Saturday, January 12, 2013

Once Upon a Time...on the Lake Shore

Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 9: "Queen of Hearts"

The episode opens with a flashback in which Hook tries to gather information from Belle about how to kill Rumpel, though he soon learns that even if they sought the same thing, she has no information to give.  Instead, Regina asks him to travel to Wonderland and kill her mother there, enchanting his hook so he can remove Cora's heart.  She also explains her plans for the curse and how Hook will benefit from it.  Once in Wonderland, however, he fails to kill Cora, who has become the Queen of Hearts (rather literally), and ultimately sides with her upon learning that his revenge plot would be forgotten after the curse is cast.  So we now understand why and how Hook ended up on Cora's side and missed being placed under the curse.

Back in the main plotline, Snow, Emma, and company travel to Snow's old palace to find the ink Rumpel told them about last episode, though the jar they find is empty.  All they discover is a scroll with "Emma" written repeatedly, line after line, and a mind-controlled (or heart, in this instance) traitor in their midst when Aurora traps them in the cell.  Cora and Hook arrive, stealing the compass from the imprisoned group, and leave thinking there will be no further obstacles in their journey to Storybrooke.  But Snow realizes the ink was used to write the scroll and uses it to unlock the door.

The two rival factions then duke it out on the shores of Lake Nostos, where good ultimately wins.  Emma and Snow travel through a portal in the lake back to Maine, while Mulan and Aurora (with newly restored heart) go in search of Philip in the realm of the wraith.

On the other side, Rumpel and Regina, fearing that Cora will be the one to travel through the portal, rig the well to kill whoever passes through it.  However, when Henry learns of the plan, he pleads with his mum to release the spell, knowing without a doubt that Snow and Emma will travel through the portal.  Ultimately, Regina recants, and the duo safely emerge from the well.  Snow awakens David with a kiss and all is well until a pirate ship is seen near the dock in the last scene.

I have to say, for a midseason finale, I was disappointed with this episode.  There were occasional clever  touches (especially Cora as the Queen of Hearts), but I am tired of events resolving themselves so neatly and so quickly.  Given its consistently high ratings, the creators can't be worried about cancellation, so why the need to rush through everything?  I really would have preferred if Snow and Emma were on the other side the whole season, and what was the point in knocking David out only to revive him by the end of the next episode?  There's no tension if things resolve from episode to episode.  Maybe the writers just don't have faith in their audience's ability to keep up with a sprawling serial?

I'm rather curious as to where the series is headed, if Cora and Hook are already in Storybrooke.  By the end of the season, they'll have likely been defeated, and then what?  Aside from Baelfire and Neal, there aren't many loose threads at this point, and I'm not sure what stories will be left to tell come the third season (which I expect will exist).  Maybe the new episodes will assuage the doubts I now have.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Once Upon a Flames

Sorry for the prolonged absence.  The holidays are always quite busy for me, and my volunteer gig needed me a few extra times for holiday-related events.  I'm also still on the job hunt, preparing stuff for an upcoming convention and immersed in the 3000 page three-volume translation of Arabian Nights that came out a few years ago.  I am, however, hoping to post more consistently this year.

Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 8: "Into the Deep"

As deduced in the previous episode, Henry and Aurora share the dream of the fiery chamber, and once the two are able to make contact and determine their respective identities, the two begin to play a lengthy game of telephone, delivering messages back and forth between the worlds.  Once our reformed villains learn that
 Cora is alive and well and plotting her return, Rumpel gives Henry privileged information about how to stop her.  Unfortunately, Aurora's group is attacked, forcing her awake before she can receive the information.

The Maine group then stupidly decided that, because Henry was burnt while in the dream, it is too dangerous for him to continue relaying messages. So David asks for Regina and Rumpel to concoct a sleeping curse so that he may play messenger (though really this is because he hopes that Snow will be the one he meets).  And, as Aurora is kidnapped, it is indeed Snow with whom David meets in fiery dreamland.  Unfortunately for David, the two are incorporeal in dreamland, and thus unable to kiss and break his newly minted sleeping curse.  Oops.

For the most part, I enjoyed this episode, as it gave Henry an opportunity to shine (no pun intended) and allowed both of our former baddies the chance to do something good not just for Henry, but for all of Storybrooke.  I do have to wonder, though, why neither Rumpel nor Regina bothered to poke the necessary holes in David's scheme.  Could there be a reason they might want him out of the picture?

This episode didn't spend any time unraveling loose plot threads, though it did a good job of moving the plot forward and bridging the gap between casts.  I'm planning on watching and posting about episode nine this weekend before the new episodes start airing, so I'm hoping for some answers in the mid-season finale.