Sunday, October 7, 2012

'Once Upon a Time' Review - 2.02 We Are Both

        On the newest episode of ABC's Once Upon a Time, Regina continues to find a way to regain her magical powers; David continues his quest to uncover the whereabouts of Mary Margaret and Emma; the seven dwarves discover what happens when they try to leave Storybrooke; and in flashbacks, Regina is confronted by a man of magic who promises to help her become independent and break free from her mother Cora's clutches.

       Last week, Once Upon a Time returned very strong for its second season. The twist of sending Emma and Snow back to the Enchanted Forest was genius and set up a very interesting narrative for the season. I went in to this episode with high hopes because it was written by sci-fi goddess Jane Esperson - who penned some great episodes in season one. It was clear what this episode wanted to achieve as a singular episodic piece of the story but it didn't quite excite as well as it could have.
        The biggest structural issue I had with this hour was the fact that neither Jennifer Morrison or Ginnifer Goodwin appeared until the very final scene - despite their characters' path being the most interesting aspect from the premiere. But then again, I can't be too angry because of the final reveal that Cora was alive and will interact with them. Throughout all of Regina's flashbacks, I just had this strong feeling that Cora would pop up in Storybrooke - cause you know she was sent to some other world. But does this mean the Enchanted Forest with Mulan, Aurora, Emma and Snow is a separate world? So many questions that I am anxiously waited to be answered this season.
        Most of the episode focused on the citizens react to the aftermath of the soul-sucker from the premiere and what it means to be in this world with the knowledge of their past lives. That is strong internal conflict that the show has implanted in the structure of this season. For the most part, the conflict amongst the citizens and Charming trying to decide how to lead them worked really well even though it felt that town members developed a herd mentality instead of how some of the characters would act - most notably the Blue Fairy and Jiminy Cricket. The confrontation between Charming and the Mad Hatter was also intense as they played off each other really well. I hoping that the Mad Hatter becomes more integral to the story soon.
        One of the biggest overall stories that the show has never really handled well is the child custody aspects of trying to parent Henry. This may be partly due to the fact that Henry should only be used in small doses. But here they let him out to do some bigger dramatic material which he couldn't really pull off. The parallels between Henry & Regina and Regina & Cora relationships was wonderfully portrayed in the episode. It is also great to see that all of them are different characters and not just make the exact same decisions and mistakes.
        Finally, it also appears that August is alive. However, since he and his father only had about a minute of screentime in this episode we still don't really know anything new about what happened to him.

So what did everyone think of the episode? Did you wish there was more Emma and Snow and less Henry? Were you surprised when Cora reappeared at the end? Share your thoughts in the comments.