Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Once Upon a Time, Season 2, Episode 22: And Straight On Till Morning

On the pirate ship Hook and Smee reiterate their hatred of Rumplestiltskin and Hook has a plan for Baelfire – if he belongs to the Shadow Pan, they can trade the boy for things to help them in Neverland. But when he interrogates the boy – who is not very friendly inclined towards pirates since Rumeplestiltskin told him they killed his mother – he learns the boy’s name and, presumably, knows who that is, Lila’s son.

In Storybrooke Henry is amusing himself in the park – guarded by Granny and her crossbow. That’s the ticket, no more Mary Margaret and her black heart, precious or David and his 2 brain cells, break out Granny, the big guns!

But the playground is a health and safety nightmare and Gold is finally take steps to stop Henry being his downfall – he magically frays the rope Henry is swinging on, should it break Henry will go flying into the jagged rocks that decorate the children’s play area (whose idea was this?!)

His murder plot is interrupted by Emma, Mary Margaret and David showing up (why? Is there a particular reason he can’t kill them as well?) Fold says he’s just visiting his grandson and Emma goes to see Henry, leaving Mary Margaret and David to break the news about Tamara shooting Neal and dropping him in a portal. While Emma tells Henry, Gold is shaken badly. David and Mary Margaret want his help to stop Tamara using the curse trigger to kill them all but Gold is too shaken – he blames himself for bringing magic to the world to find Baelfire, he blames himself for his death and is willing to die to pay for it.

Hook, Tamara and Greg enter the mines and steal a pick axe, Hook snarking them all the way, particularly their ignorance about who their bosses are. They tell him what the trigger does and they need to use a dwarf’s axe to smash the gem and end the curse – killing everyone in Storybrooke including Gold. They hit the gem with the axe and it rises up, hovering in the air, glowing blow and making the ground shake

This is not good.

To the Charming household with Emma, David, Regina and Henry and Regina confirms the curse is happening. Emma and Regina start arguing but Henry yells at the to stop arguing and work together. And Hook strides through the door agreeing with henry – so David punches him. David, what part of working together are you not getting here? Also – NOT THE FACE! It seems that while Hook is all in favour of revenge, he’s not on board to die to get it.

Plan is made! Hook and David will go steal the beans back allowing them all to escape to the Enchanted Forest while Regina and Emma will delay the crystal as much as possible. Is this a new form of team building? Everyone split up into pairs guaranteed to bicker? Mary Margaret will gather everyone to evacuate. Before they all run off, Regina has a touching apology for Henry.

Back to Neverland, and Smee urges Hook to give up Bael because *ominous music* the Lost Boys are approaching! But Hook won’t give up the son of the Dark One, the key to his revenge so hides Bael below decks.

In Storybrooke Gold finds his shop inundated by Dwarfs – including Sneezy who still has no memory of being a dwarf after crossing the town boundary (and is being gentle pushed along but the other 6). They take Sneezy’s drinking stein because the Blue fairy has found a cure for Sneezy’s memory loss – it just needed to be drunk out of something important to the drinker and a last ingredient, the hair of someone who was never cursed, in this case, August/Pinnocchio. 6 of the dwarfs leave but Leeroy stays back to give Gold a second dose of the cure for Belle, who he owes. He asks Gold not to let Belle die as Lacey

Back in Neverland Hook and Baelfire bond over their fathers, both of whom abandoned them. Baelfire reveals who his father is (to no-one’s surprise) but also the dagger that is the source of Rumplestiltskin’s power and how it can be used to kill him. Oooooh.

Back to Storybrooke with David and Hook entering the cannery and David deciding that element of surprise isn’t nearly as important as exposition and wants Hook to analyse his motivations. Hook points out survival is a pretty big motivation. And  then they reach Gregg and Tamara – Hook and Gregg wrestle while David chases after Tamara. At the end of which Tamara and Gregg run with whatever it is they need and Hook snags a bean. David wants to keep chasing them but Hook says they have what they need – live to fight another day

Emma and Regina reach the gem and Regina says she’ll hold the crystal – but slowing it will take all of her strength. Emma realises Regina doesn’t plan to come with them, she’s sacrificing herself. Emma tries to talk her out of it but Regina accepts that she’s the one to blame for the curse and it’s ending killing everyone and that everyone sees her as the Evil Queen. She wants to die as Regina.

In Gold’s shop, he and Lacey are drinking to numb the fear and she spills her drink – grabbing a cloth to wipe it up gold freaks out a little since it’s Baelfire’s scarf. Fold pulls out the teacup and magically repairs it. He pours the potion into it and gives it to her to drink. Belle is back; many many tears

To Granny’s diner with the bean (and like a tenth of the town – where’s the rest?)  and Emma has to tell henry that Regina is sacrificing herself. Mary Margaret has an idea – when the Wraith attacked they got rid of it by sending it through a portal – can’t they portal the self-destruct as well? Emma doesn’t believe the town will take the risk but Archie steps forward to tell us all what wonderful leaders Snow White and Prince Charming are and of course they’ll follow

This would be more believable if we’d seen even the slightest shred of leadership skills from ether of them.

Mary Margaret invokes Cora – killing her was wrong but it was easy – there were other harder paths she should have taken and now they have the same choice: the easy path to escape and leave Regina behind or the harder path of saving her. Hook objects to all the noble self-sacrifice but now Emma is onside and talks him round. This is also when Hook learns that Neal was Baelfire and Henry’s father.

Back to Neverland and Smee tries to convince Hook to give up Baelfire for their own safety. And Baelfire finds a picture of his mother on Hook’s desk and accuses Hook of being the one who killed her. Hook tries to tell him the truth but Baelfire hears how he took his mother away from him, how his mother abandoned him and how hook is now trying to use him for revenge. Hook gets a double load of guilt

Storybrooke! And to the mine to save Regina – but when they get there the pouch with the bean in it is empty. Hook has stolen it and is now sailing away with it. From there we flashback to Neverland and Hook trying to convince Baelfire to stay how the ship could be his home and how Hook is willing to change for him (why? You only met him 10 minutes ago?!) Baelfire rejects him, says Hook only cares about himself. Hook responds by giving Baelfire to the Lost Boys – since that benefits him. Baelfire says Hook is just like his father as he is taken. Lots of pangs of regret from Hook.

Storybrooke: And in the mine, Regina is reaching the end of her power. The Charming family hugs and Emma calls Mary Margaret and David “mom”, “dad”. And Henry hugs Regina

Emma steps forward with an inspiration – Regina may not be strong enough, but maybe together they are. She adds her own magic to the diamond, blue and purple sparks about – lots of pretty lights and boom! They’re both thrown back against the walls of the cave and the diamond falls, dark, to the floor. In Storybrooke, the vines and trees that were turning the town back to forest retreat.

In the mine everyone wakes up – but Henry’s missing. He has been kidnapped by Tamara and Gregg. Apparently they came to destroy magic – but have found something more important. Henry. What, with Henry’s family he really should be the next Merlin. They use the last bean to jump into a portal with Regina, Emma and the Charmings following but it closes before they reach it. Gold limps up as the portal closes and they appeal to him for help reopening the portal. He says he can’t, it took him a lifetime in the Enchanted forest to cross worlds to get to his son.

Regina refuses to believe that – and on the horizon they see Hook returning, sailing back to help. He has the bean they can open the portal.

Hook offers his ship and his services to help find Henry. Gold offers his power to help track Henry. Mary Margaret and Charming offer… offer… Mary Margaret and David are coming as well. As the Dream Team prepares to leave, Gold tells Belle she has to stay –Greg and Tamara weren’t working alone; he leaves her a cloaking spell so she can shield the town. Belle asks how he will find her again – and realises he’s not coming back. Gold has embraced the prophecy – Henry will be his undoing, but he’s also Gold’s grandson

Meanwhile in Fairyland, Prince Phillip, Mulan and Aurora find a man washed up on the shore – Neal.

Back on Hook’s ship, Hook and Gold start circling. Gold asks if Hook has finished trying to kill him, Hook says he has. Gold’s happy with that, he doesn’t have to kill him then. Gold conjures a globe and adds his blood to it to form a map of where Henry has gone – Neverland. They set sail and Gold reminds us all that Greg and Tamara are being manipulated by a big bad.

Back in Neverland, young balefire is checked to see if he is “the one” who he wants. He isn’t and is added to the rest. They will find the one they’re looking for – Peter Pan never fails, and we see a picture of who their target is. Henry

As far as finales go, that was a pretty impressive one. I do love dark Neverland though I did find the interruptions this episode rather derailing of the whole epic finale thing. I also think there was a bit of clumsy writing – the way that Gold was just given a potion to change Belle back and Hook in Neverland suddenly deciding that he was emotionally invested in Baelfire both felt rushed, like they were hurriedly tying loose ends. I think I would have been happier with Hook developing an emotional bond with Lila’s son or some indication before now that the Blue Fairy was close to a breakthrough. Perhaps we could have also developed some more growth for Hook and why he has decided to give up on his vengeance (beyond his sheer inability to hurt Gold).

This whole season, I think, started strong and got lost. There was no overarching theme. The big bad of Cora was defeated too early and we were left wallowing with no real big bad. Regina was all over, Greg and Tamara really needed more explanation and backing – as well as more oomph to make them a threat.

I also didn’t like the character development of this season – Regina, Mary Margaret and Gold were all pretty random. Regina was seeking redemption then she was evil, then redemption then we had a past full of inexcusable massacres then we had her not understanding why Henry might disapprove of massacres. Regina was changed every week almost to fit what they wanted her to be. Gold went through a similar vacillating of character, back and forth between characterisations; not growing just changing back and forth. Then there’s Mary Margaret – is she the tough swashbuckler with the heart of gold but ready and willing to fight to protect those she love and put an arrow in the eye of an ogre? Or is she the wet lettuce who Takes To Her Bed after killing an enemy? The whole blackened heart storyline made little sense especially since Mary Margaret didn’t need comparing to Regina – Emma, Granny, Ruby and certainly David have all been ready to fight and kill if necessary. But Mary Margaret is such a special precious special one that her pretty precious heart becomes dark?

The season was just too disjointed and it felt unplanned – like they were making up each episode as they went.

And I still hate the messages when it comes to family on this show. Yes in the last episode Henry embraced Regina as mother – but only after Regina buys that by being willing to sacrifice her life. Almost from the beginning of this show, Regina’s motherhood has been rejected. But the parenthood of Neal and Emma – and Mary Margaret and David – and even Gold for that matter (which shows it’s not a matter of morality or evil deeds) was all assumed the minute a DNA tie is proved. Once Upon a Time has a strong message: if you share DNA you’re family even if you’re complete strangers; if you don’t then you are not family, even if you raise that child as your own for his entire life.

In terms of inclusion – it hasn’t got any better. There are still no GBLT people and the POC consist of a rapidly murdered Lancelot, an even more rapidly murdered Billy (do you even remember him?) Mulan who lives to serve and, again fell of the map – and, finally, Tamara. A sinister Black villain (who appears to be a villain purely out of loyalty to tenets rather than any personal motives – even Greg had a personal reason to go to Storybrooke) to go with Regina’s sinister Latina Evil Queen.

To say it’s poor would be an incredible understatement.

Next Season? This I have a lot of hope for.

Firstly because I am really really loving this dark and twisted retelling of Peter Pan.

But also and mainly because we have a dream team. Emma, Regina, Gold, Hook (and the Charmings, I guess) are on the same team, the same side for once. That alone is going to be worth a whole load of epic and help banish a lot of the problems that have annoyed me so much about the whole of Once Upon a Time

But it really needs to up its inclusion - incredibly so