Thursday, September 10, 2015

Once Upon a Time Episode Analysis (Family Buisness)

You know what?  Forget about who wrote Henry’s storybook.  I wanna know who writes all those prophesies.  Why is no one asking that?

This was really a Belle-centric episode, as both the flashback subplot and main storyline focused on her.  During the flashback, we see how Belle’s mother, who clearly was who influenced Belle’s love for books, died in an ogre attack.  But since Belle had blacked out during the attack, she has no memory of what exactly happened.  She decides to go and find a way to unlock her memory so she can find closure.  By scouring her books, she learns of the Rock Trolls and, despite her father’s wishes, ventures off to Arendelle, where Anna has just returned after her mission.  Anna is suspicious of the Mystery Ice Cream Lady, whose name is revealed to be Ingrid, stating that there was no record of her and Elsa ever having an aunt.  To alleviate her concern, Anna was also plans on visiting the Rock Trolls to see if they could help fill in the gaps in Ingrid’s story.  Upon meeting up at Oaken’s Trading Post (that guy REALLY loves pushing his sauna, doesn’t he?) Belle and Anna decide to visit the Rock Trolls together.  Upon arriving, Grand Pabie not only gives Belle a magic rock that could help her restore her lost memory, but also tells Anna that her mother once had two sisters- Helga and Ingrid.  This does prove that Ingrid was indeed Elsa and Anna’s aunt, but according to Grand Pabie, Helga and Ingrid mysteriously disappeared one day, and the royal family had enlisted the Rock Trolls to help erase all memory of their existence.  Upon learning of this, Anna and Belle try to hurry back to warn Elsa that Ingrid hadn’t been completely honest with them, but on the way back, Ingrid ends up attacking the two women.  Belle, when given the choice between trying to help Anna from falling down a gorge or saving the magic rock that would help her regain her lost memory, Belle takes too long to go help Anna, which resulted in Ingrid capturing her, planning to make Elsa believe Anna was going to remove Elsa's magic with the Sorcerer's Hat she'd previously stolen from Dark One Rumpelstiltskin.

After Anna’s capture, Belle returns home, shaken but a little wiser.  Though why she didn’t go to the castle to tip off Elsa about her sister being abducted is beyond me.  Unless Belle hadn’t realized Anna was the Arendelle Princess?  I don’t know.  Upon her arrival, her father, grateful for her safe return, relents and fills Belle in on the details of her mother’s death- about how her mother had sacrificed her life to ensure Belle could escape the attacking ogres unharmed.  The knowledge of her mother’s sacrifice, and the harsh lesson Belle had learned when she failed to save Anna, ends up being the motivation she needs to essentially do better next time.  She decides that if her mother could give her life to protect her daughter, then she should try to do the same for her family and the whole town- by requesting the aid of Dark One Rumpelstiltskin, who she learned about from Anna.  And thus, the stage is set for ‘Skin Deep.’

Flashfoward to the present day, when we see Belle has sadly regressed as a character.  Even though we’ve clearly seen she knew Anna, she continues to pretend that she doesn’t, even when she clearly sees that Elsa needs some real support when she begins to question if she’ll ever find Anna.   I get she’s probably feeling ashamed of her actions in the past, but if Killian can admit to what he’s ashamed of in ‘The Jolly Roger,’ then why can’t Belle?  Well, Belle does admit she doesn’t want to fess up until after she makes up for her poor choice, and she decides to sneak into Ingrid’s ice fortress to find the Sorcerer’s Hat that Anna had taken from Dark One Rumpelstiltskin in the past.  And this is when it gets a bit iffy.  Gold catches her as she’s about to leave, and he’s all ‘oh, no.  You’re not going out to the Snow Queen’s lair.  It’s too dangerous.’  But Belle feels that her mission is too important, as she has to make up for her past mistake.  She ends up choosing to use the dagger on Gold to force him to go along with her plan.  Okay, this is a bit dubious in terms of morality.  While she was indeed acting for what she felt was the greater good, in correcting a past wrong, It is a breach of the trust that’s supposed to exist between two married people to have Belle use the dagger on Gold for her own personal reasons, especially since she’d promised never to do such a thing.  But at the same time, Gold has already broken that trust already by giving her a fake dagger, so you could really call this a wash.   But what really makes me annoyed was when Belle made it inside Ingrid’s lair and stumbled across the evil mirror she was constructing.  Apparently, when you look in this mirror, your reflection becomes sorta-sentient, and it forces you to face up your greatest regrets and doubts.  Belle’s evil reflection is all ‘come on, you have to know Gold didn’t give you the real dagger.’  The fact that the evil reflection said this indicates Belle actually has considered that at least once.  But once she’s out of the cave, she’s all back to her ‘I know you’ll never lie to me, Rumple!’ (Hehe.  Yeah, twist the knife there, Belle.) 

Girl.  It’s one thing to always try to see the best in someone.  It’s a completely different thing to constantly turn a blind eye and refuse to see what’s right in front of you.  This episode proves you suspect that you’re carrying out a fake dagger, but the fact that you’re clearly choosing to bury your head in the sand is, sad to say, kinda pathetic.  It’s like you’re ASKING to be taken advantage of.  There’s a group of people who insist the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast is all about Stockholm Syndrome.  While I am not one of those people, (if you want a better example of Stockholm Syndrome in Disney movies, look at Hunchback of Notre Dame and Tangled), in this ‘version’ of that old story, the Beauty character is currently being portrayed as quite weak-willed, and I don’t like it.  This is the woman who helped Mulan take down the Yaguai, the woman who faced down Captain Hook aboard the Jolly Roger.  What happened to that smart, steadfast character?

As for you, Gold, you had the PERFECT opportunity to come clean.  Belle was in such a vulnerable state at that exact moment, she would have most likely forgiven you.  Even if she didn’t immediately forgive you, she would have done so before much time had passed.  But no, you have to keep your trap shut, which is only going to come back to bite you in the butt in the worst possible way.

While all this is going on, the others are all ‘oh yeah, there’s still the matter of how Mystery Ice Cream Lady, Ingrid, was also Emma’s foster mother at one pointWe probably should figure out what she wanted with Emma.’  They find Ingrid’s ice cream truck in the middle of the woods and locate a file filled with some of Emma’s childhood drawings and all the old news articles that focused on how Emma was found as a baby.  The fact that Ingrid kept all those things indicates that she might have cared for Emma.  But it’s not until Elsa finds an old Arendelle family tree that depicts her missing aunts, Ingrid and Helga, (how this book even existed since Grand Pabie said all records of Ingrid and Helga’s existence were erased is beyond me) that Ingrid’s plans become clear, particularly when they notice that there’s a striking resemblance between Aunt Helga and Emma.  The strange scroll that was found in Ingrid’s files is revealed to be some sort of prophesy that spoke of Emma the Savior, and how she would become Ingrid’s sister.  Again, who writes these prophesies?

On a side note, the audio commentary for this particular episode revealed the scene where Emma found Ingrid's file filled with young Emma's old art projects and the like was originally longer, and Killian was supposed to have opened up to Emma about his past and how he and his brother, Liam, were both abandoned by their father when the two were still quite young.  It's a shame that that moment got cut because of time constraints.  Not only do we hardly ever get to learn about Killian's past when all the other leading characters have gotten multiple flashbacks exploring their backstories, but from what I've seen of the original script, which was released to the public by the show's lead writers not too long ago, it was a great moment between Emma and Killian.  Just last episode, we saw Emma letting Killian get a glimpse of her past by letting him look through her box of childhood trinkets.  So it would have been great to have seen Killian returning the favor this episode by telling Emma the story of how he was also abandoned as a boy.  Plus, it ends with Killian once again placing the focus upon Emma.  He just got done telling her about what was obviously a painful topic to him, but the moment he finishes, he's all 'I can only imagine how much harder things were for you.'  If anyone wants to look at the released script page, please check out the pic below, which came from Head Writer Adam Horowitz's Twitter post.  While it as been stated that this cannot be considered cannon, it still is a great moment, and I'm hoping it will be used in a future episode.  Because, again, while everyone else has had a number of episodes focused on their backstories, Killian has barely had any.  I think we've only gotten four flashbacks focused on him (five if you count the one in 'The Jolly Roger')

Anyway, in the final moments, Belle reappears and fesses up about her history with Anna.  But there’s no time to worry about that, as she also came to warn the Nevengers what Ingrid was up to.  Apparently, her evil mirror could be used in a spell called The Curse of Shattered Sight, which is designed to turn everyone against each other.  They surmise that Ingrid plans to cast the curse so everyone in Storybrooke will eliminate one other- until only Ingrid, Elsa and Emma are left.  Because that’s apparently Ingrid’s ultimate goal.  She wants to create a perfect family for herself, and believes that Elsa and Emma are the perfect individuals who would replace her sisters.

Okay, first of all?  Ingrid, you total psycho.  Ever consider the possibility that the reason why no one is ‘accepting you for who you are’ had something to do with the fact that you keep attacking people?  Yeah, good luck finding a family who will accept you being a person who commits attempted murder.    And I’m sure Emma and Elsa would be totally cool with the fact that you brought about the deaths of the people they love.   The only reason why Anna wouldn’t ‘accept’ you during the flashback story line was because you a) were hiding crucial information from her and Elsa and b) tried to kill Anna on her return trip from the Rock Trolls. 

Yeah, and Gold and Ingrid clearly know each other, as they keep meeting to stay ‘stay out of my way, and I’ll stay out of yours.’  Only this episode, Gold backs up his words by waving the Sorcerer’s Hat around, threatening to use it on Ingrid if she tries to go after Belle again.  And we’re now in a position where we don’t know who to root for.  Obviously, we don’t want Ingrid to get her way, but at the same time, Gold’s up to something sinister as well.  I call that a no-win situation to end all no-win situations.

Small moment with Regina and Robin, with Regina admitting she isn’t having much luck in figuring out how to unfreeze Marian.  It ends with Regina telling Robin that the only way to save Marian’s life is to have Robin forget about being in love with Regina and fall back in love with his wife again.  This is quite a noble moment on Regina’s part, which is a welcome change from her snippy attitude last episode.  But really, I question why they’re not thinking of the obvious solution.  If the only reason why Robin using True Love’s Kiss on Marian didn’t work was because he’d fallen in love with Regina, why not just have Roland have a try?  We’ve seen that True Love’s Kiss can work between a mother and child in the past?  Why wouldn’t it work for Roland and Marian?  It’s like, HELLO!

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