Monday, December 9, 2013

In Which I Review Once Upon A Time (3x10)

Welcome home! Seems like just yesterday I was welcoming us all to Neverland. We've been through quite a bit in 9 episodes, haven't we? We've battled the most malicious and evil Peter Pan ever, met Tinkerbell, saved Charming, Neal and tried to save Henry. We've waded into Dark Hollow with a coconut to capture a magical shadow and we've had to sit through horrendous love triangle nonsense. While Neverland was a pleasant divergence for the third season of this series, it's good to be back in the light (for good!) and back in the place where we all fell in love with ONCE. Storybrooke is where we met Mary Margaret and David Nolan; where Regina tried to kill Emma once a week; where Granny's is always open and Gold's shop houses all the artifacts you'll ever need to cast a spell. But, as one might suspect with a title like "The New Neverland," everything is not as it seems. Pan is Henry and Henry is Pan; pirates are drunk womanizers and Emma is tried of being the Savior and not being able to enjoy life. Oh and Snow and Charming go on a magical quest against the Medusa (no I'm not kidding). 

I Would Have Gone to Paris 

Snow White is a Bridezilla. Now, I mean that lovingly because it is always nice to see scenes from the pilot and I do love Snow. Opening with the wedding and Regina's threat is a nice way to remind the audience how this all started. But Snow ain't got time for this. Her kingdom is under attack by an evil witch and even a moment as nice as her wedding comes second. Much to poor Charming's dismay. All the newly wed husband wants is to take his bride on their honeymoon and bask in their eternal love. And have sex. Lots of sex. Or, I suppose, with this being a show owned by Disney: "create beautiful music." Do you know what the first good step in a new marriage is? Lying. Snow gets Charming to agree to go to the summer palace, promising a relaxing honeymoon and not worrying about Regina. But of course, the little princess has other plans. There is something near the palace that may help Snow defeat Regina for good.

The Medusa is a Greek legend (yay! A chance to use my useless set of skills), one that is fairly well known as it gets treated time and time again. Those Greeks...Hollywood has been good to them. The Medusa is one of three Gorgons, ancient creatures born of even older creatures of chaos. Medusa is famous for having hair made of snakes and a stare that can turn you into stone. Snow's plan is to find the Medusa, cut off her head and send it to Regina. All without turning to stone herself. She has no idea how to accomplish this, but surely with some pluck, Snow can do anything! I was really hoping Snow would announce that she was pregnant at the end of the episode because it was the only excuse I would take for Snow going off half-cocked on some hair-brianed scheme that she couldn't even articulate. This is one of the biggest problems I have with ONCE somtimes: they over use the flashback. Honestly, we don't need one every episode. I'm perfectly happy just staying in present day Storybrooke right now where the real action is. Sometimes the flashbacks are absolutely necessary and I understand why this one was here: it was a parallel to Emma. I get that but I also know that I didn't need this flashback to understand present day. The flashback really amounted to a few key moments but because it is Snow and Charming, it's really the same as any other of their scenes. Love wins and saves the day, Snow uses courage and moxy to defeat some sort of beast and Charming imparts some fantastic advice for the audience. This week's moral: life is made of moments. Good ones, bad ones, mediocre ones, epic ones and small ones. Isn't there some precious saying like life is what happens in between your plans? Those are the moments Charming wants. He wants to carry Snow (a very pregnant Ginny Goodwin, by the way) over the threshold; he wants to spend a few days in paradise with the woman he fought so hard to be with. And Snow wants to fight a monster. Not exactly the quite moment Charming was hoping for.

There isn't much to say about the flashback. It felt like it was something the writers thought like they needed instead of something they actually needed. Snowing get a bad rap post season one. It's not that people don't love them, most of the fandom does. But it's that they've become way to static. Season one was amazing because you were watching their love story in real time in SB and in the past in FTL. But now, they're together, they'll always find each other and the tension is gone. I hear a lot of "they're boring now!" coming from the fandom, despite loving them. And it doesn't help when we get lucklaster flashbacks that honestly serve no purpose other than to give the fandom what the writers think they want: a taste of season one. And that's true, most of us long for S1 in general but the fact is you can't keep piling on these flashbacks and not expect them to get dull.

Rumbelle. (There is nothing else happening in Storybrooke)

Ok, the title of my section is a lie (like cake!). But come one. Did you honestly expect that I wasn't going to dedicate one section of this blog to them? I mean, my GOD. Look at that picture. Look how HAPPY my Imp is. Look how he has his happy ending (Neal) and his happily ever after (Belle). Look how joyful he is! He is never joyful! He is always filled with constant dread and feelings of self-loating and self-hatred and thinking that everyone will leave him someday. He is convinced that everyone he loves will walk out on him, leaving him shattered. And there he is, back from what he thought was certain death, surrounded by the two people who love him most, holding him up, ensuring that the earth stays where it is supposed to. I got lost in the intense Rumbelle feelings this week. There are so many scenes I want to talk about. And by talk about I mean cry over. Let's start with a the actual reunion of Belle and Rumple. "I told you I would see you again." Have I mentioned Rumple's mountain sized abandonment issues? Huge. Massive. Belle is the only one who ever came back and she keeps coming back. She is constantly reinforcing that he is not alone; he is not a monster, a pathetic wreck of a man who doesn't deserve love or happiness. And his response? "This is the last time I don't listen to you." That's right, my Imp. You listen to her!

The second scene I want to pick apart is between Neal and Rumple. Neal returns Rumple's cane to him. Oh that cane. That cane is a tangible representation of everything Rumple hates about himself: his anger and his weakness and his cowardice, his inability to be a man. It is a literal crutch that he can't walk without, symbolizing his addiction to magic and his desperate clinging to power. But, because Rumple is the most layered character on this show, the cane also represents the characteristics that Rumple loves about himself: that he chose to be a father, even when he knew it meant be labeled a coward. It marked the growth of his son Baelfire, his pride and joy. It is a symbol of his ability to be a damn good father. And when Bae gives it back to him, it is the next step in their reconciliation. Rumple takes and says, "this is a reminder of the man I was and the man I want to be." And now he no longer needs it. In Storybroke, once magic came, Rumple never healed himself as a reminder of why he had crossed worlds, his son. But now he has Bae back and he doesn't need to be reminded anymore. He wants to move on. He wants a future, something he was convinced he didn't have just last season. And so Rumple will abandon his cane and slowly--slowly--become whole. And the best part of this process? Belle.

I have been waiting for this scene since May. No, longer. Since "Skin Deep" in season one. Waiting for Rumple and Belle to affirm that their future is with each other. No death looming overhead, no memory loss. Just this man and the love of his bloody life. It's like the end of the Super Bowl; "Rumplestiltskin! You've just survived Neverland and your psychotic father! What are you going to do now?" His response is that the only future he is interested is one where he and Belle are together. And then epic kissing happens. And probably more cause those two never did make it to Granny's for the super duper party. I fully believe that this Neverland adventure is the last time the writers of ONCE will ever separate Rumbelle. Belle literally clings to him for the rest of the episode and Rumple takes her everywhere. She's at the town line, she's at Granny's the next morning, and she's at the Mills family mausoleum. She's part of the family and part of the gang and she's not leaving Rumple's side. Let's move on before I get really disgusting.

Next Time I Recommend Destroying the World Ripping Curse 

Panry (Pan-in-Henry-suit) is out for blood. Or rather a very important piece of paper. That Regina failed to DESTROY?! WHY?! Why would you keep the scroll to the darkest Curse in existence inside of a box and not destroy it?! Ok, let's back up. Panry has a plan: he wants to use the Curse--the original one--and turn Storybrooke into the New Neverland. And to do that, he must get everyone to trust him so that they will lead him to what he wants. This is pretty easy with Regina who is just glad to be loved again; and everyone else is too happy to be home again to see how obvious Panry is being with his machinations. I mean, come on guys! Everyone falls for it, except Emma.

Oh Emma. You and your issues, some of which are of the male variety. But we'll get to them later. Emma is very suspicious of Panry who seems to be going out of his way to spend time with Regina. The thing with Emma is that she is more or less waiting for the next disaster. Ever since Henry came into her life, she has been dealing with one issue after the next; every moment brings some fresh hell that she has to solve because she is the Savior. That's what Savior's do. Emma doesn't get to have moments. She has small crises and BIG crises. Those moments, like lunches and talks, go on hold because she has to be the Savior 24/7. But of course, her suspicions are right, as they normally are. Something is going on with Panry. And one poor soul pays the price. Did I say poor? I meant extra sneaky evil puppet master.

Panry summons his shadow from the Jolly Roger's sail and has it kill the Blue Fairy. Yes, I said that. Blue died. Or did she? I am so suspicious of Sneaky Fairy's death. I don't buy it for one second. I think she planned this with Pan. Why Blue if it's not some sort of elaborate plan? It would be a wholly random kill. But "dead" she is for now. And it leads Emma to demand that they confront the Peter Pan in the box. Who is really Henry. So Snow, Charming, Emma, Rumple and Belle (!!) go out to the town line where they release the Pan-in-the-box and discover that Pan and Henry switched bodies. At least they didn't drag this plot out. And there were some really nice family moments between "Henry" and his mother and grandparents. The real Pan is with Regina, in her vault. Where he tricks her (yes, he tricked the Evil Queen cause Regina is a big softie when it comes to her son) and knocks her out and then takes the scroll that holds the evil Curse. Why? Because if Pan can cast it, he can turn Storbrooke into the New Neverland, where everyone will forget who they are and time will freeze. And Pan can live like a king forever; if he can't have Henry's heart, he'll settle for immortality this way. The trick, of course, is that Emma can't break this Curse because the True Love of Snowing was only put on the Curse once. Emma would no longer be the Savior and she's be cursed along with Regina and everyone else. Heartbreaking. And that's the state of ONCE before the finale episode of the winter part of the season!

Oh, there is one more thing we need to talk about, I guess.

This Bloody Never Ending Triangle

I'm going to take this Triangle side by side. Let's start with SwanFire. This whole episode was a giant Snowing and SwanFire parallel. Charming wants Snow to have moments in between the danger, and Neal is asking Emma to have a moment in between all the crazy. A moment that Emma isn't too sure she wants. At the giant party at Granny's, Hook tells Neal that he is going to back off perusing Emma to let Neal have a shot (lies spew so easily from this pirate's mouth). And Neal thanks Hook and goes to ask Emma to talk with him (because Neal is a decent man who doesn't understand that Hook is a double crossing horrible person). Neal asks Emma to lunch, simply saying that if she shows up they can eat and talk. If not, he'll stop bugging her and let her be. He won't pressure her or play mind games. Poor Emma. What's a girl to do? The next day she fights the urge to go, wasting time worrying about Panry until Charming convinces her to go and have a moment. Because she owes it to herself. And then Blue gets killed and she never makes it to lunch. Oh. My heart. Neal's face in the diner, waiting for Emma to show was devastating. He thinks she chose to be other places, and not with him. I really hope Emma tells Neal that she was on her way to see him. My heart can't take them loosing this battle.

Meanwhile. I am 10000000% done with Hook. I tried. I did. The first four episodes of this season, Hook really showed that he could be respectful and kind and compassionate. And then it got shot to hell cause a pirate wants what a pirate wants. Hook threw Neal under the bus last night. He made Neal think that he wasn't going to persue Emma and then went and decided to play mind games. You know, the thing Hook said he wouldn't do in order to "win" Emma's heart. Hook gets drunk and then corners Tink outside of a bathroom and asks her for a quickie. When Tink says no because he is clearly drunk and trying to take his mind off Emma and that she has MORALS (good for you Tink) Hook says, "Who's Emma? I only see you." Now, if Hook and Tink had hooked up, that's not really an issue. Both are adults who made a choice and Hook isn't "with" Emma even though he keeps declaring his undying love. But what really makes me mad is that when Hook and Tink hear Blue scream and go running outside to find Charming and Emma, Emma asks is Hook and Tink were together to which Tink says "No!" and Hook responds with "perhaps!" That's it. You don't get to lie to her, try to make her jealous, play with Emma's emotions and heart and then expect me to even remotely like you. I hope Hook takes his little boat and falls off the face of the earth. 10000000% done with this pirate and his BAD FORM.

Miscellaneous Notes on The New Neverland

--So many reunions! Ariel and Eric's was a little rushed and I wished it had more talking, but I'll take it. The Darling family's was very sweet. And Neal got to see them again!!

--Belle dressed Rumple. Fandom, I expect smut in two days time of this scene.

--Please don't give up, Neal. You and Emma are meant to be! I promise. Keep fighting.

--10000000000000000000% done with Hook. Did I mention that?

--RIP Blue Fairy. If you really are dead. Which I doubt. A lot.

--How will Panry enact the Curse? He needs the heart of the thing he loves most, but isn't that himself?

--One more episode and then we're off for 3 months. Expect next week to be super long with an extra "season in review"

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