could have at least thrown in a couple more, so it would be another comedy thing instead of that one what are you doing? instance.

In short, I really enjoyed this movie.  It could have gone on a little longer for me, even!  And even for those who wouldn’t enjoy the comedic action film that it is, the opening scene depicting the Grimm tale is still a marvelous addition to cinematic folklore.  Hurrah for pleasant surprises!