Friday, June 28, 2013

Once Upon a Time...Being a Pirate Was Superior to Lost Boyhood

Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episodes 21 and 22: "Second Star to the Right" & "And Straight on 'til Morning"

Episode 21 summary: In the fairybacks, Bae is transported to Edwardian England after being swallowed by the magic portal.  While stealing some food from a well-to-do house, he is caught by a young girl, who turns out to be Wendy Darling.  She hides him in the nursery and continues to bring him food until her parents find out.  When Bae reveals he is an orphan, however, the Darlings welcome into their home.

One night Wendy tells Bae of a shadow who had invited her to Neverland.  Bae warns her about magic, explaining how it destroyed his family, but Wendy is heedless of the warning.  She goes with the shadow to Neverland.  Returning the next morning, she describes a fanciful paradise, but also admits to Bae that he was right.  The shadow has only allowed her to return because it wants one of her brothers instead.

When the shadow arrives to claim his child that night, Bae offers himself.  As the two fly over Neverland, Bae strikes a match, causing the shadow to drop him in the ocean, where is rescued by Captain Hook and his men.

In the present, Emma and the gang head over to Regina's office, where they find the missing bean plant and a hacked computer.  Emma immediately believes the culprit of the hack to be Tamara, but Snow is still convinced her assumption is only out of jealousy.  Emma goes to Neal's hotel to ask about Tamara's whereabouts, and he tells her that Tamara is out jogging in the woods because she's preparing for a marathon.  Emma notices sand on the floor, and the two decide to search the beachfront.

While the two are walking the beach, they discuss their past, with Neal confessing that he felt so much guilt for abandoning Emma after August spoke to him that he couldn't convince himself to search for her.  At that point in the conversation, Tamara jogs by, explaining that she changed her route.

Meanwhile, Regina is being held prisoner in a seafood warehouse, where Greg and Tamara have been torturing her for information about Kurt.  They also explain that they are working for an organization intent on destroying magic and hope to do so with the diamond that is part of Regina's curse.

Snow and David stop by Rumpel's shop to ask for his help in finding Regina.  After asking "Lacey" to step out, he gives them one of Regina's tears collected in a bottle, explaining that if the user's tear is added to the mixture, the person will be able to see and feel whatever Regina sees and feels.  The Charmings leave, and Lacey steps back into the shop, revealing that she heard everything but doesn't mind.

Back at the loft, Snow uses the tear and is subjected to intense pain, as Regina is being given shock treatment by Greg during an interrogation.  Snow cannot concentrate on seeing the location because of the pain, but describes the smell of sardines. This information prompts Emma and Neal to search the seafood warehouse.

The four split up.  David and Snow find Greg, who is torturing Regina after she claims to have killed Kurt.  David shoots at him, but Greg flees.  Rather than pursue him, the two tend to Regina.  They call Emma and relay the information, causing Emma and Neal to be off-guard when Tamara attacks them.  A hurt and confused Neal learns that Emma was right, as Tamara explains how she had used Neal from the beginning.  She then shoots Neal, leading Emma to attack her in retaliation.  Tamara drops a magic bean and flees.  Emma tries to save Neal from the expanding hole, but he lets go as he confesses his love for her.

The episode ends with the Charmings and Regina at the flat, where David tries to comfort the grieving Emma.  However, there are more pressing matters, as Regina explains how the curse trigger has fallen into enemy hands.  At the same time, Tamara receives orders to use the trigger to destroy the town.

Episode 22 summary: In the fairybacks, Bae overhears Hook telling the other pirates about his quest for revenge against Rumpel.  Bae is already concerned about being rescued by pirates, but feels worse considering who the pirates are.  His feelings change after Hook and his men hide him from the Lost Boys who come to claim him.

Hook begins to teach Bae how to sail the ship, and the two bond, both having lost their fathers.  However, Bae sees a sketch of Milah and confronts Hook about it, revealing himself as her son.  Hook explains that it was Rumpel who actually killed her, but Bae demands to be returned to the Darlings, refusing to stay with the man who destroyed his family.  Hook tells him he can't do that, but reminds him the ship is his family now.  Bae still refuses.

The Lost Boys return for Bae, with Hook relinquishing him this time.  The Lost Boys later compare Bae to a drawing, saying he's not a match, but may live.  The drawing is of Henry.

In the present, Rumpel passes the park while Henry is on a swing and begins to magically fray the rope.  Before he can go too far, the Charmings arrive and explain what happened to Neal.  Rumpel blames himself for Neal's supposed demise, as he chose not to help the group.

The group returns to the loft, where Regina has been resting.  Soon after she wakes up, an explosion is heard (Greg and Tamara have destroyed the diamond somewhere in the dwarf mines).  Regina explains that she can slow down the resulting destruction of the town, but she cannot stop it.  Hook arrives, declaring his shifting allegiance, and is punched by David.  Everyone agrees to work together to save Storybrooke.  The group leaves, with Regina telling Henry she'll always love him.

David and Hook find Greg and Tamara in the mines as they are destroying evidence of their presence.  Greg drops the beans by accident, while Tamara aims her gun at David.  David catches up with her, but is attacked by Greg.  While the two escape, Hook reveals that he has one of the magic beans.

Rumpel notices a missing stein in his shop.  Leroy explains that the Blue Fairy has discovered a way of restoring people's memories, and the dwarves want to restore those of Sneezy before the town is destroyed so they can die together.  Leroy leaves some of the tincture with Rumpel for him to use on Belle.  Rumpel asks Lacey to drink from the chipped cup, which she does, and she regains her memories as Belle.

Regina and Emma find the diamond, and Regina begins channeling her energy into slowing down the trigger.  She explains to Emma that it cannot be stopped, the expectation being that she'll die to allow the others to escape Storybrooke.  She doesn't want to be remembered as the evil queen.

Emma runs to Granny's and alerts the group to what Regina is planning.  Snow reminds Emma of how they sent the wraith through a portal; they could, conceivably, do the same thing to the diamond with a magic bean.  Hook agrees to give up his bean, once he learns that Bae was Henry's father.  The group, sans Hook, return to the mine.  But when Emma tries to remove the bean from the bag Hook gave her, nothing is there.

Realizing that there is no way to stop the town from being destroyed, the Charmings gather together and embrace.  Henry runs over to Regina and hugs her, calling her a hero.  Emma joins Regina in trying to suppress the diamond's power, and somehow its energy rescinds inside and the town is saved.  As the group celebrates, Emma sees Henry's backpack abandoned on the ground.

The group goes to search for Henry and finds him in the clutches of Greg and Tamara.  The group pursues them to the docks, but Tamara throws a bean into the water and the three escape into it.  Just then, Hook and his ship return.  He announces a change of heart and offers his ship for the search.  Rumpel and Belle also arrive at the dock, and Rumpel and Hook decide to put aside their grudge in order to work to save Henry.  Belle wants to accompany them, but Rumpel asks her to stay in Storybrooke in order to protect it while he and the others are gone.  He gives her a cloaking spell to cast and bids her a fond farewell.  Hook throws the bean, and the ship sails into the portal.

Meanwhile, in the fairy tale realm, Mulan, Philip, and Aurora find Neal on a beach.

Thoughts: While completely different from Mr. Barrie's stories (both play and novel), I have to say I enjoyed Bae's Peter Pan storyline, especially his sacrifice for the Darling children.  For a character who has been ravaged by magic to the extent that Bae has, it fit his character incredibly well to try to save the other children from the perils of magic.

I also liked that it was the male love interest for once (Neal) who was injured/killed/obliterated.  Too often in fantasy and comics, the woman or the gay love interest are killed, maimed, or kidnapped in order for the hero to learn something.  Even Once has been guilty of this with Belle earlier in the season.  While I don't think a love interest of any gender or sexual orientation should ever be killed or injured in order for the protagonist to develop and mature, I did appreciate that it was the straight male who disappeared for once.

I am tremendously pleased that the writers finally allowed Regina to be heroic.  I'm also hopeful that this trend continues into the next season, as she joins the search for Henry.  However, the resolution of the destructive curse plot was lackluster and a total deus ex machina.   I don't think a force that powerful would be contained simply because a second person lent her power.  I'm not saying the writers should have killed everyone off, but this particular resolution seemed lazy.

Poor Belle is neglected again.  She's proven herself to be quite capable time and again, so I'm hoping the decision to leave her in Storybrooke isn't just so she can be written out of the plot.  If she's there to lead and defend the town, then I want to see it!  It's bad enough Ruby's been written out.  I would have liked to have seen the two of them work together to lead Storybrooke in Snow's and Rumpel's absence.

It was good to see Mulan and Aurora reintroduced to the series at the end.  I'm looking forward to their adventures next season.

I'm quite curious as to who Tamara and Greg might be working for.  Some sort of ARGUS type organization?  It seemed like the writers were implying they may be working for the shadow, but that doesn't seem to fit their motivation, given that the shadow is himself magic.  I'm sure more will be explained next season.

All in all, it was a good end to the season.  While I had some minor complaints and am somewhat worried about the new direction the show is taking, I enjoyed this season and look forward to the next.

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