Thursday, July 30, 2015

Once Upon a Time- Episode Analysis (Welcome to Storybrooke)

Okay, so I have a few bones to pick with this episode.  First of all, the fact that the little boy Owen and his father sought refuge in their tent during the storm that signaled the creation of Storybrooke.  The stupidity of this is highlighted when we see their campsite the following morning.   A tree trunk had fallen onto their car, people!  It was entirely possible another tree could have fallen on their tent and killed them instantly.  After all, they were in the middle of the woods, surrounded by trees.  Don’t these people know that being under a tree is a horrible place to be in a storm?  Also, Regina seemed to acclimate herself in the modern world pretty quickly.  No culture shock moment at all!  We didn’t even get to see her react to the differences in clothing styles or food.  Did the curse just fill her head with everything she needed to know about the modern world?  Finally, this episode brings up a question I had earlier.  What exactly kept outsiders from stumbling across Storybrooke?  While I get that Regina placed a cloaking spell over the town that kept outsiders from seeing the Welcome to Storybrooke sign , what exactly would have happened if Owen had tried to cross the invisible town line?  While I know Emma was able to cross the town line back in the pilot episode and August/Pinocchio was able to do the same in ‘True North.’ it’s entirely possible the fact that they were both born/brought to life in the Enchanted Forest gave them a free pass.  But Owen was just a normal little boy from our world.  Could he have found Storybrooke again if he’d just taken a few steps further?  Would he have been physically pushed back?  Would he instantly get vaporized?  Was the area surrounding Storybrooke some sort of land-based Bermuda Triangle?  How many people have wound up on the missing persons list because they happened to drive down that road during the 28 years the curse was in effect?  You’d think that sooner or later, people would start to think ‘hey!’ 

Wow, we actually get wisdom from Mr. Gold!  Whodathunk?  Too bad Regina refused to listen to him, because he was 100% right in this case.  Regina had enacted an entire curse for the sake of revenge, and it didn’t bring her any lasting satisfaction.  In fact, it clearly got extremely repetitive, as everyone was stuck in some sort of Groundhog Day loop.  You’d think that going through that would have gotten her to learn her lesson.  But nope, she wants to go down the whole vengeance route again.  What’s it going to take to get this woman acquainted with the reality stick?

Of course, we also get this episode’s ‘twist.’  Greg Mendel is the little boy, Owen!  Yeah, that’s not too big of a surprise, as there were a few hints.  For instance, we see Owen had a Return of the Jedi blanket, and Greg Mendel’s ringtone was obviously the Star Wars theme.  While that is a vague clue, as Star Wars has a big fanbase, why would they introduce this little boy without having him be important?  Seeing this backstory does make you sympathize with him, as he clearly wants to find out what happened to his dad, but the methods he utilizes in the next few episodes?  Yeeck.

So, was meeting Own what first put the idea of adopting a son into Regina’s head?  At the same time, it was pretty dumb of her  to invite Owen and his dad to stay in Storybrooke.  We’ve already established that the town is in some sort of Groundhog Day loop.  The curse is not going to keep them from noticing that, Regina.  After all, Henry clearly did, which is what ultimately led him to go looking for Emma in the first place.

There were plenty of other major head-smack moments in this episode as well.  First, we find out that bolt August installed on the door to the loft apartment is now useless, as Regina can unlock it with magic.  Granted they didn’t have to worry about magic when they installed the deadbolt, but now that magic is in Storybrooke, it defeats the purpose of it being here, particularly when you remember that they originally installed the deadbolt for the main purpose of making sure Regina couldn’t enter the loft apartment with her skeleton key.  Second of all, Neal, you’re such a dopey dad.  You actually needed Emma to point out how dense you were about Henry sneaking off.  Next, how could Regina use Graham’s heart like a walkie-talkie during the flashback?  I thought magic didn’t exist in Storybrooke at this point!  Magic rules are so arbitrary.  Finally, we have Henry’s attempt at getting rid of magic by blowing up the wishing well?  While I get where the kid was coming from and respect his reasons for attempting to do so (and it is a little nod to the fact that he’s the son of Neal/Baelfire, who is the original hater of all things magic), I REALLY don’t think it works that way.  It’s not like it’s a constant stream of magic that’s coming into Storybrooke.  Magic came in.  It’s already here.  If you brick up a doorway, it won’t automatically get rid of something that’s already came through it.  Besides, while I get why you’re blaming magic for everything that’s going down, it is a bit like blaming the actual gun for gun violence.  It’s targeting the symptom instead of the underlying cause of the problem.  But again, I know have to keep in mind that he’s still just a kid, so he’s going to react like a kid.  On a final note, the whole ‘he’s my son, not yours’ angle between Regina and Emma is getting REALLY old.  How much longer can they drag that out before they finally realize that they can BOTH be his mother and put an end to this pointless battle over Henry?  The kid’s not a rope, ladies.  Stop playing tug-of-war.  All things considered, I really think that, with the exception of Mr. Gold, practically everyone was taking stupid pills offscreen during this episode.  Thankfully, things improve a bit in the next episode.

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