Tuesday, February 19, 2013

OUAT Review Dump

Ladies and Jellyspoons, I apologize for getting so behind in this! I just closed my play, and I am now all caught up on our beloved and frustrating Once Upon a Time. Some of these episodes are vague, cloudy memories for me by this point, but I will do my best to re-recreate the joy and rage I felt when I first watched them.

The Cricket Game

Gah! Heart-wrenching for Regina! She goes to the Snow and Emma welcome back party, and even though she saved them, and made it possible for them to come home, she is shunned and attacked. The conversation between Emma and Regina outside the diner was beautiful, and when Regina apologized for snapping at Emma, I just...oh the feels. I was so proud of her in this episode! She tries so hard. She keeps calm under pressure, she does not succumb to violence (until the end). She has some eeexcellent snark ("You got your PhD from a curse," "Because you know so much about parenting from the five minutes you've been with him," "Glad to see the sheriff's station is now a family business.") She follows what the law requires. And still, the town smacks her down. Understandably, since the evidence was stacked so high against her. (PS, did anyone else side with Regina about the doctor/ patient confidentiality thing? Bad form, Dr. Hopper).

While I sometimes love the Fairy Tale Justice in this small New England town, I am not cool with everyone deciding to kill Regina. In fact, there's a lot of group-think Killing People Will Solve All Our Problems in these episodes. Not cool, Storybrooke.

Loved the Snow and Charming sex scene, and how they still have a chance to emotionally scar their daughter.

Io9's review

The Outsider

(created by Frambouaz)

In which Belle has adventures and takes some really really stupid risks. I love Belle. She has some beautiful exchanges with Rumple this episode. The scene on the boat where she convinces him not to beat Hook to death is perfection! However, man, that flashback. Don't get me wrong, I was glad to see that Belle was fulfilling her dreams and using her brains to solve problems and vanquish beasts. However, she approached the fire cat without a weapon. Twice. The first time, definitely without a plan. Also, I did not see why she needed to change into the boobalicious adventure outfit to do it. As we see later with Jack, apparently women cannot have adventures in pants without their boobs spilling out all over the place. Unless you wish to distract your enemy with breasts, it is not a practical adventuring outfit. I do not fault Belle for this, as it is clearly a costumer fetish.

Also, did anyone else say, "Belle, do not go on to the boat that you can't see with a gun you have never used before? You have no idea what threats you will face. This is stupid and reckless." Yes, I know we are supposed to see from the flashback that she is capable of taking care of herself, but something about her bearing and her choices and her baby-deerishness on the boat make me highly frightened for her well-being.

The ending scene across the town line was heartbreaking. After all of Belle's devotion and love, which gave Rumple the strength to be a better man, all of it is gone in an instant. It was kind of satisfying to watch Hook get hit with a car, though.

Also loved Archie's funeral. I had worried they'd actually killed him because he was a disposable minor character (which I highly disagree with). I'm glad they gave him a proper, if premature, send off. I am a little irked that, after he reveals to Emma and Henry that he was alive, he disappears for ALL THE EPISODES. Not even a cameo. Archie, you are no longer needed as a plot device, so we will completely ignore your existence or the ramifications of your kidnapping.

And Henry, make up your mind. You always knew Regina was evil, you love her, you are creating an arsenal in case she attacks, you always knew she was innocent. Some consistency, please.

Io9's Review

In The Name of the Brother

(created by frekkenbok)

Ugh. I so wanted to love this episode. I am fascinated by Dr. Whale, and I love Frankenstein. However, here is my bone to pick with you, Once Upon a Time. You are all characters from books, yes? This is the world you have created, the rules you set up. Fairy tales were easy. There are so many gaps in fairy tales. All you need to do is have the basic symbols of the fairy tale: Cinderella, the shoe, the fairy godmother, the ball, the prince. Little Red, the wolf, the grandmother, the red cape. Snow White, the apple, the mirror, the stepmother, the dwarves, the kiss to wake her (Or dropping her to wake her). However, when you venture into novels, like Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, or Frankenstein, you have a hell of a lot more content to address. Snow White is an archetype that can be filled with anything you want. Hook actually has a fully fleshed out character. So does the Mad Hatter. Neither have back stories, so you can certainly take liberties up to that point. However, we know the entirety of Frankenstein's story, from his birth to his death and beyond. It is really fascinating stuff, all about personal responsibility. And Once Upon a Time used none of it. Absolutely none of it. He put life into a corpse, and there the resemblance ends. I thought the rules established in this world was that the books were written representations of the lives of these characters that live in the other universe of Imagination. The books may leave out information, but they aren't completely wrong.

My BF and I had an debate about this. He thought that it was ok for OUAT to change the story to fit the needs of the show. I would agree with that a little if I felt that 1) the story they told had value to the overarching OUAT plot line, and 2) it was saying something that could only be said without using the book. The pain and fear that Frankenstein goes through in the book, the idea that something he created or gave life to caused so much damage is a PERFECT parallel to what is going on with the Stranger. If he saves the Stranger, if he gives him life, the stranger could destroy the town.  Second, the main theme of Frankenstein is that he avoids responsibility, which causes destruction. That is exactly what he is doing in Storybrooke. He doesn't want to be responsible for this man's life or death so he runs away. He is reliving the fears and mistakes that lead to the most horrible chapter in his life, which he cannot deal with so he tries to commit suicide. This story, to me, seems so much more interesting than "I am not good enough for my father and cannot do anything right in his eyes so I will resurrect my brother and I can't even do that right, and now I am unsure of my skills as a doctor all of a sudden." </rant>

Anyhoodle, I loved the Monster to Monster chat. I hope they do more with Ruby and Whale's relationship that they started setting up in Season 1! I hated the fact that, again, the solution everyone seems to agree upon is, "When in doubt, kill someone." Loved the "We are not a group sheriff" line, because it was oh so true. Was really wondering what happened to Emma's Lie Detector power that only turns on when convenient to the plot? (Gif set of examples) Loved that Regina remained strong in the face of her mother...for like 5 seconds, and now I have no idea what happened to the Regina we have been developing this entire season, as we will see later.

Io9's Review


I tend to agree with Io9 a bit that this episode held the very best and very worst of what OUAT has to offer. Not "Dreamy" worst, but a flavor of that. As much as I love love love Jorge Garcia (he is my favorite Lostian), this flashback felt like filler. The two things that came out of it were 1) Jorge Garcia in Storybrooke (yay!) and 2) Magic Bean. Now the BF gets on me about making judgments about the importance of things before we see the entire arc (and I am desperately trying not to do that with Regina, see below), but I do not foresee anything aside from those two plot points having any effect on later plots. It seems like OUAT is killing time with flashbacks, rather than using them to inform current events in a meaningful way.

Let us now talk about Regina, who is evil again. Cuz of mom. And she wants Henry back. Which bothers the crap out of me. Legally...LEGALLY, she still has custody of Henry. Emma has no case in Storybrooke for keeping him. It is only because of past wrongs and Fairy Tale Justice (rather than small town law) that keeps them apart. I nearly screamed at the TV when Snow said Emma didn't have to check with Regina about taking her son out of town. YES SHE DOES! Anyway....I do not like this weird amalgam Regina. She no longer has the full delightful evilness, but she does not have the struggling goodness either. She is kinda blandly in the middle. I am hoping this means that she is pretending to go along with her mother so that she can figure out her plan and then save the day in the last minute. The only real evil thing she has done so far is embiggen Tiny.

Speaking of not so evil things people have done, Snow says "Most people would let the giant die after what he's done." First, what has he done aside from throw some cars, and two, again with the KILLING!" What is up with this town?

Other things happening in Storybrooke are really interesting and meaty, though! Ethan Embry investigating the town weirdness and trying to find an ally in Belle. Belle out of her depth and pushing people who love her away (the chipped cup was heartbreaking). Charming and Snow ramp up the discussion of where "home" is. I can't wait to see that conversation develop and bear fruit. And Emma, Henry and Rumple go on a road trip! So good! The episode breathed, and talked about real things, and you could see their relationships changing and developing. You saw Rumple vulnerable and scared and still pushing through. You saw Emma taking care of Rumple as she would a father in law (spoiler alert). So much tasty stuff in there! And that final panic-inducing push into Rumple's face as the plane took off. FANTASTIC.

Io9 review


(created by goshdarncute)

I KNEW IT! I KNEW Neal was Bae. SO awesome. The writing in the scenes between Neal and Emma and Rumpelstiltskin was really sharp. No one let anyone get away with anything, there were no easy solutions, everyone fiercely went after their objectives. Great work. Great payoff. And not only does Neal have a son, Rumple has a grandson whom he has previously threatened, but also built up a relationship with. More responsibility and family for a man who has been defined by his familylessness. Now, he will have to decide to accept the prophecy and let it pass, or to interpret "He will be your downfall" not as "he will be the reason you are taken down by Regina" or "if you kill him everyone will kill you," but as "I must dispose of the boy before he kills me." You would think he would learn by now not to take much stock in what you assume a prophecy to be.

I do agree with Io9 that the Pinocchio box reveal was pretty lame. All he needed to do is say "I know you are Baelfire." He did not need to write it down and reveal it dramatically. I was hoping for something bigger and better than that. Perhaps having to do with another theory that I have (which I will save for the end of this).

In Flashback Land, Rumpelstiltskin's wife is crazy. She clearly has multiple personalities or something. We see her in one scene saying that he shouldn't go off to the war and get killed because he is afraid of being a coward like his father. In the next scene, she is screaming at him for coming back to her and being a coward like his father. Is this the same character? What is happening? While I was not pulled by this flashback as I have been for others, Robert Carlysle is an amazing actor, the seer's make up was really cool, and it did solidify Rumple's devotion to Bae, even if he allowed it to get clouded by magic later.

And in Storybrooke, Hook is useless. He is not doing anything. He has had his revenge by taking Belle away from Rumple. Does he want more revenge? Why is he still here? He is there to make awkwardly threatening sexual statements and be the eye candy in the evil trio. And I do not like Cora with her hair down and her slim suits. It feels, and maybe this is on purpose, that she is trying to be like Regina so that Regina will like the "new Cora." The "not dressed in fairy tale clothes that reminds us of all the baggage we have" Cora. "The Hip New Mom" Cora. Also, Regina is getting lazy. She does not want to walk across a room and rummage through someone's purse manually anymore. She needs to conveniently make a big magic show for no one so Ethan Embry can record it on his phone. (PS, please let Stranger plot line pay off well!)

Did anyone else think that if Rumpelstiltskin had given Belle the dagger for safekeeping, he would not have given her a map to it? He would have just said, "Here, hide this in a safe place where no one will think to look," not "I have hidden my dagger. Here is a map to where it is in case.... I need you to get it? I want you to keep a map in a place where you need to carry around a reminder to where it is at all times, rather than just remember it so that it is very easy for someone else to find." It seems so much simpler to have Rumple put it in a lead box and drop it in the bay. Here's hoping he was smart and the map is a giant trap for the evil trio.

So my further theory on Bae. We are seriously getting into soap opera territory here. I think Neal is not only Bae, but Peter Pan. Hear me out. By rights, Bae should be like 80 year old, at least. Bae was 14 (?) when he got sucked down the vortex. This was after Rumple became the dark one, but not long after. Then, Rumple trains Cora in magic. Then, Cora grows up, has her own kid, and Rumple trains Regina in magic. He creates the curse, and then we are in Storybrooke for 28 years, during which Bae was uncursed. Unless Bae went to another land where he did not age for many years, then came to our world around the time of the curse (so that he is now 42ish), there is no way he could look like Neal. It would be a great reason for Neal's playful and nomadic life in "Tallahassee," compared with his suddenly "I am an adult and I hate it" demeanor in the "Broken." It would also tie very neatly into the Hook plot and give Hook a purpose in the show again. How appropriate would it be for Hook's nemesis to be the son of Rumple and Mila, a reminder of everything he hates, and everything he loves, a conflict that jives very well with the literary Hook.

Io9's Review

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