Monday, March 31, 2014

In Which I Review Once Upon a Time (3x15)

I don't know what to say. I've been trying to come up with a way to write this blog that is honest and fair and a proper review. But my insides are broken and I frankly can't bring myself to care. This isn't going to be a typical OUAT blog or review. I'm not even sure what it's going to be. If you come to read my blog expecting a fleshed out synopsis or insight, you're out of luck today. Today I am in pain. Today I am in mourning. To answer a question first: will I keep watching?
Short answer: yes. 
Longer answer: yes but my love for this show is significantly diminished. This is more than a ship; it's more than the character of Nealfire even. This show was about hope and redemption and second chances. It taught us that sometimes you can have a better life than you've had before if you just believe--magic and fairly tales do come true. Killing the very epitome of hope on the show is not in keeping with that. For a good, honest, brave, kind man who only ever sacrificed his happiness for others to be denied his happy ending while anti-heroes who have committed mass murder, torture, brutal beatings, and been devoted to revenge get a happy ending is such a horrible message to send that I'm not quite sure why I should continue watching. 

So much for hope. 

This won't be a typical blog. This is a memorial. And, I'm sure, a rant. 

I will miss you Nealfire Cassidy. 

 Character assassination is when authors do a rapid 180 on a character without any sort of explanation. Suddenly the character is doing and saying things that do no fit with how they have been portrayed before. Typically it is done in order to make another character look better and chances are, if you have sudden character assassination, that character is about to bite it. In internet speak we typically call this "OOC" or out of character. Neal being selfish and rash and headstrong is so out of character that it has become painfully obvious that Adam and Eddy wrote him out for other reasons than just "plot." They couldn't even be bothered to write this episode themselves. A character that they hatched alone, not a fairy tale one, that was the SOLE REASON for the original curse, for the show itself, and they left it to the weakest writer of the bunch.

  The idea that Neal would go from unselfish self- sacrificer in the blink of one episode without any sort of buildup is ludicrous. For them to reduce his screen time in the past three episodes and then to bring him back just to kill him is horrible writing. Simply terrible.  He’s NOT selfish as a general rule, the guy has made a habit out of sacrificing himself for the good/safety of others, so him just using dark magic with no thought for the consequences was ridiculous. The idea that he wouldn't even QUESTION the magical handwaving vault key from a talking candle is even more asinine. And, speaking of OOC, Belle would do as much research as possible into this book and this magic vault and key as possible. She wouldn't just sit back and say, "well good. We have a solution. I don't need to look into this at all." The sheer idea that  she would not have read up on the price of that magic and not just gone running off to do the dark magic totally blind. They made both characters act OOC for plot reasons, and it bugged me. She KNOWS all magic comes with a price, but she didn't even bother to investigate it in this episode?? While in the present, she learns all about it due to her immaculate research? No. Does not jive.

Rumple absorbed his dead son's body. Yes, you read that right. That's a thing that happened. This episode was magical hand waving at its finest. A heretofore unmentioned book, key, vault, a Dark One loophole. Are you kidding me? So Belle--smart cookie wonderful Belle who read every book in that library--didn't know about this super dark book that was hiding some ridiculous key? She didn't know that the ridiculous key would lead to a giant trap door of goo which is where the original Dark One came from? WHAT?! So Rumple's sacrifice--his heroism, his honor, his beautiful wonderful love toward his son and his true love--was for nothing because plot. He knew he would return to the darkness (whatever the hell that means) and be there for all of eternity? Really? Some black goo is what he was reduced to? And Neal, not thinking things through, just running head first into black magic? No, I don't think so. "Magic destroyed my family" that was his stance. He would use it, but for good. He wouldn't be this incredibly selfish. They destroyed his character for the sake of "plot" (bullshit. This is nothing but fan service at this point.) So Neal dies first in his father's arms in the Enchanted Forest, Rumple having finally chosen his son over magic and then absorbs his body as a way of keeping him alive. Does that make any sense? Does that even sound like a thing that is possible?? No. He died because Adam and Eddy have written themselves into a corner--SwanFire was true love (Belle said so!!) but a certain pirate got in the way and had a better reaction and was more news worthy than their original plan. So they ditched it and went with something else.

So now we know why Rumple was out of his mind. Because he and Neal are inhabiting the same body. Neal has been dead for a year, but living inside Rumple, coming out occasionally (apparently). And so in the must undignified way possible...they killed Neal again. Emma using her magical powers, which apparently have jumped from zero to thousand overnight, separate Neal from Rumple and laying on the cold hard ground, fighting for his last bit of air, Neal dies in Emma's arms. Find Tallahassee, even if it's not with me. Wow. Way to rub salt in this wound, cause here some comes some dashing pirate who can give you a good home, right? Yeah okay.

And the worst part of it all? Neal doesn't even get to see Henry once before he dies. And "it doesn't matter???" Are you kidding me with this? So this 13 year old looses his father, not even remembering how much he loved his father? And his father, who crossed worlds for him (twice now!!!) doesn't even get to see him one last time. As someone who lost their father as a kid, this is disgusting. It's undignified. And it's offensive. Every part of this episode was forced and awkward and rushed. Hook apologizes to Belle for trying to kill her twice--except not really. Go rewatch the scene. It was forced and contrived. He did it because Emma was standing there giving him a look. “You really know how to charm a girl, don’t you?” And his whole “there were extenuating circumstances” about trying to KILL HER. Apparently it’s okay to beat a woman and shoot them in the back so long as you had a good reason. That was NOT an apology. He smirked through the whole thing. It was not sincere and heartfelt. And then some overly contrived idiotic scene between Hook and Neal where Hook CALLS HIM A VILLAIN and Hook gets labeled a hero. I am done. This is too much. The man SOLD Neal to a bunch of psychopaths as a boy and now he gets to be a hero? He gets the girl? He gets to be a stepfather to Henry? He gets to be apart of the family? Really? THAT's the message of this show??? You can have everything so long as you make teenage fan girls swoon? What about story? What about hope? How is this even remotely right or fair? AUGUST got a second chance and a happy ending--the little puppet boy who tore Neal and Emma apart in the first place, and HE gets to a second life with his papa to live happily.

So what's the lesson of Once Upon A Time now? I don't know anymore. I know this is just a show and death happens in real life, but Neal Cassidy deserved better than this. He didn't deserved to die in this manner, his good honest character having been destroyed. He had a good heart and they ruined him. And what did the others characters get out of it? A name. That's it--just that the Witch is named Zelena. This episode, this SEASON, makes the Charming family look incredibly stupid. You couldn't put 2 and 2 together and figure out the very creepy midwife who has a giant pendant and a creepy obsession with Snow was the Wicked Witch? What happened to our intelligent heroes? They have been dumbed down to make villains smarter. It's wrong. It's terrible writing. I hope MRJ finds a better show, one that will treat him more dignified and with more heart and hope. I don't even know if I can care about this show ever again. What is the happy ending for Henry and Rumple is their father/son is dead in his cold and callus manner?

Where is the hope?

There is a lot of speculation right now that the death can be overturned but I have no hope. It's over. He's gone. Tallahassee is dead. Emma and Hook will set sail (because why not have more OOC moments, right?) Rumple will probably be Zelena's father because you can replace one child with another. Henry will get back his memories and decide that it's okay that he lost his father because he never really knew him. Neal will be forgotten. It will be as if he never existed. And I loose a love for a show that kept my positive and happy in my dark times.

Goodbye Neal. Even if they forget you, I won't.


  1. Is it just me, or does the second half of the season appear to be rushed? I understand introducing Zelena because now we know to watch out for her and see how she plots and what she does. I'm glad to see Rumple again, but now we know how he is alive (even though I was never really sure he was dead). Which by the way…WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LAWS OF MAGIC?!? I fully support the idea of sacrifice, you willing trade your life so that another may live; in essence true love: a life for a life. But I thought the rules of magic clearly stated that once dead, there is no coming back. *head desk*
    Regardless of the above rant, we now know at least part of the reason Rumple is back. According to Zelena, he has a magnificent brain. While I don't doubt that in the slightest, I would argue that Belle has a magnificent brain and Zelena is very aware of her existence. Rumple may be cunning, but Belle has knowledge…that is the essence of her whole freaking character.
    I have been assuming that Zelena used Rumple to recast a version of The Curse, but since both Belle and Neal were alive…what would Rumple have sacrificed?
    The only mystery is what does MM and David's baby have to do with Zelena? Zelena is petty and jealous of her half-sister and wants revenge but what does the baby have to do with it? "Ha ha, look I have a kid and you don't."
    1) Was Rumple able to be brought back by the incredibly rushed plot line and conveniently placed Vault of the Dark One because Jafar completed his spell…even though that was in the past and I assumed it was rectified by the time we arrived to one year ago…(time lines…brain pain)
    2) Is Neal really gone or is this just a way to add drama? If Rumple could be brought back, why can't Neal? Clearly the rules no longer apply.
    3) Is it possible that Zelena was helping Pan? She was secretly controlling or aiding him? How did he get the picture of Henry? Assuming Zelena was watching throughout season 1 & 2, did she orchestrate the eventual downfall of the first Curse so that she could get her revenge?
    4) Why in Christ's name would Zelena send Rumple back to the cage where she knows people have previously discovered him?
    5) Was Neal really killed off for CaptainSwan? I'll admit, I liked CaptainSwan as a couple. I could see that being a fling, or purely physical. Or hey, even an actual romance but then Hook redeems himself by sacrificing himself or some nonsense. But by no means did I see that actually working out.
    I was never a huge fan of Neal, but he did not deserve to be "turned into a villain" and then slain all in the same episode. Why does this all feel so rushed and…crappy?

    1. Apparently the laws of magic only matter if PLOT says they matter. (don't get started. Go watch WL. You'll see)

      Belle was my pick for Scarecrow because her entire essence is wrapped up in her knowledge and book reading.

      I don't think Rumple cast the Curse. I think Zelena did, using the heart of her father--whoever he may be.

      No idea why Zelena wants Baby Snowflake. But they way the have made Snow into a pregnant idiot is rather insulting.

      1) No. The WL timeline is S2 of ONCE. And the laws were healed (go watch WL)

      2) I believe he's gone. For good. Because PLOT

      3) I would like for Zelena to connect to Seasons 1-3A but I have very little hope for that.

      4) PLOT

      5) That's why I like you. You can ship it but see the story underneath it all. I don't know. People are of different opinions. I go back and forth. I don't want this to be solely fan pandering. But I don't have much hope for it being otherwise, at this moment.

      6) Because it was rushed and crappy.

  2. Are there a lot of people pissed off about this? Or is it just a select few?

    1. Guess it depends what you mean by a lot. Nealfire fans and the SF shippers to be sure are *livid*. Many have already declared they are no longer watching--and it's not because he died. It's because of how he died. I did a podcast on this subject on Wednesday if you wanted to take a listen:
      I think I come in about an hour to an hour and 15 mins to explain why we're mad.

      As to who is mad: beside the SF shippers, I've seen a lot of just general audience reaction which seems to be stunned disbelief but also, "everyone always comes back on this show. He'll be back" and they don't understand that he probably is gone for good.