Once upon a time

It’s sometimes funny the things that will sway an opinion, or another’s opinion that will wrap itself tightly in your brain, coming out after it seemed to have disappeared forever… I’ve been doing this with Once Upon A Time, and the season two finale had me, inadvertently, watching with an extra-critical eye. Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, the creators of OUAT, were also the creators of LOST, a show I was never a fan of. This information stays in my brain like an annoying fly that won’t leave the room. As I watch, fully enjoying the re-interpretation of old fairy tale characters and their associations, I wait for the ball to drop; when the pair will spin this show into something I don’t want it to be, albeit, I don’t even know what that means. Jane Espenson, a Hugo winner for Game of Thrones and Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, as consulting producer helps keep these conclusionary jumps at bay. In her I trust, so I continue to watch…

Season two was a back-and-forth ride as characters seemed to cross from bad, to good, to bad, and seemingly back again. The idea of LANA PARRILLAperspective in terms of right and wrong is always a theme I enjoy, and Once Upon A Time runs with this. Regina, the Evil Queen, at times, comes across simply as a lost soul who only wishes to find the love that was taken from her. The Dark OneRumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold is constantly torn between living up to his own reputation, and following the heart tugs that revolve around his son and Belle. Emma Swan, the product of true love, walks very close to the same line Regina and Mr. Gold walk, understanding the realities of things versus the ideals that Henry, Snow, and Charming tend to make decisions around. But it’s the ideals that made the fairy tales to begin with, yes? Emma, even as a product of them, has never lived in them. This distinction is greatly explained when comparing each of the enchanted forest characters doppelgangers. Their Storybrook selves aren’t quite as good as their magic-selves.

This season two finale, And Straight On ‘Till Morning redeemed both Regina and Hook, while clearly casting season three’s villains in Tamara and Owen, including whatever secret organization they were working for. Diving through a portal into Neverland, even Hook seems unhappy about where they must follow the pair who’ve kidnapped Henry. The final scene when Peter Pan’s Lost Boys show the picture of Henry, explaining that he’s the boy Pan (thus far only refered to as the shadow) has been searching for, leaves questions that will bring the audience back for season three’s opener in the fall. The idea of giving Peter Pan’s shadow a malicious overtone was done well, but I’m left wondering if this set-up won’t actually end with Henry becoming Peter Pan. Throughout the show, these lead-ups have ended with just such twists, so much so, they no longer seem to be twists (I suppose its a lose-lose for a writer though. Do this, and people will say you should have done that, etc).

As enjoyable as this season finale was, it did miss a punch I like to have at seasons’ end, finding every bait-and-switch predictable, even in its enjoyment. When Hook hands back the magic bean, Emma, once a thief herself, would have checked the bag. Instead, she leads the others to the mine where they discover the bag is empty. DUH. Emma has used her skills as a PI and ex-thief throughout the show to track down answers, so in the final episode, to have her forgo these tendencies is lazy writing. But, whatever, it didn’t really ruin anything.

Emma Swan using her magic with conscious effort is something I’ve been waiting on for almost the entire season (when was that we first saw her defeat Cora with it? S2E2?). There was some disappointment involved with this anti-climatic use, but it’s something to be hopeful about that will be explained in greater detail in season three.

Henry’s disappearance wasn’t something I saw coming, and I especially didn’t foresee his tie-in with Neverland. I’m curious about Tamara and Owens sudden abandonment of their magic-is-evil ideals to take Henry through the portal, but I’ll wait for the explanation to give final judgement on this.

154I haven’t followed a television series live in years. The quality of Once Upon A Time‘s season one took me by surprise, and I’m hopeful we don’t see a tremendous decline in story creation on the third time around. There are still so many characters we’ve only glimpsed briefly, leaving so much potential for the show. I hope I’m not the only one who thinks the central story surrounding Emma and Henry isn’t so pivotal it has to be forced. Highlight some of these other characters, allowing their story to evolve, possibly into the central theme. I’d love to see the Henry-in-the-middle story closed.

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