Fair warning, this is neither a long review nor a particularly favorable one. This episode worked for me on some levels, but then on others not so much. Let’s dive right in and take it from the top….
Fairytale, Present Day
Here’s the thing, the present day Fairytale storyline is starting to drag just a touch. It seems that our heroine’s haven’t actually done a whole lot besides walk around. This time around when they get back to the camp they find that everyone is dead courtesy of Cora (and conveniently for plot purposes) save for Hook. It was a good move on the writer’s part to have Emma and co suspicious of Hook from the outset, as this fits with Emma’s personality in general.
I think it was also a wise decision to give our ladies a quest and next week promises to finally introduce some solid adventure into the present day Fairytale world that feels long overdue.
Regina: The Good, The Bad and the Undead
Flashback Fairytale was much more interesting as far as the story and characters go. The contrast between this Regina and present day Regina always amazes, because the innocence and goodness is overwhelming in comparison to the nearly pure evil that is mayor Regina. One thing I am enjoying is (present day) Regina’s discovery of her good side again – though I’m certainly looking for more of a struggle before she’s solidly in the “good” classification again. Regina is a power addict more or less, so it would only make sense for her to struggle with using it to her own end as she’s done for so long now.
Let’s speak for a minute about the zombie plot from last week. I didn’t like it. One thing that Once has been consistently good at is presenting mythology and fairytale characters in a way that doesn’t feel artificial or silly. Until now, that is. This time around the Frankenstein monster came across as an over-thought plot contrivance meant to get us through this episode, because we had to get through it to set everything up for the real meat of this season. (Henry is another element that is starting to feel more like a plot device than an actual character – I sincerely hope they correct and give this character more dimension and story as we move forward). Whether this is the actual case or not, the bottom line remains for me that it was not a well done story and I certainly won’t be revisiting Regina’s lost love Daniel and his sorry end anytime soon.
Dr. Frankenstein – World’s Collide
Despite my dislike for the undead zombie monster story, I have to give creative credit to the writers for the idea of the crossover between Fairytale and more than just “our” world. It certainly opens up a myriad of doors and characters to investigate and integrate in coming episodes. Having said that, I don’t believe it was quite as smoothly executed as it should have been – I certainly can’t speak for the rest of you, but by the final revel of David Anders as Dr. Frankenstein it wasn’t very surprising or a “twist” at all, though it certainly felt as though it was meant to be a big “aha!” moment for the episode. I am glad to see David Anders with some more meaty material because he is a great actor. Although now knowing he’s Frankenstein, is anyone else puzzled by the name “Dr. Whale” he sports in Storybrooke?
Overall, this was hardly my favourite episode of Once – it was draggy and obviously a filler episode. What is becoming increasingly noticeable in this season is it seems to lack an endgame. Season one had a plot and arc that spanned the entire season with the break of the curse being the obvious end point for the season. I’m not so sure the same can be said here. At least, I sincerely hope that Emma and Mary-Margaret get back to the real world soon. Having said that, there is not really a driving story yet in Storybrooke either. This episode served to illustrate that the characters appear to be lacking strong motivation. Obviously, the girls want to get home and everyone in Storybrooke wants them home – but so far I’m not as invested in these happenings as I was during the first season. Despite all the issues I’m beginning to have, I did love the Hatter’s presence here and I do love this show. So, here’s hoping Sunday’s trip up the beanstalk bring some action, adventure and key plot advancements!