Sunday, April 30, 2017
--"You don't steer the TARDIS. You reason with it." "How?" "Unsuccessfully most of the time."
--I like how Bill vocalizes to the audience her own fears over entering London 1814 because of her black skin and the fact that, at this point, slavery is a very real factor. Often times, Doctor Who eschews those very real world issues.
--"It's not really wrestling unless it's in zero gravity. With tentacles."
--Whatever is behind the vault is alive and, at the very least, has the ability to knock. I suspect we all know where this is going (hint: knocking has been used to foreshadow someone before! Though I hesitate since the figure only knocked 3 times and not 4)
--I'm still very unsure what to make of Nardole and his role on the show. So far, he's gone on no adventures and only served as a scold. Hopefully the writers step up to the plate with him soon.
--R.I.P Pete and the Butterfly
--"He's got your magic wand." "Sonic screwdriver." "How is that a screwdriver?" "In a broad sense." "How is it sonic?" "...it makes noise."
Monday, April 24, 2017
I honestly don't have a lot this week. There is a definite throughline with Zelena in this episode; much like all the other villains on the show, such as Rumple and Cora, Zelena sees magic as a way to set her apart from others around her. It makes her special when before all she felt was alone. This serves as a piece of irony because it's this magical ability and superiority complex that really causes Zelena to be alone. It doesn't hurt the parallel that also like Rumple and Cora, Zelena's two closest links to magical "parents," she was a poor and under privileged child of misfortune. There's a bit of nasty classism that runs through OUAT if you look for it. When it comes to anyone who serves as a villain, either for an arc or just an episode or even series long, there's a pretty good chance they were once poor and downtrodden. Rumple, Cora,, Zelena, Arthur, Jafar, and even Jekyll all start off life as part of the working class. They use magic (or science in one case) to set themselves apart believing the actual having of talents makes them special, but it's also more than that. Magic and science are also used to gain control of one's life. Zelena might tell Stanum that using magic for wickedness is more fun but it also allows her control over her life, something she dearly lacked when she was in rags and living in a hovel. It's the same for Rumple and Cora. Both of them were dirt (literally) poor and at the mercy of a rich and powerful overlord, either a Duke or a King. Neither of them were able to rise above their station and were constantly fearful that this overlord could end their existence with a flick of his tiny finger. Thus their villainy is linked to their desire to control their own destines and lives. It's hard to tell if the writers making their villains originally deprived financially is a lack of creativity or if there is a classist argument at play that being poor breeds resentment and hostility. At any rate, Zelena's attempt to seize control of her life and set herself apart magically also made her life a lonely one. Few people are blessed with magic and when you believe that your gift makes you better than those who are ungifted, you're naturally going to find yourself eating at an empty table. Thank heavens for random friends who were once a passerby to make you realize your misfortune and that abilities don't make you special, what you do with them does!
--The flashbacks this week felt very incomplete. Did Zelena and Stanum hang out more than just for a few moments on the Yellow Brick Road as kids? Cause if not, it's really strange that he'd go to the Wicked Witch of the West for help after having only met her once.
--Also, we can add the Crimson Heart to the list of idiotic MacGuffins in season 6B.
--I understand the writers wanted to wrap up the Regina and Zelena hostility but, man, Regina was downright nasty to Zelena in this episode. So, Regina would be totally fine with Zelena taking her and Robin Hood's daughter to Oz forever?
--"Your mother has a key. Good to know.”
--Emma’s coat is obnoxiously ugly.
--Hey it's Belle! Oh, she's a babysitter again.
--The visual of the Black Fairy standing up, laughing, and walking against Zelena’s magic was very effective.
--"You really want to pick out centerpieces on the eve of the final battle?”
--“Why is it that even when your sister isn’t the villain we’re fighting…she's the villain we're fighting?”
Sunday, April 23, 2017
--"You never thought to bring the seats closer?"
--So what is going on with the Doctor, Nardole and this suspicious oath not to travel? We have virtually no information outside of that so it's really anyone's guess.
--Is it a bit depressing that of all the languages on planet Earth it's emoji that survives? Or do we take it like a universal language, meaning that particular barrier is gone?
--"Don't sentimentalize me. I don't just fly by helping people out."
--The Doctor is really just a "scary, handsome, genius from outer space."
--So there's an elephant on the Thames. Cool.
--"Between here and my office, before the kettle even boils, is everything that ever happened or ever will."
Monday, April 17, 2017
In the broadest sense, I get what the writers are hoping to elicit from their audience with this episode. The notion that Snow and Charming gave up their only child, sent her into a strange land, and sacrificed their chance to be a family has always been powerful and emotionally resonate. It's why those last few moments of the Pilot are so strong; you see the hope in Snow's eyes as she realizes that Emma got away; the new hope, the Savior went into the wardrobe and because of that the kingdom has a sliver of belief that someday they will be rid of the Evil Queen's curse. The writers are hoping to cash in on those feelings by setting up a roughly similar scenario once more, only this time ten years into the future and not in the Enchanted Forest. It's a sort of emotional manipulation in which they hope you don't notice that while they tug at your feelings of nostalgia they are, at the same time, destroying the very basic DNA of the show and replacing it with a watered down, convoluted, overly complicated piece of narrative that simply doesn't work because of how powerful the original story was. Think about this way: what's more powerful? Snow and Charming meeting on the Storybrooke streets as Snow and Charming for the first time in twenty-eight years because their daughter shared a true love's kiss with her child or Snow and Charming meeting in a cold and isolated hospital room, having been woke up because of a random heretofore unmentioned flower that has some vague magical properties and not because of Emma at all? Take Snow and Charming out of the equation totally and look at Rumple. Which scene works more--the one where Emma gives her name and a light goes off in Rumple's head or the one where Charming mutters Emma's name as he turns to leave the shop and suddenly Mr. Gold is Rumple again only until he takes a memory potion to erase his memories of having woken up? I would argue that in both cases the original moment far outstrips the first. Is the moment in front of the door where Snow and Charming decide that they have to let Emma grow up without them, believe that she's strong enough to grow up alone and find them, a powerful one? A bit, yes, especially on Snow's end since it's the most in character she's felt for a long time. But it's a rehash of an already powerful moment, the one where Snow, having just given birth, lies in bed with her husband and begs Charming to take their daughter and get her to the wardrobe before it's too late. That moment I'll remember long after I've forgotten this paltry new one. The first question any writer should ask themselves before they put pen to paper is, "why should I write this? Is this really something that the world needs?" If your answer is no then scrap it and come up with something else. I get that from a seasonal standpoint this episode needs to resolve the curse upon Snow White and Prince Charming but there are other ways to do that without having to likewise show this tortured flashback that undoes so much of what made the first season so great. The entire town drinking a part of the sleeping curse and diluting it enough to wake up Snow and Charming? Yes, all sorts of illogical but a sweet enough moment that keeps with the idea that Snow and Charming are heroes and the people of the Enchanted Forest/Storybrooke love them and respect them. At this point I am beginning to conclude that the writers simply don't care about any sort of consistency. They just want to turn in 22 episodes, get renewed and start all over. Snow and Charming, season one, and even we deserve better than this.
--It’s really nice seeing Granny, Archie, the dwarves and Marco. It reminds me of when SB felt like a real lived-in town.
--“We were destined to clash since the dawn of time.”
--I didn't make any mention of it in the review proper but apparently Tiger Lily used to be a fairy and feels responsible for not stopping the Black Fairy when she had a chance.
--Neverland is looking rather Vancover-y.
--Not only is there a potion to remove the darkness in one's heart but a curse is now akin to darkness in a heart!
--Why did it take ten years for the flower that reunites true loves to grow in Storybrooke? And why didn't it pop up when other big baddies (Cora, Pan, Zelena, The Queens of Darkness, Dark Swan, Hades, all the Dark Ones ever, the Evil Queen) come to town?
--Emma was always the Savior. She didn’t need to be 28; that’s just when she came to town. She was born the Savior because she was born of Snow White and Prince Charming and because of Rumple’s machinations. It was not because she was “of age.” That is nonsense.
--Snow is willing to risk a forever-coma and leaving her second child an orphan if it means Emma can have her boyfriend back. While I know that parental sacrifices for their children is a major theme of the show, I honestly think the writers have forgotten that Snow and Charming have a second child. We also really need a scene of Emma's internal angst here to make her look less callous and cold in choosing Hook over her parents as easily as it appears.
--Hook's shadow had a little shadow hook. That is hilarious and little bit adorable.
--Pongo is in a bad mood because he’s off gluten.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
--"I am very particular about time."
--Has the Doctor already met Bill's mother or is this one of Steven Moffat's famous wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey plot lines?
--"That's my face, yeah?" Bit flexible about that are you?" "You have no idea."
--Why is the Doctor in disguise and why can't anyone know he's hanging out in Bristol as a professor? Also, what election is he speaking of?
--Any guesses what is behind Checkov's Vault?
--I'm not sure how I feel about the Doctor only having Susan and River's photos on his desk. I get that those two are "family" in the tradition sense (granddaughter and wife) but all the Doctor's companions are family to him, after a fashion.
--The one revelation missing from Bill's encounter with the Doctor is that he's called a Time Lord, he has two hearts, and he regenerates into a new person when his death is at hand. But given that this is Peter Capaldi's final run as the Doctor, I guess she'll find that out soon enough.
--"I can't just call you the Doctor. Doctor What?" Yeah, Bill's gonna be just fine.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Gideon and Emma are the same person. Maybe I should be more specific because on this show that little joke could actually turn out to be true (looking at you Zelena and Marian from season four!). The writers are going to some great lengths to draw parallels between Gideon and Emma; it's no small coincidence that Gideon returns to Storybrooke right after his twenty-eighth birthday. Emma, of course, did the same. Both Emma and Gideon had what can only be described as a rough childhood and while those specific circumstances might be different, the emotional trauma behind them is the same. Emma was shuffled around, moving from place to place, never having a proper home or a real family. These experiences left her with feelings of low self-worth, someone undeserving of love and acceptance. It took Henry, Mary Margaret and a belief in herself to really knock down those long standing beliefs. Gideon, unlike Emma, did not migrate from place to place; his stationary existence was an equally hellish one that fueled the same self-loathing. Unable to truly be the hero Gideon read about in his book, he hid behind the Black Fairy's magic and power, grasping at it to assuage his own feelings of low self-worth. The way Gideon clung to the Black Fairy, ready to do her bidding, calling her mother and swallowing lock-stock-and-barrel her lies reminded me of how Emma clung to anyone who would offer her even the any love and affection--Ingrid, Lily, Neal--until it was invariably taken away through varying circumstances. Just like Henry showed up on Emma's doorstep with a woe-begotten face and a sad story, asking Emma to face her past actions, so too did Gideon have to look someone in the eye--a childhood friend he swore to protect--whom he had wronged and own up to his life choices. All of this is nicely rounded out by the fact that Gideon wants to be a Savior, or rather to channel Emma's own unique power into ripping a hole in the fabric of realms so that Mommie Dearest can come through to town. The parallels here are tricky because this is where Gideon and Emma do diverge. While the former wants to be the Savior but it going about it all wrong the other dreams of a life not being the Savior even though she's constantly stepping up to the plate when asked. Gideon is being manipulated by the Black Fairy by way of a ripped heart, I don't think his desire to be a Savior lies solely in that manipulation. Despite turning a blind eye to the pain of the children in the mines and acting as the Black Fairy's henchman, it was obvious that these actions were distasteful to Gideon and that he could still remember the suffering of his childhood. The Black Fairy never quite broke him, even if she does hold his heart. And that is perhaps more like Emma than anything else. Think back to season one; Emma Swan might have been jaded and had a massive chip on her shoulder but some part of her still believed and had hope for things to get better, that she could find her place in this world. If Emma had truly given up all hope, she would have left town the second Henry was back with Regina; she'd have driven off even when she believed Regina did not love Henry. She wouldn't have cared; get back in the bug and forget this experience ever happened. But Emma stayed; she got to know Henry and the town and, moreover, opened herself up to love because some part of her believed it was all still possible. Despite his heartless condition, I think the conversations with Rumple and simply being around Belle are having an affect on Gideon much the same way Henry did to Emma.
--Along with all the parallels between Emma and Gideon, the writers are going back to some season one iconic moments like revealing that the Black Fairy created the Dark Curse and that she gave Snow White the magic powder that turns people into bugs.
--I really have no idea why the Black Fairy created the Dark Curse, however. Also are we to believe that the reason she did not cast it was because she does not love anything at all?
--The Black Fairy called Gideon “Dearie.” Nice little inside joke
–“Freedom. Sports car. Big Apple. And Hamilton tickets.” I mean, I would honestly demand the same.
--The Black Fairy has Gideon’s heart. Thank god; a logical, no-nonsense canon compliant answer to why Gideon’s plans and understanding of Saviorhood makes zero sense.
--According to Emma, portals take extreme magic and do not just pop out of thin air. I call massive lies, writers.
--Snow White's hypocrisy is unnerving. In front of Belle, a person who has never wronged her, Snow declares that she'll help Emma kill Gideon because it's mother-daughter bonding. Didn't Snow learn anything from the incident with Mal and the dragon-egg-baby?
--Emma Swan, you have magic. When a giant spider is chasing you, do not run around the house. Poof out!
Monday, April 3, 2017
I'll tell you what--I'm not even going to bother to properly reviewing this episode. There is nothing to be sussed out in between these pages of fluff and filler. Sure, we could sit here and analyze the parallels the show is trying to draw between Jasmine and Hook; both feel guilty over the things they've done in the past to the point where they hide behind their guilt, afraid to jump into love's waiting arms lest it fail to catch them. I guess that's one way of looking at Hook and Jasmine's own internal dilemma but it all falls flat and borderline offensive when we consider that Jasmine's great crime was not marrying a villain, who was duping her in the first place, with aims of stealing her kingdom and ruling over her people and that's Hook's crimes (heck, scratch Hook and add your favorite villain who could have had the same silly parallels drawn--Rumple, Regina, Cora, Pan) involve actual, life ending murder. Hook isn't guilty of being played by someone bigger and stronger than him and failing to stop a conspiratorial plot! He did actual bad things and the idea that the show is trying to draw some sort of emotional parallel between him and Jasmine is frustrating but so inside the wheelhouse of OUAT that you know what? I'm not bothered! No, really. I'm not. It doesn't bother me because there are other, more pressing, horrible things to talk about. So here it is, folks. Instead of a review, which would be hard to read and even harder to write, I'm going to sit here and discuss all the things that don't make a lick of sense in this episode or are just plain dumb. Let's start with the absurd number of plot devices in this show. OUAT has always had a bad rap when it comes to these MacGuffins; every episode or so, another is introduced that is cringe worthy in the extreme. The best MacGuffins usually find a way to upset the previous established logic of the show or to be so blatantly stupid that they defy any sense. This episode we had Kraken's Blood, which can apparently take people from Storybrooke to the Enchanted Forest and back again (because season one was five years ago and nobody cares anymore!). We had a never before seen ring that was housing a lost city unbeknownst to everyone. This one might be my favorite. It does that magical thing MacGuffins often do which is to literally drop into the hands of the person it--this inanimate object--needs to be revealed as the answer to all your questions! How many times did Jasmine talk about the ring, show us the ring, reference the ring in present day and flashback? Of course it was where Agrabah city was hiding! Following this truly wonderful bauble, the show gave us a double whammy--a shellphone that can allow Hook to call (yes, call) Emma across realms. That's not the best bit, though. This shellphone can be interrupted by the Tears of Savior that Gideon just happened to gather from Emma while she was sad-crying in a bar and while he pretended to be the legendary Aesop! Other TV shows, look out! Once Upon a Time is hot on your Emmy-nabbing heels with such rich narrative twists like these.
--Because I spent the entire review having a bit (lol) of a rant, I'll highlight some of the more positive aspects of this episode.
--Unlike like 95% of Emma’s outfits this year, I actually like her red plaid jacket.
--This episode needed less Jasmine/Jafar/Aladdin nonsense and more drunk Snow making random bets with Vikings.
--“It's are supposedly artisinal. Which I think means STRONG!"
--“Why is this rug flying!” “It’s a carpet. A magic carpet.” “It’s clearly a rug.”
--How did Jafar know about Eric and Ariel, enough to fool Ariel at least?
--“Come on, Princess. How many times are you almost going to kiss me?” Dude, back off. If she doesn’t want to kiss you, then she doesn’t have to kiss you. If she wants to, she will. If she’s torn over if she does or not, give her SPACE. This is not a difficult concept.
--"Didn’t you hear the Captain. We have no Kraken’s Blood!” Really, that line though.
--"Son of a fish!"
Saturday, April 1, 2017
--All season Sleepy Hollow has been making fun of the Hamilton phenomenon. So, naturally, they open with Ichabod and Henry having a duel. I half expected a "10 Duel Commandments" reference to be made.
--The scene in which Ichabod and Lara's journey to Hell was interrupted by a cable technician was classic Sleepy Hollow. I especially enjoyed that having to reschedule his internet hookup to some vague three weeks in the future between the hours of 8am-9pm was "the torments of the damned have already begun."
--If the show does return it can benefit from trimming the excess, meaning specifically Alex and Jake. No offense to their actors but neither one of their characters offers this show anything new or interesting.
--"Is this hatred worth sacrificing your freedom?" I'm always glad when the show works in John Noble but the idea that freedom meant more to Henry than taking down his hated father seemed pretty out of character. He was, after all, more than happy to be Moloch's plaything.
--"I have traveled back from Purgatory, the Catacombs....and New Jersey."
--If this is goodbye, then thank you all for reading. If not, see you next year!