Monday, November 9, 2015
In Which I Review Once Upon a Time (5x7)
Here is something shocking: I am not going to go on a feminist rampage about how egregious it is that Nimue is the sole cause of Darkness being in the world. Pick your jaws up off the floor, y'all. I mean, yes, it is pretty offensive that a woman who watched her life and family vanish before her eyes and only wanted to ease her own suffering and pain is going to be torn down as the reason why there is suffering in the world; why so many people have died and why all our lives suck, but why would I complain about that? Why would I want to point out that, not for the first time, OUAT has shown that women are irrational, emotional, illogical, and never actually listen to good sense (usually coming from a romantic interest and always a man)? Why would I want to spend time and energy to demonstrate bit by bit that, once again, women who are "good" and "pure" are presented as light virgins but women who fall from grace are suddenly cast in dark colors, ugly skin, and as vile seducers, trying to lure the unexpected into their dens of iniquity? Why would I do that? No, instead, I am going to go another route and talk about archetypes (what. Me? Talk about archetypes? Surely you jest!) Specifically, I am going to talk about the archetype that I will call "the first woman."
--I know I'm passing over quite a lot of plot and narrative that happened elsewhere in this episode but that's because the main focus really was Nimue and Merlin. Also, because Zelena tethering the sword Excalibur to Merlin so that Arthur could control him was simply weird and strange. Who knew Zelena could do that?
--Let's go back to Jesus, the magical realm jumper. I'm not bothered by Christian themes: light versus dark, Savior, temptation, ect. Never have been. I expect those by the bucket load on my shows (really, have you read my Doctor Who blogs??). What I'm bothered by are the very overt Christian symbols and icons that appear in the Enchanted Forest. You know, like the Holy Grail, a chalice said to have been the cup Jesus passed to his disciples during the Last Supper and was later used to catch Jesus's blood as he was on the cross. I have no problem with there being a magical cup in OUAT and, more specifically, in Arthurian mythology, but to call it THE Holy Grail is incredibly problematic because it suggests that Jesus existed in and had the same influence on the Enchanted Forest as he did in our very real world. Christianity is not sui generis; it did not form in a vacuum completely devoid of outside forces and therefore could equally form in another universe. What outside forces you ask? Judaism, for one. Polytheism for another. History between those two forces, for a third. All of that (and so much more) led to the rise of apocalyptic Judaism and, eventually, to a preacher named Jesus (Joshua, really) who roamed around ancient Galilee, trying to tell people that times were ending. This is to say nothing of the apostle Paul who is responsible for Christianity going out to the Gentiles where it really took root (Jewish-Christianity fading away as the city of Jerusalem burned). If any of that--Judaism, Greco-Roman culture, the interaction between the two, and Paul--happened in the Enchanted Forest, then we've never seen it nor heard of it. And, like I keep saying, Jesus was not a realm jumper.
--The timeline is a disaster. So Merlin was in the tree for 1000 years; but he become immortal 1000 years ago. Rumple was the Dark One for at least 250 years, but Nimue became the Dark One 200 years before present day. How...is this even possible?
--The show really doesn't know how to do romance anymore. The relationship between Merlin and Nimue was almost as fast and unexplored as Lance and Gwen. One conversation and suddenly Merlin can easily say that the best moments of his 1000 year life were with Nimue. Great. Maybe you could show some of them so that I find their love believable.
--Hook's a survivor because he spent 250+ years in Neverland hanging out on a ship in a realm where time does not pass. It's not because of some stupid bauble. But no, go ahead. Say it's because of some silly ring. Lemme guess. We're gonna get some sort of backstory to it. Goody.
--Zelena kicking Snow was one of the funniest things I've seen on this show in a good long while because good God, Mary Margaret. You are as dumb as a pile of rocks.
--Continuity issues? We heard that the Dark One was created at the Vault (nope) and that Merlin battled the Darkness before tethering it to a human being (not really).
--Creepy men in hoods with glowing eyes are super creepy!
--Emma forged a sword. Now what?