I haven’t blogged about Once Upon a Time for about a month. I write these posts, less to talk about the episodes and plot, and more about the characters and their motivations and interactions. It really is all about the characters.
When logic goes out the window and the comments start sounding like “it couldn’t possibly get worse … then it did” or “there is not enough headcanon in the world to explain that much fail” or “it can’t be worse than last week .. then seriously they cranked the stupidity up to eleven” etc. etc.
Watching the show recently has felt a little bit like slipping into an alternate reality. I’m watching characters say and do things that make zero sense, purely because the writers obviously decided they needed x or y to happen. I get the real world motivations but talk about breaking suspension of disbelief. If I’m thinking about the writers and the actors, rather than the show and the characters, then that is a big failure.
It’s fiction, it’s supposed to be immersive. It’s not supposed to make me scream at the TV because I’m so mad at the writers. Screaming is good only if it’s at characters, because that means I’m invested and it’s stirring emotion. I yelled at the TV when Young left Rush to die on the planet in Stargate: Universe because I was shocked – but I believed it! I believed that Young could do that and I have both hated Young and loved that show ever since. Talk about a defining moment.
Anyway, this post is going to be a catch-all for all my comments up to the finale, which I will get to see on Wednesday!
My last blog post was about the episode ‘Her Handsome Hero’ which fell directly before Ruby Slippers. This was the first episode which started to skid off the tracks, in a direction I was not at all sure I wanted to follow. Just to clarify quickly, that was most definitely not because of Ruby and Dorothy’s true loves kiss. Aside from the fact that it was very much love at first sight, as it seemed like they’d only known each other all of a few hours, that was by far the better part of the episode.
This was when the problems with the characters started, everyone just suddenly felt very out of character. As I said above usually I can headcanon whatever I see on screen so that it makes sense but my comment here was that “there is not enough headcanon in the world to explain away that much fail.”
1) Last time I checked Hades had enchanted a chisel, not Hook’s hook, so how could he change the name on the tombstone at all? This was the writers losing track of their own props from just three episodes ago. I was not impressed.
2) The forest is still part of the underworld, so I don’t quite get how Robin hiding there all alone is any safer than in town. However, rather than just saying “check on Roland for Robin”, don’t you think Robin might like to have gone back to Storybrooke with his baby daughter? I’m not seeing a people limit on the slippers, everyone who’s name wasn’t on a tombstone could have had a ticket home.
3) Why did David put his name on the tombstone? Why not someone else like Zelena who is sort of their enemy? Or even why not Rumple because it’s obvious they don’t care about him or see him as a person. Honestly when Snow said the other week “we’re all here because we want to be” I did a big /facepalm because Rumple was kinda blackmailed into being there.
The whole underworld arc just doesn’t make sense at the best of times but this episode was a particularly bad week.
Then the next episode after Ruby Slippers, had Zelena losing her spark. I loved Regina when she was a villain that did good things. Now she’s a proper ‘hero’, she has lost a lot of her snark. Don’t get me wrong I still love Regina, it just sometimes feels like I’m watching characters I used to love, who have been turned into bad fanfic versions of themselves.
They have lost who they are and I don’t mean because they’ve had character growth, or because they’ve “changed” because if that was true, then their current actions and behavior would make sense. I just really hate it when characters are stupid because they aren’t stupid and they deserve better. I mean sometimes I feel like to make a certain character a hero, rather than building that character up, they have to tear the rest of them down. This is coming from someone that doesn’t actually dislike any characters. Sometimes I don’t like the direction they go in, sometimes I’m not on their side (sort of a love to hate kind of thing) but there isn’t anyone I wish would get written out of the show.
I love how genre-savvy Zelena is, I love her quips and her insults. If they turn her good, it might wreck that. Zelena is fun because she accepts that she’s bad and doesn’t care. Not everyone has to be good. I don’t like Zelena as a person, what she did to Rumple, Bae/Neal and Robin is completely unforgivable. However, for the most part she is fun to watch but not if she turns good. The wicked is what makes her watchable. That’s my opinion on her anyway.
This was again not a great episode. I was not inspired in the slightest to blog about it, even though Regina is a favourite of mine.
The third episode in a row where I didn’t blog. This was where I said “I didn’t think they could manage it but they did – the level of sheer stupidity cranked to eleven.” because this was definitely when I felt I’d slipped into an alternate dimension.
When Regina said “we can trust Zelena, give her the baby” I literally screamed at the TV – this was when the screaming I mentioned earlier occurred. There is stretching suspension of disbelief and there is taking the piss. I can think of no conceivable in-universe explanation outside of mind control, or impersonation, or something similar. That just does not make sense.
I can’t believe it took them until episode 20 to remember Hook’s body isn’t in the Underworld. Remind me again why they thought their “plan” would ever work?
Then there’s Emma killing her sort of mentor and leaving her to bleed out in an alley – very heroic. Plus she was 26! That means she hadn’t exactly turned her life around from being in jail and having Henry at 18. I always assumed up till now that she had been straight since then. I wonder if she ever answered those charges in Phoenix …
Then another big /facepalm moment – again with Hook’s “sacrifice” against the Dark One’s. Nope, nope, nope. He brought them there! He kinda just took care of a problem of his own making. Fixing your own stupidity doesn’t make a hero.
The one bright spot of the episode – as always – was Rumple. He showed some of that flair and cunning he is known for and got it done! Plus the shot of the episode was Rumple walking through the Stargate. Oh I know it’s not really, I mean for a start it’s pink and it sort of twirled rather than rippled but as a huge Stargate fan generally (and a massive Nicholas Rush fan) it rather cheered me up.
The failed Rumbelle True Love’s kiss was rather sad but I’m going to keep everything crossed it will come right in the end. It’s not over yet.
It was nice to see a return of Stealthy, same actor and everything. I do love little touches like that. I don’t quite get why Rumple couldn’t just carry Belle out but I guess putting her in the box made her more portable. Plus it was a callback to how they didn’t quite manage to deal with Pan. Also, Robert Carlyle might not have been able to carry Emile de Ravin, especially given she was pregnant. Plus, Emile might have gone on maternity leave by then, so to be honest I’m not fussed about the box. There is an in-universe explanation and an outside universe explanation. So long as it makes sense within the show, then I don’t mind what they do.
Rumple is too awesome to fail but the writers just keep making him, so the other characters don’t look bad next to him. He never does get his moment to shine. In my head canon Rumple and Regina would have gone to Neverland and got Henry back in like an hour, they know how to take care of things. Instead we had camping with the “Charming’s” and well the less said about Henry and his “sacrificing his heart to be a hero” the better. Not that the events of season 3A have anything to do with this episode.
I live blogged this episode, posted it up on tumblr. I got an account to follow a bunch of fan blogs about the show. This episode was heart-breaking and infuriating in equal measure. It’s also what inspired the title for this post because really, there is no justice.
At the start of the episode when Zelena goes off to town, leaving Hades with her daughter. King Arthur stumbles out of the forest wearing handcuffs. I was very confused then because I couldn’t remember Arthur getting arrested. He and the rest of the Camelot brigade disappeared when Hook was revealed as a dark one.
I eventually reasoned that Arthur’s arrest must have happened off screen. That made sense but still they should show that kind of thing or at least explain it. I’m relatively good at remembering everything and forming a consistent timeline of events in my mind. The average viewer not so much. I used to watch this with mum and she quit as she got too confused.
Then there was a plothole, an unanswered question – why did Hades kill Arthur? Hades said he needed Arthur to do something for him but then he never gave him a task. During the episode I was expecting Arthur to do something to stop Hook from getting the pages, or some other sabotage but that never happened.
My theory is what if Hades wanted a backup plan and pulled a Peter Pan on Arthur? Pan swapped bodies with Henry, what if Hades just duplicated his consciousness into Arthur, so that no matter what happened next he would live on. It explains why at the end Arthur was saying that he was going to take over the Underworld. Although to be fair, with Arthur’s ambition, he would probably want to rule wherever he was regardless.
That’s the only thing I can think of which would make sense. With the writers love of Zelena, it would leave her a plotline open as her ‘true love’ could return.
Random comment. How come kids have unfinished business? That’s kinda sad. I mean I get they didn’t get to grow up but kids should be innocent enough not to have regrets.
I don’t usually ever say stuff like this but the ‘Olympian crystal shard’ was a terrible prop. It looks like the plastic mold it was and again ruined my suspension of disbelief. This prop ranked up there with wobbling sets.
A compliment – I do love how they get the same actors back. Little John for example. This is one thing the show does very well. Occasionally they don’t manage it, like when they recast Gaston and just glossed over that fact. However, for the most part, it really feels like the world is alive with all these background people who repeat.
Last Rites – Zelena
The episode started off on a pretty poor note – I nearly killed myself laughing. There was Zelena and Hades on the outskirts of Storybrooke. Hades expressed a misgiving about going into town based on his reputation. Then, with a completely straight face, Zelena said she would go into town to tell people not to worry. She was going to tell them that Hades has changed and is no longer a villain. Zelena!
I’m sorry I must have missed it, when did she become trustworthy? When did she become one of the ‘heroes’ who’s word on these matters should be taken? Surely if Zelena shows up in town, everyone would believe that she was still a villain because quite frankly she is – I don’t remember watching a redemption arc.
My next problem was with Zelena’s characterization. It’s not just that she’s suddenly become a ‘hero’ but only a couple of episodes ago Zelena was saying that she couldn’t trust Hades, that she wasn’t sure she could believe in their love. I know they had true loves kiss last week but even so when did she fall for him so hard? Suddenly she’s a sycophant. I just don’t get it.
All the way through the episode it was all about how much Zelena loved Hades. She said she just wanted him and to be happy. All her plans are now gone, it seemed just like she wanted a house with a picket fence, her kid and her man. Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that but that isn’t the Zelena I know and love to hate.
She even became adverse to fighting. Her default was always to fight for what she wanted, and now it’s like all the fight has gone out of her. She spent the episode just wanting to hide, run away or disappear. Again, not the Zelena I thought I knew.
There is the baby, Robin’s daughter finally got named and they named her Robin, after her now dead father. There are no words as to how wrong that is. Even if we are to accept Zelena’s ‘redemption’, some things can’t be undone. Zelena pretended to be Robin’s dead wife, the conception certainly wasn’t consensual. Pretending like it was something it wasn’t, just whitewashing it is wrong. If Zelena does want redemption then she needs to own her crimes, not just pretend they never happened.
Last Rites – Robin and Regina (aka OutlawQueen)
There was a little bit of common sense shown, in very brief flashes. Robin finally confronted Regina about this ridiculous Zelena insta-redemption. Regina looked a bit shocked and upset at Robin’s words which didn’t exactly reflect well on her, especially given Robin was right.
However, Robin slightly ruined his previous bout of logic when later he said Zelena is owed another chance? I suppose I understand where he’s coming from, he loves Regina and she was the evil queen. Did Zelena really do anything much worse than what Regina did in the past? I guess we have to be even handed about this redemption thing but I haven’t seen Zelena even apologize or do anything really to warrant redemption. Regina had season two and three as a journey back to the light. It is different.
Right, the heartbreaking part of the episode – Robin’s death. I have never shipped OutlawQueen, I always felt Regina needed someone who understood the darkness, someone Regina would never have to shield from the nastier aspects of the truth because they had been there and fought that battle themselves.
It started off a little silly because Hades walked right past them. They were just against the wall, completely visible and he missed them. Although I wonder if he actually did, or if he was just pretending so he could then trap them in the office.
I was then waiting for Regina to blast Hades with magic, put a fireball in his face but she didn’t cast a single spell throughout the whole confrontation. Neither Regina, nor Robin, so much as reached for a weapon. I would have liked to have seen a little more fight in them, rather than just passively accepting whatever Hades was going to do. They just stood there and then Robin jumped in front of Regina. He saved her life, at the cost of his own.
Regina’s glare at Hades reminds me of when Cora fell and she looks up at Snow. “You did this.” – Evil Queen activated. Regina’s speech on love was actually very good. However, it did make me wonder why can’t the writers read their own words and realize CaptainSwan doesn’t have that, not anymore at least, if they ever did. Their love is toxic, poisoning everything it touches just like Zelena and Hades.
I guess that makes sense. True love is the most powerful of all magic, and the more powerful something is, the more it can be corrupted – even pure light magic based on love. It’s light turned to darkness. Twisted, warped and generally unhealthy.
Anyway, back to Robin’s death. That funeral really was well done I suppose because it was very sad. They put arrows on the coffin and there was Roland, Robin’s son and that really did stir my emotions. That was a part of the episode I could believe in and that kinda hurt. I felt bad for that kid, now an orphan and for no good reason.
Last Rites – Rumple and Belle (aka Rumbelle)
Rumple really does steal the show. The scene between Rumple and Moe French was brilliant. Really Moe is a terrible father, quite why Belle ever believed he could wake her with true loves kiss is beyond me. Moe doesn’t even attempt to understand Belle, he belittles her, he all but sold her to Gaston, he doesn’t support her choices. If Moe loves Belle, it’s the Belle he has as a vision in his mind, not the Belle that exists in reality.
I had seen quite a few gifs of this confrontation between Moe and Rumple. I didn’t know until I watched the episode what actually happened. There was one giftset which had made-up text on it, which had Rumple saying “I have good news and bad news. Belle’s pregnant and I’m the father.” and Moe responding with “Whats’ the good news?”
To be honest if Rumple had told him Belle was pregnant, Moe would probably have gone on about demon spawn, and how the child should be aborted for it’s own good, as nothing good could ever come from Rumple. If anything I sometimes think Rumple is even more prejudiced than the so-called ‘heroes’ and that is really saying something.
Emma then turned up before Rumple could use the persuader aka his old cane on his father-in-law. That was a nice callback to Skin Deep, where Rumple beat Moe half to death, back when he still believed that Moe had killed Belle in the old world by ‘cleansing her with the clerics’. Something that to be honest would have been in character for Moe, given how much he hates Rumple.
Anyway, Emma asked Rumple for help against Hades and he refused. You know it’s about time he refused to bail the heroes out. Rumple actually said on screen, “why should I? It’s your fault Hades is in town.” and he’s right. The situation was Emma’s fault but she didn’t pay the price for it. She should have to deal with the mess of her own making but instead Regina and Robin did mop-up, and Robin got killed. We’ve always been told ‘all magic comes at a price’ and in this case Emma didn’t pay the price. There really is no justice.
Rumple was very badass on the phone to Hades. I love all that cloak and dagger stuff and I don’t believe for one second Rumple would actually have helped him. Rumple is the king of loopholes, he was just trying one version of the plan. In the end Hades didn’t need Rumple to stick the knife in and Rumple got the crystal, which was his endgame when calling Hades in the first place I’m sure. This crystal is going to play a big part in the finale I’ve heard. I can’t wait to see what happens.
Oh and then the saving grace of the episode. Rumple striding into the office, sifting through Hades ashes and withdrawing the crystal. I said in my liveblog – “crisis averted, Rumple’s sheer awesomeness coming straight after CaptainSwan making out at Robin’s grave, took my mind off that travesty to human decency” – except it didn’t. Not even Rumple’s powers could undo the fanfic like return of Hook. Honestly, if I read it in a fanfic I would roll my eyes and think it stupid and that it had ruined the fic. Seeing it on the show – as actual canon – was painful.
Last Rites – Emma and Hook (aka CaptainSwan or there is no justice)
One thing I did like to see in this episode is at least everyone now seems to be realizing how unstable Emma is. Quite a few people said “it’s not all about Hook” which made me laugh, because I think the writers failed to get that memo.
However, the writers had a good champion in Emma because she kept arguing that it was all about Hook. She really doesn’t look well and the actress looks just fine outside the show, so it must be a character choice. Considering how they are pushing how much Emma and Hook are in love, you’d think Emma would look a little less like she’s strung out on drugs.
Right Hook and Arthur on the pointless quest for the book. At one point Arthur is in danger of being dragged into the river of lost souls and Hook? He hesitates before he saves him. There was no reason to hesitate at the time, it didn’t seem like the book was in danger. It just proves Hook is not the hero he pretends to be.
Back in Storybrooke, the funeral is wrapping up and the prize for the biggest lie goes to – Snow! You know that is the second time she has come out with a whopper like that. First time was saying everyone chose to make the trip to the underworld (conveniently forgetting about blackmailing Rumple) and now this. “I know what you are thinking and it’s not your fault” – well who’s fault is it then? There is a direct causal link between Emma’s actions and Robin’s death. I know Emma is your daughter Snow but taking responsibility for her actions is something you should teach her to do, not shield her from!
Snow leaves giving Emma some time alone and then Hook arrives in a flash of light. Cue Emma and Hook literally making out at Robin’s grave. There are again no words. Some things are just beyond the pale, some lines shouldn’t be crossed. They have no respect for a man that they basically killed, well the exact charge would probably be manslaughter. Robin had children, have they no shame?
Anyway, Hooks resurrection. I better take a deep breath. Random comment first – I thought Zeus was Hades ‘older brother’, he looks younger. Right now, how to explain Hook’s ‘miracle’ poofing back to life?
Maybe, off screen Hook found an artifact that controls gods, and he used it on Zeus. Either that or Zeus is getting a big bag of popcorn and sitting back to watch the fireworks. Hook’s resurrection is so blatantly unfair, even without being contrasted directly with Robin’s death, that it has to cause trouble. Maybe screwing with regular people, is like god’s version of a soap opera.
The on screen reason for Hook’s return was so laughable, it has to obviously be untrue. I mean did I blink and I miss it? How was Hook responsible for what happened? Regina and Robin confronted Hades, Hades used the crystal on Robin, Zelena then chose to kill Hades and not Regina. The interlude with Emma outside, and the pages, told Zelena nothing that she didn’t already think – that the ‘heroes’ wanted to kill Hades.
Really if anything it made it less likely that Zelena would side with Regina. The fact that she did has everything to do with Regina and nothing to do with Emma. Nothing Hook did had any effect on the outcome. Hook did nothing to help and gets rewarded by being returned to life? One of my biggest complaints about the underworld arc was “why should Hook get special treatment?”
Everyone has lost someone. Why is Hook worthy of being brought back? Why not Daniel (you know Regina’s first love that she spent years trying to find a way to bring back), or Belle’s mum, or Charming’s mum, either of Snow’s parents, Neal for crying out loud – but “magic can do much but not that. Dead is dead.” – at least right up until it’s Hook.
I would have thought Neal’s act was far more helpful and heroic than Hook’s.
Seriously writers I get the real life reasons. You want to keep Hook on the show – then it was really not a good plan to kill him off! Seriously who thought that was a good plan?You want to keep Zelena on the show and not in jail hence the personality transplant, instant redemption nonsense. The actress who plays Belle needed maternity leave hence the sleeping curse. You wanted to write Robin out hence his heartbreaking pointless death. I understand why but there are other ways, it all could have been handled differently and so much better.
Double bill finale aired last night in America. I can watch it on Wednesday. I’ve seen the promo pics and I’m trying not to get my hopes up. However – Regina! Rumple! On screen together! Not fighting! Please let them be teaming up. Now that would be a finale worth watching. I will blog about it probably, it’s the wrap up to the season.
The show has been renewed for season six. I wonder if there is a cliffhanger to get everyone tuning back in next September. I hope netflix has distribution again. As much as I sometimes complain about having to wait three days, at least it’s only three days. Other shows that I watch like NCIS, I’m a season and a half behind – about 18 months, because I have to wait for the DVD to be released and then I have to wait until the following Christmas. That is very annoying.
Random and unrelated but there was a crossover episode between NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans. I watch the New Orleans spin-off on the TV, but I don’t like it enough to bother to get the DVD. Well, channel five have first UK rights to New Orleans. However, some Sky channel I think has first UK rights to NCIS. Therefore I have to wait for the DVD before I can watch NCIS.
Well the crossover episode was mid season 13 of NCIS, to mid season 2 of New Orleans. I got the DVD of season 12 of NCIS for christmas and I haven’t actually quite finished watching it just yet. I got four episodes left to watch on the season. Thankfully, channel five managed to get one-off rights to the NCIS episode, so I could see the whole of the two-parter and not be confused by only seeing the New Orleans half. However, stuff had happened to the NCIS characters in the half a season I haven’t seen. I felt like saying “spoiler alert please!” It’s not my fault I live in the UK, don’t have Sky and I’m behind. I love crossover episodes generally but they are inconvenient.
Honestly, in the days of the internet, where stuff can be instantly streamed anywhere. They really should make rights global and show everything, everywhere at the same time. They won’t because they’d lose too much money, selling rights is very lucrative but it certainly is annoying.
Anyway, back to Once Upon a Time. Two days until the finale. I really can’t wait!