Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Cup Runneth Over

I was about to close down my laptop and not turn it back on until Friday morning when I have to get back to work - but then I thought "Hey, you've got a truckload of stuff to be thankful for. On this one day dedicated to gratitude, you sure as hell better be listing it out."

Truthfully, I have a lot to be grateful for. Not just because it's 2015 and this has basically been one of the best years in recent memory. In fact, when it comes time to do my Final Reckoning in about six or seven decades, I hope my posterity notes this year as being in the Top Ten Years of my life. And not just because it followed on the heels of the crapstorm that was 2014 - though goodness knows being better than last year is not a tough hurdle to clear.

Anyway - inspired by this post, here is my considerable list of things to be grateful for (in no particular order).

1. As ever, I am thankful for my family - they're the ones that have put up with my craziness for thirty years and they still answer my phone calls (mostly).

2. I am thankful for food, clothing, shelter, and that all my temporal needs are met on a regular basis.

3. I am beyond thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ - for the Atonement that means my sins can be forgiven, my troubles and pains and disappointments are taken care of in the eternities. I know the power of the Savior's sacrifice is as real as anything I've experienced. There's no other reason that I've been able to pull myself through some of the things I've dealt with without His grace and mercy.

4. In that same vein, words cannot express my gratitude for the knowledge that I have a loving Heavenly Father that's been looking out for me. When I had no clue what in the world I was doing with my life, He knew what He was doing with it. He was making things happen that I only recently knew were going on and I'm sure that He's still doing that same thing.

5. I am grateful that I have a fantastic man that's asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. All those lists I made in Young Women classes about my future husband - he's checked off every bullet point on the list, plus a few that I didn't even know I needed/wanted. I'm thankful that we're going to be sealed as a family in the Holy Temple in February and that he's worthy to go there with me. Again, Heavenly Father knew what He was doing.

6. I'm thankful to have a super-awesome job that I never in a million years dreamed I'd be able to have. I've been blessed with amazing bosses and a wonderful co-worker and other great associates in my career field. I'm finally getting to make a living doing something I only ever did as a hobby before and I've had a blast doing it.

7. I'm thankful for all my friends - whether we've met face-to-face or just online. My friends that I've known since college, my friends I've known for a few short years, my friends that I podcast with. Can't imagine life without them.

8. I am thankful for a car that works properly and can get me where I need to go. I've had enough cars break down on me that I know to be grateful when I have one that does what I want it to do.

9. I'm grateful for technology and to live in an age where we have so much information available so easily. Even if I do freak out when Facebook goes down (if I didn't depend on it for work...)

10. I'm grateful for all my fandoms and the joy they bring me - whether I'm having a good day or a bad day, they never fail to make me smile.

11. I'm grateful for stinking adorable niece and nephew. I'm grateful that I'll get to add to my niece/nephew totals come February :)

12. I'm grateful for hot chocolate made with milk. I rarely drink regular milk, but when it gets chilly and the leaves start falling, I buy milk by the half-gallon and stock up on Swiss Miss. That stuff is HEAVEN.

13. I am grateful for cozy hoodies - especially the Utah State Alumni one that Mom bought me when I graduated in 2007. When God made the perfect hoodie sweatshirt, that's the one He made. And He made sure I got it (thanks, Mom).

14. I am grateful for the blessings of the temple - for the covenants I've made with God and that I get to return often to remember those promises and to remember the love God has for me. I can't imagine my life without being able to participate in temple worship.

15. I'm grateful for eBooks and a iPad that can hold a bajillion books. I may never get through all of them, but I'll never want for something good to read. That's important.

16. I'm thankful for family history and learning the crazy stories of my ancestors. At least I know that my own nuttiness is a little bit genetic.

17. I am grateful for warm socks straight out of the dryer.

18. I am thankful for glasses and contacts, otherwise I wouldn't be able to do half the things I do on a daily basis.

19. I am grateful for peanut butter M&Ms. Delish.

20. I am grateful for trucks with 4-wheel drive so I can get home for Thanksgiving.

21. I'm thankful for the blessing of living in a country where I can speak my mind, agree or disagree with others, get an education, have a voice in local, state, and national government, and even when the people/things I vote for lose, there's still a chance to fix things later.

22. I am thankful for the scriptures - the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, continuing revelation from living prophets. I am grateful that God continues to communicate His will to us through these channels, as well as personal communication through the Holy Ghost. I can't imagine living in a world where I thought God had closed the door to His children and said "Okay - you all scramble and figure it out yourselves." Yeah... no. Not doing that.

23. I am grateful for cuddly teddy bears.

24. I am thankful that the time Jared asked me out wasn't actually someone playing a really rotten joke on me (as was my initial reaction when I got the Facebook message on April Fools' Day).

25. I am grateful for a sense of humor. I kind of need it in my line of work.

26. I am grateful that I can be friends with people I disagree with on matters of politics and/or religion. I am also grateful that I can enjoy and appreciate the creative output of those with whom I would disagree with on the same subjects. Not everyone can say that.

27. I am grateful that I acquired a taste for cold water that's been chilling in the fridge for several hours. Yum.

28. I am grateful for Chinese and Italian food - especially from really good restaurants.

29. I am grateful for the Sea Island Cotton scent from Bath and Body Works. Similarly, I am grateful for the smell of the laundry detergent aisle at the grocery store.

30. I am grateful for those few weeks back in March when I was so upset about the direction my life was going, that I made that "30 for 30" and God basically said "This is a good list - but I have something better in mind for you" (I'll have to elaborate on that story later - it's a good one).

31. I am grateful for Burt's Bees lip balm. When I developed an allergy to regular ChapStick, that was the only stuff that worked that also didn't taste like I was smearing the medicine cabinet on my face.

32. I am grateful for that one polka-dot dress I found at DownEast Basics last spring. Everything else I've tried on from there does fit or flatter my figure. That was a complete and total fluke. But it looks adorable with the red shoes I found.

33. I am grateful that I'm slightly oblivious to certain things and that, even though I knew a marriage proposal was coming eventually, it still surprised me when he formally proposed.

34. I am grateful my future mother-in-law likes football. Even if she is a Patriots fan (well... something's gotta keep her from being caught up into heaven).

35. I am thankful that I kept my grandmother's earrings in my jewelry box all these years so I can wear them with my wedding dress. It'll be like Grandma's there in spirit.

36. I am thankful that my brother found a girl that is absolutely perfect for him. We were worried there for a while.

37. I am thankful that my relationship with my mother has improved over the years.

38. I am thankful I've had stellar roommates for the past three years. Life in close quarters kind of sucks if the people you're living with don't particularly like you.

39. I am grateful for bedside lamps, alarm clocks, and nightstands big enough to hold everything I need so I don't have to get up right when I wake up in the morning.

40. I am grateful for chocolate.

41. I am grateful that I have so much to be grateful for that I could go on for hours and not even make a dent in listing my blessings. I will have to write more later, but I am getting tired and need sleep now.

42. I am grateful that I have a warm and comfortable bed to sleep in. Good night, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 30, 2015

New Titles and Old Favorites (And Eternal Lessons)

So... you know how I do that whole "Year End Playlist" thing every year? How I spend the year collecting songs that I think exemplify the things that happened to me or songs that ended up meaning something as the year goes on? I've been working on 2015's throughout the year (like I did for 2014) and there have been some terrific additions to the playlist (some that I've already cut just because I changed my mind).

But I think this is going to be the definitive entry for this year's creation -

Though in all truthiness, I haven't decided if I want that one or The Piano Guys version (I might just pull a "Let It Go" from last year and do both. Hey - it's my playlist. I can do what I want with it! Besides, my Scottish heritage is kind of in love with this rendition) -

And not because I feel like I've got anything to prove to anyone (other than myself, I suppose. But that's a constant battle). Maybe it's just where I am in life - super-awesome job that I love, super-awesome fiance that I love (oh yeah - forgot to mention that. I'm engaged! For real! February's the big day!), and I'm just 200% happier than I was a year ago.

The best part is finally feeling like all that pain and turmoil that I had to slog through for so long was actually, in fact, worth it. People kept telling me that there was something I had to learn and that's why I was going through the things I went through. Why I kept hearing "no" over and over again when there were things that I desperately wanted - when I felt like I must have screwed up something big and there was no way I could salvage anything from my life and make it into anything worthwhile.

But I kept working at it and kept doing what I was already doing. I filled my life with the best possible things I could at the time. I went to the temple, I served in my church callings (that calling with the teen girls in drug rehab was probably most fulfilling calling I've ever had. And I include my mission in that statement), I did my absolute damn best at work, I relished my hobbies - and I was slowly able to let go of the rejection and disappointment that I thought was going to be my trademark for the rest of my life.

And - wonder of wonders - look what happened! The two things that I'd been hoping and praying for actually freaking happened (well - two out of three. My closet still doesn't open into a portal to Narnia) - I was offered a job by two ladies whom I've admired since I discovered their blog and I was finally able to do something I'd only dreamed about since middle school. And the guy that I liked since pretty much the first time I met him (and had a ridiculous schoolgirl crush on that I never thought would amount to anything) asked me out and now I've got a ring on my finger and we're planning a wedding for after the new year. Like - seriously! How in the world does this stuff even happen? To some dorky little nobody like me? I'm the glorified gopher girl - good things don't happen to me!

Except when they do. And that's when I look up at God and say "This whole time. This. Whole. Stinking. Time. You knew EXACTLY what you were doing."

(I'm still pulling out minor details from years ago that led to these big things. It's ridiculous how this stuff happens. That'll teach me to think - even for one second - that I've been left alone to my own devices.)

I'm not going to pretend it was easy. I'm also not going to act like I had this monstrous pile of suffering either. This is what I do know - I hit my version of rock bottom and I had to claw my way back to the top. And, truly, I could have gotten back up here and still been without a full-time job and single as the day is long. But I had come to a point where I wasn't going to be angry at the world/God/myself anymore. What was the purpose of being angry, really?

Maybe that's the lesson here. And it's something I'll have to reach back for when tough times come again (I'm not stupid enough to think that it's smooth sailing from here on out). But for now - I'm going to enjoy my victory and my joy. I'm going to celebrate the fact that I didn't let the hard things run me over completely.

I've still got a lot of fight left in me.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Slipping Into Sanity

Recap/Review of Once Upon a Time 5.01 "Dark Swan" - SPOILERS!

Originally, I wasn't going to do reviews this season (suffice it to say, life got stinkingly busy since I last recapped anything). But then I saw this episode and... yeah. I need to talk about it (and, quite frankly, I've missed doing this. It's not for anyone else's benefit other than my own, but if someone else enjoys it - well, good on them).

Okay - this needs to be here. In fact, if fandom does NOT gift me with a Once Upon a Time video using this song, the Internet has failed this city (let's play - Shoehorn As Many Outside References As Possible) -

Now that's over...

Speaking of shoehorning references - seems like this episode sets up some revisiting of past Once Upon a Time plots... and yet it doesn't. At first, the magic cyclone to Oz the Enchanted Forest looks to be setting up a Season 3-type of #SaveHenry. Except it's #SaveEmma. Then, they look to be going for a Missing Year at the end there. Which, I liked the Missing Year. It was nice to have flashbacks that had little to do with rehashing the old pre-curse leftovers from Season 1. Also, the inclusion of Merida and Emma's subsequent kind-of-friendship (after a gross misunderstanding) reminded me of Emma and Elsa's friendship from last season. But this stuff all felt new and fresh. Which is a lot more than I was expecting after the cluster-screw of the second half of last season.

Anyway - things I liked -

- I like that we don't have OMG SOOPER EVIL Emma right off the bat. I like that her descent into darkness isn't immediate and all at once. It's a choice that she has to make. A very dangerous and difficult choice, to be sure. But it's not like Rumple's transition - where that penchant for evilness was already there underneath his cowardly persona and all he needed was a dip in the Dark One pool to push him over the edge. Emma is the Dark One because of an act of selflessness - which is probably why the Darkness (in the form of the Ghost of Rumple Yet To Come) is working so hard to bring her over to its influence.

- King Arthur is Bad News. Don't ask me why I think this - but I just don't get the whole happy "I'm the benevolent King of the Britons who brought love and peace to a kingdom that will become the catchphrase of a 1960s president who really only had Nice Hair and getting shot going for him" from this guy. Something about his obsession of getting Excalibur - and nice touch of having the Dark One dagger originally be a piece of the sword. That was a twist I didn't see coming.

- THEORY TIME: I think Arthur tried to control Emma's darkness through less-than-honorable means and Team Storybrooke sided with him because Emma's being consumed by Supreme Evilness, so they didn't trust her, but it's freaking King Arthur, except he's really a total douchecanoe, but no one but Emma believes it and THAT'S what sent her over the edge and turned her Full Dark, No Stars, Blood Moon, End-of-the-World Eclipse, thingy-whatever, and with it, The Rapture.

(Just a hunch, but Once Upon a Time is not known for its subtlety in storytelling.)

- Captain Cobra Lives!! Henry and Hook teaming up to spring Zelena from the clink (more on her later) was a treat and a joy. I enjoyed it in the finale and I love it even more now (Wookiee Prisoner Gag - Hook is learning fast!)

I was a teensy bit worried (from the promos and such) that they'd sideline Hook and/or Henry (yet again) in favor of Princess Rainbow Sparklepoo vs. the Angsty Queen for the zillionth time. Can we NOT reheat old plotlines and get some lesser-played songs in this rotation? Por favor?

Happily, it looks like they listened because, while Snow did have her overly-emotional "I need to save my daughter!" schpiel, she was limited to just that (and the thing with the dwarves coming to say "Hey - we wanna come on dangerous adventures too!") But for the most part, it was Hook vs. Regina in the Quest to Save the Savior. Which... I can appreciate. Mostly because that's a dynamic we haven't seen much of. And it makes sense. Regina's slightly guilty because Emma took on the Darkness because it was going to attach itself to Regina. Hook is motivated to find Emma because, hello! One True Love, happy endings, all that lovely OTP stuff.

- Speaking of... Hook entreating Emma not to give into Ghost!Rumple's nasty little temptations to kill Merida - oh man, MORE OF THIS, PLEASE! The fact that Hook was the one to break Emma out of that Dark-One-trance-thing by just calling out her name and that he was the one who told her that she could conquer her demons just like he conquered/is conquering his - and that he was with her all the way into Camelot... yes. I am a very satisfied Captain-Swan-shipping customer.

(Bonus points for Hook's quip - "You don't look like the Crocodile." Oh, Killian Jones. Never change.)

- Zelena is still my favorite. She is bat-crap insane and I love her for it. She is completely at ease with her darkness and wickedness and bless her for it. This show (rightly) deals with characters trying to overcome their poor choices - but there needs to be someone who is unapologetically evil and doesn't care when she does terrible things because that's just what she's going to do. Now that Rumple's been de-Dark-One'd and Emma's fighting off the darkness - there still needs to be a constant source of antagonism toward Team Storybrooke. And Zelena is the one to do it.

(Though I wouldn't mind seeing her reinstated in her place in the Sisterhood of Witches in Oz. Just so she could be a pain there too. Maybe there needs to be another spin-off and make it just about Once's version of Oz. I'd watch the hell out of that one.)

- So - Camelot. Whooo. And someone screwed up BIG TIME in those six weeks. And this season (or first half of the season) is going to be about finding out who and what and etc. I admit - I'm quite interested. And then I saw the promo for next week. Which... eh... I guess we had to have the obligatory "Regina has to be good because Emma's evil" episode. I'm just glad they're doing it at the beginning, rather than doing it later (get that crappy pre-Curse flashback out of their system while they're at it) -

PS - I'm not calling her "Dark Swan" because that's just stupid. I used "Dark Savior" after the finale last year and that's what I'm sticking with now.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The News Of The Day Sucks, So Have A YouTube Video

I had to take a break. Everything being reported on today in the news is terrible. Luckily, there are gloriously intrepid YouTubers who do stuff like this and it helps me keep my sanity (and I don't give a shit about how long this video's been around. It's still funny) -

Yes, I'm still around and still blogging. But since I blog all day every day for my job, sometimes the last thing I want to do of an evening is write more about my opinions on things - even if those things are wonderfully happy geeky things that I don't get to spend quite as much time on. Sometimes, I just want to stop thinking for a while and let something/someone else do the talking so I can listen.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sooner or Later

Nope, I'm still around. Just haven't had much to write about here. Or, indeed, much time to write about it. But it's all good things happening. Lots and lots of very good things happening. Suffice it to say that all that crap I had to wade through last year was worth it :)

For now, have this nice little Doctor Who video that I saw on Facebook -

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Time For a Pointless Update On My Life

*walks in, looks around, blows dust off the desk, cracks knuckles, sits down*

No, little blog. I have not forgotten you. I just have a day job that, by the time I'm done wrestling the alligators and gremlins of the political sphere of the internet, the last thing I want to do is compile a list of snarky-yet-entertaining thoughts for my personal blog. Even though I probably should because it would help keep me sane and feeling less like I want to take a baseball bat to a china shop.

Anyway - where was I? Oh yes - life and such.

When last we left our intrepid heroine, she'd just turned the "dreaded" 3-0 (actually, it was a lot less painful than I was led to believe. It was quite the fun little weekend, really). Summertime was in full swing, though you wouldn't know it since the Utah weather decided it wanted to be like Seattle, except with less ocean and more insufferable hipsters (I'm convinced our local hipsters are even worse than those in the Pacific Northwest because they feel like they have something to prove). There were also whisperings of a summer wedding for her younger brother, which inevitably made her retreat from some family interactions - mostly because weddings give her hives (heaven knows how neurotic she'd become if she ever had to plan one for myself. Two words: Las Vegas). And certain relatives can't keep their freaking mouths shut about such things (remember what I said about baseball bats and china shops? It's rather therapeutic. Or I imagine it would be).

But the Payson Temple open house and subsequent dedication was nice. Still have plans to go do a session there at some point.

Interesting story about the first time I drove through Payson after they started building the temple. It was November and I was heading home for Thanksgiving. It was dark by then, but as I drove by the temple site, I could faintly make out the steel structure that had already been constructed. And you know the thing that struck me the most? How close the temple was to the freeway! I mean, you drive up and down I-15 and all the temples you see are cleeeeeeeear in the heck out in the foothills or in the middle of a traffic-choked city. Even the Jordan River Temple, which is the next closest, seems to be far away and so very distant. But Payson - it's right behind Wal-Mart! In fact, you get off the freeway, hang a right at the baseball field and you're there in less than a minute. And maybe it's just the cogs in my brain working the way they do, but I felt like that was an appropriate metaphor - that the temple isn't this far-and-distant place that only the righteous and super-good get to attain and only after you've jumped through a series of uber-complicated hoops and consulted every map and GPS known to humanity to find the place. But rather, the temple is something that anyone can attain, if they have a mind to do so.

I dunno - I like that the Payson Temple isn't hidden away far back on some obscure mountain goat trail (looking at you, Draper and Bountiful), but that it's right there bordering on someone's hayfield that's right next to the main thoroughfare through town. Maybe it's the hayfield, but the rural setting is balm to this farm girl's soul.

It's strange - but while it's been quite a few years since I actually lived in Delta/Callao and there's no reason to believe that's going to change anytime soon, visiting the Payson Temple felt a lot like going home. I don't live in that district and I'm not anticipating that happening - but it just felt right, somehow. The only other temple I've ever felt "at home" like that is in the Salt Lake Temple.

This could TOTALLY be an Ensign cover photo, if I had a mind to submit it.
Same with an impromptu day trip I took to Logan with my folks for some business dealings. Part of me wished we hadn't been in such a hurry - I would have liked to have taken a lap around the Utah State University campus for old time's sake. Or even cruised up the hill to the Logan Temple, just to take some pictures. But the drive through Sardine Canyon was enough - it was a damn pretty day when we went up there. One day I'll probably snap and drive up there myself for kicks and giggles (I've done that and gone to Park City more than once lately).

My niece and nephew remain the cutest creatures on the freaking planet and I'll still fight anybody who contends otherwise.

Podcasting continues with the Five(ish) Fangirls. We recently celebrated our one-year anniversary
with no signs of slowing down. And the way I prattle on about any given topic - even something I have ZERO clue about - I think it's going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

My yearly tradition of compiling a playlist of music to tell the story of my year is in full swing. While the year is only half over and I'm certain this will change between now and Christmas, I have a pretty good list of tunes that I think represent how the year's gone so far -

1. Skye Boat Song (Main Title Theme from Outlander) - Bear McCreary
2. Feels Like Today - Rascal Flatts
3. Bulletproof Picasso - Train
4. I Really Like You - Carly Rae Jepsen (blame Castle for this one)
5. Roundtable Rival - Lindsey Stirling
6. Shake It Off - Taylor Swift (in my line of work, this has become my theme song)
7. Immortals - Fall Out Boy (Big Hero 6 cemented that one on this list)
8. The Words - Christina Perri
9. Fast Car - Christian Kane
10. Breathe - Michelle Branch
11. For The First Time In Forever - Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel (from Frozen)
12. Come Sail Away - Styx
13. Spaceman - The Killers
14. Walk in the Sun - McFly
15. This Is Your Life - The Killers (will have to do some rearranging with this)
16. The Adventure Begins - Howard Shore (from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)
17. No Light, No Light - Florence and the Machine
18. More Than a Feeling - Boston

Like I said - not the final product, but it works for now.

I Also have tentative ideas for Librarian in the TARDIS, Part 2: Vortex Boogaloo, only because it's been so long since I've seriously reviewed anything Doctor Who related for myself and I remember how much FUN that whole project was. And do I really need a 50th Anniversary for an excuse to write about Who? Nope - don't think so! I'd have to think of a new structure to it - maybe just Big Finish and spin-offs? Not sure yet (Don't hold me to it, though. I mean, my Goodreads challenge is slowly falling apart and I even shortened it to 75 books this year).

That's probably all for now (well - as much as I want to post on my blog, anyway). Short, sweet, random, serious, and silly. Like you've come to expect anything else from me.

Monday, May 25, 2015

"What Makes You Think I Would Ever Give You Back?" - Revisited Review of "The Doctor's Wife"

Revisited Review of Doctor Who 6.04 - "The Doctor's Wife"

Written By: Neil Gaiman
Team TARDIS: Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond, Rory Williams
Adversary: House, Patchwork People
Originally Aired: May 14, 2011
Number of Episodes: 1

See and mark well how my brain works. Because I have been bone-dead-tired for pretty much most of the day. Even caught a nap this afternoon, but I'm still ready to collapse into bed. But what happens at 10:30 at night when I should be cuddling up with my pillows and blankets? Brain says "Nope - you've gotta write about "The Doctor's Wife." And do it RIGHT NOW!" So - that's what I'm doing.

I'm not even stuck on the episode as a whole - though it certainly is one of the very best revived Doctor Who has to offer. I'm more interested in thinking out loud about the Doctor and Idris. Who is revealed to be (Four Year Old Spoilers Ahead!) possessed by the soul of the TARDIS. The conceit of this episode is clever in that you don't have to be steeped in Doctor Who history and lore to understand the story. All you need are the basics - the Doctor's TARDIS is the one constant in his life, it's been there since day one, he has a connection to his ship - which is much more that any typical spaceship (so sorry Enterprise and Millennium Falcon - you're both handy to have in a tight spot, but the TARDIS wins for... pretty much everything else). While the people who have been immersed in Doctor Who for a long time do get their own treats and Easter Eggs in this episode, an extensive knowledge of the show isn't necessary to enjoy and love the beauty of this story.

The Doctor's relationships with his companions come and go. He looks upon all his companions with fondness regardless of how they parted. But that they point - they left. Or he left them. Or they were forced to leave. The point is, they aren't there anymore. But the TARDIS is. That mad old box which is a cross between a DeLorean and the wardrobe to Narnia with its own version of a soul, always listening to the ramblings of a mad old man who is a cross between HG Wells and Father Christmas. Aren't they just a pair - rushing about in time and space with nothing in particular to do, and no where in particular to do except travel everywhere.

He rambles, she listens. He runs, she rackets about. They're always together - the Doctor and the TARDIS. And for once, she gets to respond to him and it is absolutely and precisely brilliant to listen to. The title of the episode may be "The Doctor's Wife" - and they certainly do bicker like an old married couple. But beyond the TARDIS airing her grievances about the "Pull to Open," (which - that point is debateable) and the Doctor bringing home strays and everything else she pokes at him about - she still

There is something simple in the beauty of this story. While the surrounding trappings of the disembodied House and the Patchwork People and even the trouble Amy and Rory get into serve to move the story forward and give the episode a reason to exist - those things are the "B Plot." They almost don't matter. The real story here is the Doctor FINALLY getting to speak to his One True Love face to face. And, in spite of Amy's "Did you wish really hard?" quip poking fun at the stereotypical male fantasy of his vehicle being made into the form of an attractive woman - there is so much more to this relationship than low-hanging jokes about the male psyche. Because the Doctor is no ordinary dude and the TARDIS is no ordinary ship. This is more than exploring the Doctor's backstory and giving him motivation and history and whatever - this is exploring a complicated core of the entire Doctor Who mythos without giving everything away. The mythos is explored, but the mystery and the wonder remain very much intact.

And that is why "Alive" is so very sad in the end. For while the TARDIS is always there and always will be, this time of speaking to the Doctor face-to-face has ended. She can no longer express her love and affection to the Doctor in so many words, which was such a challenge for her in the beginning of this adventure. And, while the Doctor does understand her feelings (and his own) - sometimes, it's just nice to hear those words from the person you care about. It's a story about life and death and love, but without life and death and love. Not in the way we usually express it, anyway. And that's probably what keeps rolling through my head over and over again about this story - the sadness of endings, the joy of newly discovered relationships, the realization of what you had all along (and what will always be with you, though in a different way than you first thought).

Just a mad man with a box? Sure, if you want to look at it that way. But this story makes the Doctor and the TARDIS so much more than that. Which is something I will always, always, always love about it.

Amy: Look at you pair. It's always you and her isn't it? Long after the rest of us have gone. A boy and his box off to see the universe.
The Doctor: Well you say that as if it's a bad thing. But honestly it's the best thing there is.

The Doctor: Are you there? Can you hear me? No. Obviously not. Okay. The Eye of Orion or wherever we need to go. {the lever moves on its own and the TARDIS takes off}.

(Originally Reviewed May 14, 2011)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Henry Mills and the Alternate Universe of DOOM!

Review/Recap of Once Upon A Time 4.22-4.23 "Operation Mongoose 1 & 2" - SPOILERS!

Isaac Heller's boss at the beginning was exactly right. He really doesn't write stories that anyone wants to read.

The first half of this two-part episode really didn't do much for me (other than the subtle shout-out to Walt Disney having been the previous Author at the beginning. He died in December 1966, which is why the cold open where Isaac becomes the Author takes place at that time ~*~The More You Know~*~) I didn't really buy into the whole "Snow White as the Evil Queen" thing they were trying to sell me (might as well just say it - Ginnifer Goodwin does not do evil villainous anything very well). I did like bandit!Regina teaming up with Robin Hood, though. And if Zelena hadn't showed up to ruin that moment, I would have enjoyed it even more.

Part Two, however, is when things get really interesting. Mostly because that's when Henry finds Captain Hook (who is merely cowardly deckhand Hook - yeah, Rumple sure did a number on him there) and they go off to find Emma in the Tower of Characters the Villains Want Forgotten. Which becomes a little more ironic by the end of the episode.

Actually, everything with Emma and Hook in the alternate Enchanted Forest was great. Even though Hook is merely a shell of his former self - but it was Emma's turn to be his personal motivational speaker - and it worked great!

Until Evil!Charming stabbed him dead and pretty much broke every heart in the land (every heart that matters, anyway). By that time, I was yelling for Emma to fix this hellish reality and get back to 1955 and destroy the Sports Almanac and put everything back to the way it was supposed to be.

(Huh - if last year's finale is Back to the Future, then this is probably meant to be Back to the Future Part II. Which means next year... they've got to get a Wild West motif in there somehow... Interesting...)

The one part that REALLY got me emotional, though... Probably not the one you think (if you've been following my reviews of Once Upon A Time this season). The ending was rough - no question. But that's TV for you. They have to set up intense cliffhangers so the next season has something interesting and compelling to work with. And very few things are going to be more compelling than Team Storybrooke looking for Emma and getting her out of the grasp of the Darkness (oh, who am I kidding? I'm mostly looking forward to the intense Captain Swan drama and angst that will come of this. What can I say? I like seeing my favorite characters suffer - makes for a good story).

But my favorite part - particularly since we've been following Emma and Hook and I've been pleading for their True Love story to work out - was when Emma admitted that she loves Hook, but it's after he was killed and now it's too late for her to do anything about it. BUT - they're still in the Alternate Universe Crapsack World, and they can still change things.

Fast forward to getting out of the Alternate Universe Crapsack World and everyone's okay and fine - and Killian is just peachy too. Emma runs up to tackle him and oh so nearly says those three magical little words - and SHE CAN'T DO IT!

I guess that's reality for you. Even after losing Hook in the alternate world and being upset that she never got to tell him how she felt - when she was back in the real world and he was fine and everyone was happy... she still didn't tell him. Her nerve completely failed her and she couldn't tell him. And... that just sucked.

(On the other hand, still means we have more to look forward to, right?)

What else - Henry's now the Author (CALLED IT!) He may have broken the quill, but his newfound power is going to come back and be useful again. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it! (hey, if they can de-youthify Pinocchio and bring August back for the sake of a plotline, Author!Henry is going to happen).

Black Swan

So - Emma's now the Dark One and she's gone to who-knows-where. And Team Storybrooke is on their way to find Merlin so he can destroy the Dark One for good (but not Emma, because I will cut a bitch if that is the case). Rumple is sans-darkness, which is going to be an interesting development (he's going to be an entirely new character, so if any of you still enjoyed rat-bastard-Dark-One-Rumple... tough turtles). Belle told Rumple what we ALL were screaming since "A Tale of Two Sisters" clear back in September - that he could have had his happiness in Storybrooke without trying to destroy anybody (blah).

Next year - I guess Lily will still be around to create another unnecessary sideshow (...whoo).

Season 4 Wrap-Up

Here's my thought as I was watching this - the Author storyline was kind of a bust. At least, as far as it was with everyone stuck in Storybrooke. I think it would have worked MUCH better if everyone was actually IN the Enchanted Forest while the story was being changed. Like - at the beginning of the story arc, Rumple (or whoever) sent everyone back to the book and the goal was to change the story from there. Forget all this Queens of Darkness crap - just find the Author, establish that he's a conniving weasel and make him the bad guy in all of this (though Ursula and Cruella were cool - but they didn't do anything with them. And this Maleficent suffered the same defanging fate as the Angelina Jolie version, which is entirely too unfortunate).

Frozen was amazing. I loved Once's version of Elsa and Anna and the inclusion of the Snow Queen. Sadly, they couldn't keep that magic going throughout the rest of the season, which is a shame. The second half of the finale kind of messed with my emotions, but that was because there was so much Captain Swan goodness and angst (and, really, I've missed them for the past few episodes, so it was like depriving a child of sugar for so long and then suddenly letting them run wild in the candy store).

I hope Season 5 does well, honestly. I hope we get some new and exciting character arcs and they let some of these others rest for a time (I could do without so much Rumple. And even Regina's getting a bit tired and worn, especially her Evil Queen persona). I'm looking forward to some new material with characters that haven't gotten much love lately. But I'm not going to get my hopes up.

If anyone but Killian Jones saves Emma Swan, however, things will be thrown. That is all.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Out With a Whimper

Review/Recap of Once Upon a Time Episode 4.20 "Mother" - SPOILERS

Dear Once Upon a Time - What. The. Hell. Happened??

Last season I was so excited for the season finale! The back half of Season 3 was so fun and entertaining and the finale had so much promise for goodness. This year, you cashed in all your chips on Frozen and 4B pretty much has sucked all the way through (barring a few light moments). All I have to say going into next week's finale is THANK GOODNESS THIS IS OVER!!

Seriously - this story arc was pretty painful to endure. Sure, it had it's promising moments and its bright spots, but on the whole... it went a whole lotta nowhere.

I suppose it's fitting that the Enchanted Forest flashbacks involved a colossal continuity monkey wrench in bringing Cora back to the storyline. When I heard that Regina's mother was coming back, this is what I predicted she would do: *whine, whine, bitch, "Regina, you're not good enough for anything or anyone, let me run your life" blah, blah, blah.* And I was right, wasn't I? With an added bonus of "I care about your happiness, but not really" - I just... I was done with Cora a loooooong time ago. How many times do we have to repeat this thing with Regina and Cora? WE GET IT ALREADY! THEY HAVE A CRAPPY RELATIONSHIP! YOU HAVE SUFFICIENTLY BEAT THAT DEAD HORSE INTO THE GROUND!

I guess since Neal is dead, they have to pound that other tired old parent-child dynamic into dust too.

(We still have Regina's mother coming back to be a cackly bitch - YET AGAIN - but we can't even get a flashback to Captain Hook's childhood? Learn what his parents were like? Especially since he gave that beautiful pep talk to Emma about trusting parents that want the best for you? Or even give Belle another pre-Rumple flashback. I mean, they've got SO MANY other characters to play around with, why keep coming back to these ones that we are more than finished with??)

(It's just a complaint I have about this show. When they take on new characters and cover new territory, they do really well. But when they keep covering old ground that's been dealt with and done already - I'm just over it).

Back to the grind -

Emma comes back to Storybrooke with Regina and Lily and Zelena in tow. Hook is delightedly rubbing it in Rumple's face that Emma didn't turn dark (oh gee - WHO COULD HAVE PREDICTED THIS? Rumple's half-assed villainous plan falling to pieces?) Emma has a tender reunion with Henry and Killian and summarily ignores her parents (understandable). Maleficent is introduced to her daughter (don't care - they've successfully de-clawed Mal as it is and I've completely lost interest). Regina carts Zelena off to the lock-up loony bin under Storybrooke General Hospital. and then goes off to find the Author.

I do like that the Author is a fan of Regina - so much so that he created officially-unofficial fanfic in which Regina and Robin end up together in the Enchanted Forest (that's what that random illustration was). And he's happy to create her happy ending - except he needs magic ink, which can only be made from the blood of a Dark Savior (rather specific - how did he get it in the Enchanted Forest? How many Dark Saviors were there running around Fairy Tale Land?) Regina (smartly) gets blood from Lily, since she has all of Emma's darkness (which - I still call bullshit on that plot point). But then Regina backs out at the last minute - thereby FINALLY illustrating the lesson that I've been shouting at these characters - that it's not what fate or the Author or anybody else gives you. Your destiny is what you make it!

Really, this whole story arc has been much ado about a fat load of nothing. We had a couple of great episodes with Ursula and Cruella - but they were written out without warning. Maleficent wasn't that interesting. I didn't care about Lily at all. The idea of an Anti-Savior as a foil to Emma is intriguing, but they didn't do anything with that. Just one episode of "Will Emma shoot her childhood friend?" (come on, guys - that's wasn't going to happen) and then this anti-climatic crap which proves that we already knew what would happen.

Next week is a two-part adventure within the "Heroes and Villains" book, so Season 4 is pretty much over. And here is my assessment - Frozen was amazing! I will watch the Frozen story arc all day everyday. Elsa and Anna were a beautiful addition to what OUAT already established. The Snow Queen was a perfect follow-up to the Oz storyline. Snow White's involvement was kept to a minimum, which probably helped things tremendously. and, excepting the pitiful treatment of the fallout of Rumple taking Hook's heart, those 11 episodes were handled quite well.

Queens of Darkness was neither about the Queens, nor darkness. It was unfocused and spotty and had no point to it. Villains like Regina and Hook are pretty well reformed characters. Rumple is a complete asshole and I don't care that his heart is just about dead. Now, if you want to play up the danger of having a Dark One without Rumple's conscience to hold him back... well, you should have done something more than throw that out there at the last minute. It was a complete cop-out and explained nothing. There were good parts, but the whole was lacking (sort of like what happened with Neverland - a lot of build-up, lots of expectation, zero payoff).

You know what this story arc is like? (and apologies for bringing THIS travesty against fiction up) It's like the end of Breaking Dawn (the final Twilight book). There was this great big build up to this GINORMOUS EPIC VAMPIRE (and werewolf) BATTLE. And then... it just didn't happen. Everyone changed their minds and went home. It's pretty much the greatest disappointment in all of the history of storytelling and beyond (if you have anything worse to compare it to, I'd love to hear about it).

Next Week - Rumple becomes Charming, Snow becomes the Evil Queen (and my eyes roll right out of my head), Emma becomes the Dark One (that's my guess), Hook gets that gorgeous black velvet vest back. Okay - I guess it isn't a total wash.

(Ugh - I hope this finally gets the "ZOMG Snow White can be TEH EBIL!" out of their system, 'cause I STILL ain't buyin' what they're sellin'. As far as I'm concerned, she's still Pretty Perfect Princess Lollipop Rainbow Sparklepoo.)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Road Trip From Hell

Review/Recap of Once Upon a Time 4.19 "Lily" - SPOILERS!!

This is another episode wherewith the main storyline where I'm all....

And since the main storyline with this episode is slowly becoming the main story arc of this entire "Queens of Darkness" thing (which, now we're down to "Queen" singular. Unless we count Zelena as an honorary QoD... which ... I could be persuaded to do. We'll get to her, though) - that's kind of a problem.

Let me put it this way -  I was intrigued at the beginning of Season 4B with this promo of Emma looking like she's being turned toward darkness by Maleficent, Ursula, and Cruella.

Villains turning the Savior to evil? THAT is cool and interesting and fun. My question was how would these three turn Emma toward their way of thinking where it was genuinely something that she wanted to do. Like, have her go full-on Anakin Skywalker and become Darth Vader (before we found out he was just a whiny little ass, of course)

But in every twist and turn with this story - I'm just not feeling it. At all. This wasn't about the Queens turning Emma to their side for the sake of having the Savior turn evil. It was *sigh* about Rumple manipulating the system because - Rumple's an ass. Again. And again. Ad nauseum. Lather, rinse, repeat.

(I am 100% done with Rumplestiltskin. I liked him better when he was this ambiguous trickster that you didn't know who's side he was on. Now... ugh - I'm just tired of his crap).

Add in that painfully stupid plot point with Snow White freaking out because her child maybe-maybe-not-could-sorta-possibly turn evil and SHE MUST BE A HERO otherwise there will be shame and dishonor on the entire Charming family - holy heck, that was so freaking stupid. Not to the levels of "Peter Pan is Rumplestiltskin's father" stupid, but it's pretty darn close.

You know what - I'm busting out the gifs for this one.

What's left with this episode, then? This whole thing deals with Lily as a grown-up - Emma's "friend" we met in flashback last story arc when she was helping teenage!Emma steal Pop-Tarts from a convenience store. Who, of course, turns out to be Maleficent's daughter (and points to Emma for hanging that lampshade). While I do like the idea of exploring this situation with these two princesses - one of darkness, one of light - I feel like if they wanted that to be the storyline, they should have started out with it. Stop this stupid stringing-us-along with all these dumb gimmicks and assorted other bullcrap. I mean, at least with Frozen and the Snow Queen arc, that made sense (and Emma's friendship with Elsa made even MORE sense). The two stories were so closely related and it fell into place with what the Storybrooke characters were already doing - that felt real and natural. This whole thing - just feels forced and cheap. And I don't like it. At all.

So what did I like? If anything?

The final three minutes where Regina and Emma (and *grumble* Lily) get to Casa de Hood in New York. And the final reveal to Robin that Marian is actually Zelena and Zelena has successfully cuckolded Robin that she is pregnant with Robin Hood's baby.


Okay, okay - it's kind of soapy and dumb. But that's the thing with Once Upon a Time - without the fairy tale elements, this would be just another overwrought daytime soap opera (except ABC puts those in primetime - hello, Scandal, Revenge, and that stupid Broadchurch knockoff that they kept throwing promos of up during OUAT). But let me remind you of some key elements in fairy tales and mythology in general that make this new monkeywrench (pun not intended) Zelena's thrown in kind of fitting in this world of fairy tale madness -

- How many kids by how many mothers did Zeus have? There were other gods out sowing their wild oats as well, but Zeus is the king-daddy of them all. It's practically a tired old line to say "I'm a son/daughter of Zeus" in Greek mythology! "Yeah, so's the kid down the road. What's your point?" There are others - it's a trope as old as time.

- In Gregory Maguire's "Wicked" (the book, not the musical), the Wicked Witch does have a child, though (through some batshit insane circumstances), she doesn't realize the child is hers. So, this fits right alongside the Wicked storyline, without outright copying it.

- Think about it - a child of Robin Hood and the Wicked Witch, Conceived in trickery, jealousy, revenge - man, how screwed up is that kid going to be? And if Zelena gets away and is free to raise the baby - they might as well scrap this stupidity with Lily and Maleficent right now and wait this plotline out.

Things I Liked/Noticed -

- Oh, Killian. You continue to remain the one single bright spot in this horrible story. Sticking by Emma and reminding her not to turn to the dark side - and I actually believe you because I know oh so well that you've been there and you've clawed your way back out to be a hero. Your storyline is so underserved in this show and I keep waiting and hoping that you'll get more to do with it because every time we do get something from you, it is absolutely brilliant and wonderful and amazing.

- Please, please, please, please let this be it for Rumple and Belle. Rumple knows he's no good for Belle, Will loves her, she... at least cares about Will. Just, please let Scarlet Beauty stay a thing. And, while you're at it, FREAKING GIVE BELLE SOMETHING TO DO!!! (other than be a pawn in the arduous back and forth between Regina and Rumple. Just - over it).

- In the flashback with teen!Emma, the family was serving Cluckity Cluck Chicken (that restaurant that Cruella took Team Dark Squad to the drive-thru clear back in episode 12 - oh, "Darkness on the Edge of Town" - you set up so much lovely potential. Only to have it be shattered into so many disappointing pieces).

- Abby Ross continues to shine as young!Emma. She's wonderful and I wish there was a way for her to have a fairy tale story because I think she'd be enjoyable to watch in such a setting. Sadly, that's not how Emma's story goes and more's the pity.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Lily is a dragon, Snow is going to be effing barbecue (points if you understand that reference), Maleficent is ineffectual (I don't know what's worse - this story line or what happened to Angeline Jolie's portrayal of Disney's most badass villain EVER! It's like - you totally clipped her horns! She's not scary anymore!) And that Author? The only good thing he's done is tell Rumple that he was the biggest ass of all the characters he's written.

Let me put it this way - last season, I was eagerly anticipating the season finale. This year, I just don't even care. But I'm going to finish it out because I said I would. So, there's that. I'm not a quitter.

Have a promo and let's get out of here -

*snore* When's Agents of SHIELD on again?

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Truth is in the Telling

Review/Recap of Once Upon a Time 4.18 "Sympathy for the De Vil" - SPOILERS!

Guess I need this here as a matter of ceremony -

So, we get the Cruella story with this one (HOORAY!) But before we can get to Cruella - there are a few things we have left to take care of.

Heart As Black As Night

*sigh* Belle just keeps getting stuck in the middle of the villains' bullcrap. But it's Rumple's fault for putting Robin Hood in danger first. So, chalk that up to Rumple being his typical asshole self.

(but wasn't Rumple's dark heart, like, the grossest thing ever?)

All Innocent Children

I've watched this episode a couple of times and I'm trying to pinpoint the parts where Cruella's backstory is actually about her being the villain and her mother is the innocent. Possible it's just the point of view that the story is being told from - we're supposed to feel bad for the poor helpless girl locked in the attic. Whose name is Cruella? (when that's what you name your child, what the heck are you supposed to expect??)

Anyway, I did like the explanation that Cruella comes from a 1920s Great Gatsby world (even if I hate Gatsby with all my heart) and that it's one of many storytelling realms out there. That more than opens up the possibility of Once exploring other fictional worlds, regardless of if they're actually fairy tales or not (and as long as they can get the rights to them. I don't expect the Hogwarts Express to come chugging into Storybrooke on September 1. But if it did - that would be awesome!)

I also liked the explanation of the Author's magic - that whatever her writes comes true. But it still kind of sticks in my craw that everyone seems to think that the Author is the one with all this control and power over these characters' lives and nobody has any free will. I'm hoping that this comes back into play before the end of the season and it hits everyone with a big ol' "WELL DUH!"

Also - the use of the song "Cruella De Vil" in the 1920s flashbacks was fantastic! I love it when Once can work Disney references into the show. Unrelated, Cruella playing "Angry Birds" - that was stupendous! And Author!Ink can do awesome things to your hair and makeup (permanently).

Am I the only one utterly annoyed by this Author dude? As much as Rumplestiltskin has infuriated me this season, I was ready for Rumple to off him just so I didn't have to listen to his weaseling whining anymore.

The Dark Side of the Force

All of this leads up to Emma's turn to the darkness. From Snow and Charming's self-fulfilling prophecy and Emma's resentment at being used - yes, I too would be upset about that. And it's understandable that Emma would take Regina and Killian with her to find Henry - even if they both are trying to get Emma to forgive her mom and dad.

And then we get this line from Emma, which perfectly illustrates everything I was thinking -

"Forgive me if I don't take advice from a woman who held a grudge for half her life because a ten-year-old spilled a secret."

(I love it when this show exhibits self-awareness.)

Also, Emma's remark about how Hook never held himself up as a paragon of virtue and that both he and Regina were both honest in who they were - THAT right there is where a lot of things clicked for me. Why Snow White has been bugging the crap out of me lately - actually, for much of the run of the show. Charming hasn't bothered me quite as much because he wasn't quite as hyped up on "OH NOES OUR BABY MIGHT BE TEH EVUL!" (that's just the most recent instance of this). Snow is the one who freaked out because her heart had the tiniest bit of darkness clear back in Season 2. Even when she had what whole "confession" to Regina about her heart being untouched, I'm just like - OH PUH-LEASE! No one is buying this "Oh, I'm not all that perfect" act from Princess Rainbow Lollipop. Personally, I'm glad that Emma is pushing back against her parents right now. It presents an interesting foil - that perfect Snow White can't engineer a pure and virtuous life for her daughter. That Emma has to make her own choices (which she has been doing for most of her life - let's not forget).

So we find out that Rumple is trying to trick Emma into killing Cruella, who is unable to kill anybody, and it works. With Emma looking red-eyed and venomous and thisclose to turning completely dark.

(Or she's just lost a lot of sleep and is stressed out over not having a moment's peace from all these crazy villains.)

Regardless - I love that they ended on that shot of Emma looking out into space. Without any resolution of her finding out about Cruella's inability to kill another person. It gave the episode that much more kick and next week's episode even more important because - how is this going to play out?

Next Week - It looks like the Lily storyline is about to payoff. Or get dragged out some more. Who the heck knows?

(PS - Puppy Coat! It's morbid as hell, but it's Cruella De Vil. They had to nod toward that somehow!)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Preemptive Critic - "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

Duh -

What do you think?


Christmas needs to be, like, yesterday.

(I preemptively love this movie)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Playing by the Rules of Someone Else's Game

Review/Recap of Once Upon a Time 4.17 "Heart of Gold" - SPOILERS!

YAY! Once is back! (darn holidays, causing unnecessary mini-hiatuses in the middle of a story arc)

This was an interesting episode, both in terms of what happens in the storyline, and in how it is structured. First - the structure. There has only been one other episode that hasn't featured the Charming Family quite so much (to my knowledge). That episode was "The Crocodile" from Season 2 - where neither Snow nor Emma make an appearance (though Charming was in Storybrooke quite a bit). Also, this episode had the major action take place away from Storybrooke, though it's still in modern day. ALSO, also - WICKED WITCH!

Guess who's back, bitches!
(She may be evil as hell - but I adore Zelena as a villain. And if I ever get the chance to meet Rebecca Mader - I hope she's ready for a [benign] fangirl attack because HELLO!)

Another thing that makes this episode notable that, while Rumplestiltskin does put the flashback action in motion, this is all about Robin Hood and his family. While Robin is Regina's fated One True Love... we really don't know that much about his backstory (gee - a charming lovable rogue who used to be on the wrong side of the law but is now on the side of good and is a love interest for a major leading lady on the show and we don't have a lot of backstory for him - WHO ELSE DOES THAT REMIND YOU OF?? Then again, we have even less for Robin Hood than we do for Captain Hook, so shouldn't complain. Too much).

The first time I watched this, though, the DVR cut off, like, the first ten minutes of the episode, so I missed all the stuff in Storybrooke with Emma pissed off at her mom and dad for what they did with Maleficent's baby (that whole thing still - UGH! WHY!) And I missed the part where the Author calls Rumple a pain-in-the-ass (and I snicker appreciatively. Welcome to my world, dude). And I also missed the part where Rumple gives Regina Robin's number and then we flash back to "Nine Weeks Ago" - so I was kind of confused when the DVR recording started with Robin Hood chasing down a delinquent on a horse (you know, DVRs have been around for a while now - you would THINK someone would figure out how to make sure that the whole episode can get recorded. I don't know if it's the network dinking around with start times or if the DVR capabilities are wonky, but SOMEBODY better figure this crap out!)

So, it turns out the Hood Family's been living in Neal's old apartment (wouldn't that have been rented out to someone else by now? TV logic - don't look too far into it) and exiled!Rumple comes looking for his son's old place. And has a heart attack? Okay sure - we'll go with it. Rumple's an old man by now and without magic, he can't do very much. Robin, being the heroic and honorable lug that he is, takes Rumple to the hospital and Rumple sends his off to Walsh's furniture store (remember Walsh? Wizard of Oz-turned-monkey? Emma's almost-fiance?) because Zelena would have sent him with some magical stuff and he's hoping that the Elixir of the Wounded Heart can be found there.

("Wizard of Oak" - heh. Point goes to the OUAT Writers Room)

Also, Hidden Mickey -

I see what you did there.
In the Enchanted Forest (actually, Sherwood Forest) flashback, we discover Robin of Loxley, a former-thief-turned-tavern-owner who's being threatened by the Sheriff of Nottingham because of late taxes (what else does the government do?) The Dark One comes to Robin with a bundle of gold in exchange for that same Elixir, which is in Oz. And this is where I do my punch-the-air HELL YES! fangirl flail because Once!Oz is absolutely gorgeous! I loved the Oz stuff in Season Three and I was hoping they'd find a reason to use it again (seriously - is nobody going to go back for Glinda? What about the prophecy of who is going to fill the Innocence seat on the Sisterhood of Witches? These are the things I think about!)

(My money's still on Regina, but nobody asked me).

Robin sneaks into the Emerald City (*resists temptation to sing "One Short Day"* *fails miserably*) to steal the Elixir - but not before meeting Will Scarlet (geez, Will - Wonderland, Enchanted Forest, Storybrooke, and now Oz? How in the crap do you get around?) who asks Robin to hook him up with some of that wounded-heart-healing potion when he swipes it. In the Emerald City ("Oooooone shoooooort daaaaaay...." okay - I'm done now), Robin finds the Elixir, plus a few other things  and Zelena catches him stealing from her. He gets away by using the Wizard's magic bow that always hits its target (Ohhhhhhhh - THAT'S where that came from!) and he leaves Oz. As well as the one sample of potion he could get with Will, because Will wanted it to help him get over the death of his sister.

Robin doesn't deliver to Rumple, so he loses his tavern (I guess), but then he rejoins the Merry Men in their thieving ways, with the promise that he will only steal from the rich and give to the poor - and he takes his new wife along for the ride to start a family as bandits.

Back in New York, Robin gets the Elixir for Rumple if Rumple leaves his family alone. Robin leaves, Rumple takes the potion... which doesn't work.

Enter Marian.

Who isn't Marian, as it turns out. Through a complicated-yet-simple plot device, Zelena survived being stabbed by Rumple and she ended up time traveling with Hook and Emma. Zelena impersonated Marian (after killing the real Marian) and let herself be taken back to Storybrooke in an attempt to take away Regina's happiness (it's actually quite a clever plot). And Zelena is willing to let Rumple live, if he finds the Author and gets him to write Zelena a happy ending.

So THIS is where all this Author madness actually came from! Which makes Zelena an honorary-unofficial-but-totally-the-boss Queen of Darkness.

To which I say - HELL to the YES on that one!

When the Queens of Darkness story arc was introduced, I remember thinking - "This'll be cool - but it's too bad that they don't have the Wicked Witch anymore, 'cause she'd be a badass QoD!" And behold - here she is! As evil and over-the-top and amazingly fabulous as ever! I mean, I don't want them to overplay her or ruin her character, but I just LOVE Zelena in a way that I've never enjoyed a villain in any story EVER. I don't typically like the villains AT ALL - but she is sooooo my favorite!

This episode felt a lot like a breather before Crap Gets Real - but at the same time, it sets up the last push to the finale (which - not going to spoil anything, but I have seen pictures from the set of the finale and OH BOY this is going to be crazy!) And - I thought I knew where all this was going, but honestly, I have no clue. I don't know what rules they're playing by anymore, I don't know what's going to happen, who is going to turn to the darkness (if anyone will, honestly) - but I'm excited to find out.

(I haven't enjoyed an episode that didn't have any Captain Swan moments like this in a LONG time. It's an odd feeling, but no an unwelcome one).

Next Time -

Cruella's story! YAY!!!! Gimme!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Rhett Butler Marries Scarlett O'Hara and Other Unfortunate Truths

The following post is merely meant to be instructive in how my brain works. I'm not trying to make a point or get attention or garner pity. In fact, if this does attract pity from anyone, I will delete this blog and run off to live in a hermitage in the Himalayas.

(Okay - maybe I won't go that far. But I will rage at said-purveyors-of-pity with a tortured "YOU COMPLETELY MISSED THE POINT, ASSBRAIN!!" shouted out into the stratosphere. It's how I siphon off my rage ^_^)

~*~begin stream of consciousness~*~

About eleven years ago, I was a lowly staff writer for The Snowdrift, the student-run newspaper at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. Near the end of the spring semester, one of the opinion columnists who was about to graduate wrote a column in which his only goal was to be an ass. The column was more or less a stream-of-consciousness of every controversial and mean-spirited thing he could think of. I don't remember everything he wrote in that column - it was pretty disjointed - but I do remember that he called every female student at Snow fat and ugly. I also remember him saying afterwards that nobody read the paper unless there was something controversial, and this experiment proved him right.

Indeed it did. After his column was printed, it seemed like every woman (and a good handful of the men) at Snow wrote in to complain. The opinion section of the next issue had to carve out a good chunk of space to devote to these responses. I'd say he achieved his goal. People were reading the paper and talking about it. He got their attention, even if it was negative attention. And he wasn't apologetic in the slightest.

Why am I bringing this up? To make mention of the fact that you don't get noticed unless you do something incredibly stupid - or if you do something that could be perceived as incredibly stupid.

This is why I thought of the episode with the newspaper. Yesterday I was looking for a birthday present for my nephew (who turns one in a little over a week) and I happened to notice this adorable piece of baby couture -

I laughed, snapped a picture for Instagram and captioned it with that if my niece was still a little baby, I would totally buy this for her! (and if they had a version with camo and tractors, maybe I'd get one for my nephew. Hey, a little advertising never hurts.)

After I posted the picture and the caption, that obscenely annoying Stupid Desperate Voice in my head said "OMG -YOU IDIOT! You don't post stuff like that on social media! What if some guy sees it and writes you off as some pathetic old maid who's too desperate for a date and then he won't ask you out!"

To which I replied - "Dear Stupid Desperate Voice - I haven't been on a date since the first Hobbit movie came out. I don't think a picture of a onesie on a clearance rack at WalMart is going to affect that too much. And even if it does - it's a hell of a lot more attention than I've attracted in the last three years! I'll take anything at this point!"

(Yes, I have conversations with my mind chatter. I'm probably certifiably insane. But I somehow manage to function in the normal world).

This got me to thinking about how my attitudes and outlooks on dating have changed. It's been on my mind a lot lately. Ever since we had that idiotic "Dating Box" lesson at church a few weeks ago (it's some high school hold-over that these kids have that lit the fire under the boys' asses to ask girls out to prom or something) - I've decided that I'm taking on the Dowager Countess Violet (you know - Maggie Smith's character on Downton Abbey) outlook on this aspect of life. I've been in the game so long and am so tired of it that I might as well say whatever comes to my mind about it. Just like when your grandparents saw rude and offensive things and nobody bats an eye because Grandma's just crazy like that. That's what I'm going to do. Actually - I've already been doing it.

Some time ago, I was at a church activity for my Young Single Adult ward (which is an LDS congregation made up of single people ages 18-31. I'll be 30 in a little over a month, so I've got one foot in the grave as far as the YSA's are concerned).  At that activity, there was a guy that was about my age and he was completely surrounded by 20-22 year olds, just giggling and flirting with him like he was the last piece of meat at the buffet. I stood back and watched the scene unfold, like I had hundreds of times before, shaking my head at the idiocy on display.

After a while, we chanced to be at the Rice Krispy treat table at the same time. We introduced ourselves to each other and asked the typical "Where do you live?" "Are you working or going to school?" "Where do you work/What are you studying?" etc. Somewhere in the conversation his age came up and the comment just fell out of my mouth - "Ah - that explains the gaggle of fangirls you had earlier." He asked me to elaborate and I said "You're older, good-looking, have a good job, you're new(ish) in the ward - it's like throwing a bucket of blood in shark-infested waters!" He laughed and I threw out my Countless Violet comparison as a joke. Later that night, Stupid Desperate Voice came through and said "Oh, good job you idiot. He probably thinks you're a complete bitch for saying those things!" And my next thought was - "If he does, let him! That was damn hilarious!"

Here is my point - too many single women look at being single as a total hardship. Even when they're looking for things to be happy about, it's more akin to Scarlett O'Hara looking out at her family's plantation that has been made desolate by war and devastation and proclaiming through gritted teeth as she shakes her fist to the heavens - "I'LL NEVER BE HUNGRY AGAIN!!!!!"

Does anybody remember this movie in its entirety? Do you remember Scarlett O'Hara. She was a complete and total bitch. I defy you to find me a protagonist in any medium of fiction who is more heinous, awful, selfish, bratty, and whiny than her. She is patently unlikable and you're almost rooting for her to keel over dead at ANY point during the movie. And yet - she is the one who wins Rhett Butler - who is arguably every red-blooded female's dream guy (him or Mr. Darcy - take your pick), while all this time that wretched whore is pining after that complete and utter twit Ashley. So, I guess it helps to be the "Mean Girl" because guys like that? I have no freaking idea -  don't ask me to explain the male psyche. Actually - don't ask me to explain the female psyche either, because and they're just as batshit insane.

So, we've got all these young women claiming that they don't need a man and they don't need marriage and they're defiantly yelling out into the world that they ARE LOVED, DAMMIT! But really, they're just saying that to diffuse the stigma (or whatever) of being single. They are DETERMINED to feel loved and valued no matter what!

It's hilariously sad to watch.

These are just my observations and musings on my generations' modes and methods and attitudes of dating. They're asinine and completely ridiculous, but it's what I have to work with. I'm not bitter or resentful at all. On the contrary - I'm happy to make jokes at their desperation and insanity. I'm not going to close with scripture or any kind of motivational speechifying, because I think we get enough of that and it's not like it helps. And I'm not here to help anybody. I'm here to point and laugh at it all. Because I have reached the point in my dating process that everything is either going to be hilarious or it's going to be depressing. And I've had enough of depressing. Everything is so serious nowadays that I'm going to take my utter discouragement and make a joke out of it. You get attention by making fat jokes. Scarlett O'Hara is a bitch, but she still wins the hot guy in the end. I may be loved in the metaphoric sense, but it doesn't do me a damn lick of good in any other quantifiable ways.

And I've made peace with that.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Preemptive Critic - "Inside Out"

I think I might have spotlighted this movie already on my TPC feature, but this is Trailer #2 and it's even better then the first one -

I just that I haven't been feeling that great lately. Today there was just a lot of needless fighting and contention all around me, and I just don't do well with that sort of thing (especially when it gets out of control and even invades the places you thought were free of such garbage). Even when you try to explain that there's no reason for it, people get so entrenched in their way of thinking that it's pointless even to try fixing it. You just have to walk away and let them stew in their own juice (that, frankly, sounds disgusting). It reminded me of being on my mission when I would try to help someone, but they were having none of it, yet somehow I felt like I failed miserably, even though I did everything I knew how to do. And I probably bring it on myself for thinking I have to fix it all, but I really don't because everybody else has got to make their own decisions based on what they know. But that doesn't actually make me feel better about having failed.

What does this have to do with Inside Out? Honestly? Nothing. At least, nothing that I know of. But at the same time, I've heard people say that this is probably going to be a great movie to help kids (and adults) learn about mental health and such - and I'm already feeling it with this trailer (points for the video being set to Boston's "More Than a Feeling"). It doesn't take much for a movie like this to hit me where I need it most. Especially since I keep thinking no wondering about what I'm doing and if it's actually making any kind of difference to anybody. The answer is typically "No you're not doing a damn thing, you useless lump - nothing ever changes even when you want it to, so why in the hell are you even trying anymore?" and that doesn't help my mindset. It even makes me feel like the things that I have accomplished in the past don't mean diddly-squat, even though at the time I thought I was doing awesome.

Anyway - this movie's gonna make me bawl and I can't wait to see it. Sorry for the depressing blog post, but I'm just a little frustrated right now and if it takes a trailer for a Pixar movie to help me process it - well... welcome to being me.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Road To Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

Review/Recap of Once Upon a Time 4.16 "Best Laid Plans" - SPOILERS!

I'm sorry - but after this episode wasn't quite as ZOMG TRAUMA as I thought it was going to be, I'm kind of in a giddy/punchy mood. I'm LAUGHING at how serious Snow and Charming were about the whole "We stole Maleficent's baby and we suck forever!" Faces of Sadness. And, thus, this song becomes appropriate because it's sooooo over-the-top in this case -

(Can you truly, truly imagine Snow and Charming going OMG SOOPER DARK om nom nom? I can't. So that whole Snowing Redemption sequence was unintentionally freaking hilarious because - let's face it - NOT GONNA HAPPEN)

Let me just start by saying - IT'S ALL SNOW WHITE'S FAULT! Think about it - she's the one that was all freaking out about "OUR BABY IS GOING TO BECOME ANAKIN SKYWALKER AND WE MUST AVOID IT AT ALL COSTS" while Charming's like "Our baby was cute and adorable and let me dazzle our audience with my endearing Daddy!Charming act." And then you have the Apprentice giving the whole "Everyone Has The Ability To Choose Good or Evil" speech THAT I HAVE BEEN YELLING AT THE TV FOR THE PAST FOUR WEEKS! (with the exception of last week because Hook's dilemma with the Author was pitch perfect, especially given how everyone else has been losing their shit about it - so, yeah, their worry might rub off on him a bit).

BUT NOOOO - Snow has to be all "NO DARKNESS FOR BABY!" so she goes and pulls an Oedipus where they tried to avoid the prophecy by fulfilling it anyway and life sucks and UBER GUILT that I totally did not buy for one measly second and... yeah, this episode wasn't as heavy as the promos and sneak peeks would have us believe. I would get upset and yell about false advertising, but this is ABC. If there isn't over-the-top HIGH DRAMA every week, pigs are flying and Satan is ice-skating.

Let me repeat myself - Snow White is not evil. She is never going to be evil. No matter how many times you tease us with dark spots on her heart or bad things she's done - I don't buy it AT ALL. She is not that badass no matter how many scenes of her running through the forest with a bow and arrow and wearing white leather pants you show us. She is still that sweet princess-y chick that sings to birds and totally flipped out when there was a sorta, kinda, possible chance that her baby could maybe be a villain. That whole thing was exceedingly ridiculous and Emma was right to be pissed at her mother for believing that she could become a villain.

Good grief.

Anyway - what else is there to like?

Killian Jones - STILL BETTER THAN ALL YOUR FAVES! After Ursula tells him Rumple's plan, what does he do? Immediately inform Team Charming that - Emma could go dark, yo! Even if Snow and Charming have their whole "This is super-uncomfortable" whisper argument (that Henry was completely oblivious to, apparently), Emma is quick to reassure Killian that she is NOT going to go dark, no matter what (even if the good captain is doubtful - and, truly, he has reason to be cautious. Unlike Ma and Pa Charming. I really didn't buy their concern AT ALL. Just in case you weren't sure of my opinion of the whole thing.

Sticking with the good ship Captain Swan - Killian getting a wee bit jealous of Emma and August's friendship - but Emma totally reassuring her precious pirate that they're just friends. I live for these little moments between them both (also - Mal's sleeping curse put Emma and Hook to sleep next to each other and that was just "totes adorbs").

(Yes, Emma - scruffy hot dudes who wear leather jackets. You totally have a type. But I'm gonna be 100% honest here - it's a good type to have ^_^)

Henry finding out the Author's hiding place - also that he gave Regina the forgery. Give that kid a medal and all the cookies in the world!

Gold - still holds the title for most in need of smackings (OH SURE - try to explain things to Belle while she's asleep. THAT makes EVERYTHING BETTER you freaking dipshit! Only because he knows she'd boot his ass right back out the door - and she would be justified in doing so).

MY WALT DISNEY AUTHOR TRIBUTE THEORY WAS CORRECT!! (sort of. It's close enough that I'm taking it). The way August explained the Author was BRILLIANT! I love that it's not just one person, but it's more like a caretaker role - someone who keeps these stories alive in the hearts and minds of the next generation, even if they tweak them a bit here and there. Of course, Uncle Walt was the one who preserved fairy tales for our generation (more or less - he got the ball rolling on fairy tales in movies and such and that tradition continues to this day), so why wouldn't Once Upon a Time, which owes so much to Walt's interpretation, pay tribute to the man? Even if he does end up being a troublemaking trickster in the end? I still think it's clever.

(Didn't he say that the peddler's name was Walt? I swear that's what he meant. I may have to give it another watch before I know for sure).

Overall - a few small pieces were good, the whole story was kind of "meh..." I guess I'm just not that enamored of Snow and Charming's deep dark secret (strike that - Snow is the one that gets on my nerves. I have zero problem with Charming most of the time).


Seriously - last season's Oz storyline was amazing and wonderful and I wanted to know if they'd ever revisit that realm - BEHOLD IT IS HAPPENING!

(but dammit I have to wait two weeks. WHY MUST YOU HURT ME IN THIS WAY?)

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Million-and-One Reasons Why Killian Jones is Better Than Everybody Else

Review/Recap of Once Upon a Time 4.15 "Poor Unfortunate Soul"  - SPOILERS!

NOTE: Yes, I skipped 4.14 "Enter the Dragon." Last week was kind of crazy for me and it slipped through the cracks. To be fair, that episode was completely and totally… meh. You know what I got out of it? More of Pre-Curse Regina's whining, Maleficent isn't as badass as she should be, hints of a Sleeping Beauty story I'd like to see but probably never will, Aurora is an ineffectual wet blanket, Rumple holds onto his title of "One Most in Need of Being Smacked Upside the Head," Killian Jones in the rain is sexy as hell, and Colin O'Donoghue needs to win all the freaking awards in the world but won't because the awards committees are stupid and ABC isn't HBO or AMC. Nothing I didn't already know and neither did you. Good enough? Moving On!


I'm not even kidding - I will probably watch this one as much as I do "Good Form" or "The Jolly Roger" or even the Captain Swan movie from last season.

I derive so much enjoyment from the Hook-centric episodes compared to some of the others OUAT gives me, I wonder why they even bother with the other characters (that's a rhetorical fangirly question - still, I wouldn't complain if a few changes were to take place). And it's not like the episodes that reveal Hook's backstory are treated any different than an episode of, say, Snow and Charming or Regina or Rumple. But I think what's different is that this show has become so saturated with those other characters that when we do get one that's about a different main character (i.e. Hook or Emma or Belle - or even the Frozen backstory from Season 4A) - it suddenly becomes more interesting and novel.

So - where to begin?

Pan's Villainy Revealed - FINALLY!

First of all - we finally (FINALLY) get an episode where we see past!Hook working for Pan (after all that crap was teased last season AND NEVER FULLY EXPLAINED. Nope, I'm never going to let that go) and it's... going to the Enchanted Forest on a cake run.

(Most Feared Monster in Neverland, everybody).

Still, it's great to see pirate!Hook again because, as much as I love Killian's modern look and whatnot, it's easy to forget his origins and I sometimes miss it.

Also great to see is a new twist on the classic story of The Little Mermaid - this time, with a young Ursula and her father, Poseidon (played by Ernie Hudson of Ghostbusters fame - tell me that was not completely awesome!) Turns out, Ursula's the one with the magically beautiful voice, which her father uses to entice ships to run aground and sink - which very nearly happens to the crew of The Jolly Roger (but doesn't, thanks to some quick thinking on the part of the ship's captain and a last minute change of heart from Ursula).

Look Out, Madam Mermaid

Okay - can I just say that my inner four-year-old Disney fan was squealing with joy at the fact that young Ursula in OUAT sings "Fathoms Below" from the movie. And if you have no idea what the crap I'm talking about (first of all - WHAT?) - here you go -

Anyway, Ursula's gone human and is singing in a tavern in order to earn money to get away from her father because she hates that he uses her voice in order to seek revenge for her mother's death at the hand of pirates. Ursula wants her voice to be used to make people happy and to do good things. Hook and his crew are in the tavern and he recognizes her voice as the one that could have wrecked his ship, but didn't - and being the total softie that he is (underneath that angry and vengeful pirate exterior), he agrees to take Ursula wherever she'd like to go.

Problem is, Daddy Poseidon gets wind of Ursula's plans and tries to convince Hook to steal Ursula's voice, but Hook - honorable scamp that he is, promised that he wouldn't hurt Ursula because that's not good form. But he does ask Ursula to steal the squid ink that Poseidon promised in exchange for Hook double-crossing Ursula so Hook could get his revenge on Rumple (confused yet?) Poseidon puts a stop to this scheme as well and Hook, in his anger, steals Ursula's singing voice anyway, which causes Ursula to become the vengeful and evil sea witch - and that's the terrible thing Hook did to Ursula that was referenced two episodes ago.

You Don't Need The Author To Get What You Want

This brings us to present day Storybrooke and the Queens of Darkness. Team Hero figures out that Rumple tricked Belle by using Killian's appearance to steal the dagger from her (oh man - CAN'T BELLE JUST CATCH A BREAK FROM ALL OF RUMPLE'S BULLSHIT?) Killian is rightfully pissed that the Dark One is still at large, so he decides to use his past with Ursula to find out what Rumple has planned. And here is where things start to get interesting.

All through this "Operation Mongoose" business, I'm watching these villains seek to manipulate the system and all I can think is "Hook's got his happy ending and he was a villain once - what gives?" So I am glad that this episode tried to answer that question and actually addressed this whole situation in several ways.

The first one is since Hook has made some pretty big changes in his life and turned his whole outlook around, he offers Ursula her happy ending back that he stole in the first place. If Ursula agrees to cough up the Dark One's plans, he'll give her back her singing voice.

See? No author, no magic, just honesty. Piece of cake.

Except - Ursula's voice is on The Jolly Roger. The same Jolly that Hook traded to Blackbeard for the magic bean to get back to Emma in New York (excuse me while I go cry for a moment... okay, I'm good). But Ursula has ways of getting the ship back - which she does. And... it's a bottled ship.


Sadly, the tiny!Jolly isn't going to be much help, so Hook and Ursula go to Gold's Shop where Belle and Will are totally making out have a potion from Wonderland that can make the Jolly big again (and Hook trades a few snipes with Will - after a bit of a harsh-but-not-undeserved jab at Belle "Oh NOW you check my identity!")


(I'm thinking that's where Hook and Emma are going to take up residence when all this is over. Just a theory, mind you)

Long story short - Killian gives Ursula back the seashell with her voice (it's locked in a safe where the key is in Killian's hook and I just LOVE that!) - but she can't get her voice back because of reasons, so she gets pissed and knocks Killian out and chucks him out into the ocean.

(For a guy who spent hundreds of years sailing the seas, Killian certain spends a lot of time almost drowning)

But never fear! Ariel is here to save the day! (HELLO FRIEND I MISSED YOU TOO!) There's an explanation of why she's here, which I'll save for someone else to dissect - but Ariel, though her appearance is brief, gives what may be THE most important nugget of wisdom in all this Operation Mongoose insanity -

I sure hope he's filing this away for future reference (gif set source)
The Only Payoff For Having Any Faith...

Before I head into my OMG TEH FEELS!!!! conclusion - I have to circle back for Emma Swan. Who, if you remember, is being kept from the truth of her own villainous potential from her incredibly naive-but-well-meaning parents (and who are slowly crawling up my list of People Most In Need Of Smackings - not quite to Rumple-levels, but they're somewhere in there). I'd just like to draw this parallel (that was pointed out to me via Tumblr - but I've got some to say about it).

I think I figured out why Snow and Charming (mostly Snow) have been annoying the crap out of me lately - Snow has got this insufferable way of denying that anything bad is or could possibly happen. I liken it to the part in Season 2 of in Avatar: The Last Airbender where Team Avatar is in the Earth Kingdom capital of Ba Sing Se to ask for the Earth King's help in fighting the Fire Nation. But we find out that the Dai Li (the Earth Kingdom's secret agents) routinely kidnap and brainwash people who even mention the war within the walls of Ba Sing Se. Everyone must be happy OR ELSE!

Snow is kind of like that in her own way - any hint of Emma doing or saying anything that could be construed as "dark" is a problem. But Snow - for all OUAT's assertion that this Snow White is badass and she was a bandit and she knows how to ride horses and shoot arrows and wear pants and go camping - she's still Snow White. She's still that sweet little princess lady who sings to birds and lives in a palace and befriends dwarves and everything is rainbows and sparkles and YAY! They are fooling precisely no one with this tough-woman act, I'm sorry.

Emma, on the other hand, is hardcore into confronting the truth and she is brutally honest. She says that, yes, she wants to kill Rumple just like Killian said he wanted to stab the Dark One with his own dagger and never mind the fact that he'd become the Dark One instead. Now, in reality if he was given the choice, Killian probably wouldn't actually do that, but Emma understands Killian's frustration because Emma's lived with some of those same emotions. Snow is never going to understand that because she's never been the villain. I'm not saying this is a bad thing - but sometimes the sickly-sweetness of Snow White kind of grates on me. Too much of a good thing and all that (and even in the "Next Time" promo - Snow is still trying to appeal to Emma with that sweet nature and Emma, who must have found out about her parents OMG SOOPER DOOPER SEKRIT, is clearly having none of it).

And, as an aside, there is one promo for next week floating around out there that shows Hook going directly to Team Charming with the information that Rumple is gunning for Emma and her potential for Great Darkness(tm). Which shows to me that, yes Hook has kept secrets from Emma in the past, but he has learned from those mistakes and he is NOT going to to that again. Remind me who the evilest of villains here is?

(Just one more on the pile of Reasons Why Killian Jones is Better Than Everybody Else)

...Is When It's Tested Again and Again

Back at Gold's cabin where Team Darkness is keeping no-longer-little-kid-Pinocchio prisoner (long and boring story), Ursula is going on a rampage against Team Hero, who tracked them down to their hideaway. Long story short - Hook comes back with Daddy Poseidon, who is ready and willing to make amends with Ursula. They make up and everything is awesome and Ursula - who to this point was a villain - just got her freaking happy ending WITHOUT ANY HELP FROM THAT DAMN AUTHOR!

(Killian Jones, take a bow, you heroic pirate, you).

Everybody clears out - and here we come to the second way in which Operation: Mongoose was not in fact rendered completely moot. Remember how I said Hook's got his happy ending and I was wondering why no one was paying attention to that fact all the while running around like a bunch of crazies looking for this freaking author when all they had to do was stop and wonder - "Wait... how the hell did he manage it?" Well - while that still isn't entirely an unprofitable line of inquiry, Killian himself is starting to ask that question. And if you ever wondered why I ship Captain Swan so much - I would say look no further than this scene WHICH WILL COMPLETELY TEAR YOUR HEART TO PIECES AND YOU WILL LOVE EVERY MOMENT OF IT!

PUNCH ME IN THE FACE AND BURY ME WHERE I STAND I CANNOT WITH YOU TWO ANYMORE (but I will because you are the freaking BEST on this or any show EVER!)

If that wasn't an "I love you," then I don't know what is.

Beyond my *happy fangirling*, though - just look at this for a minute. NOT ONCE does Killian imply that he wants to the author to give him his happy ending. If Killian Jones wants something, he goes out and gets it himself - or he works damn hard to get it. And until now, he's never thought that he could lose his happiness because of something that's outside his control. Yes, he's worked to become a better person and leave his villainous persona behind and seek redemption - but what if that's not enough? What if it's too late to prove himself? Despite assurances from Emma and everybody else that he is indeed a hero, it's possible that Killian could totally lose everything he's worked so hard to fix. I mean, name one thing (besides the thing with the pistol in the Jolly - which totally didn't work) that Killian did in the present day in this episode that would be considered villainous? He gave Ursula back her voice, he helped her make amends with her father, he's consistently been on the side of good - yet he still thinks of himself as a bad guy.

And then you have Emma, who up to this moment STILL doesn't think that she's anybody's happy ending. I mean - Emma, honey - DO YOU SERIOUSLY HAVE TO ASK? And the answer is - yes. Honestly - she really does. She's never been loved by anyone like this - she doesn't trust easily and she doesn't open herself up that often. I think she still has that fear in the back of her mind that she's going to wake up one morning and Killian's going to be gone, just like every other guy she's trusted with her heart. I mean, these two have both been through so much crap and now they've each finally found another person who cares about them deeply - and the ONLY REASON they could lose this wonderful little thing that they because of a bunch of stupid villains who can't get their own crap together. BUT BY DAMN THEY ARE GOING TO FIGHT FOR EACH OTHER AND THAT IS TRUE FREAKING LOVE RIGHT THERE!

So, this sets up for more drama and angst, but I figured it was coming because, hell, Snowing had their challenges to face. How could Captain Swan (or Outlaw Queen, for that matter) expect to do any less? Personally, I cannot WAIT for this story to unfold - and I'm still hoping for Rumple to get impaled on his own dagger (nobody has to actually stab him with it. He could just be running and trips and he stabs himself. Problem solved)

Other Things I Liked/Noticed -

- I knew the Outlaw Queen reunion was a sham - but I theorized that it was Rumple impersonating Robin the same was he did Killian. I didn't think it'd be a dream sequence. Either way, I'm glad we got to see Robin Hood again, even if it wasn't for very long.

- Hook and Will trading jabs at Gold's Shop. Yes, please - give me more!

- "I'm good at surviving or you're just bad at killing." HOOK WINS ALL THE THINGS!

- Cruella was surprisingly quiet through all of this, but she had some lovely moments - like totally lusting after August. I like to keep my blog on the clean side of PG-13, but I think you can imagine where this crack ship could go.

- And this -

I don't care who you are - that's Twue Wuv, right there. (gif source)
Next Time -

Remember how "Smash The Mirror" was such an important Emma episode for how she sees herself and her relationship with her family? I think "Best Laid Plans" is going to go in that direction as well. But that's just a guess -

Buckle in, kiddos because CRAP IS GETTING REAL!

*runs off to watch that Captain Swan ending again*