Once Upon a Time 2×21 “Second Star to the Right”

This is the episode where they stopped trying to wrap things up for the finale and just threw things into a box.  Fairly sturdy box, though.  SPOILERS:

 

1. Am I the only one who thought the “I love you”s between Emma and Neal were too abrupt and forced?  Perhaps if Neal, as someone who thinks they’re about to die, had started it as opposed to Emma, who was in denial, I could have bought it.  As it is, I just think that there goes another storyline that could have been interesting, super-condensed and disposed of.

2. I feel Disney really missed out on opportunities for fun references here.  I knew hoping for some kind of “Great Mouse Detective” thing in Big Ben was probably too much of a long shot, but shouldn’t there at least have been chimney sweeps?  A Mary Poppins hat?  A chimney sweep’s broom???  Come on, people!

3. This Neverland story doesn’t make sense to me.  If the Shadow just wants boys-Lost Boys-then why bother with Wendy in the first place?  If it was supposed to be a preview so her brothers would want to come, the shadow was pretty stupid to let her stay so long or tell her about the soil rule.  Why on earth would Bae think pots are a good defenses?  If the real plan was to get everyone in the crawl space, why not start there?  If the Shadow started showing up at the same time as Bae, wouldn’t he wanted Bae instead of the brothers in the first place?  How was Bae surprised about winding up in Neverland?  If he had a lighter up his sleeve to make Shadow go away, why didn’t he just try fighting with it before making the deal to leave the Darlings alone?  And on top of all that…taking in a hungry urchin is one thing, but letting him sleep in the same room as your preteen daughter seems screamingly out of place anywhere, but particularly in Victorian London.

4. Most important thing in this episode: Maleficent lives!!! Hurrah!  I’m going to go ahead and decide that she also survived Greg and Tamara due to that super-survival spell and just shape-shifted again.  Perhaps into a raven akin to her companion in Sleeping Beauty this time?  I felt incredibly cheated that we didn’t get to see the real fight with her.  Her shape and strength was amazing and even Hook managed a good line in her presence.

5. Okay, having Regina use her magic ‘obliviate’ just so she can tell the audience what she wants to do, since it’s obvious it makes no sense for her to be saying this to Henry, takes me right out of the story.

6. Also, what’s with the torture?  If they’d referred to things like no one withstanding the machine or this being Regina’s pit of despair I’d be okay with it, but…it just wasted time .

7. The minute Tamara said “unholy” I checked out.  Not that I was ever interested in that storyline to begin with.  However, if their headquarters can just inform Tamara that gem=a curse failsafe, then…First, that’s insane.  Second, I want this to go back to Jekyll and Hyde, the good doctor founded this to try and stop Hyde before its magic curse killed him.  Third, shouldn’t they be interested in using that technology whatever to make more anti-magic shields or whatever, prevention rather than eradication?

8. This complaint is late since haven’t reviewed the last couple episodes, but: You’ve got a field of magic portals that are your only hope for your desired future and you don’t leave anyone on guard???  I feel Granny or Ruby would have thought of that.

9. It’s a little difficult to take seriously the saying “No one steals from a dwarf!” seeing as most of them start life by doing grunt work for the fairies’ dust, which all goes to them, and so they don’t really have possessions to steal.  Even outside of that, they stick in packs, so it should at least be “No one steals from dwarves”?

 

Overall: Thank God that whole Tamara-Emma-Neal love triangle no one really committed to can stop bungling around.  Kudos for Regina for keeping everyone on point with what’s important.  Who wants to bet Antoine’s got some extra beans on his person since he’s learned it’s good to have failsafes too?  Anyhow, not totally great, but not a bad showing, either.  We’ll see how the finale goes.

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.