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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Once Upon a Time 2×11 and 2×12

SPOILERS AHEAD

2×11 “The Outsider”

1. If Hook had any intelligence at all, he would have realized Belle was important to Rumpelstiltskin after Regina stopped him killing her in Fairy Tale Land.  This could well be the case, but I’m trying to give this character the best chance I can, so let’s say he can put two and two together.  Ergo, he found out about the shawl from Archie, not Belle.  In that case: how does Archie know?  We never see Mr. Gold going to counseling.  Once Hook has it, why doesn’t he burn it or tear it or something?  Much more sure than just luring him after it.  Is his whole plan just to lure Gold there so he can alienate his girl by killing him?  That seems more calculated than Hook is capable of, and also not particularly satisfying to Hook as he wouldn’t get to see Rumpelstiltskin being in pain.  This whole thing with the shawl is just strange when he stashed it somewhere but didn’t do anything to harm it.

2. Why is there not something somewhere to indicate that Hook had to learn what cars are?  My first thought at the end was, “Of course Hook gets it-he doesn’t know about cars.”  Yet clearly he followed Gold and Belle in their car.  It still makes sense he’d be less aware of the car sounds that mean danger and thus get hit, but the point is: Hook should be in a totally foreign land and we’ve seen him being nothing but totally self-assured.  I have a problem with this.

3. Belle escapes from Hook by going into….the elevator.  Granted, the mechanisms in that building look whackadoo, but are we really supposed to believe a pirate can’t turn the knobs and figure it out?  He did just see her do it, after all.  The most obvious answer is that we find out Hook just wanted a diversion, not to get to Belle, but still-how did Belle and Gold fall for that?

4. Speaking of Hook’s strange behavior at the library, why in the hell would he need a random rope knot there?  Did he just drop it as a clue?  I mean, really.

5. Most importantly, as I’ve been saying since season one: RUMPLESTILTSKIN, OF ALL PEOPLE, SHOULD HAVE ALL KINDS OF SECURITY ON HIS SHOP.  I do not understand this lack of security-he knows he’s got a lot of people’s valuable things, he knows the people have now remembered the things they want, he knows he has enemies, he has magic, HOW DOES HE NOT PUT MAGICAL SECURITY ON HIS GODDAMN SHOP?  This will never stop vexing me.

6. Why didn’t Philip write in other languages, too?  He’s a prince, he probably learned more than one.  The language of the realm you’re in is an excellent place to start, but if that doesn’t work, why not try others?

7. The ending was wonderful and did manage to save this overall sloppy and vexing episode.  Let’s face it-that ending was awesome.

2×12, “In the Name of the Brother”

1. The dilemma of whether or not to let stranger die makes no sense.  In their very first look at the cell phone, they say that if people don’t hear from him they’ll come looking.  If they let the guy die then not only will people come to Storybrooke, they’ll come already armed with lawyers, coroners, and police.  This is far from the solution to everyone’s problems.  Make sense, please.

2. You’d think with Emma’s experience with the law she’d be better at playing sheriff.

3. Rumplestiltskin is doing everything I expect him to do.  Trying to cure her with true love’s kiss, check.  Trying to convince her even when he shouldn’t, check.  Managing to make the cup a talisman raises questions as last episode he claimed he didn’t have enough potion to enchant anything after the shawl and therefore she couldn’t come.  The shawl’s been enchanted and hey, presto-he’s made some more.  Clearly, he just didn’t really want Belle to come along or else didn’t care enough about it before to wait, or else he could’ve just stayed the extra, what-day?  And made Belle her talisman before.  This is a fly in the ambrosia of their love story. (In my head the real answer is that he feels it’d be unfair to her and that it will go better if he shows up alone instead of with a for all intents and purposes stepmother, but still.  Don’t lie about it, just say that.)

4. Belle’s behavior does not sit well with me.  If she doesn’t remember Gold at all, than she must only remember the asylum.  If she only remembers the asylum, how the hell would she know if castles and magic are crazy or not?  She shouldn’t.  Someone telling her she was someplace she couldn’t remember would still be freaky, particularly with a gunshot wound and no memory of how she came to be in that circumstance, but she shouldn’t be sitting there telling him magical things are crazy.  Get away from her-yes, magic isn’t real-no.  Moreover, we saw her being rescued by a genuinely crazy and creepy-talking man: Jefferson.  She was far from freaked out at him.  Thus, even Belle’s awareness of creepy guys should not be this high.  Again, some yes, with the gunshot wound and outside of the place she remembers.  But they had her talking like someone with memories of a normal Maine life, and she. is. not.  (By the way, this is not to be construed as me being angry at her for putting Gold off or breaking the cup, because even without specifically knowing magic is bad and having lowered creep awareness, that could well have happened.  I am upset at the writers for making Belle’s behavior inconsistent with their own story.)

5. Again, Ruby rocks, saves the day, and should always be in charge.

6. Why is no one concerned with Dr. Whale operating when he’s drunk?  This just doesn’t seem to be a thing?

7.  I do admire Cora.  Wish there’d been more explanation of the globe, however.  Also, it does not vex me that she managed to get into Rumple’s, hopefully at least by now, MAGICALLY SECURED shop.  She’s the Queen of Hearts.

8. It makes total sense to me that Gold wants Emma with him.  This is no longer going to be the long-as-it-takes, reunion with his son that he planned.  Gold wants to get back to Belle as soon as possible, making this a fetching trip.  Gold no longer has time to accustom himself to the outside world, it’ll go faster with someone who knows it.  Moreover, he doesn’t know if Bae will want to see him, let alone want to come back to Storybrooke with him, and having someone along with him will help Gold control his urges and get his son to come back without alienating him too much.  Or at least, the chances would be better in Gold’s head.  Moreover, Emma reunited with her son after years apart and therefore should have more sympathy for him and his quest than the others.

All in all, a much better episode.  I am excited to see what comes next!

Once Upon a Time “Lady of the Lake”

I know, I’m late with this, but I have some notes (involving spoilers):

 

1. Everyone needs to lay off Aurora.  Yes, her lines are kinda whiney and her costume designates her the ‘princessey’ one, so she’s an easy target for derision.  But let’s think about this: she woke up to find her whole world gone-everything was changed, she couldn’t stay at in the place she knew, and all the things she knew about her world were gone, but she was willing to be happy anyway because at least she had her love.  Then her love died, and she was still game for going along and making the best of things because at least perhaps she could avenge him.  Then her new leader, in the new, uncomfortable place which was all she had left, not only denied her vengeance, but offered the people who did, in fact, play in to Phillip’s death comfort, help, and friendship-in short, all the things she no longer had.  To top it all off, Mulan-the only person who is even familiar at this point, is to go with them and left Aurora alone in this dirty, awful, small, and for her infinitely lonely place.  Is it any wonder she came after them-if not to keep to her vengeance plan, at least to stay with the only connection to familiarity, friendship, and Phillip she had left?  Just the fact that she had been trying for happiness in the first place after that waking up proves that she’s a very willing, brave, and great-hearted gal, when you really think about it.  I have no doubt that now there’s at least something new for her to cling to now, as a plan, she’ll swiftly turn out to be a good ally.  Also, to be fair, she is not dressed for walking in the woods at all.

 

2. Last week’s Regina Redemption felt a bit quick and surface to me, but this episode I had to really applaud her for her actions with Henry.  I expect much more of these interactions with him will swiftly drive her back to the dark side, and was surprised she resisted even one.  I salute her.

 

3. Henry really should’ve known better than to stand her up, as well.  However, the blame still rests chiefly on David, for trying to shut him out of everything.  If Henry wasn’t trying to prove his usefulness to his grandpa, he might’ve had thoughts to spare for Regina.  Luckily, the end of this episode showed grandpa finally acting like a good guardian and showing proper interest in Henry.

 

4. Okay, Charming’s work by the cabin was badass.  He certainly worked at redeeming himself this week.

 

5. I breathed a sigh of relief when Lancelot was really dead.  There were just so many things…First, if you’re going to do King Arthur, do it right-not just cameos and references flung around. Second- actually, nevermind.  It’s too much to go through and after all, he’s dead.  It’ll be okay.

 

6. Seriously, no one asks Emma about killing the dragon in Storybrooke?  Last time I checked, Snow was not around for that story and might’ve been proud, or at least interested enough to find out if it’s true that Maleficent’s really dead?

 

7. Jefferson’s facial expressions should have a much larger role in this story because they’re amazing!

 

8. Why are people always questioning Red?  Always listen to Red-from everything we’ve seen so far, unquestioning obedience to her would make life a lot easier for everyone.  Perhaps if Snow had just left when Red said to she never would’ve been captured in the first place.  Granted, it’s Lancelot so she should’ve been, but on the other hand-this Lancelot is not really Lancelot, so.

 

9. Snow’s battle gear is ridiculous.  Her gloves are clean white, she’s wearing WHITE for crying out loud, her hair’s in an attractive coif, the sensibility of pants is almost totally undone by the long coat, her vision might be impaired in crucial situations by the collar and puffy sleeves…ridiculous.  This should be Snow having-a-picnic attire, not military garb.

Once Upon a Time 2×2 ‘We Are Both’

The story is moving, but it feels too slow. Spoilers ahead.

 

1. Did it occur to anyone else that Cora’s tyrannical hold over Regina could have stemmed from concern about Rumplestiltskin?  We know he’s wanted Regina to lead him to the other world since she was a baby, we know he was only too happy to have her under his wing and out of Cora’s magical reach, we know the main point of Cora’s manipulations of Regina was to keep her with Cora.  If Cora had to fight Rumplestiltskin for Regina when Regina was a baby, is all this just lingering protection?  You must stay with me because then you’re safe from him, you must marry the king because he’s the only one who Rumplestiltskin couldn’t make a deal with?  After all, that king was the only man who refused to be swayed by magic when he met the genie.  Not to say Cora didn’t want power, that’s clearly also true, but it seems to me there was always a power struggle over Regina between her and Rumplestiltskin and Cora was actually right about needing to keep Regina from him.  After all, look where Regina’s collusion with Rumple led things.  I’m guessing we’ll get Cora built up as another evil character and then get her backstory where she really did fight like a bear mama to save Regina from the imp to humanize her, as well.  It’s the trend with this show.

Also, I think she’s definitely the Queen of Hearts.  She went through a looking glass-of course she went to Wonderland.  It explains what Regina’s father was doing there.  Also, we know that people who’d been in Wonderland but were originally from FairyTale Land did get transported because of Jefferson.  I’d easily believe that Cora retained enough power to maneuver any transitional power to take her where she wanted to go instead of where the spell tried to take her.  Hence, she wound up in FairyTale Land.  I believe that part of it remained untransported by the curse because of Cora’s counter-force of using the magic to get back to FairyTale Land-the part of it her magic took her to remained FairyTale Land.  The Curse simply froze it.

 

2. I’ve been saying since last season that Pinocchio’s ‘death’ would end up just him being alive as a wooden man.  More evidence to support my theory that the guy with the postcard is Pinocchio’s friend from Pleasure Island.  I expect when they track him down he’ll be able to bring them wood from that magical tree he came through to this world, and it’ll lead to at least some folks changing lands again.

 

3. Red is clearly the real hero of this episode.  David ran around, selfishly seeking his own family, and only ever pretended to give thought to the town’s predicament when everyone yelled at him to do it.  Moreover, he STILL has not had an actual conversation with Henry, wherein he listens as well as talks.  He just keeps saying reassuring things and ignoring anything Henry does or any of Henry’s knowledge.  If David was halfway competent he should’ve realized that Henry is the best key to calm people down-he knows these people and can advise them about their family members, which we know is a big deal because of Red’s remark.  Also, again, he does not seem to CARE about the other people until Red basically smacks him over the head with ‘you’re-going-to-lose-your-subjects.’

 

4. Dr. Whale is hilarious.  I look forward to seeing more of him.

 

5. Rumplestiltskin, I’m surprised at you.  You’re supposed to account for every eventuality.  What happened to that?  Also, again, I EXPECT YOU TO USE MAGICAL SECURITY SYSTEMS ON YOUR SHOP.  Been saying since last season.  You’re slipping, my dear.

 

6. Regina’s redemption arc hits like a sledgehammer.  I have no interest in this until it gains some nuance.

Once Upon a Time 2×1 “Broken”

SPOILERS

1. The reunion between Emma and her parents was every bit as awkward as anticipated.  I suspect a lot of the resentments about Emma’s upbringing were immediately thrown in there mainly to distract everyone from the sheer awkwardness of their age discrepancies.  David’s interaction with Henry made me quite irritated with him-he’s only interested in using him bolster his own self-image and determination by impressing them on Henry-probably subconsciously as he clearly means well, but that’s all I saw.  Of everyone in his family YOU do not know this kid-you could talk to him, ask him what he thinks, thank him for believing in you (I think Mary mentioned things like this to him) or pushing Emma to save everyone?  No?  I cannot be behind this as a proper family meeting.

2. I have many feelings about Rumplestiltskin.  After the last episode I had a lot of questions for him, and the answers don’t really alter my need to sit him down and have a chat.  As far as why Belle knows he’ll be able to canoodle with Belle after magic is brought to Storybrooke, I suppose the whole “magic works differently here”, already covering a multitude of sins, can also manage to cover for Rumple’s ability to look normal and kiss Belle.  My criticism that as a looks-conscious man Rumple should’ve leaped to redress Belle did get addressed.  I was both glad to see Rumple talking fashion with Belle and sad that it came up mainly as an excuse to be alone instead of the sincere thing it should’ve been.  It did seem that everyone else was too busy reuniting and getting angry mobbish that Rumple’s store was safe, but still-I would expect people to be trying to get back their objects anytime now.  The dagger, though…he’s really still going with leaving it in the woods, where these people run around regularly, knowing that Ruby’s got wolf powers for finding objects and that he’s actually shown Pinochio (who may not be dead and if he was I don’t think Rumple necessarily knew it) where its hiding spot is?  That seems like the height of stupidity and I expect more of him.

3. I was happy with the show’s take on Sleeping Beauty’s kingdom “sleeping for years” along with her.  Phillip is clearly the dashing hero I want him to be.  Unfortunately, the love triangle with Mulan meant that their feminine-stereotype fight, which might have led to really awesome feminist breakthroughs or at least a shattering of said stereotypes, led only to a love-triangle.  This is not okay.

4. Our clues for the new guy are: he’s in a big city, he’s got a postcard, there’s a significant pigeon.  Right now the strongest possibilities of the ones I’ve seen seem to be the White Rabbit or Peter Pan, as both of those had the ability to traverse worlds.  My personal theory is that he’s the boy who befriended Pinochio on Pleasure Island.  Pinochio may well have confided in his best friend his mission, his conversation with the Blue Fairy may have been about the sending of this postcard to an address at a ‘certain time’, or Pinochio may have survived and sent it himself.  Further evidence comes from the pigeon-in Disney’s Pinochio he found out where Gepetto went because of a message dropped to him by some birds that resembled doves or pigeons.  Hence, the significant pigeon points this way.  Also, this version of Pleasure Island IS a part of the normal world, so of course he would be there.

5. Dr Whale is unknown by David.  And possibly Regina, though was an integral person who collaborated with her, which argues she is lying.  He is a doctor.  He is a womanizer.  Is he Smee?  Smee performed caretaking duties, is tied to the sea, and could be imagined as a womanizer pirate like the others.  I like the idea that he’s the wizard from Wizard of Oz-he could have ballooned in from FTL, or passed through there, which would explain how he got there-but he would be unknown.  The wizard performed ‘operations’ on heads, hearts, etc., so could easily become a doctor.  The wizard is  a natural collaborator, explaining his switch from cooperating so well with Regina to hating her so much.  He’s manipulative, which could lead to lying and womanizing.  Also, perhaps his balloon was named or shaped or bore the image of a whale.  It could totally work.

6. Where is Jefferson???  He is needed here.

‘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.)