Sunday, October 21, 2012

'Once Upon a Time' Review - 2.04 The Crocodile

        On the newest episode of ABC's Once Upon a Time, Belle's disgust over Mr. Gold's continuing thirst for power comes to a head and she threatens to leave him; the dwarves try to find fairy dust in the Storybrooke mine; a reunion with an old acquaintance could prove to be Belle's undoing; and, back in the fairytale land, Rumplestiltskin attempts to save his wife from being kidnapped by a band of cutthroat pirates.

        I had my initial concerns going into this episode with the introduction of new series regular Colin O'Donoghue as Killian Jones/Captain Hook. I thought that the show was trying to go too big in its second season with the introduction of one too many villains. I mean so far in season two we have already had Regina, Mr. Gold, Cora and King George. If the show introduced Hook as yet another villain/opposing force, it would have hurt the overall narrative by making things too scattered. However, until the very last scene, I actually liked his addition because he was built sympathetically and as tragic character. His character motivation is abundantly clear and hope the show doesn't lose that with him. That last scene really does worry me that he will become a more one-note villain (like Cora unfortunately has mostly become).
        My main criticism with this episode was that it was too set on what it needed to and prioritized that over the overall ongoing narrative. It felt too much like an episode just to set up the introduction to Hook and his relationship with Rumplestiltskin and for Gold and Belle to break up. At times, the plot was the main focus over the characters. Belle and Milah both had to run away to set up the plot. Belle had to be put in peril so Gold could save her. Those elements set up an engaging episode that keeps you entertained but doesn't change anything on a character level. Gold and Belle in the library scene brought the focus back on these character and did a great job of reminding us of why we feel in love with this relationship last season. The episode really could have used more moments like this. On the other hand, the episode's flashbacks were Rumplestiltskin-centric and those are always the most compelling just because of how unique his backstory and character traits have changed over time.
        It also has become apparent that the show's structure this season will either focus on the people in Storybrooke and the flashbacks or Emma and Mary Margaret in the fairytale land and the flashbacks - but neither at the same time. As a creative decision, I can respect this way to telling this story but it also really limits the show. This is especially true to the Storybrooke side of the story. Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parilla were no one to be found in this episode. Although their stories can sometimes be overworked, their gravitas on screen is vital which made this week's hour lacking in some aspects of Storybrooke pacing. There's almost too much lack of tension in the Storybrooke side of things even though both sides of narrative are trying to working towards the exact same goal. 

So what did everyone think of the episode? What are your initial thoughts on new series regular Colin O'Donoghue? Share your thoughts in the comments.