Not being a fan of musicals generally speaking, I certainly wasn't looking forward to this episode. Why oh why do networks insist on doing a musical episode when they run out of ideas? It's usually a sign of desperation on the part of the writers. Also, let's be honest, just because someone can act doesn't mean that they can sing, resulting in torture for the viewer, who feels that they have to watch in order not to miss any kind of advancement in the meta. More often than not, I find myself feeling sorry for actors forced into this position because they have to know the minute the inevitable musical episode is proposed that A) their show is on its last legs and B) they are going to embarrass themselves with off key singing while trying to sell their characters to the audience. With that being said, let's look at the bad and the very very bad of the musical episode of Once Upon A Time.
It begins with a flashback to little orphan Emma trying to record a hit song for a musical competition at the school. This is ruined when a fellow orphan enters the room and berates Emma for her effort, saying that people will just realise that Emma's a nobody if she makes this attempt. Why is there always a mean girl? Also, in the nineties, weren't we all just a bit over trying to be Madonna? Why the hell wasn't Emma channeling her internal Alanis Morrisette? The 90's were all about girl power in pop. Also, am I the only one wondering why only the mean girl got to wear flannel? Okay, so I digress but can you blame me for not wanting to get to the point in this recap when poor Lana Parrilla was forced to sing?
In the present, it's officially Emma's wedding day and though she has two dresses, neither of them feel quite right. An anxious Snow arrives and offers to let Emma wear her wedding dress. Has anyone looked at the differences between these two women? Snow is quite a deal shorter than Emma so I don't think that her wedding dress would look right on her anyway. You cannot just lengthen a dress easily unless it has a massive hem to begin with. At any right, we're just going to pretend that they are so similar in size that Emma will look smashing in her mother's dress.
Flash again but this time it's to Snow and Charmings wedding day. A heavily pregnant Snow is extremely frustrated and freaking out that they won't be able to do right by their baby thanks to the Evil Queen. Charming encourages Snow to calm down because their baby doesn't need her mama in a tizzy. Snow steps out on to the balcony and makes a wish that her daughter will find happiness. The next morning, Snow wakes up and finds that everything she tries to say comes out in song. Does she immediately call for a Doctor for fear that she's taken leave of her senses? Why of course not just continues to sing with the blue bird which just happened to fly into her window. It seems that this singing thing is contagious because David waltzes in the room and is singing as well. Together they decide that their singing is the perfect weapon to defeat the Evil Queen.
Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas are actually pretty good in fact, I would go as far as to say that I even enjoyed Dallas's singing. Unfortunately because everything that sang had to end in a rhyme and Emma and Charming are generally as exciting as wet lettuce, Goodwin and Dallas couldn't save this scene. There are somethings that talent alone cannot hide. It also didn't help that it set a standard for the rest of the episode which was not met by the other actors.
Snow returns with the wedding dress but as soon as Emma touches the dress, the Black Fairy turns up and turns the dress black. Personally I cannot help but think that the Black Fairy did Emma a solid here. How the hell was she going to wear a gown that Snow who has a completely different build than her daughter and was pregnant at the time and not look like a hot mess? Emma needs to say thank you to the Black Fairy for saving her from having to spill something on the dress when she realised how awful she looked in it. So, everyone is in shock that Rumple didn't follow through and take out his mother. Umm excuse me, did they just meet Rumple? Haven't they spent six years learning that he's not to be trusted? The Black Fairy makes it clear that she and Emma are going to fight and that Emma has changed a bit since being a lonely angsty wannabe 90's orphan pop star. To add a little salt to the wounds, The Black Fairy sends the merry band of heroes to the clock tower where she's arranged to curse the town at 6pm - the same time as Emma's wedding. You gotta hand it to the Black Fairy for style and epic party crashing.
Regina, feeling guilty for crashing Snow and Charming's wedding and almost ruining it decides that she will work with Zelena to see if she can dismantle the spell. This is the launch to the Evil Queen in the enchanted forest learning that she cannot stop singing. The Evil Queen cannot stand that everyone is singing and given that much of it is off key, who can really blame her? It makes her complaints seem downright reasonable. I wouldn't want to be surrounded by people singing and sounding like dead alley cats if I had a choice either. It's time for the Evil Queen to do her bit and it's all about how she won't be defeated by Snow and Charming, except to my mind, she's already lost because clearly, in this case, Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin while not killing their performance still managed to do okay, while Lana Parrilla was reduced to trying to speak/sing her lines in effort to find a key and stick to it.
In Storybrook Emma pays a visit to Hook to let him know that the battle is back on with the Black Fairy. Hook wants to help but Emma is determined to go it alone. This is when Hook realises that Emma is actually there to say good bye. In the Echanted Forest Snow and Charming go to a bar to see Hook about getting some transportation, so that they can confront the the Evil Queen. It's now Colin O'Donoghue's turn to break out in song and at best, he's passable. I am however amused by the lyrics which in a snarky fashion essentially tell Charming and Snow to go and F themselves because he's all about revenge. Snow and Charming do manage to convince Hook to put aside his revenge temporarily which results in the three of them singing together.
Back in Storybrook, Hook has decided that he isn't going to simply allow Emma to walk away and so he pays a visit to his old adversary. Unsurprisingly, Rumple has no fucks to give and is not about to apologise for not taking out mummy dearest. Hook decides to try and shoot Rumple with some dreamshade but Mummy Dearest shows up.
Henry has decided to give Emma his stamp of approval and he comes across her Orphan music. Wow OUAT, that's not even subtle. Emma is quick to shut that down because who really wants their teenage angst revealed to the public.
Regina and Zelena are working on the curse and with the help of a little reminder, Regina decides to try and isolate part of the potion in order to give them more time to break down the spell. Because the writers can't just pick a location this episode, we flash back to the Evil Queen and Rumple who is not about this singing business. No one wanted to hear Robert Carlyle sing anyway. Zelena however does sing and though she may the lesser sister in magical world, when it comes to pipes, this is one battle that Zelena doesn't lose to her sister.
Regina and Zelena manage to pull off the impossible and isolate the freezing portion of the spell. Things turn to shit when Rumple shows up and grabs the potion and uses it on Emma's family, just as shit is about to get real between Emma and the Black Fairy. Emma attempts to get into action but the Black Fairy makes her remember what it's like to be all alone and sad. And how does this happen? Well the Black Fairy plays Emma's song right back to her. It's enough for Emma to feel defeated enough to agree to turn her heart over to the Black Fairy.
In the Enchanted Forest, it's faceoff time the Evil Queen, Snow and Charming. And it's sing off time in which Lana Parrilla struggles to keep up with Goodwin and Dallas. It's actually a relief when The Evil Queen manages to pull the song right of the Charmings. No more singing. No more pretending that this makes any fucking sense. Back home, after their defeat, the Charmings are depressed and don't understand why singing didn't defeat the Evil Queen. At this point, I'm rolling my eyes so hard that I almost hurt myself. At any rate, Blue shows up and informs them that the song was never about defeating the Evil Queen, it was meant to help Emma win a major battle down the road.
The fairytale book has blank pages at the back and a frustrated Henry tosses the book. This leads to the discovery of (drum roll please) a hidden page which is all about Blue putting a song in Emma's heart. Emma having decided to just give up has allowed the Black Fairy to rip out her heart but for some reason the Black Fairy cannot crush it into dust. It's Henry to the rescue. Henry rushes into the room to tell Emma what he learned in the hidden page and when Black Fairy drops Emma's heart, young Emma singing can be heard. With the encouragement of Henry, Emma begins to sing (damn it, I thought this was over when the Evil Queen ripped away Snow and Charming's Song). It's big production time everyone. Emma realises how strong she is and she sings about having a happy new beginning. This is really on the nose considering that the writers intend to reboot the show if it isn't cancelled. After all of the hullabaloo (do people still say that?) we get a quickie wedding as the curse is about to descend. Emma however is out of fucks because she believes wherever they end up, they will emerge victorious. If all else fails, she and Regina can always team up to sing their opponents into surrender.
For suffering through this episode, I will be accepting donations in the form of cookies or red velvet cake cause well, I deserve a treat.