I have returned from the land of the dead! The 75th Anniversary of my day job had taken over a bit, so I was unable to post. But I am back and scrambling to get back on track.
First order of business is the OUAT reviews. It has been too long since I watched them to give specific reviews, but I will give you my general impressions!
The Queen is Dead
Ah, Mini-Snow-White acting her little heart out. Did anyone else find it heartbreaking that, presumably because Toby Ziegler couldn't or wouldn't do the show again, poor Snow had to lead the nation in mourning for her mother? That scene where she turns and kneels and she is all alone.
This episode had the worst case of "Let Us Talk Loudly and In Unnecessary Detail about our Evil Plan" with Regina and Cora. Much like Regina's "Let Me Unnecessarily Use Magic so Someone Can Take a Photo of Me" in a previous episode. Tighten your storytelling, people. There are other ways.
I loved the brutality of Hook hitting Charming in the head with a crowbar. I love when the show digs it's toes into darkness like that, but they always end up undercutting it with magic or miraculous healing powers like Charming apparently has. (Except for poor Gus. RIP.)
And poor Joanna. The death of Joanna was the perfect thing to send Snow over the edge. She lost both of her mothers to Cora, and the darkness she had in Season 1 returns to guide her choices in the next episode.
The Miller's Daughter
The show is at it's best when they give good actors meaty dialogue and just let them at each other. Exhibit A: Cora and Rumplestiltskin in their very strange romance. Both actors are enormously talented and they let are just let loose to chew the scenery and have their charged "Fuck Everyone" relationship. Exhibit B: Mr. Gold and Belle's phone call. Who wouldn't want something like that said to them? And it was a perfectly unselfish moment on Gold's part. He is dying and he doesn't need to explain himself, or rail against the world, or make it about him. He makes it about her. In his dying moments he needed to tell her how wonderful she was. Exhibit C: Rose McGowan as Cora. Amazing. Every intonation, every movement of her facial muscles exudes Barbara Hershey. Never was there more perfect casting. Exhibit D: Bae and his Father. That scene was so moving, full of everything they were not saying. Exhibit E: The heart break of Cora ripping her own heart out, making her unable to love her daughter. It is so awful when we learn that Snow was absolutely right, and she could have not done Rumplestiltskin's spell and returned Cora's heart, and everyone would have been happy. Instead, she chooses darkness and perpetuates the acts of hate. All in all, a top notch episode.
Io9's Review: This is what hate sex looks like in Disney's Fairy Tale Kingdom
Welcome to Storybrooke
This was a fascinating episode. I loved exploring the early days of Storybrooke, how Regina gets incredibly bored with years and years of interacting with people under her control. A really solid tasty flashback, letting Regina wrestle with herself and her loneliness. It was so simple and strong, with no over the top CGI.
Io9 makes an interesting point about how in the Enchanted Forest, everything is black and white. You are either good or you are evil. In Storybrooke, things are much more complicated. However, Regina doesn't let things be complicated for Snow. Snow killed Regina's mother and is now has a one way ticket to Evil Town. She is forcing Snow to experience the pidgen-holing Regina has felt. The question is, do the rules of magic work like that? Will the magic hold her accountable for the rest of her life? Will she be allowed to change?
Io9 Review: At last, Once Upon a Time uses fairytale tropes to rip out your heart
Selfless, Brave and True
The flashback with Pinocchio and Tamara was so great! Real storytelling, with real emotional stakes for everyone. And the Red Dragon was a Dragon! The world of magic is so much bigger than we expected. Bigger than the little Storybrooke curse. I want more of THAT! However, the episode lost me when the Blue Fairy turned Pinnochio back into a little boy. Does the boy have memories when he was a man having sex with all those women? Is he a man in a boy's body? Or is he all innosence and has no memory of those times at all? If so, doesn't that rob him of something? He went through a lot of pain and growth to become who he is and now that is all gone. I do understand getting a fresh start with Geppetto, but I felt like it would have been stronger for him to confront Geppetto as a man and ask for forgiveness and discover what their relationship is now.
Io9's Review: Congratulations Once Upon A Time, you have created the most horrifying character in the universe
I will get to Lacy and Rumple in a second, but first I want to give a shout out to the "Regina and Emma sitting on a bench" scene. It was perfect. The two women sitting and talking about real things, taking their history into account, and connecting as people. Yes, at the end, it devolves into scheming and plotting, but it starts in such a nice honest place.
Now, on to Lacy and Rumple. I was so captured by the idea that Belle and Rumple would help remind each other who they are. Such a beautiful idea. The flashback fulfilled something I never knew was missing in "Skin Deep": an honest development of Belle's relationship with Rumple. She didn't automatically see the best in him while he was making jokes at the spinning wheel. This story was the perfect stepping stone for them. And the acting was, of course, superb. Rumple has these small glances where he is just so in wonder at her. He tries to mask his vulnerability with jokes, but he is clearly falling in love with her. We see it first in that perfect moment where he is unable to make a deal with the Sheriff that would hurt her, and it just unfurls from there. She has a power over him that he doesn't fully understand.
Lacey revels in Mr. Gold's darkness. Which has to be wicked confusing for Rumple. There is a beautiful parallel between Mr. Gold beating the Sheriff with his cane while Lacey eggs him on and when Mr. Gold beats Hook with his cane and Belle appeals to his better self. Does Mr. Gold love Belle/Lacey enough to do what ever she wants or will he honor the memory of Belle and try to be a better man dispite Lacey in Belle's body? OR will the mix be good for him? He is not an angel, or a devil. He is a man, and Belle/ Lacey allows him to explore both sides of himself.
PS, Is Regina mayor again? What paperwork is she doing?
And PPS, And this moment was PERFECT!
Aaaaaand don't be mad, I haven't seen the most recent one. I will watch it as soon as I can, schedules just have to align.