Monday, October 14, 2013

In Which I Review Once Upon A Time (3x3)

"She is quite a common fairy,” Peter explained apologetically, “she is called Tinker Bell because she mends the pots and kettles .”---Peter Pan and Wendy, J.M. Barrie

In the host of characters Disney introduced to me as a child, Tinkeberll ranks as one of my least favorites. She is rather saucy and minx like and she betrays Peter Pan and Wendy to Captain Hook. My young childlike brain did not understand what the word "slutty" entailed but having grown up since then, her short skirt, swaying hips and attempted murder of the Wendy Bird just because Peter paid attention to Wendy all make her a little hard to swallow. But what's important about Tink and her history within her own mythology is that Peter gives her a second chance. He forgives the betrayal and believes that she can do better. And that was ultimately the theme of this episode, "Quite a Common Fairy": can you ever have a second chance? Tink wants a second chance from Blue; Regina wants a second chance at love and hope; Nealfire wants a second chance with Emma and his son. The characters on this show are so morally gray that it varies from episode to episode whether or not I think they ever deserve a second chance. 

You've Got a Friend in Me 

The events of this weeks flashback take place after season two's "We Are Both" when Regina first experienced power and magic but before the events of "The Doctor" in which Regina went fully dark side and crushed a heart for the first time. It's nice to see Regina with a friend--she has never had them. We can speculate that Regina grew up friendless and alone, emotionally tortured and abused by her mother Cora. After Regina is forced to marry the King and become a stepmother to the little girl she blames for her fiancee's death, her life becomes one of intense rage and seething hatred. As she says to Tink, "my happy ending looks like Snow's head on a plate." Having a confidant like Tink, someone who is a proponent of all that is good and pure and hopeful, would have been an interesting turn for Regina. And then--like she does--Regina blew it.

Tinkerbell of the past seems to be a very good fairy--despite what Blue says, but oh...we shall get to Sneaky Blue Fairy. She believes in second chances and that you can turn away from darkness. All things a fairy should believe in. She even goes so far as to steal pixie dust from Blue in order to help Regina find love again. Regina's true love, her next shot at happiness, is just around the corner and Tink is determined to help her find it.

Using her magic (and ill gotten) pixie dust, Tink casts a spell that allows Regina to see to whom her heart truly belongs. And in a surprise to absolutely no one who has been paying attention, it's revealed to be Robin Hood. But this is before he met, courted, wed and had a child with Maid Marian. Oh what could have been! Had Regina chosen hope and love over her rage, would any of what we've seen so far in three seasons have come to pass. Roads diverged in a yellow wood and Regina (and pretty much all of our characters) take the WRONG one. Regina, in a pure Regina move, bolts before meeting Robin. As she tells Tinkerbell later, her rage was all she had. If she let go of it, she felt as though she might fly away. The final scene between Tink and Regina in the Enchanted Forest was really sad--so close to friendship and Regina thrusts it away. And poor Tink! She is in so much trouble...speaking of which....

If you are still of the opinion that the Blue Fairy is not an evil puppet master, toying with fate and destiny and behind basically everything, please go rewatch this episode (along with season one's "Dreamy" and "The Return"). Oh Sneaky Fairy! Why why why does the Blue Fairy think Regina doesn't deserve a second chance? She is the judge of what is fairy like and apparently that doesn't include forgiveness or compassion or second chances. Her hard lined opinion that Regina's fate is as dark and evil is almost beyond comprehension. She sends Young Bae to a land without magic because there is darkness in his life and she wants to "help" (yeah, right) him but yet with Regina her fate has been sealed and Tink needs to stay away? Oh Sneaky Fairy I am on to you! This has been my theory for a very long time but I believe that Blue is in league with Peter Pan and has helped engineer events that led to Henry getting captured and taken to Neverland. This is a giant chess game and certain pieces had to be in place. Rumple had to become the Dark One; Bae had to leave home and eventually land in Neverland in order to be young for a very long time in order to meet Emma and produce Henry; Emma had to be emotionally closed up when she met Henry for the first time so his "death" would really hit her. If Tink had been successful in her rehabilitation of Regina, none of what needed to happen would have happened. So what does Blue do?
She stops believing in Tinkerbell, causing the poor fairy to lose her wings and become human.There are still quite a few questions, such as "how did Tink get to Neverland?" and "why was Tink's casting call for someone who likes to party?" when we saw none of that this episode. Me thinks we will have some more Tink backstory before this season is done. But I suspect Blue banished her to Neverland for giving fairies a bad name. Oh Sneaky Fairy is Sneaky.

Does This Island Make Me Look Homicidal? 

 And then we meet Tinkerbell in present day Neverland and she's a wee bit...different. Her once bright green costume is sad and in tatters. Her once perfectly coiffed hair is a mess. She looks older and more likely to kill you (or knock you out with poppy powder) than to help you find true love. Her resentment toward Regina is powerful. She wants revenge and Regina is even willing to let her have it. But, Regina knows a thing or two about revenge. She knows that all it does is blacken your heart; it is the first step down a long path that changes your fundamental being. You can never come back from crushing your first heart. It was really wonderful to see Regina open up about knowing that the path she chose was the wrong one. You can tell that being in Neverland means confronting your past and Regina's past isn't so noble and heroic. Just take a look at her unbelievably black heart.
Can these two help each other recover from the ills they inflicted on others, and indeed, on the ills that were inflicted upon them? In a show that is all about hope, I'd say so. Regina now more than ever wants that second chance. She is tired of being the Evil Queen and wants to be Regina again and that means opening up to the possibility of her happy ending not involving Snow's head on a platter. She has quite a ways to go but with Tinkerbell there is someone to help guide her. So long as Tink doesn't try to kill her again.
And speaking of homicidal Neverland-ers: "I call it target practice." Peter Pan is basically trying to butter Henry up. I think he needs Henry to hand over his heart willingly, and in order to do that, Peter Pan has to show Henry that can have a family right here in Neverland: a place where you're never told no. Henry's psychological profile is a pretty simplistic one; he believes in good and evil and often times has difficulty seeing the gray areas. But what Henry wants more than anything is to be a hero. This is why in season one, he ate what he knew was a poisoned apple turnover in order to prove to Emma that the Curse was real. He wants sword fights, magic spells, and princes in disguise. Peter's greatest strength is recognizing people's weaknesses. Last week he played on Emma's abandonment issues, this week he played on Henry's desire to be a hero. According to Peter, magic is dying (victory dance, I was right) not just in Neverland, but in all realms. It will take the heart of the truest believer to restore magic to the worlds. By offering up his heart, Henry will be saving countless others and that is Henry's ultimate dream. So now that Henry knows why Peter Pan wants him, what's next? Well I think we're going to see Henry get closer to Peter, becoming part of the family. When Regina and Emma come for him, he may not want to go.

Shadow Play

That Shadow is the stuff of nightmares. Remind me never to declare my belief in anything near a window. So before I discuss this portion of the episode, I really wanna talk about Neal's character and who he is and why what happened last night is both acceptable and unacceptable. Nealfire is the name we use in order to remind ourselves that Neal is also Baelfire who was strong and brave and heroic and made huge sacrifices. A lot of the vitriol aimed at Neal from the fandom is that he is no longer like Bae, instead of being heroic and brave he is a coward who runs away at every opportunity. To some extent this is true, though this really depends on what goggles you are currently wearing. To me, in my very subjective viewpoint, Neal letting Emma go back in the "Tallahassee" episode was maybe one of the bravest things I've ever seen. He gave up his happy ending for the fates of thousands who were cursed and depending on Emma to save them someday. There are many who disagree with me and that's ok. But last night's plan on how to get to Neverland was very hard for me to rationalize. The Neal I know and love would never put a little child in harm's way knowing what awaited that child should the Shadow succeed in taking him to Neverland. So why did he do it? Well, one of the running themes of this show is that desperate souls do desperate things. Rumple was desperate to save his son so he became the Dark One and then, after still losing him, manipulated people and events for close to 300 years. Regina was so desperate to hold on to her rage and hatred toward Snow that she cursed an entire land full of people to lose their happy endings. We can ever talk about Snow and Charming being so desperate to always believe in goodness that they are often naivee and foolish. How many times have they forgiven or tried to forgive Regina? They are, as Emma said, "infuriatingly optimistic" and it grates on people's nerves.
So last night, Nealfire using Robin's four year old son to lure the Shadow in was another example of a desperate soul doing something wrong but for maybe right reasons. What wouldn't a parent to do to save their child? Look at Rumple. I think this is the beginning's of Neal coming to understand his Papa in way he couldn't until he knew he had a son. Until Neal learned what having a child meant and the lengths people will go to to protect their child, all Neal could see was that Rumple wasn't a good man. Now, though? I full expect that Neal and Rumple will bond over the desperate things they've done. Roland is safe; Mulan, Robin, and Little John were all there. Was Roland in any danger? I'm not sure. But I can tell you that there are a great many happy SwanFire shippers today. And I am one of them. I am so happy that Neal is in Neverland and one step closer to Emma I can barely breathe. When Neal jumped out of that window--just like Emma jumped off the Jolly Roger in 301--I screamed and danced. It won't be long now until they are reunited! However, I am slightly worried that the first person Neal ran into is Felix who is almost as scary as Peter Pan.

Miscellaneous Notes on Quite a Common Fairy 

--Speaking of happy Shippers: SleepingWarrior is both dancing in the aisles and crying into a pillow this morning. I've always suspected that Mulan fell in love with Aurora, but I did not see this one coming. Poor Mulan. I truly hope she finds happiness somewhere else. I fear we won't see it as I think Mulan, Aurora and Philip are done for this season but I'm glad they've opened the door for the idea of a homosexual pairing.

--Spot on casting for Tinkerbell. And brilliant costume design. So glad they put her in something very traditional instead of those horrid jelly fish outfits.

--"I don't like apples"
"Who doesn't like apples?"
"It's a family thing."
Henry is getting quite sassy, isn't he?

--Roast Swan. HA! Traditionally, the third episode of the season is Rumple-less, so I'll take what I can get.

--Hook knows Charming is injured but doesn't tell Emma or Snow. Morally acceptable or unacceptable? Hmm. It's for you to decide, just like with Neal and Roland.

--Hook and Tink's history needs to be explored. Couldn't help noticing that he called her "Lady Bell" and "Tink." Even Regina called her Tinkerbell all night. (Also, here come the CaptainFairy shippers. Thus far it's not enough for me to abandon Hookriel, but oh boy does this one have potential)

--Emma's rebuff and incredulity over Hook being her boyfriend. I cheer and have happy shipper heart. Also, protective Mama Snow, "She JUST lost Neal." Perfect.


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