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.

No comments:

Post a Comment