Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Once Upon A Time, Season Six, Episode Two: A Bitter Draught

Storybrooke got an influx of people from the Land of Untold stories and now it's time for these stories to play out.  Regina recognizes that people might be afraid and so decides to give a little pep talk at Granny's.  She tells them that they have to face what is written for them and not to be afraid because running doesn't solve anything.  Regina goes as far as to empathize by telling them that she is just like them because she is in the middle of creating a fresh start.

Right on cue, none other than the Count of Monte Cristo Aka Edmund Dantes makes his appearance. Henry tries to look him up but Edmund claims that he is not important enough to have his own story.  Edmund disappears leaving behind an invitation for Snow White and Prince Charming. The Charmings share the invitation with Regina and this is when they learn that the Evil Queen hired Edmund to kill them.  There's a cute back and forth about Regina finally getting around to telling the Charmings about all her devious plans to kill them and Regina snarking about there being so many, how was she supposed to know it would all back to haunt her.  Regina does decide that she is going to make good and talk to Edmund.

Regina heads out to the meeting place with Edmund and tries to cancel the contract.  Unfortunately, since Edmund was hired by the evil queen and the evil queen just happens to be in possession of his heart, Regina cannot call off the deal.  For the Evil Queen (I'm going to call her EQ from now on cause we know each other like that after five seasons) , someone of Edmund's determination was quite the catch.  He spent ten years rebuilding his fortune after falsely imprisoned and then used that power to kill the man who put him there and played a part in the death of his fiance.

It seems that for Regina, turning over a new leaf isn't going to be as simple as attempting to kill an evil version of herself.  Is it me, or has Regina's redemption train been running for far too long? It seems as though she always being made to pay penance for her bad acts while soggy Snow White advises her as to how to become as interesting as oatmeal. As much as I am happy to see Regina called one of the heroes now, I'm tired of delving into her previous bad acts. I'm even more tired of Snow White and her mind crunching optimism.  I get the feeling that she's a morning person. Ewwww

When Regina originally killed the EQ, it felt like a chapter had closed and that we were finally done with the whole redemption thing.  Instead, what happened is that she freed the EQ to roam around unchecked.  This has turned out to be a very big mistake.  In some ways, it's a play on the fact that each person has good and bad in them.  There will always be a duality to our natures.  What matters isn't so much that the bad is there but how we control the bad and exert our will.  How we act in the face of a moral dilemma at the end of the day is what is important.

Unfortunately, when given no choice but to kill Edmund, Regina blames herself.  Edmund wouldn't have been in the position to kill the Charmings were it not for his deal with the EQ.  To Regina, heroes always find a way to win without death in the end.  This is the problem with fairytales and makes me believe that in so many ways, Regina is too real for this world.  She is the most realised characters with all of her warts and faults, unlike saint Snow White, and her emo reaction to her dark heart a few seasons ago.

Emma is pretty much out of the game this time around because her powers are on the fritz. Thankfully, she is having counselling sessions to get to the bottom of what is going on with her but she still hasn't told her family. When thinking about the visions, the one thing Emma realises is that the while she cannot see the cloaked person who is destined to kill her, she notices that Regina isn't with her family.  This of course is meant to imply that the EQ has actually won and caused the sliver of darkness inside of Regina to grow.

The one thing I am hoping to get out of this season is that all characters have flaws.  It will make them more real and hopefully make the Charmings tolerable.  The EQ makes a point of saying that all people have stories they don't want told - a charming way of saying that everyone despite their label of hero/ good guy has skeletons in their closet.  The EQ tempts David with the possibility that his father's death may not have been accidental after all.  What will David do to learn the truth?  How will this knowledge possibly corrupt him?  I'm not sure where the writers are going with this but I like the idea of showing more duality to ALL of the characters, even if it means some painful moments with David.

So, we have to talk about Belle and Rumple being on the outs.  It's clear that Belle took her sons warning seriously because she is looking for a place to live.  Our favourite pirate is quick to step up and offer her a bed on the Jolly Roger.  Belle is shocked by this knowing that if Rumple finds out, it will mean problems for Killian.  Killian, like Regina, is on the redemption train.  He is certain of the support that he has in Storybrook but has yet to convince himself that he is a good man.  Killian is certainly a lesser character than Regina but I'm certain that his redemption train will not include constantly bringing up his past bad acts and him having to repeatedly say mea culpa.  To a certain extent, Killian benefits as the bad boy of the group in way that Regina, as the so-called bad girl certainly cannot.  We saw this previously when Gold was trying to be good for Belle.  Gold's redemption was quickly accepted while Regina had to work. We all know now that Gold is always going to be bad because that is his nature and yet, other than his falling out with Belle, he isn't constantly lectured, harangued and bullied about his past and ongoing acts.

I look forward to seeing what other untold stories surface. Once Upon a Time is always at its best when it's reinventing fairytales.  There could very well be some interesting stories out there but if it turns out that this is yet another season in which we have to be reminded that Regina is evil and needs to beg and plead for forgiveness, I don't know how much hold Once Upon a Time is going to continue to have over me.  The fact that the only prominent WOC on the show has to beg and plead with white people to be accepted is a problem and one I think that this show needs to move past at long last.

In a final note, who wants to see the EQ and Zelena do a Thelma and Louise or a Banger Sisters together? Yeah I know they are both Susan Sarandon flicks but Zelena is a red head and the analogy works. They are far more fun to watch together than Regina and Snow.  Not all trouble has to be bad.