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Once Upon A Time -- The First Season In Review
One of the great things about Once Upon A Time is that it was something new and different in a television landscape where most of the programs are just like the others. I always love something new and different when the usual. It's a breath of fresh air. The re-imagining of classic fairy tales with fairy tale character trapped in a Maine town not knowing was a fresh premise. The only sour note has been the over-dominance of the Snow White and Prince Charming characters, who had begun to wear pretty thin by season's end.
What Were They Thinking With MM and David?
Part of the reason Snow and Charming began to lose their charm was because of their Storybrooke counterparts David and Mary-Margaret. While I understand that because of The Curse they needed to be kept apart, but the way they decided to do it wasn't good. It was one thing if David returned to Kathryn and was pining for Mary-Margaret, but the fact he was apparently having sex with both of them at the same time just made the whole thing tawdry. And MM's attitude that because they had true love it was all right for her to be messing around with another woman's husband didn't win her any brownie points or sympathy, either. It just made the MM/David pairing super sleazy and ugly, not to mention not a root-for couple. When you start feeling bad for the obstacle to the great love pairing, you've got a problem.
Then that dislike began to spill over into the Snow and Charming pairing. Probably the first strike against Snow was realizing she used against Red something Red was deeply ashamed of and had no control over to get what she wanted out of Red. It also got annoying that Snow and Charming were treated like the most special true love of them all. It also soon became apparent that they were the only one who got a happy ending. It got even worse when that annoying Blue Fairy wanted Snow and Charming to escape the curse while all the innocent people in Fairy Tale Land had to stay behind and suffer for them. I'm sorry, but what's so great about Snow and Charming that everyone is supposed to suffer while they get to live happily ever after?
In the last few episodes of the season nearly every Fairy Tale Flashback was about them. It got to the point that I'd just had more than enough of them and by the time they finally remembered each other in Storybrooke and ran into each other's arms I was curling my nose up in distaste because I was so sick of the two of them and their supposed great love that was uber gross and sleazy in Storybrooke.
So, hopefully in season two, since pretty much their entire back story has been told, they'll keep the overexposure of these two to a bare minimum.
None Of The Charmings Were That Charming In The End
Henry and Emma didn't win any prizes by seasons end, either. A lot of it may have come down to the actors not putting any pathos into their performances.
By the end of the season, Henry's attitude towards Regina began to wear thin, when it became obvious Regina genuinely loved him, while Henry couldn't give a crap for her and never did, apparently. Even though Regina raised him she meant nothing to him because she wasn't his blood. Blood Mama Emma is all to little Henry and the woman who loved and raised him means nothing to him. It's really gotten old the way writers act like the adoptive parents are nothing when it comes to the bio mommy or daddy that gave the kid up for adoption. The kid might have come off a lot less annoying if he acted like he was torn between the mother who raised him and loved him opposed to recently returned bio mom. But with this kid it's all black and white. Regina isn't his blood so she means nothing to him.
Blood Mama Emma also lost a lot of points when the only reason she wanted to take her brat back from Regina was to get revenge on Regina. It also didn't help the actress didn't seem to play it with any pathos about Emma having doubts but being in denial about believing the fairy tale book was real. She went from refusing to see August's leg was wooden in one episode to believing just because the brat ate an apple and fell to the ground. It just came off as a bit unbelievable.
Why Regina Hates Snow
However, I thought the reason why Regina hates Snow was a good one. On one hand you want to say Snow was just a child and made a mistake and Regina needs to try and understand that. Snow didn't tell Cora about Regina and Daniel planning to run-off on purpose. She missed her own mother, and she didn't know what an evil monster Cora was, so she thought she'd prevent Regina from losing her own mother by telling her that Daniel and Regina were going to run away together. Even though she promised Regina she wouldn't tell.
But from Regina's end of things you can also see her point. She saved Snow's life and Snow ended up causing the death of the love of Regina's life by telling Cora what she promised she wouldn't tell. It makes Regina wish she'd never saved Snow's life. In a way she's trying to take back saving her life by killing her. Regina's biggest regret is If she hadn't saved Snow, Daniel would be alive. Maybe if Regina's marriage to Snow's father had brought her any happiness she might have forgiven her in time, but we saw in Sydney's back story what Regina had to put up with married to Leopold. Him constantly going on about his dead wife and his daughter and making her feel like nothing. That was bound to make her even more better than ever.
Every miserable day of her marriage Regina had to be thinking of the happy life she could have had if not for Snow and her father. So you can see why she wanted to make them both pay. Unfortunately, Snow was like the Roadrunner to Regina's Wile E. Coyote and no matter what plot she came up to get rid of Snow, it never worked. The topper was Snow getting her happily ever after while she'd cost Regina from having her own. So you could see why she was so driven to the point of cursing the entire kingdom just to make that beyotch pay.
Rump aka Mr. Gold is my favorite character and who I think is the best character on the show. He has the best motives for everything he's done, even though the things he's done are horrible. He became the monster that he is trying to protect his child and when that child vanished everything that he did after was to try and find him. At the core of everything he's done is a parent's love for his child.
As the season came to a close came the reality that Rump/Gold had manipulated everyone from the get-go and none of them realized they were all dancing to his tune. Regina believed the curse was hers, but in reality he merely used her to enact his curse. She still doesn't know the reason he wanted to come to this land without magic was to try and find his son. You also have to wonder if Rump lied about Emma being able to break the curse, and he needed her to escape the curse for some other reason. Maybe Emma was only ever able to make people remember their true identities. Since they all enjoyed imprisoning him in Fairy Tale Land what would be the fun in imprisoning them all if they didn't remember who they were. Emma also played another very important role. She got that magic vial for Rump/Gold that he used to bring magic to Storybrooke. So Rump may have lied to Snow and Charming about their child being able to break the curse, because if Emma really had broken the curse, they would all be back in Fairy Tale Land. They wouldn't all be stuck in Storybrooke.
With Magic Comes A Price
I like that there's a price to magic. In short, magic may solve your current set of problems, but it'll deliver you a whole load of new ones. I also like the irony that a lot of the tales have had. Regina trapped Jefferson in Wonderland to get her father's heart, but to make the curse work she had to use her father's heart. She used the magic hat to get her father's heart back, but to make the magic curse work she had to use her father's heart to make it work.
It's the same for Cinderella. She signed a contract to give Rump her first born child and when she reneged on the deal, she lost what the magic had given her: her prince. Although we didn't see it, if Thomas' father learned of the deal she made and because of it his son had vanished, as soon as her child was born, the King might have taken her child from her and thrown her out, causing her to return to the cinders she was in when she struck her deal with Rump.
Geppetto's parents were turned into dolls by the potion Rump gave Jiminy. Years later, Geppetto made a wooden doll to be his son and the doll eventually became real.
There were also some clever twists to the fairy tales. Rump is the beast in Beauty and the Beast. Red's story was also the story of Peter and the Wolf. Rump's son Bae was really Jack of Jack and the Beanstalk.
I also think it's interesting that the supposed good magic people aren't much better than the bad magic people. The Blue Fairy used a child and sent him some where in the hopes she could get rid of Rumpelstiltskin. Her meddling in Nova's relationship with Dreamy turned a happy guy into a miserable one. She wanted Snow and Charming to escape the curse and they were the reason the curse was going to be put on everyone.
What To Look Forward To In Season 2:
All the fairy tale characters know who they are thanks to Emma, but a lot of them may not thank her for it. .Speaking of Emma, she shouldn't get too uppity to Rump because she still owes him a favor. And Snow and Charming shouldn't think all is rosy now they remember who they are, because so does the DA aka King Charlie Widmore and something tells me he has a score to settle with them. Since he's in Storybrooke, one can assume whatever they did to him back in Fairy Tale Land, they didn't kill him. Perhaps they just imprisoned him. Well he's not imprisoned any longer. Who is Dr. Whale? I think he's the only one we've seen a lot of but whose fairy tale identity we still don't know. Is it possible that Jefferson could be Bae? Why did Rump try to get Ashley's baby in Storybrooke? Was it a matter of just wanting what he feels he's owed or is there another reason he wanted her baby? Could the Queen of Hearts be Regina's mother, Cora? And just how will magic coming to Storybrooke change everything?
Of all the shows I watched this year, I still feel Once Upon A Time had the best finale ending with the clock stopping and magic coming to Storybrooke. Good job, guys. Just cut back on the Charmings over exposure and feature more on the more interesting fairy tale characters.