Once Upon A Time: 2.01-06 - Review

This is one of those potentially difficult blog posts - I am watching Once Upon A Time on the UK's Channel Five, so have seen only six episodes of the second season, whereas trendy American folk have just seen the twenty-second and last one. Still, I decided to write it anyway, since its only Once Upon A Time - I don't take this show that seriously, it's just a laugh, and if someone should drop a spoiler in the comments, I'll probably just forget it ten minutes later anyway.

So, back to Storybrooke, where every fairytale character lives. Have they moved out yet? Maybe looked into careers in Hollywood?

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The Bare Necessities, The Simple Bare Necessities...

The first season of this show meandered, waiting quietly for the breaking of the curse in the finale, not willing to do much until then. It still had moments of grand fun though - Once Upon A Time is populated by actors who pivot towards hard panto or take it deadly, hilariously seriously. Both are amusing, and watching them take each other on in the same scene is hilarious.

Anyway, now we've reached season two, magic is out in the open, everyone remembers both their "lives" and can start moving forward more dynamically, without constantly playing a silly game wherein the audience know the truth but most of the characters don't. That got old after twenty-two weeks. Sure enough, the first few weeks of season two are more consistently good than the first season, throwing new characters and fun concepts into the mix, and letting the characters enjoy the journey with us, rather than live in a constant state of delusion.

So far, they've seperated Emma and Snow from the main cast, thrusting them into the fairytale world, which should serve the purpose of smashing any last few atoms of scepticism Emma had left. Obviously, I approve of that development, there's no point dragging the "No, you're lying, this isn't really happening!" story out any longer. It also gives the two leading ladies a chance for awkward mother/daughter bonding, although in a trite, exaggerated "Let's gush about our feelings!" fairytale way.

Too Many Dreams, Too Little Computing Power

Back in Storybrooke, Regina and Gold are both attempting evil/magic rehab for their sake of their beloved Henry/Belle, with varying degrees of success. Robert Carlyle is still the best actor here, so anything which gives him more to do is a bonus. He's managed to perfectly balance the panto funtimes with genuine gravitas when necessary, and it looks like he's going to get more fun scenes when Captain Hook comes to get him. Also good to see Prince Charming in the real world, trying desperately to convert his fairy tale talents into something useful.

Sadly, I chose to write this review after probably the weakest episode of the season so far: episode six: Tallahassee, in which we spend the present-day action in fairyland, watching Emma and Hook fight an ogre, whilst flashing back to Emma's youth in the real world. A clever inversion of their normal structure, but alas, neither section quite works. The present-set stuff is impeded by special effects limitations and the flashbacks are rather predictable and without pay-off. Still, hopefully that was just a blip.

So yes, although this show still isn't quite Breaking Bad, it has become something playful, unique and interesting, rather than the plodding work of season one. Annoyingly, you probably need to have seen that first year to really understand what's going on. Damn.

Once Upon A Time airs 9PM Sundays on Channel Five. More info on Five's official website, including a few episodes available on demand. Also, really liked the Frankenstein introduction episode.

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