Sunday, September 30, 2012

'Once Upon a Time' Premiere Review - 2.01 Broken

        On the season premiere of ABC's Once Upon a Time, the fairytale characters awaken from Regina's curse and remember who they were but are surprised that they aren't transported back to the fairytale land; Regina and Mr. Gold realize what bringing magic to Storybrooke truly means; and, back in fairytale land, Prince Phillip awakens his sleeping beauty but then has to face a deadly foe alongside his travel companion, Mulan.

        There are some episodes of television that are just so much more enjoyable during the second viewing than the first because you understand how it's being structured and what it's building to. That is my exact feeling on watching the second season premiere of Once Upon a Time.
        The show has always struggled with making the Storybrooke and the fairytale land stories equally entertaining to watch. Quite frequently last season, what was going in the flashbacks was so much more interesting than what was happening in the present. That same issue also arose in the premiere but it was the opposite that was true. I loved everything that was going on in Storybrooke but couldn't really embrace the introduction of Prince Phillip, Aurora and Mulan until the very end when Emma and Snow were transported to the land. But that was on my first viewing. On my second, I appreciated that story so much more as I noticed how nuanced and smartly written it was that made the ending twist foreseeable and welcoming but not too evident. However, I enjoyed Prince Phillip and Aurora so much more than I enjoyed Mulan. Mulan just didn't feel unique and the actress never really changed at all on how she emoted or how she talked for the entire episode. Aurora may be a bit naive but I can at least sense some gravitas from her.
        Last season's finale made the huge move of breaking the curse - the main creative narrative for the first season. After that, we had no clue how the second season would be structured that would keep us entertained for another 22 episodes. The twist of sending Emma and Snow away to the fairytale was a great twist and was this episode's two best moments. The twist definitely sets up a narrative that intrigues me and will keep me engaged and watching for the next few episodes. However, I'm hoping that it won't be the only narrative twist this season because their journey to once again be reunited could become stall if it is stretched out too far. But I do remain very optimistic with this show.
        Finally I just have to talk about the big bad in this episode - the soul sucker (whose real name I'm not sure on how to spell). The special effects on this show were very much hit or miss last season. But how they incorporated that creature into both Storybrooke and the fairytale land was quite impressive. The premiere gives me hope that with an increased budget and better producer backing we will have much more consistent effects on the show this season.

So what did everyone think of the premiere? Did you love the narrative twist? Did you think the special effects were much better this year? Who is the mysterious man? Who is Dr. Whale? Share your thoughts in the comments.