Sunday, November 4, 2012

'Once Upon a Time' Review - 2.06 Tallahassee

        On the newest episode of ABC's Once Upon a Time, Emma takes a journey with Captain Hook up a treacherous beanstalk to steal a magical compass, that could help her and Mary Margaret get back to Storybrooke, from a murderous giant (Jorge Garcia); and Emma's past is anything but magical when she meets up with a fellow thief (Michael Raymond-James) who wants to make an honest woman out of her.

        Anticipation was really high for this episode because it teased two things - a more in depth look at Emma's past as well as the addition of Lost's Jorge Garcia as the giant on top of the beanstalk. Those aspects got my hopes up for a great episode and they were probably risen a bit too high because I found this hour to be mostly underwhelming.
        Season two has had issues trying to find the perfect blend of narrative structure which has resulted in a split narrative that never appear simultaneously in an episode. The show is either in Storybrooke or it's in the Enchanted Forest. Those issues were still heavily present in this hour but with the divide of the Enchanted Forest action paired with flashbacks in the real world the balance felt more even.
        In the Enchanted Forest, Emma and Hook took on the majority of the story and they both did a respectable job of hamming it up with each other. My major complaint is that show didn't really amp up the dynamic between these two of whether or not they can actually trust each other. Elements were there but I think they could have done much more with it. Likewise, I appreciated that Jorge Garcia's giant was more than just a groaning monster but several of their attempts to humanize him just made me laugh with the obvious plot tricks to deceive the audience for a second or two.
       I have been one of fans who have been anxiously waiting to learn/see more of Emma's backstory. I haven't been clamoring for it because it didn't seem crucial to the overall story but it still would be nice to fill in some of the gaps with her character. Unfortunately, my thoughts on the subject were mostly the same ones I had with the majority of the flashback sequences tonight. They were a pleasure to watch but they did not excite me or leave me questioning how what we learned really fits into the larger scope of things. Michael Raymond-James' character in the premiere was this huge mysterious figure and the reveal of who he really is hit me as more of a letdown. He's just a regular man who is waiting for the right time to be in love with Emma. I'm sure the reunion between the two of them will be major intense - especially when you also factor in Henry - but when will that happen?
        Mulan and Aurora have been a huge misfire for most of the second season. They were relevant in the premiere and their second episode but when they just become acquaintances on Emma and Snow's journey they have proven to be mostly pointless. Now, they only appear as set dressing and are void of any character motivation at all. Why are they continue on this journey with Emma and Show? Is it simply because they have no where better to go? If that's the case, then that does not make for some exciting driving force with their characters. Despite all that, Aurora actually did have quite the vital moment here in her description of her dreams. It was nice to see her and Snow bonding over their shared experience with the sleeping curse. However, it wasn't until the very end of the episode that we saw the weight of this plot point. It intrigues me even though it felt odd to have Henry and Charming briefly in the final moments of the episode.

So what did everyone think of the episode? Did the show suddenly get a reduced special effects budget? Disappointed by the reveal that Michael Raymond-James is just a sore lover of Emma's? Share your thoughts in the comments.