Monday, April 2, 2012

TV: Review of Once Upon a Times "Hat Trick" Episode

Well, that was refreshing! A real world story that was more interesting than the fairy tale world story.

"Hat Trick" begins with Mary Margaret racing through the woods, stupidly running away from jail. Emma, of course, has to go after her, or she is royally screwed. She does and runs a man off the road, who tricks Emma into giving him a ride back to his house by feigning an injury. He drugs her with tea and ties her up.

Turns out he's the Mad Hatter who was separated from his daughter by the Evil Queen who trapped him in Wonderland, doomed to forever make hats in hopes that he will find the one hat that will take him back to his daughter. In the real world, he is mad because he is the only one who remembers fairy tale land, and can watch his daughter every day with her new family and can't do anything about it. He knows Emma is the key, and is trying to force her to make the magic hat to send him back to fairy tale land so he can be with his daughter.

Anyway, after some thrilling heroics on the part of Emma (and Mary Margaret!), he falls out of a window and dissapears into the night. Mary Margaret and Emma have a heart to heart, and Mary Margaret goes back to jail, deliciously foiling Regina's plan. Though now we know that Regina and Mr. Gold are in cahoots, and we're all in deep shit. Except that Mr. Gold is a double-crossing bastard, and no one should ever trust him, including Regina.

So this was a very compelling episode! I do wish that the trailer was not so obvious as to who Jefferson was. The story built up nicely, so if you hadn't seen the trailer, you would not have guessed who he was until he pulled out his hat, about half way through. It would have been a great reveal, if they hadn't spoiled themselves.

The story in fairy tale land was kinda blah. It would have been a bit better if the CGI wasn't so horrible.

See? Rather a horrific image if you didn't have the Barbie dream landscape in the background.

The best part of the episode, though, was the conversation between Jefferson and Emma, when he starts to convince her that the curse is real. He explains how there are many worlds, all touching, some with magic, and some not, and that stories are real.

Jefferson: Stories. Stories? What's a story? When you were in high school, did you learn about the Civil War?
Emma: Yeah, of course.
Jefferson: How? Did you read about it, perchance, in a book? How is that any less real than any other book?
Emma: History books are based on history.
Jefferson: And storybooks are based on what, imagination? Where's that come from? It has to come from somewhere. You know what the issue is with this world? Everyone wants a magical solution for their problem, and everyone refuses to believe in magic.

Emma becomes emotional, and it looks like her barriers are breaking down, ready to believe. Then she clobbers him with a telescope and the moment is ruined.

When he retaliates, though, there is a beautiful reveal of a scar on Jefferson's neck from when he got his head chopped off in Wonderland. A smart, incisive touch.

Then Mary Margaret goes all Snow White on his ass and kicks him out the window. She says that she has no idea where that came from, but to the audience, it was a brilliant emergence of Snow White in the timid Mary Margaret, which leads us to hope that the bleed between the two will continue. Mary Margaret certainly had a touch of Dark Snow White harshness in the end exchange with Emma at the end, which turns into a touching affirmation when Emma slips and calls Mary Margaret "family." Though Emma looks slightly emaciated in this scene, and I am worried for her.

The ending gives me hope. Emma asks to borrow Henry's book, and see's that Jefferson's story is all in there, with pictures that look like him. There is a prevailing theory that the pictures in the book will become clearer as Emma's influence becomes greater.

I realize I am a week behind, but this past Sundays episode is apparently really good, because the Tumblr fans are flipping a shit.

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