Monday, November 2, 2015
In Which I Review Once Upon a Time (5x6)
The opening scene to this week's episode feels like the set up to a really bizarre and decidedly unfunny joke. Prince Charming, Captain Hook, Merlin and Google--sorry, Belle-- walk into a jail cell. Why is Belle there to begin with? Why is she carrying a book? Why does anything think that bringing Belle--and her Google-powered iPad--along to rescue Lancelot is a good idea? This is one of the biggest (I know I say that a lot, but it really is) problems on Once Upon a Time: this total disregard for logic and explaining situations. We, as an audience, are not inside the writers heads. I do not know what their thought process was (and even if I did know at one point, it has since been utterly transformed, probably by a magical mcguffin) when they rationalized that Belle going into that jail cell was a good idea. I am just expected to buy into the idea that Charming, Merlin, and the pirate would take Belle along to a scuffle, fight, violent encounter, or any other synonym that involves fisticuffs. This wasn't the only instance of hand waving away questions of logic and problems with writing in this episode. Merida kidnaps Belle because she needs magic to rescue her triplet brothers. Okay, in some regards that makes perfect sense and I can see why Merida--who has had encounters with magic in the past--would think that magic is going to solve her problems. To be fair, it's how her Disney/Pixar character operated. But the issue here is that at no point did Merida see or hear that Belle has magic. Literally, all Belle did was point to something in her Google Operated iPad and Merlin did the magic on Lancelot's cell bars. Belle was....a book stand. Yes, that's what she was. She held a book and played a poor man's version of Siri while Merlin, the most accomplished wizard in the history of the Onceiverse, waved his hands. Logically, Merida should try to kidnap Merlin. Or even Emma if the Scottish red head was feeling particularly feisty and fresh, but no--she goes with the non-obvious, illogical solution of Belle. Finally, one more instance (that I'll talk about) in which logic is brushed aside and the writers simply tell us, "worry not about this!" Emma finally figures out that Merlin was the creepy usher in the movie theater when she was but a wee lass. Like the audience has been doing all season, she questions how Merlin was there since he was stuck inside a tree photosynthesizing for several millennia. Merlin, I kid you not, looks at Emma and tells her it doesn't matter how, what matters, instead, is what he told her (do not do the thing, young Skywalker!) On a show that can make up magical handwaving excuses faster than you can save Magical Plot Device, Merlin dismisses a major seasonal question with a condescending and patronizing answer and we are expected to swallow it, lock, stock and barrel. Nope, sorry. That's not how I roll. This is one case when the writers could have simply said "magic" and it would have been keeping in line with how powerful we're told Merlin is. Instead...we got the equivalent of a pat on the head and sent outside to play with our toys like good children.
Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke, the character formerly known as Rumple limps around, saying and doing stupid things that make me want to break his other leg. But first, before I go down that particular rabbit hole, let's stop by the so called heroes of Storybrooke and hear what they have to say about Rumple's fate. Oh, they don't care about Mr. Gold/Rumple/The Crocodile. If Rumple dies, then that's his own fault because he had many opportunities to turn into a hero. But these so called heroes absolutely have to save Emma Swan because she's innocent and the darkness simply has a hold on her but through their hard work, perseverance and determination (and love!) they can save the Swan! Hip hip huzzah. You flipping hypocrites! The darkness has been canonically established to be a sentient entity that can corrupt even a SAVIOR. What does that mean? It means that Rumple was just as much under the influence of that darkness as Blessed Emma Swan. So it means you should try to save BOTH. Because they BOTH matter and are family! COME ON. Remember when Rumple sacrificed himself for his one true love and his son? For the town? He is worth fighting for, just like Emma. This conversation was downright insulting to Rumple and to the characters themselves. Not even Regina would stick up for him; Regina who has a very complex relationship with her former master, father figure, enemy? Tell me, Snow and Charming, how many times has Rumple helped you and your family out in Storybrooke? How many times has he stopped whatever he was doing to help you with your various dramas because the two of you couldn't collectively figure your way out of a paper bag? Rumple's heart was literally being turned black by the same Darkness that is now infesting your daughter, but he's not worth saving because he couldn't fight it anymore than she could. I simply cannot with this level of hypocrisy from an Evil Queen, a Pirate and two Baby Snatchers! It was because of this that when Rumple and Belle were about to drive over the town line, I found myself yelling, "go! go! be free!" The other characters in the show will never afford Rumple an ounce of sympathy or compassion and only see him as the Dark One, never mind that his actions (while dark) were rooted in something totally human and understandable (finding his son). We still have no idea why Emma's doing what she's doing (brooding long and hard over a sword, removing everyone's memories, and ripping out little girl's hearts) but at least Rumple's motivation behind his sinister nature was compelling. Okay, I had to get that off my chest. Now, on to the Imp himself and some egregious character assassination.
--Very few one-liners this week, but I did enjoy Zelena's "was that a kick my little Munchkin?" I may loathe her, but Zelena does know how to be wickedly entertaining.
--Rumple shattered Chip. Back when Chip broke in season 2, it was heartbreaking because it was done in the heat of the moment after Amnesia! Belle and Rumple had been through an emotional roller coaster. This week it just felt silly and stupid and eye-roll worthy. Yes, I get it. Belle is going to save him!
--The CGI for the bear was okay. Much better than Mal's dragon back in season 4, at the very least.
--So, wait. Is Nimue not the First Dark One? Is she still alive? Why can she help? Merlin's voicemail was interesting.
--Merlin is seriously cute.
--Hook is back to calling Rumple the Crocodile and not caring if said amphibian dies. Two episodes ago, Hook was giving Emma some sort of sob story about how he (Hook) was the villain in the Rumple/Hook story of Season Two. Consistency. What are you?
--The return of the magical mushroom, which apparently can't be burned. There's a drug joke in here somewhere.
--"You turned me into a hero." No, Rumple, Belle did. Did you not watch your own episode? But now that Rumple has pulled the sword from the stone, what can he possibly do against the Dark One?