Monday, December 1, 2014

In Which I Review Once Upon A Time (4x9)

The hell? Will someone explain this plot to me? At least the flashbacks...cause what? This weeks episode, "Fall," was some sort of convoluted nightmare where plots became increasingly hard to follow, everyone ran around like chickens with their heads cut off, and I spent most of my time yelling, "just close your eyes for fucks sake!" No, seriously, has anyone thought about just closing their eyes? I know the spell of shattered sight doesn't care about roofs or walls, but it apparently needs to get into your eye, so why doesn't everyone just close their eyes? In other news, Anna and Elsa reunited; Blackbeard is alive (and I have uncontrollable rage), but hey at least Emma and He Who Shall Not Be Named making out didn't break a curse. On the other hand, I had to watch them make out and that's just vomit inducing. Frankly, I'm exhausted. The holidays, work, this show...I just can't bring myself to fully review this one. It's going to be short, it's going to be snarky, and it will probably just be me whining like a bitter fan who doesn't know why her once former favorite show has turned into a cesspool of stupid. Honest to God, and with every bit of respect I can muster, if you liked this episode or this show...just don't read. Don't bother. 

When You Wish Upon A Star (Hopefully This Arc Ends)

This weeks episode features...wait for it...the FROZEN cast! Are you shocked? Are you stunned? Do you need smelling salts? Yes, for the umpteenth time in a row, the flashbacks feature no regular cast members, but only the FROZEN people! I think the writers tried to make up for it by bringing Blackbeard back and making it so that it wasn't all FROZEN people, but it didn't work because mostly I was angry over Blackbeard being alive--you know, the guy Hook intentionally tried to murder. Yeah, they retconned that. Or, if you like, it's illogical. I know I know: Oh, but no body you say! Middle finger, says I! He was cut, there were sharks, and bubbles. The man was dead! And intent doesn't matter one damn bit, right? So now Saint Hook is not a murderer. Cry me a river. Where was I? Oh, right...FROZEN ALL THE THINGS. If anyone out there tries to keep serious track of the timeline, just give up. Just let it go (FROZEN!), obviously the writers don't care and they never will. When the HELL was this supposed to take place? Is this concurrent with Storybrooke's timeline? So, Anna and Kristoff were finding Blackbeard at the same time that Elsa and Emma were trying to find Anna? has been a decent chunk of change since Snow and Charming cast the curse, right? At least a few weeks. Look, I'm pretty knowledgeable about ONCE; I can talk about the timeline with startling accuracy and I have no idea what the heck this was supposed to be. It was messy but the writers don't care. They are hoping that you are looking at all the FROZEN things and ignoring all the terrible. But I'm on to you, writers. Oh yes, my eye scrutinizes everything you do.

Do you see how much trouble I'm even having talking about this flashback?  It's pretty basic, except for the overly contrived, out of nowhere, plot devices (but that's so par for the course with ONCE that I actually laughed at the sudden "magical wishing star!") Basically, Anna and Kristoff wake up; Anna rambles unintelligibly for awhile; Hans comes in because FROZEN ALL THE THINGS; Anna and Kristoff escape; Anna dumps information about a wishing star on the audience and makes some sort of philosophical statement about wizards and pirates and how pirates are better than wizards (subtle ONCE...subtle); Anna and Kristoff meet Blackbeard, a character that made little to no impression on the audience back in episode 17 of season 3; there is some more babbling; there is more Hans; then there is a chest, a joke, and the FROZEN character having a near death experience in a watery grave. And then before you can say "Disney Fan Fiction," there is a magical thing. I can't even pick a point to discuss in this review. Blackbeard being alive because Ariel rescued him is just beyond stupid. Hans showing up unexpectedly at every turn, somehow knowing exactly what Anna and Kristoff were planning, is annoying. The only intriguing thing is that apparently Anna and Elsa's parents DID get the Wishing Star but didn't use it to take away Elsa's magic but only because they did not have pure intentions. Intriguing because I really thought ONCE would ensure that the FROZEN parents weren't the worst parents EVER and have them realize that they shouldn't try to change their daughter. Hands up if you think that's what the message in a bottle is! It's hard for me to keep talking about this flashback; there was so much I just plain don't enjoy or like. I try to find a good thing--like Kristoff being adorable, and he is--but it's still not ONCE. I am tired of FROZEN; or rather, I'm tired of it usurping the screen time and story lines of the other characters. I may hate and loathe Hook with every fiber of my being, but I know he's a regular and he should get flashbacks. Having an entire 11 episodes in which almost every single one is some sort of FROZEN story is such a deliberate marketing ploy. It's insulting that the writers think they can get away with it and not be heavily criticized for making this the season that saved their asses. That's what this is, this entire story: SAVE ONCE! Let's just move on, shall we?

Slowest. Moving. Curse. Ever.

A curse is coming to Storybrooke. That's never happened before (there is so much sarcasm laced in that sentence). I will say this: this curse intrigues me. It does open up the door to a few interesting plot developments and points and potentially good drama. I am hoping that this spell, that will cause everyone to see the worst in each other, will actually do some long lasting damage to a few people that really need their (excuse the pun) eyes opened (looking at you Regina and Robin). But, do you know what annoys me? If you answered ONCE, then, yes, technically you are right, but that's not what I was going for. Emma is immune to the curse meaning she won't be looking at Mr. Sad Face Pirate Boy and seeing him for who he truly is. The one time she might see that she's dating someone who has abused her, left her in jail to die, denied her right to get home to her son, shot an innocent woman, got women liquored up to take back to his boat, and sold Baelfire to Peter Pan...and it's not going to happen. Emma really will never know that the kind of shit that precious Killian has done. It's so infuriating. Actually, it's beyond that but I'm struggling to put into words how ill I feel over this. I'm breaking one of my cardinal rules about blogging ONCE by even mentioning the ship that shall not be named, but it's honestly so unfair that Emma is never going to learn the kid of man she is dating. Even when Emma learns about Hook's adventures with the hat and the sucking of the humans, Hook has a good ol' excuse involving blackmail and his heart being kept in a stylish lawyer bag by the guy who is pretending to be Rumple (that's not Rumple. This is what I'm telling myself to just get by at this point. This isn't even Pod! Rumple; this is just straight up NOT Rumple).

So much of this episode is just plot dump and people running from place to place and comes down to: save Anna or save the town? Belle is Google and informs everyone that they can create a vaccine to the Spell of Shattered Sight but they must have a strand of hair (oh kill me now) from someone affected by the curse at some point. That's Anna, of course. So now the mission to find Anna is really a mission to save the town. There are roadblocks and hard choices that must be made and Elsa kinda betrays everyone (with Emma's help? That was unclear) and goes after Anna, town be damned. I don't blame you, Elsa. At this point, I'd love to see everyone just kill each other and that be the end of the series. Lights fade to black on a smouldering ruin of Storybrooke, corpses lying all over a bloody road. Limbs hanging from treetops, maybe Emma's left finger twitching just a wee bit as we zoom in on her left eye and she closes it, finally dying. Once Upon a Walking Game Of Thrones! That's what it would be. I'd watch it if only to then watch the fandom tear itself apart. Dance on the flames and be queen of the ashes! Where was I? Seriously, this is what this show is doing to me. I can't even review properly. Or maybe it's leftover Thanksgiving coma? Anyway, long story short: Elsa wishes, unintentionally, on her sister's necklace which just so happens to be the Wishing Star (kill me) and POOF! Her sister appears in a trunk on the beach, having been zapped from a watery death. Sure. Let's go with that. It's overly contrived and so super convenient that it makes the Pegasus Sail look like a work of genius.

If you look to your right, you'll see the Odd Couple. Aren't they cute? Not-Rumple has a plan: he is getting out of dodge with his wife and grandson (my mouth hit the floor when they let Rumple acknowledge that Henry is related to him). But in order to do that, first he needs Hook to do him a little favor involving pests and a hat. It's nice that Not-Rumple still hates the fairies and I guess it's nice that he is forgoing his plan to Suck Emma (man, that sounds wrong) into his hat. But at the same time when Not-Rumple drops a line like, "I don't have time for everyone" I have such a desire to knock heads together. Almost one year ago, the man died in order to save the town. "He saved us" my Nealfire said and now, "I don't have time for everyone." And if it comes down to him versus everyone else, he wins every time. Not-Rumple is dialed up to 11 on the evil chart and I guess that's really why they killed Neal. The writers have no idea how to write Rumple as good or struggling to become human again because the creators find goodness to be boring (evidence A: Snow and Charming after season 1), so they keep him evil. In order to do that, you have to take away the thing that drove the goodness more than anyone ever has. So my Neal died because they writers are bad at their job of creativity. (Also CaptainSwan but let's leave that sleeping dog lie). So yes, Hook is all sad face and sucks Blue (that was a fun thing to write) into his magical hat along with all the other nuns. Hook kills nuns! Too bad he's heartless, so it makes no difference at all, right? Intent doesn't count on this show.

And finally the damn spell hits. 42 minutes in, Anna found, and now pretty spell. It actually is quite pretty, I'll give the CGI team a round of applause for that. Everyone is stashed away, hoping that locking themselves up means they won't hurt each other. Snow and Charming are in jail, Regina is in her vault, Kristoff has chained himself to a desk, Hook is...oh, right. I don't care. Belle is in the shop and Not-Rumple is being a fashionista and letting the wind whip through his hair as he takes it all in. Sure. Again I ask why they didn't just cover their eyes (though Elsa did this, despite her being immune so I don't know why it doesn't occur to anyone else...). I will admit that the Emma and her parents moment was genuinely quite sweet, as was the final Snow and Charming moment. It's like the show remembered that they were the start of this whole show! Taking each others hand and promising that nothing could ever come between them--they do share a heart after all--was sweet but also made me laugh because this is ONCE and whenever someone declares something like, "nothing can hurt us!" something comes along and hurts them. Good luck with that Charming family.

 Miscellaneous Notes on Fall

--"Enjoy your trip." Elizabeth Mitchell is the saving grace of this arc.

--Let's try to climb over the ice wall!! But why not use a dwarf axe? Aren't they stronger than anything? Shouldn't they be able to knock it down with the device that it is so strong it breaks up DIAMONDS?

--"We're relying on mirror dust and fairies but we have a plan!" Sometimes the writers do realize how stupid their show is.

--"And I sang with you!" FROZEN

--I am consciously ignoring anything and everything that is Robin and Regina. 

--If I took a shot for every time someone said FROZEN this episode, I'd be dead.

--If Rumple says cleave one more time.....


  1. I agree, alot of things here don't add up, even if they have behind the scenes explanations (Blackbeard's actor won the writers over so much, which they'd expressed well before this episode, so that's why his death was retconned despite not making much sense with what we saw). Like from Season 2 and onward, this show continues to suffer from plot holes and a complete lack of foreshadowing for things that end up being absurdly contrived and convenient as a result (the Wishing Star was in several episodes, there is no excuse that its true nature wasn't hinted at until just now when it needs to come into play.) In this regard, I completely share your frustration with this show.

    You should have stuck to your rule about shipping, though, because that's where you've confused me. I'm not a shipper, all right? I'm perfectly OK with both Swanfire and Captain Swan and never cared which would be canon or endgame or whatever, so I have no stake here. But your comments on Hook and the Captain Swan ship still befuddle me all the same.

    Emma is immune to the curse meaning she won't be looking at Mr. Sad Face Pirate Boy and seeing him for who he truly is.

    The curse makes everyone see the worst in other people. So why reduce the worst of Hook to "who he truly is"? Why would Snow or Charming or Belle or anyone else acting on their inner darkness get passes from Emma, yet seeing Hook acting on it mean she sees him as an evil person who she should dump ASAP? This is a blatant double standard based on your shipping preferences, and there is no logic to it.

    1. The one time she might see that she's dating someone who has abused her, left her in jail to die, denied her right to get home to her son, shot an innocent woman, got women liquored up to take back to his boat, and sold Baelfire to Peter Pan...and it's not going to happen. Emma really will never know that the kind of shit that precious Killian has done.

      Except that she does know. She was THERE for most of it. Heck, if memory serves correct, Hook even told Emma about his entire history with Baelfire en route to Neverland, including him selling him to Pan. Emma let it slide partly because she loved Neal for "Neal" and not for Baelfire (his magical, 200-year old history means squat to her, same goes for Hook's history), and partly because the regret Hook felt for selling Bae out is what drove him to come back with the bean and method of transportation to Neverland in order to save Henry.

      Emma knows Hook's crimes, she just doesn't hold grudges for each and every one of them like you do. She knows when to follow Elsa's lead and just LET IT GO. Heck, even Belle's done so: she may understandably not forgive Hook but, like she has with Regina, she's moved on with her life and isn't harping on past events.

      it's honestly so unfair that Emma is never going to learn the kind of man she is dating.

      And there's the thing: she doesn't need to learn anything. She already knows exactly the kind of man he is, because she's looking at him without a filter. This is precisely WHY I do not ship anything, because shippers are notorious for seeing things with their biased filters rather than how they actually are presented, and you've clearly allowed that to happen with you.

      In Season 2, Hook stood against Rumbelle in a non-traditional way, and in Season 3, he was up against Swanfire in the traditional (romantic) way. You ship both Rumbelle and Swanfire, ergo nothing Hook does will be good to you and his character development into a better person is blocked out because your eyes are fixed on bad things he did in the past when he was a bad person.

      And I'm sorry, but when it reaches the point where you're applying a double standard on the Shattered Sight spell and saying that it would reveal "who Hook really is" but wouldn't for anyone else despite doing the exact same thing to them, then I think it's time to step back and take off your shipping goggles. There's hating a character, and then there's completely warping canon to justify that hate.

      Speaking of which...

      Almost one year ago, the man died in order to save the town. "He saved us" my Nealfire said and now, "I don't have time for everyone."

      Except, he didn't die to save the town at all. This was said point-blank in an exchange between Neal and Belle. Neal said he died to save the town, but Belle immediately rebuffed him on that, correcting him by saying that Rumple died to save the two of them. The rest of the town just happened to benefit from that sacrifice. Neal and Belle were always the only ones that mattered to Rumple, so it doesn't seem far-fetched for him to take Belle and the only blood-link to Neal that's left in the world and leave the rest of the town to its fate.

    2. First, I never said that anyone else gets a pass from Emma. I expect Emma--were she not immune--would see the worst in everyone. She can see the worst in Snow and Charming--that would make for excellent drama, actually.

      But I'm more concerned about her relationship with Hook and how she doesn't know some of the past things he has done. And no, Hook did not tell Emma his entire history with Neal. He told her that they knew each other and spent time together. Hook neglected to tell her that he had given Bae to psycho Pan.

      And yes, she knows about the stuff he has done to her--but she's never once reacted to it. None of it. And that's some serious rug sweeping. The man shot an innocent woman and your advice is 'let it go?" The Curse of Shattered Sight would help her either recall these moments or at least acknowledge them instead of blatantly ignoring all the terrible things he's done.

      And as far as following Elsa's example and letting it go and not holding grudges: please do not tell me how to react to a character on my own blog. I have every right to not like Hook and not like how the writers have chosen to whitewash and rug sweep his actions whereas Regina and Rumple are forced to face their actions every single season. Hook has done horrible things, things that are personally very triggering for me. And telling me to basically get over it is unnecessary. I have every right to not like him. I would dislike him whether or not I was a Rumbelle/Swanfire shipper and reducing my dislike of him to simple "shipping" is a disservice to my analysis and thoughts. I know a great many people who dislike Hook and are not shippers at all.

      And the same goes for following or not following my own rules. I stated at the outset of this review that I am tired and it was going to be reflected in the review. I have every right to blog my own incredibly biased opinion--and I do acknowledge that it's biased. I except something different than I what I want to see on my screen. I am allowed to say that I am not happy with what I am seeing and saying what I would prefer to see as far as story.

      And as far as the Rumple stuff: it's not just the saving the town. It's the fact that in the past Rumple has chosen love over power (like throwing the dagger to Zelena). He did choose to sacrifice himself once, be it for the town or for Belle/Neal, he did chose to die! And his reason for ultimate power grab now isn't being couched in any kind of logic except "power for the sake of power" which is a piss poor writing choice. Even if they just gave Rumple some lines about being depressed over Neal or going to Dark One Goo Land, then at least it's something to work with outside of "all the power!!!"

      And if you don't like me or my review, please stop reading. I'm not going to be hurt by it, I promise.

  2. "Not-Rumple"? Is this your way of pretending that the Rumpelstiltskin who plotted to trap Emma inside that hat and threaten Hook with death is some new construct and not the same Rumpelstiltskin from Season 3?

    Is this some attempt to believe that one good act in "Going Home" was to make Rumpelstiltskin a good guy forever? Regina committed a good act in Season 2's "The Queen of Hearts" before spending most of that season regressing from her "heroine" status.

    One good act doesn't do it. It takes more than that for character development. Speaking of which, as long as Emma pretends that saving Marian and changing the timeline was the right thing to do, she'll never develop as a character in my eyes.