Monday, April 7, 2014
In Which I Review Once Upon a Time (3x16)
Ok, not really. But I had to get one Kermit joke out of my system before reviewing. You give me an episode called, "It's Not Easy Being Green," and while it might be low hanging fruit it doesn't mean I am not going to go ahead and pick it.
This is our first back story for the woman who would become the Wicked Witch of Oz. In the week following Neal Cassidy's senseless and gratuitous murder, I have been contemplating justification for killing a good guy. There is this idea that ONCE is presenting that in order to defeat Wicked, you must have proper motivation. Without that fire under you, good will apparently sit back, kick up their heels, and let the situation unfold--which is basically antithetical to fairy tales in general. You fight evil/wickedness because it's evil/wicked. You do not need the death of a loved to suddenly make you sit up and declare that you shall fight! In other words, I continue to be bothered by Neal's death, but I recognize that I cannot focus on this too much. However, this week, it isn't about Neal (he has been forgotten, as predicted) but rather about how envy is not a good color on the powerful.
I honestly don't want to dwell too long on this sham of a funeral. If you had not watched last week, would you have known who was in that coffin? No words, no speeches, no heartfelt moments of angst as the town (seriously, who the hell are half those people!) turns out to "say" goodbye to Nealfire. When Archie "died" in season 2, words were said. Speeches were made. Hugs were given. There was none of that for this funeral. Instead our main characters each took a turn putting dirt on Neal's coffin. That's it. It lasted maybe 5 minutes and then it was over. And, I need to say this, but is there a reason why HOOK is getting the focus of this scene? I swear the camera focused on him more than Emma or Henry. The gang moves over to Granny's diner for a (sham) of a wake (where there are no pictures of Neal at his own wake) and the plot quickly progresses past "sad town is sad." (Side note: but I'm basically skipping over everything that happens between Hook and Henry until the note section. It was terrible filler).
Baby Zelena was dropped off in Oz by a twister. Because children survive such things. Some magical, green twister picked her up in the Enchanted Forest and deposited her (conveniently) in front of a woodcutter and his wife. The wife is enamored but the husband sees the child do magic (burn her!) and is repulsed that the child is not like them. But the wife prevails and they take baby Zelena home with them. Welcome to Oz. Years pass and Zelena grows up with a drunk for a father, which we knew. But when her father finally gives up the ghost that Zelena is not his child, she is legitimately hurt and decides to go see the Wizard of Oz who can reunite her with her real family. A villain who has a tragic back story, was abandoned and abused and who feels resentment. Gee, where have I seen this before. The villain cycle on ONCE is laughable at this point. Every villain is just a take on previous ones. If this had been the first time Adam and Eddy had introduced the idea of child abandonment leads to mental instability, then I’d applaud their creation of this villain and be more open to her story.
But the fact is, it’s not. It is the exact same formula they’ve used in the past. And that’s why I find it less appealing because OF COURSE she has abandonment issues and parent issues and rage.
Zelena goes to see the Wizard, who is a larger than life figure behind a curtain. The Wizard understands Zelena's dilemma and agrees to help her out. Using his magic all seeing floor, the Wizard shows Zelena her past--an image of Cora abandoning her in the woods in the Enchanted Forest because Zelena would prevent her from achieving her goal of becoming royalty. He also shows Zelena her sister Regina, who is weaker magically but still under the tutelage of Rumple. Zelena is incredibly jealous of Regina; she is far more powerful than Regina, she should be the one taught by Rumple. It was a veritable hissy fit. In order to get to the Enchanted Forest, Zelena needs a portal and those are in short supply. Except they aren't. We've been told since day one that moving between worlds is incredibly hard, but every season they come up with another method. I suppose I can't complain too much with this one because this one IS in the actual story of Oz. The slippers of course. Quick side note, but for legal reasons they are not allowed to be ruby. That was an adaptation for the 1939 MGM movie and they are heavily copyrighted. In the book, they are silver, so they are silver here as well. Clicking her heels three times, Zelena takes herself to the Enchanted Forest where she meets Rumple.
--The CGI for the Wizard's chamber room was better than previous CGI sets. However, Emerald City itself and the yellow brick road was a bit iffy.
--Henry and Hook: There was a certain amount of tenderness and sweetness to them, but for me, it was overshadowed by the fact that I don’t have amnesia. I remember everything Hook’s ever done, including giving Bae to the Lost Boys. This will never be addressed on screen and that bugs me. He needs to give some exposition about how he tried to go after Bae or how horrible he feels. But right now it’s coming off as “I raised Bae like a loving step-papa” while forgetting everything Hook did. The writers make Regina and Rumple bear the consequence of their crimes every season. Hook doesn’t get a pass from me. It’s sloppy character development.
--"I don't dance with amateurs" "I'm not an amateur. I'm the Savior." That's all good and well, Emma Swan, but what have you done in the past few episodes to show that you're the Savior? You walked through the woods for two episodes in order to drive the shipping community into a frenzy, but so far, your Savior title isn't holding up. Don't ask permission to go after her. Just DO IT.
--I do think this episode was better than both The Tower and Quiet Minds, but the repetitive nature of ONCE is getting...well..repetitive. At one point, Zelena actually says: "We are doing it all over again." Yes, yes we are.
--Despite all the clues, I call "red (green?) herring" that Zelena is our Dorothy.
--"I have that effect on women." That is total nod to the fangirls of Rumple (of whom there are a startling amount, including yours truly).
--Predictions: Zelena used Dorothy's heart to cast the Curse that sent everyone back to Storybrooke. Zelena's father is the Scarecrow.