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30 March 2013 @ 11:16 pm
Once Upon a Time Review - Selfless Brave and True  
Hey, I finally got this review done! \o/

This episode has been much reviled throughout the internet and that surprises me. For myself I found it to be a rather average episode - not awful and not wonderful. It had some moments which made me wonder what the writers thought they were doing and other moments I really loved. Certainly not an episode I thought would have the internet up in arms! And from pretty much every fan group.

I'm sure that some of the negative reaction is from people who particularly loved August as a character or shipped him with Emma. However, I think it's more than that since he has been missing for most of the season. My theory at this point is that people are becoming frustrated that the show is going in a different direction than they want it to or thought it would. Also, people have been waiting to find out what happened to August all season. Add in that this episode was mostly filler and short on character development and I understand - this is not the point in the season to go off on a tangent. I liked it but I don't really care if Pinocchio is turned back into a child and I loved the Charming family moments quite a bit.

In fact I am much more interested in Snow's journey in the episode than in August's. In fact I think that her guilt and desire for redemption is what the episode is all about. In the previous episode her guilt weighed her down to the point that she was immobile for much of the episode and then attempted to commit suicide by Evil Queen. Lucky for her, Regina hasn't read the Evil Overlord handbook and decided to let her live another day so she can suffer rather than dispatching her at once. But now that she is to live, where does she go from here? Can she have redemption? Can she be a good person again? And what does it mean that she has a black spot on her heart? The first thing she needs to do is get out of bed and a little tough love from Emma seems to do the trick. (Though she was all dressed under the covers so she may have been planning a trip out once the kids were gone and she didn't have to explain herself.)

Like many people, when stewing in ones own thoughts becomes too much, she needs to do something mindless and active. Something that requires enough concentration that she can't go over recent events for the millionth time and engages her body as well. For Snow that is archery since it's something she is so good at that she can lose herself in the movement. At least until she shoots a tree that runs away.

And is confronted with August. If he can't be redeemed for his sins how can she be? She has to believe it can all work out for him even if he doesn't think so anymore. He knows that he efforts to get Emma to believe didn't make any difference for him. But then, he was doing it FOR HIM. Only helping because he had no choice and he had exhausted all his other options. He needs to earn his redemption and he needs to do so without any thought as to what is in it for him.

In fact it is clear that he needs to seek his redemption while being willing to make a great sacrifice. Like with Jiminy, one of the other redemption stories we have on the show, he needs to sacrifice himself. Jiminy changed from a man to a cricket and pledged to spend the rest of his life helping Geppetto. Pinocchio, to become real and alive again, needs to sacrifice his adult self and become a child again. That is why August became a child again. It wasn't about getting a second chance or a copout or the Blue Fairy screwing up. Nearly 30 years of ALWAYS making the wrong choice required it.

Snow now has hope again that she too can achieve redemption; that it's not an inevitable descent into darkness. However, what will she need to sacrifice? Her family? Her love with Charming? The chance of ever having another child? And can Regina or Rumpel achieve redemption? Neither has done much more than talk about it so far and both have tried in order to receive benefits - Henry and Belle and Bae. If Jiminy and Pinocchio are the blueprints then they will need to lose and to no longer expect to be rewarded in order for their hearts to become true again. And will this sacrifice be framed as a happy event, as was Pinocchio's transformation from a man to a child, or will we see in the show how sad that really is?


While the story of Pinocchio's redemption and Snow's existential crisis was the main story (and the one while interested me the most), we also got a lot of development of Tamara's character. Surprising very few, she is the new villain! I know we needed a new villain since they killed off Cora so quick (I mean really, there were LOTS of evil things she could have done first if they didn't have her go right for the dagger - however, her send off was so excellent I can't fault it at all.), but I feel for Neal having a finance who is just using him and sleeping with someone else. Or...actually he rather deserves it for what he did to Emma. Not just leaving her. But leaving her in jail without a word and pregnant. Breakups don't get worse than that. I know he has issues on top of his issues but he deserves a little karma for that.

As for Tamara and Owen, I'm not sure what they want out of Storybrooke. But Owen is going to want to make the town PAY for his father - no matter that it was Regina who hurt him, I doubt his anger is focused only on her. And Tamara, she wants magic and wants it BAD and want to kill anyone else who has it. Why do I think she is learning ALL ABOUT Neal's father and that her 'taser' is going to be harder to fight against than it would seem?

This entry was originally posted here and has comment count unavailable comments. Comment here or there.
ustas_fish: Rumpel_wheeljust_ustas on March 31st, 2013 08:31 am (UTC)
tamara & owen are such a pair! they have similar motives for revenge. from some photos i have an idea who tamara is. actually she related to fairy (sinderella's godmother) which was killed by rumpel. so her goal would be death of him. but somehow (same as owen) she hates not only him but whole town.
there some questions: how fairies have children? how their offsprings came to real world?

actually i sick of authors who write new personages again, and again, and again... and in the same time they forgot about many old characters.

small remark: seems like without even hint of rumpel whole episode lost any chemistry. personally for me it was absolutely boring.
Chloris: Once Upon Mr. Gold Huhchloris on March 31st, 2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
They are quite the pair but I don't know if they have similar motives yet. We really don't know what Tamara wants except that she wants magic and has no trouble killing for it. I agree that Owen definitely wants revenge.

Wait a second. Why do you think she is related to the fairy godmother? There was no hint of that in the episode. And as far as we know fairies don't mix with humans or have children. (That is what the whole Nova/Dreamy problem was - fairies don't have relationships.)

I did miss Rumpel! With Neal in town and having screentime it would not have been hard to give him at least a small scene. But next episode should make up for it. :)
ustas_fish: Rumpel_wheeljust_ustas on March 31st, 2013 09:24 pm (UTC)
there was leak with pictures of tamara and those fairy, hint for their relation. maybe them both even plays the same actress.
i still not understand about fairy's offsprings and etc. don't like it either.(((
afraid, authors thinking too much about spin off shows then about coherent script here and now.((

Edited at 2013-03-31 09:33 pm (UTC)
daybreak777: Smart Cookie!daybreak777 on April 1st, 2013 12:16 am (UTC)
Aww, someone had the idea that Tamara might be Tiger Lily and I had liked that idea. I know there has to be a Peter/Captain Hook backstory coming up soon. But Tamara-as-Tiger Lilly wouldn't make sense, I guess. If Neal is Peter then he would have recognized Tamara.

Unless Tamara is Tinkerbell! That would so amuse me. :-)

I don't like spoilers at all, but I do like to speculate a bit. :-)
daybreak777: snow white 2daybreak777 on March 31st, 2013 01:39 pm (UTC)
People don't like this ep? Huh. I've commented at at least four or five journals and while people thought it was a weak ep, they didn't revile it. I was surprised how many people didn't like August, though. Though one reviewer thought he was hot and will miss adult August. I have little feeling toward him either way so it all amuses me. :-)

Wow, your screencaps make the ep look more beautiful than I found it! How do you do that? You're not the only one to have a screencap review, either. So pretty!

I don't know what is going on with Tamara and what I'll call her magic (though it looks ordinary but maybe on a high setting) taser. I want to know where Neal's father is too. Regina really doesn't kill a lot of people to be so evil. It's odd that she killed Graham and her father but would leave Snow and Floyd alive. But I think she has left Floyd alive. I understand her reasons for Snow and I do think she genuinely liked and cared about Owen. In her way.

Good point about neither Rumpel or Regina earning their redemption yet. It will be interesting to see what their sacrifice is. They may have to give up magic. Or this world. Something.

I'm actually intrigued for Snow to get a bit darker. But I doubt the show will go that route.

Edited at 2013-03-31 01:40 pm (UTC)
Chloris: Once Upon Snow&Regina Applechloris on March 31st, 2013 05:54 pm (UTC)
Nope. At first I thought it was just tumblr (they tend to be rather excitable there) but wherever I've gone this week there have been people complaining bitterly about how awful the episode was. *shrug* The professional critics and reviewers all seemed to rather like it.

I'm about with you as far as not having much of an opinion about August. His story is wrapped up and we may see him in flashbacks and that's all fine with me. I will admit to finding his scene of writhing in the alley in Hong Kong to be rather amusing. *g* He completely deserved it even if Tamara was playing him.

Wow, your screencaps make the ep look more beautiful than I found it! How do you do that?

Thanks! I have good, large caps to start with and then I process them through photoshop to make them sharper, clearer, brighter, and more colorful. It's all the tricks I've learned while making icons.

The taser really HAS to be magic. How else do you kill a magical wooden person? Electricity is NOT going to work!

I'm actually intrigued for Snow to get a bit darker. But I doubt the show will go that route.

I'm not sure. They need something to do with the character and a 'going dark but finding their way back' arc does provide lots of drama.
Aureliaaurilla on March 31st, 2013 08:27 pm (UTC)
My theory at this point is that people are becoming frustrated that the show is going in a different direction than they want it to or thought it would.

Very true. At least in my case. :) I have other views on how wickedness should be cured. :) But surely, redemption through a huge sacrifice is rather natural fairytale way of getting a second chance, and I wouldn't argue with such obvious things. August got exactly what his tale suggested, no matter how strongly I wanted him to take a step forward in his self-improvement instead of reducing to a child...

Hope, you don't mind me hanging around - I do really enjoy your OUAT reviews. :) Happy Easter!
Chloris: Once Upon Mulanchloris on April 2nd, 2013 01:57 am (UTC)
They did do a bait and switch when it comes down to it. We started the show as a non-magical in Maine breaking the curse story and then they turned it all on its head in a season. I LIKE where it has gone in season 2 (with a few complaints about how they revved up the plot at the expense of the characters - the opposite of season 1) so I've been happy but I understand how people aren't. It's just a bit sad to read everyone hating something you love.

But surely, redemption through a huge sacrifice is rather natural fairytale way of getting a second chance, and I wouldn't argue with such obvious things

*nods* I found it in keeping with the fairytale nature of the show. And let's note that while August is dead he is not really dead (unlike so many other characters) - he could be aged up again if there is a plot for the character.

Hope, you don't mind me hanging around

No, of course not! Hang out and chat with me. That is why my posts are public. :D And I hope you had a lovely day yesterday too.
suzanne_laurasuzanne_laura on April 1st, 2013 02:08 am (UTC)
Thanks for this review! It's refreshing to find a calm discussion about this ep. I'm with you about Tumblr. And at TWoP - The level of anger at this ep, the show in general and the characters of Neal and Henry, in particular, is pretty intense.

I'm not particularly upset about August, as I was never really sure where the writers were going with him. I never felt like he fit into the canvas of the town. I doubt they'll go a dark route with Snow, but it's great to see the writers explore conscience and consequences. I really loved the talk between Charming and Snow. I miss all the emotional scenes we used to get.

As for Tamara, maybe this is karma for Neal, but I wonder if it's something more sinister? Yes, Tamara said she was human to August, but she lied about every other thing in the conversation, so I don't really buy it! Maybe she was cast out of a magical realm? Also, she has what appears to be a magical object and a bottle of sparkly red magic. How did she know to set up August? How did she know to follow August? Did she already know who Neal was before she saw him talking to August? Is is possible she has used a spell on Neal to gain entry to Storybrooke?

P.S. Thanks for the lovely icon!

Edited at 2013-04-01 02:51 am (UTC)
Chloris: Once Upon Snow/Charming heartschloris on April 2nd, 2013 03:10 am (UTC)
You're welcome! For the review and the icon! I'm never much for ranting or for going on and on about things I hate. Life is too short for that. And it probably helps that I am enjoying season 2. *g*

Yeah, August always seemed outside of everything and we only saw him connecting with Emma. Once his need to get her believe was done I wonder if he would have taken off again if he could. Thirty years of avoiding all responsibility is hard to change. And it was so nice to see some Charming/Snow scenes. They have been shortchanged this season since the focus has been elsewhere so I've missed them.

Yes, Tamara said she was human to August, but she lied about every other thing in the conversation, so I don't really buy it!

Very true! She may be human now but wasn't always. Or maybe SHE is human and has been but she has magic in her past or in her heritage. There is definitely more to it than simply wanting magic for herself.

As for setting up August, the Dragon's lackey had heard about August's special problem so Tamara could have too. I'm sure a man turning to wood after living a bad life would pique her interest if she heard some rumors.
suzanne_laurasuzanne_laura on April 4th, 2013 09:54 pm (UTC)
Do we know for sure that guy was the Dragon's lackey? I was wondering if Tamara set the whole thing up. Maybe she knew or suspected that the Dragon would know she was lying, so August was a back-up plan? I may be over-thinking this. :-)

I'm enjoying S2 as well. I'm trying, with limited success, to actually discuss what I see on screen, but some people on TWoP are very, very sure that their feelings are the true facts, and that is that!! I have never understood why people continue watching something they no longer enjoy.

Edited at 2013-04-04 09:54 pm (UTC)