Monday, May 15, 2017
In Which I Review Once Upon a Time (6x21 and 6x22)
If there has been one major through-line for the entirety of season six, a season that has jumped around from plot thread to plot thread more than other seasons before it, it was Emma Swan. Emma has always been at the center of the story as Savior, Mother, Daughter, and as just Emma, but this year she's come more into focus as large portions of the story were devoted to giving Emma her happy ending, pushing her past those final hurdles to self-actualization. I suppose it's appropriate then that this finale, this final hurrah for Emma Swan, is derivative of season one. Around and around and back home again, the circle of the heroes journey goes like meticulous clockwork. But before you can reach the final destination, it's important to look back from whence you came which is really what this season finale is; Emma Swan this is your life! Yes, there's some plot nonsense about the Black Fairy but this finale could easily swap in any old villain into this story because it's less about the actual villain and more about what she represents: isolation, loneliness, those things that Emma has been fighting for six years. In order to show how far Emma has really come, the writers take her--and us by extension--back to an inverted season one. Emma's cursed this time around, a new set of memories in which believing Henry about fairy tale characters, magic, and curses put her in the mental hospital. This new curse also has the neat effect of casting all her family members (except her son, tellingly) into another realm. Once again, like she was for the first twenty-eight years of her life, Emma is seemingly alone and cut off. Except, of course, she's not and never was, which you'd think the Black Fairy would note and remember given that Emma literally sang her way to togetherness last week but that's all of apiece with the (and here's that word again) haphazard approach to this season. Nothing quite gels the way it should even though the writers are reaching deep into their and our collective memory to make everything feel like a nice full circle back to season one. If there was one reaction I constantly had during this two hour finale, it was "huh?" Emma's belief keeps all the realms alive and active (but wasn't affected by the 28 years she didn't believe in anything or for the whole span of human history before Emma was born); only light can snuff out light and Gideon is apparently light enough to go up against the Savior; the Black Fairy's curse is broken with her death not by any true love's kiss and Emma is saved from her sword wound by true love's kiss even though she's no longer cursed! All of it was rushed and sloppy and really underwhelming but the intent behind it softens the blow a bit.
--I suppose we need to discuss the elephant in the room, huh? OUAT has been renewed for a seventh season but with a massive cast shakeup. The actors and actresses who play Emma, Snow, Charming, Henry, Belle, and Zelena will not be returning for another year. This leaves Hook, Rumple and Regina as leading the series. I have committed myself to watching (and reviewing) OUAT until the (possibly bitter) end but for the record, I'm not sure this revamped and rebooted series is going to be the fresh start the writers and network are hoping for.
--“If she thinks she can rip this family apart…curses have never stopped us before.”
--The musical cues while Hook was walking around the giant's table were really cool.
--How does Emma have third person omniscient memories? She actually remembers seeing herself walk down the aisle!
--Holy horrible outfits, Aladdin and Jasmine! Wow those getups the costume department forced on to them are miserable.
--"Hello there, Mummy.”
--Sven is my very favorite character. More Sven. Always.
--“Truthfully? The beanstalk that fell on me gave me pause” (I will miss Snowing. I will miss them, miss them, miss them.)
--Belle’s cursed personality is a shut in. That actually makes loads of sense given that she’s famous for wanting “adventure in the great wide somewhere.”
--Belle and Rumple get a fresh start without having to actually talk through their issues! So many healthy relationships on this show.
Final Episode Ranking for S6B (lowest to highest):
12. "Awake" (6x17)
11. "A Wonderous Place" (6x15)
10. "Ill-Boding Patterns" (6x13)
9. "Where Bluebirds Fly" (6x18)
8. "Mother's Little Helper" (6x16)
7. "The Final Battle, part 1" (6x21)
6. "The Final Battle, part 2" (6x22)
5. "Tougher Than The Rest" (6x11)
4. "Page 23" (6x14)
3. "Murder Most Foul" (6x12)
2. "The Black Fairy" (6x19)
1. "The Song In Your Heart" (6x20)
Final Grade for S6B: C
--See you all in September!