Monday, August 31, 2015

Once Upon a Time- Episode Analysis (A Curious Thing)

This episode was just…. I don’t know.

We finally wrap up what happened at the end of the Lost Year.  It begins with Belle arriving at the castle to warn Snow, Charming and Regina about how Rumpelstiltskin was back from the dead and how Zelena was now able to control him with the dagger.  The news is interrupted when Zelena swings by and, after turning Phillip and Aurora into flying monkeys as punishment for them tipping Snow and Charming off about how Zelena had threatened them and their unborn child if they didn’t let her know when the former Storybrookers returned to the Enchanted Forest, announces her plans to use Snow and Charming’s second child in her plans.  (Which reminds me, while Zelena magically froze Snow, Charming and Regina, Belle just stands there in the background, essentially twiddling her thumbs while Zelena announces her evil plans.  While I get there wasn’t much she could have done, it was weird that she was just standing there doing nothing.)  Understandably, Snow and Charming don’t take Zelena’s statements well, especially since this is the second time their unborn child has been threatened.  After a few months go by with no sign of Zelena anywhere, they’re all ‘well the last time this happened, Rumple’s the one who told us what to do; maybe he’s got some ideas.’  Obviously forgetting the whole issue with Rumpelstiltskin being absolutely bonkers due to the merging thing, they break into the Dark One’s castle to question him.  They don’t really get much from him, until Belle steps in.  Her presence apparently helps him get a brief moment of clarity (power of True Love, I guess), as he instructs them to go seek out Glinda, who had been banished from Oz and is now living in a castle up north, which can be accessed through a magic door portal.  They eventually find the door and, upon venturing through it, they find Glinda.  (LOL.  Poor Regina, getting rejected by the door’s heart-weighing barrier.)  Glinda tells Snow and Charming that the key to defeat Zelena is to get the green gem she wears away from her, as it is the source of her powers.  Yeah, does that sound familiar?

The fact that the movie Oz: The Great and Powerful was released in theaters before this episode aired does make me wonder if that movie didn't inspire the show writers just a teensy bit.

Anyway, the only person who can successfully get that gem away from Zelena is someone with strong Light Magic.  Immediately, Snow and Charming’s thoughts go to their daughter Emma, since she is the Product of True Love and all.  But the destruction of Storybrooke had constructed a permanent wall between the Enchanted Forest and the Land Without Magic.  The only known way to bring down that wall is by casting the Dark Curse- the one that Regina cast, which started this whole thing.  Problem is, Regina can’t cast it this time, as the Thing She Loves Most is currently Henry, who is a bit out of reach at the moment.  (At this stage of the game, Regina hadn’t figured out that Robin is her soul mate, and is therefore still rather snippy to him.)  Charming then up and decides that Snow should cast the curse, using his heart as the payment.  Which is really noble, I must admit.  Especially since they’re doing this to stop Zelena, who has directly threatened their unborn child.  Any good parent would gladly give their life for their child.  But when they do cast the curse, Zelena again pops up to throw a wrench into the works at the last minute, by adding an additional ingredient to the Dark Curse so everyone would forget all about the danger Zelena poses.  Which is why everyone has forgotten what went down during the Lost Year

Now this is when it gets really weird.  Now, if I was told that I was about to lose my memories about someone like Zelena in a matter of moments, I think my first instinct would be writing a quick note, to fill myself in once the amnesia took hold.  You know, something like ‘we cast the Dark Curse so Emma could come back to defeat an evil witch who can only be stopped with Light Magic.  P.S. don’t trust anyone who goes by the name Zelena, particularly with your unborn baby.’  But nope, that thought doesn’t cross Snow’s mind.  Instead, she decides the best action would be to have Regina divide Snow’s heart into two portions and to give one half of the heart to Charming so he could come back to life.  Because they’d already been figuratively living with a shared heart from the moment they met, anyway.  (Ugh, the sappiness of this statement.)  While this is sweet and all (and it does explain how Charming is still alive after having his own heart crushed), it was a bit self-centered on Snow’s part, particularly since this whole ‘splitting-the-heart-in-two’ thing could have had a detrimental effect on the baby.

In the present day, the Nevengers are gathered to discuss how they’re going to stop Zelena from casting her Time Traveling spell.  (Well, the Nevengers minus Killian, who we soon see had been abducted by Gold/Rumpelstiltskin off-screen so Zelena could confront him about how he still hadn’t taken away Emma’s magic via cursed kiss and to tell him that if he didn’t  comply before Snow and Charming’s baby is born, she’d have Henry killed.)  Figuring that the knowledge of how to defeat Zelena might be hidden away in their memories of the Lost Year, which was a correct assumption, they decide the best way to break the curse and get their memories back is to get Henry to believe in magic.  Because True Love’s Kiss would only work if Henry believed in magic.  Since Henry started believing in magic the first time around because of his storybook, they figure his memories would return if he got the storybook back.  Problem is, the book hadn’t been seen since Storybrooke was erased at the end of ‘Going Home.’  After searching through Snow’s closest back at the loft apartment, which they decide to do upon remembering how that was where Mary Margret originally found the book, Snow eventually finds it in a chest filled with scarfs- a chest Emma had looked through previously without finding anything.

It’s then determined, through a heart-to-heart between Snow and Emma, that Emma doesn’t want Henry to get his memories of Storybrooke back because she’s got it in her head that Henry was happier in New York where there weren’t constant dangers.  Snow, however, points out that Henry may have only been happy because he didn’t remember anyone from Storybrooke.  On the one hand, I can understand why Emma feels the way she does.  It’s a natural instinct of a mother to want to keep their child safe and happy, so of course Emma would want that for Henry.  But she seems to conveniently forget that they were never really safe in New York.  If Walsh, the wizard-turned-monkey, was any indication, evil was able to follow them out of Storybrooke.  All things considered, Henry’s probably a lot safer in Storybrooke than he is anywhere else.  At least in Storybrooke, Emma has her parents, Killian, Regina, Robin, his band of Merry Men, the dwarfs, and even Red/Ruby and Granny with her crossbow to provide backup for her and Henry.  And once he’s off of Zelena’s leash, Gold/Rumple could arguably be added to that list as well.  (Although, considering what goes down in season 4….) 

In all honesty, I don’t think even the World Leaders have a protection detail as strong as the one that’s offered to Emma and Henry in Storybrooke.  And then we also have to look back at the lesson ‘Red Handed’ provided us with.  Sometimes, the best way to protect someone is to fill them in on what you’re protecting them from.  That way, they’ll be able to be on their guard and be able to protect themselves.  I’m sure Henry wouldn’t have tried to run off on his own if he’d been pre-warned there were crazed winged monkeys on the loose.  So while Emma’s heart is in the right place, her methods are questionable.

And this is where things really start moving a mile a minute.  The Nevengers return to Granny’s and find Henry isn’t there.  They track him down to the Storybrooke Pier with the GPS Emma had put in Henry’s phone (what prompted her to do that?  Then again, they were living in New York until recently, so I guess it’s not that unusual), arriving just in time to save Henry, who is being attacked by flying monkeys that Killian cannot ward off, particularly after his gun runs out of bullets.  Once the monkeys are defeated, they give Henry his book, which instantly makes him remember, but before Emma can break the curse with True Love’s Kiss, Zelena pops up and snatches him up, planning to kill him.  Emma drives her off with her Light Magic, and Regina, who was knocked to the ground during the confrontation, regains consciousness and has a proper reunion with Henry, kissing his forehead.  That kiss ends up breaking the curse and restoring everyone’s memories, because Regina also loved Henry as much as Emma did.  But the victory of getting Henry’s memories back, not to mention the memories of everyone else in Storybrooke, is short lived, as Snow suddenly goes into labor.  To quote Meelo from Avatar: The Legend of Korra, ‘Not now, baby!

Something that’s never really explained, and has thus caused a lot of questions among viewers- what exactly happens to the flying monkeys when they disappear in smoke upon being shot, stabbed or hit with magic?  Are they dead?  Because it’s been established that these monkeys are denizens of the Enchanted Forest/Storybrooke?  Who exactly were the Nevengers possibly killing at the Storybrooke pier?

Okay, it’s time I discussed the whole drama scene at the Storybrooke pier towards the end of this episode.  I have absolutely no problem with Emma getting angry at Killian here, as her anger is understandable.  After all, her son was almost killed moments before, so her stress level is at maximum right now.  And it really wasn’t a good idea for Killian to try and take Henry out of Storybrooke without informing Emma first.  How many times have people gone and made decisions for Emma without getting her input first?  Killian was always one of the only people who hadn’t done that, but now he has.  Granted he was panicking after Zelena directly threatened Henry’s life, and he might not have felt like there was time to tell Emma what he was going to do, but he could have left a message for her with Granny or Ruby/Red, asking them to let Emma know as soon as possible.  Besides, Emma wasn’t aware of the whole story, with how Zelena had openly threatened to kill Henry roughly an hour earlier, that Henry was trying to run away on his own when Killian caught up to him, and if Killian hadn’t stepped in when he did, Henry might have been completely on his own when the flying monkeys attacked him, with no one there to protect him.  To sum up, Killian really was in a no-win situation that he probably could have handled a bit better.  And while it was a bit harsh of Emma to state she couldn’t trust him anymore, especially considering everything she’d been through with Killian before this episode, she was naturally upset and stressed out over what just happened, particularly after finding out Killian had been cursed by Zelena.  She already knew there was something he wasn’t telling her about the Lost Year, and now this.  What she said was most likely said in the heat of the moment.  How many people say things they don’t really mean when they’re upset or angry?  It’s just human nature to do so.  I wouldn’t be surprised if, once she’s taken the time to calm down and hears the whole story, she’d want to take back what she said.  (And besides, it would be a tad hypocritical of her to not forgive him for this incident, considering she once tried to abduct Henry herself, way back in ‘The Stranger.’)  So, I’m not angry at Emma for lashing out at Killian. 

However, Charming and Snow are a completely different story.  They just immediately butt into Emma and Killian’s conversation, which really should have been a private one, and are all ‘yeah, we can’t trust him, bladdy bladdidy blah!’  Hold up; wait a minute!  Where did THIS come from?!  I could understand if this was happening in season 2 or early season 3, but at this point, it was completely uncalled for.  Ever since the season 2 finale, when Killian turned his ship around and offered to help rescue Henry, he has proven himself again and again.  This is the man who returned to Neverland, the place that was his own personal Hell, to help get Henry back from Pan, the one who was forced to relive his brother’s death when Charming was poisoned, and also saved Charming’s life from the Dreamshade.  He’s the one who found a way into the Land Without Magic to restore Emma’s memories and brought her back to Storybrooke so she could help stop Zelena.  While I realize the last Snow and Charming had heard from Killian prior to him returning to Storybrooke with Emma and Henry in tow was him riding off on his own,stating that the hero thing didn't take, throughout this whole season, Killian has been there every step of the way during both the Neverland and Wizard of Oz arcs, doing whatever he could to help Emma and the rest of the Charming-Mills extended family, and with the exception of the ‘Good Form’ toast and kiss, no one has ever really thanked him or acknowledged his efforts.  And now, Charming and Snow decide he can’t be trusted?  All because he apparently lied about Snow and Charming sending him a message to bring Emma back?  Okay, I’m sorry, but…no.  No, he didn’t.  Killian said he THOUGHT they had sent the message, based on the fact that the letter was delivered by bird messenger.  At the time, Charming even commented that it certainly sounded like Snow’s M.O., so he can’t be blamed for making the same conclusion.  Making an educated guess when all the facts you’re presented with points to that answer, and then having it turn out that you guessed wrong is NOT lying.  I sincerely hope that Snow and Charming later apologized profusely to Killian for this moment off-screen, because he really did not deserve this crap.  Once again, I have to blame Nealfirebagelperson for this situation.  This whole mess could have been avoided if he’d just signed that stupid letter.  I realize he was in a bad way when he wrote it and didn’t have a lot of time, but for crying out loud!  It was only four stinking letters!  (Yeah, I am so not a fan of Neal.)

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