Sunday, March 25, 2012

TV: Review of Once Upon a Time's Episode: Heart of Darkness


Well this episode was kinda...meh. I was expecting the series to shoot off after the great Little Red episode, and the promise of dark-i-tude that was the trailer for this one: 

Alas, it was a bit bland for me. Still, there were some really cool moments!

We started off with Charming and Red being pursued by King George's Army, and Red badassly Hulking (or wolfing) out to give him a head start. She seems to have come to grips with her wolfy self. If you are as confused as I am about the time line, here, this is really helpful.

Meanwhile, Snow White hums "With a Smile and a Song" while sweeping and enchanting birds. I was nearly livid until she used her bird charming to try and smash the bird with her broom, and get it out of the house. The dwarves, lead by Jimminy Cricket (yay, he's back!) stage an intervention, saying that she has become , basically, a huge bitch. She berates them all, and decides she's off to kill the Queen! The terrible Queen of Fairytale Land. 

It turns out she is under the influence of Rumplestiltslin's forgetting-the-love-of-your-life juice, which not only makes you forget, it gives you a large hole in your heart like..guess who?... the Evil Queen. 

Charming tries to heal her with true love's kiss, but it doesn't work until he is willing to give up his life so she won't go down the dark path of murderdom from whose bourn no traveler returns. She kisses him and remembers him and all is hearts and stars until King George's men arrest Charming. They have the heart-wrenching "I will always find you" moment as the episode ends. I really love Snow and Charming. I am really getting sick of Mary Margaret and David.

In fairy tale land, Mary Margaret takes the opposite journey of her fairy tale counterpart. As the evidence piles up against her, she spirals down into a pit of bad. Henry (god, I wish this kid was a better actor) sits at Granny's drowning his sorrows in a cup of hot chocolate when August (the writer) plunks down next to him and reveals he is here to make Emma believe in fairy tales! As cool as that reveal is, it's a bit of a let down when you build up mystery and then casually go "Oh, it's this! Thanks for watching." I was expecting to work a little more for a big reveal like that. The Rumplestiltskin-still-remembers-fairy-land reveal, for example. That one was nicely done.

Anyway, David visits Doctor Hopper (yay!) to recover his lost memories through hypnosis. He remembers the mystery 8 min conversation with Katheryn about how she was sad, but hopeful and moving to Boston. And then he remembers Snow White (not Mary Margaret) in the woods saying she was going to kill someone. Which is fun! I think Regina's fucking with him, making him forget the phone call, and that, plus hypnosis, is stirring the hidden Charming memories up to the surface. But then, David visits and doesn't believe Mary Margaret is innocent and she kicks him out. 

Oh yeah, and Mr. Gold will be her lawyer, and Emma thinks Regina's behind this, but she's gonna work really really hard to save Mary Margaret. 

But THEN, Mary Margaret finds one of Regina's keys under her jail blanket, and is able to escape from jail. Which I thought was stupid, b/c nothing says guilt more like running away. AND it will cast doubt on Emma's impartiality. Lots of people on the fandom are cheering Snow on for taking control of her own destiny, but I feel its just falling into Regina's plot once again.

Anyway, the THEMES! I loved the theme that, as Regina says, "Evil isn't born. It's made." Regina (as I am guessing from "The Stable Boy" promo shots) wasn't much different than Snow when she started out. Then the big everything-is-Snow-White's-fault betrayal happened, and evil Regina was born.  It's fun to play with the idea that Snow would become Regina's replacement if she killed Regina.

However, I think it was a bit of a cop out that Snow was under the influence of a potion. I think it would have been much stronger if Snow had come to that place on her own. That the darkness and hatred of the Queen consumed her, and she chose to take that road of her own free will. 

I misunderstood the potion's influence, though, at first. I thought it had removed ALL love from her life, rather than just making her forget Charming. Why else would she be mean to the dwarves? But eventually I saw that this is how she would be if she had not met Charming when she did.

The mission seemed to come out of no where at first, but then a minion tells Snow the Queen is traveling to her summer palace, Snow flushes and snarls "That palace was built for my mother" with such passion, that I was sold. Crusade away, Snow, you obviously mean it. I can see how the removal of her love of Charming from her life gave her no spark of hope for the future, and just made her dwell on the past, so that all she could see was the wrongs done to her. When she finds her love again, she's focused on saving him, rather than killing the Queen. But I still think the feelings fueling the murder mission should be there underneath. Snow will not act on them, as she is a good person and has hope now, when she had none before, but she should still feel them. 

Anyway, next episode, "Hat Trick," introduces Alice in Wonderland into our realm of fairy tales (a tiny sore point with me, as I think it is a children's novel, not a fairy tale). I am very excited that someone else remembers fairy tale world and is trying to convince Emma. That is the most exciting dynamic of the story for me. How and when these folks will regain their fairy tale memories. 

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