Once Upon a Time 4×1 “A Tale of Two Sisters”

Well, I caught up on “Once Upon a Time” just before its new premiere and…I’m still not sure what I think about it. On the one hand…

The Good:
1. Elsa’s character remains intact. After her ominous arrival last season from Rumple’s “I’m-scared-of-this” vault and emergence over the last great evil-Zelena’s-dark magic symbol, I feared for the integrity of her flawed, but good heroine personality.
2. This is one of those episodes where everything looked just as it should. This is very important for a show dabbling in iconic images and moments, but from everything “Frozen” to dancing with Belle, this episode was charming to literally watch.
3. We don’t have to go back to the past again! Yay! Personally, I found that storyline in the last two episodes too much stalling for too little payoff, especially since it’s pushing at Regina in all-too-cliche ways.
4. The mention of Netflix was a funny meta touch.

However, the other hand is weighed down with…

The Bad:
1. Finding ‘The’ author of fairy tales??? That’s just not a good idea and my folklorist heart is already pained. I suppose the most acceptable solution would be to find Disney himself, but…then we’ve got a whole other kettle of meta fish happening that’s just too close to home for magic to keep off the fishy smell.
2. Can everyone just stop messing with Belle already? Just STOP IT. One of the things I liked about last season was how she got to call out her tormentors and remind everyone just how raw a deal this crazy optimist, of all people, got in previous seasons. STOP MESSING WITH HER, I DON’T CARE IF SHE DOESN’T KNOW.
3. Obviously Henry is the best option for Regina-company and deterrent right now and it’s plain stupidity and selfishness that keeps Emma hounding her personally to try and prove that she was right.
4. Look, I’ve been trying to reconcile myself to Hook/Emma for an entire season now and having a hard time of it, having Emma share my hesitation is not helping.
5. If an enchanter comes to claim that hat and dares to call himself Merlin without being the most awesome character ever I will hate this show.

Also, I’m not sure which category this goes in, but according to that timeline, the powers of True Love and pixie dust thought that Regina and Robin should get together before she became the full-fledged Evil Queen who messed with Marian, which has to mean that it thought they’d make a better match than Robin and Marian IN THE FIRST PLACE, EVEN! I’m not sure what to do with that. One voice is crying out-don’t mess with Robin and Marian, it has to at least be history!, while the other is saying hah-see, Marian never really should have gotten him to begin with, go Regina! It’s confusing. What do you think of that?

Of course, we still have those nitty-gritty questions to get into about predictions for this season…

The U(gly U)nknown:
1. Will Anna’s journey in the Enchanted Forest run her into more wolves in the form of Red? That is my greatest hope right now.
2. Will Belle get pregnant with a boy they’ll name Chip as a tribute to their love?
3. Perhaps instead of the author we can get Scheherazade who’s been telling these stories to her sultan? That would be cool. Correction, that could be cool. Could also be a big mess, but at least better than finding any kind of author.
4. Can we count Mickey Mouse as an author? o.O
5. It’s probably all going to have to do with Roland and him getting attached to a savior-Regina with her this time, isn’t it?
6. So are Hans and his brothers “waiting to pounce” ruling the roost back in Arendelle? Or did they follow Anna and trap her to try and get her to marry Hans/one of them a la Penelope in the Odyssey? I do like the image of Sven helping to break that up eventually. Or, could be both!
7. This also makes me think that Ariel and Eric and their island is reminiscent of Calypso, the sea’s daughter, and her lovers’ island, no?
8. Which brings me to Hercules and how on first hearing Regina had a second soulmate, I thought of him. He likes dark women, doesn’t he? (Plus, he could have wanted a tattoo of the lion he defeated.) It would be fun if they could have at least a fling.
9. Who wants to bet that “the truth” about Elsa and her powers is that she really has a different father than Anna does, or was adopted from her sister or something, which will make her actually related to Enchanted Forest folk? After all, this show is nothing if not incestuous! See: Hook, chasing after his stepson’s babymama, etc.

Well, those are my thoughts. What are yours? Any predictions-without spoilers!-or speculations to share?

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Once Upon a Time 2×24 finale “And Straight On Til Morning”

There’s no leaving the need for spoilers:

 

-Does anyone else find it highly suspect that the holy Tamara and the sacredness of her quest allow her to leave escape plans with the most selfish males she meets, aka August and then Hook?  ANYONE ELSE feel that’s pretty much a red flag around here?

-So, Snow White is now clearing the darkness in her heart AND proving her and her hubby’s leadership skills by…declaring that she wants to risk the lives of herself, her family, and all of her subjects for Regina’s because it’s the “hard path” and because she still feels guilty over killing her mom.  This is the most selfish, horrible leader thing ever.  Luckily, I love Regina and really need her to live, I just thought we were going to get there through Henry or even Emma’s that-is-wrong-FAMILY feelings rather than hearing one woman using her guilt to imperil her people being portrayed as Great-yay!  And then to top it all off, it is Therapist Approved!  Come on, Archie!

-It is amazing to me that, in spite of being all moonish and anguished over Milah’s image, Hook never seems to think of Bae as Milah’s son, just Rumple’s.  In his private references to him it’s always the Dark One’s son or the kid the shadow’s looking for, only after Bae brings up Milah does Hook use her as a tool to persuade Bae into staying aboard.  This bugs me-just one more way in which Hook’s lovesick story is inconsistent.

-Technically, Cinderella’s baby was also born here, so Henry would have had it for company.

-I am gratified Granny was finally called in as babysitter, though.  Greg and Tamara wouldn’t get past her shotgun at Henry.

-There was a pathetic lack of Ruby.

-Emma’s magic powers are extremely convenient at all times, I must say.

-Was anyone else expecting Belle to wake up, remember all the bad things Gold let himself do at Lacey’s urging, and be all upset at him?  At least a little bit?  Make SOME comment about her Laciness?  After the town was saved, at any rate.

-I loooooove everything Regina in this episode!  On point, focused, and without even any really long speeches or claims.  That is the best media dying ever and no one ever, ever does it!

-Does everyone just assume if the diamond got sent to another land it would just not do anything, as opposed to simply exploding somewhere else?  Cause the random missile plan is truly not heroic.

-We’ve been over this-it took him forever, but Gold has magical security on his shop now!  Did Lacey let the dwarves in?  Also, we’ve been digging up memory-reviving fairy dust for weeks now and Sneezy STILL NEVER GOT HIS IDENTITY BACK???  THE HELL, SHOW?

-You’d think Ruby could survive as a wolf, right?  I mean, her wolf self did get born again in Storybrooke, so it was technically born there, sortof.

-I do finally buy a storyarc of Hook’s in this episode, though.  The reaching of his wearing-down point and willingness to try new tactics was believable and touching.

-These Lost Boys…first, do you suppose the confiscated shadows are then sold to the coachman in Pinnochio to be his creepy shadow workers on Pleasure Island?  Second, why are they dressed like Robin Hood?  Three, if they’ve just been looking for Henry all this time, as opposed to even a small short-list of desirable boys to kidnap, life in Neverland just got reeeeally boring.  I do not find this as Neverland version as intriguing or dangerous as others seem to, because….how frustrating and tedious is that?  Fourth, we saw a lot of scenes there at night.  Shouldn’t we have heard this creepy crying for parents Wendy spoke of?  Five, if there’s a picture of the boy the shadow wants, can’t he see whether he’s got the right one or not?  Geez.

-Please let Tamara and Greg be quickly dispatched and replaced by more interesting higher ups in the next episode.

-Someone could explain how Phillip got revived, perhaps?

-Perhaps we can finally get some Pirates of the Caribbean references?

-Also, Tiger Lily!  Get on it!

And that’s Season 2!

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 2×18 “Selfless, Brave and True”

Are they kidding me with this?  At least this one wasn’t boring.  On the other hand, it wasn’t really better for it and that’s tough to do.  SPOILERS:

1. I believe all the flashback!August can be summarized like so: He was even more of an idiot than even I expected.  This is also tough to do at this point and not really better for it.  This is clearly the secret name of this episode-“Tough to do, but no better for it.”

2. To be less summarizey, August was turning back into WOOD.  WOOD!  Like a living wooden puppet!  And he went to…THE HOSPITAL!?!?  Nevermind his ethics, for that act of stupidity alone he deserved to be tasered.  However, it wasn’t alone, because the second you know he actually went around TRYING to show normal, everyday people that he’s turning back into a giant wooden puppet (*headdesk*) and found out no one normal could see it, than it makes his act of trying to make a big reveal of his woodiness to Emma in order to convince her of things, and subsequent surprise at Emma’s lack of seeing woodiness, INFINITELY MORONIC.  I CANNOT EVEN.

3. If that guy was supposed to be Mushu from Mulan, than I officially call that these show’s writers must all have a secret vendetta for that movie for some reason.

4. They realize that arrow shooting song is also used in “10 Things I Hate about You”, which also features angry/confused women shooting arrows, right?  That cracked me up.

5. Yes, clearly the ability to project your own deep personal issues onto someone else and push them into all sorts of things they’re not ready for just for your own peace of mind is DEFINITELY the shortcut back to being the pure, non-blackened, good side of yourself.  Way to go, Team Snow.  (*glare*)

6. It is plain that the writers don’t even care about the Owen/Regina dynamic.

7. I desperately wanted Regina’s speech about juice cleanses to end with “Apple juice, of course.”

8. WHY IS THERE NOTHING ELSE I CAN SAY ABOUT REGINA THIS EPISODE?  TOUGH, AND THE OPPOSITE OF BETTER FOR IT.

9. At this point I’m just going to start making up my own legend/fairy tale/mythic tie-ins.  For instance, someone rewatch the last episode and find out how many pieces of apple daddy Kurt ate at Regina’s house-that’s how many years she kept him in the asylum to punish him.

10. So, that whole huge deal August made last episode about needing magic in order for the woodiness to not kill him-which they REFERENCED this episode by saying that he couldn’t move at all before magic was restored-is somehow not going to prevent him leaving town?  There’s still no magic outside Storybrooke, right?  August is still all wood, right?  You even JUST REMINDED EVERYONE MULTIPLE TIMES that the reason August needed to help with the curse was so the woodiness wouldn’t kill him through paralysis…..Yet they had August driving out of town-where there is no magic-and….nothing bad happened. (*headdesk headdesk headdesk*)  Bad show!  Bad!

11. I’m sorry, if August had time to say “Emma” twice he could have spit out “Tamara” no problem.  Sadly, he’s been shown to be such a colossal idiot this episode that what happened is, indeed, believable.

12. Yes, the obvious way to fix everything is to put people back in time with NO memory of what they did wrong, so they will be unable to learn from their past actions.  Uh-huh.

13. You know what?  The end of this one was such a huge mess I don’t even think it’ll be satisfying to point out all the different things that went into making it so.  Let’s just stop here.  There’s plenty enough to headdesk and be upset about without getting any closer to the Tamara or August endings here.

Is this one of those things where someone’s getting kicked off the show so they’re doing their best to leave it in the worst shape possible right before they’re forced to leave?  It’d explain a lot.

Once Upon a Time 2×17 “Welcome to Storybrooke

See, this is exactly the episode I did Not want to see.  Spoilers in the reasons why:

 

1. See, this kind of monotony is exactly why the show started AFTER Emma showed up.  It is Boring.  I was bored then.

2. If Regina is also bored, as she seems to be, she doesn’t have to keep doing the same thing day after day-that’s the reward of having her memory.  Is she really that unimaginative?  No, but this episode was.

3.We know it took Regina maybe a week to get that bored, which is ridiculous.  We know this because Kurt and Owen arrived right after Storybrooke’s creation.  So, about a week into her 28 year curse, Regina’s discovered that what would truly make her happy is a child.  Henry was 8 when Emma showed up.  Mr. Gold, without his memories, might take…shall we say a year at the most to get Regina a child once she’s asked him?  So that leaves us with a swiftly discontented, lonely Regina who’s been shown exactly what she wants within the first fortnight of the curse and…she does nothing about it for 19 years?  Nineteen YEARS?  Come on, people!  This is all just nonsense.

4. By the by, that Owen thing’s another mark for “All Mothers Die” being the true secret name of this series.

5. I never want to see Lana Parilla standing there looking helpless because the writers and directors couldn’t think of anything for her to do while two men struggle.  Ever.  But it’s particularly heinous when her character is, in fact, the one with all the power as she is in this episode when Graham originally tries to arrest Kurt for drunk driving.  That was character assassination by negligence.

6. That curse Regina so conveniently found that so conveniently would get her both of the things she’s been craving forever, that came at the most convenient time is too…what’s that word?  CONVENIENT.  Where was Gold stepping out into the writers’ room and announcing, “You didn’t think it’d be that easy, did you?” when it counts.

7. Also, Gold was the one standing strong and victorious at the end of last episode-all he gets to do this one is roll over and be a guard dog?  That’s just not good television.

8. So, how exactly did Greg get Regina’s cell number?

9. For that matter, how did stalker Greg manage to have no reaction at all to the name Storybrooke or seeing Regina as precisely herself, as opposed to simply reacting to magic?  I call bull.  Total bull.

10. This thing where Regina does the right thing at Henry’s bequest and Henry immediately goes to the other side…I feel I have ranted on this before.  It’s the worst possible handling.  Even worse, in this instance it didn’t even make sense.  Henry clearly felt equally upset at both sides and Regina’s the one who actually stood up and gave him what he asked for.  It would have made far more sense for his character to hug her first.

11. If Henry needs to be out of the way but won’t go to New York, I strongly advocate he spend his days with Granny and Ruby.  No one’s tougher than them and they can teach him how to make all the delicious pancakes he can eat.

12. See, these times when people are depressed and won’t get out of bed and turn suicidal is generally when you call in folks like Dr. Hopper.  Seriously, no one takes that cricket for anything, do they?  It’s just sad.

13. Lana Parilla did rock the ending.  Sadly…it was after 40 minutes of things I can’t care about and I couldn’t muster up the will to care by that point.

It’s sad.

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.

 

 

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