Monday, October 24, 2016
(and promoted) Aladdin and Jasmine. We gleaned almost nothing about Saviors and their mythology apart from a handy dandy magical MacGuffin (because of course!) that can cut the line of destiny that surrounds all Saviors. Any pertinent information about the Savior is either being left for another day or the writers are simply unconcerned with exploring why the universe they created makes Saviors and what criteria makes up that title. In other words, was there a point to this episode? What did we learn, if anything? Maybe we should all go hang out in the Cave of Wonders for a bit until we've figured it out. Grab your magic pair of scissors and let's go!
--This is probably my shortest review for OUAT ever but honestly I can't be bothered to waste your time and mine after this episode offered up nothing interesting.
--Karen David looked amazing in the blue outfit.
--Aladdin calling Jasmine out on only caring about the welfare of the Kingdom once her own family was affected was great and I wish it would translate to other monarchs. The myopic vision of the royals is an ongoing issue on this show (poor peasants)
--"If the baby dies, you die!” Seems fair.
--“It made me a mother. It gave me a family. I have actual magic in my life. I have you.” That’s it. That’s what this show is supposed to be; the idea that your community is your family and everyone needs one to be a self-actualized person. It’s nice when Emma remembers this instead of focusing on one aspect.
--Is this Deniz Akdeniz’s natural accent? Or is he doing a (bad) Cockney accent to demonstrate that Aladdin is poorer compared to Jasmine’s posh British accent?
--Emma lies to Hook. And Hook lies to Emma. Such a healthy relationship. Obviously the shears will come back into play but we'll just have to wait and see if Emma uses them or someone uses them on her.
--“Why does magic always have to be so literal?” This line pleases me.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
--Class is spearheaded by Patrick Ness, a Young Adult author. If the characters on screen are less annoying than other attempts at teenagedom, this is why.
--The show deserves some credit for the wide diversity both racially and with regards to sexual orientation, though I wonder if making the sole LGBT representative an alien was a good idea.
--The CGI effects are surprisingly great; the dragon of the second episode was quite good to look at.
--Miss Quill will undoubtedly go on to be the fan favorite for lines like "you ludicrous Care Bear!"
--"We're not superheroes." On the nose commentary from one of the future "superheroes" of Coal Hill.
--The Doctor notices Clara's name on the school wall while explaining that "time never forgets"; a nice touch to remind the audience what happened to the Doctor at the end of last season.
--"You are the Great Destruction of the universe..." "Yeah, but most people just call me the Doctor."
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
--There is a very popular theory a floating around the internet that my friend sent my way. The Gunslinger/Man in Black is really William, the White Hat. When we see William and Logan, we are seeing the park many years ago when the Future Man in Black was introduced to this park. I think it makes a lot of sense, except that I’m wondering how Dolores stumbling into their campsite fits because if it’s long ago, she shouldn’t be running away from the bandits at her house, right? Unless this same story (Dolores running away after the bandits kill her mother and father) has happened before?
--Bernard is chasing consciousness because his son died.
-- Soooo…who’s voice was that at the end? Who told Dolores to kill the bandit? Was it “God” (Arnold, who I’m gonna go ahead and say is NOT dead); was it Ford; was it Dolores’s own internal self (but why imagine the voice as male? Is it because of her interactions with Bernard? Did her mind make Bernard into God because of their conversations?)
--Something to keep on the back burner, but where does religion come into play with complexity? Are you less complex if you believe in a higher power and think you can hear God's voice? Or are you more complex if you're willing to have faith in something that you can't see and touch?
Monday, October 17, 2016
One of the cruxes of Robert Louis Stevenson's novella, Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde, is Dr. Jekyll's revelation that man is not truly one being but rather truly two diametrically opposed foes (Hamilton lyric? Yes; yes it is). Lurking inside the heart of every good, upright, noble, and generous man is a beast; an evil, shady, self absorbed, and selfish animal who has more in common with the ancestors of the past than with the enlightened and forward thinking gentleman of today. In OUAT, Jekyll's own desire to squash his inner Hyde (as Rumple clumsily names him) is his haphazard attempt to quell his own self-loathing and the fact that Hyde represents a side to Jekyll he'd rather not share with the world for fear of being ostracized, laughed at, or maligned. His solution, however is fairly problematic. Hyde is Jekyll, never forget. They share the same memories, the same biological responses. They even love the same woman. They are both equally real--in the way that we define real--but they are opposite sides of a coin. Jekyll is all poise and propriety. Hyde gives the appearance of elegance but under his fancy dress lies a cunning, passionate, and resourceful heart. Super-ego and Id. The issue comes not in the show's depiction of each individual half---Jekyll is staunchly repressed, going so far as to harangue his fiancee for not conforming to societies expectations about proper femininity (oh, more on that in a bit...) and refusing to indulge or give in to his own desires; Hyde is all lust and power and potency. No, the issue comes with the notion that because Jekyll is the original, he is more real than his inner "beast." This rings as wholly antithetical to what the show has been setting up if not just this season then all series long. You cannot escape who you are. You are both proper and not; you are strong and weak; you are potent and impotent. Jekyll isn't the original anything; he's the face presented to the world because his world and its views dictate that a man must be a certain thing; you cannot be both, even though we have ample evidence that men in his world are leading double lives, hence the little tangent about Dr. Lydgate and the pretty assistant. Men (and women as with Mary, torn between her desire to be a good daughter in a Victorian society and her desire to be a sexually fulfilled being) are both; neither is original, neither is more real and neither has claim to being over the other.
This show has a problem with women. My saying this likely comes as no shock given how I've discussed Emma Swan in the recent past but this week's excursion to (Fictional) Victorian England and Mary's plight of whore vs Madonna makes it all the more apparent that there are some truly old school thoughts about the "fairer sex" going on here. If you were to take pause and consider evil women on OUAT--whether through a curse or through their own making--what sort of characteristics and deeds come to mind? Regina, when she was in full Evil Queen mode, raped Graham both in the Enchanted Forest and for 28 years in Storybrooke under the guise of cursed feelings inflicted on an unwilling participant. Lacey (Belle) wore even shorter skirts, drank, swore and lusted after the dark side of Mr. Gold; Zelena raped Robin; Alternate Universe Snow was heavily sexualized in the same manner as Regina; Dark One Emma Swan all but jumped Hook's bones the first chance she got. Do you see a common theme here? Fallen women are loose women. When women go "bad" their villainy or evil is seen in their aggressive sexual desires and open displays of sexual conquering. Now this isn't to say that those acts weren't evil and they didn't do their job of demonstrating villainy; of course they did. The issue is that when the writers need to demonstrate women as villains or, in Mary's case, give the woman a reason to be turned upon and die, they turn to the old trick of making them aggressively sexual beings. Let's look at Mary, who is not a villain but who's actions are in the same vein and, because of which, meets much the same fate as the villain personalities of our core characters (ie: they all get resolved in favor of a more passive, less sexual type). The basic sum is that Mary wanted a man who would show her passion and desire and overthrow societies conventions. For these thoughts and her acting upon them, Mary died. She was, essentially, punished for her sexual feelings; Hyde even makes pretty clear that he is displeased to have discovered that Mary is a creature of desire. While it's equally clear that Jekyll hates this aspect in Mary because he also hates it in himself, and while I guess you can argue that Jekyll (and Hyde) were punished in the long run, it was not for expressing their sexual feelings–Hyde is basically a walking talking id–but instead punished for Jekyll repressing these same desires. Double standards, anyone? There were a lot of sexual overtones this episode with a binary that men should be virile and women passive. Jekyll is the real villain because he’s weak and, basically, impotent. Hyde isn't exactly a hero but his take change, lust driven mindset is presented as far more sympathetic than Jekyll's impotent weakness. After the past two weeks in America and the current alarming election cycle, these sorts of backwards old school gender dynamics really rubbed me the wrong way. You can say I am biased and skewed because I've always been heavily bent toward reading texts through a feminist and rape culture lens, but there is something so squicky about the fact that as soon as Mary takes agency and, more importantly, sexual agency, she dies. Food for thought, as always.
--If ever there was any doubt that I was done with Rumbelle and Rumple, this episode sealed the deal. This was the first time where the two felt like they loathed each other, not just that were having a marital spat. It was hard to watch, especially as Rumple is devolving into an emotionally abusive spouse.
--I enjoyed Snow teaching this episode. These lighter, character moments are a welcome relief from some of the darker, more confusing plot driven aspects. With that said, did she go from Newtonian Physics to Algebra with one breath?
--"All science needs is a little magic."
--Oh hey look. It's Princess Jasmine. More on her next week, I guess.
--Violet showed up to give Henry a smooch and then vanished into the nothingness! Character development, it needs work.
--Goodbye to Jekyll and Hyde. It turns out that they were a little more entertaining than I originally envisioned, especially Mr. Hyde. On to the next part of this arc. Aladdin and Jasmine...that's your cue.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
--Visitors to Westworld are asked to choose either a white hat or a black hat which is just a bit too on the nose.
--"These violent delights have violent ends." So in other words, things are going to get worse?
--Every Host has had multiple lives which are resurfacing. These memories range from violence to love.
--Evan Rachel Wood is knocking it out of the park as Dolores, especially when she is questioned by her makers. The way her eyes un-focus and somehow manage to look beyond the camera and even beyond you is chilling.
--So how do we define life?
--I might do this every week or every other week. But I look forward to reviewing this really complex and thought provoking show!
Monday, October 10, 2016
While this episode mainly focused on Cinderella/Ashley, I find I want to talk more about Emma. It might be nice to see an old familiar face like Cinderella, this week complete with a straight-outta-Disney backstory, but she's a character we see once in blue moon and therefore it's hard to really care about her. I have little investment in her life and happiness because she's never been given room, space, and narrative to breathe and flesh out. Frankly, the sudden reversal that Ella considered herself the wicked stepsister and her step sibling was equally down trodden was pretty eye-roll worthy. Sorry, Ashley. You're iconic but rather flat. However, we should talk about Emma Swan. I'll leave aside her rather egotistical and pretty appalling intrusion into Archie's office, thereby kicking Leroy out of his paid for session as if Emma's problems are more pressing and more vital than Grumpy's, and instead focus on Emma's "problem of the week." If last week was her identity crisis, then this week is all about how her identity feeds into her happily ever after, specifically whether or not Emma gets one. I want to start off by saying that at the outset this is a good line of thought. Emma's life is in constant danger; Snow's on point commentary about "defeat and repeat" rings doubly true for Emma and it can be hard for a woman like Emma, who is constantly facing down an evil witch, a impish man-child, or even the Lord of the Underworld, to negotiate her own identity and her own happiness with so much evil and misery around. How can Emma ever be comfortable in her skin, be self aware, and achieve a modicum of peace (let alone a happily ever after) when she's constantly in danger of losing her own life. In other words, if the ending thesis for this episode is that you should choose love over life, Emma is currently wrestling with the fact that the life part is likely short and therefore unable to choose love. If I were Emma at the end of this episode, my choice of love would center on choosing self love; choosing that I am important, that my happiness means something, that I am important enough to be happy as a self aware person for however long my life might be; an hour, a day, twenty years, I deserve to be a full actualized person in charge of my own destiny and narrative.
--I'm sorry I don't have much to say this week. Honestly, it was a perfectly fine episode. More entertaining than some, but there's not much to unpack here.
--This is the first time in a long time that the flashbacks felt relevant and needed.
--I really enjoyed Snowing this episode; they finally felt like real people and not idiotic simpletons.
--Mouse!Gus Gus was the star of this episode.
--"Some scars don't heal." This is a pretty great line from Prince Thomas to Emma and it would behoove Emma to examine her own scars and try to deal with them instead of spending her time being worried about Hook's happy ending.
--Dopey is un-treed and off getting his Masters. In no universe does that make sense.
--Anastasia from Once:Wonderland is not Cinderella's stepsister. Look, writers, OUATinWL happened whether you choose to believe it or not.
--God bless Bobby Carlyle and his Scottish accent.
--Dr. Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll are working together. "Penny Dreadful" called and they want their idea back.
--"You look like a trash can and you have the education of my cat."
Monday, October 3, 2016
Have you ever had an identity crisis? I haven't but I'm sure it's the pits. The real focus this week is on Emma and Regina's separate but parallel identity challenges. For the former, these issues stem from her uncertain future in light of her more than a little troubled past. For the latter, it's all about the past from which she can never fully escape. Let's start with Regina and leave Emma to stew in her own troubled juices for awhile. Regina's story this week picks up where the finale left off; the Evil Queen cannot be killed because as nice a notion as killing your worse half is, it's not exactly practical or really even possible (magical serum notwithstanding). We are large and we contain multitude, to quote Walt Whitman, and to deny a part of yourself is to deny your whole wonderful, nuanced and highly complicated self. Regina, bless her, cannot actually escape the Evil Queen because while she might have split from her more malicious and nefarious persona, those feelings of anger, rage, and revenge--which can be best summed up in "passion overflowing," the main drive of the Evil Queen--still lurk inside her now mellowed out form. All it took was a simple manipulation and a test to see how far Regina would go--granted this time to protect Snow and Charming instead of doing them ill--for our Mayor to realize that she is just as capable of murder and other crimes of passion, even without her leather clad Queen inside her, egging her on. This is Regina's bitter draught (roll credits!) to swallow; she may never actually be free of the Evil Queen because she is the Evil Queen. But she's also Regina, the lonely and scared stable princess; she's Henry's mother who changed every diaper and soothed every tantrum; she's Emma's friend and Snow's confidant and Zelena's sister. Regina can be all these things and not give in to the evil inside; it's about temperament and restraint and knowing when to act and when not to. Regina as the Evil Queen was always tempestuous and hot headed, flying off the handle even if she had no plan. Regina, in control of her inner rageaholic, can make plans and discuss options calmly and rationally. Snow and Charming are not in danger from Regina anymore, and neither is anyone else. She's managed to worm herself into the Storybrooke fold. No one is going to ignore her when they have family dinners. Like Hook's own personal revelation this week, Regina has to learn to forgive herself, to accept the bad things she did in the past and continue to make amends, realizing that she'll always have the Evil Queen as a part of her, but it need not be the dominant part of her.
--I said nothing about the flashback this week but that's because it was super underwhelming. No one really wants to see yet another time when the Evil Queen tried to kill Snow and Charming and the Count of Monte Cristo fell flat. However, the flashbacks did feel like a classic episode of OUAT, so I'll let the dull nature slide.
--What I won't let slide is the fact that we've never seen nor heard of Charlotte ever before and her random insertion felt really off. Especially when the Charmings went and threw her a party.
--I normally give Hook next to no credit for anything, but his level headed, remorseful and non-egotistical apology to Belle for beating her, shooting her, and trying to kill her several times was a pleasant surprise and I genuinely appreciate the sentiment. I also appreciate that his only role tonight was in supporting females (Emma and Belle) and not dominating the scene.
--I need to erase all memories of the Evil Queen trying to all but hump Rumple against his curio-cabinets.
--Rumple has a key to the Land of Untold Stories? How did he come upon that?
--Who killed DaddyCharming? And does anyone really care?
--I don't care for eggy bread either, Granny.