Season Rewind: ‘Once Upon a Time’: Magic returns to Storybrooke
Though I am still angry with most of you for neglecting to tell me that Jamie Dornan didn’t survive past the series’ seventh episode, I will forgive you because you’re all the reason I started watching the show in the first place – and because I obviously IMDBed him later and found out he returned for the season finale. (But that almost should not count because 15 seconds of screen time does not heal my broken heart.)
Oddly enough, I feel like this show shouldn’t work. With so many fairytale characters, the show is almost a procedural with an overarching mystery a la the late great ‘Veronica Mars.’ This show doesn’t feel like a character drama where each episode builds off the last, because each episode focuses on a different character and their backstory while paralleling their lives in our world. But even though there doesn’t feel like a semblance of continuity, all the episodes move, as much as they can, fluidly.
At times I felt a bit like I was watching an episode of ‘Doctor Who’ because of the wibbly wobbly timey wimey nature of the Snow White back story episodes. When we first met her she had already taken a bite of the poisoned apple and Charming woke her up with true love’s kiss. From there her story looked more like this rather than a straight line. But somehow it all made sense in the end.
I suppose you could say that I enjoyed the second half of the season more than the first, though I never could understand Emma’s absolute stubborn reluctance to believe in magic and believe in the stories in the book. Maybe it’s just me and the fact that I’ve always believed in extraordinary circumstances and wish so badly that something like this would happen to me, but you tell me your leg is made of wood and I’m going to believe you. You tell me my mom is Snow White and, by golly, I’m going to start looking out for an abundance of very short men in town.
But Emma refused to believe in anything until Henry, desperate to get her to believe, took a bite of Regina’s poisoned apple tart. Bless his heart, but kid is dumb. I’m not certain I’d have done that unless I myself was in danger (a la August/Pinocchio), but what’s done is done. And his little act of bravery meant that Regina and Emma had to work together to save him.
Personally, I was a little confused about Regina’s reaction. Of all the characters, she’s the one who shouldn’t have been as freaked out – yes, magic works differently in this world, but she knew how the spell worked, knew what it did to Snow White in their world and she should have been a little more, “simmer down, everyone” rather than “OHMYGODHENRYMIGHTDIEBECAUSEIAMANIDIOT!”
I’m just saying…
Anyway, so once again, the key to everything and the man holding all the cards, was Mr. Gold, who after Emma killed Maleficent/The Giant Fucking Dragon Living Under Storybrooke (I feel like someone should have known about this…) and recovered the true love potion, he tricked her by telling her Regina sabotaged the old time elevator and that if she threw the jewel-encrusted egg that contained the potion up to him, he’d simply hold it for her while she climbed out.
Guys, I really thought Emma was smarter than that. Hasn’t she said time and time again that she can tell when people are lying? So much for that super power, because she’s fallen for every single lie that’s been told to her since she arrived. And for some reason, she still believed Mr. Gold in that moment. I kind of find that hard to believe. But I’m sure the writers would blame it on her anxiety and not being in the right state of mind, worried to death about Henry.
But in the end it was true love’s kiss that once again broke the sleeping curse and brought Henry back to life, while simultaneously breaking the curse that had erased the memories of Storybrooke’s inhabitants. This is important for two reasons: one, duh, why didn’t Emma, who by that point believed in the curse and everything it entailed, think of that in the first place? Everyone knows that fairytale curses are broken in that way. And two, it means that Emma has truthfully grown to love Henry as a mother should love their offspring. I’m excited to see how their relationship continues to develop throughout the new season.
Lastly, Mr. Gold couldn’t be satisfied with the breaking of the curse, he selfishly wanted his magic back. So with his true love Belle, recently freed from the hospital basement from hell (where it appears Mr. Sidney Glass/The Mirror now resides after “confessing” to kidnapping Kathryn), by his side, he emptied the true love potion into the magic well that August had once taken Emma to, thus bringing magic to Storybrooke.
Some stray observations:
- Am I imagining it, or is there an attraction between Emma and August? Or is that just me projecting my own wants and desires on to her character? Either way, I ship it!
- Truthfully, I’m glad that the curse storyline only lasted one season, because I don’t know if I could have handled any more roadblocks to the love story of Snow White/Mary Margaret and Prince Charming/David. There are only so many old wife resurfaces/accusations of murdering said wife that a girl can handle. So I’m excited to see the two of them together and to see how their relationship changes with Emma now that they know who they are.
- Will Jamie Dornan ever come back? There’s so much of his backstory left to tell! And by that I mean, plenty of opportunities for him to be shirtless!
I know this really wasn’t a full recap, but I wanted to get some thoughts posted before tonight’s second season premiere. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do weekly reviews because of the sheer amount of television I will be watching every Sunday night (seriously, did the networks forget that their are six more days to the week or are they just trying to kill me? Either way: challenge accepted!), but I will certainly be checking in from time to time if not weekly.