ONCE UPON A TIME: It’s an Alt World After All: (Season 6, Episode 11 Recap)

(Cross posted at AgonyBooth.com)

Welcome back to Storybrooke, folks!  It’s a magical, mystical land where characters leave, die, and return from the dead, age (or don’t) whenever they feel like  . . . a place from which Continuity and Logic escaped together on a romantic vacation about 3.5 seasons ago, and haven’t been seen since.

But that’s OK, because it’s also a land that allows us to see a fat old unwashed version of Captain Hook fight an occasionally wooden, occasionally young, occasionally absent Pinocchio, in front of a massively large tree that can magically move from a forest to inside a workshop, whenever Plot requires it to do so.

Let’s jump right back in, shall we?

It’s a Hard Knock Life for Swan

It’s winter in the early 90’s.  So, it makes sense that young Emma conveniently finds herself homeless on what appears to be the set of the Broadway musical Rent.  Emma is cold, so she’s burning pages of a rather antique, rare, and expensive-looking story book for kindling.  After all, rare and expensive storybooks are super prevalent on the “mean” streets of Minneapolis . . . almost as prevalent as crack pipes and hypodermic needles.

(But wait, if she burns a book that’s her only source of income, how will she pay her rent?  This year’s rent?  Next year’s rent?  RENT! RENT! RENT! RENT! REEEEEEEENT!  Sorry . . . I got a bit carried away there, for a moment.)

Anywhoo, an age inappropriate older gentleman is watching Emma.  He approaches her, and starts making small talk about the fairytales in the book she’s burning, like any seasoned pederast would do.  Emma openly admits to this creeper that she has no family, and no one would be looking for her, were she to suddenly go missing.  (EMMA NO!  What kind of fairytale character-turned-sassy-self-aware-street-urchin are you?  Have you no sense of self-preservation!)

But just when you are thinking that this story is either about to take a very dark turn, or Chris Hansen from To Catch a Predator, is going to pop out of the trash can and launch a citizen’s arrest, you remember that this is Once Upon a Time, when the dumb actions of characters only have real consequences when The Plot desires it.

So, the creepy-maybe Pederast (who ends up being a young version of Pinocchio?) convinces Emma to turn herself in to child services . . . but only after he inspires her with a recounting of his favorite fairytale, The Ugly Duckling, a tale of redemptive transformation that would be doomed to become the theme of superficial high school rom com films for decades to come.

“What’s your last name?”  Child Services Lady asks Emma pointedly at the end of this flashback.

“Swan,” replies the girl, with the self-assuredness to know that she’s going to look like actress Jennifer Morrison in about twenty years.

Tree to Be, You and Me

 

Meanwhile, over in present day Alt World, a not-so-dead, not-aged-a-day, possible vampire or zombie, Robin Hood has stolen Regina’s and Emma’s jewels.  And the shock of seeing her dearly departed love back in the flesh caused Regina, and consequently Emma, to miss their chance to jump into the portal back to Storybrooke, and stand around staring at one another for three months, while the show went on hiatus.

Fortunately, Emma sees a tree (because they are in a forest, duh!).  And this reminds her that, back in Season 1, her baby self and Pinocchio were able to travel inside a tree-turned-into-a-wardrobe to another universe.  But who will build the wardrobe?  Why Pinocchio himself, of course!

Emma and Regina visit Emma’s real-world friend, Pinocchio, who, in Alt World, is a “humble” puppeteer who makes clones of himself for a living.  Emma quickly fills Pinocchio in on this season’s ridiculous plot, and Pinocchio is instantly totally cool with it, because this hour-long tale (45 minutes with commercials) doesn’t allot him any time for reasonable skepticism.  Puppet Man  agrees to build a wardrobe that will get Emma and Regina back to Storybrooke.

Except .  . . wait, where’s Regina?  It appears that in the literally two seconds it took Emma to explain to Pinnochio the plot of Season 6 of Once Upon a Time, Regina escaped, but not before penning to Emma a two-page missive on why she was leaving.  (Evil Queens write fast!)  Apparently, Regina wants to take another ride on the Robin Hood train, zombie or no zombie, before she leaves Alt World for good.  (I hope, for her sake, the sex lasts longer than the letter-writing did.)

“I never wear pants for this precise reason. ‘Always be prepared.’ That’s my motto.”

Little Orphan Angsty

Meanwhile, back in Real World, Prince Charming is super cranky, because he hasn’t slept in days.  (If you recall, he and Snow White are still under that sleeping curse thing where only one of them gets to sleep at a time.)  He’s dead set on killing the Hooded Man who is fated to “murder” Emma Swan during an improbably street duel at the end of the season.  The same Hooded Man who just so happens to be the adult version of Rumple’s and Belle’s baby-just-last-week boy Gideon.

Both Belle and Rumple try to reason with their bratty man child, who apparently turned 28-years old in three months (I’ve heard of rapid aging on TV shows, but this is ridiculous!).  They gamely explain to him that murdering the lead of a series at approximately the same time it’s been earmarked for likely cancellation, before he’s had any screen time, would not be the savviest career move for him.  Also, that killing is bad and stuff.

But Gideon, who has been raised by the Evil Black Fairy for either three months or 28-years, we still aren’t sure, will not hear it.  He is convinced that murdering the Savior will be the only thing that allows him to become a Savior himself, thereby proving to his Evil Stepmother that he is not evil . . . by doing something that is really, really evil.

 

Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Upon failing to convince her son to spare Emma’s life, Belle approaches Prince Charming to reveal the identity of Emma’s would-be killer.  “Promise me you won’t murder my son, who is about my age, and whom I didn’t raise . . . even if he murders your daughter, who is about your age, and whom you didn’t raise either?”  Belle pleads.

Prince Charming reluctantly promises not to kill Belle’s kid, Mr. Whiny McEmo Pants, but you just know he’s got his fingers crossed behind his back when he says it.  So, all bets are off.

Robbing Robin?

 

Back in Alt World, Regina tries to put the movies on vampire or zombie Robin Hood, by cornering him in a bar, and asking him whether he has a happy life, despite the fact that he’s clearly not getting laid regularly. (Hint, hint, wink, wink).  Through their conversation, we learn that Alt World vampire or zombie Robin Hood is a swinging single, who doesn’t steal from the rich to give to the poor, like his alter ego, rather, he steals from the rich to give to himself.

This is clearly not a deal breaker to Regina, who, after all, is a serial killer.  (Nobody’s perfect?) But before she can take vampire or zombie Robin to pound town, the pair get arrested by the Sheriff of Nottingham.  (Can vampire/zombies get blue balls, I wonder?)  The good news is that Regina’s and Robin’s arrest is short-lived, as they are promptly rescued by Alt World Rumplestiltskin, who Regina had helped break out of prison earlier in the season.  The bad news is that in Alt World Regina, as the Evil Queen murdered Belle.

So, Rumple locks both Robin and Regina in a tower, where he plans to murder them both.

But then Robin breaks him and Regina out of the tower, because, you know, breaking and entering is kind of “his thing.”

(They are in jail.  They are out of jail.  They are back in jail.  They are back out again.  They are alive.  They are dead.  They are good.  They are evil.  Sometimes watching this show gives me whiplash.)

Captain Un-Hooked?

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Alt World, Pinocchio is trying to carve a wardrobe out of a magical tree, when a fat old drunk arrives to kidnap Emma.

Holy crap!  It’s Captain Hook!  Alt World has not been kind to you, my friend!  I would definitely recommend staying home from the high school reunion.

Emma is easily able to disarm her erstwhile boyfriend (who, let’s face it, even when he’s good looking, slim, and half-sober, has never exactly been the sharpest hook in the bait box), but in doing so, breaks Pinocchio’s magic make-a-tree-into-a-wardrobe-time-jumping-portal chisel.

How will Emma and Regina get home now?  You are going to have to wait at least a commercial break to find out!

Death versus Savior: Round 1

 

Ultimately, Emma is able to use The Ugly Duckling’s tale about “believing in yourself” to convince Pinocchio that, gosh-darn it, he can create a wardrobe with a magic make-a-tree-into-a-wardrobe-time-jumping-portal chisel, even if that magic-make-a-tree-into-a-wardrobe-time-jumping-portal chisel has been broken in half by Captain Hook’s fat ass!

(Sidenote:  Is that what The Ugly Duckling was about, “believing in yourself”?  Because I don’t think that was what the fairytale was about . . . at all!  I thought it was about growing out of your “awkward phase.”  It’s easy to “believe in yourself” when you are a hot swan, who used to be a pubescent duckling.)

In the very next scene, the massively large tree has been instantaneously turned into a beautiful wardrobe and transplanted to Pinocchio’s workshop, because apparently, magic chisels can literally move mountains.   Now, if you recall, from Season 1, a Magical Wardrobe can only fit two people.  This was why Snow, Charming and Emma couldn’t all travel to another realm together, thus setting the stage for the events that launched the series.

In present day, this would mean that only Emma and Regina could travel back to Storybrooke and Vampire or Zombie Robin Hood would have to remain behind.  Fortunately, as I mentioned, Continuity and Logic left this series long ago, and are probably sunning themselves on a remote island off the coast of Mexico by now, while raising their two kids, Credibility and Character Development.  And, because of this, Regina invites Vampire or Zombie Robin Hood to join her and Emma back in Real World, and he instantly agrees.  Why?  Because he’s a dude, and dudes will generally do anything for sex . . . even if that sex happens to be with a deranged serial killer.

Back in Storybrooke Emma confronts Gideon her would be murderer, and has a duel with him.  But it’s not The Duel, because she’s wearing a winter jacket, and the Emma is The Duel is just wearing a white tank top.  (Emma is destined to die in better weather, apparently.)  Gideon loses this duel, but disappears before Emma can finish him off.

Then, Gideon heads up to the clock tower and breaks it, because that’s what bratty man children do, when they don’t get their way, and fail at murdering the lead character in the series, whose very existence on that series keeps them employed.  They break things.

And that’s all that happened this week on Once.  Next week, we get to watch Prince Charming beat the crap out of Captain Hook.  That should be fun . . .

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Binge or No: Netflix’s The Santa Clarita Diet

(Will be cross-posted at Agony Booth.com)

Zombies are the new vampires, that’s for sure. So, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood decided to make them more physically attractive, grant them spacious homes in Suburbia, and give them white-collar jobs. The Santa Clarita Diet is about as pro-zombie as a television series can get . . . minus the gag-inducing scenes filled with vomit, and the occasional image of a limb grossly detaching itself from the human body . . .

The ten-episode thrill-omedy, which premiered on Netflix February 3rd, stars Drew Barrymore as Sheila Hammond, a West Coast suburban realtor, whose recent infection with a zombie virus has given her a renewed zest for life, and a passion for eating men’s balls off . . . literally. (This isn’t your mother’s “Mmmm, Braiiiiiinnnnnnns” type zombie. Sheila is way less wasteful, when it comes to munching on parts of the male anatomy. Oddly enough, no females were harmed in the making of the first season of the series. Is that sexist?)

Early promotional spots for the series actually skirted the whole “Sheila is a zombie” issue entirely, and instead cleverly featured the cast touting the benefits of a “new diet” that offers its participants “tons of energy,” and “makes them look great.” Sheila, herself, is a testament to this, as Drew begins the series looking rather frumpy (and with something disturbingly weird going on with her eyebrows), then subtly becomes more glamorous with each passing episode . . . until the last two, but that’s another story.

In fact, if it weren’t for (1) Sheila’s new zombie-like dependence on her id making her increasingly impulsive, hungry, and reckless; and (2) the whole “murdering people is wrong, and disposing of bodies is hard work” thing, zombie-ism, at least as it’s portrayed in the series, would seem like a pretty workable lifestyle.

As for Sheila’s supporting cast, we have Timothy Olyphant playing waaaaaay against type as Joel Hammond, Sheila’s mild-mannered nebbish of a realtor husband, who’s supportive faux cheeriness, as the body count piles up, borders on frenzied and manic. Basically, this is the kind of role you’d see Matthew Broderick playing, if this series came out about ten-years earlier.

Rounding out the main cast are: Liv Hewson as Abby, Sheila’s and Joel’s rebellious daughter (who is way cooler about the fact that her mother occasionally murders the neighbors, and feasts on human flesh in her spare time, than I would be); Sklyer Gisondo, as Abby’s nerdy and way too-loyal friend / paranormal enthusiast, Eric, and Dan Palmer and Richard T. Jones, as Sheila’s and Joel’s feuding cop neighbors, Rick and Dan.

The Santa Clarita Diet also features Nathan Fillion in a cameo that’s either truly thankless, or patently hilarious, depending on how you view it.

As for the series itself, I think it takes a few episodes to find its footing. The show seems to struggle early on, at least in my opinion, to strike the appropriate balance between comedy and horror. For example, in one scene, you might see Sheila and Joel bathed in blood and guts, as they try to bury the gnarly organs of body that the former just devoured in the woods, without being discovered by the cops.

And then, in the scene immediately following that, Sheila will be depicted, clad in a garbage bag, chasing after, and unsuccessfully attempting to wrestle, a rooster, like she’s a character in a Looney Tunes cartoon?

The series also takes its sweet time in finding the unique voices of its characters, in ways that go beyond them just spouting cheesy zombie and murder puns to one another for 25-minutes. The writing for Sheila, in particular, suffers in the early episodes, as we are told that the realtor mom’s personality has changed drastically, since she was infected, but have to take the rest of the cast’s word for it, as she begins showing signs of infection within the first five minutes of the series.

I was actually planning to discontinue the show after the first two episodes, but soldiered on, and found myself completely hooked around episode four. Around that time, the writing for the series becomes tighter, the jokes funnier, and the main characters become more consistent and relatable in their personalities.

In particular, I found the acting of the teen characters on the show, Abby and Eric, very strong. Their story line adds a sort of sweetness, and a touch of realism to the series, that I think would be lacking otherwise.

Another important point to note, before you venture into The Santa Clarita Diet is that it’s pretty friggin gross. As in, don’t watch it while you are eating . . . EVER! Maybe you folks who just love watching The Walking Dead, and really dig body horror, will be totally cool with this. But I found my eyes averting the screen pretty much any time one of the characters projectile vomits (soooooooo much vomit on this show), or a painted toenail pops off and rolls under the coffee table, or Drew’s Sheila is seen slowly and messily gorging on an arm, while looking much like a baby eating her first spaghetti and meatballs dish. These kinds of scenes amount to roughly a quarter of each episode’s run time, so be warned.

As for trademark zombie lore and the series’ central mystery, i.e. how Sheila came to be infected with the zombie virus in the first place, there isn’t really much there, at least in the first season, which focuses more on the inconveniences and unintentional hilarity of suburban zombie living than any sort of complex rules and/ or zombie origin stories. The mythos that is presented is rather vague and superficial, though I suspect that aspect of the show will be built upon, should The Santa Clarita Diet be picked up for a second season. Still, this might annoy some of you paranormal enthusiasts out there, who tend to like a bit more world-building with your blood, guts and gore.

In short, if you are someone who: (1) likes a good laugh, and a unique take on an old reliable horror movie stable, (2) doesn’t mind lots of gross shots of vomit and disemboweled corpses, (3) doesn’t care too much about origin stories, and (4) is patient enough to get through a rough first few episodes, The Santa Clarita Diet might be the lifestyle change you are seeking. And by “lifestyle change” I mean “five hours seated on your couch watching a show on Netflix, while not eating.” (Did I mention before that you shouldn’t be eating while watching this show?)

Verdict: BINGE IT . . . with discretion.

 

3 Comments

Filed under netflix, The Santa Clarita Diet, tv series review, Uncategorized

Black Mirror Mini-Binge: A Beginner’s Guide To Entering The Void

Cross posted on Agony Booth.com

With a series title based on the black, yet translucent, and sometimes eerily sinister-looking, screen that stares back at you from your sleeping smart phone or tablet, the British-based television anthology Black Mirror has slowly (but surely) garnered cult status, since its UK debut back in 2011. Touted by many as a modern-day Twilight Zone for Technophobes, Black Mirror’s standalone, but thematically related, episodes sagely (and often savagely) tackle the inane nuances of modern day conveniences, while, at the same time, contemplating the various ways in which said conveniences could potentially lead to the catastrophic downfall of society as we know it. Needless to say, it’s not uncommon to finish watching an episode of Black Mirror, and feel just the slightest bit like slitting your own wrist, because the vision of the future it presents is so gosh darn bleak.


This is not to say that Black Mirror is a bad series. On the contrary, most of the time, it’s a pretty friggin awesome one. In fact, on numerous occasions, I’ve found myself utterly spellbound by a particular episode’s creative insightfulness, not to mention the sheer delicious terror it induced in me while watching. On just as many occasions, topics presented during the episode have sparked spirited, sometimes very angry, conversations among my friends regarding various forms of social media and modern technology and their inherent downsides.


And yet, Black Mirror is certainly not for everybody, nor is it appropriate for all occasions. As such, it’s not the kind of show for which I’d advocate binging all four seasons of the series (comprising just 13 episodes in total) in a single sitting. That would likely be way too intense, even for the toughest, most mentally stable, of television viewers among us.


No . . . Black Mirror is most definitely the kind of show best absorbed in moderation, much like fine wine, double fudge brownies, sex, and the Home Shopping Network (if viewed while feeling particularly insomniatic and thus vulnerable to cheap advertising ploys).


Fear not, television fanatics and eclectic cult series connoisseurs! I have a relatively risk-free solution to the Black Mirror Conundrum. For those planning to embark upon a steady diet of Black Mirror, I propose the following fail-safe Introductory Mini-Binge. It’s only three episodes long. Just enough to whet your appetite, and get you used to Black Mirror’s unique flavor, without immediately sending you into uber-depressive strait-jacket territory. Let’s explore, shall we?


Recommendation #1: The Entire History of You: Series 1, Episode 3


Sites like Facebook and Instagram, even the photo cache on your cell phone, have made millions of dollars by capitalizing on the rose-colored world of human nostalgia. Not too long ago, a trip down memory lane required flipping through the pages of a carefully cultivated photo album or heavily autographed yearbook, rewinding a lovingly shot, albeit slightly amateur, home video, or retrieving the plastic key that unlocks the childish scrawl adorning a long unopened diary.


Now, you’ve got Facebook creepily combining with music all your digital photos, in order to create a “Your Year in Review” montage. Anyone with an internet connection could probably find at least one of your baby pictures online, if they looked hard enough. And your own cell phone exists as a constant daily reminder of that ill-advised drunken selfie you and your friends took in the public restroom of a gross dive bar in Hell’s Kitchen at 3 a.m. that one hazy Saturday night.


In the Entire History of You, Black Mirror takes this unsettling-if-you-really-think-about-it concept one step further. It contemplates a computer chip in your brain that records everything you see and hear for purposes of instant (and, if you aren’t careful) obsessive repeat viewing. Anyone who has ever said or done something stupid, and then aggressively punished themselves for it, by replaying said stupid actions or words over and over again, ad nauseum, each time finding a new and improved reason for self-loathing, could probably imagine the egregious self-harm they could inflict upon themselves, if given the opportunity to actually re-watch in unfiltered HD-TV full color, their own darkest moments.

The reverse could be problematic too. I could imagine after a particularly shitty day, it would be rather tempting to get lost for days in the vortex of that awesome summer you had junior year of college, where every day was sun-filled, and every night was a party (or, at least it seemed that way at the time).
Picture a successful young professional, who gets home from a bad day at work to find a strange man in his house, who may, or may not, be schtupping his wife on the regular. You could imagine how dangerous this particular type of technology could be in the hands of such an emotionally volatile man, both for himself and those around him.


Yes, the view of future society painted by the Entire History of You is a pretty ugly one. But it’s one that will definitely make you think about the unspoken benefits of selective memory, forgetfulness, and plain old outright ignorance, specifically, the ways in which, those, seemingly negative qualities of human nature could, in some ways, save us all from our own ever-approaching insanity. (Fun Fact: Robert Downey Jr. actually optioned this episode for a full-length film . . . another solid reason to check it out, if the above hasn’t succeeded in swaying you.)


Recommendation #2: Fifteen Million Merits, Series 1, Episode 2


For better or worse, reality television has become a mainstay of prime-time television viewing. And why the heck not? It’s cheap to produce. It’s mind numbingly addictive to watch. And it’s oddly refreshing in its emphasis on real, flawed, “average” individuals, competing for your attention, as opposed to the beautiful airbrushed heartthrobs and starlets of television yesteryear . . . the ones who seemed genetically pre-designed to make us all feel so gosh darn inadequate.


Fifteen Million Merits is a not-so-subtle commentary on reality television, as well as our society’s increasing reliance on using avatars and “virtual selves,” to carry out our own personal fantasies in a pixelated online world, without the “hassle” of having to getting out of our pajamas and actually leave our homes.


While the Entire History of You takes place in the not-so-distant future, inside a world that looks suspiciously like our own, Fifteen Million Merits contemplates a universe that’s a bit farther removed, and yet not entirely incomprehensible, especially in light of our society’s current trajectory toward an increased living out of our lives online.


In this alternate version of our world, men and women live entirely through their avatars, working and exercising compulsively, not to better themselves, but to buy shinier duds, and better opportunities for the computerized creatures designed to represent them the digital world.


Our main character in this story, Bing, has grown surprisingly complacent with this new unreal world. We watch him in the first few minutes of the episode, simply sleepwalking through the virtual annoyances of his daily life. But then, he meets Sybil from Downton Abbey, and promptly falls in love with her. (As men do!). After that, all bets are off.


Fifteen Million Merits is fascinating in its deft, and surprisingly believable, world building, excoriating in its commentary on modern media and its compulsive need to appeal to the lowest common denominator, and horrifying, when you recognize how close to real life the world painted in this episode happens to be. In short, it’s a can’t miss hour of television for any burgeoning viewer.

Recommendation #3: San Junipero, Series 3, Episode 4


Since my first two Black Mirror episode introductory picks were admittedly pretty darn dark, I figure it’s time to lighten things up a bit, with what may very well be Black Mirror’s most optimistic, heart-warming, surprisingly pro-technology, episodic feature to date. If the Entire History of You’s underlying purpose is to warn viewers of the dangers of nostalgia and living in the past, San Junipero exists as its idealistic counterpoint. This episode, which takes place, almost entirely in a glossy, almost-too-perfect, embodiment of 1980’s California, views both nostalgia and memory as a circuitous route toward eternal happiness, love, second chances, and, yes, immortality.


Shy, bookish Yorkie, a child of the 80’s, never had the chance to experience much in life. That is until she enters the virtual world of San Junipero, enters a dance club filled with strangers, and encounters the effervescent, free-spirited, Kelly, a wild child, who is hiding secrets of her own.


This surprisingly fun-filled, oddly “happy,” installment of the Black Mirror franchise has a little twist in it, one that I won’t spoil for you here, thought the more observant of you will likely catch on to it, within the episode’s first fifteen minutes. Suffice it to say, this episode has a heck of a lot more heart than most Black Mirror installments, and it’s certainly a good deal more optimistic. Yet, despite its deceptively simplistic, lighthearted, nature, San Junipero has a lot of intelligent things to say about the nature of mortality, love, relationships, and the legacies we create for ourselves and one another just by following our dreams and giving in to our own desires.

If Entire History of You and Fifteen Million Merits left you feeling super depressed and wary of the future of humanity, this third Black Mirror pick will ensure that you can wake up tomorrow, fully capable of getting out of bed, and maybe even put an extra spring in your step as you do it.

So, there you have it, my top three picks for a healthy introduction into the dangerously addictive world of the Black Mirror. Are you ready to dive into the void?

Leave a comment

Filed under black mirror, Uncategorized

ONCE UPON A TIME RECAP: I Dream of Genie

Cross posted at Agony Booth.com

emma-and-henrys-alternate-reality-once-upon-a-time-season-6-epis

EMMA: “Of course, this Alt-World is real, Henry! What would make you think it is fake?” Henry: “Well, we are standing in front of a Green Screen . . .”

This week on Once, Emma gets “wished” into an alt-world, where her hair and makeup are better, but everything else about her is way worse. Also, Aladdin becomes everyone’s b*tch; the Evil Queen unleashes her inner reptile; and everyone who thought Belle’s kid was super creepy, and most likely The Worst, gets to say “I TOLD YOU SO!”

It’s the last Once recap of 2016, Fairytale Fans! Let’s do this!

Sword-of Good News

sword

In a quest to determine the true owner of the Sword That Will “Kill” Emma Swan (but not destroy that sword, mind you, because the plot requires it to remain in play, at least until the end of the season), Emma, Regina and Hook have a run-in with the Evil Queen in front of Robin Hood’s grave, because “foreshadowing.” There, Evil Queen literally taunts Emma with “your mama” jokes. And this makes Emma so mad that she stabs the Evil Queen in the face with her own death sword. (Talk about Anger Management Issues!)

like-like

When it is plot convenient for them to be treated as such, Regina and Evil Queen are treated as the same person. This means that when Evil Queen gets stabbed in the face, Regina should also bleed. But when Emma stabs Evil Queen with her death sword, for some reason, Regina’s face is still as beautifully Botoxed and pore free as it was pre-Evil Queen Face Stabbing.

lol

Based on this impromptu experiment, Emma determines that she CAN actually kill the Evil Queen, without killing Regina too! And this would be fabulous, and extremely relevant, news, if the Evil Queen wasn’t rendered a complete non-entity by the end of the episode . . .Oh well! Better luck next McGuffin!

Wish-Y Washy

walkin

 

 

When Emma tells the rest of her family that she’s going to use her own Death Sword to kill the Evil Queen, at night, out in the street, thereby basically mimicking the exact circumstances of the vision she had, in which she died at the end, her son Henry is the only one that thinks this is incredibly shitty idea. (Unless you happen to be watching a show geared toward eight-year olds, it’s generally a bad sign when the smartest character on the show isn’t even old enough to shave.)

look

Ignoring Henry’s rather logical and intellectually sound warnings, Emma heads off with Hook, Daddy Charming, and her Future Death Sword to tempt fate, recreate her death scene from her vision, and maybe, but probably not, succeed in killing the Evil Queen. While they are en route, Princess Jasmine screams out frantically for help from inside Granny’s diner. It turns out that the Evil Queen has her very loosely tied up in a chair. And when I say “loosely,” I mean to say that, those Chinese Handcuffs we all used to play with as kids are probably more difficult to get out of than the Evil Queen’s half-assed chair knot.

genie

Nonetheless, Jasmine dutifully stays put like the good, not too bright, hostage that she is. And so, the Evil Queen promptly steals the genie lamp from Jasmine, summons New Genie Aladdin from it, and makes her first wish: that Emma Swan’s erstwhile wish never to become the Savior be granted. So thoughtful, that Evil Queen! Someone get this lady a Humanitarian Award!

Since, Emma Swan originally became the Savior, upon being shipped off to modern times from fairytale land, no-longer-the-Savior-Emma is instead portaled to an Alt World, in which she instead actually grew up in fairytale land with her super rich parents, a la Ivanka Trump.

father-fem

In order to rescue Emma from Alt-World, Regina conveniently uses the “Evil Queen and I are technically the same person” card (which appears to be working again, after the whole Death Sword glitch thing), so that she can be whisked to the exact same World.

Princess Emma: The New Disney Heroine that Feminism Forgot

emma-prince

To say Alt-World is weird, and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as a viable alternate timeline, is a complete understatement. For one thing, Emma’s parents, the Charmings, are super old. (This part actually, does make sense, because while time stopped in Storybrooke during Emma’s first 28-years of life, in Alt-World, time continued normally, thus rendering Charming and Snow at least 28-years older than they currently are in Storybrooke).

What doesn’t make sense, is how nobody else in Alt World aged one iota. I let this slide, when it came to the dwarves, because, perhaps, dwarves don’t age like humans do. However, this fact particularly disturbed me, when it came to Granny, who, had she aged in real time, would have been roughly 110 in Alt World. And yet, there she was, looking not a day over 85! (Then again, maybe Granny is actually a dwarf, and nobody told me. Is that true? Did I miss a plot point somewhere?)

dress-like

Also in Alt World, Princess Emma somehow still met, boned, and ultimately married Baelfire / Neal (who was a knight in Alt World?), resulting in her giving birth to erstwhile fairytale author Henry.

And what I’m still trying to wrap my head around is how all that could have happened, seeing as Neal had left fairytale land, and was actually in Neverland around the time “the original curse occurred.” If there is someone out there with a way better understanding of the timeline logistics of this show, who could explain to me how this could be possible, by all means, chime in.

neal

When Regina shows up in Alt World, everyone is super frightened, because they assume that she’s the Evil Queen, (who, in this timeline, Charming and Snow White defeated and banished from the kingdom pre-first curse), who is now back to enact her revenge, and rightfully so! Alt-World Emma is concerned too, but she’s too busy singing showtunes, and picking flowers in the forest, to really give the whole thing much thought or concern. This is because, apparently, had Charming and Snow White actually had the opportunity to raise Emma from birth, they would have turned her into a pampered prissy simpleton, incapable of defending herself. Sorry Baby Neal! This is most likely going to be you in 28-years!

snow-and-charm evil-q

It looks like Regina has her work cut out for her, if she wants Emma to remember who the heck she is, and get the two of them back to Storybrooke in one piece. Did I mention, the episode is only half over at this point?

A Charming Failure

fail-charm

Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke, the B team is proving themselves to be even more useless than Regina in their attempts to rescue Emma from Alt World. First Charming tries to take the genie lamp from the Evil Queen, so he can wish Emma back home. But instead, he just wishes that the Evil Queen will “get what she deserves.” It’sa super vague, and dangerously objective wish, one that anyone who has ever read a fairytale, let alone starred in one, would know not to use under any circumstances whatsoever.

Not surprisingly, Charming’s wish accomplishes precisely nothing in either defeating the Evil Queen, nor in getting Emma back. So, Charming returns the Genie Lamp to Jasmine, since she’s most likely boning the guy inside it, after all. And when Jasmine offers to use her first wish (She does have three, I might add) to wake up the Sleeping Snow White, and break the curse that prevents the pair from being awake at the same time. Charming’s response is, “Meh, I don’t really need her anyway. You guys do what you gotta do.”

ouat-4.2-snow-upset

And so, Jasmine and Aladdin wish themselves to Agrabah, taking with them, the gang’s seemingly best chance at getting Emma back from Alt World and/or waking Snow from a potentially eternal slumber. GO TEAM!

Robin Hood-winked

im-your-friend

Regina, for her part, is fairing slightly better in Alt-World, as she seeks a captive Rumpelstiltskin’s help in awakening the currently completely useless Emma’s memories of her life as the Bad Ass Savior. Rumpel gamely suggests that Regina do her best Evil Queen impersonation, in order to scare Emma into turning heroic again. He even offers Regina a bean that will open a portal to get her back to Storybrooke with Emma, in exchange for his freedom from captivity. Regina accepts this deal, because making deals with the Dark One always ends so well for everyone on this show!

clap

 

Dressed in her Evil Queen finery, Regina puts on a Super Sassy Show at Henry’s knighthood ceremony, even going so far as to kidnap Charming and Snow White, because that should really piss off Princess Emma. Right?

queen

Wrong! Prissy Emma responds to Regina’s Evil Queen’s taunts by . . . wimpily giving the Evil Queen the key to the city, in exchange for her parents’ lives. Yikes! Growing up with the elderly Charmings in Alt-World has made Princess Emma super soft. Regina is going to have to up the ante, if she wants Bad Ass Savior Emma back.

proud

And so as the Evil Queen, Regina KILLS THE CHARMINGS by thoughtlessly crushing their hearts in her bare hands. (This version of them is old and fake anyway. Plus, they clearly did a crappy job raising their kid, and, therefore, don’t deserve to live.)

Does the death of Princess’ Emma’s parents snap her back into action? Nope, it just makes her sit on the floor and cry like a total b*tch. Knight Henry though, he’s ready to kill Regina / Evil Queen. And worse, he’s going to do it with the all-powerful Emma Death Sword, which somehow made it to the Alt World along with Emma.

a-hand

Now, while Regina would gladly kill the Fake Charmings, she can’t bring herself to kill Fake Henry. So, instead she just stands there, and awaits her demise. And THIS . . . THIS is what finally causes Emma to snap out of her Wishy-Washy stupor and return to herself. She uses her magic to freeze Fake Henry just in the nick of time, and, in doing so, saves Regina’s life and the fake version of her son’s soul.

knight-henry

Then, Regina and Emma head to meet with Fake Rumpel, pick up the portal bean and prepare to go home. So, of course, just as the two are about to enter the portal, Regina comes upon Fake Robin Hood, who is alive in this fake timeline, and conveniently about to rob them. Not willing to pass up time with her sweetie, even a fake version of him, Regina lets the portal close, and with it, her and Emma’s only chance to get home and kill the Evil Queen.

off-with-jewelry

No worries. The Evil Queen is about to disappear as a problem anyway, at least temporarily.

Blue Fairy, You Had One Job!

blue-fairy1

Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke, Rumpel uses some magic hair to attempt to track down his newborn child. Understandably he is super disturbed to find out that the kid completely off the grid. Predictably, Rumple comes to Belle with this conundrum. Shortly thereafter, the two learn from a thoroughly beaten-up Blue Fairy, that Fairy Lame-Mother was able to care for Baby Gideon, for all of two minutes, before she lost him to the Ultimate Evil. Great job, Blue Fairy!

In worse news, Rumpel’s mom, the Black Fairy, was apparently the one who kidnapped Gideon. And this means either that she’s going to eat him, or he’s going to turn evil. Maybe she’s going to turn him evil, then eat him?

Anywhoo, a man in a black cape, who looks suspiciously like the guy who kills Emma in her vision, appears from a portal, and promptly turns the Evil Queen into a snake in a cage, because, why not?

snake-eyes

He then removes his hood, revealing himself to Belle and Rumpel, as Gideon, their “son”, a.k.a. the same creepy guy who kept hitting on Belle in her dreams, and convincing her to give the baby version of him away to the useless Blue Fairy.

evil-kid reactioin

And this just goes to show you that you should never trust a guy with a bad Julius Caesar haircut, who haunts your dreams, and claims to be your son, but still hits on you like he’s your boyfriend / your stalker. Words to live by. Trust me, I know from experience!

Until next March 2017, Oncers!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Once Upon a Time Recap: Baby Mama Drama

Cross Posted at Agony Booth.com

birth-giving

This week on Once, Belle’s “baby” keeps haunting her dreams, while not so subtly hitting on her, and no one is supposed to think that’s weird. Aladdin becomes a Genie, and moves into a lamp, which I guess beats his prior job of living in a cave and being unemployed. Emma finds the sword that will eventually be used to “kill her,” but doesn’t even consider destroying it, because we still need to drag out this storyline for another few months. Meanwhile, in the past, we meet Rumpel’s mommy, and she’s precisely as awful as you imagined her to be.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Baby-and-Switch

belle-with-b

Once Upon a Time, Rumpel was holding Belle hostage in his castle (a.k.a the golden years of their relationship). One day he brings home a baby he kidnapped, turns to Belle and says, “Whatever you do, please don’t try to save this baby from me,” knowing full well that Belle will do exactly that. Using reverse psychology, i.e. the oldest trick in the book, Rumpel then tricks Belle into translating a fairy incantation he will need to call upon the baby-eating Black Fairy.

Belle, who has grown pretty attached to the kidnapped baby (probably, because it hasn’t cried or pooped in days, and, therefore, is likely some form of robot baby), feels super bad about the part she unwittingly played in it maybe becoming some evil fairy’s Lean Cuisine.

And so, Belle follows Rumpel into the forest where he uses the robot baby to summon the baby-eating Black Fairy. As it turns out, the baby-eating Black Fairy is Rumpel’s MOM! Rumpel didn’t really want the baby to be eaten! He just wants to know why his mother decided to abandon him, when she could have just eaten him, like she does all the other babies in town!

black-fairy

See guys? Rumpel’s really a good guy! He just has Mommy Issues! And that should totally excuse him for all the terrible stuff he’s done over the past six years!

Anywhoo, baby-eating Black Fairy doesn’t seem to have a really good reason as to why she abandoned, rather than ate, Rumpel. (Maybe all the glitter on his baby face would have caused her indigestion!) This gives Rumpel a major case of the sads. No one likes to be rejected by their parents, even if being rejected could potentially save them from having their arms chewed off.

ouat-season-3-rumpel

The good news that came from all this was that the kidnapped robot baby never got eaten either! So, Belle got to return him (or her?) to its rightful owners. And they all lived happily ever after . . . except for Rumpel, who was sad, and his mom, who was still hungry, and Belle, who was still being held hostage . . . So, basically only the kidnapped robot baby and his (or her) parents lived happily ever after.

I’m a Genie in the Bottle, Baby!

Meanwhile, in present day, Jasmine and Aladdin want to use the Genie lamp they found to return to Agrabah and save it from Jafar and other assorted Bad Stuff. But when they shake it, they find that there is no Genie in it, which means they totally got ripped off, and should return it for a full refund. But then, Aladdin says, “Hey, what the heck? I’m broke and homeless, and just got suckered into owning a Genie-less lamp. The least I can do is use it as a rent free apartment and a job opportunity.”

genie-in-lamp

And so Aladdin becomes a Genie, which means that the next person who gets that lamp is also going to be getting a raw deal. Robin Williams this guy most definitely is not. I mean unless the owner is wishing for someone who can alternate between twelve accents in a single sentence, they are probably out of luck.

The Sister Act

horny

 

Rumpel tells the Evil Queen that she wants to keep boning him, she has to kill her sister, the Wicked Witch, first. As, we’ve previously established, the Evil Queen is super horny, and, therefore, sees this as a small price to pay for some nookie. So, the Evil Queen goes to the Wicked Witch’s house to murder her, but instructs the Witch to put down her daughter first. (See? The Evil Queen isn’t a TOTAL monster. Then again, maybe she just plans on feeding the Wicked Witch’s kid to the baby-eating Black Fairy.)

life-sav

Right when the Evil Queen is about to murder the Wicked Witch, Regina stops her, using their shared heart as leverage. When the Wicked Witch thanks Regina for saving her life, Regina responds, “I didn’t do it for you. I did it because I’m a ‘good person’ now. And being a good person gives me the right to occasionally be a self-righteous prick, and save people’s lives, just to prove how much better I am then them. I still hate your guts though, so toodles.”

sad-zel

The Sword and the Boning

emma-hand

While in Rumpel’s shop to help Belle find the squid ink she believes will protect her from Rumpel (more on that in a bit), Emma and Hook come upon a sword with a red jewel in it that makes Emma’s carpal tunnel and death hallucinations act up really bad. Emma eventually figures out that this is because the sword with the red jewel in it was the one she was stabbed with in her “vision.”

“We should totally have this sword destroyed,” says Hook. “If we do, then we will know that at least one part of your vision won’t come true. And maybe your fate will be changed, and your life will be saved.”

(Or, at least, that’s what Hook would have said if he had a brain in that sexy head of his.)

sword

Instead, Emma and Hook decide to take the instrument of her death home with them, so that she can sleep with it next to her on her bedside table every night, making it super easy and convenient for her killer to take it and use it on her. (Because Emma Swan is nothing if not thoughtful and generous with those who wish her dead.)

Now, for the main storyline of the hour . . .

Belle’s Baby . . . He’s Not Just the Creepy Stalker Guy in Her Dreams Anymore

giving-birth

Belle’s fear that Rumpel will speed up her birth, so he can use the Magical Un-Savior scissors on the pair’s son, so the baby will love his daddy more or something, is confirmed when Rumpel turns a young Asian nun into an old Asian nun, and sends her to Belle as a warning . . . also, I think, as an advertisement for moisture cream and Botox.

As Belle researches a magic spell that will protect her and her unborn child from Rumpel and his Magical Un-Savior scissors, her future “son” Morpheus (who I am growing more and more convinced isn’t actually her son, but rather just some guy who has a mommy fetish and a really creepy crush on Belle) keeps dragging her into his “dream world” to remind her to keep him away from Rumpel (Is that what the cool kids are calling sex nowadays? Dream World? Come on, you can tell me!).

smirk-morph

Of course, being an annoying Dream World guy, Morpheus never actually tells Belle what she has to do to win this Game of Keep Away. Instead, he just keeps cryptically telling her that “she knows what to do.” (For you guys out there who are reading this, all 1.5 of you, this is basically like when your girlfriend or wife is mad at you for some reason, but rather than telling you what it is, just continues to insist that “you know what you did!” It’s totally The Worst, am I right? And this is coming from a woman!)

Rumpel runs into Belle at some point during all of this, and insists that he will never give up on trying to get back his son. Take it to court, buster! Then, Belle leaves and goes to Granny’s Diner, where SOMEONE has laced her tea with quick birthing magic. So, Belle immediately goes into labor.

The nice thing about Quick Birthing Magic, is that it makes labor super easy. So Belle gives birth in about two minutes, without even messing up her makeup or her hair. She’s basically like, “Ow, ow . . .oh, there’s my baby.” Quick Birthing Magic also ensures that the baby is born completely clean with nary a drop of blood, placenta, or guts on his forehead.

looking-clean

Remind me again why Belle was so against this happening? Has Quick Birthing Magic been FDA approved yet? Because I’m willing to bet this drug could make a fortune!

Belle, who believes her baby will never be safe if he’s in Storybrooke with her, gives her child to Blue Fairy to care for “temporarily,” (i.e. until he can come back next season as a surly 15-year old, played by a sexy 25-year old). Belle names the baby Gideon, after a character from her favorite childhood fairytale, and sends him on his way. (Wait, I thought the baby’s name was Morpheus! I told you Creepy Dream Guy was a liar!)

baby-to-fairy

Rumpel arrives shortly after the super speedy and clean birthing has taken place, and is heartbroken that he missed a chance to see his son in his baby form, because the kid is probably going to be ten years old in about three minutes. Belle refuses to tell Rumpel the name of his child, which is kind of cruel. But, in her defense, she may still be confused as to whether his name is Gideon or Morpheus.

Rumpel goes back to his shop to find the Evil Queen gloating. It turns out it was SHE and not him, who dosed Belle with Quick Birthing Magic, in order to put another nail in the coffin of their already deader than dead relationship. “Nice to see Belle left your kid with a fairy, because they totally make the best moms. I mean, look how good YOU turned out,” Evil Queen muses, which is awful, but also kind of hilarious.

talk

Now, Rumpel is super mad at Evil Queen and they are enemies again, which means that their inevitable next Hate Sex scene is probably going to burn my retinas.

Until next time, Oncers!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Once Upon a Time, Uncategorized

Binge or No? – Netflix’s 3%

Cross-posted at Agony Booth.com

cover-image

Though it may have been ever-so-slightly overshadowed by a certain other Netflix series whose name may or may not rhyme with Shmilmore Shmirls, November 25th brought with it the debut of 3%, an eight-episode Brazilian series that may not be quite as innovative as it believes itself to be but that doesn’t make it any less engaging or timely.

Imagine a world where the economic elite build a wall to keep out the lower economic classes, and then take it one step further, by putting an entire island’s length between a small percentage of rich privileged folks, and the poor underprivileged masses who make up the societal majority. Crazy, right? Unfortunately, not in this day and age.

looking-over-masses

At first blush (and second, and third), 3% is a dystopian young adult fantasy, the likes of which you’ve seen before in countless successful novel trilogies and films. The premise is simple: at some point in the not-so-distant future, society alters itself in some way that it believes will increase the peace among the people. So, a group of young attractive folks of varied social backgrounds and dubious moral compositions, must compete with one another, to prove they are worthy of living in the upper echelons of this new society.

elimiinated

What’s refreshing (albeit, a bit frightening) about 3%’s view of future dystopian society, is that, unlike some of its predecessor’s visions (A society based on individuals’ possession of singular random personality traits? HUH? A society based on the fact that rich people, with terrible taste in clothing, get their kicks out of watching poor teenagers murder one another? WHAT?), this series’ premise actually seems fairly plausible.

you-deserve-it

In short, this is a future society based, at least ostensibly, solely on merit. Every year, all the 20 year olds in the poor part of the world (“the Inland”) compete with one another in a series of mental, physical, psychological, emotional, and team-building tests known as “the Process.” Those who score in the top three percent on those tests get to join the world of the elite on an island referred to as “the Offshore.”

I even liked how the tests involved in “the Process” actually required some intelligence, leadership, and cooperative thinking, and weren’t just about people beating the crap out of one another . . .

building-blocks

This is not to say that I think the fictional society created in 3% is a good idea. In fact, the series takes great pains to show you that it is not. Specifically, like any form of society premised upon separating the haves from the have-nots, it breeds corruption among those in power. It also seems to reward those most capable of deception, manipulation, and, at times, out-right violence, at the expense of those individuals who are honest and more docile.

do-anything

And, of course, like many series involving a dystopian society, this one includes a rebellious faction, hell-bent on overthrowing the current status quo, in exchange something “better.” In the 3%, these folks are referred to as “the Cause.”

But unlike some of the more simplistic dystopian stories, 3% is a bit less black-and-white in how it views its society. In fact, the arguable main villain of the story, Ezequiel, the person responsible for creating and running the process whereby the 3% are ultimately selected, is easily the most complex, multi-faceted, and interesting character in the series. Likewise, the members of “the Cause,” the would- be heroes of a tale like this, are shown to have some dubious, less than noble, motivations of their own, for doing the things they do.

covered-up

Character is something the 3% offers in abundance. There are some juicy intriguing characters here, ones that don’t fall into the pat stereotypes that tend to pervade this particular genre. The episodes are structured in the now-familiar format made popular by the TV series, Lost. Namely, each character (at least the important ones) get their own “centric” episode, which flashes back to key moments of their past, before whisking them back to the present in the Process, thereby illuminating how their experiences in the former, dictate or inform their actions in the latter.

climbing

To keep you entertained and guessing, the series also offers some clever twists along the way. Some of which you will guess quite easily, early on, even before the characters do. Others may genuinely surprise you.

One of the things I enjoyed, particularly about the earlier episodes of the series was the fact that, since I didn’t know any of these actors and I wasn’t reading a book about them told from a first-person perspective, I was never entirely sure which participants in the Process would be eliminated in a particular episode. In fact, more than once, a character I thought would be important to the story suffered an early elimination and became a complete non-entity.

elite

I would be remiss not to mention that the actors in 3% speak in Brazilian Portuguese. So, if that’s not your first language, some adjustments will have to be made before beginning the series on Netflix. A number of dubbing options, including English, are available. But the message boards are informing me that the English dubbing kind of sucks. Therefore, I recommend watching 3% as I did, in its native tongue, with your chosen language as subtitles. I promise it won’t detract from your viewing pleasure.

Another caveat: Given the heavy amount of exposition generally required for the world-building of dystopian series’ like this one, I found the first episode of 3% to be a bit slow-moving, and some of the dialogue involved in it to be unnatural, at best, and clichéd, at worst. If you feel as I did after watching episode 1, I recommend trying episode 2, anyway. It gets better.

surprise

In Summation: The 3% offers up many of the structural, thematic, and narrative devices you’ve come to expect from dystopian young adult stories. However, it’s use of a plausible premise that will have you and your friends debating the merits of a sociological oligarchy based on merit, complex characters, and clever plotting overrides some of its more clichéd aspects for an entertaining and intelligent viewing experience . . . provided you’ve selected the proper subtitle settings prior to viewing.

FINAL ANSWER: BINGE IT!

Leave a comment

Filed under #3, netflix, Uncategorized

ONCE UPON A TIME Recap: Stuck in the Mirror with You (S6: Ep 8)

Cross posted at Agonybooth.com

funny

Last week on Once, while I was in Spain, the Evil Queen cast a curse on Snow White and Prince Charming, so that they could never be awake at the same time. Specifically, every time one member of the happy couple tried to suck face with the other, the mere act of face sucking would cause that person to fall into a coma. (You may have experienced something similar when trying to kiss someone with morning mouth.) Also while I was in Spain, someone was elected President of the United States, whose name was most certainly not next to the bubble I darkened on my absentee ballot . . . thus proving that bad things happen everywhere when I leave the country . . .

please-dont-go

This week on Once, I was back in the country, so Henry saved his moms from the mirror they were trapped in, without darkening his soul. AND he got Violet to admit that she still has the hots for him, despite the fact that their honeymoon period is totes over. Balance is hereby restored. You’re welcome. Now, if I could just fix that OTHER matter . . .

Anyway, on to the review . . .

A Kiss Before Snoring

beat-2

beat-1

Because making the best of a bad situation is kind of Prince Charming’s and Snow White’s thing, they decide to equitably divide their shared life in half, so that each gets a chance to take care of their perpetually newborn son, and bond with the rest of Storybrooke, while the other snoozes under the Evil Queen’s curse. Though to be honest, it’s not entirely clear to me how the time schedule works.

sad-snow-looks

 

Does one person get nights and the other get days? Because that wouldn’t be entirely fair. Maybe they alternate days, and actually both sleep at nights, which would be more fair, but seems wasteful, in the sense that the couple should maximize their waking hours, in order to figure out a way to break the curse. (Like for example, Emma, their child, and also their true love, could wake both of her parents with true love’s kiss simultaneously. I mean, wouldn’t that be an obvious first thing to at least try? Maybe if they didn’t spend so much time sleeping and leaving one another cute notes and videos, they could have figured that out by now.)

Maybe I spend way too much time thinking about the nocturnal habits of a fictional couple . . .

Anyway, we get an idea of what life under a shared sleeping curse is like for the Charmings through a cute montage of the perpetually half-comatose couple to the tune of Colours by Donovan, which could just as easily double as a particularly weepy cell phone commercial.

At some point during all this Verizon-approved adorableness, Snow looks in a mirror and realizes, she REALLY needs to lose that awful haircut. Just kidding! She realizes the Evil Queen is watching her through the mirror and angrily shatters it, which coincidentally, is also a great way of dealing with a bad haircut, you can’t immediately correct. If you can’t see it, it’s easier to pretend it isn’t there.

The Mirror Has Two Faces

ew-mirror

Snow White’s aggressive encounter with her bedroom mirror gives Regina the idea to enchant one and use it to entrap the Evil Queen. The only problem with this plan is that Regina and the Evil Queen sort-of / kind of share a brain. And, much like with Snow and Charming’s sleeping curse, only one of the pair seems capable of using it at any given time. This was Evil Queen’s turn at having a brain, so she beat Regina to the punch, switching Regina’s enchanted mirror for a plain one.

So, when Emma and Regina, using Henry as bait, lure the Evil Queen to the beach to entrap her in the mirror, the Evil Queen turns the tables and traps Emma and Regina in the mirror prison instead!

scared-baby-gif

So that the rest of Storybrooke won’t immediately become wise to the switcheroo, the Evil Queen masquerades as Regina. She also leaves a fake message on Hook’s cell phone from Emma, in which the faux-Savior claims she’s out of town searching for help to break her parent’s sleeping curse. After that though, Regina seemingly gains control of the Shared Brain. As a result, Evil Queen does a terrible job at masquerading as her better half, fooling absolutely NO ONE!

Oh Henry!

doesnt-feel-right

12-missed

Hook immediately becomes suspicious of Faux-Regina, when Emma fails to answer any of Hook’s twelve phone calls inquiring as to her whereabouts. Ahh, the wonders of modern technology, and the power it has to make even the most masculine of guyliner-wearing boys extremely needy. However, it’s Henry who determines with absolute certainty that Faux-Regina is actually the Evil Queen, when the latter chooses a black tie for Henry to wear to the upcoming dance (Regina would have totally opted for red.), and bitches about the teen’s posture. (Regina thinks slouching is sexy.)

faux-reg

Now, that he knows his moms are in danger, Henry graciously backs out of going to the dance with Violet, and proceeds to shout at every mirror he comes upon like a raving lunatic, hoping to connect with his parents. This scene, if you think about it, could also serve as a Verizon commercial. Granted, it’s not a sweet sappy one like what Snow and Charming were filming earlier. It’s more like those old school “Can you hear me now,” ones from that guy that eventually jumped ship and switched to Sprint.

can-you

Don’t Wake the Dragon

While stuck in Mirror Prison, the Real Regina and Emma come upon this guy, the Dragon, who magically appears on the show whenever the gang need “mystical” advice from a wise elderly Asian man who talks like Yoda from Star Wars. Not-Yoda tells the pair that they can get out of Mirror Prison, if they repair the conveniently located cracked mirror inside the prison. Oddly enough, Dragon hasn’t used this plan to free himself from Mirror Prison for Reasons.

drag

Real Regina and Emma start rebuilding the mirror, only to learn that Not-Yoda the Dragon is actually being controlled by the Evil Queen herself, who is holding the Dragon’s heart in her hands. The Evil Queen promptly turns Not-Yoda the Not-Dragon from a wise elderly Asian man into a Bad CGI version of an actual, fire breathing, Savior and Mayor-eating Dragon. So, now Real Regina and Emma are totally screwed. Or are they?

ouat-dragon

Oh Henry 2: Electric Boogalo

im-strong

Hoping to make Henry evil just like her, the Evil Queen gives Henry a magical hammer she procured from Gold, while they were sucking face earlier in the episode. (Yuck!) The Evil Queen explains that if Henry uses the hammer to squish Dragon’s heart, the Dragon will die, and Emma and Regina will live. Henry tells the Evil Queen not to Darth Vader him into taking an innocent life. It’s a solid metaphor, if ever there was one . . . especially since I made a Yoda reference earlier in the recap, and I like to make everything in this show about me. Except, personally, Henry always struck me more as a Chewbacca type, than Luke Skywalker.

422HenryPen-650x366

chewbacca-435

Anyway, Henry refuses to kill the Dragon. Instead, he uses the hammer to smash through the mirror, freeing Emma and Regina, while leaving Not-Yoda unharmed, if still in his fire-breathing CGI form. It’s a Big Win for Team Good Guys. Even Hook, who hasn’t done anything during the episode but leave incessant phone calls on Emma’s voicemail, gets in on the action, by making empty threats to decapitate the Evil Queen while looking very sexy, because that’s kind of his thing.

shove-off

In other good news, Henry attempts to make it up to Violet for skipping out on the school dance, by making his own private party for her at Granny’s. (Oh Henry, you dirty dog, you! Maybe some of the Evil Queen’s Darth Vadering worked after all, if you catch my drift.) At the “dance” for two, Violet admits to Henry that even though she’s been avoiding him like the plague for half a season, she still likes him. In fact, the only reason she’s been treating him like he has an incurable and highly contagious case of the cooties for weeks is . . . wait for it . . . she’s really stressed about school.

vi-and-hen

Now, in my personal experience, that’s a “let him down gently” excuse, if ever I’ve heard one. But here in Storybrooke it’s apparently totally legit, and so Henry’s thrilled. As far as the little guy is concerned, he’s going to be hammering Violet’s nail really soon! (See what I did there . . . with the hammer . . . because earlier in the episode . . . oh never mind!)

In Aggressively Abusive Relationship News . . .

decides-my-fate

Nothing says loving like handcuffs, false imprisonment, threats of violence and egregious stalking, am I right? Fearing for her and her unborn child’s safety from an increasingly Lifetime Movie Bad Boyfriend-esque Rumpelstiltskin, Belle forms an unholy alliance with Zelena, in the hopes that the latter can make a portal into which Belle can escape into another realm prior to giving birth. In order to make the portal though, Zelena needs a magic wand, which, unfortunately is in Rumpel’s pawn shop, because where else would it be? Zelena and Belle hire Aladdin to break in and steal the wand for them, which he does, if only so that his character can squeeze out just a wee bit more relevance to this season’s plot than he’d have otherwise.

steal

While in Rump’s shop, the ambiguously accented thief also manages to steal a lamp he claims will help he and Jasmine save the kingdom of Agrabah. Or will it?

Unfortunately, minutes before Zelena can use the spell to make the portal, Rumpel appears at her home and slaps a gold House Arrest bracelet on Belle. Now, Rump will know where Belle is at all times, regardless of realm.

 

Then, just in case the old “If I can’t have her, no realm can,” line doesn’t render Rumpel enough of a bad boyfriend cliché, he promptly turns to Belle’s frenemy, Zelena, and starts strangling her. After all, violence against women is always a primo characteristic for the romantic male leads on family friendly television shows!

OUAT-Rumple

[Sidenote: Honestly, apart from indicating that this entire season has been a bad dream, I’m not sure how the writers of this show have Rumpel come back from this, and still be seen as a viable candidate for Belle’s heart, without sending a scarily bad message to young women about the kind of men they should be hoping to date in the future.]

rumpbelle

Interestingly enough, Rumpel’s actions against Zelena actually end up hurting Rumpel himself. This is because, apparently, the Wicked Witch cast a spell to ensure that, anytime the Dark One attempts to hurt her, only he will experience the pain. Basically, this is the magical adult version of “I’m rubber, your glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.”

Do you guys remember that gem of a phrase from your childhoods? No? Damn, I’m old.

This makes Rumpel mad, so he goes over to his new girlfriend Evil Queen, who also happens to be Zelena’s sister, and asks her to KILL Zelena for him.

rump-cut

What a swell guy! Why on Earth would Belle want to let a stud like this slip away?

Until next time, Oncers . . .

1 Comment

Filed under Once Upon a Time, Uncategorized