Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hope (Be Still, Isaac Slade)

Rose: It's a fine line between denial and faith. It's much better on my side.
Charlie: Help me.
Rose: Baby, I'm not the one that can help you...
- Whatever the Case May Be

Once I finally started writing LOST songs again, Dad started sending me song suggestions, and this is one of those.  I was especially touched when I read the story behind this gentle song of encouragement; the songwriter's brother called him in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, and after their conversation, this song came to him organically as a response.

It made me think of Rose's efforts to motivate and comfort Charlie in Whatever the Case May Be, some of my favorite scenes in the series.  While she is there for him, she points him in the direction of a higher help he seems to have given up on...


I still have hope, and you can, too.
I still have hope Bernard is near.
I still have hope, and you can, too.
Things aren’t that bad, you know.

A monster came upon you.
Though Claire is gone, you’re not to blame.
I still have hope, and you can, too.
Just call upon God’s name.

You almost wish that you were dead.
You’ve never felt this low.
But don’t give in to gloom and dread.
Things aren’t that bad, you know.

This isn’t the finale.
Though the story may get darker still,
The Lord of Light will help you see.
He will, He will, He will.

Reach out for help, and faith will grow.
Before your life began,
The Lord was preparing to guide you.
He always has a plan.

I still have hope, and you can, too.
He always has a plan.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Bad Month (Bad Day, Daniel Powter)

"You're havin' a bad month." - John to Walt, Pilot, Part 2

"Vincent - I tethered him to a tree just over there. I know that Walt lost his mom. I thought that you should be the one to bring his dog back to him."- John to Michael, Tabula Rasa

For some reason, Michael and Walt are two characters I've neglected somewhat, but I love John's interaction with Walt in the pilot and his facilitation of his reunion with Vincent in Tabula Rasa.  I would imagine that, given how poorly he was parented, he is especially hopeful that Michael will give Walt the kind of love and guidance he himself so sorely needed.

Bad Month

Michael, I know what he’s missing the most,
And would you believe that I found what he lost?
I tethered his Lab up to that tree,
But credit for that won’t go to me.
It should be you who brings his dog.

You feel like your boy’s just a kid you don’t know;
As long as you try, you will learn as you go.
He needs a good dad, and you’ll do fine.
You’ll manage to make up for lost time.
It should be you who brings his dog

‘Cause he’s had a bad month.  He’s gotta feel down,
But he can stay strong since he has you around.
As long as he knows his dad’s on his side,
Your wandering child’s gonna take it in stride.
He’s had a bad month.  He watched his mom die.
Los Angeles bound, he was thrown from the sky.
He’s had a bad month.  He’s had a bad month.

Before he wakes up, just slip away.
Get Vincent and brighten up his day.
It should be you who brings his dog.

He’s had a bad month.  He’s gotta feel down,
But he can stay strong since he has you around.
As long as he knows his dad’s on his side,
Your wandering child’s gonna take it in stride.
He’s had a bad month.  He watched his mom die.
Los Angeles bound, he was thrown from the sky.
He’s had a bad month.  Oh, what a lousy month!

Sadly, a son can struggle and sink
If a parent he trusts is gone.
Before you make it back to L.A.,
He ought to know that you’re the one
He can count on.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

So hurry and go, and I swear I won’t boast.
Just you and I
Will know how you found what was hopelessly lost.

‘Cause he’s had a bad month.  He’s gotta feel down,
But he can stay strong since he has you around.
As long as he knows his dad’s on his side,
Your wandering child’s gonna take it in stride.
He’s had a bad month.  He watched his mom die.
He met you and thought, “Who’s this guy?”
He’s had a bad month.  He had a bad month.

Had a bad month.  Had a bad month.  Had a bad month…

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Runaway Annie (Mail Order Annie, Harry Chapin)

"My wife died 8 months ago Wednesday. She left me with too many chores and a hell of a mortgage. If you help me with the first one, I'll give you a fair wage and a place to stay." - Ray, Tabula Rasa

We just rewatched Tabula Rasa, and I realized I don't have a single parody associated with that episode.  That definitely needs amending, and when I decided to start with Kate's backstory, Harry Chapin's gently wistful song popped into my head...

Runaway Annie

My first thought was to turn my gun on you,
A winsome vagabond asleep in my pen.
But seems to me you’re on the run from somethin’, yeah, yeah.
I could use a farmhand; you could use a friend.

Runaway Annie, aren’t you tired of walkin’?
The chores are a strain since I lost my wife.
Runaway Annie, maybe fate is knockin’.
I think we'll help each other here.
We are entitled to start again in life.

You know, it is a pity you’ve evaded me
And kept your weekly wage in that tin can.
Don’t tell me you can’t wait until the mornin’, no, no.
I’ll drive you to the station like a decent, honest man.

Runaway Annie, aren’t you tired of walkin’?
I understand pain since I lost my wife.
Runaway Annie, maybe fate is knockin’.
I think that I could help you here.
You are entitled to start again in life.

I know it’s not my business what you’re runnin’ from;
You store your stash of secrets like the money in that wad.
But Annie, after three long months of labor,
Not saying a goodbye would be odd.

You know about my dirty plan; we’re not headed for the train.
My mortgage isn’t pretty; I can’t manage it alone.
And I hope you know how much I hate betrayin’ you,
But you run away, Annie, and I will lose my home.

Runaway Annie, aren’t you tired of walkin’?
The bills are insane since I lost my wife.
Runaway Annie, maybe fate is knockin’.
I think that you could help me here.
I am entitled to start again in life.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Counting to Five (Stayin' Alive, Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb)

Jack: Well, fear's sort of an odd thing. When I was in residency, my first solo procedure was a spinal surgery on a 16-year-old kid, a girl. And at the end, after 13 hours, I was closing her up and I, I accidentally ripped her dural sac. Shredded the base of the spine where all the nerves come together, membrane as thin as tissue. And so it ripped open. And the nerves just spilled out of her like angel hair pasta, spinal fluid flowing out of her and I … And the terror was just so … crazy. So real. And I knew I had to deal with it. So I just made a choice. I'd let the fear in, let it take over, let it do its thing, but only for five seconds, that's all I was going to give it. So I started to count: One, two, three, four, five. Then it was gone. I went back to work, sewed her up and she was fine.
Kate: If that had been me, I think I would have run for the door.
Jack: No, I don't think that's true. You're not running now.
- Pilot, Part 1

I was rewatching the first episode of LOST with will, and I was struck by the fact that as iconic as this scene is, I never devoted a song to it.  I decided I needed to do something about that, and this, my first LOST song in four and a half years, is the result.  Hopefully it will be the first in a new filking srreak!

Counting to Five

Jack: Well, I can tell by the way you stand and gawk
That you’re traumatized and still in shock.
Though you see my skin is torn,
You are treating my request with scorn.
Despite the drapes that you once made,
To stitch me up makes you afraid.
But don’t say “can’t;” I know you can.
I hope you’ll help a wounded man.

What can help prepare you when situations scare you?
Try counting to five.  Counting to five.
Let the panic fill you but never let it kill you.
Just try counting to five.  Counting to five.
One, two, three, four, counting to five.  Counting to five.
One, two, three, four.  Counting to five…

Well, now, fear is odd.  I’ll tell you why
I come across as such a fearless guy.
As a spinal surgeon, I refuse
To let small mistakes mean patients lose.
I nicked a poor girl’s dural sac;
I didn’t beat the terror back.
Once I used this trick of mine,
I sewed her up and she was fine.

What can help prepare you when situations scare you?
Try counting to five.  Counting to five.
Let the panic fill you but never let it kill you.
Just try counting to five.  Counting to five.
One, two, three, four, counting to five.  Counting to five.
One, two, three, four.  Counting to five…

Kate: If I had been there,
I would have bolted, just bolted for the door.
Jack: No, I don’t think so.  Your kindness moves you more.
Counting to five…

Jack: Well, I could tell by the way you stood and gawked
You were traumatized and still in shock.
Though you saw my skin was torn,
You were treating my request with scorn.
Despite the drapes that you once made,
To stitch me up made you afraid.
But no more “can’t;” you proved you can.
You bravely helped a wounded man.

What can help prepare you when situations scare you?
Try counting to five.  Counting to five.
Let the panic fill you but never let it kill you.
Just try counting to five.  Counting to five.
One, two, three, four, counting to five.  Counting to five.
One, two, three, four.  Counting to five…

Kate: If I had been there,
I would have bolted, just bolted for the door.
Jack: No, I don’t think so.  Your kindness moves you more.
Kate: I’m counting to five.

Kate: If I had been there,
I would have bolted, just bolted for the door.
Jack: No, I don’t think so.  Your kindness moves you more.
Kate: I’m counting to five…

Jack: Fear can’t defeat you.  Your kindness moves you more.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Once Upon a Time: Mothers and Fathers

I got really behind in my recapping again, so this is going to be another multi-episode post as I cover The Stable Boy, The Stranger and The Return. These were episodes that dealt very heavily with parent-child relationships. Of course, there was some romance thrown into the mix, mainly with The Stable Boy as we finally got to see that Regina did actually experience True Love in her life. The other two episodes didn’t deal with romance much, aside from her trying to seduce David. I was surprised that he was so open to her manipulation up until the end there, but I guess he hasn’t really seen Regina at her worst yet.

Generally speaking, Regina’s behavior throughout the series has been deplorable even though so much of what she does is done with a smile and a cool demeanor. Still, I wasn’t surprised that if we went back far enough, we would find something to truly rouse our sympathy. As Sr. Mary Lou Kownacki said, “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you heard their story.” Regina’s is a doozy. She came across as a perfectly pleasant person in the flashback, just frustrated by her mother’s machinations. She was a bit of a tomboy, and she demonstrated her bravery by saving Snow White and her independent spirit by plotting to run away with her secret love.

Bailee Madison, the young girl chosen to portray Snow White, was a perfect match for Ginnifer Goodwin. I was very impressed with the casting there. The look was exactly right, and she perfectly conveyed that innate sweetness that is so key to Snow White’s character. I had been very curious to see what Snow could have done that would have merited that kind of wrath without totally condemning her. I figured it must have been some kind of accident, or at least something that happened early enough in childhood that she wasn’t entirely responsible for it. This explanation satisfied me. Snow’s decision to confide in Regina’s mother, however well-intentioned, was partly responsible for the death of the man she loved.

I tend to be more engaged in the backstory than the present-day story, and that was particularly the case with The Stable Boy since I was so curious about this particular origin story. It was sweet to see the genuine bond between the young Regina and her cowed father, though of course it was sad as well, knowing what she would end up doing to him. Her mother was positively poisonous, and Barbara Hershey played that to the hilt. I really did feel completely sorry for Regina. It seemed fairly obvious to me following that conversation with Snow what was going to happen, but I still kept hoping that he would simply flee on his own rather than stick around to get murdered.

The whole situation with the king was very sad. Once again, he came across like a decent guy and certainly a very devoted father, but to just propose to a woman you’ve never met in hopes that she will take over the role of mother for your daughter… It’s just not the way to do things. Regina and Snow hit it off right away, and they could have been great pals if not for the small matter of Snow accidentally ruining her life. The king obviously didn’t have any romantic interest in her; he admired her bravery, but he wanted her for what she could do for Snow. Maybe he should’ve just hired her as a governess. At first, I thought Snow, feeling betrayed and disappointed, was just going to run off and snitch after finding out about Regina’s plans, but after her talk with Regina, it became clear that Snow was prepared to be self-sacrificing even at such a young age. It just all went horribly sour.

If Snow hadn’t told Regina about breaking her confidence, would she have found out, or might she have gone on for years without realizing that Snow told her secret? At what point did Snow come to realize the consequences of her actions? One would presume that she figured it out eventually, since she told James that she did ruin Regina’s life, though she may have simply been thinking about having lost control of the horse, which started all the trouble, though that wasn’t her fault. Really, her confession to Regina’s mother was barely her fault either. Can you truly blame a child that young for being coerced into giving information, especially when her reasons for doing so are so pure?

I guess what I’m wondering is how their relationship might have been different if Regina hadn’t realized that Snow broke her word. It seems to me that what’s mostly at play is misdirected anger. Regina is furious with herself because her decisions led to Daniel’s death every bit as much as Snow’s did, but Snow is an outward target. That’s how revenge seems to work; a person seems to get the twisted idea that removing the cause of their pain will remove the pain, almost as though it were a magic spell that could undo the tragic event. One would presume that at some point in the next few years, Regina killed her mother, but at the time of her marriage, she didn’t have the power to do that, so she focused all of her wrath on Snow, though it would seem that she kept it well hidden until after her husband’s death. She must have treated her with kindness during those years; was there genuine affection mingled in with the veiled malice?

I also wonder if Regina completely snapped at that moment or if it took several years for her to truly become the evil figure we see today. My guess is the latter, though that seed of bitterness took root right away. She had planned her life around the love of this one person, and with that anchor gone, she needed something else to live for. Unfortunately, instead of finding renewed purpose in what could have been the healing work of mothering Snow White, she seems to have played right into her mother’s hand and decided to focus on accumulating as much power as possible, though the power was more a means to an end than an actual goal. It was all in the service of revenge, which never provides any genuine satisfaction and has a way of festering and completely eating away at a person’s soul. Just look what happened to Sawyer and Ben. Lust for revenge almost destroyed them both. Regina is further gone than either of them, but could she still be brought back? Might Snow’s insistence on grace and forgiveness eventually crack that destructive shell?

After Regina, it was another Rumple episode, and I again got to marvel at Robert Carlyle’s brilliance and how exceptionally well the character is written. This week, we got a peek at how his relationship with his son Baelfire began to turn in the aftermath of the acquisition of his magical power. It reminded me very much, first off, of Lord of the Rings, same as his first centric episode did. I thought his son even looked a lot like a hobbit running around in the woods in that long cloak. Mainly, though, it was a demonstration of the evil effect that this power was having on him, even as he used it for worthy purposes. It was going to his head, and his desperation to protect his son was actually driving him away, much as Michael’s murderous act caused Walt to stop speaking to him. Instead of shunning him, however, Rumple’s son was determined to do whatever he could to get his old father back.

The scene in the beginning was tense and terrifying, and I was horrified with Rumple for turning that man into a snail and then crushing him, though it didn’t surprise me much, particularly given his conversation with Regina in Storybrooke. Baelfire seemed like a very upstanding youth, just as he did the first time, an innocent lad with a strong sense of honor. He hated to see his father inflicting pain on other people. Plus, everyone was avoiding him because of it. We’ve seen several situations here in which a parent is trying to do what’s best for a child and winds up making things much worse.

I liked the inclusion of the Blue Fairy and the magic bean, which did not grow into a beanstalk but instead created a magic vortex. Rumple very reluctantly agreed to leave the world of magic behind him, but when push came to shove, he couldn’t do it, and his son was left to face that unknown world on his own. When he resurfaces, I wonder how old he will be. Actually, you would think he wouldn’t be around anymore, since Rumple was on his own when Geppetto was a boy, and who knows how long that was after his own son left? If Mr. Gold knows so much, why couldn’t he see that? Then again, maybe it didn’t quite work that way.

The episode certainly encouraged us to think that August and Baelfire were one and the same. I fell for it just as fully as Rumple did, and I wanted it to be true because the depth of his remorse was so apparent and I figured this reunion could be just what was needed to bring back the good man buried inside that malevolence. Alas, however, it was not to be. I was left wondering whether August was “one of the good guys” or a villain somehow worse than Rumple. Either way, I felt very sorry for the Scottish baddie, and I certainly hope that a reunion, if not with his son than with a descendant, can be accomplished. Perhaps it could be rather like Ebenezer Scrooge embracing Fred. In any case, an outstanding episode all around, and I loved that Archie had a moment in the spotlight. It was nice to see Rumple actually reaching out for that kind of help and Archie so gently giving it.

Naturally, as soon as we found out who August wasn’t, we wanted to know who he was, and the show answered that question surprisingly quickly. I thought the flashback in The Stranger was centric to August, but actually, it was the flackback in The Return. Granted, Pinocchio was very young, and the flashbacks were largely more about Geppetto, but the boy was the focus. He was a sweet child, mischievous but really wanting to do the right thing. He called foul on Geppetto’s plan to send him through the cabinet first, but he wasn’t forceful enough to convince him it was the wrong course of action. Geppetto was too focused on saving his son to consider the greater ramifications.

How would things have been different if James and a pregnant Snow had entered the cabinet as planned? What if it had been Snow and Emma? That would have made a reunion between Snow and David more complicated since there would have been 30 years separating them, or if they’d found each other sooner, she would have aged while he stayed the same age. However, that wouldn’t have necessarily been a major problem. How might Emma have fared if she’d been prepared for this role from birth? She would have been loved and nurtured, and what seems fantastical to her now would instead seem quite believable. However, perhaps she would not have been equipped to face this nemesis if she hadn’t had the hard-luck childhood she did.

As for Pinocchio, it was certainly a lot to ask of such a young child to look after a newborn in a strange new world, but he seemed to take the responsibility very seriously, so it’s a shame he ended up leaving her to face life alone. Understandable, but sad nonetheless. Incidentally, I love that when he came out of the cabinet, he saw a plane overhead and he fell on the ground. It reminded me a lot of Jack in the pilot episode just after Oceanic 815 crashed. Meanwhile, he reminded me of John later as he tried to be the Man of Faith to Emma’s Man of Science, to no avail. It was very much the argument from the beginning of season two, and while Emma seems to be entertaining the possibility that it could be true, she does not feel up to the task that has been set for her. With only two episodes left in the season, will that change?

I found the relationship between Pinocchio and Geppetto very sweet, particularly at the end when they reconnected, and I loved the brotherly care Pinocchio demonstrated for Emma. I wanted to shake Geppetto during the flashbacks, since he seemed to be putting the whole realm at risk by refusing to accommodate the Blue Fairy’s wishes, and sending a small boy out on his own in the world doesn’t seem very good for him, either. It certainly did not show a lot of faith, and it seems the man devising a means by which the realm’s inhabitants might be saved ought to have a stronger belief than that. But everybody panics now and then, and he did have valid reasons for his trepidation. It’s hard to fault a father for wanting to do all he can to protect his son. Rumple and Geppetto have a point of commonality there.

I thought all three episodes were great, and I loved the parental theme that tied them together. Now Emma wants to take matters into her own hands and reclaim Henry, though kidnapping him and high-tailing it out of town does not seem like a good plan and certainly isn’t likely to help her in a custody battle. Maybe she half-believes Henry’s warning that nobody can leave Storybrooke – except the two of them (and August). Maybe she figured if they leave town, nobody can follow them. But I don’t think it would be that simple, and anyway, she would be evading her destiny, and look how miserable that made Jack. No, if Emma leaves Storybrooke, she and Henry won’t be gone for long. An epic battle is heating up…

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

“That’s the Trouble With Your World. Everyone Wants Some Magic Solution to Their Problems and Everyone Refuses to Believe in Magic.”

While Once Upon a Time has included references to Disney films such as 101 Dalmatians that don’t exactly fall under the umbrella of “fairy tales,” this episode marks the first time that the episode’s centric character came from a novel not often lumped in with these types of fantastical stories. It is fantastical, certainly; Alice in Wonderland is sheer trippiness. And I liked the way that they made Wonderland so very clearly distinct from the Fairy Tale world, accessible through a door in a strange room that reminded me of the Wood Between the Worlds in The Magician’s Nephew. I always found Wonderland a pretty sinister place, and unlike most magical realms, I never wished I could visit. Here, it most definitely has an evil quality about it.

Our hatter’s name in Jefferson, and curiously, he has that name in both incarnations. I’m not clear on exactly how it is that he knows who he is in the present day; is he just so insane by this point that he is one of the few townspeople uninhibited enough to know the truth? Is it the result of his having been displaced back in the world of Fairy Tale? He seems a decent fellow in the past, a bit surly but deeply devoted to his daughter Grace, who seems to have a very wise head on her young shoulders. In the present, he is driven by desperation to nefarious deeds. I wonder, if Emma had been as swayed by him as I thought she was, would it have made a difference? Would she have been able to create that magic hat?

Alice in Wonderland was, of course, a pretty formative text for LOST, which sprinkled references to the books throughout the series and even produced two episodes - White Rabbit and Through the Looking Glass - that specifically alluded to it. I loved the white rabbit reference in the episode, though of course, the toy turned out to be a dastardly way for Regina to get into his head. His head which, incidentally, later was removed from his body while he continued to speak freely. Weird and rather icky, but kinda cool as well. That trick with Regina’s father was interesting as well. We didn’t really see inside the box; was that his heart in there, meaning he lost his heart twice?

It was another rather dark episode. Of course, every episode has an element of that, but it seems the less focused on romance the episode is, the more it spreads out in gruesome directions. I really liked this, however, because of the emphasis on the importance of family. We saw how grimly determined Regina was to get her father back and how desperate Jefferson was to get his daughter back. Both were willing to throw others under the bus to accomplish their goals, though that’s par for the course for Regina, while Jefferson seems to be in a desperate measures sort of situation. On the other hand, he claimed he saved Mary Margaret’s life by stopping her from leaving Storybrooke, and there may have been truth in that as well, so it’s not clear how much bodily damage he would have caused either of them. Still, there were definitely times he seemed threatening.

My favorite part of the episode, though, was the focus on the depth of Emma and Mary Margaret’s friendship. Emma doesn’t quite believe yet that Mary Margaret is her mother, but it seems the thought has started to take hold of her a bit, and in any case, her most important friendship in Storybrooke has been with the sweet schoolteacher. The moment when she told Mary Margaret that she was her family was my favorite in the episode and one of my favorites in the series thus far. Mary Margaret is the first real friend Emma ever had, or so it would seem, and they complement one another so well. What a neat way to get to know your mother!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Evil Doesn't Always Look Evil. Sometimes It's Staring Right at Us, and We Don't Even Realize It."

I never read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, but I know the book is an exploration of just how much potential for evil resides in people. Dad told me way back in the beginning that we would wind up hating Snow White before this was all over; while she’s still very much one of the good guys, for more of this flashback she was pretty darn unpleasant. Of course, she was also under a curse, but one that she sought out in the first place. Surely she wouldn’t have opted for it, though, if she’d realized what she would become. It seems to have sucked out not only her love for James but all of her love, period.

It was very interesting to see this vindictive Snow White. The introduction to her was a hoot, with her singing With a Smile and a Song from the Disney movie and appearing to be so sweet, then violently lunging after the bird in her company in an attempt to kill it. Certainly not the behavior we’re used to from this endearing princess. Grumpy, who I think at this point is probably tied with Jiminy for my favorite character, broke my heart in this episode. He was like Sam in Return of the King, stalwartly refusing to leave the side of his beloved friend despite the sinister madness that had overtaken him. All of the dwarves were so sweet in this episode, but Grumpy especially.

It was also great to see the return of Jiminy Cricket – who Snow White almost pulverized. In both realities, he was the one who snapped James/David out of a sort of stupor, but the effects were opposite of each other. In Fairy Tale, his quiet advice inspired James to take the arrow intended for the queen, thereby proving his love for Snow White with actions rather than words. In Storybrooke, however, he had a misleading flashback to Fairy Tale that left him with the impression that Mary Margaret truly had killed Kathryn. His faith, it seems, is not as strong as hers. Then again, there is an awful lot of evidence against her.

So, the heart actually is Kathryn’s. Regina certainly would seem to be the one behind it all, but there’s still more to discover there. For instance, where is the rest of her? And is Kathryn actually dead, or did Regina do a nifty heart-stealing trick like she did with the huntsman? But what purpose would she have for keeping her alive? If anyone saw her, that would immediately expose the truth of Heny’s theory. Doesn’t seem like a risk Regina would want to take. And maybe she couldn’t perform that spell in Storybrooke, anyway.

The rattling knife in the grate reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart. Creepy. I thought the conversation between August and Henry was interesting and reminded me of the Man of Science / Man of Faith LOST debate. I’m still not sure what to make of this guy. There’s something slightly unsettling about him. Why does he know so much? Did he write the book himself, and now he’s trying to course correct so his story ends the way he wanted it to? That would be very meta, introducing an odd philosophical layer reminding me of the novel Sophie’s World. Perhaps August is sort of the voice of Adam and Eddy, in the way I imagined Daniel – especially at his most frazzled – being the voice of Damon and Carlton as they tried to re-exert control over a story that seemed to be spiraling away from them.

This wasn’t really an episode that made my heart go pitter-pat, aside from Snow White’s awakening moment in Fairy Tale, but it was certainly less violent than last week’s. Seeing what Snow could become was initially a bit comical but ultimately disturbing. See what a lack of love can do to a person? And haven’t we learned by now how dangerous it is to enter into a bargain with Rumple? I figured that he must have wanted Snow’s hair for some sort of potion; now that he’s combined it with the one he got from James, what will he do with it? Whose lives will he wreak havoc on by causing the wrong people to fall in love with each other?

My favorite part of the episode, though, was definitely the dynamic between Grumpy, and to a lesser extent the other six dwarves, and Snow White. For folks who are not supposed to be able to feel love, they most certainly do. And friendship can be just as powerful as romance – sometimes ever more so. The reconciliation at the end was beautiful. Snow White has one heck of a potent posse.

Monday, March 12, 2012

"I Know You Say You Don’t Know What You Are, But Whatever It Is, I Gotta Say, I’m Impressed."

This week’s episode was Red-Handed, focusing on Red, who has been involved in things but pretty much on the sidelines thus far. This episode certainly revealed a lot more about her. She is both more vulnerable and more dangerous than I would have guessed. The conflict between her and her granny in Storybrooke felt very realistic, and in Fairy Tale, it provided the episode’s big twist.

As Once Upon a Time goes, this was a pretty violent episode. It certainly wasn’t at the level of Grimm, but a few scenes definitely made me a bit squeamish. Rampaging werewolves and hearts in boxes… blech! Given the situation the Graham was in, if that is Kathryn’s heart, it seems very possible that Katherine is still alive but Regina is yanking her around like a puppeteer. Did she just stash her someplace? Or was this a genuine murder? Obviously I don’t think that Mary Margaret had anything to do with it, but how did Regina manage to frame her?

Ruby has always struck me as a fairly saucy character, so it was interesting to see her so unsure of herself in this episode. Of course, I think that’s how it often is when a teenager runs away from home. Lots of defiance, but once they’re on their own, the world seems a lot scarier. I’m not entirely sure how old she is; perhaps she is in her early 20s, but I wouldn’t guess that she’s any older than that. My guess would be around 19.

Granny initially comes across as overbearing here, but I love the reconciliation at the end. That relationship was the most interesting part of the episode for me. Granny wanted to show Ruby that she trusted her to fill her shoes, but she was too gruff to betray her affection until Ruby went off to do some soul-searching. The brief separation seems to have done them both good. In Fairy Tale, her story was harrowing, and the consequences of her lack of forthrightness were tragic. She believed she was protecting Red by hiding her true nature from her, but all she was doing was allowing her to unwittingly be a monster.

I loved that her boyfriend’s name was Peter, surely a nod to Peter and the Wolf. I can’t imagine how awful it would be for Red to realize that her miscalculation about Peter’s identity and her own hidden animal nature led to his demise. It was a horrible scene. Presumably, since he died before the curse was cast, he’s gone for good, and this is one romance that won’t be allowed a happily ever after. Then again, James looked dead in that first episode, and all was not as it seemed, so there could still be a sliver of hope there.

I’m not exactly sure where in the timeline this story takes place, but Snow White is on the run already, so it’s in the fairly recent past. The scenes of the two of them walking through the snow were gorgeously Narnia-like (and Mary Margaret’s umbrella in Storybrooke in the woods also reminded me of Mr. Tumnus). I loved their cloaks, especially Snow White’s. There’s such a natural camaraderie between those two, and that extends to Storybrooke, while Emma is a tad more standoffish, which is just her nature. Still, Emma and Red make a good team as well, even though Red does ultimately decide that being deputy is not for her.

I’m not sure what to make of David’s temporary amnesia; maybe he’s the one whose heart was in the box. Which would, on some level, make sense, since Snow White did indeed steal his heart. But that wouldn’t explain what is going on with Kathryn or the bizarro magic possibly at play there.

All told, I didn’t find this episode quite as engaging as most, I suppose because it was more violent and action-oriented and ended on such a sour note. Plus, there was no Rumple to be found, to say nothing of poor Jiminy – though at least there was a reference to his dog. Still, it was a solid installment that revealed a lot about Red and gave me a shock or two.