Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Once Upon a Time Episode Analysis (Lily)

So, we’ve dealt with two of the Queens of Darkness.  Ursula has returned to the Enchanted Forest with Poseidon and Cruella is dead.  The episode even begins with her funeral, which was quite sparse in attendance.  The only people who bothered to actually show up were Gold and Isaac, which just goes to show how nobody liked this person, anyway.  They even burred her in what had to be the next step up from a cardboard coffin.  Not to be a nudge, since I really don't care either way, but you'd think Gold would have sprang for a nicer coffin.  He's certainly rich enough  But maybe he lost his access to his small fortune when Belle kicked him out.  Well, technacly, there were three people at the funeral, if you can count Emma, who was standing a short distance away, just staring at them,  Not really sure what vibe they were going for there, to be honest, but it was slightly creepy.  I don't think she was even blinking.

What makes the funeral even more pathetic is that Isaac still seemed to have feelings for her for some stupid reason.  He's even held on to that old napkin from the jazz bar they went to in last episode's flashback..  Isaac, you went on one date with her.  And she wasn't the slightest bit into you.  Get over it.

Now we've only got one Queen of Darkness to contend with.  Except Maleficent’s no longer interested in helping Gold, since she’s figured out that he’s only interested in helping herself.   Instead, she approaches the Nevengers to ask for Emma’s assistance in reuniting with her daughter, Lily.  And Emma is completely stunned at the news that Malifecent’s lost daughter was her childhood friend.  Though the episode flashback, we see that the events in the ‘Breaking Glass’ flashback wasn’t the only time their paths crossed.  During Emma’s childhood, she actually had a shot at getting a good life, as she got placed with a picture perfect family who really seemed to accept her into their home, and was even going to include her on their family camping trip.  But then Lily pops up.  While at first it looks like the two girls might be able to mend their fences, Emma then finds out that Lily was involved in a recent armed robbery and is currently wanted by the police.  Needless to say, Emma is not pleased, fearful this could mess with her chances with this new family.  She tries to tell Lily to leave, saying she’ll give her some of her allowance for a bus ticket.  But Lily says she can’t just leave town, as she’s left her prized possession, a necklace that had belonged to her birth mother, at the hovel where she’d been staying with her boyfriend.  Emma, so desperate to get rid of Lily, doesn’t question why she wouldn’t just always wear the necklace if it was so important to her, and goes off to retrieve it for her.   But when she returns, she finds out that Lily had actually sent her on a wild goose chance and had taken advantage of her absence to steal money from Emma’s foster family.  In the resulting confrontation with the foster parents, they don’t really give Emma a chance to explain her side of things and for a brief moment, they assume the worst of Emma.  Feeling understandably betrayed, Emma runs away again, and when she runs into Lily at the bus stop, she angrily lashes out at her.  And I have to say, while adult Emma seems to voice her regrets for pushing away Lily for the second time, I cannot fault her at all for it.  Emma was happy with that foster family, and Lily’s interference brought that potentially good life to a halt.  What’s more, Lily was actually acting like she did Emma a favor.  Never once did Lily stop and ask what Emma wanted.  Real friendships are supposed to be a two-way street, but Lily just seemed to primarily focus on what she wanted out of the friendship with Emma.

So, during the present-day storyline, deciding to kill two birds with one stone, Regina suggests that she and Emma leave town together, so Emma can track down Lily and Regina can go to New York to save Robin from Zelena.  After saying goodbye to Henry, Killian, Snow and Charming, the latter two Emma is still mad at, they both leave Storybrooke, taking along Ingrid’s scroll to ensure they can both return home.  The search for Lily brings them to this really run-down looking building, the kind you’d except to see drug deals and other illicit activities going down.  From the landlord, they learn that Lily died a few years ago.  But when he starts talking about how much of a horrible person Lily was, Emma lashes out and nearly punches the guy.  The thing is, when Regina questions her about it later, it’s like they’re implying that Emma’s reaction was potentially dark or something.  Again, I have to disagree with that.  What these people keep calling ‘darkness’ is really just Emma reacting like a ordinary human.  Let’s discuss that landlord guy.  If someone shows up looking for one of your former tenants, it might be possible that they’re an old friend of that tenant.   They’re probably not going to react too well if you just bluntly tell them the person they’re looking for is dead, and then immediately are all ‘yeah, let’s talk about how horrible that person was.’  That guy should consider himself lucky that he only just nearly got a black eye.

So, the mission to locate Lily seems to have ended in failure.  However, before they can continue to New York to at least save Robin, a wolf suddenly appears before them, and when Emma swerves to avoid the wolf she gets a flat tire.  They end up going to a nearby gas station to call for a tow truck, but when they get there, Emma steps into the attached restaurant for some coffee and notices the waitress currently working there  has the same birthmark that Lily had.  She immediately realizes that this is her long-lost friend, living under an assumed name of ‘Starla.’  

Okay now, I’m asking.  What is with the wolves?  Back in the pilot, Emma ended up staying in Storybrooke because a wolf was standing in the way of her car, which forced her into an accident.  They even make a point of mentioning that incident in this episode to emphasize how important that moment is.  Here, a wolf appears again, once again forcing them off the road, which leads to Emma and Regina heading to that gas station to call for a tow truck, which results in them finding Lily’s alive and well.  Is there someone commanding these wolves?  Is that something that’ll be addressed in a future episode, or is it just going to be a plot point that goes nowhere?  You can’t just say ‘oh, it’s just fate’ and expect us to go with it.

When Emma confronts ‘Starla,’ revealing who she is in the process, Lily insists that her life turned out fine and she doesn’t need Emma to try and make amends.  To make it more believable, she pretends that one of the kids getting off a nearby school bus is her daughter and pretends to walk her home, which makes me wonder what happened when that kid’s real parents showed up and saw their daughter walking off with a stranger.  Nitpicks aside, Lily apparently either never was told about or forgot about Emma’s internal lie detector.  Because Emma knows that Lily was lying about how great her life turned out.  Using the address listed on Lily’s time card from the diner, they track down her apartment, where Regina finds a room that contains this whole serial killer wall of death that revealed that Lily somehow already knew about Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest.  Turns out that the Apprentice had actually approached Lily after her second fallout with Emma and filled her in on the truth of her past.  I guess he wanted to make up for the part he played in disrupting Lily’s future or something, but his intentions of simply helping Lily understand her burden seems to have backfired somewhat, as the knowledge of the truth has only nurtured resentment  in Lily’s heart.  The moment Emma and Regina find out that Lily already knows everything, and must want revenge on Snow and Charming, they discover a little too late that Lily had commandeered Emma’s car.  Which is bad, since Regina had left Ingrid’s scroll inside the bug, meaning Lily can enter Storybrooke.  To stop her, Emma and Regina hijack Lliy’s own car, and give chase.  Which takes a bit longer that it should have.  From what I understand, bugs like the one Emma drives are not generally very fast vehicles, so Lily made a poor choice of a getaway car.  So of course they’re able to cut her off before too long.  Determined to protect her parents, Emma pulls a gun on Lily, but Regina manages to talk her down, reminding her that this is what Gold wants her to do, and once she starts down this path of violence, it’s not easy to come back from it.  (Although, Regina, for future reference?  You don’t get to call Emma ‘Swan.’  Only Killian can do that.  Unless that was a conscious choice on your part to help her remember what Killian told her before they left Storybrooke, about resisting the darkness by remembering that she has something to live for- namely the people she loves.)  In the end, Emma decides to spare Lily’s life and help her instead, inviting her to come back to Storybrooke with her and Regina.

However, there’s one last stop on this little road trip, and time is now of the essence, since Gold had teamed up with Will to get Belle’s heart from Maleficent, who had been keeping it safe for Regina.  (It really was a lucky break for Regina that Maleficent became her ally in this episode, If she hadn’t, what would Regina have done with Belle’s heart when she left Storybrooke with Emma?)  Anyway, upon making it to New York, Regina tries to tell Robin that ‘Marian’ is actually Zelena in disguise, but he refuses to believe it.  Until Zelena decides to drop the charade and reveal herself.  But even after being confronted with the truth, Robin is still unable to leave.  Because Zelena is pregnant with Robin’s child.

Okay, writing staff?   WHAT THE HEY!  Why did you think we’d be interested in this rape baby subplot!?  Because that’s exactly what this is- a rape baby subplot.  Zelena is only pregnant because she tricked Robin into thinking she was Marian.  I’m pretty sure sex under false pretenses counts as rape.  What, you think that just because the victim happens to be male, it doesn’t count?  Rape isn’t just a female-exclusive crime.  Male rape does exist.  It just doesn’t get addressed as much because males are generally more reluctant to report the crime out of fear that people will question their sexual orientation or because they live in a society that traditionally views males as strong and masculine.  While it’s great that this show has made such an effort to present women as strong, independent people, it’s not cool when they do so at the expense of the male characters.  It’s bad enough that they had Evil Queen Regina rape Graham for thirty years and then not only never address it, but kill off Graham and rarely even mention his existence again.  Now, we’ve got Robin, who is going to quite possibly have a constant physical reminder of his own sexual violation in roughly nine months, give or take.  Seriously, show writers, NOT COOL!

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